Planning Your Holiday Party: Office Edition

So, you have the “opportunity” to plan the company holiday party. Great news! Right?
Often, the HR department or the administrative team is tasked with putting this event together. Sometimes you even get a committee – hooray!
Even if you enjoy event planning, it’s rare that the rest of the regular workload is lightened for the people taking this on. And, trying to find something to make everyone in the office happy is next to impossible but that probably won’t keep you from being stressed about it.

Some companies have the same party every year – which makes planning a bit easier. But if you’re starting from scratch or trying to shake things up a little; here’s a quick run-down of things that should be on your checklist:

Venue. If you’re having the party offsite and don’t have your location booked yet, do it now. Spaces around Des Moines are booking up – especially for Saturdays. (So if you want a Saturday party, stop reading and get on the phone!)
Seating. Some locations will provide tables and chairs, otherwise, you will need to rent. Don’t forget to include linens, too. The amount of seating you need will also depend on what style of party you’re having. For a sit-down meal, everyone needs a seat. For a cocktail-style party – providing seating for about half your guests is more than enough. Which naturally brings us to…
Food. Does your venue have a built in caterer or do you need to hire one? Dinner, appetizers (passed or stationed?), dessert, etc.  Consider the atmosphere you want as well as the time and duration of the party to help you determine your meal. Don’t forget to provide for vegetarian options. If you can gather dietary preferences of your co-workers and accommodate those, even better.
Beverages.  For an office party – you probably want an open bar you’re going to serve alcohol. If it’s a cost or risk management issue, consider providing the first two drinks for everyone. Another way to keep costs low is to limit it to beer and wine. You’ll need your non-alcoholic beverages and mixers for liquor as well. Consider how alcohol will be served if it’s not built in to your venue or caterer. And, have a few cab numbers readily available.
Entertainment.  Again, this is dictated by the style of party you want. DJs and live music are great.  Or for a more interactive twist, consider a dueling pianos show. And you can always use speakers and an iPod for simple background music (here’s a playlist to get you started).  Other activities like a gift exchange, scavenger hunts or holiday inspired games are always an option too.
Speakers/Presentations. With a company party, it’s likely that someone will want to say a few words. Besides planning the program and timing; make sure you have the right A/V equipment and a stage if needed. (And, on behalf of your co-workers – keep it short. People don’t want to listen for more than 15-20 minutes max).
Other.  Things that may apply – invitations/communication, theme, decor, photographers, valet parking,  taking care of VIPs special preferences, the company gift. And…
Budget. The bottom line. Enough said.

If you get these things covered, you’ll be in great shape. And don’t forget to enjoy the party after all of your hard work!

If you want something a little more turnkey – our friends at InnovativEvents provide a great option. Illuminate is an all-inclusive, ready-made celebration. Everything is built in to one fabulous night with some options to make it the best fit for your company. On top of all this – the production is top-notch (like anything else from InnovativEvents) so everything looks as amazing as your experience will be. All you will need to do is pick your package, choose any add-ons and enjoy!

Learn more at or call 515.287.2887 /email

As always, Socialize is available to help. Contact us to find out what we can do to help in your planning process. Whether it’s a basic consultation to create a detailed plan and give you vendor recommendations or taking it off your mind and coordinate it all.

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