Tips on How to Organise the Perfect Christmas party

We’ve all been there, head down and keeping ourselves busy while your manager decides that the Christmas party needs organising and you’re expected to organise this once a year momentous occasion as well as doing your day job!  So, the real challenge then begins…


Follow this step by step list and you’ll be ahead of the game.

Find the perfect venue
This is one of the most time consuming jobs in planning your perfect event.  Consider the size of venue, access, disabled access, public transport, parking, do you require overnight accommodation nearby and most importantly is the ambience right for the event you are creating? You’ll need to find a venue which is easy to get to and can accommodate your party numbers (assume everyone is coming for now). Consider the venues you have already worked with or hosted events at in the past. Don’t be shy to ask for a discount if it’s a regular haunt. If you decide to try somewhere new, ask if they have in-house catering, bar facilities and on-site entertainment or if you will need to organise this yourself. This can save a huge amount of time if the venue already has their own facilities.


Set a budget
What is your budget? Compile a spreadsheet with all the overhead costs.
Consider or not whether you want to invite partners. Will you be providing a free bar for staff?

Set a date
Don’t forget venues get booked up very quickly during the festive period, especially if it’s a large party. Once you have found the perfect venue, ensure you leave plenty lead time to set the date in the diaries, inform all invitees, and parties involved asap.  You need plenty time to organise all the different elements of the event.

Food glorious food!
It is so important to get the food right at the Christmas party!  Check with your venue if they have their own caterers. They may have preferred caterers they work with. If you need to book an external caterer, ask your work colleagues and friends for recommendations on caterers if you don’t have any contacts of your own.  Don’t be frightened to ask for a tasting session prior to booking.  Good food equals happy people.


Equipment/Dressing the venue
Will you need to hire any equipment? Will the venue include table cloths, flowers or any other decorations or do you need to arrange this yourself?

It’s the party of the year, so you’ll need that all important entertainment booking. Again, check with the venue if they have a resident DJ.  Adding music to an event can really add to the atmosphere and boost the event. Again, if friends or colleagues have recommendations this is a great place to start.  Listen to the band or musician before you book them!  Consider are they right for the event?


If you plan to hold a Christmas party, but don’t have the time to organise it, The Alternative PA can support you the event planning from finding the perfect venue, setting up caterers, booking entertainment and anything else that needs organising. There is nothing more stressful than trying to be a gracious host while planning everything yourself, so take the pressure off by outsourcing the event planning! Call us on 07888 679118 or email thealternativepa@outlook.comto discuss your event requirements.


Business at Buckminster Barn

Buckminster would like to invite you to join them on Thursday 25th October from 1pm. We are holding this event for any local PAs, Administrators, VAs (Virtual Assistants), Event Managers, Project Managers and anyone else who looks after booking meeting rooms, corporate events and private dinners for their business/department or client and is interested in meeting with local businesses. It’s an opportunity to give you all a treat too for all your hard work!

poster batbarn

The day will consist of:

  • Welcome to Buckminster & Barn Tour
    You’ll have the opportunity to see our beautiful Barn, which is positioned within a tranquil and gloriously attractive setting, Buckminster Barn is a sympathetically converted farm building combining distinctly traditional features with stylish contemporary finishing. The oak wooden beams, flag-stone flooring and a wood-burning stove provide for a country life feel. The floor to ceiling windows and opening French doors providing panoramic views over endlessly rolling countryside, a beautiful sight from dusk till dawn! The Barn is perfect for business meetings & conferences, product launches, private dining and corporate parties, birthdays, wakes and christenings.
  • Mini confidence workshop by Emma Kate Dawson Coaching
    Clear, functional boundaries will boost your productivity, reduce frustration and aid good work place dynamics. But do you struggle to find the confidence to set boundaries with your boss or other team members? In this mini workshop we’ll go through a step-by-step process you can use to confidently decide, set and maintain boundaries.
  • Afternoon tea treat
    Join us for a delightful and well-earned afternoon tea with your colleagues and new acquaintances – please inform us of any dietary requirements by emailing
  • Networking session
    They’ll be an opportunity to network with attendees during the afternoon and gain new contacts for your business.



10 Tips for Organising a Successful Event

Whatever the event is you are planning; excellent event management is essential for any successful event.

Set your objectives

Be clear, concise and measurable.
Are you raising awareness about your business?
Are you launching a new business?
Perhaps your fundraising for a charity?


Set a budget

What is your budget? Compile a spreadsheet with all the overhead costs.
Consider or not whether you will you charge an entrance fee for your event to cover costs?

