Valentino Estate Corporate LocationThe 2013 Corporate Holiday Party has a personality all its own. This is because corporate holiday parties are starting to shed past economic concerns and bring back the luxurious corporate holiday event we know and love.

Industry professionals have started investing more in big-name headliners and fantastic venues, such as private estates.

So now that glamorous holiday corporate events are back, what are the newest trends? How have these parties changed from those of the past? What are the results? Lucky for you, we've got a little bit of experience with creating fabulous corporate holiday events and we've got these questions covered.

What are the newest corporate holiday trends?

Apparently food isn't just the way to get to a man's heart, but to everyone else's as well. We've seen an increasing emphasis on food throughout our past events with a focus on culinary art, expertise, and interactive stations. This might be because of the influx of reality food competitions or because of a general greater awareness about what we eat and how we eat it. Guests these days want to be wow'd by the food and view it more of an "experience" than just a "part" of the event.

Take a look at our event for the Welk Resort at the La Jolla Modern, which had a fun "Pasta Station" where guests were instructed how to make gnocci and fresh pasta by professional chefs!

Appetizers photo courtesy of Bizbash

"Endive Boats" courtesy of BuzzFeed

Small and artfully crafted plates, unique hor d'oeuvres, and interactive food stations are the new trends for holiday corporate events.

In fact, reporters at BizBash comment on a unique form of "action-style food" they've noticed at some recent luxury events in New York.

Their friends at Mary Giuliani Catering and Events passed out tasting plates from trays strapped on cigarette-girl style. A recent event even had staffers wearing "walking mac n' cheese stations" that allowed guests to choose from toppings such as jalapeños, bacon, and chicken to top their individual serving. Could we call this mac 'n' chic?

Another great idea we've seen is setting up food stations based on regions in a certain state, or even country. We recently did a corporate event with TaylorMade that had food stations inspired by different regions in the Golden State. For example, the "Southern California" station characterized by Surf and Turf, guacamole, and mini tacos while "Nor Cal" offered authentic grapes and cheeses. Local stations are not just a great way to keep event food interesting but also an amazing way to support local businesses and weed out any food ridden with preservatives and a big carbon footprint!

Big dessert displays are so last year!

Before corporations started downsizing holiday events, large dessert displays and chocolate fountains were everywhere. This is one thing that corporate events are not going back to, and on behalf of white dresses everywhere, "thank you for nixing that chocolate fountain!". Corporate holiday parties are instead opting for espresso/ coffee stations (great opportunity to pass out some company mugs), and small packaged desserts.

Macaron desserts

Courtesy of

Macaroons, small designer cupcakes, and even spruced-up marshmallows are going to be majorly popular this year. They are small, decadent, artfully crafted, and can be taken to go. These great treats can also be incorporated into table displays and are the perfect way to remind guests of the sweet night after the party. These small desserts capture the major theme in recent corporate holiday events: quality over quantity!

As opposed to weddings, corporate events are much more suited to lighting fixtures than flower displays. Chic corporate holiday parties this year will definitely go for candles and colored uplighting to set a fun yet sophisticated mood.

Colored up-lighting on walls and candle-dominant centerpieces are great way to display company colors in style while setting a professional and fun tone. 

We love our flowers and garlands, but the corporate event calls for something more dramatic...cue the lights!

Lighting at Cairo Estate | Estate Weddings and Events

What has changed as a result of more lavish parties? 

While we have been seeing a lot of changes in our own corporate events, we wanted to know some statistics on how these changes in corporate holiday events have impacted event professionals and businesses.

BizBash and Seemless teamed up with more than 1,500 event professionals to conduct a survey on how holiday parties have changed. We loved their info! We've talked about the benefits of corporate events before, and this survey has our back! The survey showed that parties resulted in a 75% increase in friendship in the office, and a 71% increase in better office culture. Plus, offices reported a 67% increase in improved team building.

Drink bar

For all you wine-rs out there, corporate holiday events have moved to be 45% open bar, 28% beer and wine, and only 4% with no booze at all! With our personal experience, the majority of our corporate events have had open bars, but apparently the open bar scene has dwindled. Less alcohol is one of the few changes from the champagne soaked carpets of memory lane.

Finally, our favorite part of the survey was that 94% of respondents said they would be disappointed if all corporate holiday parties were cancelled. My only question is, who is in that 6%?! Corporate holiday parties are the best time of the year!

It is true that the corporate holiday party is changing for the better! Results are more positive and the parties themselves are moving towards a more sophisticated and cerebral feel than the archetypal holiday party that results in an embarrassing story. One thing corporate holiday parties do have in common with those of the "good old days" will be their luxurious nature and intention to make a statement in the corporate world!

Read on to discover "How to Ensure Your Corporate Event Goes Off Without a Hitch"!

Your Turn...

 What features do you have planned for your company's own corporate event?