It’s still summer, but the holiday season will be here before you know it! People are already starting to plan their holiday parties before it gets too hectic and event spaces and vendors get booked up. It is never a bad thing to plan ahead. Whether you’re planning the company Christmas party or looking to cater your family gathering, getting a head start on your holiday party planning will make the whole process easier and seamless. Here are a few tips to help you plan the ultimate, stress-free holiday party.
First Things First, Make a List
The very first thing you should do when planning a holiday party is to make a list. Start by brainstorming what you are expecting your party to be like. How many guests are you expecting to invite? Will there be a theme? Where do you want your venue to be? How do you want the food to be prepared? After making a long list of everything you can think of, then you can start researching, organizing and delegating.
Determine Your Budget
Your budget is the most crucial part of the planning process. This will define just about every aspect of your party, from the type of venue to the food service. Once you have your budget set, planning will start to get a little easier. You need to decide which areas you would like to spend your money on. Within these categories, choose what percentage of your budget you would like to spend on each: Location, Activities, Food and Drink, Venue, and Entertainment. For instance, if you want a sit-down dining service, you will need to spend a large portion of your budget on food, and this will decrease your spending in the other categories.
Include Guests When Picking Activities
All of your guests have different preferences when it comes to holiday parties, and this is their time to celebrate too! Whether you are throwing the event for your friends, loved ones or employees, it’s important to get their input on what they would like to do. You could create a poll on Google Forms and ask questions on what they would prefer. What type of event would you prefer? Ugly Christmas sweater, formal cocktail party, live music and dancing? This could help narrow down the planning process and lead you in the right direction.
Find an Event Planner
If you have ever planned a holiday party, you know there are a lot of moving parts. Take most of the weight off your shoulders and consider hiring an event planner. You will be surprised how much you could benefit from a party planners’ experience, advice, and planning skills. Hiring an experienced event planner early in the planning process will help ensure that your party will run smoothly, while also providing you with creative ideas that make your party unlike any other. If you’d like to host your event at a venue, consider a place that takes care of all of these details for you, like Oak Lodge or Parc 73! An all-inclusive event space is often the most hassle-free way to go for holiday parties.
Try to create simple save the date invitations to send to your guests. If you have a list of email addresses, a simple Evite is perfect to keep it easy while also allowing you to keep track of RSVPs. These invitations should be sent out at least five weeks ahead of the event for holiday parties since this is a busy time for get-togethers. They should include the dress code, date, venue, RSVP details, and travel options to the event with parking instructions. Make sure you also include if your guests can bring a plus 1.
Choosing a Caterer
This one is important: make sure you pick a caterer that suits your event. If your event is formal, you should consider a sit-down dinner. If it is more laid back and casual, a buffet-style option could be your best bet. Some venues may have an in-house or preferred caterer you can worth with. At Oak Lodge and Parc 73, all of our catering is done on-site, or we offer off-site catering that can bring the party to you if you want a more intimate gathering in your home or office. Keep in mind that some of your guests may have allergies or particular diets. Make sure you ask your caterer if they can work with all of your dining specifications.
Let’s face it, you can’t be everywhere at once during the party, and we know you want to enjoy it too! To keep your mind at ease, you should consider hiring a waitstaff for your holiday party. If you’re hosting at a venue, be sure to walk through the event space with your vendors to make sure all of your staffing needs are covered. This will give everyone that is involved a chance to visually study the event location to process how the flow of the night will go. At Oak Lodge and Parc 73, our expert event coordinators will keep an eye on all of these details for you, or we can bring our staff to you along with our catering services for a hassle-free holiday party!
Finally, a couple of weeks to a few days leading up to the event, be sure to check in with all of your vendors to finalize any last-minute details. Once all the details are buttoned up, you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy your event. You’ve worked hard all year, and now is the time to kick back and celebrate! We hope our stress-free holiday party planning guide will give you some ideas on how to get started now before the holiday hecticness sets in. If you are struggling and don’t know where to start, we have many experienced party planners and caterers that will be able to guide you and help you decide what’s right for you and your guests. Now get to party planning!