Have you been tasked with organising the annual summer work party this year? Fear not. Our checklist will guide you through grey clouds of doubt to the sunny climes of smugness when it all goes with a bang. You’ll be sipping the frozen margaritas under palms in no time.
What are your goals? Is it a bash to congratulate the team or a larger-scale networking affair? Are you launching a product or wooing clients? Set the objectives and plan accordingly. Laid-back fun or dressed up and swanky? Exactly who your audience is will decide this.
Select the optimum event date. Bag a summer afternoon - preferably a Friday - so people can clock off early and stay out late.
Source the venue. Outdoor bar, riverside restaurant, members club, cocktail garden, riverboat, country manor. Do you want a blank canvas you can decorate on a theme or a venue that’s more ready to go? You’ll want to get in nice and early before the crowds. Everyone throws a summer party!
Choose your theme.
Tropical, Hawaiian, Mexican, Texan BBQ or a classic British picnic. A summer party is all about al fresco drinks and nibbles so you if you have a specific cuisine that you know is a crowd pleaser, use that to inspire the theme.
Send invitations and confirm numbers. Invitations on theme would be nice. Palm trees, cacti, martini glasses, sunglasses. Keep it light and fun. It’s a party!
Book your caterer. Make sure they can handle dietary requirements and that there’s a good mix of healthy and decadent food available. You want to please everyone. Check if the caterer can source compostable dining ware.
With those crucial things organised, you may have a bit of breathing space while you think about the entertainment. A DJ or band? Roaming musicians? A mariachi band? Do you imagine a packed dance-floor or laid-back jazz quartet while people sip champagne? Or are you imagining tea and cakes on the grass with acoustic accompaniment? What is your vibe? The tech team bickering over their Spotify playlists is NOT your vision.
Book the sound system. Consider whether you’ll need mics for speeches or satellite speakers outside the venue. Keep the volume moderate. You don’t want people to have to shout at each other and it’s not a nightclub. It should be fun but not intrusive. The cost of those extra bass bins can go on another case of rosé.
Build a basic event website. You can use this to gather RSVPs as well as listing the details. You can also add all the photos here after the event. Creating a Facebook event does a similar job.
Book an events specialist to decorate your venue. The Arabian Tent Company can dress bars and restaurants to absolutely any theme, transforming your party and adding ultimate wow! factor.
Plan the drinks.
Do a few drinks well. Create a ‘company cocktail’ named after the business or product. Supply luxurious softs so the non-drinkers don’t feel left out. The range of non-alcohol beer is amazing these days. Consider buying kegs for the bar directly from micro-breweries - it will be cheaper, far cooler and supports an independent local business.
Finally, check the weather and plan accordingly. Book in some last-minute parasols, garden shades or a stretch tent if it looks like it might rain. Equally, a bit of shade will be welcome so consider a canopy for the outdoor space.