Updated: Mar 7
While the holidays can be a fun and exciting time, if you are in charge of planning and organizing a holiday party, you might not describe the time as fun and exciting. With your stress levels through the roof, you will be searching for answers, some which may not be readily apparent. Let’s run through some party planning tips to make sure your party goes without a hitch.
Decide on the Theme, Budget, and Size of Your Party
This first step is critical. If you go through all of the planning stages of a party without a theme or goal in mind, you will end up with a hodgepodge of decorations, ideas, and styles around the room. Successful parties have a central theme that guests can quickly identify, making them comfortable in their surroundings. Part of this step is deciding how big your party is going to be. It might be hard to play a quick secret Santa game at a holiday party with hundreds of people. On the other hand, you are not going to need a massive sound system and drapery for a small office party with twenty people in attendance. Another facet of this step is knowing your budget. Always know how much money you have to spend on food, drinks, and other party vendors before you decide anything. You do not want to spend all of your money on a large stage and have nothing left for hors-d'oeuvres. Know the scope of your party, its' theme, and your budget before you proceed any further.
Selecting Your Venue
Many times when planning a party, there is an obvious space where it will be held such as your office or home. However, if you are planning a more substantial event, it may be a good idea to consider a venue in your city or town. When selecting a site, always make sure you tour it in person before committing to the date. You do not want to show up the day of your party and find a critical flaw in the venue. Take lots of photos when you tour the venue so you can easily refer back to them while planning.
Decide on Your Entertainment
Depending on the size and theme of your party, your guests are going to want some entertainment! Picking entertainment is one of the most fun steps when planning a party, and a great time to think outside the box. You might immediately think about booking a band, but you could probably find a comedian or dance troupe that your guests will love. Consider the theme of your party again and think about your guest's preferences when deciding on entertainment.
Choose Your AV Company
The entertainment at your party will probably require some AV equipment, and you will have to find and source it. Discuss with your entertainer everything they will require and relay that to your AV company of choice. Choosing an AV company can be hard. You will not always want to go with your cheapest option!
For a full write-up on how to select the best AV company for your event, check out our blog post about the subject HERE.
Decide on Other Event Vendors
Is your party going to need a caterer, a photographer, or a bartender? Identify these people early in your planning process and reach out to them promptly. If they are good at what they do, their calendars will be booked full during the holiday season! Again, don't forget to stay within your budget. If having memorable photos from your party is a priority, you might spend some more money on your photographer. For a well-rounded event, you will want to distribute your budget as evenly as you can between different party and event vendors.
Invite Your Guests
Your party is planned, and it is time to invite your guest list! There are many nuances to consider when sending invitations. For more exclusive parties, you may require guests to RSVP. If your party is going to be formal, don't forget to remind guests about the dress code! Are your guests allowed a +1? Consider all aspects of your party before inviting your guests; you do not want them to show up confused.
Lastly, Have Fun!
While holiday party planning can be stressful, the last situation you want to find yourself in is scrambling to put together the party at the last second. Relax and develop a plan for yourself, a method for planning the party. Holiday party planning can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Now get to planning!