Many companies host some type of winter party every year. Maybe it’s a large corporate Christmas party. Or perhaps it’s a New Year’s Eve bash. Some companies even throw both. Whatever the occasion, a well-organized event for the season is a great way to boost your company’s image, create a sense of community, and build client relationships.
And whether or not you’ve ever hosted a formal affair, a winter event could be just what your company needs. However, keep in mind that a formal event like this shouldn’t be thrown together at the last minute. It requires careful planning and attention to detail. It also requires a great deal of collaboration and input from others. Remember a few of these tips to get you started.
Schedule a meeting immediately
It’s tempting to just take off with planning as soon as you’re tasked with the project. However, you could be missing a few key elements if you don’t first get all the information from the people in charge. This could include the CEO, team leaders, or managers. In other words, meet with the people who asked you to host the party and the ones who are in charge of the money to finance it. If you’re unable to meet with them immediately, you can start some of the planning early, such as where you might buy your products or who you might hire to cater.
Still, you need to know what their goals are for hosting a formal winter party. Do they wish to bring in more clients? Or do they want to impress the ones they have? Or maybe they just want to do something nice for all their employees? You need to know how many guests they intend to invite, budgets, and potential party dates.
This is also a great time to make sure everyone knows how to be on their best behavior. If clients are involved, it’s important that the employees attending adhere to some guidelines. You can suggest to your team managers that they make their members aware of formal party etiquette. If they’d like you to, you can type up some clear rules for them to follow, such as a drink limit or appropriate attire.
Choosing a theme
Choosing a theme makes all of the planning a little easier. You can narrow down the types of decorations you’ll look for, and you can let caterers and entertainers know how to plan on their end. Hopefully the “powers that be” at your company gave you some ideas that can help you decide on a theme.
In other words, do they want it to be completely black-tie and elegant? Or do they prefer it be a little more lively and fun? Either way, there are a lot of themes you could choose from. For example, if they’d like to go with a super-elegant affair, you can choose a winter wonderland theme with silver and white decor. Or you could choose a Hollywood theme with a red carpet feel.
Many companies choose to give out “swag” at their events. This usually includes promotional items and products sourced from local businesses. These can be given to every guest or used as door prizes as part of the entertainment. They can even be auctioned off when hosting a charity event. Swag bags and any other prizes should be in keeping with the theme.
Selecting a date
Before Christmas or on New Year’s Eve are popular dates for winter parties. But there are also many good reasons to have it after the holidays. For one thing, it’s much easier to find a venue once the craziness of the holiday season has passed. You’ll likely be able to have your pick of locations.
Also, everything is much less expensive after the holidays. Venues are often quiet enough to offer discounts, caterers are looking for bookings, and you can even get a lot of your decor at bargain prices. A good tip for selecting a date is to find your ideal venue and find out what dates they have open along with prices. You’ll probably base this decision on how it looks and the size. And don’t get hung up on how it looks at the moment. Remember, the simpler the space, the more freedom you have for decorating.
Designing the invitations
The design of the invitations should match the formality of the event. Never print these yourself unless you’re a professional. Choose an elegant and simple invitation that includes dress codes, party times, and an RSVP card. And if your seating is limited, you may even include tickets to the event.
If you’re going with a certain theme, try to find an invitation that closely matches the colors and decor you’ll be using. If the party is meant to impress clients, it all starts with the formal invitation.
Hiring a caterer
When hiring a caterer, it’s important to get recommendations. Ask around and check online reviews before you even make first contact. Try to ask people who previously hired them for events as large as yours, and who have hosted both formal and informal parties.
Then, you need to decide whether you’ll have full meals or simply hor d’oeuvres. Both are fine, but your decision is likely based on a few factors. First, if budget is a concern, then a four-course meal may be out of the question. Secondly, you have to take the size of the venue into consideration. Will you have enough space to set up tables, and enough space for preparation and waiters? And lastly, the time of day the event is held may affect whether a meal is appropriate or not.
Choosing the entertainment
The entertainment for a winter party can be the trickiest part of the planning. Many planners choose live music, which is great for dinner or dancing. And many choose to make their own entertainment by holding charity auctions or even planning games.
It’s important to remember that just because an event is formal, it doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun. You have to keep the venue and guest attire in mind when planning, but games like night golf or bingo are fun and really simple to plan.