Find the perfect venue

This is one of the most time consuming jobs in planning your perfect event, consider size of venue, access, disabled access, public transport, parking and most importantly is the ambience right for the event you are creating?

Bucks Dawn
The stunning Buckminster Barn

Set a date

Once you have found the perfect venue, ensure you leave plenty lead time to set the date in the diaries, inform all invitees, and parties involved asap.  You need plenty time to organise all the different elements of the event.


Hold a brainstorming meeting with your staff, volunteers and anyone else you think may be beneficial to the meeting.  This can set out a plan of action and don’t be afraid to assign jobs, after all organising an event isn’t an easy task!

Food glorious food!

This is so important at an event – ask people you know for recommendations on caterers if you don’t have any contacts of your own.  Don’t be frightened to ask for a tasting session prior to booking.  Good food equals happy people.

We can help style the venue and tables



Will you need to hire any equipment? e.g. OHP & screen, generator if outdoors event, marquees etc?


Adding music to an event can really add to the atmosphere and boost the event. Again, if friends or colleagues have recommendations this is a great place to start.  Listen to the band or musician before you book them!  Consider are they right for the event?

Live entertainment can really add that certain something to an event


Think about your business partners and suppliers, would they like to be involved and gain press coverage out of the event?


Organise a communications plan and list all types of marketing which will be required, print, Eventbrite, e-shots & social media. Social media can be extremely powerful marketing tool. Why not run a competition on social media giving away free tickets to your event.  Ask people to like your page and share the competition.  Also, don’t forget to ask your suppliers to share the event on their respective pages too.

To enquire about our event planning services, please contact us on 07888 679118 or email We love to hear from you.


What our clients think

“So, less than 12 weeks left until our big day!  To be honest, at first, I didn’t see the need for or the additional expense of a wedding planner. After a free initial consultation with Debbie, I realised that her expertise and wide range of contacts could be of real benefit to us when planning our wedding. It has been, for us, financially a cost that we have recovered in time and savings. Debbie has sourced  a fantastic caterer, a local musician to accompany one of my friends who is going to sing for us and knowing that we were on a budget, encouraged me to go into charity shops to look for dresses and accessories.  Very quickly, I found a near-perfect dress which is now being “up-cycled” to become my dream dress for a starting price of only £75!! I highly recommend Debbie to assist you with your wedding planning. She is great to work with, has a wealth of knowledge and is professional without ever losing sight that it is your big day.
Marie, Newark

“Wanted to say a big thank you for all your hard work that went into such a great day yesterday, the music and dancers were brilliant and certainly kept customers in the room for longer! The feedback from customers is that they really enjoyed themselves and were asking when’s the next one! You did a great job and just wanted to say a big thank you !!”
Vintage Trader

“I can highly recommend this lady , she is very well organised and has an eye for detail.  She is an experienced PA and Event Organiser. If you are a sole trader, SME or a larger company , Deborah has the experience in marketing on Social Media, managing your website or in traditional marketing role and for event organising she can organise a wedding, conference, relaunch of your business or the opening of your business. Deborah has organised several vintage fairs and if you go to www, you can see the events and reviews. No business to small or large, give Deborah your brief she will cost the job on a hourly rate”.
Carol @ Quirky Quirky.


A Perfect Setting For a Nostalgic Wedding

The county of Lincolnshire has some amazing wedding venues filled with ambience and steeped in history and The Angel & Royal Hotel based in Grantham is just one of those beautiful venues. It is said to be the oldest Inn in England.  The Angel & Royal hotel hosts weddings, private parties and corporate functions.


Angel Hotel

My wedding planning services were called upon to organise a photo shoot to showcase the hotel to its full glory and create images for the new wedding brochure and wedding fayre posters.  I set out to think of a concept and theme, which would lend itself to the building and created a mood board which would emphasise an opulent and rich theme coupled with; candelabra, reds & pinks, soft delicate florals, vintage props, antique books and lace and vintage styled clothing.

Armed with the task of pulling together many of my preferred and talented wedding suppliers I work with in the area and after many weeks of phone calls and emails, we all convened at the hotel one sunny Sunday afternoon.  On arrival, I was greeted by Andrew and his wife from Anglo-American Car Hire Leicester.  Andrew had kindly brought along his gorgeous classic car, a Herald Triumph for the afternoon,  who was by far the star of the day!

I then gathered up the models and took them through to the dressing room where the very creative Casey Askew Hair Stylist And Make-Up Artist, who transformed and created a nostalgic vintage look for the hair and make-up.  Jeanette from Celtic Belles was on hand on the day to dress the models in her hand made wedding gowns and assist where needed and suits were provided by Chad from Empire Design.  Coupled with vintage accessories from myself, The Alternative PA , the models were ready to go.


