Category Archives: holiday party planning

8 Unique Chicago Corporate Holiday Party Venue Ideas

aquarium event venue with tables, chairs, and centerpiecesThe foundation of planning a corporate holiday party is the right venue. While some businesses in the Windy City choose to hold their festive company gathering at company headquarters, others opt for a more creative off-site venue with all the holiday spirit and amenities there is to offer. For the latter, we’ve compiled a list of creative holiday party venue ideas to use—-as well as holiday entertainment options that boost company holiday party attendance.

Theater

One of our unique Chicago theaters can be quite the draw for corporate holiday party guests, offering unforgettable entertainment and the perfect setting for a themed holiday party gathering. As an added benefit, depending on the theater, this option gives companies the flexibility of holding an afternoon show away from the office or a formal evening affair. If the theater doesn’t offer entertainment during the holiday season, contact a local entertainment company about their options for a memorable holiday show.

Sports Venue

A sports stadium can be the perfect host for a one-of-a-kind event, such as a venue near Wrigley Field. For a more sophisticated atmosphere, choose a venue packed with interesting sports history, charm, and amenities. These venues can be pubs or a site filled with sports displays, such as the Chicago Sports Museum. To attract a more active crowd, opt for a venue with numerous gyms and spaces for activities that can keep guests moving and entertained.

Museum

A museum can give your corporate holiday party guests something to look forward to—and Chicago has so many wonderful museums to choose from. There are obvious choices, such as The Museum of Science and Industry of the Museum of Contemporary Art, or other wonderful museums throughout the Windy City that are suitable for an adult guest list. These holiday events can be themed to fit the venue and can be paired with appropriate cuisine and entertainment (contact us to help locate the right combination of venue and entertainers). For a family holiday event, pair one of Chicago’s children museums with holiday characters (i.e. Father Christmas, Toy Soldiers, Elves, etc.) to create a draw that employees and their families flock to.

Room with a View

The Windy City has some breath-taking views that capture the attention and leave guests talking even after the corporate holiday party is over. There are a number of options in Chicago, such as the Metropolitan in the iconic Willis Tower or the City View Loft. When guests are not enjoying the views, entertain them with one of Chicago’s favorite bands, orchestra, dueling pianos (playing holiday tunes), or a comedian that is as high-quality as the view (contact an entertainment agent to select the entertainer that fits the atmosphere and holiday party budget).

Historic Venue

Chicago is full of historic venues with unique details and one-of-a-kind stories. These venues can be the perfect site for a vintage holiday party. Depending on the venue, the event can be a jazz lounge from the Roaring 20’s or a classic diner party. Contact a local professional to select the right historic venue for the desired atmosphere and location for the target audience. Location should always be a factor when choosing a venue; this simple step can increase attendance and accessibility for guests.

Wine Cellar/Brewery

ice bar for charity eventsA wine cellar or brewery can be a fantastic site for a corporate holiday party venue, creating a unique backdrop and an opportunity for enjoying local tastes while networking. Add an ice bar to add a holiday flair while guests mingle and enjoy the local tastes of the Windy City. Contact an entertainment agent to locate the right wine cellar or brewery for the specific gathering, then follow up to combine a unique venue with exceptional entertainment that takes the event to another level. There may be some legal risk associated with holding a corporate holiday party at a venue associated with alcohol; contact legal counsel and an insurance provider to ensure that all bases are covered.

Bowling Lounge

A bowling lounge is the perfect foundation for an upscale and entertaining corporate holiday party. To find the right bowling venue for the desired atmosphere, contact a local and experienced Windy City entertainment agent. 

Aquarium

There is no other Chicago venue like the Shedd Aquarium. Holiday party guests are going to rave about the displays and breath-taking views of Lake Michigan. Guests can enjoy the sights and décor; to up the ante, add subtle holiday entertainers (like carolers!). For a corporate holiday party, there is not another holiday party venue like Shedd Aquarium—or a more memorable one.

Holiday Party Planning: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid

company christmas party guests with santa hats by holiday treeYou may not be able to stop a snow storm or a belligerent employee at your next company holiday party, but you can set up your next holiday party for success by avoiding these party planning mistakes.

