With Thanksgiving behind us, the Christmas in Tampa and New Year's ahead, many of us are beginning to receive Holiday party invitations and realizing the time between Halloween and now flew by. It's time we started making plans for our own party! Fortunately, in Tampa, it's never too late; we are lucky to have an abundance of unique settings and venues in Tampa to choose from, or we can host a party in our home. Once you secure your date, it's time to get the ball rolling, and we are here to assist with this Guide to Hosting Holiday Parties in Tampa. A jumping off point, this list of ideas and places you might call whether you are hosting in or out of your home will get you started as you create a memorable holiday party experience where you too can kick back, relax and enjoy yourself.  

Choosing the right venue for your party in Tampa 

Size does matter, and so does location, when looking at party Venues in Tampa for memorable holiday parties in Tampa. Do you want something small and intimate for a party of 12-30, or are you looking for a more massive crowd? No matter the size, we all want our parties to have a sense of intimacy and to be entertaining  From hotel and event spaces, restaurants, fun centers, specially themed venues or your home, we have options perfect for any budget.

Most hotels in Tampa offer private party space with in-house catering, event managers, and vendors. The pricier choice there is a lot to be said for agreeing on a date, making a few personal decisions and allowing the hotel to handle the details should you have the budget. One hotel in Tampa consistently knocks it out of the park with their preferred waterfront location. The Godfrey Hotel & Cabanas Tampa on Rocky Point features a contemporary casual experience. A place where guests can dine on expertly crafted food and cocktails, then head out to the patio or the dock for sunset and if they choose, get their toes in the sand. They are offering a holiday pop-up bar with their Winterland party theme and have a ton of events going on from now until New Year's Eve in Tampa when they're hosting a special dual-barge fireworks display event with celebrity Mario Lopez. The number to inquire about the spectacular views and party packages at Godfrey is (813) 281-8900.

Restaurants with private rooms are plentiful in Tampa. If you are looking for an elegant restaurant with a seafood and steak menu, plus a cocktail lounge featuring live jazz take a look at Eddie V's Prime Seafood in the Westshore District near International Plaza and Bay Street. If you want to go rustic Italian, BRIO Tuscan Grille offers a stunning space with a new rooftop bar. Unique group-friendly restaurants in Tampa perfect for hosting a holiday party include:

Related Content:  Mix Up Your Nightlife with Tampa's Best Rooftop Bars

Brio

Museums in Tampa are an excellent choice, not often considered they offer drama with built-in decor. Options include  MOSI - Museum of Science & Industry MOSI - Museum of Science & Industry, reopened November 18th; this would be an exciting choice, giving your guests a peek into their new digs in Downtown Tampa.  Glazer Children's Museum offers a 5000 sq ft. on the third floor. Their private room for holiday parties in Tampa includes an inviting terrace with spectacular views. For availability, pricing, or to schedule a tour, contact their Event’s Sales Manager at  813-924-1245 or email events@glazermuseum.org. The museum uses SaltBlock Hospitality + Catering, but more about them in a minute. For additional options visit Museums in Tampa for a 360-degree peek into the areas top museums.

A blank canvas, Event Halls in Tampa are plentiful; many are the same-old-same-old places we know all too well like the Davis Island Women's Club and Higgins Hall; we want to give you a couple new and exciting spaces offering fresh ideas for your guests.  The Vault is housed within a historic old bank. Take advantage of the reception area, ballroom, the loft and the history of this prized venue in Tampa!  Another option is The Regent. Never heard of it? A well-kept secret on the South Shore, this place is stunning! Learn more about this venue for holiday parties in Tampa in The Regent ~ Riverview's Best Kept Secret Venue.

Call  Silks Poker Room in North Tampa for details on how you can put your poker playing friends and colleagues skills to good use. Determine your charity and have some fun. Set up tables for newbies to experts and beat the odds! Guests can eat, drink and place simulcast bets; they can even bet the thoroughbreds. If you want an indoor adventure, try iFLY Indoor Skydiving | Tampa for some serious gravity defining fun. 

