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With the Christmas season almost upon us, it’s time to get your Christmas party organised…if you haven’t already done so.
So, to help out we’ve put together a guide:
For seasonal occasions such as a Christmas party it is important to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. It’s not uncommon for people to start booking venues six months in advance, or even booking the venue a whole year in advance.
Don’t leave planning and booking a venue to the last minute or you’ll find yourself panicking over finding somewhere suitable that isn’t fully booked.
Before planning you need to know what your budget is, there’s no point planning and booking a venue that provides a five course meal with a champagne reception, if you’ve only got money for a buffet.
Alternatively if you have to propose a budget, research what you’d expect to pay per person and go with that.
Choose a Date
When choosing a date for your party, not only does the venue have to be available, but your guests too. If you’re booking well in advance the venue shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
So, when looking to choose a date, email around a list of potential days. Consider offering Fridays or Thursdays at a push, anything earlier and the rest of the week could be written off, with people not turning up or staff not being productive as they gossip about the evenings events.
Once you’ve got this feed back, go ahead with the date that most people can attend, ensuring that the boss is also free on that date.
If you’ve not already got an idea of what you want to do, now is your time to look into the venue that you want. Not only is location key, so that people are able to travel, but the food and entertainment too.
Compile a list of options, along with price per head and what else is included in the price.
If you’re holding a party for a small group of employees but don’t have the budget to hire out a room, band/DJ and buy decorations there are many venues that offer party nights. This means several small/medium sized companies will share the venue and entertainment, but don’t have to fork out a large amount of money to do so.
Once you’ve decided on the venue, food and entertainment it’s time to haggle. If everything is under one roof, you’ll only have to do this once. See if, for example, you can get a reduction on the overall price or if you can get the reception drinks thrown in for free.
In regards to drinks for the rest of the evening – has your budget allowed for money to be put behind the bar, or does the per person price include wine on the table?
After a price has been decided, be prepared to pay a deposit which will confirm your booking, especially at busy times of the year like Christmas.
Now that everything has been booked, it’s time to send out invitations to your colleagues.
Important things to include: date, start and end time, location, address and attire.
Also consider providing the menu options on the back if this is applicable.
In regards to an RSVP you can either ask staff to email this to you along with their menu choices or return an RSVP slip if you provided them with one. Ensure however, that you provide a date that you want this to be returned by and send out a reminder email nearer to this date.
Once you have numbers of attendees let the venue know when you have them. If you have a choice of menu it’s advised to give the venue anywhere from a week to a month notice, so that they can get the appropriate supplies that they need (just check before hand).
Now that the majority of the big jobs are done, it’s now down to the personal touches. If the venue is decorated then you’ll have even less things to worry about, but there are a few things that you need to consider.
If there are a large number of you, consider creating a table plan. It may seem like time consuming task, but sort this out now and you won’t have trouble with seating on the night. Once you’ve completed this send it to the venue if you’re being waited on, as it makes it easier for them to know who to serve what dishes for.
Along with a table plan, consider creating name places if your venue isn’t going to. This makes it easy for your colleagues to see where to sit, and if you write the individuals menu choices on the back of these, it’s there as a reminder to what they have ordered.
For some businesses the end of year awards are the biggest part of the evening. These can be serious awards, such as sales person of the year, or they can be silly awards such as biggest office gossip. However you do these, make sure you award these at the right time. Too late and people maybe too drunk or rowdy to remember them; an ideal time is between main and dessert.
On the night of the event, be there early, especially if you have decorations to put up and place names to put out.
Ensuring that you’re early also means that you can go through the order of service with the events manager or restaurant manager, so that you are both on the same page and understand how the evening will run.
If you have put a certain amount behind the bar, make sure that a member of staff tells you when this is running low so that you’re not left with an extra large bill at the end of the night.
As everything falls into place throughout the evening, make sure you have fun too!
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