The annual summer party is a great opportunity to thank your clients, reward your team and to have great fun.
A well-thought-out summer party can be a springboard for a newly invigorated workforce and freshly engaged clients, so it’s important to give yourself the best chance of getting it right. Here at Tobacco Dock, we’re experts at throwing outstanding corporate summer parties, and to help you make your next event a success, we’ve put together a handy summer party checklist. We have lots of summer party ideas and plenty of experience at pulling together all the elements to make it an event to remember.
4-6 months before the party.
The most important step is to set a date. What with the annual onslaught of holidays, festivals, weddings and school events, summer is a famously difficult season in which to get diaries to align. Getting the work summer party in the calendar early means that you’re more likely to get the largest number of positive RSVPs.
Think about the type of event you’d like as this will affect all your subsequent decisions. Are you thinking of a formal banquet with dinner and dancing? Maybe a corporate marquee at one of the summer’s social or sporting events? Or perhaps you’re thinking of something more informal, with interactive elements? Once you have an idea of the format and your guest list, it’s time to find a venue that is the right fit.
Here at Tobacco Dock, for instance, we’re fortunate enough to offer a wide range of party options, from trendy drinks receptions in our Quayside Bar or Gallery Courtyard, to formal parties for up to 1,500 in the Great Gallery or even a rooftop party with cocktails and croquet up at our destination bar, Skylight. We offer the options of comprehensive party packages up at Skylight, and also the option of dry-hire where you can build all the elements to create a completely bespoke event. Check with your chosen venue about which party elements are included and which you will need to organise, such as security, furniture hire, AV equipment and support.
Get your budget pinned down. This is an important factor as it will inform much of your later decisions. A good venue or event planner will take your budget into consideration and ensure that you not only get an event which maximises on your financial input but also that there are no nasty surprises later on when it comes to settling your bill!
After these key building blocks, this is the best time to:
- Book your photographer and any entertainment, such as DJs, musicians, photo booths or magicians.
- Are you going to have a theme? Decide this early on and make sure it’s communicated in all your communications to your attendees.
- Send out your invitations – make sure you have a clear RSVP date to make sure you get an idea of numbers.
3-4 months before the party
Now’s the time you will want to have all the major elements in place and pinned down. Sign your venue contract and those of any suppliers, and confirm all the logistics for licensing, insurance and any other permits you might need. Make sure that all your entertainment and photographers are confirmed and ready for the big day!
This is also the ideal time to:
- Get all the relevant logos and information from any sponsors you might have.
- Confirm the menu. Remember, summer parties thrive on keeping a lot of movement and fun, so consider bowl food or street food as a way of keeping the party flowing and engaging. Ensure you’re up to date with any dietary requirements among your guests.
- Confirm your drinks order and wine list. Something we’ve found very popular with our clients at Skylight is a bespoke cocktail menu, which can reflect your theme and your brand!
- Finalise bad weather contingency plans. Here at Tobacco Dock, we’re fortunate to offer both covered and outdoor spaces so that the fun needn’t stop if the sunshine fails to turn up.
- Design all your printed material and put your order in with the printers.
- Handing out goodie bags? Get all the elements ordered and confirmed now to avoid a last-minute panic!
- This is a great time to set up a Facebook event. This is a great way to communicate updates and to inform your guests of the timings and any changes to the plans.
1 month before the party
You should have had all your RSVPs back by now, but chase any stragglers so you can finalise your guest list and confirm the numbers with your caterers and the venue. Once you have this in place you can finalise any seating plans. Now’s the time to set all your plans in stone and to make sure that everyone involved in the running of the party knows their responsibilities.
- Finalise all you travel and accommodation plans and ensure everyone is informed.
- Put the finishing touches to your event schedule and make sure your team is kept in the picture.
1 week to go
Countdown time… Your summer party is on the horizon, but hopefully, if you’ve followed our summer party countdown guide, you should have everything under control! We recommend you have a final meeting with all your suppliers and event operations team to confirm everything, check nothing has been missed and to ensure you’ve ‘worst-case scenario’ plans in place. Get the final numbers across to the caterers, share the guest list with your venue and get ready to enjoy! Here at Tobacco Dock, our team has a wealth of experience at running summer corporate parties and can make sure everything runs to plan. We’ll make sure nothing is missed and that you get to have as much fun as your attendees!
We’d love to talk to you about our summer party ideas and inspirations as well as our beautiful venue and spaces. Get in touch through our contact form, or call our team on 0207 680 4001 to find out more.