Top tips for planning a Christmas party – in four weeks or fewer!

Christmas Champagne

With Christmas fast approaching, the pressure is on for planners to create a party to remember. But don't despair if you've not yet got your party booked - it's not too late.

QHotels' expert Event Co-ordinators, Danielle and Elaine, share their planning tips and words of wisdom based on the hundreds of corporate Christmas parties that take place every year at our 27 four and five-star hotels across the UK.

1.  Work with the experts

You can dramatically reduce your workload by holding your party at an off-site venue. Remove the hassle of setting up and clearing away afterwards and benefit from a team of experts to do all the leg-work and bring your vision to life.

2.  Get everyone involved

Getting other people's input, availability and travel expectations will allow you to choose a venue that suits as many people as possible.  And, with a last minute party you'll need to delegate - so identify your team of helpers and their particular set of skills, and don't be afraid to share the workload.

3.     Be flexible

The most popular dates and the best venues will probably already be full.  But choose a quieter night of the week or a November or January date for your celebration and you should still be able to throw the party to delight all your guests.

4.     Get the 'Save the Date' notice out

Don't fret about creating the perfect invitation, the key is to tell everyone as soon as possible when and where you'll be celebrating.  So get a 'Save the Date' notice out as soon as your booking is confirmed and let the details wait.

5.     Plan food and drink

You've not left much time for menu-tastings, so you need to work with an established and respected venue who you can trust to get it right on the night.

And don't waste precious time chasing up your fellow party-goers' menu choices - choose a venue who can manage this for you.  At QHotels we use 'Tell The Chef' - an automated system which will email all your guests at regular intervals until they confirm their menu choices, and they'll even have a reminder on their name card for when they inevitably forget on the night what they've ordered!

6.     Pack more into the festivities

If you're struggling to find a clear date in everyone's diary, have a look at whether you can combine your Christmas party with an existing event.

We're seeing more and more companies adding a festive celebration to their annual conference or team building activity.   Choosing a venue who can offer you bedrooms, conference space and team building expertise would allow you to plan this as a single-site event.  (Did we mention that we can do all this at QHotels?! )

7    Have fun with the theme

For many companies, the theme of the party is one of the most important elements and it's not too late to stamp your mark on this year's party.

Easy fancy dress themes which take little time to organise include toga parties, an 'alphabet' theme, where everyone dresses as something which starts with the same letter, or a colour theme where you ask everyone to dress in a particular hue.

The key is to think creatively, but go with what suits your company and colleagues. And if you're struggling for inspiration, talk to the Event Co-ordinator at your venue who is bound to have some great suggestions which take minimal time to implement.

8    Don't fret about the details

Your preferred suppliers might already be booked up now and if you get your heart set on including a particular details at your party you may be disappointed.  The key things are that everyone is well fed, well watered, and kept entertained - whether that's with a disco or something more elaborate.  Get those details right and everyone will forgive the lack of a croupier or photobooth.

9    Relax and go with it!

Don't feel as though you need to take on the responsibility of hosting the event on the night. That's what the event team at your venue are there for!  Organising a Christmas party can be daunting and you've had to turn this around in the tightest of timescales, but if you're working with an experienced venue  this is the time for you to sit back and enjoy the party.

10           Next year - book as early as possible

It's never too early to book your venue.  So while you've no doubt put together a party to remember in quicksmart time this year, why not give yourself more time to plan in 2016?

Venues will be more than happy to talk to you in January about next year's party, and you may even get to secure a very enticing price!  What's more you'll be giving yourself plenty of time to sit back and smugly plan next year's party at leisure, while others do the last minute rush…


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