Tips for Planning an Affordable Office Party on a Budget

A recent survey from Robert Half concludes that 16% of workers would characterize their company’s holiday party as “lavish.” This budget-conscious party is the norm, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re any good. Most parties are typically bare-bones or non-existent. 

As a corporate event planner, you’ll want to demonstrate appreciation and build camaraderie without breaking the bank. With the following party planning tips, you can do just that.

office party

1. Budget-Friendly Party Planning Tips 

Office parties, work anniversaries, birthdays, and holiday parties are common types of work celebrations, all of which can be improved with these low-cost venues, menu, theme, and game ideas. 

2. Party Venue Ideas

If you don’t want to spend money on a venue, you could plan an on-site or house party. While you do save on costs, most of your employees won’t be able to let loose if they’re still in “work mode.” You or your employees may not be up for hosting a party, either.

Instead, consider booking your venue at:

  • An Airbnb: With a homey feel, your employees will feel like they’re spending a casual evening with their co-workers. Unfortunately, you’ll have to decorate, set up, and cater your own event. You may also have to pay a cleaning fee and keep noise to a minimum.
  • A Restaurant/Banquet Hall: Not every venue will cost you an arm and a leg, but you’ll have to do a lot of research. Renting out a restaurant or a banquet hall will always be expensive on Saturday and December, so only book in November or January.

Hosting is still the cheapest option if you’re willing to put in the work.

3. Menu Ideas

Most companies will use outside catering because it’s easier and doesn’t require any setup. But, catering companies are expensive, especially at dinner or over the holidays. If you choose to go this route, research for the most cost-effective opinions and get lunch catered, not dinner.

Here are some other ways to make your menu less expensive:

  • Take your employees to a late-day brunch.
  • Purchase pizza or a cold-cut sandwich platter.
  • Ask everyone to pitch in for a pot-luck.
  • Half pot-luck, half-catered options.
  • Offer food activities, like an ice cream sundae bar or taco bar.
  • Hire a food truck and park one outside the office.
  • Get a catered reception with low-cost food (appetizers).

Make sure you ask beforehand if anyone has diet or food restrictions.

4. Game Ideas

Office party games are a great way to facilitate team building and boost morale. If your employees enjoy the following party games, consider incorporating them at work.

  • Blind Artist: Get two people and sit them back to back. One person has paper, and the other has a picture. The person with the picture describes the image without giving any words that give the image away. Both players switch roles. The best drawer wins.
  • Death Wink: One person is the murderer who winks to kill their victims; another person is the detective. The detective tries to find the murder before everyone dies.
  • Musical Chairs: A fun children’s game that involves chairs and music.
  • 2 Truths, 1 Lie: One person tells 2 truths and 1 lie. The other player figures out the lie.

If you have a larger group, tug of war, freeze and Guess Who are great game options. 

5. Theme Ideas

To streamline your planning checklist, consider going with a theme. Using a theme makes party planning easier because you can center the food, outfits, and games around the evening.

These ideas are the most cost-effective of the bunch:

  • Twenties: Flappers, suits, black, gold, and gambling games.
  • Fifties: Suits, full-skirted dresses, Hollywood glamor, pastels, deserts.
  • Sixies: Hippies, flower-children, rock n’ roll, flower patterns.
  • Eighties: Neon, workout clothing, Nintendo, side ponies, legwarmers.
  • Circus: Set up a circus tent, ring toss, and carnival games.
  • Luau: Tropical decorations and luau costumes are at every party store.

You can also go without a theme. Using no decorations is more cost-effective than a theme.

Julie Higgins
Julie is a Staff Writer at She has been working in publishing houses before joining the editorial team at momooze. Julie's love and passion are topics around beauty, lifestyle, hair and nails.