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On arrival in the Kings Room, I couldn’t believe my eyes, the entire room had been transformed into an opulent and grand and colourful wedding dining room oozing sophistication.  The whole look was created by Le-Anne from Make My Day Venue Dressing and blooms beautifully adorned the room from Sue from Flowers From Holland and the quirky and unique wedding cake was made and decorated by the extremely talented Sophie from The Confetti Cakery. The whole look was complete!


With the building steeped in history, it is an amazing venue to hold a photo shoot, wedding or business function.  Chris from Englands’s Finest Photography was keen to capture the essence of the building, the history and the surroundings.

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The hotel did not disappoint as far as providing such a splendid set for this collaborative photo shoot showcasing very talented suppliers and creating a most decadent look and feel and makes the perfect setting for a nostalgic wedding reception.  It was a pleasure to spend time with the team and I can’t wait for the next photo shoot!

The Alternative PA is organsing a Wedding Fayre With A Hint Of Vintage at The Angel & Royal Hotel on Sunday 23 October.  If you would like more information on the fayre or any of the suppliers involved in the photo shoot, please contact


Photography:  England’s Finest Photography

Win a Wedding Planner & Engagement Shoot

Are you feeling overwhelmed with planning your wedding and not sure what to do next, then we can help solve your problems…

Photography: England’s Finest Photography

Here’s your chance to win half a day’s wedding planning support from ‘The Alternative PA’. The winner will receive 4 hours of wedding planning support; be it help required leading up to your wedding day or overseeing suppliers on the big day itself and managing the day so it runs smoothly, alleviating the stress, leaving you to enjoy this magical experience. Chris from ‘Englands’s Finest Photography’ is offering an engagement shoot inclusive of  edited digital images too as part of the wedding competition prize. This is a great opportunity for Chris to get to know you and alleviate any fears of the camera and bring out your personality.  A fantastic runner up prize is also up for grabs; a romantic dinner for two at the beautiful ‘Angel & Royal’ Hotel, Grantham, one of the oldest inns in England – check out their wedding ackages

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Photography: England’s Finest Photography

Complete our wedding competition form Competition Entry Form and tell us why you deserve to win this fabulous prize. Don’t forget to leave us your contact details so
we can contact you should you be the lucky winner! Please email your entry to

Best of luck ladies and gentlemen!

Like us on ‘Facebook’   TheAlternativePA, England’s Finest Photography & The Angel & Royal Hotel.

Thank you

The Alternative PA

Stepping Back In Time…

Two weeks ago, myself and my bride, Marie, who I am currently working with had the pleasure of visiting Abigail from ‘Abigail’s Vintage Bridal’, an avid collector and lover of an eclectic mix of original vintage bridal gowns.  Being a lover of all things vintage myself, I  was so excited to be visiting this vintage bridal business, which I discovered whilst tapping away on my laptop and I was elated, as you can imagine when I realised the business was only half an hour drive away!

Abigail’s passion for the history of fashion started in her youth, most of which was spent watching black and white movies whilst her mum did the ironing; her formative influences were very much more in the vein of Myrna Loy than Madonna: vintage wedding dresses were already on the horizon.

After college, a number of years were spent in film, theatre and television. Abigail turned to fashion and worked for a top ladies evening and bridal wear designer in London. Abigail’s Vintage Bridal was formed in 2009 to perfectly encapsulate her love of history and fashion, offering one of the UK’s largest collections of original vintage wedding dresses.

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Abigail has created the perfect stage setting for her splendid dress studio, set in the heart of Rutland. When entering the ‘The Atelier’,  you are transported back in time.  Her amazing collection ranges from the 1800’s through to the 1970’s so caters for all tastes and genres.

We spent a couple of hours trying various styles and dresses from the era’s and Abigail was most patient and happy for us to take some snaps, so the bride was able to see herself in a photograph modelling each dress afterwards over a cup of tea, served may I add in a bone china cup in keeping with the atmosphere!

It is clear to see, she is extremely passionate about great design and devoted to providing reassurance, guidance and advice to create your vintage bridal dream.

Vintage accessories complete the look

If you have your own ideas or if there is anything she is able to improve or you would like see more or less of to make you feel even more like a million dollars on your special day, she is more than happy to accommodate your every need.  As well as the dresses, she has some fabulous accessories to compliment the vintage look.

Myself and Marie were truly in awe of the stunning collection of dresses and you would be hard pushed not to find anything suitable which would make the perfect asset for your amazing and magical and nostalgic day.

