With the party season officially upon us, here are our top 10 tips for unforgettable, 'wow-factor' bashes.
- Know your audience: Tailor the event to the audience. Some will love old-fashioned games, others a lovely roof terrace. People enjoy popular lawn game such as bocce and bean bag toss. Recently, some companies have gone down the route of holding a family fun day summer party. Consider tying the party to a company initiative: is there a mid-year business update, product launch, awards celebration or just a nice excuse for a summer party?
- Location, location, location: Make sure the venue is in an accessible location, or provide the travel means to get there in order to maximize attendance. Also, whether the event involves speeches, awards or entertainment, ensure everyone can hear what’s going on.
- Theme it: Having a theme makes a summer party fun and makes people want to engage. How about a classic Café del Mar all-white party, or a Hampton Garden party with croquet and games that could be played on the lawn? Bringing in little touches such as flower garlands can be a cost-effective way of making a visual impact.
- Carry the theme through: Make sure the chosen venue fits with the summer theme. There are lots of roof gardens and roof terraces that work well for summer events and many are seasonal and only open during the summer. Ensure food and beverage also fits with the theme. For example, give guests a signature cocktail on arrival, serve little sandwiches and ice creams – perhaps out of an old-fashioned ice cream truck for a special touch.
- Pick the date: People’s schedules get booked up quickly in the summer, so ensure maximum return on investment by sending a ‘save the date’ invite with an RSVP request to get an early idea of numbers. Send it out as soon as the date has been decided. Don’t clash with other corporate hospitality dates or national events.
- Plan for all weather: Always ensure there is a wet-weather back up, such as a suitable cover or a room that people can go into when it starts raining. Branded weather props such as parasols or umbrellas are a nice touch.
- Get creative with the invites: Sending out invites is a great opportunity to do something tangible and fun as well as introducing an element of surprise. As your date gets closer, send attendees a reminder that the event’s coming up, such as a cool pair of colored sunglasses, flip-flops or beach balls. It’s all about getting people excited about the event.
- Capture the occasion: Book a photo booth or have photographers capturing moments that people can have as keepsakes. Use social media to spread the word about the event, asking people to use a hashtag when they upload their images. These days, photo booths can automatically upload to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms.
- Book early: Venues get booked up quickly and a lot of people book their summer parties as soon as Christmas is over. But, for those who haven’t planned anything yet, it’s not impossible to secure a late booking by being flexible on dates and checking for last-minute cancellations. The key days for work summer parties are Thursdays and Fridays, so look at a different day of the week and/or venues outside of the city you’re in. Make a note to book earlier next year!
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