Company parties tend to be rote so therein lies a fine opportunity to bust out of the office box and make a party that is particularly fantastic. Take care to add elements of surprise and delight.
For formal/large parties, keep attention to the feel of the broader space, it ought to convey respect and coziness. Be sure to see to the finer details like table arrangements. Seating assignments are everything. Draft a chart and then ask two people what they think of it. Do not ask questions at this stage, just employ their recommendations. Listen to all the stories, repeat nothing and people will continue to tell you what they think of your seating arrangements unabashedly for all of your party planning years to come.
Keep hold of the objective of the party, the essence, which is the kind of gift you want to give and check-in to see how the party is shaping-up to it. Make adjustments on the fly if you can carry them out covertly and without hurting anyone. Otherwise let it go.
A party is a gift to many in one shot, and your job as the party maven is to be sure the gift is delivered.
What has made all the difference in your company parties?
When you quit a job and your co-workers confront you with a send-off lunch and it is so spectacular that you continue the lunch monthly for a year. As many as twelve people attended, I dinned alone only once. What made it stick was two questions, set in advance of the lunch, that we went around the table taking turns answering. It was so simple, we didn’t expect it to be so raw and satisfying. In 30 mins upwards of an hour, we connected more than each of us had in the larger part of a year working in that office neck and neck together. It was remarkable although we never remarked on it, we just kept showing up.
In case you were wondering… I quit because the team needed a chief happiness officer and the director wouldn’t allow me to be it there so I had to be it someplace else.
Welcome back to the country meets neighborhood picnic. Set one table under a tree, add a gauzy canopy to delineate where the folks drop their ‘pots of luck’ aside from the picnic tables to eat at and green to play at to effectively create an easy breezy welcoming home for all. Let us take every opportunity to love people where they are at and where they are going so we can revel in what happens as a way of life.
Early in the day before anything has a good chance of happening is a perfect time for a kid party. Rented parks cabin to roll out onto a hilltop green to a catered brunch and field games. No matter if any kids show-up for this horribly situated birth date for parties smack-dab in the middle of vacation season, the adults have a ball. To plan a party in the highest esteem is the only party that ought to be planned.
This retirement is about a new, highly anticipated beginning. Hosted backyard party, a lovely backdrop to an array of friends, family, and surprise guests. Socializing in the sun and shade, ample yard games, takeout, and surround sound take the regular office send-off to a new, more fruitful launch pad for all. We dare say, more retirements like this!
My excitement rose exactly with the ascension of a narrow indoor staircase, and then extended with that of a jaunty outdoor catwalk, finally opening to the rooftop deck of my dreams! The sound was incredible, so perfect that I hardly noticed my stiletto heels fitting perfectly between the slats of the deck floor.
Last night, I attended the Monkey Loft, a performance venue. While a bit confusing to figure out where to go to get to the rooftop deck, eventually a nice person conceded to play Host, telling all about the place and how to get to the roof.
Dancing on my toes, with my eyes closed occasionally, and in good company entirely… well, it was as fine a night out as ever could be. What ends well, often starts me thinking about how the event experience began, at the entrance.
To go from a small space to an expansive one, makes sense when you arrive. Conversely, to go from an expansive space to small one, makes sense when you leave. This is a common rule in design, and you will see it all over the place. When the opposite is true, you will feel a bit odd, if you are paying attention at all. There are exceptions, and those interest me too.
I have spent years toying around with decor and experience design, mapping routes about places for particular parties, and mulling over ways to get around walls that I couldn’t move. What I discovered were solutions to design problems. I think this is a big deal because design problems create conflict, and life is too short to suffer conflicts you don’t have to. Furthermore: great design can inspire people to live, create, and connect in ways that didn’t seem possible before. Great design creates opportunities!
Decorations are fun if they make a positive difference. I tend to identify items that stand on their on or that I love despite the context. Those tend to be the best decoration items, your style standards. Where to place them for maximum impact depends on the skeleton of the place you are fixing. For instance, if you’ve got the opposite: an expansive entrance leading into a small place–like I do–use the decorations outside, and keep a clean/empty entry inside, to mimic a space that satisfies the rule naturally. It’s surprisingly effective!
Breaking the rules can also be effective and pleasurable, but I cannot think of an example for this design scenario. You?
Be well (dance!)
I spend no time behind a camera to create these happenings. A photographer is missing perhaps. Needless to say, it is possible to provide for a score of regular women to show-up donned in formal attire for an aristocratic lounge-like dining experience that contrasts splendidly amid the set of a broken-down house built in the 20’s.
Brazen detention of sorts. Piped loud music and chinese takeout into a long hall with low ceilings, chock-full of antiques, stuffed with couches and chairs ripe for the kibitzing. Games included people bingo (where you collect a lesser know fact about each guest and place at random on a bingo card) so guests must find out who ‘won the seattle marathon’ for instance which gives rise to a connection each time a bingo square is mastered. What happens is these connections fill-up the place with the buzz of your dreams in no time flat. An icebreaker is paramount to any mixer going off without a hitch. For everything else there is the taxi and the sleepover. Be a good host and see your guests to and through your event carefully so they may readily, steadily party again.