But the real secret to budget planning is saving on the things people don’t care about, the things that people don’t notice, and then spending on those items that give you the greatest return on your money. Party hosts should alway be sure to spend on those elements that they most remember about parties they have been to – the most obvious things – and save on the little stuff (which ALWAYS adds up!)
CORPORATE PARTIES AND TIGHT BUDGETS
If there’s one thing that’s consistent every year, during the year end holiday season it is that the vast majority of companies and organizations large and small hold at least one annual holiday party. They always make sure to have a party for their employees. If the organizatin is large enough they have multiple parties, for every segment of the company. And with these parties, every year brings new ideas in decoration, music and more for the holiday season.
The past few years of economic uncertainty have resulted in tight budgets and creative ways to get the most value for the entertainment dollar. Event planners have focused more on advising their employers and clients how to get more bang for their buck and less on expensive, trendy, big-budget items. But that does not mean that parties need to be boring or small. Money creatively spent can result in fabulous parties the feature wonderful entertainment and delicious holiday food. It simply means they make careful decisions on where to spend their money, and on what.
Employers have discovered that holiday luncheon’s are a wonderful way to conserve cash without shortchanging their employees on holiday fun. A holiday lunch or brunch can still feature live holiday entertainment – either background holiday music or fun, interactive performers like traditional holiday carolers, retro holiday doo-wop singers, or rock-n-roll holiday bands. This still allows the party-goers to celebrate the holidays and enjoy visiting with each other. Their corporate hosts are still offering a wonderful meal, drinks and entertainment, but lunch-time parties are always less expensive than evening affairs.
Another great way to reduce prices, if you want to have an evening party, is to have it during the week. Holiday entertainment and holiday venues are always less expensive on weekends than on the the coveted three friday or saturday nights in December that are before the holiday break. Hence a wednesday or thursday night soiree with hot hors d’oeuvres, live music, DJ and holiday entertainment can be a wonderful evening out for employees. Friday night celebrations.
There are other ways for corporations and organizations to maximize their holiday investment and still throw a fun holiday party, that don’t involved switching from the weekends to weekdays, or from evening to day.
A- Make the holiday party an awards program. – Create a business focus for the holiday party. Emphasize the message of employee appreciation and that the party is just a symbol of an optimistic future. Use the party as another way to increase solidarity and employee loyalty to the company.
B - Eliminate the carving stations. If a corporation chooses to host a party that includes a full meal, choose cost effective menu items, such as chicken, fish and mini-appetizers and skip the prime rib and turkey carving stations. The decision will eliminate the cost of required attendants and chefs, without eliminating delicious food.
C - Choose mini-desserts rather than full servings. Mini desserts are more fun. A dessert station feels lavish. They allow people to taste, rather than chow down, which, when it comes to dessert, follows the general rule of thumb which is that most guests take just two bites of dessert.
D – Limit the alcohol. Many more organizations have been doing this in the last few years. A couple successful strategies include offering a signature drink, limiting options to beer and wine, and offering a two drink maximum. Another suggestion is to eliminate alcoholic beverages completely, which also eliminates any potential liability.
E – Negotiate. Negotiate with vendors for deals. All vendors will negotiate, from the venue, to the music, from the food to the decor. Beware of prices that are too good to be true – they are. But that does not mean you can’t get a great deal