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With only a few weeks to go, we look at how you can still "organise a great Christmas party":http://www.venues.org.uk/christmas-party-ideas.asp
The recent fine weather we have enjoyed has surely made all of us feel that the year isn’t as old as the calendar would suggest. The Indian Summer has resulted in people still wearing lighter clothes rather than the pullovers and coats that we would normally expect to out on in late October. Winter seems to be a long way off,
And yet, whether we like it or not, December is only a few weeks away and this means that Christmas is looming on the horizon.
It seems that every pub and restaurant has some kind of Christmas tree display that proudly announces that establishment’s festive offer. There will also be few people in the events industry who haven’t been bombarded with marketing collateral from a host of venues and other service suppliers all eagerly unveiling what they can do to make your corporate event or party the best ever.
Another thing that often catches out event organisers is that large numbers of other organisers have already booked their "Christmas parties":http://www.venues.org.uk/searches/christmas_parties_venues.asp, some as early as the previous February.
This can lead to the panic that there will be nowhere left in which to stage the event of the year. This, however, is far from the case as there is still plenty of space for you in which to put something together.
We have spoken to a number of venues on the venues.org database and come up with our guide to getting your party up and running even now.
Book your venue now
There’s now no time left to waste. There are still plenty of venues left so use the venues.org website to narrow down the places that suit your brief. It’s worth considering the logistics of the event, there’s little point in booking somewhere miles from where most of the guests will be travelling from if you can’t arrange suitable transport or accommodation in the time that’s left. Be clear about what you want to get out from the event and don’t necessarily book the first one that gets back to you with availability. Even though time is running out there is still time to shop around
Look carefully at the diary
The festive season is traditionally busy so you need to make sure that the proposed date of your party isn’t a day when half your staff are out at other people’s events.
Talk to the venue team
You may feel stressed and panicky about not having enough time in which to stage the event but the venue team will have seen it all before and will have plenty of experience and ideas that they can share with you. They will also have contact details for service providers such as disco, band and caterers who will also be able to provide vital input.
Think carefully about the entertainment
You should know your staff pretty well and have a good idea about the sort of thing they would find entertaining. Book the entertainment to suit this need, not what you would like to hear. Just because you are a fan of grand opera doesn’t mean your staff will want to sit through selections from Wagner’s ring Cycle at their "Christmas party":http://www.venues.org.uk/searches/christmas_parties_venues.asp.
Fix crucial details with your caterer
The sooner you talk to the caterer the sooner they can start putting together a memorable spread, Caterers love to show off their skill but they need time and your input to help them achieve your ambitions. Also, don’t forget to tell them about any special dietary requirements that guests may have.
Fix a budget with your event manager
As long as you know what budget you have you will be able to control costs from start to finish and your event manager will know how much they have to decorate the venue and certain other add-ons that will make the party even more memorable. This is especially true with the drinks bill which, if not decided early, can often escalate.
What happens after the event?
The do is likely to finish late which means that you’ll need to consider how your guests are going to get home safely, especially if the last tubes and trains have stopped running. Many companies nowadays put up their guests in nearby hotels as this can often work out cheaper than sending them home in a taxi. It also means they are closer to work the next day when the inevitable results of a wild party have worked their full effect!
Double check what’s going on
You may feel you’re being a pain in the neck but you mustn’t be frightened of phoning up the various service providers to check that everything is going to plan. Certainly it’s a busy time of year for them too, but it’s in their interests that your event goes according to expectation. After all, you’ll be looking for a place to hold the "party":http://www.venues.org.uk/christmas-party-ideas.asp next year.
Finally, don’t forget to have a great time yourself
It may be about your guests really, but you have put in lots of hard work so sit down, relax, have a mouthful of champers and enjoy!!
We hope it all goes well