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Corporate summer party planning guide for 200+ guests

Welcome to our expert guide to corporate summer party planning for events with more than 200 guests. Either read the whole article or use the links below to find the specific information you need for your next event.


Preliminary corporate summer party planning

Picking the perfect date

Selecting the right venue

Staying on trend

Core planning

Event execution

Consider the professionals


Warmer temperatures and longer days make summer a wonderful time of year to host a corporate party. But putting the right plans in place to ensure your event is a resounding success is no simple task.

Whether you’re a seasoned event planner or this is your first foray into organising a big work party, our corporate summer party guide has been carefully put together to help you create an experience your guests will remember. From setting the wheels in motion for a fun festival to managing a refined garden party, we’ve got you covered.

Preliminary summer party planning

Setting the budget

If you’ve been put in charge of the corporate summer party, it can be tempting to fast-forward to the more creative and colourful elements of the task. However, the most important first step in planning any corporate party is to set your budget.

Corporate summer party

Getting the budget right lays the foundation for a successful party. If you don’t, you could have an expensive and disjointed event on your hands, which disappoints not only the attendees but your key stakeholders.

To avoid this, you need to get the figures right.

This means you need to be realistic about what your corporate summer party needs and how much these elements are likely to cost.

A large corporate event for 200 people or more has lots of moving parts, and it can be easy to overlook something essential. To make sure you don’t miss something, here’s a list of some of the key ingredients to a successful event:

  • A fantastic venue
  • First-class entertainment
  • Spectacular catering
  • Innovative or on-trend theming
  • Thoughtful branding
  • Travel considerations
  • Comfortable accommodation
  • Green credentials.

However, this list isn’t exhaustive. Every corporate summer party is different and will have different needs.

Once you have a list, start estimating how much of the budget is needed for each element. By doing this, you ensure that your budget is allocated strategically, without too much cash being splashed on one particular thing. This will protect you from running out of funding before other big-ticket items have been accounted for.

Of course, little emergencies or unexpected costs can still crop up. To cut your stress levels, always make sure there is an additional 5-10% of your budget safely set aside to cover those little surprises.

Defining your goals

To run an event that hits its mark, you need to figure out what your business wants to achieve.

Naturally, you want your guests to have a great time. But a corporate summer party can achieve all kinds of other objectives too. These could be to promote team-building, celebrate milestone achievements, launch a new product, reward performance and hard work, or give employee morale a lift.

Whatever objectives fit your business, make sure you have them firmly established in your early plans.

Once your objectives are clearly set, you can define your goals and key performance indicators so that you can easily measure the success of your event. These will also provide much-needed guidance when it comes to decision-making throughout the later planning stages.

Picking the perfect date

Know your audience

Finding a date that fits into the right spot in guests’ diaries can require some careful tactical planning.

To pinpoint just the right time, consider who you’ll be inviting and what their preferences are likely to be. Will a party that lasts long into the night suit them, or would a daytime affair be more practical?

It’s also wise to survey your key stakeholders and gain an idea of when they’re free. Checking in with them early on means that you don’t waste precious time researching and reserving your favourite suppliers and venue only to find out that they can’t attend.

When looking through your calendar, you should also try to avoid the following, which can lead to a low take-up:

  • School holidays
  • National holidays
  • Religious holidays
  • Major sporting events
  • Peak times for your business
  • Planned road closures (or public transport strikes!)
  • Board meetings.

Read more about picking the date for summer 2024.

Choose your date wisely

Depending on the type of corporate summer party you want to host, you’ll probably find that some days will be more appealing than others.

As professional event planners, we find that Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are often ideal. This is because they don’t interfere with guests’ weekend plans, which could increase refusals or last-minute drop-outs.

On the other hand, if your guests would like to end a weekend with a creative and exciting corporate event, you may find some very budget-friendly deals on a Monday.

You should also consider potential travel arrangements for key guests. For example, if a director has a packed diary and needs to be at a meeting at the opposite end of the country the day after your event, that date may be a no-go. Having a snoop at people’s agendas or meeting plans for the coming months is a smart idea.

