When you pick a unique party venue for your Christmas do, there’s plenty to consider! The food, the drinks, travel, music, entertainment – the list goes on. But before you start to make any of those big decisions there are a fair few questions you need to ask yourself. Otherwise, you can run the risk of not understanding what exactly you’re trying to achieve with your event. But fear not, here at Merlin Events we’re experts at digging deep to make sure our clients pull off the perfect Christmas party for their guests. Here are some of the things we ask our clients to consider so we can help them have night to remember within our unique party venues.
Every company has a unique identity and within every business there are a wide range of individuals working in different departments and at different levels of seniority. This can make an analysis of your guestlist quite a complicated matter, but it’s important to understand who is coming to your party in order to make sure they all have a brilliant time.
Think about how the age of your guests, how far they will have to travel to your unique party venue, whether or not they have any specific accessibility needs, are they an outgoing bunch or a quiet group of people… Chances are there will be a lot of contradictory conclusions drawn from this exercise! This doesn’t need to be a problem, but it’s an important process to go through so you can make sure you cater for everyone’s preferences at some point during the party.
If you work for a typical business you and your colleagues will probably all spend a lot of time sitting in the same chair, at the same desk, in the same room, in the same building for a lot of your working week. The office Christmas party is an opportunity to take your staff somewhere special, somewhere different and somewhere they can feel inspired, spoilt and appreciated. Choosing a unique party venue is a simple yet effective way of setting the tone for a magical night. Every element of your Christmas party should be about indulging your team and the environment into which you take them should make them feel they’ve been treated.
Going somewhere interactive is another way to excite your guests too. Opportunities for pictures is a great way to engage colleges and help bring them closer. Going beyond a photo booth, Madame Tussauds offers a unique chance for guests to take selfies with Santa as well as pose alongside plenty of their favourite famous faces. Choosing a venue with an ice-breaker or two built-in can also be a winning choice. The shark tank at SEA LIFE always gets guests gossiping while an immersive tour of the London Dungeons is sure to boost their spirits (but hopefully not summon any others…).
Sit down meal vs buffet and food stations
The Christmas party is an opportunity for your staff to make new connections throughout your business, enjoy the company and cement existing bonds with close colleagues. Sometimes a less formal set up – with a buffet and various food stations – can help encourage more interaction between your guests. This might not always be the case though, as some members of your team might prefer the comfort and formality of a seating plan and a served, three-course meal. Give due consideration to the type of food you’re going to serve before you begin to look at which dishes your guests might appreciate.
No matter what unique party venue you choose, food is going to one of the most important and exciting parts of your party for you and your guests. The temptation for lots of planners is to go totally off-piste with the menus – throwing out all notion of turkey, stuffing and mince pies. This can definitely work for some parties, but just make sure you know this will be appreciated before you take the plunge. It might feel a little staid to serve traditional ingredients and flavours at what you hope is going to be a dynamic and inspiring event, but you need to ensure you aren’t going to be disappointing people who were looking forward to some festive treats. Perhaps a good compromise for most audiences is to stick with classic elements and introduce some modern twists?
Drinks and special dietary requirements
It’s likely that most of your guests will indulge in a glass of mulled wine or two at the Christmas party, but as the number of non-drinkers increases, it’s important to make as much effort over your mocktails as your wine list. The same goes for your vegan and vegetarian options – you can never have too many as they can also be enjoyed by meat-eaters.
This is one of the areas of planning a party where you can create a truly stand-out experience for guests beyond having a unique party venue as the setting. Entertainment that is interactive, engaging and memorable will enhance everyone’s enjoyment at your Christmas party, but make sure it’s clear that any ‘joining in’ is optional with no pressure for those who don’t like to be the centre of attention or are fearful or looking silly.
It’s likely you’ll have a large number of people coming to your party who would enjoy letting their hair down and having a boogie as the night goes on. But are there going to be people who might feel a little alienated by this pressure? Is there somewhere they can sit and socialise without feeling uncomfortable? Catering for the needs of a large group of people is a complex affair, but it is possible with a unique venue that has several different areas, such as Madame Tussauds, to create a space for non-dancers to relax.
Merlin Events: Unique party venues for Christmas
Merlin Events runs Christmas events at some of London’s most iconic and unique party venues including Madame Tussauds London, SEA LIFE London Aquarium and the London Dungeons. Each venue offers amazing entertainment, fabulous food and perhaps most importantly, flexibility to cater for a wide range of companies with different cultures and expectations. To discuss your Christmas party ideas and dates, give the Events Team a call on 020 7487 0224.