NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- At many small businesses, bosses may seem more like friends, subordinates may seem more like fraternity brothers and cutting loose is part of the company culture. While that's usually a good thing, it can be easy to spend too much time and money partying and end up overstepping HR guidelines. Experts weigh in on the best ways small businesses can reward and celebrate their team without crossing any boundaries. There's a happy medium between rewarding employees with a catered lunch at the office and going all out with a celebratory booze fest, says Richard Cohen, a labor and employment attorney with Fox Rothschild. "You don't have to have just a plain old lunch. There are lots of different types of events you can have with alcohol and lots of ways that you can be smart about it," Cohen says. For example, if you're having the party at your office or at an event space, make sure there is a professional bartender on site, he says. Bartenders are trained not to serve intoxicated people, and they can be helpful as just one more "adult" on-site, making sure that things don't get too rowdy. You can also have a conversation with your bartender before the party starts and let them know your policy -- if you have a two- or three-drink maximum, and so on. A great way to enforce the drink maximum is by using drink tickets, says Traci Bild, CEO of executive coaching and recruiting firm Bild & Co. Each employee can get two drink tickets to use for the evening, and once they're gone, the party is over. This is also an excellent way to cut costs associated with an open bar.
Employers can even send out an email before the party to avoid awkward moments when it comes to ordering, says Ryan Alovis, CEO and founder of ArkNet Media and founder of several online startups. "To avoid awkward moments when it comes to ordering, maybe send a company email with explicit instructions on where we're going and what we can order. Don't leave anything up to chance," Alovis says. Apart from restricting the number of drinks, there are a few "little rules of reason" that can help your parties go smoothly, Cohen says. Invite family members, wives, husbands and children, and you'll see that the party takes on more of a professional and less of a rowdy atmosphere, he says. This will also ensure you have food on offer "to sop up the alcohol," he says.