You've sourced the venue, the decor and the catering, so now's the time to book the part that will actually add to the guests' experience of the night - the Christmas party entertainment.
Event entertainment is sometimes looked upon as an 'added extra' that you can leave out if budget's tight. But when was the last time you came away from an event saying 'gosh, that draping was so beautiful, it really made my night'....never, right? Now think about how many Christmas parties you've been to where people have talked for months after about how good the band were, or how their mind was blown by the table magician. Sometimes even the simplest solution makes a huge impression.
How do you pick the right supplier for you?
If you don't have a trusted go-to, then chat to a few suppliers. Do they respond to you promptly? Are they pushy? Do they clearly lay out their pricing, with photos and videos of each act. Check out their social media pages - if they haven't posted any new content in a while then they may not be doing much business. You can have a look at their customer reviews too. Sometimes the cheaper suppliers may scrimp on costuming, or equipment quality, or let you down if a more enticing job comes up, so cheapest isn't always best.
How much should you spend?
It's natural to be guarded about your budget - you don't want to tell your supplier what your maximum spend is in case they push the price up to take advantage of you, right? Any good supplier will be entirely transparent about their pricing. And if what you want ends up being out of your budget, make sure you tell the supplier that, as they may be able to offer you a more budget-friendly alternative. If you're looking to book more than one act then they may also be able to send you two acts who can travel together, therefore shaving off some of the travel costs and ultimately some of the cost for you.
How do you pick the right acts?
Set the scene for your supplier. Are your guests arriving on foot, by coach or even by boat? Will they need to queue? You may benefit from meet and greet acts to welcome guests or to set the scene - stilt walkers, fire performers and human statues are brilliant for this. Will there be a drinks reception? Many guests won't have had a drink by this point so it can be great to book an act to 'break the ice' such as a fortune teller, clockwork ballerina or champagne service. Will your guests be dining? Amazing table entertainment options include magicians and hypnotists, silhouette cutters and caricaturists. And for between courses something wow factor such as a circus performer, illusionist show or tribute act. If there's going to be a dance floor think about booking a corporate party band or for a more budget friendly option, a DJ with a live musician alongside.
Remember your supplier does this for a living, so they should be able to guide you as to the do's and don't's. Sometimes it isn't about how MUCH you book, but about booking the RIGHT acts.