August 20, 2019
By Madison Layman

Holiday parties range in size and shape, but despite the wide variety most offices have them. Whether to thank clients, celebrate internal success, or for pure fun someone has to plan them. Some companies have a dedicated planner, outsource, or give the daunting task to one individual on staff. If you’re that lucky person in charge of the party, we have a few basics to make sure your holiday party goes off without a hitch.

Lists, lists, lists

Use lists to stay focused. Create a process for assigning tasks that includes an option for needs follow up, underway, completed, and not started. Know everything that needs to happen and don’t assume that because you told someone to do something that it was done.

 Ask for Help

Large events require a small army to accomplish. You may not be throwing a party as elaborate as the Met Gala, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need help. Look at your scope of work early and call in reinforcements. 

Know Your Theme

The theme could be as specific as The Great Gatsby, or as simple as red and green holiday, but stay true to it. The theme should guide everything about your event and help you make decisions about décor, food, invitations, and more.

Décor is Important

Decorating the space can be expensive and time-consuming, but it’s what transforms an office or small venue into a magical place. Lighting is your best friend. Make the area dimmer or bring in outside lighting to make the space feel new.

Watch the Budget

Events are expensive. Prices can jump up in a minute if the headcount increases. Watch the budget and create a buffer for unexpected costs. Know what you spend and when you spend it.

Create a Run of Show

Having a minute by minute breakdown of the days leading up to the event to the hours after for breakdown is helpful. Your event may not be that big, but that doesn’t mean that a Run of Show won’t come in handy. Schedule out deliveries, set up, and more as they need to happen. 

Think About Your Guests

Visualize the event from the guest’s perspective. Think through where your guests will go, where they’ll sit, what they’ll eat, how they’ll eat, and where they’ll congregate. Anticipate high volume areas and arrange the room to accommodate the flow. Think through the possible speedbumps in order to provide the best experience possible.

 Test the Speakers

Are you bringing in talent or just playing piped-in background music? Know where you stand and what needs to be done to make it add, not detract, from the event. If music is being piped in, make sure to test it early. If you’re using a Spotify playlist, download it! You don’t want a faulty internet connection to wreak havoc on the ambiance.


Keep your team up to speed. That means making sure your ‘client’ or boss knows big picture what is happening and you know what they expect. When managing your team, keep them up to date on information that pertains to them.

Breathe, take tasks one at a time, and enjoy the party!


Madison Layman

A graduate of the College of William and Mary, my passion for writing began before I could read, with a nightly verbal diary dictation transcribed by my obliging parents.

When I'm not writing, you can find me binge-watching TV shows, baking elaborate desserts, and memorizing pop culture facts.

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