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5 Tips For Planning the Perfect Office Party

Office parties and happy hours are a great way to reward your team for a job well done and to help build camaraderie. In a recent poll, we surveyed adults 24-40 across the U.S. and 58% said that their companies host regular happy hours in the office at least once a month. Trying to figure out how to plan an easy, budget-friendly but still fun office party? We put together our top tips to help you serve up one hell of a happy hour.

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#1 Pick a theme & stick to a budget.
We're not talking full-on tiki luau (although that would be awesome) but having a theme whether it's around a certain genre of food or a quirky holiday can make your event more fun. Maybe you celebrate all employees that had birthdays during that month's happy hour or you do a BBQ and beer theme during the summer. Either way, having a theme can mean better attendance because people get excited about it. A theme can also help you keep stay focused when planning. Here's a list of some our favorite office party themes:

  • Monthly Birthday Party – Celebrate all employees with birthdays during that month. Order a cake. Hang silly birthday decorations (pin the tail on the donkey anyone?) and depending on the size of your company maybe ask each employee what their favorite beverage and snack food is.
  • Oktoberfest – The real-deal in Germany starts in mid-September but you could use this theme in September or October. Order up some different German beers and German white wine like a Dry Riesling. Serve alongside a pretzel bar with different dipping sauces. Have a little extra in the budget? Splurge on pint sized beer steins with your company logo.
  • Summer BBQ – Beat the heat with a summer themed BBQ happy hour. Serve up some hamburgers, hot dogs, maybe pulled pork sandwiches (include vegetarian options) and don't forget the watermelon for dessert. Order a keg of lighter beer like a Pilsner or Lager and make a big batch of our Fruity Sangria recipe to serve over ice.
  • Wine Tasting – It can be fun to help employees expand their horizons a little during happy hour too. Try hosting a wine tasting right before the holidays so they can show off all their new knowledge to family and friends. Order up a few varietals of red and white wine. Use this guide to wine tasting to help your employees through a tasting. If you don't feel comfortable running the tasting we suggesting doing a little research in your area. Oftentimes a restaurant sommelier will be happy to come into an office to help facilitate a tasting. Serve some crackers, grapes and cheese to complete the theme. Note – tasting can be done for pretty much anything! Try hosting a Bourbon, Scotch or even Port wine tasting to help employees expand their palette.

    #2 Send the invite.
    Create a calendar invite to send to the whole office. Include time, location, and theme if you've got that set. It will help people get excited and plan if they need to make after work arrangements for family or pets. Make sure that team leaders encourage their employees to attend. Casual work conversation that happens at these types of events help people of all levels get to know one another better. This is a great time to learn more about what you have in common with your coworkers outside of the 9-5.

    #3 Order Drinks Ahead.
    Did you know that you can shop and order ahead with Drizly and have your office drinks delivered right to you? Office managers and companies across Drizly nation rave about how easy and convenient it is to order on Drizly for their work events. It's one less thing to worry about when you're cleaning up the common kitchen or prepping a conference room for some 5pm fun.

    When we order up drinks for Drizly happy hour here's what we do: We like to have at least 3 types of beer on hand to appeal to different tastes. Something light and low-calorie (Michelob UltraBud Light, or Corona Light) a more flavorful pale ale or amber ale (Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues, Bass Ale) and finally a hoppy IPA (Lagunitas, Goose Island or something from the local craft scene). Other beers like Wheat beers and Seasonals are also popular picks. For wine, we like to have at least one red and one white on hand. We typically opt for a dry white like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir for red wine. These options tend to please everyone. Unless we're serving a pre-mixed cocktail (which we do quite often) we tend to stay away from the hard stuff. Allowing people to serve themselves hard alcohol at a company happy hour can be a recipe for disaster and a liability for the company. At any event we make sure to have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages on hand as well.

    Browse options and shop ahead on for all your happy hour needs – we even have mixers, soda, ice, cups, limes, and snack food! Head to Drizly.comand enter your office address to see if we service your area. Once you've entered your address and confirmed availability in your area create your order and schedule the delivery. You can schedule as far in advance as 14 days or as little as 1-hour ahead of the event! You can even use a company credit card. After your first order a Drizly corporate account representative may reach out to you to help plan future events and provide tips and suggestions on future orders. Feel free to provide us with feedback on your experience thus far and other suggestions as well.

    #4 Order Food.
    Don't make the mistake of just serving drinks at your happy hour. Research local caterers or just head to a nearby market to get snacks. When you're serving alcoholic drinks it's always a good idea to have food on hand even if it's just chips and dip and lighter fare. Make sure you're aware of any allergies or dietary restrictions of employees ahead of time so you can accommodate them. 

    #5 Ask for feedback for the next party.
    Follow up after the event for feedback from individual employees or team leaders on what you could do better next time. Happy Hours are an important part of growing company culture. The more fun and engaging you make them the better!

    Cheers & Happy Planning!
  • Top Office Party Picks

    Not sure how many drinks to order? You're not alone – It's the most common question we get from corporate customers. We prepared a handy guide for a 20, 30 and 40 person happy hour (after that you can use a little math to up the below suggested numbers)…

    Each recommended order is based on a party lasting 2-3 hours.

    20 Person Party

    44 Bottles of Beer (7 – 6 packs OR one 1/6th Barrel Keg)
    6 Bottles of Wine (Suggested: 3 White and 3 Red)
    3 Liters of Soda or Non-Alcoholic Drinks
    2 Cases of Water (48 Bottles)

    30 Person Party

    60 Bottles of Beer (10 – 6 packs OR one 1/6th Barrel Keg)
    8 Bottles of Wine (Suggested: 4 White and 4 Red)
    4 Liters of Soda or Non-Alcoholic Drinks
    3 Cases of Water (48 Bottles)

    40 Person Party

    84 Bottles of Beer (14 – 6 packs OR one 1/6th Barrel Keg and 5 – 6 packs)
    12 Bottles of Wine (Suggested 6 White and 6 Red)
    5 Liters of Soda or Non-Alcoholic Drinks
    3 Cases of Water

    Learn more about corporate ordering and events here.