Top tips for hosting a corporate summer party

Top tips for hosting a corporate summer party

Spring has sprung and this can only mean one thing: it’s time to get organ­ised for the office sum­mer par­ty. Hav­ing a cor­po­rate par­ty in the sum­mer can be a great idea to boost morale and pro­vide a mid-year incen­tive for staff. Why wait until Christ­mas to thank your team when you can do it dur­ing the warmer months when every­one is in a sun­nier mood?

The trick to a suc­cess­ful com­pa­ny sum­mer do is to start plan­ning ear­ly. Not only does it give you the great­est pick of the best venues, but you will also have more time to get every­thing sort­ed, hope­ful­ly with­out any last-minute pan­ics. As with any event plan­ning, you should nev­er under­es­ti­mate the amount of organ­i­sa­tion required or how long things can take. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the steps and tips for host­ing a cor­po­rate sum­mer par­ty.


    1. Should your summer event have a theme?

    Organ­is­ing a relaxed envi­ron­ment for your guests to enjoy the sum­mer par­ty can be a lot eas­i­er if you have a clear­ly defined theme to plan around. Whether you go for a clas­sic gar­den bar­be­cue or beach par­ty, choose the 1980s, Ara­bi­an Nights or Sum­mer of Love theme, add a Mex­i­can flavour, a sport­ing event or a mur­der mys­tery twist, your theme helps to direct your cre­ative juices in the right direc­tion. From deci­sions on invites and par­ty dec­o­ra­tions to dress codes, enter­tain­ment and activ­i­ties, and of course food & drink, you can present a coher­ent pro­gramme for the day or evening.

    2. What’s the budget?

    Get­ting a real­is­tic bud­get signed off is cru­cial to enable you to start plan­ning in earnest, so have your finan­cial para­me­ters in place before let­ting your imag­i­na­tion run wild. The bud­get will dic­tate every­thing from cater­ing to enter­tain­ment and your choice of venue. A giant boun­cy cas­tle may sound like fun but can you afford it? Choos­ing a quirky venue may add inter­est to your event invite and attract more guests and, “sur­pris­ing­ly, many unique venues will not cost you any more than you usu­al­ly pay,” explains one indus­try insid­er.

    3. Choosing a date and time

    Anoth­er impor­tant logis­ti­cal detail to decide ear­ly on is the date for your cor­po­rate event. Week­day or week­end? Day­time or evening? Some team mem­bers may not rel­ish the thought of giv­ing up their free time to spend with col­leagues or may have oth­er com­mit­ments that pre­vent them from attend­ing out­side of work­ing hours. Oth­ers may love the idea of a prop­er par­ty. On the oth­er hand, a week­day par­ty dur­ing office hours could be a real staff incen­tive. Whichev­er date you decide, make sure you give invi­tees max­i­mum notice to save the day.

    4. The importance of catering

    It can­not be over­stat­ed that good cater­ing lies at the heart of every cor­po­rate event. You can have the most amaz­ing venue, the best live enter­tain­ment and the most fun event theme on the plan­et, but if the bar runs dry halfway through the evening, your guests won’t be amused. The same goes for the food. While pos­i­tive reviews about cater­ers are impor­tant, if dur­ing the event their dish­es are served late or cold, they’re not appetis­ing or there just isn’t enough food for your guests, it lit­er­al­ly leaves a bad taste in the mouth. And, unfor­tu­nate­ly, that’s all peo­ple will be talk­ing about the next day.

    5. What type of event are you planning?

    You also need to think care­ful­ly about the pur­pose and for­mat for your upcom­ing sum­mer event. Are you look­ing to organ­ise an infor­mal cel­e­bra­tion for your team to reward them for their hard work? Is it going to be a fam­i­ly event with plus-ones, chil­dren and pets? Or would you pre­fer to add a net­work­ing dimen­sion to the sum­mer par­ty by invit­ing clients and oth­er impor­tant indus­try con­tacts? These are all key deci­sions that need to be cleared in-house as they mate­ri­al­ly affect your plan­ning.

    6. Find the perfect venue

    Choos­ing the right venue for your cor­po­rate sum­mer event can make the dif­fer­ence between suc­cess and fail­ure. Make sure your venue reflects your event theme and your cor­po­rate cul­ture – you wouldn’t have a Hawai­ian-themed pool par­ty in an urban base­ment venue, would you? Check that the loca­tion is eas­i­ly acces­si­ble in terms of pub­lic trans­port or park­ing and that the size and bud­get work for you. Also ver­i­fy that the right equip­ment in terms of AV, light­ing and tech­nol­o­gy is avail­able for the enter­tain­ment or activ­i­ties you have planned.

    7. Remember to factor in the weather

    Find­ing the right venue is all very well but have you con­sid­ered the unpre­dictabil­i­ty of the British weath­er? Any­one organ­is­ing a music fes­ti­val in the coun­try will have a con­tin­gency plan in place to mit­i­gate against extreme weath­er con­di­tions dur­ing the sum­mer. For any out­door com­pa­ny par­ty, it is high­ly advis­able to con­sid­er how you will adapt to any sud­den down­pours or swel­ter­ing tem­per­a­tures. Make sure you have back-ups such as cov­ered ter­races, mar­quees or retractable roofs to pro­tect your guests and enter­tain­ers from the ele­ments.

    8. What kind of entertainment?

    There’s an abun­dance of choic­es avail­able when it comes to good cor­po­rate enter­tain­ment options, so choose some­thing that fits with the theme of your event and match­es your cor­po­rate cul­ture. No point going for risqué stand-up com­e­dy if your team isn’t on the same wave­length. From live bands to DJs and danc­ing, close-up mag­ic and cir­cus skills, escape room chal­lenges, games and con­tests, decide on what would give your sum­mer event the wow fac­tor with just the right lev­el of inter­ac­tiv­i­ty to engage your guests.

    9. Should there be teambuilding activities?

    Final­ly, pro­vid­ing activ­i­ties that every­one can par­tic­i­pate in can be a great way to divert atten­tion away from eat­ing and drink­ing and add a use­ful team-build­ing com­po­nent to the pro­ceed­ings. From lawn cro­quet to table ten­nis, a trea­sure hunt or karaoke, it gets every­one to socialise and bond, includ­ing those who don’t nor­mal­ly work togeth­er. Activ­i­ties add struc­ture to the event in a fun and excit­ing way and help boost team morale. They can also be used as evening enter­tain­ment, allow­ing you to kill two birds with one stone.

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