The starting base for any event lies with finding the right venue, but organisers wrongly assume that unusual, exciting and innovative venues always cost a fortune. This is not the case and there are many party spaces available that won't break the bank.
I would recommend members' clubs or associations that own venues. For example, the Arts Club and the Cavalry and Guards Club both charge substantially lower fees than more commercial venues and are incredibly versatile. Hire charges are likely to range from £600 to £1,500 per room, and this kind of venue will hold around 150 for a drinks reception and between 80 and 120 for a sit-down dinner. Bear in mind it sometimes works in your favour to steer away from daily rates and build the cost from scratch. There are often deals to be done on the venue hire. Popular party and conference venues for us have been the Millennium Mayfair Hotel in Grosvenor Square, Williams F1 Conference Centre in Wantage and Tylney Hall in Hampshire.
Galleries and contemporary spaces are versatile and still won't blow your budget. Venues such as Il Bottaccio, Delfina Gallery, The Music Rooms, The Imagination Gallery and the Royal College of Art charge rates from £1,500 to £3,000 for an event. The great thing about this kind of venue is that they can be turned into a different world just by picking the right equipment.
I am a great believer that lighting transforms anything and means you do not need to spend too much money on flowers or other elements of décor. It is worth remembering that most of these venues have uplighters on site, which can save you huge amounts of money on lighting costs.
Other venues that can save on hire costs are exclusive bars or nightclubs. They usually charge a minimum spend rather than a hire fee, which means all your money is going on the food and beverages, rather than paying purely for the space.
Some venues I would recommend are No5 Cavendish Square, Boujis, the newly opened M1NT on Sloane Street and Baglionis. You can expect to spend between £10,000 and £15,000 in these party spaces, inclusive of all food and beverages, but one thing to remember is that nightclubs located away from the West End of London generally set lower minimum spends.
Finding venues with gardens, terraces and roof terraces can also be a challenge when looking for a location for summer events. Venues to consider are exclusive members' clubs such as The Hurlingham Club, Queens Club and Soho House, all of which are great value for money.
If you have a bigger budget I would recommend venues such as The Gilbert Collection at Somerset House, Dali Universe at County Hall, The Royal Exchange, or, for that real 'wow' factor, the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, where prices can range from £15,000 upwards. We work with clients to save them money on their budget and use our contacts with suppliers to negotiate effectively on the clients' behalf. Meeting the budget is easy if you work creatively. There are so many hidden treasures out there that will not only meet your budget, but also beat it.