The events industry is set to have one of the busiest summers yet, and as companies plan to make up for lost time after the past two years, staff party season is well and truly upon us.
Navigating the UK’s notoriously unpredictable weather and trying to please a myriad of personality types, as well as dietary requirements, can make planning a summer party seem like a challenge. Outdoor London events venue, Regent’s Conferences & Events shares some top tips for planning the perfect summer party.
Choose the right venue
When you nail the perfect venue for a summer party, most other things fall into place. Obviously one of the main attractions of summer, in theory, is the prospect of a little sunshine and warmth. The ideal scenario is that the weather holds out and you can enjoy a well-positioned outdoor venue with plenty of space, but it’s worth making sure you choose a venue that has a rain plan in place too. A marquee in the centre of the outdoor action is a winner, a back-up indoor space, or if your team is particularly adventurous, some branded umbrellas, ponchos, and wellies!
A venue with a lot of experience hosting summer parties will know all the contingency plans you’re going to have to consider and will be able to advise on things like noise restrictions and outdoor alcohol licenses. It pays to choose a venue with good connections and supplier relationships as the consultancy and recommendations they can offer are worth their weight in gold for time-poor event planners.
Wow with the catering
One of the defining components of a successful event is the food and drink offering. Along with weather and entertainment, it’ll inevitably be one of the top discussion points. Seasonality is important when it comes to your summer party menus, so the venue or caterers should be switching up their offering in the summer to make the most of the freshest produce and ingredients. To keep things as simple as possible, it’s worth offering a vegan and vegetarian option as standard, as a growing number of guests are opting for plant-based dining purely as a preference, not because of dietary necessity. Creating decadent drinks experiences is also a winning formula to get the party started, from wine tasting stations to interactive cocktail making and shaking.
The presentation of food at your summer party is as important as the food itself. Innovative displays such as nostalgic ice cream carts or festival-styled food stalls are always a winner for that ‘Instagrammable’ shot. It’s also essential to consider the timing of food, particularly when there are physical activities going on. Guests don’t want to be filling up on hearty food, then jumping around on a bouncy castle, so it works particularly well if the supply of food can be constant throughout, giving guests the option of when to eat.
Create a memorable experience
Summer parties are a chance to reward staff for their hard work throughout the year and most importantly, to have a good time. Therefore, creating a memorable experience (for the right reasons) should be high on the agenda. It’s a popular option to combine summer party activities with a teambuilding element too. There’s an abundance of corporate entertainment options to choose from for summer parties – from garden games like giant Jenga and croquet; to new activities including a 23 foot inflatable football darts or a 50 foot volleyball inflatable for an unforgettable experience. You could also create a wellness corner with holistic activities to wind down and relax.
There’s no better way to remember an occasion than with photographic evidence, so consider hiring a photographer for your event, or even better, providing an immersive photobooth feature for friends and colleagues to capture the occasion instantly.
Add the personal touch
Any event can be elevated by adding personal touches. Consider your guests; what are their preferences? What are their passions? Personalisation of place names and goodie bags will show guests that you’ve thought about their special day.
Think about the flow of activity at the venue, are there ample places to sit? Is there somewhere to safely put your drink while engaging in an activity? From table design and floral features to effective lighting that considers the changing sunlight month on month, it’s the little details that really differentiate between a good and an unforgettable party.
Whether planning a completely themed summer festival or a more low-key dinner, the most successful events usually incorporate the host’s essential brand messages. Consider using coloured lights to compliment a brand’s identity or adding creative nods to crucial themes.
Balance budget with sustainability
The good news about sustainability, particularly when it comes to avoiding waste, is that it can sometimes be the less costly option. Nine times out of ten, guests at events do not eat as much as you expect them to. It’s a fine balance between providing the right amount of variety and overserving food that ultimately goes to waste. We tend to find that providing three cuisines as different food stalls works very well for summer parties, and with the chefs preparing as they go, the food can easily be topped up.
When an outdoor events venue is so reliant on its environment, this usually means it comes with a lot of upkeep. Try and choose a venue that both considers and encourages biodiversity, as well as using non harmful products on maintaining its plants/shrubbery.
You may also like to read about great party ideas for indoor venues.