Surprises are FUN!.... Except when it's the day of your big party, you're in the middle of decorating with limited time before your guests arrive, and your "SURPRISE" is unveiled....

Detailed Information Gathering is the best way to minimize unwanted surprises that can set you back and create excessive stress on event day.  Acquiring information is the very first thing you should start doing after you have chosen a theme and appropriate location.

One aspect of Information Gathering that is extremely important, and often over-looked. is performing a focused Site Inspection of the space you will be decorating for your special occasion.  This will help you in designing a successful, executable decorating plan.

I would LOVE for you to have my Site Inspection Checklist!  So, do your thing here,  (Fill out those two little boxes and click Join the Party!) BUT!!!! Please come back and read on, because there are more very important things you need to know, that are related to, but  NOT included on the checklist.

Thank You for continuing on for these last VERY important sections!

Your contract with the venue

In addition to the items on your checklist, if you are renting a facility, you need to be aware of any/all restrictions listed in your contract that may impact your decorating plans.  Some common restrictions I come across are:

  • No Confetti
  • No Sand
  • No Glitter
  • No Helium Balloons
  • No Candles
  • No Attaching to Ceiling
  • No Tape on Walls or Floor

Who invited the fire marshal?

There's not much that can knock the wind out of your sail like having your room all decorated and the fire marshal walks in and tells you to move and/or take down your decorations.  YES! it can happen. (More than once during my decorating days, I had to provide proof that I was using flame-retardant materials.)

Here are the main things they check out:

  • Blocking Exit Doors
  • Blocking Exit Signs
  • Blocking Fire Extinguishers
  • Blocking Ceiling Sprinklers
  • Unsafe Use of Extension Cords
  • Venue Set-up for More Than its Legal Capacity
  • Non-Flame Retardant Materials
    • Fabrics (linens, ceiling and wall fabric drape)
    • Excessive Paper Items
    • Straw/Corn Husks (Popular in Fall, Western, and Farm Theme Decor)
    • Thatch/Grass Skirting (Popular in Tropical and Jungle Theme Decor)

You MUST comply with their rules.  There is NO "bargaining" with them.  After-all, they ARE there for everyone's safety.  If you are mindful up front, a surprise visit from them with not impact your schedule.

I hope this post has been helpful! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding aspects of your venue that you need to take into consideration when designing your decorations.  May all your "Surprises" be Good Ones!

Other Posts that may be helpful:

5 Ways to Accomplish a Decorated Event

The #1 Element that Makes Your Party Awesome!

Move Your Guests From "AT" the Party to "IN" the Party

And here's another chance to "Join the Party"  for future Tips and Posts PLUS get your FREE Site Inspection Checklist!

Author: Cheryl Rupple

After selling her 26-year Special Event Decorating Business, Cheryl started blogging to continue helping people celebrate their happiest times. Enjoying life as a Special Occasion Designer, Certified Balloon Artist, Prom Consultant, Wedding Designer/Decorator, and Small Business Coach has brought many happy times to her, those she has met on this path, and hopefully you!

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