10 Tips To Plan a Company Holiday Party with that “Wow Factor”

It's never too early to begin shopping around for the perfect venue for your holiday gathering. Whether you want to keep the festivities small and intimate or go for that pull-out-all-the-stops bash, we've come up with these 10 tips to make it easy for you to begin and follow through the event-planning process—so take your time, plan accordingly and watch your party guests say, “Wow!”

1. Stick to the budget.

Don’t sway from the budget that corporate, the board members or the boss gave you. Find a venue with flexible options that can give you the most bang for your buck while providing the festive atmosphere you desire. Venue event planners are usually willing to work with you to stretch that budget in the best way possible.

2. Set expectations.

Are you looking to have an zippy happy hour affair, an elaborate buffet or a more formal evening of sit-down fine dining and table service? Determine what the attendees would enjoy more by throwing out a quick employee survey, keeping an eye on company philosophies and strategies.

3. Find the location that best suits everyone’s needs.

Choosing the right location is paramount for any event’s success. Be sure to factor in those who have to travel and locate a convenient spot near public transportation, taxis or Uber access. Do you need to secure accommodations for weary or over-celebratory guests? Does a farmer-chic, modern-industrial or a shabby-hip venue work well with your corporate culture? Take all of this into account when selecting the perfect location for your party.

4. Plan early.

Popular venues book way in advance of holiday (or any) events—especially on peak days and hours. Find an agreeable date and grab it as soon as you can. Bear in mind that sometimes choosing off-peak days during the week can stretch your budget. Planning ahead of time can give attendees time to arrange their schedules, too.

5. Delegate.

If you’re fortunate enough to have fellow employees that can take charge of specific tasks like music, food or drinks, then reach out for assistance. If not, take advantage of those venues that have onsite event planners who can steer you in the right direction and assist you in easily customizing the entire experience.

6. Taste the options.

If possible, we highly recommend visiting a site or two to explore the menu. From hors d’oeuvres, small plates, buffet choices and desserts—nothing can bring a holiday gathering down quicker than bland or unimaginative presentations of cuisine. Remember to account for any dietary restrictions, philosophical or religious concerns of your guests, and then chat with the chef to discuss creative options available.

7. Ask about audio and visual equipment.

Planning on having a keynote speaker or master of ceremonies? Is the boss planning on saying a few words? While scouting for venues, determine the audio, visual and other technical capabilities to make sure those voices are seen and heard.

8. Set the tempo.

Music is essential to any event, but especially during the festive holiday season. Determine if you're looking for subtle background ambience or you’d prefer dancing the night away (or maybe a nice combo of both) and whether you'll be booking a DJ or live band. Many venues can assist you with booking local music professionals for every taste.

9. Consider giveaways or gift-giving.

Nothing says “we appreciate you” like making employee recognition a top priority. Consider using some of the budget to make those that work hard all year feel extra special with small tokens of appreciation like awards, gift cards or gift baskets—plus it works wonders for creating party anticipation.

(our signature macarons available in packs of 6 & 12 make great gifts!)

10. Don’t forget your manners.

Often overlooked, it's a professional gesture to say thank you for attending with a note or an email from the boss (or generate an automatic group message with an online RSVP program).

Planning a holiday party (or any event) shouldn't be stressful and difficult. The goal is for everyone—including you—to have a good time and enjoy yourself. Call us at (215) 616-8500 and we’ll work with you to create the perfect “wow factor” holiday event.

Don't forget to check out our Facebook page, website and blog for information on the latest goings-on at the beautiful Normandy Farm.

Located just 25 minutes from Center City Philadelphia and situated in the heart of Blue Bell, Pa., Normandy Farm Hotel and Conference Center is more than a meticulously restored American landmark—it's a fully wired, high-tech hospitality venue. Relax on our grand terrace, sip a cocktail in America's oldest silo, play a challenging game of golf on our championship course, plan an event with us or dine on our delectable farm-to-table cuisine. It all adds up to One Historic Experience.

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