How to Plan an Office Holiday Party on a Budget

person-2248567_1920.jpg

The holidays are creeping up quickly, and holiday party planning is in full swing. Whether you’re looking to plan a party for your small business, or are a mid-size corporation trying to create memorable experiences, this article will guide you through the process of throwing a holiday “Cheese & Wine” party.

It’s a well-known fact that employees are tired of generic holiday parties; so I would recommend creating an experience for employees by hosting an In-House Wine & Cheese tasting instead of a traditional office holiday party. Wine and Cheese pairing is an inexpensive option compared to standard holiday parties and will also give a fun change of scenery for your vitally important employees.

HOW TO PREP

The first step is to know your team size, guest list, and budget because those will influence the type of party you plan. The next step is always a catchy theme. Try to think of something fun and interesting. Here’s an example: “Cocktails and Conversations.” 

You will need a few bottles of 90 point or higher wine, fancy cheeses, gourmet chocolates, a sommelier (if budgeted for). The sommelier can also assist you with procuring alcohol and will typically charge a procurement fee for purchasing and delivering alcohol to the event, in addition to the cost of the selected wines. This might be a great option for those offices that have less time to plan for their event. 

Now that’s the wine. What about the cheese and chocolates? No matter if the office is covering it, or if employees are bringing them, See’s Candies has great chocolate that is inexpensive and goes well with most wines. Costco and Trader Joe’s are my top choices for fantastic and affordable cheeses. You’ll need palate cleansers, so do not forget to grab some snacks.

Here’s a sample shopping MENU that’s full of great variety and bargain cheese and wine:

PRESENTATION

Remember: it matters. Holding your holiday party at the office may appear to be cheap, so splurge a little on trays, platters, and glasses. 

When setting up the cheese trays, put one to three varieties on each board to give guests a chance to try a few different varieties. Be sure to have labels in front of or inserted into the cheese so guests know what they are trying. Put a few different bottles of wine with each tray, varying from one tray to another, so guests can sample different reds and whites with different ripe cheeses.

Quick Tip - For each cheese, you’ll want to buy at least one ounce per person. For beginner parties, limit yourself to three to five cheeses and four to six wines, so as not to overwhelm the palate (and the guests).

This article is only the tip of the iceberg as to what can be done at a Wine & Cheese tasting holiday party. Please take the idea and run with it and make it unique to your office so you can have the perfect experience. Don’t forget that the responsible thing to do may be to provide alternative transportation. Happy Holidays!! 


Shadae Mayfield

IMG_2066.jpg

By day Shadae Mayfield Mond is an event coordinator for the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center, by night she helps create event design & strategy for nonprofits.

Shadae Mayfield exudes creativity and radiates a positive energy. With her talent, charm and winning smile, she easily develops solid relationships with her clients, colleagues and vendors. This ability allows her to relate to her client’s needs, and have a greater understanding of their vision, goals, and objectives for their event.

Shadae attributes her degree in Event Management to her skills in Event Strategy and logistical execution as well as superior service to client follow up’s.  It is this quality that has allowed Shadae to become the respected mentor that she is and honored peer among the events community.