By Stephanie Ellrott, Head of Venues at RIBA Venues
With the festive break just around the corner, Christmas party season is upon us and with that comes the usual alcohol fuelled festivities.
While as a venue we don’t advocate drunken behaviour we do like to ensure our clients have a great time at their Christmas party and enjoy the food and alcohol available to them.
How do you guarantee you have enough of the right drinks to keep your guests happy, but not drunk, and ensure they have a fun night? Here are our three tips.
Offer a range of drinks to suit all tastes
Knowing how much of each drink to order can be confusing. This year we have created tailored drinks packages for our clients to allow organisers to budget their Christmas parties better and take the pressure off additional spend on the night. No two guests are the same, however, and while some like to let their hair down and will be looking to drink a lot, others may be more conservative. Tailored drinks packages will help to offer something for everyone and ideally would include a mixture of alcoholic and soft drinks to suit everyone’s tastes.
Ensure food is a key part of the event
Providing a hearty meal for guests at a Christmas party will line their stomachs and build a good base. We have a policy that all parties at RIBA Venues must incorporate food into the event. Food can be a great focal point for Christmas parties and getting creative with theming can offer a great dimension to the party. Besides the popular food stalls or themed buffets, we also incorporate more substantial food, e.g. bowl food rather than canapés, into our Festive packages that is served from the start of the event accompanied by hearty nibbles.
Create exciting low alcohol tipples wherever possible
There is no exact science to how much wine or beer guests drink at Christmas parties, but we have actually seen a steady rise in the amount of beer consumed at events in the last year. In events that have equal attendance by men and women we have found beer being far more popular than wine. Wine needs to be easy drinking, light but good quality to avoid that sore head the next day but we have found that guests are just as happy with a cold and fresh beer in their hands as a glass of wine. We have also found that our house wine has been chosen many times over a more expensive wine at blind tastings that proves you don’t need to always go for the expensive option when catering for a large party. It is advisable to avoid serving spirits or cocktails with high concentrations of alcohol. There are some great non-alcoholic cocktail recipes that go down just as well.