Whether it is a corporate event or a holiday party at your home, following several simple guidelines will get you through with minimal hiccups and fewer disasters, while ensuring that your guests have a fabulous time this holiday season.
1. Start with a Budget
When planning for your holiday party, establishing the budget will help to ensure that you are prepared.
Do your research and estimate how many people will be attending the event in order to set up your budget. Ask yourself the following questions, then create a budget line of each item and service you expect to have for the party.
- What do you want to spend on the food based on how much food people will eat?
- Do you need to bring in extra tables or furniture for the guests?
- How many servers are needed to attend to the number of expected guests?
Don’t spend your entire budget, and look for ways to be frugal. This may open up opportunities further down the road if you find something you really want to add to your event that wasn’t originally estimated and provide the extra spending dollars to cover the costs.
2. Give Them What They Want
Find out what people attending the party want instead of only what you want to give them. For instance, what are their preferences for the type of food or drinks that will be served? What kind of theme or mood would they be expecting? Also, before the party, it is important to discover if there are guests attending who have special holiday diets based on their religious beliefs, eating habits, or health restrictions.
Create a poll and send it to your company or group of friends to find out their dietary preferences, what type of drinks they would like, and even run some entertainment ideas by them! You can easily set up an online poll on Facebook by setting up a new group or by using a free email tool such as SurveyMonkey.
3. Help Guests Stay More Sober
A sober guest is a safe and happy guest. Take a few extra minutes before the party to help ensure guests don’t over-indulge and do something they might regret, like drive home tipsy. Arrange for servers and bartenders to help serve the alcohol so that your guests are not serving themselves and over-pouring.
Talk to your servers and bartenders and tell them to be conservative on the alcohol when pouring drinks. Also, by using smaller size glasses your guests will drink more slowly and be satisfied with the smaller serving. Whether you are having a corporate or home holiday party, you want all your guests to have a good time and ensure that everyone gets home safely.
4. Pre-Plan for those who Over-Indulge
Just in case some guests do over-indulge and need alternative transportation home, be sure to have a plan in place before the party..
- Have a car service “on call” to shuttle people who don’t want to or shouldn’t make the drive home.
- Make a list of alternative methods of transportation such as local taxi services, Uber, and Lyft, and include their phone numbers and websites. Post the list on a sign by the exit door that reads, “Please don’t drink and drive.”
- Have small cards printed out that list these alternative transportation recommendations so you may subtly hand it to guests who appear tipsy. Ask your Event Planner to help keep an eye out for guests in need of the information.
- Include this information in your event invitation so your guests know it is available ahead of time and can plan to use alternative transportation home.
- If your event is at or near a hotel, block a few extra rooms for guests who don’t want to travel.
By letting your guests know it’s okay to take home alternative transportation and putting the information right at their fingertips shows that you and your company care about your guests, but, more importantly, will help reduce driving accidents.
5. Don’t Hold Back on the Decorations
Decorating gets your guests in the mood and can establish the tone for the entire event. At the holidays, there are unlimited ways to spruce up the venue and create an ambiance to be remembered for years to come.
- When deciding on a theme, think about your audience and what your guests enjoy so you may choose one that appeals to a majority of those attending.
- Communicate your theme in your invitation to your guests so they can decide if they want to wear an ugly Christmas sweater or their holiday dress best.
- Decorate with company colors or select colors other than traditional Christmas colors to create a unique atmosphere.
- Keep in mind it is the holidays, so include items like Christmas trees, wreaths, and poinsettias as decorations. Just remember to add items like these to your budget!
- Consider setting up different moods in different areas of your event. You can set up a separate space for dinner, games, lounging, or even a casino area. Get creative!
- Skip the plastic when purchasing glasses for your event. Renting real glassware can make all the difference in elevating the mood of the party, as well as minimizing the amount of trash resulting from the event. You may even save money over buying plastic cups that get thrown away each time a guest wants a refill while doing your part to help protect the environment.
- Appeal to all the senses. Add holiday scents like “cinnamon & apple” in the form of potpourri, candles, and wax scents to your home or in the bathrooms at your event space – Your guests will love it!
6. Keep Calm and Play Music
Music can help to set a tone, and it is especially important during the holidays to add a little jingle to your step. Traditional carols are great, but be sure to play music your guests will enjoy in addition to some of your holiday favorites.
If you are hiring a band, don’t forget about the music before and after the band’s set. Background music is great so that your guests remain jolly. Based on your budget, you can arrange a DJ, or simply use an iPod with a customized playlist.
Even with a band or DJ, keep the music at an appropriate volume so your guests can still hear one other. Your guests are there not only to dance, but to also mix and mingle.
7. Above All, Have Fun by Being Prepared
The more prepared you are, the more you will be able to relax and enjoy your own holiday party. Be prepared for things like spills with extra supplies like towels and dry mops. In addition, have a back up plan for when you start to run low on ice or any other provisions.
Best of all, have your Event Planner and their staff attend to these details for you and help to oversee your party. Their professional expertise and planning will help ensure that you can relax and network with your guests instead of refilling their drinks and running around so that you can truly enjoy the holiday celebration.
These are just a few ways we want to help you ensure that your holiday event will be fabulous and go off without a hitch. When working with our clients, we promise to help keep an eye on your bottom line while also maintaining a high-quality, memorable event.