Jodie Guilford, Event Sales Manager at the Science Museum in London, provides the perfect equation for a successful Christmas party.
Bespoke vs packaged Christmas party
One of the main dilemmas that crops up when organising a Christmas party is whether to go bespoke or whether to choose a venue offering a specific festive package.
We tend to find that clients really enjoy the flexibility of choosing a specific theme, catering options, timings and entertainment that really suit the type of party they want to organise.
Themed packages have their own appeal to many companies. For those that are maybe a little late in booking their party, a themed package is often a blessing in disguise. Catering and entertainment are already organised and just the guest list is left to finalise. Themed packages are also often the cheaper option of the two, especially if your creative juices (and budget) are likely to run away with you if you opt for a bespoke party.
For bespoke parties make sure to consider the following points:
• Venue – Identify suitable venues that have availability, are within budget and are accessible for guests. Make sure the venue matches the objectives of the event – if you are looking for an interactive and fun experience for guests, this can be accommodated in a museum, for example, while for a more elegant and secluded Christmas party, a stately home may be more suitable. Site visits are a must and make sure to discuss the brief with the events team to ensure your vision for the party can be accommodated.
• Catering – Make sure to inform the caterers of any dietary requirements beforehand. The traditional roast dinner may be the norm for Christmas parties, but if you want to offer something a little different, talk to your caterers about a finger buffet to get employees mingling, or perhaps even themed food. We once had a client book a Christmas dinner for 25 in our Making of the Modern World gallery that seats 450 guests. They were situated in the middle of the gallery among some of our most famous objects on one table and enjoyed an evening of molecular catering with dry ice cocktails and glow in the dark starters.
• Entertainment – There is nothing worse than a Christmas party that reminds you of a school disco. If you have chosen a unique venue, make use of your surroundings and let your guests tour the collections pre or post-dinner. Otherwise, choose entertainment that suits your event and fits in with the theme, if you have one, as well as keeping in mind what your guests will enjoy.
Whether you decide to go with a bespoke party or a themed package, make sure you inform staff members of the dress code – it is a particularly embarrassing experience to turn up at a fancy dress party in a cocktail dress or suit and vice versa.
Something that must not be left off the Christmas party ‘to-do list’ is duty of care. Making sure your staff behave appropriately and get home safely does indeed fall at the feet of the employer. It is essential that you provide all relevant information regarding getting to the venue, the behaviour expected of them during the party and the nearest tube and train stations, including the times of the last train. If the night Tube in London comes into play before Christmas, this will be a welcome relief to employers and staff members alike.
Organising a Christmas party really isn’t rocket science. The key is in the planning.
Clients that choose the bespoke option at the Science Museum are able to use any part of the museum to make it relevant to their industry or company objectives and the client can create a completely unique experience for their guests. For more information, visit bit.ly/1GM1cd9