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Planning a Company Holiday Party: The Ultimate Guide

It might only be August—but it’s not too early to start planning a company holiday party. After all, getting a headstart means you get to avoid the stress of last-minute preparations.

You will need three to four months to plan a company holiday party if you want to:

  • Get your budget approved on time;
  • Book the best venue on your preferred date and time slot (the competition to get a great venue is tough during peak season!);
  • Serve a menu that carefully takes everyone’s food and drink preferences into account;
  • Prepare unique activities that will entertain guests;
  • Plan the event slowly and meticulously without it taking too much time out of your regular schedule; and
  • Have a fun time planning knowing that you have plenty of leeway to make any last minute adjustments. 

This means you need to start planning as soon as possible. Check out our ultimate guide and timeline for holiday party planning that’s all smooth-sailing and hassle-free!

 an employee meticulously planning a company holiday party

Four Months Before The Party

Poll Your Staff

Before anything else, the first thing you should do is ask your staff what kind of party they want. Do they enjoy drinking and dancing? Or would they prefer an interactive event with games and prizes?

There are online poll apps you can use to learn more about what they prefer. This will help you decide on the kind of party everybody will enjoy.

Decide on a Date

Once the type of company holiday party has been decided, it’s time to pick a date. A Thursday, Friday or Saturday night in the early weeks of December works best because it’s just in time for the holiday spirit but won’t interfere with their personal holiday plans toward the end of the month.

Make sure to send a casual save-the-date as soon as you finalize it so they can block it on their calendars. You can send the formal invitation at a later time.

Scout for a Venue

Because you already have an idea of the kind of party your team wants, choosing the right venue also becomes easier. Start exploring your options and visiting potential venues to help you get a feel of the place and how you can spruce it up.

Three Months Before The Party 

Confirm The Budget

You can plan the best company holiday party, but without the appropriate budget, not much will materialize. So, how much of a budget should you allocate per person? Make sure to meet with key decision-makers in your company three months before the event to set and confirm the budget.

Book The Venue

Venues get fully booked pretty quickly during the holidays—you’ll probably be competing with dozens of other clients who want the same date and time slot as yours—so make sure to decide on a venue ASAP and commit to it.

This means booking a venue at least three months in advance is key to securing your ideal location.

A plate of shrimp on a transparent plate

Two Months Before The Party 

Develop The Party’s Concept

When planning a company holiday party, it’s time to put on the hat of creativity! Develop a unique party concept and activities that encourage everyone to participate. Opt for memorable, interactive entertainment that will get some friendly competition going. And don’t forget to reward the winners!

Scout for Vendors

This is also the time to do some research on potential caterers and attend food tastings.
Remember to look for entertainers, decorators, and other types of vendors you might need for your party.

Lock-in Your Catering

Just like venues, caterers get fully booked this time of the year, so it’s time to choose whether you want hors d’oeuvres or prefer to serve a sit-down dinner. Some venues have catering options included, so you might want to consider packages to save money and time.

One Month Before The Party 

Send Formal Invites

It’s time to formalize that save-the-date with an invitation. Spread holiday cheer by going all out with the design! Don’t worry—there are many online invitation apps you can choose from that will make it a simple task. Some even have polished designs with customizable templates.

This is also the best time to contact invitees who haven’t responded yet to your save-the-dates so you can confirm the final head count.

Create a Supply List

Are you going to be handing out swag bags at the end of the event? What decorations will you be using to deck the halls at your venue? Create a list of all the supplies you’ll be needing and slowly check them off as you get them done to avoid too much holiday stress.

One to Two Weeks Before the Party 

Connect with Venue and Vendors to Confirm The Details

Touch base with your venue, vendors, and suppliers to ask how things are going and if everything is on track. Updates like this are important so you can make an alternative plan if something goes wrong.

Send RSVP Reminders

Send a party reminder to your staff about the approaching holiday party. 

Day of The Party 

Now that everything has been set, all that’s left to do is to kick back and enjoy the holidays cheer with your whole team!

A wait staff holding two champagne glasses on a tray to welcome guests at The Loft

The Best Venue for Your Company Holiday Party 

If this isn’t your first time planning a company holiday party, then you know it isn’t easy. Think of all the stress you’ll avoid if you put your trust in the experts who can help you make the event a huge success. 

The Loft on King is a unique historical venue in downtown Toronto complete with exclusive catering, bar service, and an events team dedicated to making sure your party goes off without a hitch.

To book your company holiday party with us, contact our team today!