By Jade Day, event sales manager at Whittlebury Hall Planning a corporate Christmas party that pleases everyone is no mean feat; with everything from theming and entertainment to logistics and catering to consider, it can often feel like more of a headache than a celebration. Having recently been named the Bronze winner of the ‘Best Christmas Corporate Party Venue’ category at the 2018 National Venue Awards, the events team at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire knows a thing or two about planning the perfect festive party – event sales manager Jade Day has shared her three top tips with us to help ease the stress. Let your venue take some of the stress Event planners don’t have to take on all the stress of organising a Christmas party themselves – choose a venue with an experienced events team and they will be able to help with much of the planning. Many venues offer all-inclusive packages that include full theming, entertainment and catering, which means you don’t have to waste time sourcing suppliers or managing logistics. Blank-canvas venues can be attractive because they can be customised to your needs, but inclusive packages don’t have to be cookie-cutter either; a good venue will offer options for customising, and here at Whittlebury Hall we can even create a completely different theme for exclusive hire events. Surprise and impress with interesting theming A well-produced creative theme can turn an average Christmas party into something people talk about for years to come, and if the theming includes food and entertainment then it means a lot of the difficult decision making is taken care of. Your first choice needs to be whether you want to go traditional or for something more unusual. Classics like ‘winter wonderland’ tend to be crowd-pleasers, but as they’ve been done so many times need to be exceptional to stand out. At Whittlebury Hall, we change our Christmas theme every year – last year was a New York Fairytale, while this year is going to be an ‘Apres Ball’, complete with après-inspired appetizers, aperitifs, and three-course meal, exhilarating live themed entertainment and a fun-fueled DJ set. We’re also taking care not to give too much away in advance, as there are going to be some elements which will definitely be best enjoyed as a surprise! Make the logistics easy for your guests Nothing is likely to hamper the enjoyment of your guests more than having to worry about making a long journey home or having to leave the party early to catch the last train. Think about where your guests are travelling from and choose a venue that will be easily accessible for everyone. For a small business based in one office, employees may all live in close proximity and can get home using public transport or taxis, but if guests are coming from further afield then consider a venue with accommodation onsite. This means everyone can relax without worrying about getting home, and you can be more flexible with the location you choose. In addition to the 254 bedrooms Whittlebury Hall offers onsite, we also provide an accommodation finding service to corporate bookers, with rooms to suit all budgets conveniently located nearby to our estate. If you’re still looking for inspiration for your 2018 Christmas party, give the Whittlebury Hall events team a call on 01327 850447 or visit www.whittleburyhall.co.uk/christmas.