Every year in December thousands of companies host Christmas parties across the UK in order to toast the successes of the past 12 months and look towards what the New Year will bring.
As the summer draws to a close, our clients often ask us how early they should start booking their Christmas parties. Is August too early to start viewing venues? Is September too soon to start booking entertainment acts? Not in the slightest – in fact, we always recommend the earlier the better!
For those of you out there who are yet to book your company’s Christmas party, we have put together our top five tips to help you.
1. Set the Date
This might seem like an obvious one, but Christmas is a very busy time of year for venues and your staff, so if you haven’t already, set a date for your party as soon as possible.
No date will suit all your members of staff, so we advise going with the ‘majority rules’. When selecting a date you have to bare in mind that almost every other company in the UK is also thinking about a date for their Christmas party. It’s usually confined to a two week period with the Thursdays and Fridays in December being the favourite picks. You will find these dates go VERY quickly for venues and even quicker for entertainment acts. You might want to therefore think about maybe having your party on a different date either a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday to ensure you get the venue you want. Also having it at lunch time is a sure fire way to ensure you get the venue and entertainment you want. (You’ll also save a fair few bob!)
As soon as the date has been set, send everyone in the office a ‘save the date’ email to make sure they keep it free. Don’t worry if you don’t have any other details yet, as it’s much more important that people know when the party will be taking place as opposed to where it will be held.
2. Determine the Budget
Determining how much money you have to spend on your Christmas party is essential, as this will dictate the type of party you’re able to organise. Whether your budget is small or large, you need to make sure this is allocated by what’s most important to your staff. As an example, if your colleagues enjoy dancing and letting their hair down, spending a larger part of the budget on a great band or DJ is probably going to be appreciated more than splashing out on a seven course gourmet meal in a fancy restaurant.
It’s also crucial that you make sure you set some money aside for unexpected costs, as no matter how organised you are, these always seem to arise.
3. Book the Venue
Often employees are left disappointed when they have to celebrate their work Christmas party in the office. It’s therefore important that you start researching venues early, as selecting a suitable one can take time.
When deciding upon a venue two factors are key to take into consideration: location and size. Look for a venue that is easily accessible via public transport, as this will help boost attendance and limit your staff’s travel time home. Selecting a venue that will accommodate everyone without feeling empty or cramped is also vital.
4. Hire the Entertainment
We believe that entertainment is the most important part of any Christmas party. If you think back to the last event you went to, be it a wedding or corporate event, can you remember the centre pieces on the tables or what you had for the starter? How about the flowers or what colour the uplighting was? I bet you can remember if there was an awesome function band or a mind boggling magician! Not booking anything at all means you are missing out on a great opportunity to reward your staff and leave them in a positive frame of mind over the Christmas break.
Entertainment doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should certainly be more than just karaoke! Mix it up with some unique acts, such as a Digital Magician, a Christmas band or an acrobatic trio dressed as Victorian strongmen.
5. Establish the Agenda
To ensure that your Christmas party runs smoothly, we advise setting an agenda to map out exactly how you want things to flow on the night. Once you’ve booked the venue and entertainment, take time to think about each stage of the party; from what time your colleagues will start arriving at, to what time the food will be served at, and what time the band will start playing at.
For help booking a venue or entertainment for your Christmas party, please get in touch today.