Choosing the right holiday party venue is the first step in planning a jolly social gathering, which is why it’s worth it to take the steps that lead to the right choice. It’s also not an easy choice in Chicago; the Windy City is full of wonderful holiday party venues! This holiday party venue guide helps you check off the first (and biggest) line on your holiday party planning checklist, and gets you one step closer to a joyful office holiday party.
Decide on the holiday party goal.
An event goal is an important part of holiday party planning, and can even provide direction for future decisions. The event goal should contain the purpose of the event, key guest take-aways, and the statistics that define success.
Have an estimated guest count.
An estimated guest count narrows the list of holiday party venues. The right holiday party venue is like the old fairy tale: not too big and not too small. In plain talk, the ideal holiday party venue should be large enough for the crowd, but not too small that guests feel crowded.
In addition to having enough space, a holiday party venue should also have spaces needed for the event, such as (but not limited to) a kitchen for the caterer, restrooms, and stage (if mainstage holiday entertainment is part of the event schedule). If additional spaces (i.e. dining room, catering area)—or space—are needed, a tent can also be rented for additional space.
Set a budget for the holiday party venue.
Once the guest count is set, a budget should be set for every aspect of the event. This holiday party planning step ensures that adequate funds are allocated for key party elements. A majority of the budget should be allocated for high impact items, such as the venue, food, and entertainment. These are elements of a holiday party that guests notice and play a key role in determining the success of an event.
Narrow down the location.
Just like the real estate rule “location, location, location,” the location of the event venue plays a key role in the success of a company holiday party. Guests shouldn’t have to travel any farther to a company event than they normally do; how guests travel is another criterion on the event venue checklist. If the guest list includes out-of-town travelers or party goers who use public transportation, the right event venue is located near a bus or train (the “L”) stop. If unfamiliar with the area, contact an event planning professional to choose the right Windy City event venue.
Determine theme and event formality.
A holiday party theme gives an event direction, including in selecting right holiday party venue. The theme and venue should also fit with the event formality, such as a dinner club with a view of the Windy City for an adults-only guest list or a more whimsical and less formal setting for a family appreciation event. The good news is that there are many holiday party themes, such as Winter Wonderland, Santa’s Workshop, Tropical Holiday, or Around-the-World Holiday theme. The list of holiday party theme ideas is almost endless.
Make a list of amenities.
For some company holiday parties, event venue amenities are more of a necessity than a luxury. If main stage entertainment is on the schedule, it’s important to find a venue with the system and audio visual equipment to make it happen. (An experienced entertainment agent can also coordinate this detail for a smooth holiday party entertainment experience.) Other amenities can also complete the event: event equipment, handicap accessibility, parking accommodations, full service staff (i.e. coat check, bartenders, servers, set up & take down staff, etc.).