A good Christmas party demands careful planning, so make sure you start doing your homework early. We’ve broken things down into eight easy sections to ensure you have everything covered off.
Objectives and Ownership
Like anything, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your Christmas party before you can go ahead and plan it effectively. A number of key questions need to be addressed, such as: is it just a fun annual event in the pub; are you planning for staff to bring their partners; do you want to stage a bigger event with key clients present? The answers to these – and other – key questions will have a huge impact in terms of venue, theming and budget. You also need to establish who is going to be responsible for this project, without clear ownership within the organisation, the final outcome is unlikely to be satisfactory.
Set your budget as soon as possible. This may sound like an obvious statement, but there is nothing worse than trying to find an event supplier without knowing what you have to spend. You’re setting yourself up for a fall if you spend a lot of time discussing the in-depth details of a fantastic party, only for those holding the purse strings to come back and say it’s too expensive. It can also have a hugely negative effect on your relationship with your event supplier and get you off on the wrong foot with them. As they will be the people supporting you through the process, this is far from ideal!
This ties in heavily with your objectives, but also there may be elements of internal politics to deal with and other issues around whether to invite partners or people from outside the company – all of which will have an effect on the design and dynamic of the event itself. Also, it is highly unusual to have the same age range in your company or to have a team that likes the same things, so you need to have this information to hand as soon as possible so you can factor this into your ideas for entertainment, theming and venue selection.
Although having a theme is not the most essential element of any Christmas party, it can put a different complexion on the event and give it a little more flair. Selecting the right theme to reflect your company’s personality and brand image can really help to enhance the overall effect. The theme could be anything from reflecting the sector you work in to something more humorous, and it can impact everything from the dress code to the styling of the venue. But ultimately you need to understand your audience to know whether a theme is appropriate.
The venue is possibly the most important aspect of any Christmas party as it represents the foundation of what you are doing. Make sure it’s not too small or your attendees will feel confined and constricted, and make sure it’s not too big otherwise or your guests will be rattling around, which is likely to kill any atmosphere. Similarly, the style of the venue makes a huge statement about your company – if you want to be seen as cool and edgy then there are plenty of blank canvas spaces that make that statement; alternatively if you want to appear established a stately home or function room in a traditional hotel would be a better choice. These are just two extremes and there is a huge amount of choice in between, but the important thing is that the venue underlines your message and doesn’t fight against it. For smaller companies, small private rooms within hotels or restaurants are ideal, or alternatively you could consider taking tables at a larger organised event.
Other important venue considerations include:
Geographical location : If you’re a large organisation then your choice of venue needs to be somewhere that is easily accessible. If it isn’t then you need to look at laying on your own transport, and this needs to be factored into the budget.
Overnight accommodation : Again if you have guests coming from a long way away, is there adequate facility to provide for overnight stays? This could have a massive impact on your venue selection and transport logistics.
Staff : Finally, get to know the venue and its staff as they will be crucial to you on the night to ensure everything runs smoothly.
The menu can make or break your event. Too little food, for example, and you’re going to have people complaining or going away feeling as though you’ve scrimped on the budget. We really do think with our stomachs, so getting the food right is hugely important. Make sure you research your guests’ dietary requirement, too, and also research your caterers and sample their food if at all possible.
We’ve all seen this particular factor in action: the time spent enjoying a party is in direct correlation to the availability of food and drink! You need to factor in a number of drinks per head, and your event supplier or caterer will be able to help you with this. And remember it’s not just alcohol; soft drinks need to be just as abundant. On top of this, you need to keep the calculations realistic because ending up with large amounts leftover will lead to significant waste – both financial and otherwise… equally too little and you’re going to be left with a bad feeling circulating your event. This is why, very often, you will likely need professional support.
Music, entertainment and pacing your party
Entertainment can be a critical success factor in your event, and it’s not just big events that need good, professional support in this area. If you don’t have some plan in place to pace your evening and supply quality entertainment, you may as well just be holding your event at the local pub and be at the mercy of its Jukebox. By employing professional DJs and/or performers, you are bringing in people whose job it is to ensure that their performance (and hence your evening) runs smoothly. And in terms of the nature of your entertainment, remember that while you cannot please everyone, you do have to cater for the majority. Fun and humour are great but you need to keep it tasteful, and a corporate environment should never become too intimate.
At Evolve we talk and plan for Christmas all year round to ensure we have access to the best venues, packages and nights and we offer bespoke solutions & venue finding.
Our free consultancy services are perfect for helping you plan your Christmas party and include an initial meeting to discuss your brief, recommendation of venues, accompanying you on site visits and negotiation of costs with suppliers.
To find out more, including our free venue finding service, download our brochure here or give the team a call to discuss some ideas.
At Evolve we regularly share news about latest venues, styles and events on our blog and social media. You can visit our blog here and follow us at @evolveevents.
To get more ideas or help on styling your event talk to the team on 020 7610 2808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org