So, it has dropped in your lap, and you are the person nominated to organise this year’s Christmas Party! If you have never undertaken such a mammoth task then the first feeling generally is one of overwhelm. Don’t worry though, this doesn’t last for long and once you get going it will all be fine. And think of the morning after! When everything has gone exactly to plan and you are the toast of the office!
Well, follow our guidelines here and that is how your Christmas Party should turn out, a total success!
So, here are our top tips to make your planning of the Christmas Party go smoothly:
- Define Event Objectives
- Create Budget
- Book the Venue
- Set the Date
- Create a Guest List
- Design a Theme
- Book Entertainment
- Send Invites
1. Define Event Objectives
It’s important to be clear on goals right from the start because these will guide your decisions along the way. There are many different objectives when hosting a party and here are some of those. Deciding on this as your first step will ensure that you can better plan the party that will meet those aims.
- A celebration and acknowledgment of a year of hard work
- Recognising achievements by company, teams, and individuals
- A motivation exercise to make sure that the following year starts upbeat
- Helps to maintain high levels of employee retention
- Is it more for suppliers than staff and intended to help strengthen relationships with key customers and suppliers?
What’s the purpose of your event? Whether it’s a Christmas Party, Gala Dinner, End-of-year (EOY) Celebration or Awards Night, it’s usually less about Christmas and more about celebrating!
2. Get a Budget Approved
Know your budget before you begin looking at venues, catering, and the like! If you work for a larger company the chances are that the budget may already have been set. To ensure that you don’t burst your budget though you will need to keep a track of all your spending. That includes the venue, the entertainment, catering and theming.
3. Now You Can Go Ahead and Book the Venue
The earlier you get onto this the better! ‘Of course, Christmas is the one time over and above all others that most businesses and organisations have a party. It is best to book the venue asap or you could miss out.
There are a few things that you need to check and make sure of before going ahead and making the booking…
Key things to check:
- Capacity – you need to know how many people the venue can take for the different types of events. For sit-down dinners, the capacity will be less than for a less formal event. You need to know these numbers and then determine the ‘style’ of event you are going for. Of course, you have already decided on the objectives so getting the numbers will cement that for you.
- Easy transport from your workplace or from where people live. If the venue is a distance from your place of work maybe, consider accommodation options. Some venues have accommodation available too therefore giving you less to worry about.
- Venue hire fees – are they within your budget? Is there an opportunity to reduce them (if they are over) and incorporate BYO catering for example?
- Make sure that you know whether your space will be a private room or one that will be a shared space with the general public.
- Type of food (including special dietary requirements). You need to be sure that the food available suits the objective of the party. An awards Gala Dinner guest is not going to be appreciative of a burger with chips perhaps.
- In-house or outsourced catering can make a big difference to the cost. It may be that the in-house catering is too grand for your event. Do check this is an option if you want to investigate this. Some venues will not allow you to bring in caterers.
- Food & beverage costs of course are vital to know prior to booking so that you can make sure that remain within your allocated budget.
- Alcohol service and restrictions may play a role. Make sure that your plans to party until 4 am can be accommodated by the venue, for example
- The atmosphere must be appropriate for your party. If it isn’t no matter how wonderful everything else is, this is what will be remembered.
Make sure you do at least one site visit and if you can coincide that with when they are setting up for an event that would be perfect. It will give you the opportunity to see the space dressed rather than a bare room. It will give you a real feel for the ambiance.
4. Set the Date
Try to set the date as soon as possible, if it hasn’t already been decided.
Check for family celebrations and school holidays, because colleagues might take leave at this time. You want as many people as possible to enjoy your fabulous Christmas party! You will of course have organised a date with the venue so be sure that this step is done quickly.
5. Create a Guest List
The next step is working out how many people will attend. Is it just staff, or are partners invited too? If the event objective is building relationships with key customers and suppliers, find out who these are and list their contact details.
6. Design a Theme
Many Christmas party planners inject that extra ‘wow!’ factor with a theme. It doesn’t need to be Christmas-related at all, and it’s your chance to get creative!
Decorations, lighting and music all help build the right mood. Of course, any creative theming will have to fit with your budget and venue facilities. Your venue may have some options available to you. Some are happy to have this included as their overall package.
7. Book Entertainers
Hiring professional entertainment is a fantastic way to take your corporate Christmas party to the next level. There are many different types of entertainment to choose from, whether your event is day or night, seated or standing, or casual or formal.
Live bands and stage shows – think comedians, dancers and circus performers – are great for seated celebrations. For a standing, cocktail type party, roving entertainers move around the space to keep your guests thrilled and engaged throughout the party.
Your venue may have a list of entertainment options that they have used and can recommend. This is the best way to go if they have and they will be able to manage them for you. That is one less job for you!
8. Send Invites
With the party details to hand, it’s time to send out your invitations. Try to send these out as soon as you have enough information about the event.
Include clear information about time, date, venue and transport or accommodation options. Tell your guests about the entertainment and the festivities you have in store.
The lead-up to the event is also a great opportunity to build extra buzz about the party, with posters and emails. It’s amazing how much the anticipation contributes to the mood on the day! So really go for it!
At Platypus Park Riverside Retreat, we have lots of experience in hosting parties of all descriptions. Weddings, Birthday Parties and Galas and of course Christmas Parties. If you would like to chat about your ideas we would love to hear them. Email Julie or Col here, your hosts.