Contact one of the many local breweries in Tampa, larger venues include  81Bay Brewing Company in South Tampa and Tampa Bay Brewing Company in Ybor City for details on using their space, games and food trucks or cruise the night away aboard Tampa's Yacht StarShip Dining Cruises from Downtown Tampa. Whatever you choose, make memories! 

What is the purpose of the party? 

When hosting holiday parties in Tampa think excitement and comfort then ask, do you want to gather a small group of friends for a Cookie Exchange, or have you been tasked with setting up the annual Office Party? The possibilities of purpose, to have fun at its core is the easy part...and the ideas are endless, from Ugly Sweater, Holiday Pajama, and Favorite Things, to a Progressive Neighborhood party. You need to decide will it be elegant, casual, sit down, buffet, or lite bites? For friends and family the choices are simple, when it comes to an Office Party, it gets a little tougher to make decisions. Here are a few things you want to be sure of when it comes to organizing the Holiday Office Party this year:

  1. Take it out of the office, do not throw the party in your office or risk being considered = dull!
  2. Consider getting together earlier in the day! Who says it has to be at night and it suits the bottom line? During the day people drink less, and a luncheon is less than dinner!
  3. Schedule something fun, call iFLY Indoor Skydiving | Tampa or get on the water with The Tropics Boat Tours or roll at a local Bowling Alley like Pin Chasers.
  4. Another budget-friendly idea is to allow staff to invite family; this also cuts down on alcohol consumption! Why not make this year's party a family affair? And as far as that goes, who said you MUST serve alcohol at all?
 

Almost done! 

*Inviting

Most common today is the Electronic-Invite. You can use a service like E-Vite to keep track of RSVP's but why not go old-school this year? Send paper invites! The premier vendor for elegant and exceptional invitations is The Paper Seahorse, these folks are passionate about paper and consistently do a stellar job!

*Feeding

Caterers are the way to go when planning any party. It may seem like a 'good idea' to save money and DIY, but in the end, a caterer, a good one, is worth every penny and then some! Two great choices in the 813area include:

SaltBlock Hospitality + Catering sources seafood from the gulf coast and produce that's Florida's finest. They create for the occasion and in season using only the freshest ingredients. Affordable Catering is a find! Affordable, creative and delicious.  Stop by for one of their elegant tastings to sample the menu. They serve Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Lakeland, Bradenton, Brandon, Plant City, Spring Hill, Brooksville and all points in between.

*Watering

If you choose to serve alcohol, as host, it is your responsibility to see that your guests drink responsibly, which in most cases means limiting the amount of alcohol that's 'on the house.' Drink tickets and a two-drink maximum are the norm these days. If a guest wants to imbibe more, be sure to have a cash bar on hand. With new distilleries popping up in the Tampa Bay area like the beloved Touch Vodka, made from local honey.  Why not contact a distillery to see what kind of deal they can make this year. Touch offers several flavors of Vodka, or for brown spirits reach out to St. Petersburg Distillery across the bay!

If you want to DIY the alcohol and buy in bulk, consider Supporting Small Business by contacting Whiskey Willy's rather than a big box Wine and Spirits store.

*Entertaining

Remember, the two most important pieces of your Holiday Party Guide are the excitement and comfort. Be sure there is plenty of comfortable seating and places to eat if you are not doing a sit-down, and create areas where guests can explore. Plan a surprise or two, like a photo booth; we like ShutterBooth and TapSnap 1018. ShutterBooth is gaining ground as the premier photo booth company on the West Coast by offering one of the best looking, most affordable photo booths and cutting-edge options to make your holiday party memorable. While TapSnap provides something completely different: no walls, no ceilings and no limits to creativity! Using the latest advances in touchscreen technology, social media and digital photo sharing guests take high-quality photos and make them their own, adding doodles and personal messages with the touch of a fingertip. Then they can share their creations immediately!  You can also find lots of ideas for Holiday Party Games online.

Everyone knows planning and hosting a holiday party can take your stress level from 0 to 60 in under a minute, but with Your Guide to Hosting Holiday Parties in Tampa worry not, with careful planning and our tips, this year will be the holiday party they remember, and for all the RIGHT reasons!