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Event planning checklist from the experts at Blue Fizz

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Planning a party involves a lot of time and effort  – it can be pretty overwhelming and daunting, especially if you already have a full workload of other things to do. There’ll be a great weight of expectation, so you’ll need to plan and organise well. As Party and Event planners ourselves, we understand the difficulties and extensive process needed to undertake this task. So, we’ve put together an event planning checklist with 12 top tips  to help you plan a perfect party – with extra tips for those planning an upcoming company Christmas party!

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#1: Set the date and ‘Save the date’
Venues get fully booked quickly and there’s often limited availability if you want a large room or suite . If planning early enough in advance, you could circulate a few potential dates to see which one would suit most using the ‘majoritory rules’ theory. Once the date has been agreed and confirmed, send a ‘save the date’ email to notify everyone – communication is key. It’s also a good idea to find out early on if guests have particular dietary requirements.
Key to knowing guest numbers, sending out invites or selling tickets is an important follow up to your initial ‘save the date’ email. Make sure tickets/invites are attractive and theme appropriate and include date, time, theme, RSVP (for invites) and venue address – all obvious but incredibly vital!
Christmas party tip: Some companies prefer to wait until January to kick start the new year and set the tone for the year ahead.


#2: Budget wisely
Once you find out how much money is available to spend on the party, you can then determine the type of  party you organise. It’s really important to find a style and theme that’s suitable – spending carefully and with creativity is crucial to maximizing the budget. Budget will determine the type of venue you choose, food and drink choices, and of course, entertainment. You’ll have to consider expectation too – is food as important as drink, is music as important as venue?
Christmas party tip: Don’t forget that the Christmas Party is a thank you to the staff from the Directors of the Company and this needs to be reflected in how you deliver the party.

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#3: Choose your style

Depending on your guest list size, budget and location, there are a range of Christmas party routes you can go down. The possibilities are endless (check out our styling service and ideas), but you need to focus as early on as possible. Some things to consider:

  • Will the party be a day or evening do? Or both?
  • Are spouses and partners invited?
  • Do you have budget for a bespoke party that brings together different suppliers of catering, entertainment, theming etc? This is where an Events Company can assist- take a look at how we could help
  • Would a packaged party work better for you? The venue can then organise everything. ‘Off the shelf’ packages are a brilliant option when time is a constraint. Christmas party tip: Depending on the size of your company, ‘Off the shelf’ packages can be offered to you as a private party or shared party option

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#4: Find Your Perfect Venue
Shop around for a venue available on your dates and within your budget. Remember to:

  • Find out whether they offer the services you need (bespoke or packaged party) and take into consideration whether the venue is easily accessible for guests. The internet is the best source of information, plus ‘word of mouth’ recommendations
  • Organise a venue visit and if you can, place preferred locations on a provisional hold. Pick the brains of the events team at the venue as they are the experts, to make sure every angle is covered.
  • Find out what’s included in the quote and what will need to be hired in – you don’t want to be caught out with missing catering staff or stuck cleaning up afterwards because it’s not included. Enquire about furniture, tables/chairs, lighting, cutlery, crockery and glassware etc
  • Check what decorations and styling elements will be used on the night and if this works with your party theme
  • Take photos whilst on site for reflection after your visit – the design process will now come into action!
  • Find out about accommodation at or near the venue
  • If you suspect there may be ‘no shows’ find out if you can book a minimum and add guests later
  • Before you sign anything, make sure there are no hidden extras! Ask to hold the date provisionally, see if you can negotiate any discount – always worth a try!!


