Banquet halls can be an economical, convenient solution to host your large gathering. Two downsides are that they sometimes lack flair and can potentially inhibit the intimate, unique feel you want for your special event. However, you do have options.
Choosing a Banquet Hall
To find the perfect location for your next event, you'll need to do a bit of research.
- First, make a list of all the banquet halls in the area that might suit your needs.
- Next, visit some of the halls on your list to see if their size and location will work for your celebration.
- Narrow your choices to the top three; and then make a few phone calls to inquire about pricing, availability and any extras you might need.
- Consider your personal needs for the hall, such as chairs, tables, kitchen facilities, parking and security before making your choice.
- Finally, read the fine print of the contract before you sign.
Read the Fine Print
Most banquet hall rentals involve signing a contract. Some contracts are simple, while others are quite involved. Many contracts include the following:
- Catering: Some banquet halls require renters to use the hall's catering services, while others allow outside catering as an option. If you plan to bring alcoholic beverages into the site, make sure that doesn't violate the contract.
- Clean-up: Find out whether clean-up is included in the banquet rental fee. If not, you may have to pay a maintenance deposit that you get back only after you've cleaned up after the party.
- Decorations: Be sure you know what is and isn't allowed in regards to decorations. Some halls don't allow decorations to be hung on walls or from ceilings because they may violate a local fire code.
Every facility has it's own rental contracts with very specific conditions. However, this example can give you an idea of what to expect.
Popular Banquet Halls
Here is a list of banquet halls in various regions across the USA. You can also find many more halls in your local phone directory.
- Reception Halls.com
- Queens New York Catering Halls
- Chicago Event Rentals
- Miami's Reception Palace
- New Jersey Banquet Halls
Transforming the Hall
How do you take a banquet hall and turn it into a lively, unique venue for your event? You personalize it. Think of ways to create an environment that reflects your specific event. Create a theme for your guests, and then go from there.
- What are you celebrating? Birthdays, graduations, award ceremonies, retirement parties and more are all cause for celebration.
- Who are you celebrating? Transform the hall to represent that individual or group of people.
- What makes this person or group unique? Highlight special aspects of the person or group.
From there, consider creating a "personality" for your occasion. Now take that personality and compare it to your banquet room. What do you need to do to turn that hall into something that represents your celebration or gathering?
Lights, Music, Action!
Lights, music and action are the first three things to consider when transforming banquet halls. They are the key to creating your unique environment.
Use party music that fits the theme or atmosphere that you're going for, such as classic Beach Boys' music for the surfing graduate, jazz standards or music of the era for class reunions, or love songs for a wedding reception. The list goes on and on, but you get the idea. Choose something meaningful and relevant.
Designers know that light can make or break a space. Light comes in many forms. Most people start with natural light, spot light and candlelight. There are disco balls, night lights, lamps, overheads and more. Don't underestimate the power of this simple element. Candles certainly create a different mood than a disco ball. Use that to your advantage!
What are your guests going to actually do once they arrive? There are a lot of ideas out there for party games. Examples of matching the right party activity with the celebration include:
- Play old-fashioned games like "clothespin in a bottle" or "marbles" to spark youthful memories of the 80 year old you're celebrating.
- Honor the retired Navy veteran by setting up a black jack table for guests, since you've heard his crewmates used to pass the time playing cards.
- Think about sharing words of wisdom in a special handmade book for the newlywed.
- Ask guests to put together their favorite cooking tips for the graduate heading off to college.
The idea is to create moments that reflect the person(s) of honor through participation from the guests. Creating this sort of connection gives an element of intimacy and personal bond among those coming together.
Picture Perfect Celebrations
With a little creativity, there's no reason you can't transform banquet halls into appropriate and fun venues for everything from christenings to rowdy bachelorette parties. Next time there's cause for celebration, don't let the impersonal feel of banquet halls deter you. For the price and ease, they can be the perfect solution to hosting a large group of people. Spend some time visiting the banquet halls in your area, read the fine print, and consider your particular needs. Then, plan the perfect celebration for you and your guests. As a final touch, ask guests to send you their digital photos from the event. Put them into one giant digital album to give the guest(s) of honor.