The holidays are here, and with them come the pressure to plan and host the perfect holiday party. Maybe you just want to throw a small get together with family and maybe a few friends. Maybe you’re in charge of planning the office holiday party or throwing a party together for a large holiday fundraising event. Whatever you’re planning, this guide to planning the perfect holiday party in Sarasota is here to make your planning even easier.
The biggest thing to plan first is the size and atmosphere of the party you want. You need to know if you want a cozy, warm intimate environment or a large, elegant black-tie affair. Maybe you’re looking to plan an event that’s like nothing any of your guests have been to before. You have to decide this before you can plan the main part—the venue.
Where To Host Your Holiday Party In Sarasota This Season
No matter where your party takes place, the holiday party venues in Sarasota vary in terms of capacity. For a small, intimate gathering, you could try The Terrace at Surf Shack where they do most of the planning for you. This place comes with rooftop dining, live music, and a full bar. Your party can be as small as 20 people or as large as 100, and the views are incredible. You could also book a space with a lot of room for customization such as Club 517. They’ll work with any vendors you may choose and have a list of their own recommendations as well. You could also always use hotels for their event spaces too. The Hyatt Place Sarasota/Lakewood Ranch or the Hotel Indigo Sarasota which both can hold parties for up to 50 guests and are very affordable.
If you looking to throw a gathering for quite a few more people, Sarasota has some great options for large groups as well. Venezia or the Hyatt Regency Sarasota both have high occupancy event spaces. You could also go the more unique route that most people wouldn’t think of. The Sarasota Opera House, Ringling Museum of Art, or the Sarasota Classic Car Museum could be an amazing venue for your holiday party.
Maybe you want less elegance and more fun. Then, look into booking one of the boats from LeBarge Tropical Cruises. They keep it casual and fun for a maximum guest list of 120. You can also plan a group event at Livingston's Amusement Center. They have an event planner you can work with, and your guests are guaranteed never to be bored.
Once you have your venue and atmosphere picked out, you can start planning the most important thing—food and drinks. It’s always tempting to say you can do it yourself, especially if you are hosting a small get together. However, it’s important to remember that the less you do, the better host you will be. If you really want to handle the food and drinks yourself, at least ask a couple of your close friends to make sure the trays and punch bowl don’t go empty. You don’t want to have to stop a conversation to get more ice. If you don’t want to take all that extra stress for yourself and your venue doesn’t cater to you, Sarasota has some great caterers for you to choose. Mattison's Catering, Simply Gourmet Caterers and Morton's Gourmet Market Catering are all delicious options that will make sure your guests’ stomachs are full and their taste buds are well-cared for. A favorite for Sarasota, you also have the option to use the Sarasota Catering Company for your event.
Unless you’ve booked a venue that provides their own form of entertainment, you’ll need something for your guests to do. Plan some fun holiday games or competitions to keep your group amused and having fun. Ugly sweater parties are always a favorite. You could also do gift exchanges like the white elephant exchange or the Christmas sock exchange. If you’re wanting something more formal, then make sure your guests have some music to enjoy during the event. Use one of the Sarasota DJs like David Turner Music or DeLair Entertainment.
Once you have the party planned, the venue reserved, and the vendors booked, you can send out invitations. Digital invites may be quick and easy, but hand-delivered or mailed invitations can really make your guests feel wanted. If you choose to print the invitations, you could use one of the many online invitation printers like Vistaprint or Shutterfly. However, Sarasota has some printers who will work with your design. Real local people will talk to you and work on getting your invitations just right. Check out Write On Sarasota, Minuteman Press, or Mercury Printing to get your invitations made by local businesses.
Don’t forget to start decorating as early as you can. If you’re hosting the party in your home, you have a little bit more flexibility. Don’t try to do it all the weekend before, or worse, the weekend of the event. If you’ve booked a venue, check with them to see if you can come and decorate early. Some of the venues may already decorate for Christmas. So, discuss that with them early to see what they will do and if you need to make any changes or additions. For your party supply needs, you can go to a chain retailer like Party City to find almost everything you’re looking for. For a more formal event, check out Palacios Events. They have lighting, linens, and other décor.
The most important thing about your holiday party is making sure your guests have a good time, but don’t forget about yourself too. If you put too much stress on yourself planning your holiday party this year, chances are you’ll be less likely to throw one next year. Make your choices early and see what your venue and vendors can do that you don’t have to. You’ll be a better host, and your guests will look forward to your next holiday party all year.