If you are responsible for planning your work Christmas do, the pressure is on to arrange an unforgettable night that everyone will enjoy. It’s a tough job and one that can leave even the most experienced party planner quaking in their boots. One of the biggest decisions you will have to make is the venue. So how do you choose a party space that will keep Dave in accounts happy, while also appealing to your super serious boss Suzanne, AND at the same time keeping your street cred high with Chantelle and the young blood coming through the ranks?
Read on to find out what CEME Conference Centre’s events manager, Ranjith Kumar, suggests when it comes to the treacherous path of xmas party organising!
“First and foremost start planning it early.” Ranjith warns. “The late summer months are a great time to start. Not only will all your key venues have their Christmas packages arranged, but planning early will allow you time to go visit each of the sites and directly compare each package. Don’t forget venues such as CEME Conference Centre will offer early bird deals, so booking early can save you considerable money too. Venues will start taking Christmas bookings as early as January, so there really is no such thing as planning too early.”
Know what you want
The venue you choose will depend entirely on what you want your works Christmas party to be. It’s always a good idea to canvas your colleagues first on dates and preferences and take note of any personal or religious beliefs. If a large number of your colleagues are non-drinking vegans, they will not going to enjoy a wine tasting themed event with a menu consisting entirely of a hog roast.
You also need to be sure of your budget and have and idea of how the majority of your partygoers will be travelling to and from the venue. That stately house in the middle of nowhere may look luxurious, but if no one can get home at the end of the night you’ll be in trouble.
Ranjith continued, “The key to a great event is finding that middle ground that everyone will enjoy. It’s a tricky thing to find, so going with a venue that has a bit of something for everyone is your best bet. Whether you have a DJ or a band, designated space for people to dance is a must, as is a designated bar area. For those who like the quieter life, (or who just want to be able to chat away from the DJ’s speaker system) ensuring that there is lots of space for tables and chairs to stay out after your meal, is really important.”
Visit the venue
Nothing gives off the atmosphere of a place and lets you check out the attitude of the staff like a visit to the venue. It also allows you to check out parking arrangements, public transport links and get a feel for its facilities. Are the toilets clean? Are the communal areas well kept? Do the receptionists smile as you enter the building? How accessible is the venue?
Remember the area is unlikely to be dressed for Christmas celebrations, (so a bit of imagination may be required) but you can still check out the space. Will it be big enough for your guests? Where will the dance floor be situated? Will the venue hire also include theming (will the venue dress the party space for you) or if this is something you will have to arrange yourself?
Ranjith commented, “Each venue will be able to show you room layout options and pictures from their previous events, giving you a good idea of how your Christmas party will look. Venues such as CEME offer you a dedicated events team (included within the package price) to take the stress away from organizing your Christmas party. It not only means that you have professional help in making it a night to remember, but you will be able to enjoy the festivities too.”
“Make sure to ask if your venue is for exclusive hire for your party and remember to ask if security is included in the cost. This means that you can rest assured there will be no unwanted gate crashers and that everyone can enjoy the celebrations.”
What are the package options?
It seems an obvious question, but make sure you find out what is included in every package that is available at each venue. All will have minimum and maximum numbers. Some will offer different food options, such at hot buffets or three course meals, some will be inclusive of drinks, some come will full entertainment included, others may just be for the venue hire only.
When comparing packages and prices per head make sure you are aware of any additional charges – not all venues may be up-front with every cost. At CEME our prices include VAT. Our packages include:
- Themed Christmas venue
- Sparkling wine reception
- Option of a 3-Course Traditional Christmas dinner or Hot 2-Course Festive buffet
- Half bottle of wine per person (with the 3-Course Dinner option only)
- Cash bar
- Snow machine
- DJ, Dancing and light show until 1am
Find out more about CEME’s Christmas Party packages
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or talk through your requirements
“Last but not least, successful events depend on clear communication. Make sure that you and your venue are on the same page by talking through all your requirements. Excellent venues will be flexible enough to cater for different dietary requirements and will be open to discussing changes to set packages. If you have a query or request, just ask, and if on the rare occasion the answer is no, there is usually a really good reason behind it, or an alternative they can offer.”
Ranjith leaves with this last bit of advice, “The bottom line is that your events venue will be happy to answer any questions you have. Don’t forget, the events team are there to help you create the best event possible, so that you keep coming back – not just for Christmas parties, but room hire for meetings, training days, team building and the like.”
You can find out more about what Ranjith and the CEME Conference Centre team can do for your Christmas party here.