It’s that time of year again, and you need to begin planning your company’s Holiday Party! Everyone has worked so hard, and it’s up to you to reward their efforts with a great time…right!? There are many factors, deadlines, and challenges to consider when planning these types of events. Here are some tips to make the entire process a little bit easier.

1. Budget

Get this not so fun one, out of the way first. Before planning anything, you’ll need to have a budget established. By having a solid idea of how much money, you have to work with, you will easily be able to determine the location of your event and which amenities to include. By strategically managing budget, you’ll be able to make sure that you create the very best party for your team-you might want to consider offering a Cocktail reception, live music or even s’mores fireside to end the night!

2. Number of People

Knowing the number of people attending is key in determining the space you need, and ultimately, which venue to book. If cost is an issue, consider hosting a holiday party lunch instead of dinner. A daytime event can eliminate the need to give employees the option to invite another guest and also accommodates employee holiday schedules. Also, keep in mind that time out of the office during the workday is also a nice perk for your team! Day events can also help avoid issues around alcohol as it is possible that your team will be returning to work. Smaller groups also allow for a more intimate setting which gives your team the opportunity to connect with their coworkers.

3. Plated or Buffet Meals

It’s most likely that you’ll want to include a presentation during your event to celebrate the year’s accomplishments. If so, a plated meal is an excellent choice to avoid audience distractions. Besides, this type of setting is great if you’d like more control over the menu items and portions. On the other hand, it may cause a little more legwork because you’ll need to determine the counts for the main entrée choices in advance. If you desire a more relaxed setting, a buffet style setup may be for you. You’ll typically be able to offer more food options (a bonus for picky eaters), and because your team will be up and moving around, mingling is more likely. A more casual, yet elegant option, is to offer a heavy reception of tapas or dessert. This allows attendees to be moving around while they mingle, really livening up the event.

4. Day event or evening event

When planning evening events, you can include live music, dancing and a cocktail reception! Sounds fun, doesn’t it!?  Daytime events have significant benefits, as well. You’ll be able to ensure all employees can attend, especially those with conflicting holiday schedules.  Also, a daytime event will allow your hardworking team to enjoy the day knowing they will be spending a few hours outside of the office, um yes, please! Overall, both are great choices – it’s up to you to determine the best time to celebrate everyone’s hard work for the year.

5. Location: Location, location, location…

This sets the tone to the event. If it’s a night event and you are interested an upscale setting, you may want to look for a private ballroom. There are also venues that offer a beach view, woodsy ambiance, or garden setting. Perhaps an outdoor BBQ event with some fun team building activities on the beach may best fit your culture. However, especially here on the California coast make sure to consider the weather. Weather in the Monterey area is unpredictable in December. One day it’s 70 degrees and the next it can be pouring rain. Booking an indoor venue that has large windows, natural sunlight, and wide doors to open, maybe the best solution to keep clear of the rain. Driving distances and time are also a factor to consider. Find out if the venue you are planning to work with provides shuttle services. Investigate what their parking situation is like. Will there be a fee to park? Is there a parking garage? Is there limited parking? You definitely wouldn’t want your guests to struggle to get to the event. Also, check for nearby activities as well as lodging options. This can motivate employees to extend the celebration by spending a weekend in the area. This makes for the perfect way to unwind at the end of another great year!

For more information on booking Holiday Parties, please contact Natascha von Thiele, Event Coordinator, Asilomar Conference Grounds.