You’re planning on having your next child’s party in a venue, but you can’t pick one? The truth is, choosing a kid’s venue isn’t easy.
30 questions to help choose a kid’s venue
To help you choose the venue that will best suit your party needs, we’ve listed a few questions to consider.
1. Which kid’s venue is available? This should dramatically reduce your consideration set. Conversely, book your venue as soon as possible. If your party is on a day you expect to be busy (communion season, holidays…), book the space four to six months in advance. Otherwise, make your reservation four to six weeks in advance.
2. Will there be other parties? If you are hosting your event in an entertainment centre, expect numerous other parties to be there. Depending on the layout of the venue, this may not be a problem (see the section about space and capacity). Don’t hesitate to call the venue to ask when their quieter times are…. If they have any!
3. How far is the venue? If possible, don’t make other parents travel too far. Unfortunately, it increases the chance that your child’s guests won’t show up.
4. How easy is it to find the venue? Entertainment centres are to find as they tend to be painted in bright, visible colours. On the other hand, if your event is in a function room, parents may need detailed directions.
5. Are you driving other kids there or are you meeting there? This is an important factor; it will dictate how many guests you can have. Some venues are more suited to smaller groups than others. Choose accordingly.
6. How good is the Parking Facility? Parents are more likely to stick around at the end, if they can park easily and for free. It’s nice to chat with other parents while cleaning out the remaining cake.
Spaces and Capacity
7. How much space does the kid’s venue have? To answer this question, the easiest is to see the layout with your own eyes. Pictures will make do if visiting the venue isn’t an option. If you are going to an entertainment centre, some of the space will be shared and some of it private.
8. Is it shared or private space? If you are booking a function room, this isn’t something you need to consider. Entertainment centres will usually provide you with some private space, while the activity space will be shared with the other groups. The private spaces can be anything from a private room to just a table. It’s handy if the venue also provides lockers or baskets for the children’s coats. It prevents a chair from becoming the Mount Everest pile.
9. How long do you have the space for? Most venues will allow you to stay all afternoon. However, a kid’s party doesn’t need to be that long. A few hours of high energy fun makes for a memorable party.
10. How many people can you host? Private rooms will have a strict max capacity. This information should be on the venue’s website. However, with a kids party, you probably won’t reach the limit.
11. What is the seating layout? The table sizes will vary per venue. Who sits next to whom can be a tricky subject for kids. If you’re in a shared space check how close the tables are. If they are very close, different parties might merge.
12. What party services does the kid’s venue provide? Just as importantly, what services does the venue NOT provide? This applies to core party services but also to small things. For example, certain venues might allow you to light birthday candles for safety reasons.
13. Does the venue provide party tableware? Plates, glasses, napkins, cups, cutlery… In venues, kids tableware will often be made of paper or plastic. The benefit is that it’s shatterproof.
14. Does the venue have a kitchen you can use? If there is no kitchen, ask if you can use the microwave or use some fridge space for food and drinks. Some venues will accommodate this if you choose to bring your own food.
15. Is the cleaning cost included? As a rule of thumb, cleaning costs are included in entertainment centres but not in function rooms. It’s always worth double-checking. If the cost of cleaning isn’t included, you can consider hiring cleaners. Additionally, check if the venue has cleaning supplies to avoid a last-minute dash home to grab your vacuum.
16. Will the venue handle your entertainment? Entertainment centres have multiple activities and games for kids to do. Some require adult supervision. Are parents expected to coordinate these games or will they provide an entertainer?
17. Does the venue provide an audio system? In addition to the equipment, do they provide music or do you need to create your own playlists beforehand?
18. Do they accommodate external performers? If your party is in a function room, this won’t be a problem. On the other hand, entertainment centres might have an in-house entertainer and not allow you to bring your own. This will depend on the venue.
19. Do they provide photography services? As an add-on, certain entertainment centres offer the options to shoot and print pictures. With cell phones, this service isn’t as necessary as it used to be. However, nice pictures make for great souvenirs.
20. How much does the venue cost? To get a good idea of the value, compare this venue to others in your area will give you a good idea.
21. What is the cost per child? Entertainment centres will usually charge per children who attend. They will have different price tiers, depending on the party package or the activities.
22. Is there a minimum or maximum group size? As mentioned previously, private rooms will have a max capacity. Entertainment centres might require a minimum number of guests. If your group size is smaller, you may end up paying for empty chairs…
23. What party “packages” do they have to offer? Venues who regularly host birthday parties will have different package tiers. It’s up to you if you want a cheaper package or a package with all the party options.
24. What catering services are offered? Will you have a full meal or a snack at the venue?
25. Does the venue provide food? Most entertainment centres will have an on-site café or restaurant.
26. Can you self-catered? Most venues will accommodate self-catering but might not have kitchen facilities. As mentioned previously, do they have a fridge you can use to store your food and drinks?
27. Can you bring your own birthday cake? The real question is, will you end up with two cakes? Even though venues will allow you to bring your own cake, party menus tend to already include a one. To avoid a sugar rush, ask if they have a meal plan with no dessert.
28. Is the room already themed? Venue rooms, in entertainment centres, will often already be themed. The extent, to which the theme is visible, depends on the venue. You can choose to match the theme or decorate over it.
29. Can you bring your own decorations? This question is relevant if you are in a shared space. If you can’t decorate the venue, consider bringing your own tableware decorations. Certain venues will provide decorations. These are generally very basic decorations that you can complement with your own.
30. What is the atmosphere of the venue? In an entertainment centre, the theme and the activities will often dictate the overall atmosphere.