It’s about time. Yes, I knew you would be back. Welcome. Sit down, let me walk through your brain. Ahhh yes, I see... you’re stressed, frazzled, annoyed even! You’re thinking: finding a venue for a murder mystery party should be simple. But I can see your travels show you otherwise. Remember, come to me before venturing out on your own, for I have all the answers. Before I can tell you how to choose the best venue for your murder mystery party, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do you want the event indoors or outdoors?
2. Is the event going to be public or private? (i.e. a Company Party or a fundraiser)
3. How many people are you estimating?
...Now that you have these elements in mind...Let’s party plan!
First off, remember that you’re planning a Murder Mystery Party, not just a dinner outing; decide on your entertainment before your venue. Determining the entertainment first is crucial when selecting the best place. Murder mystery companies vary on the amount of space that they need. Accessories like sound systems, lights or a backdrop will change the footprint of the show. You may love a venue because you have been to an event there or you know the owner, but always keep your guests and the show first. Keep in mind that shows are visual! The event is about the total experience, so ensure that the venue fits the entertainment, not the other way around.
Why not do it at home?
Most people jump right into using a restaurant thinking it will better accommodate their guests. This is not necessarily true. If your house fulfills the below requirements, save some money and have it at home. However, it is true that most Murder Mystery Parties take place in banquet rooms and halls, and for good reason. If your group is over thirty, it’s best to let the experts do the work.
Help guests get there!
Are your guests familiar with your location and is it easily accessible? Hosting your event in an easy to find venue will help your audience’s travel plans. The last thing you want is for people to arrive annoyed! Your guests are coming for a great experience, so don’t allow things like inadequate parking, lack of signage or bad traffic patterns get your guests off to a bad start. People that arrive happy, stay happy!
Outdoors or indoors?
99.9% of the time, events like this are held indoors. Hosting inside is attractive because it eliminates any unexpected weather related issues. Indoor is also optimal because it creates a more intimate setting. This way everyone included is focused and has the chance to participate. Outdoor can work, you just need to keep more things in mind to make it shine. Like the theme; what works best in the hot, sticky months; pirates or colonial detectives? Argh, pirates of course! Choose a theme relevant to the seasons, it will keep the night cohesive!
Public or Private?
Speaking of attendees, is this event private or public? This decision is a major factor in planning your murder mystery party. A private event will be much easier to plan for as the number of guests is set in stone. Hosting a public event, like a fundraiser, will be very different. The space must be able to handle an indefinite amount of people at any given time. If your event is public, then try to negotiate costs “Per Head” and avoid flat amounts. Hundreds of places in New Jersey and Pennsylvania exist like this, so no worries. But hey, that’s why I'm here, to help you with your planning!
Piggybacking on that subject, and don’t worry I won’t ‘boar’ you; How many people are you having? Believe it or not, this number is more important than the room’s maximum capacity. This is because you need to count your entertainment crew plus their props. We recommend over estimating by sixteen to twenty people to provide a comfortable space for attendees. I’m assuming you plan to feed these people at a dinner party? Well buffet or table service? If buffet, make sure you incorporate this in the layout design. You, your party go-ers, venue staff plus entertainment will thank you for your foresight!
The RIGHT Room
Now I want you to imagine yourself at your own party. Where is your chair located? What can you see? Are you sitting under a falling safe?! Phew! That was a close one! Most importantly, what is the shape of the room? I recommend a standard rectangular shape. This shape is not only the most common, but also the easiest to configure to almost any size group and show. Having an unusual shaped room on the other hand, can lead to unexpected issues.
The actors need to be able to interact with your guests. The audience wants to feel like PART of the show, to get the full experience. This is especially important if your guests paid to be there. Avoid rooms that block their vision with columns, pillars, booths or half-walls! Keep the room as open as possible so the actors can mingle and interact with your party. Those seated in tucked away corners or in inaccessible back rows may not feel as much a part of the show as the front patrons.
Access and Restrooms
Know your party’s demographic. Who are they? What are their needs? Does your space satisfy all of these requirements? Let’s review!
Bathrooms, bathrooms, bathrooms - oh how we need them! If you’re hosting a party of 200 people, well...one bathroom ain’t gonna cut it! Waiting in a bathroom line is aggravating because when nature calls, it needs an answer pronto! Make sure there are enough bathrooms for the amount of people you’re hosting. How are the people getting to the room once they’ve arrived? Stairs, elevator, escalator? Is your party on the third floor and are stairs the only option? Can all guests use the stairs? Do your best to avoid lines and queues. All of these items need to be factored in to your rental time agreement. Plus, your guests have a mystery to solve, how can they do that waiting in line?
Service and Experience
Impress your guests! Make sure the establishment wants you there and desires to participate in the experience. This may sound silly, but it can happen that large corporate banquet facilities take your business but at the same time, view your party as a low priority. Interview with them, talk to them, build a relationship and ask them plenty of questions. Have they ever done a murder mystery party before? Will they have a manager or head waiter in charge of your event?
Do you plan to have a cocktail hour at your gathering? If so, we recommend a separate room from the dinner so everything is ready to go upon sit down time. More importantly, does the venue offer a cocktail hour? Ask, ask, ask! Be honest with your necessities when interviewing venues because your special night should be everything you’ve imagined!
As the host or hostess, you also shouldn’t wait in line! You can typically get a better deal if you plan your party on a weekday. Friday and Saturday night’s tend to fill up quick for venues in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. If you know you want to have this party and maybe want a better deal, plan it for a weekday. If you followed our advice, prospective invites would be foolish not to come!
Your reading is almost over!!
With all of this valuable information, I am sure that you have learned how to choose the best venue for your murder mystery party! Remember, some theater companies, like Riddlesbrood Touring Theater, know their craft and can help you organize much of the process if you consult with them.
Create a happy environment and capitalize on all the items you purchased so that guest’s leave amazed! Riddlesbrood knows how to plan a party and they can guide you through this process. Feel free to contact us directly with any questions at 866-276-6399. Or visit our company website at Murder Mystery Party.
Until next time, this is Madame Cluedefti your fortune teller for all things Murder Mystery.