When to Plan Your Holiday Party — A Timeline From Dropbox’s Experience Manager
If you’ve ever planned your company’s holiday party, you know it can take months of planning to pull off a successful event. For Lauren Lee, Dropbox’s Manager of Events and Experiences, she starts the process as early as six months in advance. Which means while everyone is in Summer mode, her team is looking at wintery venues and choosing festive holiday décor. With so many details to consider, we asked Lauren to share the timeline she follows when planning Dropbox’s holiday party.
Check out her detailed breakdown below to ensure you have everything prepared ahead of time so you can enjoy your months of hard work and dance the night away.
Photography by Max Kutz, Nick Livingston, Cody Jensen
Up to as early as six months before:
- Visit potential venue
- Confirm forecasted budget
Two to four months before:
- Nail down the venue: While we source and hold the venue ahead of time, up to six months in advance, the negotiations and contract go back and forth a bit. It’s important to make sure that you understand what you’re paying for!
- Source and contact big ticket vendors (food and beverage, main entertainment, etc.)
- Understand overall concept and design narrative; present concept to decision makers if needed
- Build and review mood/design boards with event production companies
Three months before:
- Send out the save the date to attendees and photographer: It doesn’t need to be fancy. It’s typically just a date and ideally, a design that hints at the decor, theme, or location
- Reserve big ticket vendors
- Source and contact additional vendors (photo booths, ancillary entertainment, etc.)
- Find and book accommodations near the venue for a potential room block discount
- Review and edit menu with food and beverage vendor (menu tasting optional)
Two months before:
- Send out the official invitation including dress code, RSVP instructions, room block info, etc. We do invites via different event software companies (Eventbrite, Event Farm, Splash, etc.)
- Begin connecting vendors with venue
One month before:
- Confirm all vendor details. (i.e. play money has been designed/ordered for the casino
- Hire additional staff for things like greeting, directing, guest check-in, etc.
- Walk through space with security and big ticket vendors (unless preferred vendor is very familiar with the space)
- Review transportation options
- Send RSVP reminder to unregistered guests
Three weeks before:
- Confirm floor plan designs with all event production company and vendors
- Create supply list (i.e. fun bathroom accessories: candles, hairspray, mints)
- While I could ask a vendor to manage this piece, my team enjoys handling some of the finer details. We try to personalize to our audience as much as possible!
Two weeks before:
- Confirm handoff of any items that need to be transported or set-up day of with venue (i.e. extra toiletries, signage, equipment, etc.)
One week before:
- Send out reminders to attendees (i.e.what to bring, what to expect, transportation details/instructions)
- Confirm production schedule with all vendors and venue
- Check-in with vendors as needed (based off production schedule)
- Breathe, you got this!
- Send out photos, feedback survey, and lost and found information
- Reconcile budget
- Start thinking about the next one!