The Puzzle of Planning a Holiday Party
It’s never too late to start thinking about the holiday season. Those cherished moments with family and friends are priceless and always seem to end too quickly!
What activities do you have planned for this year? Are you tasked with planning the annual company holiday party? Has your family passed you the baton to host Thanksgiving dinner or the annual Christmas party?
If so, we are here to help you make that planning process as easy as possible at work and at home because being the host doesn’t mean you have to miss all the fun!
It’s normal to delay planning your big bash. Don’t fall into that trap. Last minute planning adds unnecessary stress and expense that could potentially ruin the joy of treating your guests to a wonderful evening. Here are some tasks to do 3-4 months before your holiday party:
Build a Budget
Consider the cost (if any) of the venue, the quality and quantity of food and cocktails, special entertainment and holiday decorations. Creating line items is easy and creates a step-by-step approach to budgeting all the necessary pieces of the party puzzle.
Make a Guest List
Based on the budget you created, how many people could you invite? First, write down all the must-have guests – immediate family and close friends — and then include the other guests whom you would like to invite — new friends, friends with kids, co-workers and extended family — if the budget still allows. Same plan goes for a corporate holiday party. Invite key players in your department and then allow them to bring a “plus one” if the budget can account for those additional people. Do the work to create a Google doc or Excel spreadsheet with everyone’s current mailing and email addresses because that will make the next step much easier.
Send Savvy Invitations
Take advantage of what the tech world has to offer and send your invitations through Punchbowl, Evite or Paperless Post. It’s easier, more efficient and often cheaper than the traditional snail mail. And for those office parties, it’s more festive than any memo or Outlook invite. The sooner your guests know about your party, the greater the chance they will pencil your big night into their calendar.
Book a Venue
Considering your budget, take the time to search for the best venue. You know what they say, “Location, location, location.” Pick a spot that has plenty of room for some guests to sit down to eat while others walk around to mingle. A gorgeous holiday party can take place at a private residence, in a portion of a restaurant or even a cozy part of a corporate office (if it’s a party for your co-workers). During your search, try to envision the space as a cheery, warm gathering place, or whatever mood you hope to inspire at your holiday party.
If you aren’t a cook, and you don’t want to ask each of your guests to bring a dish, consider hiring a catering company. Boston catering companies are the busiest during the holiday season — so the earlier you talk to one, the better! Now that you have planned a budget, know approximately how many people you’ll be feeding and even decided on a venue, don’t delay in calling the company that can best suit your needs. A trendy option is serving a family-style meal, as it encourages guests to mingle amongst each other as they kindly pass food selections to those sitting next to them at the table. Also, remember to mention any special dietary needs when planning with your catering company. Guests will forever remember that delicious, traditional holiday meal they enjoyed together with loved ones or new acquaintances.
Dazzle Guests with Details and Décor
Now that the big part of the planning is complete, have some fun with the final pieces of the project. Here are some things to consider during the month leading into your holiday party:
Accessorize With Light
Decorations for the holidays fill up every store as early as November, just begging you to buy them. But we encourage you to keep it simple. If you can buy candles in bulk, decorate them with pieces of holly or add festive fruit, like cranberry or dried orange slices, to large votives. Having warm light on the tables will set a relaxing mood for all of your guests.
Pump Up the Jam
No party is complete without music. If your budget does not include a live band or a disk jockey, there’s no reason to worry. Use your speakers or borrow a friend’s stereo system to connect to your source of live stream music. Internet music sites like Spotify let you customize a playlist while services, like 8tracks and Pandora, let you pick a genre from which it plays music you will most likely enjoy. Mellow music is nice for the hours around cocktails and dinner, but maybe your guests are the type who would appreciate some upbeat tunes towards the end of the evening. Take the chance and see who is in the mood to break it down!
If you are looking for additional ways to entertain your guests, set aside some time for group activities. December holiday parties at a private residence are the perfect place to do a Chinese gift exchange – a relatively free and fun game. You could even ask your guests to bring prank gifts for additional laughs. Corporate party activities could include a photo booth, an interactive dessert table or a company mascot to entertain guests. BG is known for its creative party ideas as long as you are willing to try it out!
Shop for Your Party Outfit
As the host, you’ll be busy visiting with everyone at the party. Be sure to treat yourself to an outfit that shows everyone that even hosts can have a great time. Find a glamorous dress or a pair of heels to make you feel fabulous! If you are a male host, visit that favorite store of yours to buy the trendy button-down you’ve been ogling online.
Check in with Your Party Partners
To alleviate last-minute stress, call your catering company, venue manager, or any important guests to ensure everyone is on task for the party. Answer last minute questions or help them with any projects they are trying to finish in time. Keeping open communication with everyone helping you with your party will only lead to a delightful event for all.
We hope our brief guideline to planning the perfect holiday party will encourage you to give it a try this year. Whether you are a first-time host or a seasoned veteran, planning well ahead of time and being a little creative with the smaller details will ensure a successful holiday party. And don’t forget to have fun with the process!
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Devora is the Director of Sales at BG Events & Catering.