Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Company Holiday Party Checklist (Part I)

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Renaissance Place1The task of planning the company holiday party comes with an event planning checklist rivaling most large weddings—even when trying to simplify. In fact, there are so many factors to consider when throwing a company holiday party that we had to break it down in multiple blog posts.

Company atmosphere, number of employees, budget and holiday traditions dictate the type of company holiday party thrown, but companies have many options for hosting their party, and factors to consider along the way:

Date. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? With a company holiday party, it’s not that simple. Today’s event planners have options for party dates that go beyond the traditional December evening cocktail party:

  • January or February party. Want to wait until after the crazy holiday season? Consider a winter gathering in January or February.
  • A longer party for bigger crowds. If you’re worried about having staff to man the phones through the day, or have a larger crowd but don’t want to book a large venue for your hundreds or thousands of employees, hold an “open gingerbread house” holiday party with festivities that last throughout the day. You’ll not only save money on venue rental but your employees appreciate the option to come when it works best for them.
  • Afternoon party or luncheon. Consider a luncheon at a venue outside of the corporate headquarters. Sure we all love to be able to duck back to our desks to check our voicemails, but a company holiday party should be your employees’ chance to get away from the office. Book a venue for an “off day”—a week day when events are typically not held—during the afternoon when venues offer discounted rates. Host a simple, professional party or a more casual affair during the work day.

Attendance Policy.  This is a quandary ever company has faced: how do you handle attendance at a company holiday party? The simple reality is that not every employee is comfortable attending, and it has nothing to do with their feelings for the company. Another reason why an employee may not be able to attend is logistics, such as finding a babysitter, or scheduling if they have other commitments at that time. There are a few different policies companies have used to handle attendance:

  • This is a policy many companies use, especially if the party is planned during the day, but not recommended by most event planners.
  • Work or attend. If hosting a party during the work day, many companies give employees the option to stay at the office and work or attend the gathering. If this is the option your company chooses, make sure that everyone who wants to attend can and no one is left behind.
  • Employees’ choice. Employees can choose to attend, or not attend.

Alcohol. If holding a holiday party during the work day, or if hosting a luncheon where employees are expected to return to work, every company can choose to limit or choose not to have alcohol at the party. Don’t feel obligated to have alcohol at your event, but don’t be afraid to serve alcohol either. Make sure the decision is approved by your top managers, and your legal counsel.

There’s so much more to consider when planning your holiday party. Check back for Part II of the checklist for company holiday party planning.

How to Choose the Right Wedding Venue

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10632619_10152731218526803_2716563146322134270_nYou’re getting married. Congratulations! Before you design the invitations, or plan the flowers, you’ll need to start by choosing the right wedding venue for your special day. While choosing the right venue sounds easy, reserving the perfect site is a lot like Goldilocks in the story about the three bears. You need to find a site that’s not too big and not too small. Fortunately, you don’t have to eat porridge to find the “just right” venue, but finding the place that’s perfect does require a conversation with your fiancé about all the factors you both need to consider when selecting the perfect wedding venue:

  • There are two ways to use your date to find the right wedding venue. First you can have several dates available and contact wedding venues about what dates are open. If your heart is set on a wedding venue and date, reserve the hall on that specific date as soon as possible (years in advance)—or ask for open dates and choose that date for your wedding. The second option is to set your dates and contact halls about that date. Once you know the facility is available, you can set up appointments to tour the sites that have your ideal date available.
  • Your needs. Do you need a ceremony and reception site? Ask about the size of the hall. Do you need accommodations for out-of-town guests? Use a map to make sure the wedding venue is close to hotels. Do you need a caterer? Ask the venue manager about what services they provide. Do you have a caterer or other vendor that you want to use? If you have a vendor, you want to use, contact halls and ask what vendors they allow in to their facility. A few facilities even have an open door policy, and allow any company in to their venue. Does the venue have space for all your guests? To find the right site for your wedding, make a list of questions and your needs for the wedding. Ask the manager at each venue the questions before you tour the hall. If the venue won’t allow your preferred caterer, there is no reason to go visit.
  • Your style. Are you a couple with traditional tastes? Do you like historic facilities? Prefer a barn out in the country? Talk with your fiancé about what kind of wedding he or she envisions to make sure you are contacting and visiting venues that match your tastes and style.
  • Your budget. As you research facilities, ask for pricing information so you have a clear idea of all expenses. If you are looking for a way to save money, ask about weekday rates or set your wedding on a Friday or Sunday. Many halls have cheaper rates for these days.
  • How much planning help you need. Are you busy and need help with coordinating your wedding? Ask each venue about wedding planning services.

Once you’ve set your wedding venue criteria, set up appointments to visit the hall. If you can’t personally visit the hall, send someone you trust. Make sure you ask questions and confirm every detail, and enjoy your storybook transformation from Goldilocks finding the right place to one of those fabled princesses or princes who finally finds true love.