There’s nothing like having people over at your house for the holidays and making long-lasting memories. But as any host knows, planning a holiday party can be stressful. You have to add shopping, cooking, cleaning, setting up tables and chairs to your already busy schedule. With so many things to keep track of, you might wonder if you can pull this off. If you want to host a holiday party but just don’t have time to put it all together, consider hosting your party at a restaurant.

Instead of worrying about what’s happening behind the scenes, you can spend more time attending to your guests and enjoying yourself. You won’t have to spend hours cooking, setting up tables and chairs, or cleaning up because the restaurant does it for you. Follow our steps to hosting a holiday party at a restaurant so you can throw a party your family and friends will never forget.

Step 1: Determine Your Budget

First things first, how much money can you spend? Understanding your budget helps to have a better idea of the type of party you can host. If your budget is tight, consider a less formal event like a brunch party. However, if you have a lot of money to spend, you can throw a large upscale event with an open bar. Once you have a concrete number, you can start looking at restaurants in your price range.

Step 2: Research Restaurants

The easiest way to begin researching restaurants is through the internet. Many establishments have an events page that shows what services they offer. Look for restaurants that have what you need, such as a bar if you’re planning on serving alcohol.

As much information is available on the internet, things like pricing, square footage, and floor layout are found by contacting the restaurant. Get in touch with the event coordinator and ask if they provide everything you need for your party. Important questions you want to ask are:

  • What is the rental fee?
  • What is the floor layout?
  • What is the cost per person?
  • Is entertainment available?
  • Is the event space private or will it be shared?
  • Is there a minimum number of guests required?
  • How many square feet does the event space have?

With group gatherings, it is essential to take the proper COVID-19 safety precautions mandated by the Centers for Disease Control. See which restaurants offer customers masks, hand sanitizers, signage reminding patrons to wash their hands, installed sneeze guards, partitions, and a proper ventilation system. This ensures that you and your guests feel safe at the holiday party.

Then, ask about their availability. Will you be able to have your party at the date and time you desire? Remember that people travel for the holidays, so ask your guests if they will be in town on the day of your party. When hosting large events at restaurants, it might be difficult to find a day when everyone is free. This is why it is crucial to plan well ahead of time.

Once you have all of this information, it should be easy to pick a restaurant and set the date of your party.

Step 3: Send Out Invitations

As soon as you’ve booked the date with a restaurant, send out invitations. The sooner the better because you want to give guests enough time to clear their schedules for your event. Corporate holiday events and casual event invitations can be sent through email. For formal events, it is traditional to send invites through the mail. You can word your invitations like this:

Please Join Us In Celebrating (holiday)
With An Evening Of Dinner & Drinks
On (date)
From (time)
At (restaurant name and address)
RSVP Before (date)

Step 4: Choose Or Curate Your Menu

Holiday parties at restaurants are centered around food, which is why your dishes should be appropriate to the celebration. Some restaurants offer a special holiday menu, while others provide a prix fixe menu. Restaurants might also offer to curate a menu with you for your event. Many establishments invite you to sample their best dishes to help you decide which meals to serve.

When selecting food, make sure you are aware of any food allergies or dietary restrictions guests have and let the chef know. You don’t want to endanger the health of your guests or put them in an awkward position where they are not able to enjoy the food options available.

If a restaurant does not offer holiday-appropriate food, ask if you can bring some of your own. When it comes to events, establishments are open to customers bringing one or two food items, especially if it’s for a holiday.

You should also consider having a cocktail hour before the main event begins. This is a great way for guests to get to know each other, and it gives late arrivals time to get to the restaurant before the main event begins.

Step 5: Create A Day-Of-Event Plan

Work with the event coordinator to plan out every hour of your event to help reduce the chances of last-minute changes. Create a plan that includes the time and duration of each activity. Make sure to arrive at the restaurant before the party starts to set up any holiday decorations and speak to the coordinator to ensure everything is going according to plan.

Step 6: Pay Your Bill

It’s best to pay your bill ahead of time so you can relax and enjoy the party without having your debt in the back of your mind. Remember that you may be charged for any incidents such as broken dishware or damage to the property if a few guests get too rowdy. Some hosts prefer to pay the day of the party in case they are not satisfied with the service or if the restaurant cancels the event. Unless there was a prior agreement, consider covering the cost of the event. Similar to hosting in your own home, it’s likely you wouldn’t charge guests for attending the celebration.