Planning the Christmas party is a dirty job, but everyone accepts that someone has to do it. But what if that someone is you? Where do you start? How do you go about choosing Christmas party venues that suit your needs? Here are a few things to bear in mind when planning a festive Christmas party, and a few tips for taking some of the stress out of the organisation.
Another early decision will be on the number of people to be invited along, as this obviously affects your choice of Christmas party venues. If your company is a small one with just a dozen or so people to accommodate, you’ll find a lot of local venues that suit your needs. If, on the other hand, you have a guest list that runs into the hundreds (as some large companies do), your options are immediately that bit more limited. This is a decision that it pays to make early. It is also important to establish what budget there is for your Christmas party; a £250 hire charge for use of a venue may be negligible to some companies, but a bit steep for others.
The next major decision to be made when looking at Christmas party venues is catering and drinks. If you’re planning to run a pay bar, then obviously your chosen venue will need to be licensed. If you want a formal sit-down meal or a buffet, you may need to check whether the Christmas party venue has its own catering, or whether you can enlist the services of caterers. Many Christmas parties may only have quite basic cold buffets, but this still needs to be agreed, organised, and paid for. Similarly, if you are expecting a large number of people, you’ll need serving staff for dispensing drinks, and this needs to be factored into the cost of the party.
Finally, you’ll want to consider any other requirements. For example, if you want entertainment such as music, you’ll need to check with the venue that they are equipped to deal with parties of this type, and book your chosen performers well in advance, as Christmas is a very busy time and the Christmas party is a staple of many musicians’ income.
Having made the big decisions on the size and type of Christmas party you want, the budget available, and the type of catering and entertainment involved, you can now start looking for a suitable venue. This can seem a daunting task, but it needn’t be. Bear in mind your key requirements, and make them clear to the venue in your first email or telephone call – this will save everyone a lot of time and effort. If a venue is fully booked, or otherwise unable to cater for your needs, ask them if they can recommend anywhere else in the area that would be suitable – once they’ve established that they can’t help you, they should be more willing to point you in the direction of the competition!
This is one of the times when a specialist venue finding service can help. Rather than opening the phone book or emailing round canvassing for suggestions, a venue finding agency gives you certain advantages – with a list of suitable locations in your chosen area, it can save a lot of time and effort by suggesting the sorts of Christmas party venues that may be able to cater to your needs.
In addition, a venue finding team will be able to recommend interesting and unusual venues that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself – a sporting venue, for example, that allows you to combine your office party with a day at the races, for example, or an out-of-town venue that offers activities such as paintballing or quad biking. This isn’t for everyone, of course – but by giving you the option, you have a wider range of choices.
Finally, a venue finding agency takes a lot of the stress out of dealing with your chosen Christmas party venue, because all the haggling over price, as well as details over catering and logistics are for them to worry about; you are left only with the important stuff; i.e., making sure your party goers have a Christmas party to remember. Now that’s the hard part…