So, you’re organising a summer party this festive season and the scale of the event has finally hit home. Depending on the kind of event you want to have, it can be a daunting and overwhelming experience. It’s a busy time of year for everyone, yourself included, and throwing a Christmas party into the mix is a big time, money and energy commitment. If you’ve given yourself plenty of time, the stress could be minimal. But let’s face it, throwing a party can be stressful no matter how big or small it is. If you’ve decided to organise a summer party at the last minute, or someone has decided for you, the stress levels can be very high.
If you haven’t organised a summer party before, or just want to make life a little easier for yourself, here’s a checklist for planning a unique party where everyone will be catered for…including yourself!
What kind of Christmas party do you want to have?
After deciding that you’re going to have a Christmas party, your next decision is to determine what kind of affair it will be. This will have a major bearing on every other decision made throughout the planning process. Some options include:
- Sit down dinner
- Cocktail party
- Kid-friendly or adults only
Which option you go for will depend on your budget, how many guests you’d like to invite and where you’re going to have the party. It’s an expensive time of year for many people, so your budget will play a major role.
Guest list and invitations
Once the type of party is confirmed, you need to get invitations out as quickly as possible. It’s a busy time of year for most people, with events taking place regularly in the lead up to Christmas Day. Notifying people early so they can schedule it into their calendar is a vital step. You don’t want to commit to organising a party, only for most people on your guest list to be unavailable.
The first steps are to set a date and time, and create a guest list. You don’t even need to have the specifics figured out before sending out a ‘save the date’ card. This will notify your guests of an upcoming event, and to keep the date free. It’s a busy time of the year (in case we haven’t mentioned it already), so get these out ASAP. Once all other details are confirmed, you can send out proper invitations at a later date.
How you send the invitations is another important decision. Will you send digital invitations via email? Is it more appropriate to send paper or cardboard invitations in a letter? Or will a Facebook event invitation suffice? Again this will depend on your guest list and how they would expect to receive an invitation. If it’s a diverse crowd from a range of age groups, you may have to send invitations by more than one method.
What food and drink will you serve?
Food and drink can make or break a Christmas party, regardless of how well everything else is planned and executed. What you serve will be largely dictated to by the kind of Christmas party you’re having. For example:
- Stand up cocktail party – a selection of bite-sized hot and cold, savoury and sweet, and healthy and indulgent options.
- Formal sit down party – Entree, main course and dessert? On individual plates or does everyone help themselves? Are kids coming? If so, do you need to cook separate dishes for them as well? Will you require a guest seating plan?
Whichever option you go for, try to make life easy for yourself. Spending the whole night in the kitchen is no way to enjoy your own Christmas party. Choose dishes that can be prepared well in advance so they can be heated and served quickly.
Drinks options are another area where workload can affect your own party fun. Will you supply the drinks, or is your party BYO? Again, make it easy for guests and yourself to get the refreshments they want. You could:
- Have the bar setup in a different room for easy access. Guests can serve themselves so you won’t be mixing drinks all night instead of catching up with your guests.
- Prepare a large batch of your favourite cocktail. Potentially, this could be used as a ‘welcome’ drink on arrival. If there’s room it could be stationed by the front door.
You should also cater for non-drinkers. There will be designated drivers and those who don’t drink at your party, so make them feel thought of as well.
This is where you can really get your creative juices flowing. You’re organising a summer party after all, so let’s make it feel like one. Using native flowers and pinecones will give your event a distinctly Australian look and feel. Add to the aroma by using scented candles strategically placed around the venue. If there are going to be children at the party, get them involved by asking them to make Christmas decorations. Kids love it and they will feel like they’ve played a huge role in putting the party together.
Alternatively, you could go down the theme route. Some popular options include:
- Traditional Christmas
- Vintage Christmas
- Winter Wonderland
- Santa’s workshop
- Famous Xmas movies
If you choose a theme for your party, be aware these can take up a lot more time and energy to recreate them successfully. Do you have the time, money and energy to do this?
There is always one person at a party who wants to be the DJ. You need to be in control of the music to set the ambience you want. So which direction do you take? This will depend on many factors such as the theme of your party and who is coming. Options include:
- Michael Bublé Christmas classics? John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John have released a Christmas album this year!
