Have you been given the task of organising your work party for the summer? That’s great; there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your plans come together and everyone having a fantastic time. But planning a summer party for your office can be a big responsibility and it can feel like a daunting task.

The good news is that it has never been easier to organise a great gathering for your co-workers – there are fantastic venues, entertainment and catering readily available to make things simpler for you. Nevertheless, bringing everything together can be a real challenge.

So here are the top 10 tips for planning an amazing office summer party, as advised by Lloyd Wells who works with UK based venue-sourcing specialist Function Fixers.

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Start planning early

It might seem obvious but you should always allow plenty of planning time when organising your party. Treat it like any other work task; create a to-do list and make sure your boss is on board with the concept and the budget. Leaving it to the last minute can cause all sorts of problems; venues get booked up quickly, and rushing the details means you can forget completely vital parts of the plan.

Pick the right venue

Forget the office canteen or the pub down the road – a great summer party needs a great venue. Everyone loves a good outdoor space with a deck or a garden, but be prepared for great British summer weather; it’s best to have a large indoor area.

summer party - 10 tips for planning your office summer party

Avoid the school holidays

Try to book a date for your summer party that isn’t during the school holidays. Not only do the holidays present time challenges for parents, it’s also worth remembering that many families book their summer holidays during this period. June or early July is an ideal time for your party.

Stuck for ideas? Crowdsource!

Whether you’re low on creativity or just swamped with work, it’s not always easy to find the time to come up with all the ideas for the party. So make use of your colleagues and crowdsource ideas throughout the business. If you have an internal communications system it’s worth asking around, alternatively, send a group email to allow people to reply back with their thoughts.

Keep it casual

Remember your summer party is about having fun, so do away with suits and smart dresses; a casual dress code is the way to go. You want everyone to be comfortable and relaxed, plus there is nothing worse than being overdressed in the summer heat.

Pick a theme

Theming your party can add another layer of fun and excitement for staff. Yes, it’s worth keeping the dress code casual to maximise enjoyment but don’t be afraid to add décor and accessories. Decking out the party with sombreros, nachos and piñatas can create a great Mexican theme, for example. Let your creativity out and choose something that will get people talking and having fun.

Finger food is best

A barbecue is always a great choice for catering at a summer party. Alternatively, a buffet of snacks and finger food will go down very well. This is the summer after all – no-one wants a stuffy sit-down meal. Make sure that vegetarians and vegans are catered for, and check through the company for any intolerances or allergies.

That’s entertainment

Plan some entertainment for your party. Like the rest of your party plan, what you do will depend on your budget and venue size. A live band or a DJ are always a great choice, alternative there are plenty of quirky options including magicians, dance troupes or casino games.

The more, the merrier

Try to get as many people involved with your summer party as you can. As well as picking a convenient date, it’s also worth allowing staff to invite guests and family along and help everyone have a great time. This is also an especially good time to invite clients. Your summer party can show off the human side of your business and help build genuine rapport. A client who remembers the great summer party you threw is more likely to return to you for business – your party can inspire repeat business!

A great time for rewards or awards

With so many staff gathered together, the summer party offers a great opportunity to present awards or offer rewards for hard work throughout the year. Organise a little ceremony to end the night on a high as managers and executives acknowledge the staff.