When to Start Planning Your Holiday Party. Hint: Soon!
A holiday party might seem like a simple-enough event to organize. However, those with experience planning a company-wide holiday party know it is no easy feat to host a successful yuletide gathering. For those new to holiday party planning, or those who are looking to make the process easier than years past, use this timeline and tips to put together a memorable, spectacular, and festive soiree.
Three Months Before the Party
Confirm Party Budget
Meet with key decision makers to set a budget for your event. Without knowing your budget, it’s impossible to make the necessary arrangements for this event.
Visit Potential Venues
Start exploring your venue options. This will help you ascertain the feel or mood for the party, thus allowing you to start planning the smaller details of the event.
Two Months Before the Party
Book the Venue
You’ve had some time to consider what this year’s holiday party will look and feel like, so now it’s time to commit to a party locale.
You’ve booked the party venue. It’s time to start researching caterers, decorators, and entertainers.
Develop the Holiday Party’s Theme
Share the information you’ve found along with the broad party details with the company’s decision makers to ensure you’re on track with this project.
6 Weeks Before the Party
Send “Save the Date” Notices
Make sure the entire staff has marked the date on their calendars for the company holiday party. It might seem like too far in advance to send a “Save the Date” for a holiday party but this season is one of the busiest of the year. Before you know it, people are booked solid during the month of December and because you sent out a late “Save the Date”, half the company’s workforce has other holiday events to attend instead of yours.
Work with caterers or possible venues so you can decide who will create the food for the holiday party. Food=fun!
Consider Hotels Near the Venue
Contact nearby hotels about group rates so you can encourage staff members to really enjoy the evening without anyone finding themselves in a drunk driving situation.
1 Month Before the Party
Send Out Invitations
Formally invite all staff members to the holiday party. Include RSVP, dress code, themes, who is invited (significant others, kids), location details, nearby hotel accommodations, and other relevant information.
Connect Vendors with Venue
It’s time to connect the dots for your holiday party. Make sure each vendor is in contact with the venue so they coordinate times and any necessary deliveries.
Contact vendors and the venue to double check that everything is on track. From the appetizers to music, the servers to the holiday-themed decorations, you want to confirm that all of the arrangements you’ve worked so hard to put together are in order for the party.
Send RSVP Reminders
Contact party invitees who have not yet responded to the invitation to confirm their plans.
Three Weeks Before the Party
Create Supply List
You want to make sure there are disposable cameras on all of the tables. Or maybe you’re handing out goody bags at the end of the event. Take the time to make a list of the odds and ends you are responsible for getting to the venue. You’ll find you are using this list up to the day of the event.
One Week Before the Party
Send Party Reminders
Include all of the information from the invitation, except for the RSVP details so everyone knows where to go and when.
Confirm Schedule with Vendors and Venue
This is the final pre-party check-in before the big day. Go over every detail with a fine-toothed comb to save yourself a headache on the day of the party.
The Day of the Party….
Have fun! You might need to connect with vendors and the venue for any last minute details but on the day of the party, it’s time for you to kick back and enjoy yourself with your co-workers.
Following the party, you want to share photos and send a feedback survey to see where your party succeeded and where it might have fallen short. This is also the time to reconcile the party budget. While it can be stressful to plan a holiday party for a business, your hard work will be appreciated by everyone in attendance.