By Alexandra Houston

Planning an event from start to finish is a huge undertaking. It requires creativity, patience and true grit. Detailed budgets and strategic plans can account for inevitable catastrophes, but only experience can teach the small extras that make or break an event.

Luckily for us, Sam Kemp-Jackson was able to show us the ropes on our first site checks at two local venues.

Site checking, when done properly, is a more intense process than one might think. After initial selections based on capacity, location and the ever-present budget, the site check is the only way to really get a feel for how a venue will gel with your vision for the event. Pictures and information on a website won’t always be accurate, or give the same impression as in real life.

A space that checks all your basic boxes on paper could have unforeseen flaws in person. The location might be beautiful on the inside, but if it sits in an industrial complex, guests may enter with a negative impression. The main room for your event may be gorgeous, but the bathrooms might look like they belong in a college dorm.

On the flipside, a site check might reveal hidden gems such as a landscaped outdoor patio. Or a secret VIP suite for special guests.

A site check with a keen eye is the only way to ensure you’re getting all that you can out of a venue — and maybe even a discount or two.


Questions to consider:

Does the venue allow outside catering?

Do they provide all the equipment for AV?

What are the minimum and maximum capacities of the room?

Does it have Wi-Fi?

Do they offer parking or valet service?

Are we required to get any permits?


Special thanks to Le Dome Banquet Hall and the Oakville Conference Centre for showing us around.


(Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Axiak 2016)