Are you fed up with planning work parties, because it never seems like anyone wants to attend? What’s with everyone being so resistant to a little bit of fun? Well, sure, every office has a couple of grumblers, but have you ever considered that it’s because your events… just aren’t very good?
Obviously, you put a lot of money and effort into them, so nobody you work with is going to want to break the news that you’re a lousy party planner. Just take it from an internet stranger; if it’s getting harder and harder to convince your colleagues that they need to let loose, maybe it’s time to evaluate your formula.
With social media pervading every moment of our lives, standards have never been higher when it comes to hosting a memorable event. The traditional route of hiring a casino table and heading to the local hotel simply doesn’t feed the imagination anymore, so it’s time to shake up your social calendar with an event that your team will be talking about for years to come - here are five ideas to get you started.
KEEP IT TRADITIONAL
When you can be sure of the weather, hosting a magical garden party is an excellent way to keep numbers high and costs low. It’s also ideal if you would prefer to throw a calm and civilised affair in the afternoon, rather than a boisterous, boozy bash.
Classic sports day events like sack races or egg-and-spoon can create a bit of friendly competition between your guests, and add a bit of nostalgic charm. Just make sure there are plenty of areas for participants to sit and relax afterwards!
If you’re worried about a spot of rain or want the option of a covered area for the evening, hiring a sophisticated corporate VIP tent means that you don’t need to compromise on the elegance of your theme. Include décor that blends seamlessly with the natural surroundings like overflowing floral displays and delicate fairy lights, and you’ll have yourself a charming soiree to be proud of.
ESCAPE TO THE CIRCUS
Like the idea of a tent, but angling for something a little more raucous? Throwing a circus-themed bash could be just the ticket.
Start by inviting your guests to “step right up” to the event, either with physical tear-off tickets or an email invite in the same style. Your tent décor should be bright and playful, preferably using plenty of red and white. Bunting, festoons and voile are an ideal way to bring colour into the theme without it becoming too childish (it’s not a child’s birthday party, after all).
There are countless types of circus performers available to bring a playful atmosphere to your event, from jugglers and magicians to hula-hoopers, unicyclists and gymnasts. In between acts, keep your guests refreshed by hiring a circus food truck serving hot dogs, mini doughnuts, flavoured popcorn and candyfloss, with vintage-cola and home-made lemonade.
LUAU YOUR GUESTS
Wish you could whisk your staff away for an all-expenses-paid holiday? While that might be a far-off dream, turn the tides and bring the warm breeze of Hawaii to them.
This is another party that can be held outside at the right time of year, although the point of this theme is to prove that you won’t let a rainy day stop you from celebrating. Taking it indoors is simply a little more tongue-in-cheek, just make sure that your venue is decked out in potted palms and golden hues.
Give your bash an informal dress code, and garnish your guests with leis and sunglasses. Provide light bites and plenty of fresh fruit, plus tropical cocktails all night.
CELEBRATE THE PAST
Everyone loves a bit of nostalgia, so if you’re celebrating a big company birthday, why not match the theme to the era that your firm was founded? Whether that means rewinding to the super-fly ‘90s or flashing all the way back to the roaring 1920s, harking back to a past decade can make most of your theme choices extraordinarily easy.
For example, if business began in the 1950s, book out a retro bowling alley, hire a jukebox and keep it playing rock and roll hits all night. If you want to ramp up the entertainment, call in some jitterbug dance instructors to give your guests a lesson before performing a professional show. Serve up much-loved diner classics like mac ‘n’ cheese, hamburgers and hotdogs, paired with cream sodas and milkshakes.
LOOK TO THE FUTURE
If the years your company started don’t lend themselves particularly well to a party theme, how about looking to the future instead? Style your party to reflect the trends of years to come, and celebrate the fact that just about anything is possible.
Minimalist spaces work very well for futuristic events, so choose a venue that can act as a chic blank canvas for your cosmic playground. No matter how clichéd it might feel, space travel and super-cool technology are definitely going to play a massive part of the next few decades, so if your budget won’t quite stretch to robotic bartenders, at least make sure that every inch of your décor is made from metallic materials and lined with LEDs.
An adventurous menu is encouraged, but novel twists on familiar foods (like liquid nitrogen ice cream) can go down equally well. Keep your guests entertained with immersive VR headsets, UV light shows and a cutting-edge soundtrack.
The most important thing is to choose a theme the reflects the values and culture of your company, and whichever theme you pick, make sure that it stays coherent throughout the event. Even if it doesn’t go to plan, spicing up the routine will boost the morale and show your team that you really do want them to have fun.
Guest Post by Dakota Murphy.