Checklist for Organizing an Office Party

In charge of the office holiday party? Want to rally the troops for a round of cocktails? Print out this checklist and follow these steps suggested by REAL SIMPLE. REAL LIFE. motivation expert Nicole Williams.

chocolate cupcake
Photo: ANNA WILLIAMS
  • Set a budget.

    Have a conversation with the head of your finance department and find out how much you can spend.

  • Pick a date.

    Thursdays are a safe choice. Fridays are generally reserved for family and friend time, but Thursday is close enough to the weekend that they'll be in celebration mode.

  • Notify guests ASAP.

    Send out an announcement for people to save the date, and let them know you'll be in touch with further details.

  • Nail down a venue.

    Pick a spot that fits your budget and number of guests. Make sure to choose a place with an appropriate vibe and keep in mind that an unusual location can make an event more memorable.

  • Plan the menu.

    Include options for vegetarians, and order more than you think you'll need. Provide an assortment of sodas, wine, beer, and mixed drinks. But first: Check the company policy on alcohol—legally, an office party could be considered a work-related event.

  • Give 'em something to talk about.

    Schedule an activity or some entertainment to break the ice.

  • Make a playlist.

    It isn't a party without music! If a band or DJ won't fit within the budget, take requests for a playlist and set up your iPod on a small stereo system.

  • Buy favors.

    Choose a useful little trinket that coworkers can take home.

  • Send an e-minder.

    Two weeks before the party, email guests to let them know the exact time and location, whether they need to bring anything, and whether family or friends are invited. The tone of the announcement should convey how casual or formal the event will be ("Can't wait to see everyone showing off their best Running Man moves!" versus "Looking forward to sharing a lovely evening with you.").

  • Recruit a helper to assist with set up before the event.
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