the powerhouse in washington, dc

The Powerhouse special events venue in Georgetown, Washington, DC

In looking for venues for a holiday party, I came across a relatively new venue in Georgetown – The Powerhouse. The Powerhouse is a historic warehouse-y type building in a great location. We didn’t end up selecting the venue for this event, but I hope to be able to use it in the future, as there was a lot that I liked about it.

The venue’s location is either a benefit or a drawback, depending on how you look at it. It’s located in Georgetown, which is a swanky area that lots of people want to be – except that it isn’t easily accessible. There’s no metro nearby and parking is a pain in the you-know-what. The Powerhouse is located behind Dean and Deluca’s. If you are coming from M Street (the main drag in Georgetown), it’s easily accessible via footbridge. But the building is also located on an extremely narrow street that has zero parking and would be tricky for buses to navigate.

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oklahoma history center

oklahoma history center - private events

If you are regular reader of this blog (thank you!) you’ll know that I recently had the opportunity of spending a week in Oklahoma City. On the off-chance that someone stumbles across this blog who is interested in planning events in Oklahoma City, I’ve reviewed each of the venues we’re used for the event. Rounding that out is the Oklahoma History Center and the good news is, even if you are just planning on visiting OKC, this is a must see. Being able to plan or attend an event there is just a bonus.

The Oklahoma History Center is dedicated to Oklahoma history, past and present. There are numerous galleries on various topics. There is also a cafeteria and meeting space.

The conference we were hosting in Oklahoma City was headquartered at the Skirvin Hilton, but we wanted to move on evening’s dinner offsite to mix things up. My colleague, Christina, found the history center and we immediately fell in love. Now full-disclosure: I am a history nerd (I think Christina is as well!), but look at this gorgeous atrium:

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the flying bridge in washington, dc

The Flying Bridge Event Venue in Washington DC

I recently had the chance to do a site visit at a unique venue in Washington, DC – the Flying Bridge. It’s a rooftop location with a stunning view of the Capitol, complete with an all-weather tent that makes it a viable option all year round.

The Flying Bridge is located on the roof (literally) of an office building a few blocks away from Union Station. You do have to use the same elevator banks as the rest of the office building to access the space – although they can work around the security procedures if your event is off-hours.

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how to save money on an event venue

Hacienda Sarria | amanda jayne events blog

One of the things about special events and weddings that people find so surprising is how expensive the venue rental fee can be. Many people consider this to be money wasted, but it can often be inclusive of other items such as rental items (furniture, dishes, etc.) or staff (servers, attendants), but sometimes it is just a fee and all the other items are on top of the fee. Still, there are often ways to pay a lower fee or avoid paying a rental fee altogether.

The first thing you need to do is find out what is included (if anything) in the rental fee. For example, if the rental fee includes all of the tables, chairs, dishes, staff, and a/v that you’d need, paying a high rental fee might actually be a good deal as these items can add up. But if it only includes some of these things, or doesn’t include any tangible items (it’s just covering the space’s opportunity cost – aka allowing you exclusive use of the space at the loss of other business), it’s important to try and compare apples to apples when working on your budget.

Now, on to the suggestions:

Choose an off day

Many venues offer different pricing for different days based on demand – most people host events on Fridays and Saturdays (although this might be slightly different based on your market), thus events on Tuesdays might have a lower rental fee because there isn’t as much business. Ask the venue if they have slower days with a lower fee.

Choose an off season

Similiarly, some venues have seasonal pricing, particularly venues with outdoor components. For example, the botantical garden might be very expensive to rent in the spring and summer, but it might offer a substantial discount in the fall when it’s not blooming, but might still be very pretty.

Ask about cancellations

If you’re planning with a short lead time, ask if there have been any cancellations at the venue. If a venue has had a client cancel or postpone an event, they now have a hole in their schedule and might be willing to slightly discount the rental fee in order to fill it quickly.

Offer repeat business

If you have several events that you can place in the same venue, ask for a discount based on the volume of business you’re bringing if you can contract for all of the events at once. I’ve also had success with this tactic when it comes to getting a lower food and beverage minimum.

Offer more revenue

If you can show the venue that your event will bring signficant revenue to them in other ways than just the rental fee, they might be willing to discount it. For example, at hotels in particular, you can often have them waive the rental fee in exchange for a higher food and beverage commitment – the hotel is getting the same amount of money, but it’s all going toward something tangible, not just a fee. Note that in this case the caterer and the venue most likely need to be the same company.

Choose a venue that doesn’t charge a rental fee

Many hotels do not charge rental fees for the rooms if you commit to a certain amount of food and beverage, and the cost of giving you the space is wrapped up into the cost of the food (see above). This can sometimes make hotels the most affordable venues for events (although not always).

What are some other ways to save money on a venue? What other aspects of event planning would you like to see posts on?

Photo  of Hacienda Sarria in Ontario via Grey Likes Weddings