#5: Choose a Theme

Finding the right theme is crucial – the theme is the heartbeat of your event and it needs to be reflected throughout the party in every aspect. Whether you decide to go formal, wintery or ‘out there’, theming is key for venue decoration and letting everyone know what to wear! Check out our styling ideas such as a Venetian Masked Ball Christmas Party and Gatsby Glamour Ball

  • Some good theme ideas include: Winter Wonderland, Christmas, The Oscars, James Bond, Masquerade, 1920s, Fire and Ice, Narnia, Ballroom, Wild West, Circus and Vintage
  • Venue decoration: Pick out focal points of the venue to decorate – the entrance/arrival drinks, bar and table centres, and make a list of items that relate to your chosen themethat you could use to decorate them
  • Contact themeing companies for props and accessories – or contact Blue Fizz Events and we can source props and do this all for you!

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#6: Eat well
The food at a  party can make or break the happiness of your guests (especially if they’ve paid for a ticket!).

  • You’ll need to decide on in-house catering or external caterers, although if you’ve opted for a package event, catering will most likely be included in the price. In-house tends to be cheaper, and some venues may not allow external caterers, so take into consideration budget and the quality of the venue’s food
  • Decide on the menu and food type – canapés, nibbles, three course meals? If you’ve opted for packaged events, this is probably something you won’t have to worry about but there will still probably be menu selections to be made
  • Organise vegetarian options and find out dietary requirements from guests well in advance to avoid last minute hiccups
  • If you can, ask for a menu tasting – it’s important to be confident with your menu selections

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#7: Cheers!
Drink distribution will depend on your budget. Decide on whether you’re going to pre-order drinks or pay for what is consumed on the night. A good way to distribute evenly is to have set amount of bottles per table or have a waiter service topping up when needed. Alternatively you can have an ‘order from the bar’ system or a drinks table where guests can help themselves. As to which drinks to include in the budget – red and white wines are usually the best for the ‘masses’.
Christmas Party Tip: Festive favourites include Winter Pimm’s, mulled wine, sparkling wine and Christmas cocktails, or you could even come up with a drink related to the theme of your night/design your own cocktail

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#8: Dance the night away

Central to a good party is great music – get it right and partygoers will be talking about it for weeks and months to come so choose carefully! Hiring a great DJ with a brilliant sound system is a very good idea. If you’re using one within the venue, see if you can talk about the play list and make your own suggestions. A live band will always work brilliantly and will inevitably get the crowd on their feet in an instant.
Additional popular entertainments include table to table magicians, casino tables, cabaret/circus act, after dinner speakers and party games. It all depends on budget and whether this suits the theme and style of your party/celebration.

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#9: Take your seats please
A table plan can be something of a tricky task to get right but it is worth the effort to make sure everybody gets the most out of the event – and that any awkward confrontations are avoided. Plan table arrangements so that guests can mingle with colleagues that they wouldn’t usually get the chance to speak to. Bespoke table plans and name cards can be created by team Blue Fizz to add a fabulous bespoke touch to the styling

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#10 Thank you speeches or awards
Make sure the venue is able to provide a microphone with this in mind. With speeches carefully prepared (not too long) and awards selected – this section of the party shouldn’t take too long but long enough for all involved to feel part of something very special.
Christmas Party Tip: The Christmas party is the time for management to connect with employees and thank them for their hard work and dedication throughout the year.

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#11: Finishing touches
Sometimes simple thingscan make all the difference. You want your event to be enjoyable, pleasant and memorable for all the right reasons, so consider providing one or more of the following:

  • Organise a pop up photo booth for fun on the night
  • An event photographer can capture those special moments
  • Provide goody bags for the ladies – a real treat
  • Styling is key – we can create beautiful bespoke elements at a fraction of the cost to give you the designer look to fit the budget
  • A hearty welcome and a warm goodbye – smiles and appreciation go a long way!

 

#12 A fond farewell
Transportation home is important and needs to be organised in advance, particularly if you have to vacate the premises by a certain time. Book buses and minibuses to take groups home. A list of taxis is always useful for those who wish to travel independently.

Happy partying everyone!

For further information on our Party Planning services, please contact enquiries@bluefizzevents.co.uk  or call us on 07845 147563

Tracy Edwards

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