REMEMBER: Social 'Season' usually runs from APRIL until the long weekend in MAY.
So if you are planning a social in those months, you definitely need to book your venue as early as possible especially if you want it for a Saturday night which is the most popular day.
TIP: If you want your social to stand out, have one that is not in April or May because you may have people who have 2 or 3 socials that they need to attend on the same night as your social. This is not good because they'll run out of money by the time they hit your social, or not attend at all. But be sure not to have it in Jan or Feb when it's too cold and people do not want to go out, or around Christmas time when everyone is broke, or the summer time when everyone goes away on vacation. You need to know who your attendees will be. If most of the people that will be coming to your social are 'cottagers' you don't want to have your social during or after May Long weekend. Long weekends are not that great either because most people go down to the States, camping or to the beach, etc.
When scouting out a venue for your social, here's a checklist of what you need to look for:
This is important because if you have a venue that will hold 500 people and no place for the people to park, they might turn away and go back home.
- Area of Venue
Make sure that the venue you choose is not in a sketchy area for the safety of you and your guests. It would suck if you had your car broken into while you were attending someone's social. So be sensitive. No matter how cheap the venue is, you need to put safety as a priority.
You need to be realistic about this. Do you really know 500 people that is going to come to your social? If you do, then look for a hall that will hold that many. If you haven't gone to other people's socials, and/or you don't have a big family or many friends, and you get a hall for 500 people and only 150 people show up, you won't be making any money. You also have to be aware of the date that your social falls on. Is it on the same date as a concert, UFC, Pacquio Fight, other huge social? If it is, then don't count on having a full house.
- Bartenders/Corkage Fee
Many halls will come with their own bar staff. This can be a good thing because then you don't have to scramble looking for bartenders, and you can trust that they won't be giving away free liquor. If your uncle was bartending your social and his kids and all their friends come to the bar, your uncle might 'hook them up' and sneak free drinks to them, or over pour their shots. So just be cautious. Also be sure to ask if the venue charge a corkage fee, because you'll need to account for that expense.
- Set Up
Some halls come with set-up and take down, others you have to do-it-yourself. Make sure if you get a DIY hall that you have enough help before and after to set up and take down the chairs and tables, and cleaning. Also check your contract. Most halls only let you have the place for up to 30 minutes after your social is over, and any time after that, you will be charged a fee. So take down of the tables and chairs will have to be quick.
It is best to physically go down to a venue and see what they have to offer. This way you can visualize how you want everything to be set up - Food tables and access to the kitchen, Raffle Prize area, Bar, Ticket Sales area.
Some venues provide security, and others you have to do your own security. The responsibility of 'security' should be to keep a count of what your capacity is as they walk in, make sure that no one leaves the venue with liquor, in case a fight breaks out (inside or outside the venue) they call for help.
TIP: If you don't care too much about making money at your social, and only want to do it to for the party and whatever you make out of it is a bonus, then consider having your social at a Bar/Nightclub. They provide security, bartenders, a DJ, a place and parking. They don't charge cover charge, but they generally take all the profit from the liquor sales. This would leave you with making profit from the ticket sales and any raffle or 50/50 draws. Also be aware that if you do have it a bar, they may or may not close it off to the public, so you might have sketchy people there that you don't want.
Figure out what's most important: (location, capacity, price) and then drive around that area to see what is available, or think back to other socials you've been to.
You can also try Community Centres, Arenas, Canadian Legion Halls.
Norwood Community Centre http://www.norwoodcc.ca/hall-rentals/
Maples Multiplex, Maples Arena http://www.maplescc.ca/files/Hall_Rental_Price_List.pdf
Winnipeg Community Centres http://www.gcwcc.mb.ca/documents/2010addressbook_000.pdf
Heather Curling Club http://www.heathercurlingclub.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49:summer-event-spaces&catid=47:summer-facilities&Itemid=73
The Copa & Regent Park Hall http://www.regentparkhall.com/SocialsFeb2005.html
Price your social ticket at $10. This is how much it has always been, with or without inflation. I've seen some people price their social tickets at $12 and $15 and, let's get real, we are all penny pinchers, and it's a turn off already if you don't charge what everyone else has been charging. What makes you think your social is $5 more than other socials?
You can print your tickets off yourself, and they don't have to be anything fancy, since they get ripped at the door anyways. You can buy perforated 'business card' paper at Dollarama. They come in a pack of 100.
Or you can get them printed - Ticketmaster, Costco, UPS store, etc.
The info you want on the ticket is:
· Wedding Social in honour of: (add your names)
· Date and Time that the social runs from (usually 8pm - 1am)
· Place of social and address
· Ticket price on the right bottom corner
On the flip side of the ticket, you can put a map to get to the venue, but most people have GPS or can Google Map it. Also remember to number the back of all your tickets. This will give you an estimate of how many tickets you've printed, selling, sold, and if you plan on doing door prizes, you want to number both sides of the ticket so that at the door they will rip half for the draw and keep the other half.
According to the Manitoba Liquor Commission, you are not allowed to sell tickets at the door:
"the only way that guests may be admitted is by tickets sold in advance, but not at the door."
A good percentage of your social tickets won't be sold until the week of your social so don't stress out if you've only got half the tickets sold and it's the week of your social. Manitobans are known to be very last minute, so you might get a big crowd wanting to buy tickets 5 minutes before your social.