8 Things to Consider When Holiday Party Planning
The holidays are a time for gatherings, festive music and of course, great food. By the time December comes along, you’ve probably been invited to a wide number of parties by coworkers, friends, and family.
Are you party planning yourself? From big-budget corporate parties to small get-togethers with loved ones, event planning can be overwhelming and stressful. Whether you’re holding an ugly Christmas sweater contest or a chic evening with eggnog cocktails, following these basic holiday party planning rules will ensure a successful event.
1: Select a Type of Party
First and foremost, you need to determine what type of party you’re having. If you’re organizing a corporate holiday celebration, you need to establish whether this is a company-wide event or for a sole department.
The type of party will also be influenced by your guest list and budget. Again, if this is a corporate event, will spouses and plus ones be invited or is it only for employees? If you’re hosting a private event, you need to decide if it will be an intimate gathering or a big bash.
An organized guest list will help you allocate the amount of money you’re willing to spend per person. Depending on your budget, you’ll be able to determine the tone and theme of the party. Will it be an extravagant affair or a casual evening? Will there be a dress code?
2: Set a Date & Choose a Venue
The key to securing the venue you want for your event is to plan ahead. If you’re starting to party plan in late November or early December, you’re probably already too late. You’ll have a hard time reserving the date and venue you have your heart set on if you’re not two steps ahead in the game.
Fridays and Saturdays are often already spoken for, so don’t hesitate to host your party on a Thursday. Of course, if you’re hosting the event in a private home or at the office, setting a date shouldn’t be a problem.
If your employees work tirelessly during the holiday season, start the year in style and instead give them an appreciation party in January. Your chances of getting the coveted room on the desired day increase and several owners will even offer advantageous off-season packages.
3: Send Invitations
Another crucial element to ensure a successful event is the life of the party itself: your guests. It may sound obvious, but you need to let your guests know in advance that you’re inviting them to a holiday celebration. If it’s an adults-only party, this will give your guests enough time to find a babysitter if they have children.
Schedules fill up quite quickly in December, and your party won’t be any fun if nobody shows up.
4: Develop a Menu
When developing the menu, there are several things you need to keep in mind. First, you need to choose and hire your caterer as soon as possible. If you leave it to the last minute, you might not get the quality and level of service you’re looking for. Some venues offer an in-house catering service or have a built-in kitchen, which many find convenient. Already having a chef and kitchen staff on hand makes it that much easier to prepare quality, delicious food for you and your guests.
Secondly, you must decide what type of meal you want to offer your guests. Will be it a standing cocktail event with appetizers? Or would you rather have a sit-down, full course meal? Maybe you’re considering a buffet option… Whatever you choose, ensure the menu falls within your budget and fits the type of Christmas party you’re hosting.
5: Produce Some Bar Options
There are several types of bar options you can choose from for your holiday event. Depending on the number of guests and budget, you can provide an open bar, top-shelf bar service, a partial payment bar or even a full payment bar.
Some people also limit the type of alcohol served to save on costs. For example, some hosts offer two bottles of wine per table or more depending on the number of people seated. Another option is offering one or two free cocktails and having your guests pay for any additional drinks. It really is up to you and how much you’re willing to spend.
If you’re providing alcohol, consider partnering with a drive-home program. People tend to drink more than usual over the holidays, which is why being a responsible host is a good idea to ensure everyone arrives home safely.
6: Select the Entertainment
Holiday party planning also means exploring your entertainment options. If you’re considering hiring a DJ or a live band for the event, once again, secure them in advance. If you’re running a little behind schedule and can’t find live entertainment, don’t hesitate to ask your venue for a list of recommended DJs or bands. Certain venues with built-in audiovisual systems can provide in-house entertainment too.
If you’re tight on cash and can’t afford an entertainer, just ensure you have appropriate background music playing. Your venue can probably provide you with a selection of holiday playlists that would be perfect for your Christmas party. Fun games and activities can also be part of your DIY entertainment.
7: Prizes, Favours& Recognition Ceremony
A good host knows it’s a good idea to treat guests. In the case of a corporate party, treating your employees and recognizing all their hard work over the past year is an absolute must. Whether you distribute gift cards to everyone or hand out a select amount of door prizes, your gesture will be greatly appreciated.
Corporate Christmas parties are also an excellent opportunity to recognize key personnel who have contributed to your company’s success. From awards to trophies and plaques, employees should be rewarded for their outstanding contribution.
In the case of a private party, there are several budget-friendly options you can explore. Homemade Christmas cookies, a tree ornament or a DIY hot cocoa kit are inexpensive yet festive gifts you can give your attendees.
8: Create a Follow-Up
If you hired a photographer to capture the highlights of your corporate holiday party, use the photos to your advantage in your post-party process. In addition to being a perfect social media sharing opportunity, it’s also great content to have for email marketing and company newsletters.
Holiday event planning does require time, research and organization, but with a little inspiration and helpful tips, your Christmas party will be unforgettable.
Looking for the perfect venue to host your holiday party? Please don’t hesitate to contact L’Ambroisie to inquire about our special events packages and turnkey solutions.