The time to start planning your company’s holiday party is now…

By Rieva Lesonsky

As much as we hate to admit it, summer 2015 is fading and it’s time to start planning your holiday party. Arthur Backal, celebrity event planner, hospitality consultant and CEO of Backal Management Group, the operating group that manages events at Apella, Event Space at the Alexandria Center, has some tips on what’s in this fall.

Setup & Décor

  • Winter themed rather than holiday themed: Apella is seeing a trend towards neutral winter décor rather than specific holiday décor, especially at business holiday parties.

Food & Beverage

  • Food fair/Smorgasbord-inspired events: This trend was so hot this summer that we predict it will carry into winter events as well with indoor food carts. You can create a food hall atmosphere inspired by Eataly and Le District. Global cuisine continues to be a hit.
  • Craft Beer, Craft Cocktails, Craft Catering: This trend is expanding to business parties and events. Apella prefers the term “local” instead of “craft” to emphasize your support for local farmers, brewers and wineries.
  • Food Stations: Apella recommends a hot chocolate and holiday cookie bar instead of traditional desserts.

Smart Ideas

  • Hire a photographer: As social media becomes more and more of a priority, it’s important to have quality photos to share on your company’s social networking pages as well as have attendees share on theirs. Having a photographer with the ability to post directly to social media during the actual event is also an up-and-coming trend.
  • Plan Ahead and Book Early: There are only so many days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and prime dates book up fast.
  • Consider Mondays and Fridays for holiday parties: If you want to cut down on costs, consider asking if any discounts apply for holiday parties on those days.