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Oct, 2, 2018 | Special Events & Celebrations

It’s a warm September evening and you are enjoying a wonderful lager from Munich at your local Oktoberfest celebration.  As you sit there enjoying the sights and sounds of the performing polka group and condensation forms on your bier stein, a creeping feeling begins to dawn on you; I haven’t even begun my corporate party planning for the approaching season. Don’t fret! University of Delaware Conference Services has you covered with this year’s edition of our corporate holiday party planning checklist.

First things first – budget.

The first order of business on our checklist is to crunch those numbers.  Although it may not be your favorite thing to do, figuring out the logistics of your event is essential to throwing a holiday party that will be talked about around the water cooler for years to come.  Many of your decisions will be dictated by your budget for the party. Questions to ask yourself are:
  1. The number of employees attending – An early headcount is critical to maximizing your party planning. It could save you from wasting time and money down the line.  Also, decide if you are inviting the whole group or just management? Are significant others included? These questions need to be answered before you proceed.
  2. How long should the party last –  Many venues offer packages with the option of 3 – 4-hour parties. Your budget will dictate your package choice.
  3. What time of day to throw your party –  It is important to know the demographics of your employees before making this decision. During the workday is worth considering. This option would include lunch with the extra perk of allowing your employees part of the day off. Also, for the parents on your staff, this might eliminate the need for a babysitter. Or, perhaps your staff would enjoy a happy hour with heavy hor d’oeuvres for a more festive flair.  Finally, you may choose an after-hours event that includes a buffet or plated dinner with dancing and entertainment.
  4. Venue costs – Venue prices can vary depending on the number of additional services you require.
Our professional event planning staff can assist you every step of the way, ensuring that you have the best event your budget will allow.  Once you have established your budget and met with your event manager to consider options, you will be prepared to move on to the next step on our list.

Let’s talk about the theme.

This is where you can begin to customize your event with the desired atmosphere and quirky activities to really wow your employees and/or coworkers.  This is where you can take advantage of our unique venues at the University of Delaware. Want an old-school Christmas in California vibe? Not only do we have a space for that in coastal Delaware, at the Virden Center, but we also have staff on hand to create a unique experience filled with signature menus and aesthetics. If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, there is always space on the historical University of Delaware campus. Whatever you have in mind, our Clayton Conference Center is practically a blank slate for your desired aesthetics.  

Connecting the dots.

Now that you have the loose outline of your event squared away, it’s time to connect the dots.  Something to think about is creating a unique party moment for your event.  This could be connected to the entire theme or something like an engaging speaker, or a bonding activity. Your people have had a busy and productive year, hopefully, and they could really use some down time and a show of appreciation. Some other fantastic ideas could be wine tasting, beer tasting, photo backdrops or booths, company step-and-repeat, signing a company yearbook, viral video dance-off contest, Department awards, or better yet, Office Olympics Awards.  You should also think about social media considerations. It’s 2018 and everyone is more connected than ever, so why not tie social media into your event and have a hashtag and tagging bonanza. But, if you’d like a more intimate and personal event, you could always just tell everyone to leave their devices at the door.  
Creating a unique party moment for your event shows appreciation. It could be a wine tasting, beer tasting, photo backdrops or booths, company step-and-repeat, signing a company yearbook, viral video dance-off contest, Department awards, or better yet, Office Olympics Awards.

A word about giving.

Finally, something to never forget about the holidays. It is a season of giving, hoping, miracles, and gift exchanging. Your employees or coworkers will be expecting something, so let’s discuss. There’s been this wonderful movement of friends and family requesting donations in lieu of gifts, and the impact has been otherworldly. A company donation is something so personal and meaningful, and it can spread an impactful message. Consider shaping your gifting toward a cause, and encourage some holiday philanthropy. Or, for the less altruistic of you out there, you could stick to a more traditional method and keep regifting the same candle set every year! Hopefully, our holiday planning checklist has helped alleviate some of the stress associated with actually planning one of these events.  And don’t worry, if you are still losing sleep over it, we are always here to help you plan the best holiday extravaganza you could ever dream of. If we put our heads together, your company may be able to lay claim to the best dang holiday party of 2018.