The perfect office holiday party: it’s equal parts anticipation, amazing food and drinks, atmosphere, and… well, amazing food and drinks. For many teams around the city, the annual holiday party is something that’s looked forward to for months in advance – so the pressure is on! Just kidding – planning a get together that your team will truly enjoy doesn’t have to be stressful – and we happen to know our way around planning a good party. Read on for our tips for a smooth planning process and an event that’ll bolster your office hero cred even more.
1. Set your budget
Let’s start with the basics: figuring out a budget for your party might not be the most exciting step of planning, but it’s essential to making sure you can make the magic happen (while keeping your office’s finance manager happy). The right figure or range will vary for every office, but whatever you set, make sure that you use your budget to guide your expectations. Some of the best parties are the most simple, so don’t get discouraged if your budget is a little tight!
2. Be realistic
If a full-blown party isn’t financially or logistically feasible for your team right now, that’s ok! Opting to take your team out for a nice holiday dinner & drinks (or for bigger companies, arranging for team managers to host their employees by department) can be just as exciting, and will work wonders for making them feel appreciated and building new memories together.
3. Set the time + place
Before you can figure out the other practicalities, you’ll need to finalize the venue so that you can be sure of the date of your event.
Start with the numbers: to figure out how many people are attending, if you’re planning for a smaller company, you may opt to send a Doodle or Typeform with a few options for dates to get a gauge of when most people are available. For larger companies, it’s best to assume that everyone is coming and make adjustments later if necessary. Another consideration when it comes to nailing down the date is that Thursday and Friday tend to be the most popular days of the week for corporate holiday parties, so choosing another day might end up helping you shave off some costs. Make sure to account for plus ones if you decide they’re welcome!
Use your number of attendees to build a vision of what the day of your party will look like. Do you want a big, open space for people to walk around, mingle, and sample hors d’oeuvres? A cozier venue with more of a sit-down vibe? The venue will be the main factor when it comes to the ambiance of your party, so do your research before settling. Holding the party in your office might not be optimal (chances are your team will be able to unwind and enjoy themselves best if the reminders of all they have to do before the end of the year aren’t in sight!) but if nothing else really works, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
4. Get people excited!
You know how it is: people tend to be super busy with family around the holidays, and nothing spoils the mood quite like a low turnout – so make sure to send out a save the date as soon as possible! We like keeping it simple with Google Calendar, but there are plenty of other great free options for sending invitations online, like Punchbowl.
This is also a good time to ask for attendees’ dietary restrictions, if you don’t already have them.
5. Pick the perfect menu
If your team is anything like ours, here’s the star of the show – the thing that everyone will be talking about for weeks to come. The one, the only: the food. Whether you want to keep things traditional with a roast-and-all-the-fixings type of meal, or you want to experiment with something modern and fresh like sushi, or a sampling trendy foods from around your city, Platterz has you covered. Browse through hundreds of caterers and restaurants or choose from customized meal recommendations on our website. Having trouble finding the *perfect* menu? Get in touch with us and we’ll help you make it happen.
6. Make sure the drinks are flowing
Obviously, celebratory drinks are in order for the occasion, and a full mobile bar service doesn’t have to break the bank. Enter Sip Bar. They can work with parties of almost any size to customize a selection of craft wine, beer, and spirits that’ll impress your guests and be the perfect complement to an evening of indulging in yummy food. Don’t stress about figuring out the quantities you should order, either; Sip Bar will work with you to help determine the right quantity of drinks for your event.
7. Keep your guests entertained
A Spotify playlist? A paid magician? How you choose to entertain your guests through the night will depend on your team’s taste, your budget, and how many more jokes by Jim-from-Legal’s-cousin-the-comedian you can tolerate. Make sure to think about what kind of ambiance you think fits your office dynamic, and choose something you think people would really enjoy! There’s no pressure to hire a DJ if you don’t think people will dance.
8. Save the memories
The final touch? Make sure that your attendees have a way to make the memories last! We’re planning on laying out a disposable camera at each table at our holiday party and letting our guests tell the story of the event themselves. You could also consider setting up a photo booth complete with hilarious holiday-themed props, so whether you choose to go to the professional or do-it-yourself route, you’re guaranteed photos that’ll be worthy of the office fridge.
Now that you’re all prepped with what you need for the perfect holiday party, let Platterz plan it for you! The best part? Services are complimentary. Book a consultation with our Event Specialists today to get started on the party of the season.