If you’re tearing your hair out trying to plan your office’s holiday party, you’re probably not alone — but throwing the perfect bash doesn’t have to be a nightmare at all. Jimmy Georgoulis, experienced party planner and owner of Fuzion Resto Lounge & Garden, offers these tips for planning the perfect office party:
Check a place out in-person first and use your senses to judge. “Make a reservation and go in for dinner or a drink. Just look around — what kind of feel does the place have? Is it a place you’d like to go personally? Talk to the staff, talk to the chef. The washrooms should be clean and kitchen should be open, it means there’s nothing to hide.”
Georgoulis says most office parties fall into three categories: After-work cocktails with hors d’oeuvres, a buffet dinner (classier name: “food stations”) and the traditional sit-down dinner. Stick to one of the first two.
“At a cocktail party or with food stations, people get up, walk around and talk. It’s more social. At a sit-down dinner guests have to sit next to the same people for two or three hours.
“You run the risk of boredom, and if there’s any tension in the office you risk people not showing up because they don’t want to sit next to somebody else.”
Quit sampling the Jägerbombs and pick up a menu — you’re planning a workplace celebration, not a frat party.
“A lot of people spend most of their budget on alcohol. My advice is to spend the bulk of your budget on a glorious meal at a great restaurant. The office Christmas party should be a time to celebrate your staff, not a time to get wasted.”
Plan a reasonable budget, or stick to a pub. “Don’t expect a really nice meal at a really nice restaurant for a really tight budget. Great restaurants that are busy will not take a party on a budget. Pubs are best for low-budget parties ... and you can often cut a deal with the manager.”
Rafael Brusilow for Metro Toronto