We all love a good Work Christmas party, they are a great way to celebrate the year your team has had but organising a successful Work Christmas party can be stressful! Whether you want a simple affair of gourmet sandwiches and canapes in your office, or plan to go all out and make a big impression, our tips will help you plan a stress-free and successful work Christmas party.
Remember, it’s never too early to start planning your office Christmas function so get in the festive spirit and start planning your end-of-year celebration with our step-by-step guide.
1. The Date
Christmas is a busy period, the busiest of the year for many people when it comes to social events, so diaries fill up fast. That means you want to get a date pencilled in as early as possible. Send potential options around the office to get a feel for the preferred date, the responses will also give you an indication of numbers for the event. Remember, you can’t please everybody, so it is usually best to go with ‘majority rules’ when choosing your date. Typically, Thursdays and Fridays are most popular so get in early to avoid disappointment.
The size of your budget will ultimately have a huge impact on the type of staff Christmas party you organise, determining everything from the food and booze to the entertainment and choice of venue. It’s extremely helpful for all suppliers involved if you have some idea of your budget prior to requesting quotes. Find out how much money you have to spend. You need to know this as early in the process as possible, so you don’t start planning something completely unrealistic.
3. Save the Dates, Invitations and Guest Numbers
To ensure a good turnout we recommend sending a ‘save the date’ email to everybody as soon as you’ve decided on a date. At this stage it doesn’t matter if you don’t know any details about the party, it’s more important to get as many people to the event as you can. Plan when you’ll also send formal invitations and the RSVP date, bear in mind to allow some time to get final numbers and dietary requirements to your caterer or venue and also to plan seating charts if you are having a formal sit-down dinner.
4. Style of Event
It’s important to have an idea of what you want to achieve from the event before deciding on the type of function you wish to hold. The type of function normally falls into one of three categories; a stand up, cocktail style function usually with finger food, a sit-down buffet style meal which could also include a carvery or BBQ, or a formal sit-down plated meal. Once you’ve decided on the style of event you can then start to consider your venue options.
5. Your Venue
If the venue won’t be at your own premises / office, then start investigating potential venues and make a short list of options. When considering potential venues take into account venue hire fees, capacities, access (the location, public transport, parking options, disability access). Consider how the room will flow; stages, dance floor, audio visual equipment, back of house and registration / pre-function area. If food is to be prepared on site, consider the size of the kitchen and cooking facilities. Websites such as Venuemob and venues.com.au are great resources to assist you with your venue search. And remember, the earlier you book the venue, the better – unsurprisingly, good venues go quickly
6. Site Inspection
Once you’ve decided on a venue or shortlisted a number of options, arrange a site inspection of the venue as this can reveal any potential issues. Alternatively, if holding the event at your premises / office arrange site inspections with your key suppliers (caterers, AV, band etc.). We are happy to inspect your venue with you to help organise the function and explain how the catering will work.
7. Caterers, Menu Selection and Dietary Requirements
If you are hosting your Christmas party at your own premises / office or a venue that doesn’t have an in-house caterer then you’ll need to investigate catering options. This is where we come in! Each year we have an extensive Christmas menu available in conjunction with our corporate catering menu however we can also create tailored menus to cater for specific themes. We will work with you to create your menu taking into account the type of event you are having, the kitchen facilities available to us onsite, the time of day of the event, the overall timings of the event and the age and gender of your guests. It is important to obtain dietary requirements when guests are confirming their attendance, once our Event Manager is advised of any dietary requirements, they will make certain those guests are properly catered for. We can also provide staff from wait staff, bar tenders and chefs so you don’t need to worry about a thing!
8. Beverage Selection
If holding the event at a venue, the venue will have a number of beverage packages for you to select from. However, if you are hosting the Christmas party at your own premises / office then there are endless possibilities in terms of beverage selection. In addition to assisting with your menu design, we can assist you with designing the beverage list. We offer two ways to purchase beverages: on consumption (our waiting staff must be present) or in a package. Our packages are tiered gold, silver and bronze so options are available for all budgets.
9. Equipment, Furniture, Theming and Audio Visual (AV) Equipment
Most venues will have these items and services available in-house or contracted preferred suppliers. However if you are hosting your work Christmas party in-house we have an extensive range of catering equipment available for hire (glassware, plates, cutlery, warming ovens etc.) and anything we can’t supply for you we can recommend suppliers who we work with closely; all of whom are reputable and trusted suppliers to our industry.
10. Music and Entertainment
The entertainment on the night can be one of the most talked about aspects of the whole event and is something that can really help bring colleagues and clients together. Choose the entertainment to suit your event. There is no shortage of options here with popular ideas including live performers such as bands, DJ’s, comedians, circus acts or speakers. You could choose games such as casino tables, murder mystery, giant Jenga, arcade machines, lawn bowls, bowling or mini golf. Other hits include cocktail making demonstrations, wine tasting and karaoke, while entertainment working the room often goes down well, such as table magicians, stilt walkers and caricaturists. Fireworks always help a party go with a bang too! You want to make sure you choose reputable suppliers, be clear on what you want you want and what is in involved as you are relying on them to ensure your guests are entertained and again, get in early as good suppliers book out early.
11. Wet Weather Options and Permits
Melbourne’s weather is often fickle and a viable wet weather plan is always worth considering when planning a function to be held outside. Many of Melbourne’s best outdoor gardens and parks also require a permit for larger groups, Elizabeth Andrews can assist in your planning for this requirement.
12. Timings and Running Schedule
Your running sheet is what will help you stayed organised and ensure everything remains on the right track for a smooth-running event. Make sure to include timings of any presentations, awards or thank-you speeches as this will be important for your caterer or venue to know when planning service. And make sure to include the when, who, what and where! Include all contact names, numbers and email address and any key documents you’ve collected along the way like menus. Make sure you send a copy of the running sheet to everyone involved in running the event including suppliers, venue managers, entertainers etc. Remember the 5 P’s; proper planning prevents poor performance (or poor events in the this case!).
Need further assistance planning your work Christmas party? Contact us anytime on 03 9670 4361 or click here to order online. Otherwise if you’ve followed these easy steps to organising your work Christmas party, congratulations, you’re now ready! You can sit back, enjoy the party and take credit for a fabulous event!