The Ohio Union

Plan an Event

Planning Tips

A lot of work goes into planning a successful event. The Ohio Union’s Event Services Team has several tips in order to make your event planning experience easy and fun:  

  • Allow time to plan an event
    Planning is the most crucial and time consuming aspect for any type of event. The earlier you start, the more likely you are to secure your preferred venue and date.
  • Budget
    Events can be produced on all budgets. We can help you plan your event based on your budget, just be sure to have dollar figures in mind while you’re planning. It’s also important to keep in mind that payment information is required when booking an event at the Ohio Union.
  • Know the number of guests
    When planning, keep in mind the number of guests you expect at your event. You don’t want your guests to be crowded, but you also want to adequately fill the space. Don’t forget about the activities taking place at your event and the space required. Finally, be sure to discuss the size of your event with an even planner. Our professional staff can guide you in this process.
  • Determine the event’s look and feel
    Ordering equipment and determining a room’s furniture placement will be simplified if you plan in advance how you want your event to look and feel. With your event planner, discuss what elements you want at your event, such as food tables, staging, podiums, sound equipment and decorations. You can view sample room set ups on our spaces page.

Event Planning Questions You Can Prepare For:

When speaking with your event planner, you will want to be prepared to answer the following questions: 

  • Date of event
  • Purpose of Event
  • Event Start Time and End Time
  • Number of People Attending
  • Room Preference
  • Event Name
  • Sponsoring Group
  • Name, Address & Telephone of One Contact Person - if you are making a reservation for a student organization, this person must be the President.
  • Event Type (meeting, banquet, speaker, etc.)
  • Event Agenda
  • Equipment, including tables, chairs and Audio Visual needs.
  • If the event involves food and/or alcohol.
  • If the event is in need of special sound or additional lighting equipment.
  • Payment information is required when reserving space.

Additional Tips for Throwing a Successful Event

  1. Plan ahead. We can't say this enough! It is best to contact an event planner 3 to 12 months before a large event, such as a banquet, dance, conference or concert, where more than 100 people will be attending. Before you send out invitations or advertisements, contact your event planner and secure a space, date and time.
  2. Be prepared if your event is outside. Many extra considerations go into planning an event outside, including renting a tent or rain site in case of bad weather. Many times, extra equipment is needed, such as garbage cans, fencing, electricity, heaters, additional lighting and more.
  3. Read contracts carefully. The facility or business hosting your event will provide you with a contract detailing every aspect of your event. Read the contract carefully. If you don’t see something on the contract, chances are it won’t be at the event. Moreover, the contract will state what your obligations are.  
  4. Know the maximum capacity. Before inviting guests, it is best to know how you want the space set up and what the maximum capacity is for that set up. Buffets, stages, award table and more take space away from the room, which will affect how many guests the room can accommodate.
  5. Seek donations or co-sponsorship. If budgets are tight, you might want to explore partnership or donation opportunities. Some businesses are willing to donate their products in exchange for advertising.
  6. Take advantage of what the Ohio Union has to offer. We can help you procure things that you may not have thought of, such as parking garage passes, pre-paid cards for your guests to use at our dining locations and equipment rentals.

Ideas and tips for inexpensive centerpieces or room decorations

  • Spring, summer, fall or winter themes are inexpensive (use seasonal food and flowers, find things outdoors that represent the season)
  • White is usually less expensive than color when dealing with linens
  • Simple and plain is usually most elegant
  • Rent extra plants for a large or plain room
  • Make sure guest table centerpieces are either very low or extra tall and somewhat see-through so your guests can talk
  • Purchase items that your organization can re-use many times as opposed to disposable or one time use items. Rocks, shells, fruit and vegetables can be very inexpensive and versatile
  • ‘World travel’ themes can be inexpensive and easy if you use items you already have at home: suitcases, maps, passports, binoculars, vacation photos, beach gear, skiwear and more.

Green Meetings and Events

The Union, along with The Ohio State University, is dedicated to sustainability. Designated by the U.S. Green Council, the Union is a LEED Silver Certified building and has also been chosen as an official Green Spot by the city of Columbus. Many items from the former Union were reused for the new Union, including the ballroom floor, harvested trees from on-site, pavers and limestone reliefs. The Union also uses 20% less energy compared to other buildings its size.

We encourage you to keep sustainability in mind when planning your event. For questions or suggestions, contact your event coordinator.

Ohio Union Sustainable Meeting and Event Planning Guidelines

Accessible Meetings and Events

When planning an event at the Ohio Union, be sure to keep guests with disabilities in mind. Your event planner can help you assist guests with disabilities. In addition, we encourage you to take advantage of the following resources:

Parking and Directions:

Do you have questions about directions to the Ohio Union or where to park