How to Negotiate Contracts with Event Venues Successfully

event venue

How to Negotiate Contracts with Event Venues Successfully

event venue

Recently we interviewed our resident expert for contracts, Heather Reid. Heather works exclusively to help busy professionals that are planning large scale parties and events (weddings, milestone birthdays, corporate gatherings and other large events) to negotiate contracts with event venues successfully. 

In this interview heather tell us exactly how to negotiate contracts and what to do when you already have a contract in place and something goes wrong! 

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About Heather Reid

Heather has been working in the event planning industry for 24 years and she has helped organize multiple national conferences and now owns Planner Protect – that helps consumers protect themselves when entering into contracts with event venues.

Heather works particularly with Canadian events and she is concerned that people aren’t protecting themselves financially and logistically when entering into contracts with event venues.  

She realized that its important for event planners to get some support when they are negotiating event contracts and this is the need that Heather’s company, Planner Protect, fills. 

You can find more information about Heather and Planner Protect here at

event venue contracts

Why are contracts with event venues so important?

1. Any event held outside of your own home needs a contract – invest in one and lay out some terms

2. Contracts are usually created by venues and protect the event venues and not the clients and things like cancellation terms etc. need to be looked at

3. What if something outside of your control happens and you are unable to host the event?

4. What if the event venue does not hold up their end of their bargain?

5. What if you only use part of the day of the venue but are charged for the whole day? What can you do then?

It is important to protect users using contracts before signing with an event venue.

event venue contracts

What do you do when you have already signed a contract with an event venue?

Always ask if you can negotiate a balanced contract. If its too risky and too costly, you either walk away or you know going in what can happen. Always make an educated choice. 

As a lay person hosting an event, there is great risk. If something was to happen to on the property the person signing the contract is responsible legally and legal fees can be very costly. And so it might be worthwhile to go back and ask to re-negotiate the contract or if you are not able to, go with your eyes wide open and take preventative measures to host responsibly (ask Heather how…at

event venue contract negotiation

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What all aspects of the event venue contract are important to look at?

1. Make sure you have a contract – if the venues does not, have a lawyer create one.

2. Read a contract 3 times with these perspectives in mind. 

2a. What am I responsible for?

2b. What is the event venue agreeing to do with you in exchange of the cost? And is everything written in contract? A sales person at venue might change and then the contract will protect you.

2c. What’s missing in this contract? What happens if venue is flooded? What happens to my deposit? Evaluate everything that might impact your event

3. You should be in a position to negotiate back with the event venue. Find common ground. 

4. Hire a professional – a third party event planner that has experience with contracts. Professionals know how a typical event flows. They are like having life insurance for big risks related to big events. 

event venue contracts

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