With the 2018 holiday season quickly approaching, everyone is starting to plan for the season of gathering! Between choosing what food to cater and which decorations to set up, the stress of planning a holiday party can be a little overwhelming, but we’re here to help. Whether you’re the hostess with the mostest or you’re not even sure where to start, a checklist of everything you need to plan the perfect holiday gathering will help keep you on track.
The Guest List
The first step in planning a holiday party is creating the guest list. Is this party for your family, office, friends, or all of the above? It can be hard to keep track of everyone, their latest contact information, so this is where a trusty spreadsheet can come in hand! I keep a master Google Sheet with all of my friends, family, and coworkers latest contact information, as well as separate smaller lists for individual events, so it’s easy to refer back to previous years as a reference point. Narrowing down the guest list is also important to help determine where you should host your party to accommodate your guests, which leads into the next important step.
The next step is choosing where you want to host it. Do you want to throw your party at an event center, your office, or your home? Consider what kind of atmosphere you are looking for, and be honest with yourself about how much work you can (and want to) put in leading up to the event as well as the day of. This includes sourcing decorations, music, food, activities, and much more. Don’t forget – the holiday season is busy enough as it is! Can you handle getting all the details together, or is it time to call in some reinforcements? Sometimes a venue is the perfect answer – an experienced staff can tend to all of the details so you can sit back and enjoy the time with your guests!
Once you have a date, location, and guest list, it’s time to spread the word! Send out your invitations well in advance to give your guests enough time to plan to attend, especially during this busy social season. Make sure you tell them what the theme or attire for the event will be, and be clear about the location and time. Don’t be afraid to encourage RSVPs – during this time of year, lots of people may have other plans or trips planned, so your typical expected attendance rates may not apply. Asking for RSVPs will help ensure you’re not overspending on more resources than you need.
A few decorations can take a simple space to another level, and set the mood for an exciting event! If you are on a budget, there are many DIY decorations you can make – Pinterest is always a great source of inspiration. If you really want to make an impression, your venue may have the perfect decorations on hand, or you can enlist the help of a professional party planner. It’s up to you how far you want to take it!
While decorations are important, let’s be honest – the food and drink at your party are the real stars! Everyone talks about the food. Was it good? Was it hot enough? Was there enough to go around? If you’re hosting a small gathering, you can prepare the food or have people bring dishes. If the party is larger, you may want to have it catered. A caterer can help you plan the perfect menu and make sure you have enough for all of your guests, and even help staff your party so you don’t have to worry about making the rounds or cleaning up! At the end of the day, whatever is more efficient for you and fits in your budget while providing the best quality for your guests is the route you should choose.
This part is fun! Keep your guests entertained with music, games or interactive experiences throughout your event. It doesn’t have to be anything over the top – a simple photo booth, an engaging guest book, or a do-it-yourself food or drink station can really help make your event memorable for you and your guests! If there are kids involved, make sure there is entertainment for both kids and adults (the parents will appreciate it!). And who says adults can’t have fun too?
When the party is about to end and your guests are packing up food to-go, don’t forget about the party favors! This is a simple way of saying thank you for attending and sharing this event with you. Homemade goods, such as sweet treats, are a great way to send off your guests with a memory from the party. Or maybe your party activities provide a great take-home memento, like a photo! There are endless ideas for party favors you can provide to your guests. If you want to purchase favors, Etsy is great site to look in to. This is the last impression of the party, so make it a good one!
We hope this holiday party checklist gave you some good insights on what you need to throw the perfect holiday party. If it helped you, please share. And if you’re still overwhelmed, maybe you could use a hand with your event! With two locations in Baton Rouge and Prairieville, an expert staff, and a variety of catering options, we have just what you need to help you plan the perfect event. Contact us for more information or to schedule a tour. Happy holiday planning!