Is it that time of year again already? Ho Ho Holy Moly!
With Christmas and New Year fast approaching, you may find yourself panicking and need some help planning your ideal festive party for colleagues, which can be both stressful and challenging. When it comes to Christmas parties, expectations are high.
That’s why we are here to help. Mount Charles are experts in event planning. We have hosted a full range of large-scale events, so you’re in great hands. We have put together our top tips to make sure your Christmas event is one to remember.
This event planning checklist provided by our events team guides you through the process, ensuring you have covered all the essentials and your event runs as smoothly as possible, as well as being an enjoyable time for all!
- Plan Well In Advance
First and foremost, when running any event, planning early is key. We would recommend to start planning as far in advance as you possibly can as it will allow you time to find the best venue, buy you time to deal with mishaps, and give guests time to make necessary arrangements, such as booking time off to attend. Planning a Christmas party should begin in autumn so you have time to secure a venue and book vendors before their schedules fill up.
Planning early will also allow you to find the right decorations for your theme (if you’re having one) and find an ideal caterer; like Mount Charles for example. Most importantly, it will make the process a bit more stress-free and less nerve wracking.
Last-minute party planning is a recipe for disaster, so don’t delay, get ahead while you can.
- Choose Your Date
This one goes without saying. You’ll need a date that suits your attendees, so you should propose some dates that they can choose from. Maybe send a poll or ask them to fill out a survey using Survey Monkey, so they can pick their preferred date. This will make the process much smoother. Choosing an earlier date gets you ahead of the game and means you’ll have a broader range of venues to choose from.
If you’re running a company event, send some dates among key decision-makers within the company. It is also important to think about what works best for your company. You should also remember, while the weekend is more popular, availability will be limited at Christmas time and prices will be higher, so consider this. Venues are usually booked up well in advance, especially in busy towns and cities like Belfast.
We work with venues across the island of Ireland and can suggest suitable venues based on your organisations requirements
- Set Your Budget
If you’re planning on running a company event, you’ll mostly like have a restrictive budget, but
even if your budget is restrictive, it doesn’t mean guests can’t have a great time. It just means you’ll need to prioritise some aspects of the event over others. You’d be surprised how much money you can save by doing a bit of research – something Mount Charles are experts at.
Make sure you include an itemised list of what the budget will and will not include. This will keep you right and will ensure there is no confusion with your boss or colleagues.
- Choose Your Venue
Sourcing the right venue in any event is key. You’ll need a venue that’s suitable for your activity and a suitable space for the number of attendees. It should also be easily accessible for them with good transport connections. Again the earlier you book, the better the chances of getting one of the more ideal or popular venues.
Need a stage for live music? A good bit of space for a dance floor? As part of our event services here at Mount Charles, we can help you to find the perfect location for your Christmas party. Our clients have some of the best venues in the country that we would gladly put you in touch with.
If you’re hosting a New Year or Christmas party, we would advise you to choose a location with charm to leave a long-lasting impact on your guests. A space that will channel the magic and beauty of the Christmas spirit.
- Pick a Good Theme
When it comes to your festive party, you’ll need a good theme. You could go for a Winter Wonderland theme, Christmas around the world, or a Christmas movie theme. It can even be something simple and sparkly. Just let your imagination run free.
If you are having a theme though, it’s important this is integrated throughout every aspect, from guest invitations to the decorations and most likely the entertainment as well. We have contacts in event styling and can gladly provide best in class companies we work alongside.
- Choose Your Food and Drinks
Ok now we’re talking! We’re very serious when it comes getting our guests Fed & Watered (MC Pun intended). Food and drink is a key part of any event, and usually either a meal or buffet is expected at a Christmas or New Year party. Remember to plan for Vegetarian, Vegan or special dietary requirements in advance. And drinks will be expected… of course! We recommend having a drinks reception. It’ll make your guests feel welcome and will likely set the tone for the rest of the party. You could offer a bottle of champagne, wine, prosecco, or even a beer or cocktail.
We have expertise in catering across a range of budgets and requirements and can provide bespoke menus based on your ideal event.
- Music and Entertainment
Aha, here’s where the real party starts!
I think we can all agree that some form of music and entertainment at a festive event is essential. There are lots of options you can choose from including a comedian, karaoke, a band or a DJ, which will encourage people to dance later on in the night.
Depending on your theme you could have something a little different and include games and activities. You could do a Christmas treasure hunt, or Christmas Bingo (An MC staff favourite).
- Speeches and Awards
For lots of companies, your Christmas party may be an ideal time to present any awards and thank staff collectively. You’ll need to organise certificates, award blocks or prizes in advance.
One thing to keep in mind is to plan the timings of your speeches in advance to ensure that you have enough time allocated to this. You’ll need to have a running order or schedule in place to make sure everyone who’s going to be speaking knows when they’ll be hitting the stage next. A good idea is to do a practice run though before the event. Though we can appreciate not everyone has time for this with it being a very busy time of year.
- Organise Transportation
If your chosen venue is not local to your attendees, then it is a good idea to have transport organised to and from the event. You could book and minibus or a coach, or simply book a couple of taxis in advance depending on the requirements.
Last but certainly not least, we don’t want you to forget about your invitations. Regardless if this comes in the form of a calendar invite, an email or a beautifully designed invitation, you must remember to send these well ahead of your event.
It is important that all the information regarding timings, locations, transport and themes is added to your invitation. It’s good to have it all in one place so your guests can refer back this. With it being a hectic time for people, they’ll have lots of other festivities going on so they’ll need a good reminder.
And that just about covers it. We hope you found the above guide useful, and if you need any help at all planning your Christmas or New Year event, or any event at all, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team below. We are more than happy to help.
Call us on:
+44 (0) 28 9032 0070
+353 (0)1 431 1383
Click here for more information about Mount Charles Events.