Holiday office party ideas: Picking the right venue

The holiday office party offers co-workers a chance to unwind and have fun together. After a busy year, your staff is probably itching for a good time. Of course, where you have the event is perhaps the most important part. It’ll determine the food you eat, the drinks you enjoy and the tone of the whole evening. With that in mind, here are some tips for choosing the optimal venue for the type of party you want:

Set a budget

If you haven’t already, reach out to company executives to determine your holiday party budget. This will be the maximum amount of money you can spend on the entire event. With that figure in mind, split the cost into sections, such as venue rental, food, beverage, decorations and entertainment. Depending on where you host the party, the venue and catering may be wrapped into one cost category – you’ll find that out as you get further into planning.

You can use budget-estimation tools online to give you a rough idea of what you can spend on each category. However, make sure you update the budget as you go so you’re planning with realistic figures.

Determine size

How much space will you need for your soiree? The answer will depend on how many people are attending the event. Decide whether your budget has room for plus ones, or if you need to limit attendance to just employees. Then, to get an accurate headcount, send save the dates to staff or have them fill out an online survey saying whether they can attend. Round up when calculating the number of attendees, and look for venues that have spaces large enough for your needs. Many venues list capacity limits on their websites, but you can also call prospective locations to get specifics.

People standing together eating and talking at a party.Make sure your holiday party venue can accommodate your entire staff – and maybe even plus ones.

Check out the location

Ideally, your holiday party will take place close to the office. Keeping it nearby ensures employees will be able to get to the venue. Additionally, find out what’s by the location. How close is the nearest train or bus stop? Are there hotels in walking distance for staff members who don’t want to travel far after a night of indulging? Bars and restaurants in the area can serve as after-party hangout spots.

If the venue is more than a mile from your office, add transportation ideas to your business invitations. That way, employees will have the number for cab lines or local bus stop information at top of mind when heading to the party after work.

Find out what’s included

Some venues are merely spaces you can fill however you want while others have in-house catering and beverage service. If you need food and drink at your holiday office party, choose a space that can accommodate. Doing so makes coordinating the event easier. What’s more, make sure table and chair setup is included, and ask about packages the venue offers. In some cases, you might be able to get appetizers, an entree, wine, beer and seating all for one price.

Other services you may need include visual and audio equipment, DJ connections, coat checks and parking.