No-Stress Tips for Planning an Elegant Celebration and Helping Party-Goers Enjoy The Fun
Planning sometimes takes the fun out of the party, but that shouldn’t happen again with the following nine tips.
Forget getting down to business — it’s time to just get down. A solid quarter, semester or year of work deserves a reward, and a party certainly fits the bill. A celebration with colleagues is equal parts exciting and relaxing, casual and memorable. The only problem with parties is that they can be a bit of a pain to plan, especially when it comes to professional soirées. Whether you’re a novice party planner or have been creating fabulous invitations and planning bashes for years, you can probably stand to learn a few tips.
Consider the following nine party-planning pointers that will surely impress:
1. Set a Budget (or Get a Budget from Someone)
Bosses and non-bosses, take note: a budget should be the first consideration for any party. Fortunately, it’s easy to pitch parties to higher-ups, as get-togethers tend to boost morale and camaraderie amongst team members. Don’t worry if the amount provided seems small: no matter how many zeros are at the end of your budget, you can plan something worthwhile.
2. Get Crafty with Invites
What’s more likely to make an impression: a quick e-mail with the date and time of an upcoming party or an actual paper invitation with some color and personality? Okay, that question was easy. It’s much more exciting to receive a physical invitation to a party, and it’s way more memorable. No need to worry about people not showing up after they’ve received “an invitation with intrigue.” And if there are going to be snacks, games or prizes, be sure that’s a prominent part of the invite.
3. Answer Questions About Attire
Some office parties take place out of the office. A Friday night spent drinking cocktails and mingling will certainly require a different get-up than everyday office attire. Partygoers like to know exactly how they should dress when attending an event, and they appreciate a more casual setting. A summer shindig might be casual, while the annual holiday party may require cocktail attire. Put this information on the invitation, too.
4. Decorate, No Matter What
A party in the third-floor conference room is a party nonetheless. Make it feel that way with decorations that transform the vibe from business to pleasure. Peruse online Pinterest boards to find simple ways to create party decorations. Or simply visit the local party supply store to find inexpensive decorations. Some spaces will require more love than others, so budget accordingly.
5. Turn On the Tunes
A party with ten of your best friends won’t fall victim to awkward silences, but a party with ten of your professional colleagues might. A great way to defuse possible tension is to play background music, or play a movie if there’s a screen available. Not only will entertainment snuff out any silence, it’ll give people something to talk about.
6. Feed Everyone
Vegetarian. Gluten-free. Vegan. Paleo. Carnivore. It’s a party planner’s job to prepare for anything that might come up, and, nowadays, it’s basically guaranteed that at least one partygoer will have food restrictions or requests. A well-crafted menu can solve all of this in a heartbeat. If you don’t have the budget for catering, ask employees to bring appetizers, mains or desserts for a fun potluck. They’ll be able to tailor their creations to their own dietary restrictions, too.
7. Make Yourself at Home
Imagine that you’re throwing a party at your own house for your own friends. Would you sit down as they show themselves inside? Would you let them figure out where the drinks are, or what time the festivities kick off? Probably not. Office parties require the same direction so that guests feel at ease as soon as they arrive. Greeting and directing at a large-scale party might be more than one party planner can handle, so make sure there is clear and ample signage where needed.
8. Leave Business Behind
Party equals party. There should be no talk of deadlines, pitches, projects or bothersome clients, no matter how much some attendees might be tempted. In order to reroute conversations, many professional parties rely on games or activities to break the ice. A summer barbecue, for example, might employ horseshoes, beanbag tosses and even potato-sack races to keep everyone focused on the fun stuff.
9. Keep an Eye Out for Everyone
Let’s be honest. Sometimes office parties can get a bit wilder than anticipated. Sure, that’s a sign that everyone is having a great time, but it also means that some employees might be in danger when it comes time to making the trek home. Plan ahead by scheduling a few taxis to wait outside of the event to chauffeur attendees to their abodes.
After the event is over, you can rest easy knowing that you threw a great party and everyone got home safely. And you can then applaud yourself for a party well planned!7