If you’re in the midst of planning a ‘Vintage’ or themed wedding, then swing by and take a look at Abigail’s website  Alternatively, if you require assistance with your wedding planning and finding the perfect bridal gown, ‘The Alternative PA’ is on hand to help


Wedding Blooms & More…

flowers from H

When you step inside ‘Flowers from Holland’ you are greeted by the lovely & talented Sue, who runs her newly revamped floristry shop in Grantham, Lincolnshire.   The shop is filled with sweet scents of the finest Dutch flowers set in contemporary, traditional, or bespoke designs.  ‘Flowers from Holland’ is a family run business, so customer service is of the upmost importance.  The newly refurbished shop is exceedingly spacious and  with flowers being delivered daily, you know they are at their freshest.

The shop is divided into departments; the first being the fabulous Bouquet Bar!  Personally select your flowers for the perfect colour combo, then pair it with your choice of cellophane, colour of tissue and then the perfect bow. Further selections of bouquet bags and boxes, and other adornments to make that bouquet personal and perfect.  Sue also has a new look gift corner, with an exclusive range of special handmade teddy bears, gifts for the new baby, and that extra special bear for one you love!  At the back of the shop is the client consultation area, where there are comfy chairs to sit and relax and discuss your requirements over a coffee with Sue.


Sue is delighted to offer a free consultation to ensure that she knows exactly what the client wants and she will discuss your favourite flowers, colour scheme and budget. Through in-depth research and consultations, ‘Flowers from Holland’ are able to design bespoke bouquets and wedding flowers that match your requirements, making use of many types of flowers to design stunning arrangements.  When it comes to their bespoke bouquets, the world truly is your oyster. They are able to take inspiration from styles used throughout the world, replicate arrangements from images, or work around your requirements. For customers without a clear vision, they have a portfolio containing the latest trends and fashions to provide inspiration for your special day.


To book your free consultation, contact Sue on 01476 564007 or alternatively visit their facebook page, for more information.  If you would like help choosing the right flowers but don’t have time to organise them, let’ The Alternative PA’ wedding planner take away the stress and strain and we can liaise directly with ‘Flowers from Holland’ on your behalf.  Call ‘The Alternative PA’ on 07888 679118.

There’s not much a Virtual Assistant can’t do!

‘The Alternative PA’ offers a free 2 hour consultation

With Christmas now come to an end, you are probably feeling that you’ve indulged a little too much, so making a New Year’s resolution list will of course make you feel much better.

So if you’re a brand new business just starting up; own a small business or a budding entrepreneur, then hiring a virtual assistant should most definitely be on your list of new year’s resolutions.

The overhead costs involved in hiring permanent staff, providing them with desk space and equipment to carry out the job, as well as tax, national insurance, employee benefits sickness, holiday pay and pensions are all excellent reasons why you should take the plunge into hiring a Virtual Assistant and it is by far a cost effective way of operating your business.

By hiring a Virtual Assistant or Virtual PA, you’ll reap the rewards of having a highly skilled and experience Executive PA, who only works for the hours you pay them and with ever increasing diaries and social lives, the Virtual Assistant is here to help you with not only your work life but your personal life too.

Virtual Assistants manage your diary, emails and phone calls, design PowerPoint presentation, prepare excel spreadsheets, provide book keeping management, manage your social media and marketing and events.  We’re also happy to help with household chores, such as walking the dog, purchasing gifts for a loved one and collecting the dry cleaning.

It’s entirely up to you how you utilise your Virtual Assistant’s skills and don’t be afraid to ask them what they are capable of doing.  They may even suggest easier ways for you to work, by implementing different ICT systems, thus saving you time and of course money.

Virtual Assistants are keen to help small businesses to grow and stand out in the business world and to enable them to operate more efficiently, enhancing  productivity, thus enabling them to free up time to look after current customers and most important of all gain new customers!

So what you waiting for!

Contact The Alternative PA on 07888 679118 or email


PA For A Day…

The Alternative PA


Ever wondered what it would be like to have your very own PA (Personal Assistant)?  Well, now’s your opportunity to try. The ‘PA for a Day’ package allows you the opportunity to outsource those mundane tasks, such as organising client meetings, scheduling some urgent travel arrangements, assistance with a photo shoot, compiling presentations for that all important meeting, amongst other things. The Alternative PA is a professional, flexible and affordable Virtual Assistant solution to meet your business requirements, be it full PA support, administration tasks and a full event management service. If you need help just for today or need more regular assistance ‘The Alternative PA’ is your answer.

“I am keen to help small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow and stand out in the business world and to enable them to operate more efficiently, enhancing  productivity, thus enabling them to free up time to look after current customers and most…

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