So, you have been tasked with the job of organising the office Christmas Party! This responsibility can prove a headache for even the smallest of teams; all of a sudden everyone has a suggestion for you, but no offer to assist. Typical! And if you work for a larger company…. lets just say you will be needing some of Santa’s helpers to get you by! But no stress, here at Neon Agency Ltd. we love this stuff. We are more than happy to share with you a simple step-by-step template to help take the pressure off your shoulders. The first step is to start your event plan document. This can be a detailed spreadsheet (my preference!), or a scrap of paper and a pencil. Start by noting the following headings, and filling in as much information as you can (estimates are a good start!).

Define your event objectives.

Its important to make sure you have a clear idea on what is expected of you. Are you looking to plan a group dinner for a team of ten, a luxury gala dinner for a thousand, or maybe it’s a family-friendly daytime event?

What is your budget?

You may be given a defined budget, and asked to manage the breakdown accordingly. But if you have been asked to assign the budget, we recommend breaking down costs into the following categories, and adjust as required; venue, food and drink per person, entertainment, decor, and logistics. Its best to start with a realistic budget range, and pear back on spending where possible after researching the costs. Always, keep a miscellaneous saving for the unexpected costs that may occur.

Secure your venue!

This is an obvious one, but unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for some to get excited with the fun details such as the entertainment first, and leave the venue research a bit too late. Venues book up early in the year for Christmas, and for larger venues, the cost can be a substantial part of the budget. Secure the venue early, leaving you with a clearer idea on your budget and requirements for entertainment, catering, and dressing.  Make sure the date does not clash with any key company events, and that the time and day suits your invitees. Criteria to watch out for include capacity, catering, location and transport, insurance and alcohol licensing, time restrictions additional facilities and services such as catering, accommodation, and entertainment as needed.

Decide on the Theme

With the venue secured, you now have a starting point to design your theme. Your venue might already have a medieval feel or lend itself to some more classic styles, or maybe the space works as a blank canvas and your budget allows for some creative production for a unique and memorable experience. Compile your research images into a mood board before narrowing down your concept, theme, and plan. From the concept stage, other elements such as catering options and entertainment can naturally follow.

Catering & Bar

Catering and drinks are very much budget related. With a clearly defined food and drink budget, and a clear number of people to cater to, you can either source the catering directly with the venue, or from outsourced suppliers. Make sure that the caterers are health and safety compliant. You will also need to ensure various diets are catered for, and that there is a system in place for serving and cleaning if not already included in the venue package. If the event includes a sit-down dinner, it is advisable to have a table plan in place for large numbers.

Entertainment and Activities

Once the venue and catering have been budgeted for, you will have a clearer idea on how to spend on the dressing and entertainment. Remember, nobody wants to eat dinner in silence, and every party needs a memorable focal point to kick off the party energy! A band or DJ will set the tone, a charismatic host will structure the night’s activities and offer an element of entertainment, and engaging activities will promote a more social and fun environment. Step it up a notch, and incorporate team building games and capture the night with a photographer, videographer, and photo booth as a way for colleagues to get to know each other, and create some funny stories for the Monday coffee break!

Decor and Dressing

It’s Christmas, of course decorations are important!! Lighting is always key, no matter what the season, too. Fairy lights, christmas trees, candy props and decorative draping can transform a room from a blank town hall, to a winter wonderland. But make sure you have a team planned to work with you on this, or better yet, a professional event dresser. Event dressing is often the difference between a lackluster christmas party, and an atmospheric festive experience.

Communications & Guestlist

Of course, none of your event plans will be worthwhile without the gang! So make sure you have selected the dates that suit most of the company staff, and that you communicate clearly what the plan is. A primary online information point is the best way to ensure your guests are aware of any updates on the event itinerary, directions to the venue, and so on. Send out your invitations early to ensure their availability, and set a deadline and contact for RSVPs. This way you will have a clear idea on numbers, giving you the time to plan accordingly.

Ask for help if you need it!

You may only need a starting point to plan your office christmas dinner, but large events can be an impressive undertaking, and if not planned correctly they can be a stressful experience and a drain on the wallet. Our experienced professional events team work directly with you to effectively create the event you want, within your budget. So don’t hesitate to message or call us for a no-obligations quote today.

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