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Top Tips for Planning a Corporate Summer Social

What better way to welcome the warmer and lengthened summer days than by planning a seasonal party as a thank you to clients or to boost staff morale.

Regardless of the occasion, the possibilities to entertain are endless, from relaxed BBQs to festival-esq garden get-togethers.

Our events experts, based across our range of stunning venues, certainly have a few tricks up their sleeves to help your summer social run without a hitch and be one to remember for all of the right reasons.

Whether you host an annual shindig for a corporate audience or are planning a staff party for the first time, we all could do with a little help along the way…

The theme

From an all-singing all-dancing garden party to a low-key dinner incorporating seasonal produce, establishing a theme is a great place to start and can add a zing of vibrancy to your event right from the get-go. Unsure how? Here’s an example to get you thinking – set the mood with coloured lighting, feed it into your table settings and work with your chosen venue’s chef to create a themed menu.

 Location, location, location

Picture how you see the event running in your head, then try to find a venue close to what you imagined. There’s no better time to host al fresco, and a venue with killer views is always a bonus and instant talking point for guests. Stoke Place in Buckinghamshire has all of this and more, with 26 acres of parkland to be precise, or if you’re looking for a Northern venue, try Redworth Hall Hotel or the The Majestic Hotel out for size.

 The invitations

People in the world of business generally run a tight ship when it comes to their diaries, so make sure to send out your invitations with 6 to 8 weeks’ notice. Invitations are your first chance to grab guests’ attention and instill a sense of excitement about the event, so don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. While physical invites are a nice touch, if you’d rather save on the paper, check out sites like Paperless Post which has a personalised email delivery function and lets you track RSVPs.

Keep it colourful

Back to the all-important theme, if you’ve been bold and followed summer colour trends from sunshine yellows to hot pinks, punchy oranges and sky blues, why not set a dress code to match? Another option could be to go with your company colours. Be sure to add these instructions to your invitations to give guests the heads up and time to decide on the perfect outfit.

A seasonal menu

Options are endless when it comes to summer food, with light bites made up of healthy veggies, fresh seafood and exotic fruits more than fit for any kind of occasion. Get the menu just right and you’ll be on to a winning event. If you want the food to really steal the show, Redworth Hall Hotel in Durham serves up top notch dishes complete with picturesque views across its landscaped gardens and can host private dining for up to 25 guests.

Keepsakes

Give your guests something to remember the event by as they leave. We all have enough free pens and branded USB sticks, so think about pulling together a goody bag with added wow. Give yourself enough time and you could even team up with a partner or supplier which complements the event theme to contribute some items. Go for things people will really need and most importantly want; think portable phone chargers, sweets, miniature cocktails and bright cakepops.

Teambuilding

There’s nothing wrong with a spot of healthy competition at an event, so let the games begin by splitting your guests into teams – it’s also a great way to break the ice and build relationships amongst those who have never met. Organise games from puzzles to sports and scavenger hunts, and remember to have some prizes for the winners!

Capture the experience

Why not hire a photographer or videographer to capture the fun? Snippets of footage or snaps would make great social media content for your company’s channels, prolonging the buzz around your event. On a more serious note, whatever the nature of your organisation, posting engaging and visual content will positively portray your brand identity to stakeholders and job-seekers, so is well worth investing in. Alternatively, opt for a photobooth complete with props and your guests can takeaway copies as a memento.

Wet weather contingency

The weather forecast is pretty much the only thing our event organisers can’t pre-plan, but they can help you to have a plan in place should your outdoor event get rained on. Choose a venue with a glorious outdoor area as well as a stylish events space indoors, that way all bases are covered in case of an unexpected downpour.

Be resourceful

Whilst it’s important to have plenty going on to entertain your guests, take into consideration comfort and capacity before committing to too much. Is there comfortable seating to lounge on? Is there air conditioning? Is there plenty of water? Access to Wi-Fi is also important so images of the good times being had can be shared across social media, and can also allow your event to be streamed on your company’s own social media channels for all to see.

After the event…

Dropping guests a simple ‘thank you’ email to show that you appreciated them attending will go a long way. They’re also more likely to come back to you with any feedback to help shape future events, and it could even open the door to new business opportunities.

The summer weather is here and you have all of the insights needed to help you to throw a social event to remember – so what are you waiting for?!