I recently took on the task of co-hosting an office-wide party to celebrate our first year in our new office. We knew that we wanted to have an event that would be celebratory and inclusive, but managing the details of such an event can be challenging. How do you find a venue that not only can accommodate everyone but that everyone will like? How do you choose a date and time that is best for most people? In the city, the issues of space and parking were especially challenging. In total, we had approximately sixty guests to plan for, ranging in age, gender, sex, race, and SES. In short, there was no way to satisfy everyone. Our strategy? Know that you can not satisfy everyone and be happy with aiming to please most.
When planning an office party, the best piece of advice is to manage expectations. A Winter holiday party is full of expectations– typically the office pays, there should be alcohol, there may be gifts, and the attire is more formal. So when working on a limited budget and diverse audience, a holiday party was bound to fail. We called our party an anniversary fiesta because who knows what that is supposed to be! It could be anything and therefore we were bound to meet expectations, and hopefully surpass them.
Who doesn’t like Mexican food? We hoped no one, as we chose a Cantina close to our office as our venue. This solved the parking issue, as everyone could walk from our office. We also chose an evening when no one had to work and the fewest people were on vacation.
When it came time for invitations, we chose a Paperless Post fiesta invite. It would have been easier to send a creative email, but a Paperless Post invitation made it more formal and also distinguished it from the onslaught of regular emails that we receive at work each day. A printed invitation is not as environmentally friendly and is more likely to get lost. I cannot tell you how many times I have scrambled to find a wedding invitation to find out where the church was on the day of the wedding! As a host, Paperless Post allowed us to easily track the status of our invitations and count our RSVPs. Guests were also able to message us with questions and send regrets. I also use Paperless Post for birthday party invitations (who has time to look up postal addresses for an entire class??).
I love hosting parties, but over the past six years they have mostly been geared toward small children, so it was fun to plan one for adults. Parties will always have some minor glitches– a spilled punch, an entertainer who doesn’t show, late guests or unaccounted for guests, cold food, etc. It is hard when you are the host to not take these malfunctions personally and let them ruin the fun. Whether a party for adults or children though, it is important to remember that if you are having fun, your guests will too.
[This is a promotional post. I was compensated for this post with Paperless Post tokens. All opinions are my own. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. My office party was not affiliated with Paperless Post.]