As one of the top magicians in Los Angeles, I’ve performed at a wide variety of holiday parties. Whether your party is for a large company, a charity fundraiser, or an intimate family gathering, these holiday party tips will guarantee a successful night for all.
Joe Skilton’s Holiday Party Tips
FYI: I’m going to assume you’re not using an event planner or destination management company for this (more about hiring an event planner below).
Send Physical AND Electronic Invites
You’d be surprised how often letters from friends can accidentally end up in the trash. To make sure everyone gets the invite, send it twice. First by snail mail, and then a follow-up email 7 days later. Many companies and event planners use Cvent, but for private parties I recommend evite.com. It’s much easier to use.
Choose Your Venue Early
Hopefully you’ve got this covered already. Top venues are booked many months (sometimes over a year) in advance. This is especially true on the first and second weekends in December.
Going Late into the Night? Consider a Food Truck.
Food trucks are ALWAYS a hit with late-night revelers. Families love In-N-Out food trucks. Have a more “sophisticated” crowd? Here’s the best trucks in LA. Every city has it’s favorites!
In-Office Party? Get Help Decorating.
Co-workers are a fantastic source of inspiration! They’ll add some creative input, and you’ll save lots of time! This goes for house-parties, too. :-)
Non-Traditional Venue? Hire a Valet Service.
Many hotels and restaurants have valet, but if you’re hosting your event elsewhere, and you have more than 50 guests, look into valet companies. I’ve never met anyone who loves a long walk to the car at midnight in high-heels.
No Valet? Email Guests with Parking Info.
Let your guests know the best places to park. If you’re having a party in your home, remember to block off some space in your driveway for any disabled guests. FYI: Driveway space is especially needed if you have any catering. Speaking of catering…
Choose Your Caterer Wisely
Some venues provide their own catering. For other venues, choose your caterer wisely. Ask friends for recommendations and referrals. Or better yet, ask your event planner. Oh, and about event planners…
When Hiring an Event Planner Makes Sense
For larger events, it often makes sense to hire an experienced event planner. Do you find that you don’t know the answers to venue coordinator questions? Not sure what “theme” to have this year? Is the planning taking too much of your time? Maybe a planner is the right choice for your event.
A Word About Event Planners…
Event planners cost money, but a great event planner can save you money! They’ll also save you time and worry, and work to reduce vendor and venue costs. Plus, they can use their extensive knowledge to make your party more, fun, delicious, and memorable for everyone.
Choose Appropriate Music
It’s impossible to find a music genre that everybody loves. Choose a DJ or band with an extensive catalogue of popular hits. For smaller house parties, music streaming is the way to go. These services all have Holiday-themed and Top-40 channels you can listen to. Best of all… they’re free.
Don’t Assume Everyone Knows the Dress Code
If you want your guests to dress up, tell them so! Send email reminders one week as well as one day in advance.
Book Entertainment ASAP
World-class entertainment can make your event more memorable and fun for everyone there. Unlike a large catering company, entertainers CAN’T be two places at once, so book your entertainment as far in advance as possible.
Choose Appropriate Entertainment
Choose entertainment that appeals to a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Hiring a famous comedian? Pick one who works “clean.” Playing board games at home? Don’t play Cards Against Humanity.
If you’re going to hire a magician, I strongly recommend hiring a full-time professional who specializes in entertaining adults. Everyone loves magic from a highly skilled professional magician. *hint, hint!*
Finally… Arrange a Designated Driver
Always arrange an Uber or Lyft in case someone has too much eggnog. You’ll be the hero of the party, and they’ll thank you later.