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Weddings vs. Holiday Parties: 5 Important Differences

by Lisa Edd, Managing Editor

As a Here Comes The Guide staffer, I often indulge in a game I like to call “Where would I get married?” The fact that I’m already married and don’t plan on having another wedding isn’t important—it’s all about the daydreaming. With the holiday season fast approaching, I sometimes tweak this game by imagining where our company would have the most rocking holiday party ever. Interestingly, I noticed that my shortlist of holiday event venues wasn’t that different from my fantasy wedding one: Classy art galleries, hip restaurants, sun-kissed vineyards… A dynamic setting can make any celebration pop.

That said, there are obvious differences between putting on a wedding and a holiday party. Five that come to mind:

1. The PDA.

Depressed Office ElfAt a social gathering of business colleagues, this acronym refers to those little black devices that they covertly fondle in between shop talk. At weddings, the initials stand for a different kind of fondling altogether—we’re talking “public displays of affection.” While at a wedding, it’s socially acceptable for couples to make out a little on the dance floor. Nothing R-rated, mind you, but a little PG-13 action is considered par for the course. On the flip side, making out at holiday parties is awkward to say the least. Do you really want your boss watching you from the sidelines as you lip-lock with your significant other? Best to show some restraint and save that behavior for the supply closet.

2. The Gifts.

Guests who show up to a wedding come bearing Cuisinarts and toaster ovens. If you’re lucky, at your holiday party, you’ll be the one getting a gift (though chances are it won’t be anything that will help you whip up a soufflé). Who doesn’t need a snow globe with the company logo on it or a neon plastic travel mug? Score!

3. The Speeches.

It’s pretty charming to watch a tipsy uncle give a heartfelt speech about knowing the bride back when, but the speeches at holiday parties can be a little tiresome. Everyone already knows who snagged the biggest account of the year (it wasn’t you), so why go on and on about it? Just keep the champagne coming (hiccup!). Which leads me to…

Hey Mr. DJ

4. The Booze.

There are obvious reasons to celebrate at a wedding, so no one will begrudge you an extra drink. Holiday party drinking, on the other hand, is rife with problems. If you’re the one guzzling your third gin & tonic before appetizers, don’t be surprised if you’re the subject of some Monday morning Judgmental Whispering…and are plagued by a hazy recollection of telling the boss what you really think of her tacky taste in office décor. You’ve been warned.

5. The Dancing.

Weddings may have their “YMCA” and “Hava Nagila,” but where cheesy dance moves are concerned, holiday parties win out. Though there’s really no easy way to make your signature dance to “Jingle Bell Rock” seem cool and edgy, at least that keepsake photo of Jerry from accounting with antlers on his head will perk up your bad workdays for years to come.

Bottom line: What your friends forgive, your snarky coworkers will never forget. At corporate get-togethers, be relaxed yet professional at all times. Otherwise, you may have to explain to security why your purse was locked up in the supply closet all weekend.

And if you’re still making plans for your next holiday party, check out our extensive database of stellar event spaces.

Filed under Expert Advice, Featured, Off Beat, Receptions,

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