ACF Teambuilding & Events

Organising The Christmas Party - A Case Study

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3 ladies on black backdrop at christmas party

The Christmas Party…..

Probably one of the most important events of the year to reward and say thank you to your staff. But for the person organising the Christmas Party it can trigger an instant head ache as they anticipate the planning, venue decisions, menu choices and entertainment dilemmas that lie ahead. Here’s a case study about one of our previous events to offer some insight into putting on, what is for some, the biggest party of the year!

The organiser: Storm Kennedy - Sales Event Executive at ACF Teambuilding & Events

The event: A Christmas Party whilst celebrating a great year.

What was the clients brief? To create a party that has the hint of extravagance and luxury where everyone in the company can enjoy and celebrate together.

The guests: The guest list included all 350 employees of the company, from warehouse staff to all senior directors who would be travelling from America, Italy, Croatia and the UK.  

Guests at Christmas Party

The venue choice: After a lot of site visits and extensive research the venue chosen was City Hall, which is primarily used by Bristol City Council. This Grade 2 listed building had recently been refurbished and has high ceilings with a beautiful painted ceiling. It was important that all the guests had the opportunity to be all in one room, while having some breakout areas for extra activities. This room offered the luxury and that little bit of wow factor that we were looking for.

On arrival: Outside of the main doors there were floodlights that lit up the night sky. Greeted by professional door staff guests walked through on a Red Carpet, greeted by company directors and then directed towards the cloakroom where coats were taken and food / drinks wristbands provided.

Drinks and Canapes were handed out by the venues catering staff and guests were encouraged to pose for photos next to the branded “sponsors’ board” alongside a Marilyn Monroe lookalike. We provided a Champagne Fountain to keep guests well ‘watered’ and a Ferro Roche Pyramid to provide some sweet treats.

To aid the glamorous theme, the foyer furniture was replaced with Poseur Tables and we had Golden colour uplighters up against the walls. One of the main features in the room was a giant company branded prop that sat within two pillars which created a great eye-catching addition to the room. The restrooms were a down a flight of stairs which had been carpeted, and restroom props such as arm chairs, mirrors and toiletries were added. All other entrances (except for fire escapes) were blocked out using drapes and swags. The CEO made a short speech and handed out a number of awards before guests were invited to travel through a star clothed corridor into the main function room.

Poser Wall at Christmas Party  Chriatmas Party Decor in foyer at city hall

The Main Room: We had Gobos fixed onto the high walls together with static lights under trusses and movable multiple colours illuminating the ceiling. One end of the room held a large powerful projector that beamed an image of the company logo while using a second glass gobo to deliver a twinkling effect across on a large conference screen (which couldn’t be moved, so we thought we should make the best of it that we could)

It was important that there was enough space for dancing so a large 16m x16m black starlit dancefloor was placed in front of the stage where a live band performed for entertainment. A pop-up bar was set up at the far end of the room with a number of tables to sit at. We hired in the table centres and chose large floral displays for wow factor.

Catering: The client didn’t want a formal meal at this event, so they opted for hot bowls served in buffet style along with a burger bar and more focus on the canapes on arrival. The catering was provided by the venues own caterer.

Entertainment:

Photo / Magazine Booth: This was a purpose built booth that guests walked into for group photographs. Brightly lit, one side of the booth was a large Perspex front with a variety of Magazine style headlines about the company’s achievements. In order that the camera didn’t require a flash and avoid back reflection the rest of the room required a complete blackout. After each photo was taken guests could wait to see the pictures which were shown on a large plasma screen. All photos were of course saved and provided to the company after editing.

Mix and Mingle: We provided a Marylin Monroe lookalike and 2 paparazzi characters to mingle with guests and encourage them to be photographed and provide memories for the event.  

Casino Room: Roulette and Black Jack Tables went down very well.

Band: A party band was booked by our client directly.

Photo Booth - Magazine Booth  Christmas Party Band

Challenging / unique elements to planning the event: As a Grade 2 Listed Building we had to ensure everything was free standing, as a lot of the fixtures and fittings were valuable and needed to be protected. In addition, all of the lifts were designed for a small number of people and therefore not suitable to transporting a lot of the equipment needed to create this event.

The only suitable entrance was through the front doors that had long ramps leading up to it, but we had to be aware of the maximum weight limit. This meant we were only allowed to use small vans and only one at a time on the ramp.

The last challenge was that as City Hall is Public Building we weren’t allowed to collect or breakdown equipment on a Sunday, so everything needed to be broken down and transported away on the same evening.

What was the feedback from attendees?

‘Woweeeee what an absolutely amazing night!!!! You guys absolutely nailed it - such an amazing event, the buzz around the offices is amazing today! Thank you so much for everything you did, you made it look seamless but I’m sure it wasn’t at times. We loved it so much, absolutely loved everything - it really looked so fantastic. We should arrange a debrief whenever you have less on, I know you’re working on your next project. I’d like to hear your less-blurred memory of the night. Word on the street is… It was the BIGGEST & BEST ever in company history- so we did it!!! And it’s all thanks to you - THANKYOU!