- Top 10 pop classics
- Streaming services such as Spotify, SoundCloud and Buddha Radio
- Live music – DJ, a band?
Do you want it to be a tame affair with everyone out the door by 11pm, or a rager that goes on well into the early hours? Your choice of music will play a huge role in determining what kind of summer party you’re throwing.
Make lists and plan
There’s an old saying that goes ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. Take the time to plan every element of your party. The time you spend to plan can save you so much time, effort and energy in the future.
Make a list of everything you need to do right from the start, and revisit this list throughout the process. Tick off what has been organised, and add tasks as they arise. Put tasks that require your immediate attention at the top of the list, and those that matter less further down.
And make sure you have a ‘day before’ list. You can feel like a chicken (or turkey) with its head cut off if you don’t have a plan for that final 24-48 hour stretch before the party. Having a list of tasks to complete will save you a lot of heartache throughout the organisation process, especially on that final day.
What are you going to wear?
This is probably more for the ladies than the gents, but what you wear is an important decision for many people. It’s vital that you plan well in advance what you’ll be wearing on the night. You’ll have a lot to do on the day before, and day of the event. The last thing you want to be worrying about is what you’ll be wearing. A last minute trip to the shopping mall when you should be home baking fruit mince pies will add extra stress to an already stressful situation.
It’s a Christmas party, so keep your outfit simple, chic and elegant. Unless you’ve organised a rave, it’s probably best to keep the skimpy nightclub outfit in the cupboard. As the host you’re probably going to be moving around a lot, so think of comfort as well as style when choosing your clothing for the night.
There are always other details you can include to take your party to the next level. But you’ll need to decide if you have the time and budget to include them when organising a summer party for you and your guests. Some things to consider include:
- The toilet – If you’re holding your event at home, like it or not the toilet is going to get a workout. Make sure it is user-friendly. Have scented candles, fresh towels and hand soap for your guests.
- Photographer – Hiring a photographer could be a real game changer for your event. You won’t have to worry about taking photos yourself, and you’ll get a bank of top-quality images capturing the important moments. If you’ve got guests coming who you rarely see, this might be a good option. And you can share them with your guests via email after the event as a way of enhancing what has already been a fantastic party.
- Goodie bag to take home – It’s Christmas time after all, so a nice goodie bag to take home would be a great touch. Fill it with chocolates and other sweet treats, and for the kids perhaps a small toy. How extravagant you go will depend on your budget and how much time you have to put them together.
- Games for the kids – Children don’t get too excited at the thought of standing around with adults all night talking about old times. Keep them entertained by having board games available, or a PlayStation or some other games console. You could even have entertainers such as clowns and magicians if the budget stretches that far.
So much time and effort is spent planning and then hosting a Christmas party, that it’s easy to forget that you should be having a good time as well! Do whatever you can to make guests as self-sufficient as possible. This could be having a self-serve bar, buffet dinner, or wait staff serving drinks and finger food. People don’t mind looking after themselves, and it frees you up to mingle and enjoy the night.
Don’t sweat the little details that only you will notice. No one is expecting a grand event fit for kings and queens, so don’t put any undue pressure on yourself to impress everyone. Take care of the important elements of the night and the rest will take care of itself. The worst result would be to go to all that effort only for everyone to have a great time except for you.
Let Lantern Club do the work for you
There’s a lot of planning involved in holding the perfect Summer Christmas Party. If you’re overwhelmed by it all, you can host an amazing Christmas event at MáZi with no fuss.
No matter what sort of summer Christmas party you’re organising, Lantern Club has a package to suit. These include:
- Light lunches or three-course lunch feasts
- Cocktail celebrations
- Garden Barbecue
- Formal two or three-course dinners
Or you can organise a summer party for Christmas that suits you and your needs. Just talk to our friendly team and we’ll do what we can to make it happen.
The secret to a great Christmas party is in the company you keep and the food you eat. We’re experts at providing first-class food and beverage packages, especially at this time of year. All you’ll need to do is invite who you want and decide what outfit to wear. Why not lessen the stress and burden on yourself to organise the summer party, and leave it all up to us instead? And better still, you won’t have to worry about cleaning up afterwards either – we’ll take care of that as well.
Book a party at MáZi today and get your summer Christmas party sorted. We’re just a phone call away and ready to help you organise just the party you want.