Picture this - it's the middle of the Summer and you have just finished work to go home to get ready for your office Summer Party. Feeling optimistic, but this could be our mid-Summer reality as lockdown measures relax. Why not throw the ultimate Summer extravaganza, you and your team deserve it!

Despite lockdown measures being eased as quickly as would have liked, the current restrictions still allow gatherings of thirty people outside! After getting through this crazy year and a half, we reach the perfect time to recognise and celebrate the achievements of your employees. After working so hard, they deserve some time to unwind.

We’ve got some tips and ideas to help you plan a terrific event for your colleagues!

There are many things to consider when planning Summer parties, so here's your step by step checklist.

celebrate end of financial year

Planning: your ultimate checklist

Lots of companies will be throwing a Summer party at the same time, so make sure you get in quick, or you’ll miss out! Set your budget and use it as a starting point to brainstorm ideas for venues, food, drinks, entertainment, decorations, gifts or prizes for the big event.

Venue

Choose a venue that’s centrally located and can be easily accessible by everyone. With COVID measures being less restricted outside, and of course, your staff being much safer in the open air, we'd definitely recommend an outdoor area if you have one accessible! Rooftop parties, central London picnic parks or even a private garden.

Find function spaces either in the city CBD or near your office. Ensure that your venue is near public transport so everyone can easily get there and home again. The type of venue you choose will depend on your budget, number of guests, location and corporate culture.

Entertainment

There’s an abundance of corporate entertainment options to choose from for Summer parties. From a live band to a DJ, dancing, games and contests, we recommend matching entertainment to your corporate culture. For example, if your company and your staff are fairly conservative, don’t bring in a comic who might offend people with their jokes.

However, if many of your employees are more adventurous and outgoing, it could be safe to plan something a little more interactive!

Activities

Provide an activity that everyone in the team can participate in. It focuses the attention away from alcohol and can be a great team bonding tool for people who don’t normally work together. This could include lawn bowls, ten pin bowling, karaoke, a football game, frisbee or even a ping pong tournament! Why not try out the latest office activity trend and head into an escape room. Not only is this a fun and exciting thing to do, it has proven team building benefits.

Theme

Choosing a theme for your Summer celebration can give it some character and structure, but remember that not everyone in the office will want to dress up in a costume. Make the requirements minimal and optional. A good option could be to ask everyone to wear a hat, a certain colour or anything else that can easily be removed later.

There’s no harm in choosing a fun theme like “pirates” if that suits the company culture and employees, but make sure that you keep it to a minimum or make it optional. You might consider expressing the theme through your choice of venue, decorations or music instead.

Music and lights

Sound and lighting are the most effective and cheapest way to make a generic and boring room look more exciting and is a great way to set the mood for the party. With the proper lighting, it can help create that ‘wow’ factor for your event.

A staff retreat

Whether it’s half a day, full day or even a couple of days, a staff retreat is a great opportunity to relax after the last year and a half! It's a great way to get input from the team. It makes it stronger and makes them more committed to the plan for the future. You can also include some team building exercises during your staff retreat to get everyone energised and working together.

office meeting

Food

Depending on your group size, company culture, budget or theme, choose a food and beverage menu that suits. Cocktails and gourmet finger food, buffet catering, or pizza and buffalo wings for something a bit more casual and fun. And don’t forget about staff with a special dietary requirement – ensure there are alternatives available, so no one goes hungry.

You can even organise a fantastic buffet line up or individual meals for a home style solution.

Alcohol and beverages

Drinks will most definitely play a part in the Summer party celebrations. If alcohol is on offer, we highly recommend providing food during the event so you don’t end up with a room full of sloshed colleagues! Set some ground rules and make sure everyone knows them.

Consider limiting the alcohol to a shorter beverage package, or serve only beer, wine and sparkling, along with plenty of non-alcoholic options such as water, juice and soft drinks. You could even set some budget aside to provide a taxi or bus service to anyone who needs it.

alcohol at corporate event

Summer party ideas

Now you have your checklist in order, here are some fun ideas to consider for your bash!

Cocktail party

Throw a celebratory office cocktail party with the addition of high quality canapés and gourmet finger food that will have your work colleagues raving. Toast to the hard work and achievements with a premium selection of wine and champagne to show staff how much you’ve appreciated their hard work and dedication.

Picnic and BBQs

Make a day out of it for the whole team by taking the party outside! Choose your favourite park or beach for a relaxing corporate BBQ or picnic. You won’t even need to assign anyone to cooking duty – we’ve got chefs who can help with the BBQ so you can just relax and enjoy the day.

Individual meals

Perfect for COVID and easy and safe serving, individual staff lunches or meals are a perfect solution. With an ever changing menu, these meals are delivered fresh each day for reheating when it suits.

Christmas in July

Our colleagues down under will love this one! Unfortunately, Christmas didn't go as planned last year, most companies missed out on their Christmas party so why not make up for the lost celebration?! In Australia Christmas in July is a tradition as usually Christmas is celebrated in their Summer.

With the strange theme, it'll give your team a chance to sample their favourite festive treats, host a Secret Santa and share some Christmassy food!

celebrate EOFY with Christmas in July

Ready to organise your Summer Party?

When planning a Summer party, it’s best to start as early as possible so you don’t miss out.
We have a range of cuisines and styles perfect for any celebration! Speak to our corporate catering experts for recommendations and inspirational ideas - phone us on 020 3890 2200 or email us at support.uk@eatfirst.com.

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