Baltimore is steep with history, culture and unique event spaces offering seemingly endless options and possibilities when planning a private event. Location, venue, food & atmosphere are all important factors to consider. Planning an event takes patience and meticulous attention to detail, so the more you can prepare, the less stressful the process will be.
We’ve put together a quick guide to help you navigate the important details in bringing your dream event to life – in Baltimore and beyond.
First things first: Venue
Selecting the venue should be the first step in your event planning process. In deciding where to host your event, there are many factors to consider.
As a historic city, Baltimore offers numerous restored historic buildings that offer private events in a unique setting including the Peabody Library, The Belvedere, The Ivy Hotel, and The Engineers Club just to name a few. If you prefer a waterfront view over historic charm, you can explore Baltimore’s harbor front venues, many which offer larger, more open concept floor plans than the historic alternatives.
Size matters. Once deciding on the style of venue you have in mind, the next step is to determine capacity. How many people do you expect to attend your event?
Once you determine your top private event venue choices, ask about their capacity first. Many venues adhere to a strict number so this can be a simple way to narrow down your options.
Food & Menu
One of the most important aspects of planning an event is the food and menu. After capacity, the next question you should ask an event venue is their requirements for food. Some require in-house catering, others might offer a list of preferred caterers, and some might leave it completely up to you. Whether you’re planning a wedding, corporate holiday party, meeting, or birthday dinner, food is going to be at the forefront of creating a great experience. It’s what the guests always remember!
A subset of this question is the menu. Menu flexibility ranges widely — from custom or set prix-fixes, three or four courses, tasting menus, or a lá carte offerings. Often times the menu flexibility depends on the guest count so make sure to confirm what your options are prior to signing the contract.
Decor, Music & Setup
Does your venue provide any in-house decor or setup? Always ask about: chairs, tables, place settings, florals, and any A/V needs. Never assume that any of the above is included, even in the case of a restaurant venue. If you do end up needing rentals, ask the venue about any preferred vendors. They often will handle the ordering for you or provide a discounted rate.
Don’t forget to also confirm what the options are for music. If you are looking into hiring a band or DJ, confirm setup with your venue and your talent including power outlet placement/voltage requirements, who will be providing speakers/sound system, and the set list.
Often an overlooked but very necessary question — where will your guests park? Is there street parking, parking garage, or valet? What are the costs associated? For comfort, ease of mind and accessibility for your guests, make sure you know all of the parking details and communicate with your guests accordingly.
Fees & Gratuity
Lastly, make sure before signing a contract that there aren’t hidden fees anywhere. It is common for proposals not to include tax and gratuity in the estimated amount, however, they should explicitly be listed within the policies and contract. Common event ++ are sales tax, liquor tax, gratuity and admin fee which varies depending on the venue. If there are fees above and beyond that, don’t be afraid to question what they are for!
The Ivy Hotel offers a handful of unique and charming private event spaces for every type of occasion. Send us an inquiry to learn more about hosting your event with us!
We look forward seeing you...