Cold weather has arrived and the holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s time to begin planning your end-of-year and holiday parties. But with so much to do this time of year, you may be feeling overwhelmed. We’re here to help – read on for a handy guide for planning a holiday party your clients won’t forget.
Step One: Party Planning Basics
Before you get to the fun stuff, you have to get the details out of the way. Start with setting a budget and choosing a date, venue, and theme. Will you be hosting the event in-office, or would you prefer to book a space? If it’s the latter, get started early, as popular event spaces are often booked weeks or even months in advance. Think about factors like guest count, convenience, and comfort when evaluating venues.
When choosing a date, keep in mind that your clients will often have other parties to attend, not to mention family events and obligations. Holding your event earlier in the season or on lower-traffic days makes it more likely for more clients to be free to attend. As for the theme, you can be as simple or intense as you like depending on your budget and venue. The decisions you make at this stage of planning will dictate the decisions you make down the line, so be sure to give these questions careful consideration.
Step Two: Get Your Guests Excited
Once all the logistics are worked out, it’s time to invite your guests and begin promoting the event. Be sure to give plenty of advance notice – no one wants to hear about an event at the last minute, especially if there’s a theme or special dress code.
When it comes to invitations, be sure they match the tone and theme of the event. For more casual events, an email invitation could be enough. If you’re holding a more involved event or just want to go the extra mile, you can send physical invitations to your guests – and for that, you’ll need a skilled designer and copywriter.
Don’t forget to ask your guests to RSVP! Many advisors accept RSVPs via phone or email, but you can also consider creating a Facebook event for your party.
Step Three: Food, Décor, and More
You can’t relax yet – before you can step back and enjoy your party, you have to provide the set up. Will you be serving food or drinks at your event? Will you need a caterer? A bartender? What about entertainment? Smaller events can get by with a well-crafted holiday playlist, but blow-out bashes might require something on a larger scale. Like venues, food and entertainment vendors are often booked well in advance, so start your research early!
You’ll also want decorations. These can be as simple as festive cups and plates or as complex as banners and custom tablecloths – it’s all up to you and your budget.
If you’re not hiring entertainment, consider what other activities you will use to keep your guests happy and occupied. Will there be dancing? What about a White Elephant or Secret Santa gift exchange? The holidays are a great time for charity, and there are plenty of ways to turn a typical holiday party into an opportunity to make a difference in your community.
Step Four: The Day of the Party
The big day is finally here, but before you let your hair down, don’t forget to review the party details and schedule one more time. Review expectations with your office staff and hired vendors, if you have them. What time should they arrive? What should they wear?
Make sure the venue is clean and well-decorated. Prepare any party favors you may have and get ready to welcome your guests!
During the event, be sure that you or a member of your staff is documenting the event with pictures and video. These will be helpful assets in the future for showing off how much fun you had celebrating with your clients.
Step Five: After the Party
The party doesn’t end when the last guest leaves – to leave a lasting positive impression, follow up with everyone who attended with a simple thank you note or email. This personal touch will go a long way with your client relationships. Let them know that you appreciate their business and enjoyed hosting them for the holidays and wish them a joyous holiday season. This is also a great opportunity to remind them about end-of-year planning appointments and any other upcoming events you may have.
Planning the perfect holiday party doesn’t have to be stressful. Consider your clients and what they’re like and think about what they’ll enjoy. With a little time and imagination, your party is sure to be one for the books.