Top Tips for Planning a Holiday Party


By Shaun Roberts

For many people, it’s been a long time since they’ve attended an event. Shaun Roberts, VP and master party planner (and attendee!) shares some of his top tips to help you plan the perfect holiday party. Whether you’re planning a company party or a social gathering for the holiday season, the same tips will apply. And don’t forget, you don’t need to plan a holiday party in November of December! January is also a great month to throw a holiday party, and our team at Great Performances can create some incredible moments to help keep your holiday party fresh and exciting.

  • Plan Ahead. People are considering more things than ever when they’re deciding if they’ll go to a party. From Covid concerns to being double-booked (we’re already seeing this happen!), you’ll want to give your guests plenty of lead time. Although many of us have been going to parties already, there’s a significant portion of the population who hasn’t been attending public events yet. Give your guests plenty of time to decide if they are ready to celebrate in a public gathering, and give them something to really look forward to. We’re finding that planning a holiday party in advance with as long a runway as possible always gives you the best results.
  • Line Up Vendors. Related to planning as far in advance as possible, you’ll want to plan your vendors. The more vendors involved will require more time to organize and schedule. In advance of your event, you may have to plan walkthroughs, secure permits, and review contracts. If you even have an inkling that a party might be in your future, starting to take action now will cost nothing, and will even save you money as you will be able to avoid expedited fees. It will also help ensure that your favorite caterers (us, naturally), venues, photographers, a/v and lighting specialists are available.
  • Plan Your Menu. Now that you’ve given yourself plenty of time to plan the party, you can really put together a thoughtful and cohesive menu with Great Performances. Specialty items like sushi stations, beignet carts, and vegan ice cream trucks can be sourced. And thoughtful service plans can be put together to make your guests feel comfortable, entertained and fulfilled.
  • Create an Event Timeline. Don’t forget that people have been trapped in their houses for the better part of two years, and they are ready (if initially reticent, see point 1) to talk, dance, and interact with people in ways that video calls don’t allow. Be sure to give them space to do this with seating vignettes and set the mood with a great DJ or band. We’ve also noticed that people’s schedules have changed. They haven’t been out late in a while, so they may peak early. Open early with food and connecting. Finally, just as we’ve all needed a refresher course on small talk, people may need a refresher on events. Make it clear what type of event it is and what the flow will be from arrival and coat check to getting cocktails and food. Great Performances will make sure to have all these service moments thought of for you

Check out some of our resources for planning a holiday party: