Office Christmas Party Planning
Office Christmas Party Planning can sometimes prove to be a real headache. Choosing the right venue, booking the entertainment, ensuring everyone is in the right place at the right time….not to mention making sure the catering is up-to-scratch and injecting a little WOW factor to proceedings. Like no other time of year, all eyes are on the office party at Christmas, so it’s vital to plan early and get it right.
Here’s some Office Christmas Party Planning advice from the team at TLC to help you make planning as stress free as possible, and keeping the party on budget without losing the all-important sense of celebration, style and fun!
-Understand your budget and gather a team together. It is a lot for one person to take on board, so gather some colleagues together and delegate tasks. Bringing in a professional event planner can be a great investment as the will ease the burden of planning, but also allow you to stretch the budget. A professional planner can also negotiate better deals that you will be able to (we organise hundreds of events so can leverage our buying power with suppliers) – and have direct access to top entertainment and unique venues.
-If you haven’t set a date, booked a venue and planned your festive event DO SO NOW – often the best venues are booked out by the end of the summer. If you can’t get your preferred venue, consider holding your party on a less popular day such as a Tuesday or Sunday, or even in January, both options will be less costly, enabling you to get the most out of your budget.
-As soon as you have secured your booking, send out a ‘Save The Date’ email to whet everyone’s appetite, stating the date, time and venue. This is not only cost effective but will ensure as many people as possible attend. By following this up with a more detailed, themed invitation, you should get a great response. Always make sure you include an RSVP date and a request for any dietary requirements, as you’ll definitely need this to finalise catering.
-Consider where your work-force live. If your offices are in different areas, put forward the idea of holding one big spectacular Christmas event in an easily accessible central location, rather than smaller, less impressive parties. You will have a bigger budget to spend and will be in a better position to negotiate enhanced services from your venue and suppliers. It will also be more cost effective for the company and is a great way for employees to mix and creates a sense of belonging within an organisation.
-Don’t go for obvious venues. They will be the ones that are booked up a year in advance. Consider large function rooms in museums or contemporary galleries, which can often be hired at a reasonable cost. If your budget allows however keep your eyes peeled for more unusual venues. Our clients have partied aboard a branded red London bus, private yachts, zoos, aquariums, to railway arches and urban warehouses. Be creative! If you’re after something a little less quirky but equally impressive, find something that gives your party an added sense of occasion such as a hotel rooftop cocktail party, a Winter Wonderland themed marquee or festivities aboard a traditional steam train.
-The trend for buffets, bowl foods and good canapés rather than the formality of a sit-down meal will continue this year. If your venue has the outdoor space, also consider street food carts. They add colour, a sense of theatricality and a great variety of international cuisines including Mexican, Thai and Japanese dishes. Always offer Champagne cocktails – a Kir Royal made with sparkling wine & cassis – or a traditional mulled wine, rather than glasses of Champagne at the reception to trim cost and never forget to offer a non-alcoholic alternative.
Staff often expect a free bar at Christmas, so manage this by providing bottled beers and wines at the company’s expense and offer a cash bar for everything else.
CHRISTMAS COCKTAIL IDEAS:
-I always recommend that no matter where else you cut costs, never skimp on entertainment – hire the best DJ or band you can afford. Get it right and you will create an instant party atmosphere, everyone will be up on their feet. Remember, people can forgive a less than ideal venue and a simple, inexpensive meal as long as the entertainment is fabulous. Event companies such as TLC can find you the best entertainment around, ask friends for recommendations, or look for show reels on the internet.
-Christmas is a family time – so instead of your usual annual bash why not organise a family friendly daytime event and encourage everyone to bring along partners and children? Festive games, traditional food and a visit from Santa all go down well and create fantastic goodwill among employees. It can often prove cheaper than a party night event too.
-As with all of TLC’s events, and Christmas is no exception, I think you should leave guests with a lasting memory of the occasion. Spend budget on one spectacular surprise element, be it fireworks to round off the evening, an ice rink or a visit from Santa and his reindeer. I recently attended an event where a real-time graffiti artist created a bespoke piece of contemporary street art while guests partied. The fantastic artwork was dramatically revealed at the end of the event and created a real stir amongst the guests.
-Rather than providing goody bags for your guests, consider hiring a photographer, or better still a photo-booth! Booths come in weird and wonderful guises now, such as converted VW Beetles, complete with comedy hats, glasses and props. Everyone has great fun dressing up and comes away with a unique memento of their fantastic evening that (hopefully!) they’ll be able to display on their desk and talk about for months to come.
I hope these Office Christmas Party Planning tips have helped – just one final thing to remember – enjoy the party!!
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