Sunshine, a warm breeze, and blue skies only mean one thing at Hire Space HQ - the season of office summer parties! Often the highlight of any team's social calendar, summer parties are full of delicious food, great company, and positive vibes, especially now we're getting back to normal. No pressure, eventprofs!
To get the ball rolling on planning the best summer party your guests have ever seen, read our top planning tips below.
1. Establish your event objective
Your objective could be treating your team after a great quarter, inviting your key clients to a fun event as a way of thanking them for their support, or even an informal networking opportunity for agencies and suppliers.
Even if your objective is just bringing the team together to let their hair down, thinking about why you're throwing a party in the first place will help you in all the decisions you make during the planning process. Don't forget to set a budget!
Once you've got your objective, decide on the kind of party you want to throw. What’s the tone of the event? Do you envisage a casual afternoon with the team or a high-end soiree with clients and stakeholders? An edgy rooftop party or a formal garden party? Are kids and partners invited? Will you have some virtual guests too?
Create your guestlist first and then think carefully about the best kind of party to suit the crowd.
2. Choose your date wisely
It's a good idea to initially be as flexible as possible when choosing your party date. For example, weekends and evenings will not be popular as an option because people won’t want to give up their free time, so consider holding a weekday afternoon party instead. Try and also avoid school summer holidays as this will make it trickier to organise childcare, and families may have holidays booked. Venue hire costs will vary depending on the day of the week too, so it's worth considering a few options.
Create a poll of a couple of date options and ask your team for their input - you're unlikely to find a date that everyone can make, so you'll most likely need to go with the majority.
3. Find the perfect venue
Next, the fun bit! Whatever type of summer party you want to go for, it's time to find a suitably spectacular setting. How about a floral backdrop of dreams at Pantechnicon, Trafalgar St James' swanky rooftop, Hurlingham Club's vast manicured lawns, or maybe Studio 9294's canal-side offerings? The possibilities are endless!
When selecting the right venue, there are a few things to consider, such as location, cost, accessibility, AV capabilities (especially if you want to go hybrid), supplier options, bad weather options... the list goes on! Check out our definitive guide to venue finding for more insight, and check out our advice for liaising with venues too.
4. Choose a theme
Summer parties are all about coming together and having some fun in the sunshine. One way to inject some extra fun is to consider a theme for your event and work with suppliers to help with decorations, theming, and furniture. Try and keep the theming of your event as sustainable as possible by reusing and upcycling items where possible.
Think outside the box to create a unique experience for your guests - themes to consider include tropical paradise, circus, beach party, sports day (a Hire Space favourite), British tea party, the Oscars, costume party... the possibilities are endless! Try and have elements of your theme running throughout the party, such as in the invites, menus, food and drinks, decorations, entertainment, branding, music, even staff uniforms!
5. Choose your food and drink
Arguably the most important part of any party, it's certainly worth putting some thought into what food and drinks options you want to provide at your summer party. The days of mediocre barbecue food and warm beer are long gone - think outside the box and work with catering suppliers such as Easy Gourmet and Sixth Sense to provide some delicious offerings.
Summer parties are perfect for a street-food style option, with food stations serving different cuisines or dishes, and catering to different dietary requirements. This can also tie into the theming; if you're hosting a British-themed party, you could have mini fish and chips or pie and mash, for example. You could do live cooking stations, bowl food, bento boxes, picnic-style buffets, dessert stations, anything you like!
One top tip is to always get more food than you think you'll need - it's better to have too much food than not enough, especially as people will be drinking and may get hungry. If you're worried about wasting food, guests can always take leftovers home in little gift boxes!
Make sure there’s plenty of alcohol too, and also decent non-alcoholic drinks and mocktails, not just standard soft drinks. Inclusivity is key!
6. Add some entertainment
Another key part of any great party is entertainment. Whether you want a trendy DJ to play some dancefloor-fillers, dance performances, or live music, good entertainment will encourage guests to stay for the long-haul and will create a buzzing atmosphere.
7. Plan for the weather
We hate to be a fun sponge, but it's likely the good old British weather will throw a spanner in the works from time to time.
Make sure you have a backup plan in case the heavens open, such as an indoor space or structure your guests can take cover under. It's a good idea to provide blankets too, for when the evening chill rolls in.
Aside from rain and cold weather, you'll also want to consider the opposite end of the spectrum - if it's a scorcher (it does happen sometimes!), you may want to make sure you have some sun cream stations, ventilation and/or some kind of shade on hand for your guests.
We hope this helps as you start thinking about this year's summer get-together. After the two years we've all had, we deserve a good party!
For more guidance or assistance in finding your dream summer party venue, get in touch below and we'd be more than happy to help.