Dos and don’ts of planning a Christmas party

November 28, 2019

Here at No.4 Hamilton Place we love a Christmas party. The lights, the food, the music, the atmosphere… every little detail plays its part in creating a magical night for you and your colleagues. Between us, our team has organised hundreds of London Christmas parties for a wide range of businesses and associations and we’ve learned a thing or two along the way. We’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts to help you navigate the planning journey and host a memorable event.

Dos

Food

Do – ‘try to break down the day-to-day office hierarchy – it’s essential for a successful Christmas party. A great way to help with mingling is to serve a buffet, rather than a sit-down meal. The informality of this set up gives guests from all departments and levels of seniority the chance to rub shoulders and make new friends.’ Paulo Ferreira, Head Chef.   

Catering

Do – ‘go big on vegetarian and vegan options. There’s a rise in people ticking these boxes on their RSVPs and remember, these can be enjoyed by all of your guests without other dietary requirements, so you can’t over do it.’  Paulo Ferreira, Head Chef.  

Drink

Do – ‘spend time creating a delicious, alcohol-free cocktail menu. The number of non-drinkers is going up every year, so make sure they’re thoughtfully catered for.’ Debbie Heath, Catering Operations Manager.  

Decorations

Do – ‘go classy with the decorations. There’s nothing wrong with novelty, Christmas fun, (we love an inflatable Santa as much as the next person) but it’s not the only way to create a festive atmosphere. Think green, white and red seasonal flowers (holly, mistletoe etc.) with fairy lights draping the walls and in bottles dotted around your space.’ Olivia Easby, Event Coordinator.

Scheduling

Do – ‘begin your evening with a drinks reception. Even if you’re serving a sit-down meal, an hour-long, pre-dinner drinks reception is a great way to warm up your guests and give any late-comers time to settle.’ Olivia Easby, Events Coordinator.  

Planning

Do – ‘get ahead when booking your venue. Key dates at popular venues can get booked up nearly a whole year in advance. You don’t want to be left with having to hold your Christmas party on a Tuesday lunchtime in November!’ Bharat Dave, Senior Events Coordinator.

Games

Do – ‘organise some games for your guests. Office Christmas parties are about celebrating and having fun, so what better way to encourage people to let their hair down? Just make sure your games are appropriate for your audience, the last thing you want it to embarrass anyone or make them feel uncomfortable.’ Bharat Dave, Senior Events Coordinator.  

Don’ts

Food

Don’t – ‘go too far ‘out the box’ with your menus. Always keep your guests in mind when choosing your dishes.  Most parties, Christmas in particular, have a very mixed guestlist and you’ll need to consider those in your party with more traditional tastes. The perfect compromise is twists on classics – this way you’re showing your innovative, creative side while serving familiar food that will appeal to everyone.’ Paulo Ferreira, Head Chef.  

Music

Don’t – ‘limit your playlist or setlist to just Christmas tunes. It’s a great idea to get some festive songs in there – in fact it’s a must – but make sure there’s also a range of pop and classic party anthems, too.’ Frankie White, Events Coordinator.  

Planning

Don’t – ‘change your schedule last-minute. Bringing your dinner forward by 30 minutes might not seem like a huge deal to you, but it could cause chaos with the kitchen. Make sure you only sign off on the party timeline when you are 100% sure of your decision.’ Debbie Heath, Catering Operations Manager. 

Entertainment

Don’t – ‘go overboard and spend a fortune on entertainment unless you can be 100% sure it will be appreciated by your guests. Some interactive elements are a really good idea, though – a photobooth is a great choice as everyone can get involved and your guests end up with keepsakes of the night. Plus, at No.4 we have a fabulous mezzanine level which works really well for this.’ Frankie White, Events Coordinator.  

Layout

Don’t – ‘expect people to circulate around your space without help from you. To make a party flow you’ll need to make different zones – food stations, entertainment, a bar and a dancefloor are all great for creating movement. Our heated marquee is really useful as it adds a lot of extra space and a completely different feel to the Argyll Room – both come as part of the Christmas party package.’ Darren, Maintenance Coordinator. 

Budget

Don’t – ‘max out your budget too early on. Put about 10% to one side for extras as you never know what might come along later on that you really want to splash out on. We recently hosted a party with a gold dancefloor – it was amazing and all of the guests will remember that special touch for years to come.’ Frankie White, Events Coordinator.

Your Christmas party at No.4 Hamilton Place

We still have a handful of Christmas party dates left at our exclusive London party venue. Our fantastic caterer, Blue Strawberry, is renowned for its innovative and delicious Christmas menus and our events team is highly experienced in creating festive celebrations your guests will love. To speak to a member of the events team about your London 2019 Christmas party, call us on 020 7670 4314.

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