The complete blank canvas venue checklist for corporate events

Blank canvas venues are very on-trend – beautiful, chic, and ready for your artistic vision. But what do you need to hire in order for your event to be a success? Here's your one-stop function hire checklist, for corporate and social events.

Melbourne boasts some of Australia’s most unique event spaces – from purpose-built function venues to spaces that moonlight as function venues during the evening (such as art galleries, co-working spaces and warehouses) – our amazing city has an event space to suit all kinds of events.

Warehouse spaces are a popular choice for chic soirées, providing a titular blank canvas for event planners to let their imaginations run wild in. Complete Function Hire enjoys working closely with event planners to create and deliver the most memorable occasions – here are their top picks for essential hire items that will make your event the talk of the town, as well as some helpful tips for a successful event.

blank canvas venue function hire checklist

The Bar

The all-important bar is a place to meet, mingle and celebrate. Depending on your event aims, you may like to consider making the bar a central feature, using eye-catching stand-alone bars in on-trend pressed metal or acrylic and adding a stand-out floral or balloon installation. When planning an event in a blank canvas event space, it is important to ascertain what equipment the venue provides. A range of glassware is crucial. Depending on your beverage selection, you’ll generally a mix of red and white wine glasses, a tumbler and a champagne flute would be the standard choices. Don’t forget ice tubs, punch bowls and service trays so that your chosen caterer can keep your drinks ice cold and flowing freely.


Dry hire venues usually do not provide staff as part of their hire fees, unlike venues that offer wedding packages. Hence, it's important that you have a detailed discussion with all your suppliers to clarify the tasks they will perform on your wedding day.

Audio Visual

Are you having speeches, awards or any formalities at your event? If so, ensure that your hire checklist includes audio-visual equipment. The basics include a microphone, lectern, projector and screen. It is important to cross-check AV requirements with your MC or presenters who may require other hire items such as staging, roving or lapel microphones in addition.

blank canvas venue function hire checklist

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Once you've found a ‘dry hire' venue that brims with potential, the next step is to focus on transforming the space to align with your vision by hiring equipment and purchasing decorations. If space permits, we highly recommend creating a lounge area at your venue. Comfy lounges and coffee tables will create a cool spot for guests to chill out and relax. While most venues supply their own tables and chairs, some of blank canvas venues such as warehouses may not have their own in-house. Seated events will require tables and chairs for dining – both of which come in a variety of shapes, styles and sizes to suit your style. If you are not a fan of the traditional round tables with white linen, mix it up with some long trestles and a pop of colour.

Hint – If you are dressing your tables with linen, make sure it is delivered to your venue early so that your chosen caterer or set up crew can place the linen down first in order to start setting tables with cutlery, crockery and glassware.

Cocktail Furniture

Remember you are working with an empty shell, so it will take a little longer to set up a dry hire venue than a venue such as a hotel or a manor house. Cocktail furniture is often overlooked and really is an essential hire item for the comfort of your guests; bar trees (or tables) and stools will provide a place for your guests to congregate. Complete Function Hire always recommends some side tables throughout your venue for guests to place their food and drinks on whilst they mingle or hit the dancefloor.

Blank canvas venues are such great options for couples wanting to create a truly personalised day. There are many benefits to styling and planning your own wedding reception without restrictions, but it is important to plan ahead when hiring items for your blank canvas event space. Consider the aesthetic, as well as the practical elements and of course, budget. By doing this, you can achieve your overall wedding vision.

blank canvas venue function hire checklist

Outdoor Area

An outdoor area at events is always well received. Tables, chairs and outdoor lounges will create a lovely spot for your guests to socialise and take in some fresh air. For the cooler months, some outdoor heaters will add comfort and for the warmer months, some lovely large market umbrellas will provide some coverage.

Kitchen & Service Equipment

Depending on your menu selection, your preferred caterer may require some additional equipment to create and plate up your party feast. Often, warehouse spaces, blank canvas venues, or unique venues such as galleries, will have little or no kitchen facilities. Complete Function Hire works closely with Melbourne’s best caterers to create temporary kitchens from the ground up so that Chef can work her magic.

Cutlery & Crockery

Standard in purpose-built event spaces, cutlery and crockery is an essential event hire item. Complete Function Hire will work closely with your experienced caterer to discuss what’s on the menu for your blank canvas venue event and this will help determine what kind of cutlery and crockery is required. Add a festive touch to your tables with coloured cutlery and charger plates. On-trend metallics are a stylish addition to any party table and a touch of gold or bronze adds instant glamour.

Take note: When it comes to using gold in your wedding styling, it can really go two ways. There can definitely be a fine line between elegant and overwhelming on your wedding day.

blank canvas venue function hire checklist


The dancefloor is where the magic happens (or at least that’s what it feels like after a few chardonnays). Depending on your venue, you may want to consider organising a dancefloor for your guests to dance the night away.


Check to see if there is a clear, designated parking area at your venue. If not, it is key to make clear where both suppliers and wedding guests should unload and leave their vehicles. Remember that in many cases suppliers will deliver furniture, lay the dance floor, and deliver catering equipment, so it is essential to have parking nearby.

The team at Complete Function Hire know how to make your event space come to life. Contact their friendly team of event professionals today to discuss your upcoming event >>

Looking for a blank canvas space in Melbourne, or Sydney? VenueNow can help.


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