1/ The most important decision is to decide where you want the party. Obviously if it’s an opening of new premises, that’s where it will be but sometimes its better to have it in a neutral venue where your customers are more inclined to come. A stately home is infinitely more attractive than the inside of a warehouse. However the inside of any building can be transformed to be unrecognisable.
2/ The next thing is WHY? What are you trying to achieve? Is it a celebration for the staff for a contract won or are you trying to impress your best clients and bring new ones in? Both options suggest very different approaches.
3/ Do you want to do it yourself or would it be more cost effective to do what you do best and leave it to the experts, whilst at the same time putting your stamp on it?
4/What sort of party is it? Do you want a drinks party with canapés or a sit down dinner? If you aren’t feeding people make sure they know its drinks only.
5/ If it’s a presentation its best to do it straight after work, say 6.00pm-8.00pm, serve a few glasses of bubbles, plenty of canapés, get your message across and then everyone goes home.
6/ If it’s a fundraiser you need to give them somethings for their money. There is a definite expectation of fabulous food, sumptuous surroundings and fantastic entertainment. Its funny really as you would expect to get everything as cheap as possible so you can make the most money. It doesn’t work like that. people that are spending £200.00 a head on a ticket and are intending to spend far more on the auction, definitely expect a lot for their money!
7/ Make sure you co-ordinate the schedules of all the key people. If you are banking on a certain politician being present or a celebrity you’ll need to plan months in advance to make sure you aren’t disappointed.
8/ Look after your bosses most important clients or delegate this job to someone you know you can trust 100%.
9/ It’s a great idea to have a ‘green room’ where if your boss meets someone and wants to talk privately he can ask them to join him for a private chat where he knows they won’t be interrupted.
10/ The seating plan is critical. If you know your boss wants to meet someone in particular or wants to do business with them, make sure they are seated on his table. Also make sure there is plenty off opportunities to network.
11/ The entertainment should be current, get references and go and see them perform elsewhere. If you are doing an annual party make sure you ring the changes and keep everyone entertained. Likewise if you are doing a number of speeches or auctions, keep them moving and keep guests interested.
12/ It’s a good idea to get the contact details of everyone attending. offer a prize draw or a free gift or just get them to sign in when they arrive. those email addresses are valuable to your company.
13/ Decide whats your main concern and deal with it beforehand i.e. point out who is likely to have too much to drink and get someone to keep an eye on them.
14/ Music is important but make sure its turned off during the speeches. If its a networking event make sure the volume isn’t too loud, people need to be able to hear each other.
15/ Make sure you check for special dietary requirements. There is nothing worse than finding out on the night that the principal guest is a vegan or needs halal meat. Its embarrassing and unnecessary . Also ask your caterers to provide a few extra vegetarian dishes, just in case.
FINALLY don’t sweat the little things. Have a concept, choose a menu, arrange timings, choose wines and let everyone get on with it. if you’ve paid for an experts advice, take it!