Cue rolling of eyes and Kevin the teenager’s body language. Dare I mention the word Christmas? I know, I know. I’d like to give myself a sharp talking to, but you have to trust me when I say summer is the perfect time to get your Christmas event planning under way. Ahead of the crowd, you’ll have the pick of the best venues, the best caterers and have more choice when it comes to entertainment. And you’ll get exactly the date you want.
For most of us, seasonal event planning usually kicks off around October, after the summer holidays are over and the winter wardrobe is making an appearance. The thought of buying into a Christmas event while the sun is shining (or at least trying to) seems quite simply wrong.
But, if you really want to create a special event, you will want to beat the rush. It takes organisation and forward thinking to pull off a great event. And that takes time. Anyway, imagine how good you’ll feel when others are just setting out their event plans and you have yours all wrapped up. Think how nice it will be to feel so smug.
If you are determined to have THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVENT EVER, here are the 5 most important things you should organise now.
- Set a date
Whether you are organising a December birthday party, a large family Christmas get together, or a big corporate event, the earlier you confirm the date of your planned event, the more likely people will be able to attend. The nearer you get to Christmas the more people’s diaries will fill up.
If you want maximum attendance, plan early and let people know. Create invitations and posters. You can put up the posters and send out invitations nearer to the time, but it will feel good to know they are all prepared.
- Book a venue
The best venues get snapped up months, even years in advance. The sooner you nail down your venue the better chance you have of finding a space where you don’t have to make compromises. For popular venues, the dates for Christmas events get booked up quickly.
If you are holding the event in your office or at a pre-arranged venue, you will still want to start planning how you will use the space. Take a look around now and start thinking about how you can transform the designated location into a Christmas wonderland.
- Organise a theme or décor
Decide on your theme early on. Masquerade balls, winter circus events and fairy-tale winter wonderland themes are popular at Christmas.
Even if you aren’t keen on the idea of having a full-on theme, it’s worth making some early decisions about style. It will help you to stay consistent when it comes to choosing the type of food, music, decoration, entertainment and dress code.
Even the drabbest venues can be pimped up to appear luxurious. Walls can be creatively lined with sumptuous fabrics, and Christmas lighting will be sure to add that essential touch of festive sparkle. There are event companies who can help you with this. One such company is Arabian Tents who specialise in creating unique party atmospheres. They believe that a red velvet marquee interior makes an ideal colour scheme, creating an intimate and special atmosphere that is psychologically warming.
Decorations and props can be a simple or as extravagant as you like. The important point is to make early decisions on style and buy up or book props and lighting for hire.
For Christmas lighting inspiration check out these magnificent illuminations.
- Book the entertainment
Just as with venues, the best entertainers and DJs get booked well in advance too. Shop around because lesser known artists can still bring bags of pizzazz to your event and don’t have to cost the earth. A live band (as long as they’re good) can be unknown but will still leave a lasting impression. Start thinking about entertainment early on (summer is a good time) and get plenty of quotes.
If you are planning a more low-key event and will be doing your own music, be sure to plan your playlist well in advance.
- Organise the catering
Decide on your food preferences. Are you having a sit-down meal, a buffet or canapés? Visually stunning canapés are a sure-fire way to get any Christmas party started. Food stations offering substantial bowl food are also a really great idea and can be organised to ensure there are options available for guests suffering from food allergies. Remember not to skimp on food if your party involves lots of alcohol.
Written by Mike James