Set-up times should be factored in too, because your venue and suppliers will need time to make your chosen location party-ready. This may mean you need a set-up day before the party begins. Alternatively, you could consider holding your corporate summer party later in the day to allow for set up to be carried out in the morning.

Selecting the right venue

Finding the right corporate summer party venue is a key decision, and it could influence your later plans for themes and food.

You may even find that this decision is better made before you pick the perfect date. This is because you may pin down the ideal time to host your corporate summer party, only to find that a fantastic venue is fully booked.

It’s up to you which you do first. If getting buy-in from your leadership and key stakeholders is your top priority, then it may be best to choose the date and then grab the venue.

Corporate summer party

Venue essentials

When you’re ready to find the dream home for your corporate summer party, you need to weigh up some key facts and figures. It’s all too easy to view a venue and fall in love with a space, but it needs to work for you and your goals.

Firstly, you need to weigh up its total capacity, its available facilities and any outdoor space. Can it comfortably and safely fit all of your expected attendees? Is there space outside to extend the party area? If the venue is too small, you could find that guests feel squashed and claustrophobic. On the other hand, a venue that’s too large can feel empty, poorly attended and lacking in atmosphere.

The layout of your corporate summer party venue should be considered too.

For instance:

  • Staging areas
  • Food and drink areas
  • Spaces for quieter mingling
  • Breakout rooms
  • Meeting spaces
  • Storage spaces for equipment
  • Catering facilities and kitchens
  • Changing or set-up rooms for entertainers.

The venue’s facilities also need to be weighed up. Depending on the type of summer party you’re thinking of throwing, you may need an on-site kitchen, TVs and screens, excellent internet speeds or fabulous acoustics.

Accessibility should never be overlooked either. Wheelchair and other disability access must be factored in.

Finally, travel and parking facilities need to be weighed up. In larger companies, you’re likely to have guests travelling from all over the country to attend your amazing corporate summer party. As event organisers, we choose venues with excellent travel links that are central for as many employees as possible to provide easy access.

Professional tip: This can seem like an overwhelming list when you first get going. If you need help, you could try reaching out to a professional organiser, who could narrow down your search and advise on your favourite venues’ likely availability. They can even negotiate discounts for you.

Accommodation options

When thinking about venues, you should also get an idea of local accommodation options, both onsite and offsite. Some attendees may have to travel a long way to attend the summer party, which will make a return home on the same day a bit tricky.

It also goes without saying that accommodation is even more important if your corporate summer party is going to be held over multiple days.

You’ll therefore want to make sure there’s somewhere decent to stay nearby – there’s no point throwing a swanky party only to put up your guests in shabby hotels. This may well send an unwanted message about your employer’s brand or how you care for employees.

If you’re weighing up a London venue, bear in mind that nearby hotel prices may push the upper limits of your budget. To prevent unnecessary headaches, you should also try to put up all of your far-flung guests at the same place. Housing them in different locations will just add complexity to your plans.

Consider the weather

Corporate summer parties held in the UK need to factor in the Great British weather, which can be fickle at best.

Heatwaves are becoming more common, which means you need to think about how you can keep your guests cool and comfortable should the temperature rocket. Shady areas, fans and water refill spots will be a must, so scout out these possibilities when hunting for your perfect venue.

On the flip-side, our warmest months of the year can also feature downpours, so you’ll probably need to have a watertight contingency plan if you’re organising an outdoor party.

When researching a venue, make sure you find out if there is a wet weather option or whether you will need to bring in marquees or other temporary structures. Remember, this will all need to be factored into your budget.

Magnificent marquees

While you’re weighing up the pros and cons of venues, you may want to give extra thought to using a marquee structure, which can include tipis and stretch tents as well as traditional marquees.

They’re a party favourite because they’re so flexible, and the space within them can be tailored to suit your corporate party or event. This means you can emblazon it with your branding and decorate it to fit in with the feel of your theme.

Corporate summer party

Depending on what you want to do, you could even host your whole event within a marquee, or just have it as a versatile additional party space for chilling, busting out the dance moves or enjoying a drink or two. Marquees can also be great places to host presentations and speeches from senior management, allowing you to take advantage of everyone being in the same place.

