We get it. The sun is shining and the office A/C is on full blast. Nothing about this time of year screams holiday cheer.
But the holidays are coming—and soon. You may still be in sun-kissed summer mode, but Santa’s sleigh is getting ready to fly once again.
It’s difficult to motivate yourself and your team to think about holiday parties when everyone is still wearing shorts and sandals, but right now is the perfect time to get the details nailed down.
The trends for holiday parties are constantly changing. One year it’s all about multi-entertainment extravaganzas; the next, everyone just craves a bit of a dance and dinner.
One thing that never changes though is the expectations from both host and guest. Whether you’re organizing the party or attending, you want a fun, high-quality, well run soiree to celebrate both the holiday season and a year of work well done. Your task is to create an event that pleases the 18 year old intern as well as the now silvering team that has been there since before anyone can remember.
To help you get a bit more in the spirit, we’ve put together our seven top tips, tried and true, for planning the ultimate holiday party. Keep these in mind during the pre-party process, and we guarantee that Santa won’t know what hit him…
Your space is your blueprint.
Make sure to find a venue that will fit not only all your guests, but all the entertainment that you want to include. A good rule of thumb is to include additional room for 10% of those guests who don’t RSVP, just in case. Once you’ve chosen your venue, production partners like ON Services are integral in helping you make the most of your venue’s space, signage and lighting.
Picking a theme is harder than you remember.
We know, you choose a theme for every holiday party, every single year. But 12 months is enough time to forget how difficult picking one can be! After you’ve found your venue and a production partner, but before you do anything else, decide your theme. Letting your partner know what the theme is, and involving them in the process from the beginning, will help you deliver an event that goes way beyond your expectations.
Simplify your invitees’ experience.
No one wants an emergency epinephrine moment, so find out who is allergic to what and manage the seating plan. Chase people who have RSVP’d but haven’t given clear answers to questions on food allergies or preferences. And above all, make sure your invites—whether they’re via email or snail mail—are clear and easy to follow, with a map, program, transportation links and schedule.
Make sure everything sounds good.
No one likes to strain to hear the music, the speaker or the entertainment – or be blown off their seat by them. Your sound team, along with your production partner, will be able help you with this once you’ve decided your venue. Positioning the room so everyone can hear what’s going on is crucial to keeping the party vibe going.
Figure out your entertainment goals.
Sorry to hit you with 20 questions, but: What are you going to do to entertain your guests while they’re waiting to come in? Or between presentations and dinner? Also, what’s your main entertainment going to be? Special guests, comedians and high-profile DJs are all in demand for holiday parties, and will give your night that extra something special with high production values.
Don’t drown out the speakers.
A good production company will have a good set of microphones so that everyone can hear the speakers. Find out if your speakers have any preferences for their mics during the planning process; some people like to pull a Steve Jobs, walking and talking all over the stage, while some prefer the comfort and protection of a podium. Speakers deliver a more comfortable presentation when they’re comfortable with their equipment and you’ll save on budget by only ordering what you need.
Work the transitions into seamless moments.
How are you going to manage transforming your space from an awards ceremony to a dinner and dance floor, all without a guest batting an eye? The team at ON Services, for example, have done the whole ‘distract-everyone-with-dinner-while-we-take-the-stage-down’—and we’ve also done a curtain raise to reveal a glittering dance floor and band. It depends on your vision for the event, but whatever it is, your production partner can make it happen.
If you’re looking for some help with your holiday party planning, look no further. Get in touch with the team at ON Services and we’ll be happy to help you. Simply let us know what you need and we’ll get right back to you with some great solutions.