How to Plan Your Holiday Party in Chattanooga
The holidays seem to come out of nowhere once Tennessee summer starts to subside. For many of us, that means decorations go up, the shopping begins, and holiday parties enter their first phase of planning. If you’re planning a holiday party in Chattanooga this year, you know there’s a lot to consider — budget, venue options, food, theme, activities, and more. So, what steps should you take to get things rolling? We’ve put together a guide for planning your holiday party in Chattanooga to help make this an event to remember.
Set the Date in Advance
Coordinating everyone’s schedule can be a challenge, especially if you’re planning a large holiday party. Get something on the books as soon as possible to help attendees plan accordingly. If possible, set a date at least two months in advance. If you expect people to come from out of town, choose a date far enough in advance to make it easier for attendees to arrange travel plans or buy plane tickets. Traveling during the holiday season can be expensive, so the sooner your attendees know the date, the sooner they can snag those cheap tickets.
With that said, it’s also important to plan a holiday party with buffer time between the holidays to help avoid travel conflicts. A helpful tip is to choose a date a few weeks before the holidays (like early December) or a few weeks after the holidays (mid-January).
Decide on a Budget
In a perfect world, money wouldn’t be an issue and holiday parties could be an all-out-event. While this might be the case for some, setting a budget is very important to others. However, budgeting for your holiday party doesn’t mean you have to cut corners, it just means you need to set your priorities ahead of time. Do you want to rent a venue? Will you need transportation or entertainment? Let’s take a closer look at things to consider for your budget.
You can’t have a holiday party that doesn’t include some form of food, but food doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. If money is a constraint, potlucks are a great way to involve your party-goers while still providing delicious, quality food. Otherwise, you can plan to book a caterer, restaurant, or even a venue that also provides food.
If you’re planning a private party or company party, the obvious and most affordable place to host an event is in someone’s home or office. But for those who want a change in scenery, restaurants, conventions centers, and special event venues will also host holiday parties. Keep in mind — when planning a party outside the office or home, it’s important to take into account the number of attending guests. The number of people will often inform things like chair and table rentals and the amount of food needed. So, get your RSVPs as soon as possible.
The good thing about hosting a holiday party is that the party itself can sometimes feel like entertainment. You don’t necessarily have to go all out in order for your guests to have a good time. Ask people to bring their favorite party game or plan out activities like a gift swap. On the other hand, if entertainment is a priority, some holiday parties will go as far as to hire a DJ or band.
If you plan to have a holiday party where alcohol is involved, you probably already know that it can be one of the pricier parts of hosting an event. While providing an open bar is a nice gesture, guests do not always expect it. Asking them to bring their own beverages will help save money on your end.
Choose a Venue
In Chattanooga, there are a lot of special event venues and restaurants that will happily host a holiday party. When choosing a venue, make sure to consider the proximity to airports, offices, and the location of your guests’ homes. This will help your attendees plan transportation accordingly. Next, it’s important to determine the number of guests attending your holiday party. As mentioned earlier, you want to have a general number in mind so that you can ensure it is large enough to accommodate your guests.
Venues that usually host guests for holiday parties include restaurants, bars, event spaces, and even private charter boats. Here are some venues in Chattanooga that we recommend hosting your holiday party.
Plan your holiday party atop Lookout Mountain at Grandview. This beautiful bluff-side home overlooks the Chattanooga Valley and offers a dynamic space for hosting elegant holiday parties. Choose to host your event inside one of the beautiful meeting rooms within the English-style Tudor house or — if weather permits — host your holiday party outdoors in the courtyard, patio or pavilion. Grandview also offers in-house catering. The staff will work with you to develop a custom menu based upon your preferences.
Southern Belle Riverboat
Want to plan a beautiful cruise down the Tennessee River for your holiday party? The Southern Belle Riverboat can accommodate up to 500 people onboard for a lovely sightseeing or dinner cruise through downtown Chattanooga.
The Feed Co. Table & Tavern
At the Feed Co. Table & Tavern, you can rent out their private event space at the rear of the restaurant. The restaurant space offers a separate entrance, providing dinner to up to 80 guests or a simple, social party for up to 110 guests.
Make your holiday party both fun and unique by hosting it at Topgolf in Chattanooga. At Topgolf, your guests can enjoy teeing off from the climate-controlled hitting bays that are designed for all skill levels while also enjoying a delicious meal from a chef-inspired menu.
Chattanooga Conference Center
Got a big party planned? No problem. The Chattanooga Convention Center has the space for you. With 100,000 square feet of column-free exhibit space, 21 meeting rooms, and 19,000 square feet of ballroom space on one level, the Chattanooga Convention Center is perfect for those big-time holiday parties.
Plan Activities for the Party
Spice up your holiday party by planning fun activities for your attendees. Without having to spend too much time or money, holiday party activities can be as simple as planning a gift exchange like Secret Santa or holiday games like Christmas charades. Other fun activities include: live music, karaoke, or decorating cookies or a Christmas tree.
If you’re throwing a holiday party for your company, having some type of employee appreciation activity is always a great way to ring in the end of a year and start to another. Whether it’s through gifts or some type of employee awards, showing your team appreciation during a holiday party can really go a long way.
Decide on Food
It is always a good idea to incorporate food in some capacity at a holiday party. Depending on the size of your event, there are several different options for deciding on a food menu that can accommodate any budget. Here are a few food options we think work great in a party format:
- Potluck - Ask everyone to bring a dish or snack to the holiday party. You may even want to create a signup sheet so no one brings too much of one thing.
- Restaurant - If you plan to have your holiday at a restaurant, this is a great and easy way to feed your guests. Oftentimes, you can choose from the existing menu or a special event menu.
- Snacks and Apps - Keep it simple with small plates for your holiday party.
- Caterer - In Chattanooga, there are plenty of caterers who work at venues or independently for hire. Hiring a caterer is a great option especially when you’re planning a larger event.
When planning out food for your holiday party, be sure to ask your guests if there are any food restrictions. This will help those providing the food to think through alternatives.
Pick a Holiday Party Theme
A lot of people like to plan holiday parties with a theme in mind, sometimes requiring a type of dress code. From Ugly Sweater holiday parties to formal “black and white” themed parties, the sky's the limit to choosing a fun holiday party theme. And while a theme is obviously not a requirement, it is a fun way to shake things up and possibly even take the edge of a long year.
Plan Your Holiday Party at Grandview
At Grandview, planning your holiday party is a pleasure, from the moment it begins until your last guest says goodbye. Our capable and experienced staff handles every detail with a full suite of services from event organizing to catering. Reach out us this holiday season to get your holiday party on the books.