Choosing the wrong venue

You may not have a choice for your company holiday venue. If you do, careful consideration should go into choosing the right venue for your company holiday party (tips on how to choose the right event venue here). The wrong venue can feel too tight or too big, making your guests feel uncomfortable or like there is poor attendance. In addition to space considerations, selecting the wrong venue can also mean an event without atmosphere or without the necessary amenities needed to make your event a success.

Not compiling a guest list

Planning company party details without a guest list is like blindly trying to make your way through a maze. Without knowing the demographic and size of your guest list, it’s challenging to choose the right venue, select the right entertainment, and make other arrangements. Before you set any details, craft a guest list that can guide your holiday party decisions.

Not enough entertainment

As entertaining as networking can be, don’t rely solely on socializing for your guests’ entertainment. Instead, use your guest list to determine what the best options for entertainment are for your guests. An entertainment agent can guide your efforts and book the best entertainers that fit the bill—and leave your guests satisfied and entertained.

Lack of refreshments

Food can do a lot for an event, and that’s always the case for a company holiday party. In addition to satisfying your guests’ taste buds, the seasonal treats can enhance your holiday party atmosphere and create the complete atmosphere you’re trying so hard to achieve. To add icing on the cake, use entertainers, such as elves, to put your company holiday party over the top.

Thinking you have to do it all

There are a lot of holiday party details to juggle, as well as the budget. One of the most common holiday party planning mistakes is trying to take it all on. Don’t be afraid to contact the experts to coordinate the details and assist you making the right decisions (as well as taking some of the weight off your shoulders); it’ll make your holiday—and your holiday party—a lot more jolly.

Corporate Holiday Party Planning Checklist: 5 Must-Haves

holiday party planningCorporate holiday parties come in all sizes and shapes, but there is a basic checklist of must-haves for every corporate holiday party. From there “the devil is in the details” as they say, and the result is diversely different: a Caribbean Christmas getaway, a traditional holiday village, a night out at the holiday theater, a sophisticated winter wonder dinner. So before you start ordering table coverings for your corporate holiday party, sit down and start going down the basic checklist of corporate holiday party must-haves—or hire a professional who can.

Purpose & Vision

We put this must-have first because this should be your first step, and a definite must, in planning a successful holiday party. Nail down your logistics: date, time, budget, expected attendance, guest list, primary guest demographic, schedule (for invitations, save the dates, RSVPs, etc.) and theme. You don’t have to get too “themey” during the process but you should give your party direction so your corporate gathering is not a mishmash affair.

Location

Apply the same concept to your corporate holiday party as you do to a real estate transaction: location, location, location. Try to avoid holding your corporate holiday party at your business—after all, that is where you and your employees are every other week of the year. Choose your venue carefully: based on expected attendance numbers, budget, location, holiday party vision, etc. If you feel lost trying to choose from all the choices, hire an event planner to narrow down your options.

Food

Food brings people to your party, and good food keeps them there. Research your options to make sure that your event cuisine is more than just budget-friendly. Keep the demographic of your guests and vision in mind as you make decisions about the appetizers and cuisine for your holiday party.

Entertainment

The right entertainment is vital to bringing your corporate holiday vision to life, and to enhancing your guests’ experience. Notice the catch here: the right entertainment. Not every entertainer is right for every crowd; the right entertainers can take a fabulous holiday party to the next level. The wrong entertainment act can tank even the best-planned event. If you need assistance selecting the right entertainers for your holiday party, hire an experienced entertainment agent for recommendations. An entertainment agent can set an entertainment schedule for your holiday party and finalize all the details of your holiday party entertainment.

Atmosphere

Atmosphere is a must-have for every event, and one of the hardest objectives on the holiday party checklist to achieve. It’s also an intangible that takes a fair amount of skill and connections to create. Frankly, it’s not something that everyone can produce so turn to an experienced event planner for the perfect holiday party filled with atmosphere. The result: a holiday party that checks off all your must haves, wows your guests, and leaves a lasting impression even past the holiday season.