If your whole event is likely to be in the great outdoors, you may want a few extra marquees dotted about to provide changing and set-up spaces for your entertainers, or breakout areas for your party crew. Marquees can even be fitted out with catering facilities and Wi-Fi.

Aligning with your brand

Corporate summer parties are an ideal way to show off your brand. This can foster a sense of belonging among attendees and improve your brand’s standing among them – as well as those outside your business.

At MGN events, we build this affinity by incorporating your brand colours and logo into the experience, seamlessly integrating them into any party favours, the stage design theming and lighting. Simple touches, such as matching the furniture or soft furnishings to your brand colours, can also make a big impact and promote that feeling of inclusivity.

We’ll also create lots of ‘PR’ moments that put your brand front and centre while encouraging engagement from your guests. This ensures your teams post their experiences to their social media channels, raising your profile and status as an employer.

Staying on trend

A surefire way to give your corporate summer party the edge, and make it memorable, is to theme the whole event.

Yes, brand alignment should be integrated into the party. However, a central theme can be a fun way to tie your whole event together to reinforce your messaging.

To help you pick the right theme, we’ve pulled together some work summer party ideas that could turn your gathering into an event to remember.

Corporate summer party ideas

Festival vibes

Among the most popular corporate summer party themes for adults is the festival theme. This promotes a laid-back atmosphere bursting with vibrant sights, sounds and tasty food. Marquees, tipis, stretch tents and flags can help to create this vision, along with festival-style wristbands for attendees. Take a look at a fun festival we organised.

Corporate summer party

Beach parties

If you’re looking to create a less formal event, a beach party is worth considering. Perhaps you could incorporate a venue’s pool and use deckchairs, giant umbrellas and novelty sunglasses to set the scene. A tiki bar would also go down nicely with guests.

Quintessentially British garden parties

Embrace the best of British with a traditional garden party. Featuring gingham, posh picnics, Pimm’s and a sizzling summer BBQ, this is a perfect pick for a laid-back party.

Fun fiestas

Spice up your summer with a vibrant Mexican extravaganza! Treat your guests to refreshing margaritas as they’re serenaded by a lively Mariachi band. Then, dare them to test their taste buds in a chilli-eating contest. Get inspiration for this theme here.

Corporate away day summer party

Colourful carnivals

A carnival is a perfect way to create a party atmosphere. A live band with carnival dances and plenty of vibrant colour will help to set the tone. Here’s one we did earlier.

Go retro

Look back for your best inspiration. Retro themes that recreate the Roaring Twenties or the extravagance of the 80s will certainly thrill the right audience.

Summer party

Read more: discover other creative corporate summer party ideas.

Culinary experiences

Forget the boring buffet table and ignite your guests’ tastebuds with something a little different. Street food vendors and ‘pop-up’ restaurants can dish up an exciting mix of international cuisine to fit a festival vibe, or you can opt for a fancy BBQ that goes beyond basic bangers and burgers. Chefs that turn cooking and presentation into an art form can also capture your attendees’ attention.

Corporate summer party

Remember to double-check any dietary needs when you first invite your guests. This can have a huge impact on the type of cuisine you choose.

Entertainment and team-building

Ensuring your guests get fed and watered is, of course, very important, but you also need to keep them entertained.

Live music, comedy acts and street performers can get a party going, as can a karaoke bar. For something more family-friendly, fairground rides and games are a winner.

Summer party

To bring the team together, games with a bit of a competitive edge are sure to get everyone involved. Office Olympics, quizzes, scavenger hunts, giant garden games, fairground stalls and even inflatable obstacle courses can get your guests working as a team.

Read more: get even more entertainment ideas.

Staying sustainable

Keeping your corporate summer party as green as possible will help you to stay in step with any company sustainability initiatives and win guests’ approval. Simple switches can be made to promote eco-friendliness, such as using bamboo cutlery and plates, providing refill water stations and offering plenty of recycling bins. You can also opt for biodegradable balloons and decorations made from recycled materials. Discover more here.

