Be creative when planning company holiday party

Planning a party for the holiday season need not be stressful, according to Karen Schoenung, owner of My Party Places in Glendale.

Schoenung has some advice to make your office get-together one your employees will enjoy.

“The important thing to remember is that the holidays are really your time of the year to say thank you to your employees, and reflect the season of giving,” she said.

Schoenung specializes in unique urban party planning. Some creative ideas for this season include: wine tasting at Vino 100; martinis and manicures at Exclusiva Hair Design and Spa; cooking classes at the Milwaukee Public Market; Chef’s Table at Hinterland Gastro Pub; dinner in the sky compliments of Dinner in the Sky events; Milwaukee night out on the town; or even a company boat cruise aboard the Edelweiss.

“It doesn’t have to always be a dinner party after work. There are a lot of venues in the Milwaukee area that offer an opportunity to be creative,” Schoenung said.

According to Schoenung, the best time to start planning your holiday parties is between the end of October and the middle of November. However, there are venue openings even for the last-minute planner.

“The most frustrating thing for most people is getting a phone call back,” Schoenung said. “Venues are swamped with phone calls this time of year. An event planner might be able to get around some of that waiting time for you.”

A planner like My Party Places can offer benefits such as access to pre-secured venues, preferred booking arrangements, hotel booking capabilities, plus access to preferred vendors and consultation with a party planner.

“As an event coordinator, I can also manage all of it and be there that day to make sure everything goes right,” said Schoenung. “It depends on the size of their party, but I can actually be there to host it so that they can enjoy it as well.”

Whether you decide to use a party planner or complete the task in-house, establishing the budget for the event is the first task.

“Most corporate parties are around 50 to 85 people, and they budget $40 to $50 per person for food, drinks and entertainment. That is very doable in Milwaukee.” Schoenung said. Choosing either appetizers and cocktails,  a buffet style or sit down dinner, or just deserts and drinks are important things to consider when taking into account the budget, she said.

Location is also very important when planning your event. Budget and the kind of atmosphere you are looking for are points to think about when choosing a location.

“Some people will choose to do an in office party and cater in food. Others will choose the atmosphere they are looking for, either a fun Irish Pub or an elegant museum setting, a casual restaurant or funky club scene,” Schoenung said.

You can save by finding a venue where there is no room rental charge or food minimum is required, said Schoenung.

“Planning a luncheon event is also more cost affordable then a business dinner, and planning the party on a weeknight usually allows for discounted pricing as well,” she said.

For more information or to contact Karen Schoenung visit

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