Holiday Event Planning Tips

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Cooler temps and the return of pumpkin spice lattes signal the end of summer and the perfect time to start thinking about your employee or client holiday party.

At Coterie Worklounge we’re well versed in event planning and hosting. Our versatile space allows us to put on events of all shapes and sizes from boardroom meetings to corporate seminars and cocktail receptions to formal dinners. We offer a full bar and catering services. We love a good office holiday party - allow us take care of your team and clients! Contact us for details.

Whether you choose to work with us or another venue, consider these useful tips for planning your event.

Decide on the basics

Event budget - Your budget will determine the specifics for your event. Having a budget in place before contacting venues and vendors will save you time and temper your expectations. Keep in mind the point of a holiday party is to show your appreciation - splurge a little, if you can.

Event format - Will the event be a luncheon, dinner, cocktail reception….dance party? Will it be casual or formal? Will there be a formal presentation?

Guest list - Is the event for employees? Will all employees be invited, or will each department have their own party? Is the event for clients? Which clients will be invited - everyone or just the top tier? May invitees bring guests? Are children welcome?

Date & Time - Select 2-3 desired dates for your event. Venue managers will appreciate your flexibility and it will save a lot of back and forth if your first preferred date is unavailable. The holidays are extremely busy for venues and vendors. High demand drives up costs and impacts availability. You might consider holding your event on less busy days (Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday at Coterie Worklounge) or after the busy season (in January).

Reserve a venue

After you’ve decided on your basic event elements, your next step is to reserve a venue. We don’t recommend moving forward with any other event details until you’ve locked in a venue that meets all of your needs. Ask the venue manager these questions:

  1. Is your space available for my preferred date(s) AND times? Remember to factor in setup and breakdown time as necessary.

  2. Will your space accommodate my estimated guest count?

  3. Can  you execute my event format?

  4. Do you provide food, beverage, labor, furniture, and A/V equipment? If not, do you require the use of approved vendors?

  5. What parking options are available?

  6. What deposits are required and what is your cancellation policy?

Once you’re confident in the venue’s ability to accommodate your event, reserve the space immediately and pay any required deposits. Any delay could cause you to lose your preferred date and time. Most venues do not consider a space reserved until both a signed contract and a deposit are in hand.

Book your vendors

Food & Beverage - Most food & beverage vendors will not require you to provide a final headcount until 7-10 days before your event. Regardless of the format, it’s important for your guests to have a means of confirming their attendance by a strict deadline. This will ensure you order enough to eat and drink, and minimize waste (expense).

Whether you opt for passed apps, a buffet or plated dinner, make sure to offer options to accommodate possible dietary preferences and restrictions: vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, shellfish allergies, etc. Most caterers account for food sensitivities but you might want to confirm their back up plan before the event.  

Most beverage vendors will lay out your service options based on your budget. If it’s on the low end, they may suggest serving only beer and wine. Larger budgets will accommodate open bars, custom cocktails, and high end spirits.

Entertainment - If you plan to have a DJ, live band, dancers, acrobats, flamethrowers or any form of entertainment, make sure to clear it with the venue first. There may be logistic or legal limitations in place.

Photographer - Unless you plan to use photos from your office holiday party in an official capacity, there is no need to hire a professional photographer. Guests will use their phone cameras to capture moments that mean most to them. Photo booths with festive props are a great alternative - they’re relatively inexpensive to rent or easy to DIY if you have the equipment.

The holidays will be here before you know it - start planning now! If you’re interested in seeing our space or booking your event at Coterie Worklounge, please send us an email.


Suzette Sparks