We had a chance to talk with our new Special Events Director, Patricia Gums (formerly Director of Private Events at Yoshi’s SF and The Chapel), on how to plan a successful holiday party and here’s what she said:
Most successful event planners start booking their preferred venue early in the year, sometimes as early as January, in order to get the date and venue they want. Make sure you have your budget reviewed and approved before you can move onto the fun planning stage. If you are unsure, you can always place holds with your venue to make sure they call you before somebody else swoops in and gets your date.
San Francisco is offering parties and entertainment every given night, so simply having an open bar and a DJ may not be enough to make your party memorable. Think about booking an up and coming band, add a live instrument to a DJ, bring in dancers, flash mobs, aerialists, burlesque shows, tarot readers, robots, stilt walkers, tattoo stations… anything that guests can do at your party to ensure they are stimulated and are having fun. Know your audience; engineers may have a completely different idea of fun than a room full of creatives and ad executives.
Most of the technology that has now become part of our regular life was spotted at an special event first. “Back in the Day” (i.e. one year ago): Uber apps, task rabbits, selfie sticks, silent disco, Snapchat filters and so on. Try to follow what is new in the Bay Area and incorporate it into your event and have fun with it.
Last year, Winter Wonderland and Retro Throwback Themes were big. DIY stations are also always fun if they go with the theme. Try to see what the office or company culture is obsessed with and build from there. Don’t be afraid to be too nerdy or elegant, as long as you commit to the theme, your guests will enjoy it! Gifts never hurt 😉