Planning the Perfect Christmas Party

September 13, 2019

If the job of planning your organisation’s Christmas party is a scary prospect, you are not alone! Often the pressure and time constraints of wanting to organise an event that your colleagues will enjoy and remember makes it a stressful experience. There’s a lot to consider – budget, format, timing, venues, food, drinks etc. So, where do you begin?

Save the date

Once you have a date it’s a good idea to share this. A ‘Save The Date’ will hopefully ensure a good turn-out

It is never too early to start thinking about Christmas

Set the date now. Bear in mind that Christmas is a busy time for everyone and diaries fill up fast. The earlier you get your Christmas party date in, the easier it is for your guests to build other events around it. Decide if your event will take place during working hours, after work, or on the weekend, and send potential options around to get a feel for the preferred date. While the responses will give you an indication of numbers for the event, remember you won’t be able to please everybody so it is usually best to go with the majority when choosing your date.

Agree the format

Making some early decisions on the location, timing (day or evening) and how your event will be structured will impact your budget. You can organise a completely bespoke event from scratch finding a venue or even using your own workspace. Selecting a hotel or restaurant is not uncommon for smaller organisations and Christmas party nights where you share an event with a variety of other companies is ideal for those that want the atmosphere of a larger event, but don’t have the budget, time or enough guests to put something bespoke together.

Garden Suite Rufflets

Organise a site visit to your short-list of venues

Determine a budget

If you are organising an event on behalf of a company or organisation you will need to know how much money you have to spend so you can plan something realistic. Your budget will determine the type of party or event you can organise. Fridays are the most popular evenings for parties and depending on the venue you may be able to negotiate better terms for earlier days in the week. If you are booking on behalf of a group you might also want to consider what sort of budget everybody has in mind so expectations are met.

Find the right venue

You will need a venue in a location that is accessible for attendees, within budget and has availability for your date. You will also need to know how many people are attending so you can select the right sized space. As a rule of thumb, the earlier you set your date, the more choice you will have available to you. Start by doing an internet search and then speak to the events team at the hotel, venue or restaurant that you have on your short-list and that tick all the right boxes. Request a quote based on your requirements and if you have the option of provisionally holding space on your date until you have reviewed all options, do this. Organising site visits if time allows is a great way to see the space in person and make sure it’s right for you and this is also a good time to look at and discuss menus, entertainment, theming etc

menu

Make sure you account for guests with special dietary requirements when finalising your menu

Menus

Food is usually the main event of a party and if you’re holding your event at a restaurant, menu planning is pretty easy as they will have some complete menus for you to consider. For smaller groups you may be able to make individual choices on the night itself, but for bigger groups, you can generally expect to pre-order or decide upon a specific menu with options for guests with dietary requirements or preferences. For parties, you may have to make some choices for how the food will be served i.e. would you like canapes serving before dinner and the type of service your guests would appreciate more; buffet or a plated meal?

Drinks or no drinks?

Alcohol is an important aspect to get right when party planning and can significantly add to the cost of an event. It’s important you decide on who is going to pay for what is consumed on the night and it is clear for your guests. Common ways of doing this are by having an open bar for a limited period or by providing drinks vouchers to guests. Will you provide wine with the food? A drink on arrival?

DJ

Try putting together a Christmas playlist, or asking your guests for their requests

Entertainment

Depending on the nature of your event, keeping your guests entertained is crucial to throwing a memorable party and is generally one of the most talked about features. Depending on your budget, you could go the musical route by booking a band, DJ, or setting up karaoke, or consider live performers such as comedians or after-dinner speakers. You can choose games such as casino tables and other hits include cocktail demonstrations and wine tasting.

Ask for feedback

And, if you suspect that you may be asked to plan next year’s  Christmas party, it’s important to find out what your guests enjoyed about this event and what they didn’t – this way you can create an even better party the next time!

Let the events team at Rufflets take the stress out of organising your Christmas event. Tel: 01334 460 893 or e-mail: events@rufflets.co.uk

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