Your guide to planning the perfect year-end event. Tips and tricks from the experts.

So it’s that time of the year again…yes…it’s time to start planning your year-end party. If you haven’t already heard, there are only 3 months until the start of 2018. Office parties are the talk of November and December conversations with employees either bragging or complaining about the events to come. The anticipation of hearing the theme is often the case in big corporates…but enough beating around the bush, allow us to guide you through a few tips and tricks to make your planning duties effortless.

In the beginning, there was a budget…let’s start here. Knowing your budget is the most common tip that is emphasized throughout all the articles we’ve researched. Yes, you need to know your budget before going any further, even if it means bookmarking our blog and coming back once you have an approved budget in writing. Having an approved budget is the foundation. You can be reassured that a budget doesn’t make or break the success of your event. Now that you have your budget, find out the next important factors. Who, what, when and why?

Find out how many people will need to be catered for and if this is a mix of clients and employees and the purpose (to celebrate the year, a team-building exercise or just relaxing time out to socialise). Ask management to give you preferred date and alternatives. Is it a weekday or weekend event? Will it be on the final day before you close? Let’s take a break and get some advice from an event planning veteran.

Chief Operating Officer at Airborne Experience, Florence O’Connell  says:

“Creating, managing and delivering a successful event involves understanding your client and the objective of the event. Manage expectations and surround yourself with a great team. For me, event planning is like conducting an orchestra, once the music is written and the instruments and performers are in place the conductor can begin and direct the orchestra to the client’s applause.”

Magic doesn’t happen overnight but lets these words be your guide. There are a lot of questions you’ll need to answer. Here is a form that you can copy and paste or adjust.

Here is a form that you can copy and paste or adjust.

Year-end Event 2017


Preferred date

Alternative date:


Budget per person:

Budget: R…………(Total)

The number of guests attending:

…..clients and/or partners

…..employees (with/without partners)


Team building/celebration/social

Food & Beverages (Check guests dietary requirements)

Will alcohol be served?

How many guests are halal, vegetarian, vegan, kosher?

Visit: for help on getting started with event planning.

Take a deep breath, the worst is over. Now let the fun begin. Google, Instagram, and Pinterest are 3 sites that will help inspire you. It’s time to secure your venue.  EventKickStart says you should: “decide on where you want to host the event — will you celebrate it at the office or a nearby venue? Before deciding on an outside venue, enquire about any needed deposits” The venue sets the tone of the event. We are lucky to have so many amazing venues in the city, wine farms are a popular option because they offer, food, wine and activity. Other venue options could be a hotel rooftop, restaurant/bistro/ tourist attraction or even your office area. All it takes it a bit of imagination.

To save costs on decor choose a venue that includes everything. Asking if they have sound equipment will also help if you need to make speeches.

 Here are a few more tips on how to cut your budget, courtesy of

  1. Have the function during the day, not the evening. Lunchtime events can be cheaper.
  2. Plan ahead…bookings can often be cheaper the earlier you book in advance.
  3. Choose your date strategically…have your year-end event a little earlier, say in November, when you may still be able to get normal rates.
  4. Offer to pay in full upfront. Many suppliers such as caterers, bar staff and entertainers will give you a discount if you pay for the entire amount upfront.

So we’ve helped you put together a plan, save on cost and now for the most important part. Make it special. It is an event you want your fellow employees to talk about for the next 365 days.

“Special Touches: It’s not the cost that sets your party apart from everyone else’s – it’s time and thought. Special touches show your guests that you have given real consideration to what is going to make the event memorable and personal – and make them feel  special.”

You are now ready to plan the perfect year-end event. Feel free to comment and share this article on your social media platforms. We know you can get enough, so we’ve put together event planners to follow on Instagram and a few useful articles to read.

Follow your favourite event planners on Instagram:                                                                                                        Colin Cowe

Debi Lily

Grace Kennedy

Preston Bailey

Chef Wolgang Puck

Useful links:                                                                                                                                                                                31 Must-Follow Event Planners and Event Bloggers on Twitter

Essential Tips for Beginning Event Planners                                                               

Cape Town Year-End Party Ideas for 2016

The Simple Steps to Planning Your Own David Tutera ‘CELEBrations’