Holiday Party Planning Checklist
Planning ideas for a holiday party is a big job. Whether you’re party planning for the office or for friends and family, there is a lot that goes into pulling off the ultimate holiday gathering.
If you’re trying to plan a holiday party but don’t know where to start, read on! The pros at Eco Caters have put together a holiday party planning checklist so you can celebrate stress-free.
Pour yourself a cup of coffee (with a little peppermint whipped cream), and let’s dive in.
The Party Planning Process
When you’re planning a big party, you have to start somewhere, and this is the part that can often feel overwhelming. A few months before the party, get started with some simple preparations to help you feel organized.
The Guest List
Making a guest list is always the right place to start. If you’re throwing an office party, the guest list will be pretty simple to put together. But if you’re having an intimate sit-down holiday brunch with a handful of friends, it might take a bit longer to narrow the list down.
When you’re planning a party, it’s always a good idea to get some help! Maybe you have a family member who loves making seating cards or know a baker who wants to take on the task of the holiday cupcakes. Getting help and delegating tasks will take some of the load off for the main planner and help the experience to be more enjoyable.
Budget is one of the main factors that go into all-party planning. Whether you’re planning a massive holiday party or a tiny one, it’s a good idea to set a budget and stick to it. Food, drinks, a venue, and decorations add up fast, so setting and sticking to your budget will help to eliminate the unnecessary expenses that creep in.
A good place to start with party invitations is to choose whether you’ll do mailed invites or an email invite. These days, you can even send out a big text message with a ‘save the date’ so that folks know about the party ahead of time and can prepare accordingly. Some party guests might have to make babysitting arrangements or get the evening off work, so it’s courteous to give them ample time to plan.
One of the most crucial parts of any party is the menu. First, decide whether you’ll do the cooking yourself or hire a caterer to do it. If you’ll be doing it yourself, it’s a big undertaking, so it’s wise to think of dishes that you can prep ahead of time. You’ll most likely want a mix of appetizers, entree, dessert, and drinks. You can also go the route of full appetizers, which is fun for holiday cocktail parties.
If you’re hiring a caterer, reach out ahead of time so that you can work together within your budget. Many caterers are full food service and bring all the plates, utensils, and linens. Try to decide on the caterer as soon as you can, so that you can book your date and check that task off the to-do list.
Depending on what sort of party you’re throwing, games are one of the best parts of the planning a holiday party checklist. If guests don’t know each other, games are also an excellent way to break the ice and get people feeling comfortable and at ease. Plan a game for cocktail hour, when guests are sipping a beverage, moving around and mingling.
Holiday parties and holiday decorations go hand-in-hand. If you’re hosting a holiday party, it’s incredible how much ambiance twinkle lights and other seasonal decorations can add. For a New Year’s party, think sparkle and all things fancy and glittery. Unless you’re hiring a professional decorator, enlisting the help of a few crafty friends for this part of the party planning is a great idea.
Music is an important component of any good holiday party. If you’re planning to hire a DJ, make sure to equate this expense when mapping out your budget. Though it’s an added expense, having a DJ will add a layer of fun and encourage guests to dance and let loose. You can also craft a playlist with a mix of holiday classics. Send out an email ahead of time and ask guests for a favorite song or two. Not only will this alleviate some of the party planning on your end, but it will get guests excited the night of the event, too.
When it comes to the holiday party planning checklist, know that all good parties need to be documented! Set up a simple photo booth with some holiday-inspired props to encourage guests to take and share photos. You can even come up with your own creative photo hashtag so that all the photos can live in one place once the party ends. Most people carry their phones with them, so a professional photographer isn’t always necessary. Of course, if the budget allows, hiring a photographer always adds to the festive nature of a gathering.
Whether you’re planning a giant party for the whole neighborhood, or a small office party for your department, there are lots of aspects that go into planning the perfect party.
From the menu to the decor, each part of the holiday party planning checklist is equally as important. If you need help with food and drink on your menu, reach out to Eco Caters today.
We provide organic holiday catering options focused on fresh, seasonal ingredients that will excite your guests and have them buzzing about your party for years.
We dedicate to sustainability, specialty menus, and delicious food! We look forward to helping you fine-tune your vision with our holiday catering and celebrate in taste and style.