Christmas decor for events

Top 7 Things to Consider When Planning a Community Holiday Party

If you’ve only been planning small to medium scale private events thus far, it can be quite overwhelming when you’re approached to plan a huge holiday party for the greater public. Beyond the basics of décor, catering, and entertainment—mainstays of any event—there are additional considerations for big events that you may not have considered until now… keep reading to find out what they are!

1. Permits & Licenses

Once you’ve figured out the scale of the event and know the type of entertainment that will be present on site, you need to advise your clients to look for specific licenses and permits. If your clients are planning on serving alcohol at the event, they’ll likely need a liquor license. If music is going to be played live, streaming, radio, or otherwise, they may be subjected to copyright laws. Most music falls under the two biggest music rights organizations, BMI or ASCAP, so it should be straightforward on where to go to apply. Additionally, if your clients are intending to stream video at the event, perhaps everyone’s gathering for New Years and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve special is going to be playing, they may also need a license for that. These expenses must all be taken into account, otherwise, your clients may be blind-sided by some hefty fines!

2. Theme

If it’s a general holiday party and not one specifically for Hanukah, Kwanzaa, or Christmas, the motifs, music, and catering should reflect all the holidays in general. Décor involving snowflakes, bells, candles, and gold and red colors are synonymous with the holidays without painting to any one tradition.

holiday decor for events

On the other hand, if the event is mean to target a specific holiday, the feelings of warmth, love, and community should shine through no matter what kind of tinsel you pick!

3. Venue & Accessibility

Depending on the event, your clients may choose to hold their event outside instead of inside. Perhaps it’s an outdoor holiday concert party, in which case you need to decide whether the event will continue rain or shine. Waste management and amenities also need to be taken into consideration if the expected turnout exceeds the amount of service the surrounding buildings’ bathrooms can accommodate.

Consider the capacity for the venue—this will also determine the number of tickets you can sell and the price of each ticket! You’ll want to choose a spacious area that would not obstruct other competing events, and also be easy and accessible for most people to get to! Does it make sense to hold a community holiday party an hour’s drive away? Remember, accessibility does not only mean how close it is to public transportation, but it also refers to accommodating those with physical disabilities! Having the most accessible venue will accommodate all those in the community!

4. Staff

Whether your client is a not-for-profit and runs from the hard work of volunteers or if hired staff are on site, keeping in mind the availability of staff and the extent of their skills and capabilities can help you run a successful event. You may need to hire extra security for the event, licensed bartenders, and first aid / medical services.

server with event management training

These types of personnel should be secured by their own contracts and insurance.

5. Noise Restrictions

Especially around the holidays, the entertainment of choice is live musicians and bands. Nothing feels more festive than holiday tunes churned out by a group of extra-spirited musicians. As is the case with big-name festivals, even famous artists are subjected to fines for playing municipal curfews. These curfews are put in place to decrease noise disturbance to the public going into the night. If you’re coordinating the event the day of, you should make sure that you know exactly who to go to when quiet hours are in place and you need to tone it all down. If your client is slapped with a fine at the end of the night, a way to make sure it’s not all passed onto you, include an Indemnification Clause in your contract!

6. Insurance

Your insurance should not just cover commercial general liability. Public liability cover, event insurance policy, and equipment damage among other provisions should be included in your contract and your clients should also possess their own insurance. Even though you planned the event, you can never guarantee how an event will unfold. You may want to purchase additional coverage such as event cancellation if a large part of your business is hinging on this one event to end the year. Preparing yourself to face the unknown is one of the best things you can do for your business and your clients!

7. Cashbox & charity

Secure cash boxes and small change should be on hand for additional ticket sales, food and beverage sales, and charitable donations (if they choose to implement this) on the day of the event. Donations are often made to charity around the holidays. There’s something about the outpouring of love around year’s end that makes people want to be selfless and donate money, food, or clothing. If your clients are thinking about collecting donations, they need to make sure they publically put out a statement about the cause and provide readily available information for enquirers… failing to do so is illegal!

holiday event planning charity box

Collections can occur through donation boxes or portion off a fraction of ticket sales to go towards charitable causes. Either way, you need to make sure that the money and collection boxes are insured and safely transported with additional security as needed.

It’s never too early to start planning for a slow season. Check out how to promote your event planning business in the post-holiday slump!

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