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One of the best things about living in Australia is that our festive time of year can be enjoyed outdoors. Many offices and workplaces now are trending away from the late night Christmas party do, and opting to host these during the day time. For those with families and young children, it’s usually easier to spend a work day with your colleagues than ask for a mid-week or weekend night off from home. Plus most events during the day time allow for a bit more bonding opportunity between colleagues with activities being organised for staff.

But having a day-time Christmas party doesn’t mean it has to be boring! There are lots of fun ways to decorate and style an event space, and still create a festive atmosphere. Here are our top tips for planning an outdoor Christmas party event during the day.

Choose a space that you can have a plan for rain, hail or shine

Even though it’s summer, sometimes it does still rain! Make sure wherever you choose to host your event, you have a back-up option in case it rains. That could be as simple as checking with the pub down the road if they can host your group during the day, or seeing if a local hall is available.

Let everyone know what to expect on the day

Whether it’s a party in Melbourne, a formal sit-down lunch, or a casual BBQ in the park – it’s always good to let your guests know what to expect on the day. If you can involve some staff in helping to organise the event and get feedback about what interests people is always helpful as well. For example, if many of your staff have children, would they prefer a family-friendly event?

 

If your event is in an open outdoor space – hire a marquee

So even if it doesn’t rain and it’s a gorgeous day filled with sunshine, it’s not responsible to have your guest outside in the sun without any protection. A marquee will be really important to provide some shade. You may also need to consider the temperature and having some fans if it’s going to be an extra hot day.

Even though it’s outdoors, you’ll still need a run-sheet and a floor plan

Regardless of the size of your business, you’ll still need a plan for seating and dining 20 to 100+ people in your outdoor space. Even if your event isn’t going to be having food and drink service all day, when it is time for your guests to eat they’ll likely want to sit down. Depending on the atmosphere you want at your event, this could be done in a sit-down style with tables and chairs, or a more informal setting such as casual ottomans and lounges, and cocktail bar tables.

 

 

Consider team building activities for smaller groups

Sometimes a smaller group can be harder to cater for and keep everyone interested for a full day. However by doing something together during the day time, it can also be a perfect opportunity to break-up the work-day grind and do a team building activity. Some ideas include organising your own version of The Amazing Race, lawn games if you’d prefer something less formal or group trivia. Team activities are a great way to fill up some time and to bring a group together.

 

Cocktail party hire

Cocktail parties are becoming increasingly popular, especially during the Christmas festive season. Often cocktail parties are chosen for being more economical and for functions that want a more social and informal vibe. Here’s our checklist to help you plan for the perfect cocktail party.

Choose a theme or dress code

It doesn’t have to be fancy or over the top, but providing your guests with a dress code will avoid any confusion or awkward situations on the night. Your theme can be as simple as a colour, a style, i.e. Spring or Christmas, or even stating “Cocktail” is enough of a theme itself!

Confirm any dietary requirements for the menu

Make sure your guests let you know of any dietary requirements before you order your food and catering. It’s also a good idea if possible, to let your waitstaff know who has special dietary needs on the night. This will help them to be able to ensure they get served the food that has been prepared. Even though you may be planning a variety of food and assume that most people’s taste or preferences are covered, it’s always safer to add this request to your RSVP and work with a real number.

Consider how the food and drinks will be served

Consider whether you will hire waitstaff to serve your guests for the evening, or perhaps you will have a combination of wait staff and service areas, i.e. a bar. The size of your event will be the biggest determination factor of how you choose to service, however with whichever option you choose, there are some added considerations.

  • If you’re the host and serving food – will you still be able to enjoy yourself?

Whilst it might be in your nature to want to be the planner of everything, this is a big thing to consider. There are many mobile staff companies now that offer waitstaff for 2 to 3 hour events in private homes – which makes it a much more relaxed and enjoyable event for the host.

  • Even with wait staff, you’ll probably need a bar service area

Most wait staff serve a drink on arrival, then spend the evening roaming to top-up people’s glasses and offer food. A bar service area is the easiest way to avoid your guests chasing waitstaff around. Once most guests have arrived, it’s also not as easy for staff to be juggling trays full of liquid around a room!

