Choosing a Venue
Choose your hall carefully. There are a number of different kinds of halls that will host socials.
Royal Canadian Legion
Royal Canadian Legion Halls will often have a kitchen available, and may offer a cash bar.
Community centres can be a great inexpensive option if you are open to managing the liquor license and bar.
For a list of Community Centres, the General Council of Winnipeg Community Centres has an interactive map that you can use to find any of the 68 community centres. You can narrow down your options by the area of the city or hall capacity.
A hotel banquet hall will have more amenities, but will likely cost more than your local community centre or legion hall.
There are bars in Winnipeg that will host socials. Be aware that having your social at a bar means that you will not make any money off of drinks, only door tickets and raffles. As far as attracting guests, having your social at a bar means more liquor options, coupled with higher liqour prices. Since you will likely only have a portion of the bar dedicated to your social, the entire experience, from liquor to music to atmosphere will be that of a bar, and not of a social.
Finding the right hall means doing a lot of research. Call around to compare prices and amenities, and visit a few halls to get a feel for them. Talk to people that have been to or have run socials to find out which halls have been successful. Hall prices, amenities, size and upkeep vary wildly - don't make assumptions.
The hall may or may not provide the following, so make sure to ask about:
- Liquor or a liquor license
- Kitchen facilities
- Bartenders, security or other staff
- Music or a DJ
- Non-alcoholic drinks
- Cups and ice
- Tables and Chairs
Picking the right hall can have a significant impact on the outcome of your social. Make sure to get a look at the hall yourself before you commit - don't trust to pictures from the website.
Expect to pay a damage deposit of some kind. Find out what is expected of you as far as clean up, and what time frame before and after your event you will have access to the hall.
Decorating the Hall
Put up a sign or banner displaying what the social is for. Many DJ companies have packages which include social banners and tickets, so book your entertainment well in advance.
- Helium balloons at each table, tied to heavy items (wrapped rocks or bags of sand, etc)
- Party streamers
- Plastic table cloths
- Signs to mark out prizes, the ticket table and the bar
If the social is close to a fun holiday, run with it. Halloween socials (with prize for best costume!) are great fun and will attract a lot of guests. St. Patrick's day and New Year's Eve socials will probably sell more alcohol and have great turnout if you plan them far enough in advance.