Office party planning and catering checklist

An office party and event planning checklist is the key to staying on target throughout the event planning process. It keeps your priority list straight, and you can use it as a reference to ensure all necessary actions have been taken.

Checklists are also of benefit in the unfortunate event that you fall ill and are unable to fulfil your planning obligations. A replacement can use the party planning and catering checklist to see what has and has not been arranged, and can step into the process seamlessly to make that party happen.

Read on for tips and to learn more about the essential steps to plan a business bash, and download your very own office party checklist below!

Download our office party planning and catering checklist here.

1. Budgeting

The occasion will determine the items you need to factor into your budget, and how big the bank needs to be. For a routine birthday at the office, you’ll probably only need about $100 to get candles, a corporate cake, and perhaps a small gift.

Larger events, however, are more involved. If your company just secured a new and lucrative client, or you’re throwing the office Christmas party in the boardroom, you’ll need to take into consideration food catering, alcohol delivery, decorations, and any planned or fun activities at the event.

Submit your proposed budget to the relevant authority at least three weeks prior to your corporate event. This is important as you may find some items are not approved, or the company wants you to scale back costs.

keep to your budget when planning your office party

2. Date, time and invitations

In tandem with your budgeting activities, you should check the company calendar, and decide upon a suitable date and time. To make your task easier, you can use a simple tool like Doodle, which once disseminated to your colleagues, will give you a visual representation of everyone’s availability.

Once you’ve nailed the sweet spot in the schedule, send out invites, and confirm your list of attendees.
Planning tip: Ensure you include as much of the essential details as possible in your invite to avoid confusion. Remember to tell everyone what they need to wear!

3. Ordering catering

The best way to keep the food under control is to order from a trusted corporate catering service. Browse catering menus according to your occasion and budget, considering:

  • Light finger food catering as a starter
  • What you’ll serve for the main meal, for example, a buffet
  • Grazing stations and platters
  • Special diet menus
  • Cakes, desserts and treats
  • Beverages such as mineral water, juice and soft drinks
  • Alcohol if suited to the occasion

Use a catering portal or aggregator for the best variety and to ensure top quality corporate catering for your party. When you’ve decided upon a corporate caterer (or two!), simply place your order. Do this as early as possible to ensure the office caterer can meet your requirements, particularly if this is a seasonal occasion, like the office Christmas party or Melbourne Cup lunch.

4. Kitchen and party supplies

If your event is themed or seasonal, you might want to purchase kitchen supplies that tickle the senses in the spirit of the day. The possibilities are only bound by your creativity. For your office Christmas party, enjoy an office boardroom sparkling with tinsel, a decorated Christmas tree, and themed dinnerware to match. It’s your party, your design.

Christmas party table decorations

5. Equipment

Around one to two weeks in advance of your corporate event, you’ll need to make a final call on required technical equipment. Does the office already have speakers, projectors or screens that you can use for the party? Or do you need to make a purchase or hire? There won’t be any karaoke happening without working microphones and a good playlist!

This is also the time to assess whether you will need to hire extra tables, chairs and dinnerware.

6. Activities

If you’re planning on including activities as part of the fun, then you’ll need to prepare early. Purchase the necessary items and inform the guest list if they need to bring or wear anything in particular to participate. Include themed games for festive occasions and don’t be afraid to have a little fun with food!

Planning tip: For any activity that involves costumes or contests, inform attendees as early as possible to allow them plenty of time to prepare. Last-minute awareness can lead to poor response to the activity.

7. Follow up

Following up with attendees and confirming with caterers and vendors is essential at this stage. Send out your reminders by email and call your caterers to check your order.

This is also your opportunity to add to your order, make deductions, or request any last minute special diet options (someone always puts their hand up last minute).

8. Finalise

A few days before the party, you should test any equipment that’s essential to the event. Check that you have everything you need for planned activities. If you haven’t already, create a music playlist that’s suitable for the occasion.

Arrange for the office to be cleaned, and organise the furniture as required for the party. If you’re celebrating a birthday, farewell or promotion, purchase a card for the office to sign in recognition of the milestone.

9. Set up

On the day of the party, you’ll be busy attending to the finer details and finishing touches to ensure the event runs as smoothly as possible. Delegate any responsibilities you are unable to commit to yourself (you can’t be everywhere at once!), and deliver any necessary instructions to attendees as they arrive.

When the catering arrives, arrange it as desired in the boardroom, kitchen or lunch room. Set the catering in such a way as to avoid cross contamination for special diets, and clearly label the special dietary options. You don’t want everyone else to eat the gluten free brownies before your gluten-free only guest has a chance to take a bite!

delicious party food catering


Plan For Success

Once you’ve ticked all the boxes on your list, it’s time to take off the hosting hat and enjoy the fun yourself! Revel in the delicious party catering you’ve ordered, mingle with your colleagues and sway those hips to the tunes. It’ll be an event the office will remember, so expect to be called upon to plan the next party!

Whether you’re hosting an End Of Financial Year party, Christmas party, fancy cocktail party or Melbourne Cup lunch, we’ll make sure your corporate event is a success. Need event planning help or corporate catering menu inspiration? Speak to our event catering experts on 1300 851 900 and we'll provide some recommendations.

Ready to get started?

Download our office party and event planning checklist to get organised with your next corporate bash. 

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