Summer party season is here, and it’s time to turn your vision of a fantastic summer celebration into a reality. Planning and organizing a summer party can be an exciting yet daunting task, but fear not!
Jessica Cater-Barnes, our esteemed head event curator, is here to guide you towards hosting an unforgettable summer party that will be a resounding success for both you and your guests. With her wealth of experience, she shares valuable tips to help you create a truly remarkable summer soirée.
1. Define Your Objectives
Before diving into the planning process, take a moment to clarify your objectives. Are you aiming to create networking opportunities or provide pure entertainment? Consider how you want your guests to feel and ask yourself relevant questions to define the essence of your event, establishing how you want your guests to feel. Effective communication is key to ensuring your vision is fulfilled.
It is also essential to have an idea of budget in advance. You can then look at your non-negotiable areas and where you might want to scale back if needed. For some people, the entertainment is the far most important element, for others it will be a great spread of flavoursome food and drink. We’re familiar with the well-known saying ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’. This is also true for party planning. Keep the number of decision makers succinct and each with a clear purpose.
2. Choose the Perfect Venue
Finding the right venue sets the tone for your summer party. This can be a time-consuming task so ask for help in collating the information you need, or work with an experienced party curator to save you valuable time.
Decide what you want from a venue, consider the space you will need. Do you need to find somewhere to accommodate a games area, a dance floor or lots of seating?
We all love a sunny summer party on a roof top or terrace, but it is prudent to consider the (not always so) Great British Summer. A rainy day on a roof top can leave no place to hide if you haven’t thought about a wet weather contingency plan.
A summer party inside can still feel like you are outside with the right venue. If you have an inside location with a lot of space and natural light, or a balcony, you are on to a winner. Create an outside-inside feel with biophilia or deckchairs on a mock beach set up. You’ll stay dry during any summer showers.
Lastly, listen to your venue specialists. They are experienced in working with the space and work directly with you to make your vision come to life, the best advice will come from them!
3. Delightful Food and Drink – keep it seasonal!
Get the summer vibe cemented as soon as your guests arrive with a mouth-watering summer cocktail to welcome your guests.
Aperol spritz and Pimm’s come as standard so experiment and do something special to wow your invitees. Cocktails can be created to fit your brand colour palette or included cocktail toppers with key messages or photos. These can spark a sense of fun and great photo opportunities. Who hasn’t snapped a photo of a delicious and picture-perfect cocktail before?
Remember to produce alcohol free cocktails too. Gone are the days when orange juice was the only alternative option. Be creative with infusions – watermelon and mint cocktails are extremely popular and so refreshing. Make sure alcohol-free cocktails are as readily available as any alcoholic options. Guests not drinking alcohol shouldn’t feel excluded or an afterthought.
Grazing stations are a great way to surprise your guests at a summer party. An array of cheeses, breads, vegan, vegetarian and meat small plate dishes mean everyone can have a bit of what they fancy. Don’t just produce vegan dishes for the small handful of vegans, create something so good that everyone will want to eat it. There are so many options now. Pile up your grazing station with seasonal, colourful produce and it often becomes a talking point and Insta icon. This is the perfect way to allow your guests to graze all night and to cut down on food waste. Interactive food stations also add entertainment and education to an event.
I’ve come across event hosts thinking that they won’t order food if it’s more of a focused drinks reception. This is a big mistake. When people have been drinking alcohol, they want food!
4. Effective Time Management
To avoid last-minute stress and ensure a smooth experience, plan ahead as much as possible. Set realistic time guidelines and document your tasks month by month, week by week, and day by day. Ideally, aim to have everything planned and finalized around one month before the event, allowing room for adjustments or unforeseen changes.
Consider the flow and structure of your party, determining the timing for drink service, entertainment, speeches, and other activities to keep guests engaged throughout the event. Arriving early on the day of the party provides ample time for setup and allows you to relax before the guests arrive.
5. Embrace the Magic
Above all, remember to enjoy your own event. After the extensive planning and coordination, it’s easy to get caught up in the small details. However, the true essence of an event is bringing people together and creating a memorable experience. Focus on the bigger picture, savour the moment, and ensure your guests leave with cherished memories.
With these expert tips, your summer party will be an unforgettable occasion that captivates all who attend. So, let the summer festivities begin and revel in the success of your remarkable event!
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