If you haven’t started planning your company Christmas party already, the time is fast approaching! As we ramp up to the festive season, staff and employees begin looking forward to the year end holiday bash. But the annual holiday party doesn’t just plan itself.
Whether you handle the preparations yourself, or delegate the planning to a trusted assistant, you know it’s going to take some hard work to beat last year’s extravaganza. So, as we get closer to the holidays, and to those holiday celebrations, let’s get you started on your party planning with a handy checklist.
What Type of Party Are You Planning?
The first step is to decide on the type of party you will be throwing. Will it be a Christmas party, or will it be a combined holiday celebration? Will it be just for company employees, or will you also invite business partners and clients?
Decide on a Budget
Before you can seriously start planning your holiday party, you need a budget. Decide how much you can afford to spend this year, and that will help inform all subsequent decisions.
Again, is this party open only to employees and their spouses, or are you going to invite friends of the company and valued clients? It is likely that your budget will impact the size of your guest list.
Setting a Date and Choosing a Venue
These go hand in hand, as quite often you will have to rearrange your party schedule to fit in with the availability of your preferred corporate events venue. Check with local event spaces to see what dates are available. Then, choose a date that works for you and your staff.
Inspecting The Venue
Before you book any venue for your holiday party, schedule an on-site visit. This will give you a chance to inspect the facilities, and ensure that they meet your requirements. You may want to delegate this job to a trusted assistant.
Hire a Caterer
As soon as you have your venue booked, you should start planning your catering. Remember, during the holidays caterers will be at their busiest. So, the earlier you start looking for a catering service, the better your chances of booking the one you want on the date you need.
Plan Your Holiday Menu
Once you have chosen a catering service, you should work with them to prepare a suitable party menu. Let the professionals guide you, but don’t be afraid to offer your input. Set aside some time for a tasting, so that you can sample the dishes before your menu is finalized.
Hiring Bar Staff
If you plan to have an open bar, you will want to hire a professional bartender and staff. This will ensure that your guests are well cared, and that no one gets over served. Work with your bartender to create a limited, but festive bar menu.
Like caterers, entertainers will be heavily booked during the holiday season. If you are planning to provide entertainment for your party guests, whether it’s a DJ or a band, you will want to book early. The same holds true if you want to invite any guest speakers for your event.
Select a Host
Every party needs a designated host to welcome guests and keep everything running smoothly. Look to your own staff, and choose someone responsible and vivacious. You might even invite a well liked recent retiree back to handle the proceedings.
Decide on any special events you want to feature on the night of the party. These might be anything from a raffle for charity, a motivational speaker to rally the troops, or a year end award ceremony to honor valued employees.
Decide on a Dress Code
The type of party you are throwing, as well as the theme of the party, will help to dictate the dress code. It may be casual or formal, but you need to decide before you send out any invitations.
Create your invitations, and be sure to include all of the pertinent information. That includes the date and time of the party, the location (preferably with directions), and the dress code. If plus-ones are welcome, make that clear. You may also want to include a copy of the night’s itinerary.
Plan the Night’s Itinerary
A well structured party is a successful party. Plan a detailed itinerary for the night, including service times for cocktails and dinner, schedules for guest speakers and entertainers, and windows for any special events like raffles or year end employee awards.
Finally, Have Some Fun
With the party planning finished, it’s time for everyone to have fun. Once the party date arrives, relax and join in with the festivities. Certainly, you’ll want to keep an eye on proceedings to ensure that everyone is have a great time. But don’t forget to enjoy yourself. After all, this is a party not a day at the office. Join in, and celebrate the season with your valued staff and clients.
Yes, the holiday season is fast on its way, and the time has come to start planning your annual Christmas party. Let this checklist be your guide, so that this year’s holiday bash goes off without a hitch.