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SYMPTOM: I’ve been tasked with organising the Christmas party, and can’t decide whether to go for package or bespoke. What do you suggest?
REMEDY: Choosing between bespoke and ready-made is the same decision whether you’re buying a suit or choosing an event. The bespoke option offers you an end result that’s tailored to your specific requirements, which, of course, comes at a premium. Buy an off-the-peg product, and you might have to make compromises, but you’ll pay significantly less. And if you shop around, you’re sure to find something that fits.
A lot of Christmas events come in at between 20 and 100 guests – too big for a restaurant booking and too small for exclusive hire of a venue. In this case, package deals operated by experienced large-scale organisers are a great option. Organisers create a ready-themed event space at a particular venue throughout December, which is then hired out on a nightly basis. Browse a range of details and themes here.
If your company has had a bumper year, budgets are sky-high and you’re inviting clients along to join your Christmas party, a bespoke event is sure to make an impact. Many companies opt for a blow-out bespoke event once every three years. Don’t know where to start? The usual place: squaremeal.co.uk/christmas. Have a clear idea of your numbers, budget and aims when you begin your enquiries.
Don’t assume that there’s no room to manoeuvre within a package party night. The vast majority of organisers will offer upgrade options on food and drinks packages, but you can also request extras – roving entertainers or ice sculptures, for example – as well as changing fundamentals like the entertainment: swapping Fake That for Take That, perhaps. It’ll still cost less than going it alone from scratch.
For small groups and budgets, or if you just fancy seeing some new faces at the Christmas bash, consider booking tables at a shared party night. The events are ready-themed and economies of scale mean that you’re promised a far more elaborate event than your budget would allow independently.
This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, Autumn 2008.