We know it’s July, but in our eyes, it’s never a bad thing having your festive celebration organised well in advanced. After all, failing to prepare is preparing to fail, and you really don’t want that. Not at Christmas time. Just think of all those broken hearts when you reveal the Christmas do will be at the rather small local pub opposite the office. Well, let’s avoid that happening for a start and get your organising into full swing with our 10 steps to planning the perfect Christmas party!
Get a date sorted
Yes, we’re aware that this one sounds pretty straightforward and is a bit of a no brainer, however it’s a good place to start. Choose a date which works for you. If you’re wanting to look after those pennies, then why not consider doing the festive party slightly earlier in November? Do bear in mind though that dates for Christmas parties fill up really quickly, so get in there as early as possible to save disappointment!
Think about the budget
Secondly, it’s good to think about your budget. Are you looking to go all out with the celebrations, or are things a little tighter and you’ve got a bit of a smaller budget? If so, it’s good to identify just how much you’d like spend on your festive shin dig. Realising how much you are able to spend early on will prevent you from planning something that’s unrealistic.
It’s also good to think about what will be the most important aspect of your party; will the evening be more focused on an outstanding dining experience, or would you rather go for less food and put more emphasis on providing some memorable entertainment? It’s definitely worth noting what kind of party you want before deciding where to allocate your budget.
What type of Christmas party are you after?
There’s two options available at the majority of venues for your party; shared or exclusive. If you’ve got a large company with hundreds of employees, then you may prefer opting for an exclusive event where you won’t be mingling with any people that you’re not familiar with. On the other hand, if you’re a smaller company with say less than 30 employees, you may prefer to go for a shared party option. This will enable you to still enjoy the full on party atmosphere at a fantastic venue without having to fill out the large minimum numbers required.
Perhaps you’d rather not do an evening celebration? If so, why not consider rounding off the working year with a delicious festive lunch? It’s also worth deciding if you’d like to enjoy a themed party – there’s plenty of excellent themes out there, including carnival themed parties, Roaring twenties parties and many more!
Find the venue for the party
Are you thinking of keeping things local for the party? Or would you rather head to a nearby city? You could even mix things up a bit and arrange it at a venue in the countryside. There’s many options available, so have a good think about what works for you and your team. If you’re looking for accessibility, it would be a good idea to choose a venue that’s located near to transport links so everyone will be able to arrive and head home with ease. Think about what location will work out best for the team and do a bit of research.
Food and drink
Do consider what types of food and drink you want at your event. There’s plenty of options available to bear in mind – we’ve got some great ideas. Just make sure that there’s a vegetarian option available for those who aren’t meat eaters!
Welcome drinks: A drink on arrival is a great way to start the party and get the night kicked off the right way. A popular choice for a welcome drink is a nice chilled flute of champagne or prosecco. Perhaps you’d rather keep things festive and treat everyone to a glass of mulled wine or a Christmas themed cocktail?
Canapes: The perfect nibbles to have at the start of any party. The small portions are great to provide your guests with as a delicious taster to welcome them to the party and everyone will still have room if you’ve got a main course organised.
Bowl food: Bowl food is a great way to enjoy some tasty grub in a laid back and informal environment. If you’re not feeling a full on sit down three-course meal, this is the perfect alternative. It’ll be served by waiters and waitresses and there’s usually a great mix of on offer, so simply pick and choose what you want to chow down on and enjoy!
Buffet: Ah, the buffet! Who doesn’t love one? They’re chilled and you can take as much or as little as you want (Just don’t be too greedy and take all the good stuff!) There’s no need for waiters and waitresses with this one and you’ll be free to enjoy your food in a relaxed setting.
Three course meal: If you’re looking to go all out for the festive celebration, then there’s really no better way than with a delicious three-course sit down meal. It’s the perfect way to treat all your guests after a long year of hard work, and the ideal way to fill those bellies with some tasty food!
Drink packages: Looking to upgrade your party night package? If so, many venues will offer the chance to enjoy unlimited drinks for a set duration, or give you the opportunity to add on various drinks such beer buckets or a half bottle of wine that can be enjoyed with dinner.
Entertainment can be a great way of breaking the ice at corporate events – whether it’s a meet and greet showgirl for your Las Vegas themed party or a full on Broadway New York show to enjoy during dinner, it will certainly be something to talk about and prevent any potential awkwardness if you’re sitting next to someone you’re not massively familiar with. But with that aside, it’s also great fun and a sure fire way of creating some brilliant memories that can be treasured by all. Here’s a few of our favourite ideas for some party entertainment!
Photo booth: Great for rounding up your friends and using some comedy props to pose for some hilarious photo booth style snaps. We love this one and reckon it’s a guaranteed winner with each and every party crowd!
Funfair rides: Everyone loves a funfair, so how about hiring a few rides for everyone to enjoy? Dodgems are always a great laugh or how about a cheeky spin in the waltzers?
Casino stalls: Why not go all James Bond and enjoy a few games at a fun casino? There’s plenty of choice available including roulette table, blackjack and more and you’ll even be able to hire a professional croupier for that authentic feel!
Raffles: With a raffle, everyone can stand a chance of winning a fantastic prize, with all the profits going to charity – what a win win situation!
If you want the party to go into the early hours, then you absolutely must hire a DJ for the evening! They’ll create a fantastic atmosphere, where each party-goer will be able to dance under those disco lights to a great variety of top party tunes – there will even be some brilliant cheesy Christmas hits for sure to give the party that Christmas feel!
Add some extras
Introducing some nice touches to the venue to give it that extra vava voom will always be well received – whether it’s adding some pretty floral displays in the toilets or ensuring that there’s some nice hand soap and hand cream available, it will make all the difference.
Organising for a photographer to be in attendance at the event is the perfect way for capturing all those memories on the evening! Although camera phones are pretty decent these days, nothing really beats a snap from a real pro, and if you’re feeling kind, you could even provide a free print for each guest!
In addition, another extra that will go down well is a cloakroom. A cloakroom is always useful for an event and means that your guests will be able to stash their valuables away safely and enjoy peace of mind for the night.
If you’re heading to the event straight from the office, then it’s a great idea to hire some kind of coach to the venue – people aren’t going to want to negotiate the bus wearing heels and their best glad rags! This is especially important if the venue is located out in the sticks, as public transport will usually be many miles away from the venue. If you’re thinking of a vibrant city location for the party, then being situated just a short walk to the nearest tube/tram/railway station will be fully appreciated by your team.
There will be guests who will want to get taxis home, so why not make a display of local taxi numbers on a board? It’s pretty helpful for guests (especially if they’ve had a few too many!) and will help them get home that bit quicker. It also avoids the reliance of trying to track down a taxi number on mobile internet!
It’s definitely worthwhile finding out from your guests what they particularly enjoyed about the party night and if there was anything that they didn’t feel was so good. Also asking for suggestions for the next office Christmas party is recommended, so you can bear in mind what people would enjoy for the next festive knees up!