Christmas Party

Five things to consider before booking a Christmas party

The summer is over and with it our thoughts turn almost instantly to Christmas.  Does the thought of organizing this year’s Christmas party fill you with dread? We’ve pulled together some of our top tips on party organisation to help those of you who have been lumbered with the unenviable task of pulling together this year’s festive knees up.

1. The budget

There’s nothing you can do until you know how much you have to spend as the size of your budget will obviously affect where you are able to hold your party.  Is your company footing the bill or are staff expected to pay their way?  If it’s the latter, you’ll need to set a sensible budget that staff can reasonably be asked to pay and ensure they pay up front to secure their place.

2. The venue

Once you know the limitations of the budget, the most important decision you’ll face is choosing the right venue.  Before you start your search, it’s worth taking the time to send a “save the date” email with an RSVP to get an idea of numbers. This way you can ensure your venue is large enough to accommodate everyone comfortably, but not too big that you’re not able to fill space adequately.  Once you have an idea of numbers, consider the location very carefully.  Some venues may have the “wow” factor that you are looking for, but are they conveniently located near a train station or other transport links or will you need to provide transport back to the office? Do they offer the private, exclusive space you are looking for or are you hoping for a little more ambience by including your party in the same facility as others?

3. The menu

Some would argue that you can’t beat a traditional Christmas dinner with all of the trimmings, but it’s important to realise that’s turkey isn’t for everyone.  This is a great opportunity to offer your guests something different, so make sure the catering at your chosen venue has the flexibility to offer a varied selection of cuisine, as well as cater for individual dietary requirements and allergies.

4. What’s included?

Understand exactly what you are getting for the price. Does quoted cost include all food but drinks are extra? Some venues include bread and water as well as nibbles before you sit down. Others may offer some festive bits such as crackers or favours. Some may offer a welcome drink.  It’s worth checking and asking for those little extras to make your budget stretch that bit further.

5. Peak vs non peak

Your Christmas party doesn’t have to be held on a Friday night in December!  January is a miserable month for most of us, so why not give your colleagues something to look forward to and turn your Christmas party into a New Year celebration? Many venues offer great deals and have much more availability at the beginning of the year. You may also find that your colleagues’ diaries offer more availability for socialising in January too and if you’ve asked them to pay up front, there won’t be that inevitable feeling of “I can’t afford it” that grips most of us in the first few weeks of the year.

So, you’ve found the perfect venue with great food, the right type of atmosphere, in a good location for a reasonable price. Enjoy!

Royal Holloway is holding its Christmas party on Saturday 10th December from 7pm-midnight. Please visit our website for further information and to book.