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Expert July 2023

Making a small event work in a big venue?

Eniale, on April 6, 2021 at 2:18 PM Posted in Planning 0 9
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I feel like I have more venue-induced drama than anyone, I swear.

Originally, we planned to have our vow renewal at the same venue we got married. It is a small venue, which worked perfectly with our vow renewal guest list (looking at 25-30).

Unfortunately, we recently paid a visit to the venue, and were not impressed. Combining our superficial complaints about changes they've made with other concerns we were having (primarily that it's outside and our event will be in summer), we decided to choose a different venue.

We're looking at a science center, which is very quirky and interesting. We both like it as an actual activity (we've gone several times), and I think it would be a lot of fun as a venue. They host events in two major exhibits. The one I was thinking for the reception is called Dino Digs, which has big dinosaur skeletons throughout the space, along with interactive exhibits. It's really hard to get a good picture of the place, but here's a big shot of the room: https://tinyurl.com/kxbpey7k

My concern now is that small guest list. It was the same issue I had when we got married - I don't want to feel like we're being "swallowed" by the venue. Since it is an active exhibit, guests are allowed to explore what's in it... will that break it up and not make it feel like we're too small of an event for the space? We're having action stations for our catering (4-5 stations) so that will take up some space as well, but should I look into getting some lounge seating or something to fill in space? If you were a guest at an intimate event in that kind of space, would you think it was weird or overwhelming? Is this a silly concern?

9 Comments

Latest activity by Fred (Frédolino), on April 7, 2021 at 12:54 PM
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
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    As a guest, I would be thrilled. Can the venue cordon off the extra stuff (halls leading to other exhibits not part of the wedding, as long as there is an exit and restroom path? I wouldn't think that was overwhelming at all but your concerns are valid because it is an offbeat venue.

    I don't think think you need lounge seating since guests who prefer to mingle will sit at tables.

    • Reply
  • E
    Expert July 2023
    Eniale ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    So the way it's laid out, the cocktail hour space and reception space (we are renting both) occupy one floor. The only areas accessible to guests will be what is part of the event.

    This is an example layout of the room, which includes squared off areas where exhibits (that guests are allowed to participate in) are located (anything that has the bold outline is solid wall/blocked by the venue, and anything with thin lines is an exhibit footprint): https://www.osc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/wedding-weather-back-up-dino-digs-reception-1000x1000.jpg It's a pretty odd-shaped space, but it is a fairly open area. They may be able to section off the bottom left corner in that diagram (where it has a photobooth example setup) since there aren't any exhibits there it doesn't appear, and that would take out a portion of the room so it doesn't look so huge.

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  • Jennifer
    VIP August 2021
    Jennifer ·
    • Flag

    I would day some cocktail tables would work! Some guests may want to roam the exhibit and eat at the same time!

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  • Heather
    Devoted October 2021
    Heather ·
    • Flag

    I agree!! Add some cocktail tables Smiley smile That should help especially for the guests that want to eat and drink. It'll be more comfortable when they move around and then want to relax and chat for a bit.

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  • H
    Dedicated August 2023
    Heather ·
    • Flag
    I love this!! I actually worked at a museum that hosted private events, and smaller parties were never an issue. This is such a unique venue and your guests are going to be too busy exploring and having fun to notice the size of the space vs guest count. I agree with others that adding cocktail tables will help as well.
    • Reply
  • A
    Expert September 2020
    Amanda ·
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    Sounds like a fun venue.
    • Reply
  • E
    Expert July 2023
    Eniale ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Thank you for this, it really alleviated a lot of my worries. The venue is really "spot on" for us - we're both big science buffs, so when our original venue didn't work out, it was the first thing that came to mind.

    I like the suggestions about the cocktail tables. We're having action stations for food (5-6 different stations) so there will already be the encouragement to move around.

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  • H
    Dedicated August 2023
    Heather ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    Yeah, with the food stations too, it sounds like you'll have a great set up. Have fun! 😊
    • Reply
  • Fred (Frédolino)
    Expert April 2022
    Fred (Frédolino) Online ·
    • Flag

    Hi Eniale:

    I agree with everyone. It's not a big deal.

    The guests don't notice things like this as long as they have a blast. If they do: they don't care at all.

    As other posters suggested: with cocktail tables and food stations, everything will be fine.

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