Have you been assigned to plan your next big office bash? No matter the occasion, being the designated party planner is a lot of pressure. You need to have something for everyone, while staying within an often-too-small budget.
So here are five tips for ensuring that your office shindig will be one for the books.
1. Ditch the open bar, and stick to in-season produce.
While it’s true that everyone loves an open bar, it can also get very costly very fast. “An open bar is probably the fastest way to skyrocket your food and beverage costs,” says Chandra Keel, the owner of Chandra Keel Events in Phoenix. “It is a pricey option and if that’s a concern for you, a better option is to offer beer and wine only, and possibly reduce the number of hours throughout the evening that alcohol is served.” More alcohol also makes alcohol-related problems more likely. So instead of an open bar, support your local community by offering craft beer and/or local wines. And only serve produce that’s in season. It tastes better, it’s healthier, and it’s cheaper.
2. Timing can be everything.
Los Angeles-based party planner Marley Majcher claims that your party’s timing is critical. Instead of planning the office Christmas party during December, when people are scrambling to finish projects before the end of the year, try saving it for January. “If December is your busiest time of year,” she says, “maybe do something the first week of January, so it’s truly a celebration and everyone can let their hair down.”
It’s also important to take the day of the week into consideration. Stick to Fridays or the day before a holiday, so everyone’s “reduced brain capacity” won’t have an impact on work.
3. Keep up with trends.
It’s never a good thing to seem out-of-touch or outdated – styles change, and we should too. Figure out what’s on-trend these days and follow suit as best you can. Food trucks, for example, are all the rage right now. They’re a simple way to instantly inject personality and uniqueness to an event. Try catering your party with a few different local food trucks. There are gourmet, healthy, quirky food trucks just about everywhere these days, and most of the time they are more affordable than you might think, because exposure for them often means repeat business.
4. Encourage socializing.
Create an environment that encourages interaction among co workers. Avoid hiring entertainment
that performs on stage, for instance, because people will just end up watching the show instead of chatting with each other. Look for fun, trendy ice-breaking activities. “I love the idea of a build-your-own mini cake station or a waffle fry bar,” says Rachel Wong, who works at CaterCow in SoHo. “They are something to get people up and mingling and give them something to talk about. It’s especially useful when you have a room full of people who may not know each other too well just yet.” Other ideas are teamwork games, such as human chess or checkers, or trivia.
5. Utilize rentals to make it fun!
One easy way to make a party instantly fun is to rent inflatable play equipment, like the ones offered by this Utah bounce house. Not only are these great for if kids are invited, but if your adult crowd is playful, inflatables are a fun way to break the ice – a nostalgic slice of childhood. Photo booths are another old-school-yet-hip way to make memories and create bonds among co workers. Get creative and make it fun!
This guest post is courtesy of Megan Shockley.