The world of events and catering moves quickly, which means it is never too early to start planning your festive celebrations. After all, there is a lot to consider – from finding a magical Christmas party venue to managing the winter weather.
Whether you picture a black-tie affair in an elegant country manor or an intimate gathering in a cosy dining space, here are 10 top tips for organising a party that rounds off the year perfectly.
1. Look for venues early
This is the busiest time of the year for celebrations, so it is no surprise that Christmas party venues often get booked up early on. Choosing a wonderful venue is all part of planning a magical party, so make sure that you search for suitable event spaces as soon as you can.
Why not explore the range of stunning Restaurant Associates are proud to partner with? Simply click here to browse our portfolio of gorgeous spaces throughout the UK.
2. Choose your style of festive celebration
With so many brilliant ways to celebrate the festive season, why not let your imagination run wild this Christmas? You could even poll your guests to find out what they want from their end-of-year party. Maybe they picture an evening of dancing and nibbles, or perhaps they would prefer fine dining and sophisticated decorations.
The type of celebration you choose will influence many of your decisions, from culinary styles to suitable venues and entertainment choices. As such, it is important to make this decision as soon as possible.
3. Allocate a Christmas party budget
Another vital factor to consider when planning a Christmas party is your budget. After all, how much you can reasonably spend will also affect lots of your decisions, including which venues you can hire.
4. Share important details, such as the dress code
Your guests’ calendars will also get booked up around the Christmas period, so make sure to send out invites as soon as possible with all the key information communicated clearly. This should include your party’s dress code.
Why not make things more fun by hosting some festive competitions? You could have prizes for the best Christmas jumper or invite your guests to come in seasonal fancy dress!
5. Consider travel and accommodation
Think about how your guests will travel to and from your Christmas party. Is your chosen venue easily accessible? Can guests who want to drive park on-site? Is there overnight accommodation nearby for guests coming from further afield? These are all crucial considerations to make.
Remember that winter weather can be troublesome for travel. Make sure to include directions, transport contacts, and alternative routes in your guests’ invites and information packs so that everyone can plan their journey seamlessly.
6. Cater to all dietary requirements
The festive season is a fantastic time to enjoy your favourite foods. However, for an inclusive celebration that makes everyone feel part of the fun, be flexible when planning your Christmas party menu.
Do you have plenty of plant-forward dishes? Are all allergens labelled clearly? Have you considered alcohol-free beverages? These are just some of the questions that you should consider when making catering choices.
7. Keep sustainability at the heart
The festive season is often a time of unnecessary waste. So, why not build a planet-friendly party plan to minimise as much waste as possible and be more sustainable? A few simple ways to do this include:
- Manage catering quantities and communicate dietary requirements to your venue
- Opt for digital directions, agendas, RSVPs, and menus
- Replace crackers and novelties with e-crackers or charitable donations
- Rent decor and equipment rather than making one-time purchases
- Avoid disposable centrepieces in favour of living plants
8. Have fun!
This time of year always brings out the inner child in us, so why not think about breaking the evening up with a few party games? You could pin the red nose on Rudolph, hold a Christmas wrapping relay, or stuff a Christmas stocking – to name a few ideas.
9. Keep the gifts flowing
Some venues offer festive package enhancements and add-ons to make Christmas parties feel extra-special. It is certainly worth getting in touch to see what your chosen venue offers.
For instance, you might be able to start the celebrations with seasonal canapes and end the party with late-night snacks. Alternatively, you could welcome your guests with personalised gifts or send them home with a goody bag to revitalise them after a night of partying.
10. Keep an itinerary on hand
As the organiser, you have every right to relax and enjoy the night too! So, come prepared with a detailed itinerary (a digital and hard copy) to ensure all plans are easily accessible in case of any minor queries. The itinerary should include:
- Start and end times of the event
- Food service and bar opening times
- Delivery timings (e.g., when suppliers are due to arrive and set up)
- Entertainment timings
- The names of speakers and their speech times
- Contact names, numbers, and emails for all organisers and suppliers
- Menus with allergens indicated clearly
- Seating plans
It is always best to have a duplicate copy to give to the venue. This way, the team can troubleshoot without disturbing you wherever possible.
Christmas party planning experts
From raising a glass of bubbly aboard the HMS Belfast to enjoying a winter wonderland in Edinburgh Zoo’s Mansion House, the team at Restaurant Associates team can connect you to elegant spaces that match your requirements exactly.