  • Make sure you have a run sheet for the catering

Think of your cocktail event still to be like serving a meal, just in smaller portion sizes over a period of time. Usually you will still start with the entrees and appetisers, and work your way onto the mains. If you’re serving heated food, make sure to allow time for cooking or reheating in your schedule.

  • Have a run-sheet on the night

  • Having a run-sheet on the night will make everything much smoother and help you to keep track of how the evening/event progresses. Even if you have some leeway and flexibility built into these times, or allow for a few things to be shuffled around on the day, it’s much easier to do this if you have a list to refer to.

 

  • Even though it’s a stand-up event, you’ll still need to hire tables and chairs

  • Whether your event is two hours, three hours or all evening – you can’t expect your Gold Coast guests to remain standing the entire time. Just because your guests aren’t going to be having a formal sit down meal, there are plenty of other options to have tables and chairs available. Free standing cocktail bars with stools is a popular option, as is having a lower lounge area with ottomans or benches. If your event is outside and its good weather, deck chairs or acapulco chairs also look great and are a fun option.
  • Low tables and cubes

    Acapulco Chairs

Christmas is just around the corner which means, so is the festive and party season. Whether you’re planning a party for the office, a group of friends or your family, it helps to be organised. If you need party hire supplies for your event, you’ll also want to start sourcing this sooner than later to avoid any disappointment.

Here are our top tips to consider when organising your Christmas party.

1. Send out your Save the Dates ASAP

Similar to times of the year when it feels like every weekend is someone else getting married, calendars during the festive season quickly fill up.

Most work Christmas functions are held mid-week, knowing that staff are likely to have prior engagements at this time of year on the weekend.

Once you have your venue locked down, it’s advisable to send out a Save the Date as soon as possible. There are lots of easy ways to get your invitations and RSVPs out online now. If your Christmas party is with your friends or family, a Facebook event is probably easiest. If it’s for your work place, calendar invitations are great to make sure everyone has the date saved. Or if you want a fancier but still easy digital invitation, have a look at the animated invites on Paperless Post.

Source: Paperless Post

2. Make a check-list of your party hire supplies – and book as soon as you can

If your event is being held at a venue, check with them what is and isn’t supplied. If your event is at home, you’ll probably need a more comprehensive check-list. Here are some of the most standard items that you are most likely to need,

  • Tables – If it’s a sit-down function you may prefer dining or banquet tables. If it’s a cocktail event you’ll need some high tables scattered throughout the room
  • Chairs – Similarly, even if your event is not a formal sit-down meal, your guests will want chairs to rest in.
  • Glassware – Our biggest tip with glassware is to not underestimate how much you will need. A useful article to help you calculate how much glassware you will need can be read here.
  • Dancefloor – Having a dedicated dance floor space is great for coordinating your room layout, and also is a much safer option than just sectioning off an area. Most people know that they shouldn’t carry drinks across the dancefloor and will avoid using it as a thoroughfare. This is quite important to consider if this is a corporate Christmas party with OH&S liabilities.
  • Lighting – Lighting sets the tone for the whole room and atmosphere of the evening. Christmas theme is a beautiful use of lighting and will create a warm, friendly and festive atmosphere for your event.
  • Microphone and lectern – A microphone is essential if you’re planning on having speeches.
  • Staging – Will you be giving out any end of year awards to staff or team members?

3. Food and catering

If you’re hosting a low-key event with your close friends or family, you’re probably going to know what food most people do and don’t eat.

However, if this is a company event with a diversity of staff attending, you’ll need to consider this when organising your caterers. There are many religions that have dietary requirements, so for some of the menu, you’ll want to make sure it’s friendly to most requirements.

For a sit-down menu, we’d recommend asking your guests to nominate any dietary requirements in their RSVP. Don’t be shy to also ask for this though if you are hosting a cocktail function, as it will make organising much easier for you if you know for example that 20% of your guests are vegetarian.