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Top Tips for planning the perfect Christmas Party

Published: Tuesday, 8th October 2019

Sorting the office party is usually the last thing on people’s minds and is often left to the last minute. We're here to help ensure next year’s party is a success...

Christmas 2019 Square image

If you’re not an event planner, the responsibility of organising the office party can be daunting. We’ve decided to help as we come up to the party season, to ensure next year’s party is a success.... 

1) Set the Date

This is possibly the most important one – when can your staff actually attend the party? The easiest way to sort this out is to send a Doodle Poll or similar to find a shortlist of ideal dates. If you want to ensure the best venue and party, leave some flexibility. Get a “top 3 dates” together and take these to your venues so you can match their availability.

2) Budget

Is there a corporate budget? If so how much as this will dictate what type of party you have.

If you’re going to hire a venue for a private party you’re looking venue hire costs, food and drink rates per person, and entertainment, AV, and lighting costs. This can quickly add up to several thousand pounds. Shared parties or tables in restaurants can be much more cost efficient. A shared party night at a venue that hosts Christmas Parties give the feel of an exclusive party at a venue without the hefty price tag or a table in a restaurant is casual and cost effective, especially for those without an internal budget (or a small one!).

3) Type of Party

Once you’ve established your budget you need to figure out what type of party you’re going to have:

  • Private, bespoke party at a venue: This is the most work and most expensive, but better for larger companies with a dedicated event budget. It’s usually the one with the most, “wow-factor” and is also a great way to network and get business, by perhaps inviting key clients or investors.
  • Packaged Party: Many venues will have Christmas Party packages for exclusive hire. This means you get an exclusive party at a nice venue, but it’s less hassle, easier to organise and usually more cost effective than organising a bespoke party.
  • Shared Party: Lots of venues have shared parties, where you book tables at a party organised by the venue, and pay a per head price. These are great for smaller companies or those on a budget, having the look and feel of a private party without the price tag.

4) Source the Venue

Finding a venue is very important to organise as soon as you can. Do you want a Town or a City location? How much work do you want to put in? Do they have packages? Can you afford their rates? Do you have to decorating and theme the party or will the venue do this? Make sure you can answer all these questions and that the venue you choose matches what you need.

Top Tip: BOOK EARLY.

Here at the Town Hall we take bookings for the following year from December and January, so this season we’d nearly sold out of Exclusive Party dates by March and our Shared Party sold out in August!

It may seem annoying to think about next Christmas just after you’ve celebrated this one, but start sourcing venues and getting ideas in January. That way you’ll have the pick of the best dates and venues, and things will be less stressful in the lead up to the Party Season.

5) Theming

Theming your own party takes a lot of work and can be costly. If you have the time and budget it can be very fun and the results can often be rewarding. For those with less time, look for a venue that does this for you, or for a venue that can offer packages that will include this. If you’re determined to do this yourself then set a budget in advance so the cost doesn’t mount!

6) Food and Drink

Many venues will have internal food and drink packages. If it does, make sure they can cater to all dietary requirements. If you’re going to a shared party or booking a table at a restaurant make sure the menu caters to everyone attending.

Top Tip: Drinks packages can seem expensive but are great value if you’re going to be ordering a lot of drinks then a package can be more cost effective. They’re also great ways of getting people in the party mood, or a way to thank your staff for their hard work over the last year. 

7) The Entertainment

The entertainment is a really important part of any party as it provides the atmosphere for the entire evening, but is often overlooked. If you’re going to create your own playlist, then that’s okay but make sure you can create one that will suit the atmosphere and have someone on standby to change songs to suit the mood of the room! Live bands and entertainment (artists, magicians, and bands) are a great option but make sure you’ve budgeted accordingly. Many shared parties will provide this and are therefore great ways of getting a really great party at less cost and effort.

8) Extra touches and sparkles

Sometimes the smallest of touches can make a big difference:

  • Upgrade the loo’s: Sometimes, bringing flowers, luxury soap or diffusers can make the plainest of loo’s look fit for royalty…
  • Hire a photographer: While selfies are fun, sometimes having a professional photographer on hand to capture the evening is a great idea, and you can use the photos on the company website or in internal communications
  • Goodie bags: Why not put together bags of small gifts and cards for attendees and not just company promotional material? It’s a great way to thank staff and show appreciation.
  • Cloakroom: Even if it’s a rail at the back of the room, make sure there’s somewhere to hang coats!

If you’re looking to plan your Christmas Party for 2020, make sure you contact the Oxford Town Hall in January to find out dates and shared party details

Telephone: 01865 252195 

Email: townhall@oxford.gov.uk

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