Top Tips for planning the perfect Christmas Party
If you’re not an event planner, the responsibility of organising the office party can be daunting.
Sorting the office party is usually the last thing on people’s minds and is often left to the last minute. We’ve pulled together a few hints and tips to help ensure your Christmas 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 is via Doodle Poll or similar to find a shortlist of 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.
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, entertainment, AV, and lighting costs. This can quickly add up to several thousand pounds. Shared parties or tables in restaurants can be more cost efficient. A shared party at a venue gives the feel of an exclusive party without the hefty price tag. Alternatively a table in a restaurant is casual and cost effective, especially for those without an internal budget.
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 party at a venue:
This is the most work and most expensive, but better for larger with the budget. It’s usually the one with the “wow-factor” and is a great way to network and get business, by perhaps inviting key clients or investors.
Many venues will have Christmas Party packages. 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.
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. Find your Venue
Finding a venue is very important to organise as soon as you can. Do you want a Countryside 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.
Here at Oxford Town Hall we take bookings for the following year from December and January, so by the time the festive season comes around we’re often sold out!
It may seem annoying to think about next Christmas just after you’ve celebrated this one, but start sourcing venues and getting ideas early. That way you’ll have the pick of the best dates and venues, and things will be less stressful.
Theming your party takes a lot of work and can be costly, but if you have the time and budget it can be very fun and rewarding. For those with less time, look for a venue that does this for you, or one that offers packages that include this. If you’re determined to do this yourself then set a budget in advance!
6. Food and Drink
Many venues will have internal food and drink packages. If it does, make sure they 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.
Drinks packages can seem expensive, but 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. If you’re going to create your own playlist, 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 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 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!