Immerse your guests

Since the pandemic, party-goers are looking for more immersive experiences that combine competition with socialising.

Think axe-throwing, roll-a-ball derby and skeeball, as well as all your childhood fairground favourites (but with a grown-up twist!). Whatever you choose, make sure it’s memorable and shareable, and see how you can weave your brand into the experience. Read more: get immersive experience inspiration.

Capture the moment

Your corporate summer party shouldn’t just exist in the memories of your guests. Photographing and filming key moments will help you to keep highlights of the day, and endorse your business’ credentials as an employer.

Summer party

It’s a good idea to hire professional photographers and videographers for the big occasion, but a few pop-up photo booths will also provide some added fun factor for your guests. You may want to think about adding some eye-catching staging to create the perfect selfie backdrop too.

Core planning elements

Now that you’ve finished all the preliminary planning, you have to focus on the core stages that will ensure your event runs smoothly. To help you, here’s our corporate summer party planning checklist.

Event registration

To ensure your venue and suppliers are ready for the right number of guests, you need to know how many people are going to turn up.

This should be as simple and straightforward as possible so that your guests don’t have to take too much time out of their busy schedules. When we plan corporate events, we rely on user-friendly online registration platforms, allowing simple sign-up and easy tracking and management throughout the registration process. It can be tempting to rely on email RSVPs, but this is a surefire way to inundate your inbox and lose track of who has replied and how.

If you do need to email information to attendees, try grouping them by region or location so that you can send personalised emails with relevant details.

Professional tip: You may want to consider creating a microsite just for the event. This will give your guests a single point of reference when it comes to event details. On this site, you can upload FAQs and other key information to save you replying to individual questions.

Tech and production

When you’ve chosen your venue, you’ll have a better idea of what tech you’ll have access to and what you may want to add. Make sure you carefully consider your needs for audio-visual equipment, staging and lighting so that you can achieve your vision.

Corporate summer party

Depending on your theme, you may also need outdoor lighting and music, a PA system, or screens to showcase a presentation.

Read more: Learn about using tech to enhance your corporate event.

Sourcing suppliers

A corporate party planning checklist would not be complete without mention of suppliers. Running an event of this size can’t be done alone, so you will need to find reliable and professional partners, such as caterers, bar staff and entertainers, to help you.

To trim your workload, you may also want to get the assistance of a professional events company.

At MGN events, we can source (and give recommendations) for other partners we trust. We can also negotiate rates on your behalf, check supplier availability, set up payments, and manage them in the run-up to the event, as well as the day itself. By moving payments and communications to a hardworking partner like us, you can clear a lot of stress from your plate, allowing you to focus on other things demanding your attention.

Professional tip: Hosting a corporate summer party at the nicest time of year may mean that your preferred suppliers are busy. Choose wisely, hold detailed initial briefings to get key information upfront and ensure that costs meet your expectations. You should also check how long each supplier will need to set up, what their payment terms are, and what venue facilities are needed.

Event execution

Management on the day

Set the groundwork for a smooth day by making sure you have enough people to support you during the event. Gather a team together and assign them clear roles to take ownership of. Try not to give each team member too many additional responsibilities, as this could cause problems during the event if their attention is split across multiple directions and responsibilities.

You can also help to avoid last-minute stress by preempting potential hiccups with a strong contingency plan.

This means you need to map out what you’ll do if the weather changes (too wet, too cold or even too hot!), what happens if you run out of food and drink, and how you can work around missing entertainment. You should also consider what to do if there are equipment failures.

Health & safety

Accidents sometimes happen. This means that you need to ensure your guests are kept safe and healthy. A thorough risk assessment should be carried out beforehand so that you can reduce or remove any risks that could escalate on the big day.

Check that you have an adequate number of first aiders available and that you have plenty of first aid kits on site too. These should be placed strategically so that they can be easily accessed. Fire escape routes and assembly points should also be confirmed.

Event Security

You should consider the security of the event too. Invitations can help to prevent unauthorised people from gaining entry to your event, but depending on the size and location of your corporate summer party, you may want to use additional forms of security.

Venues of events with a capacity of 100 to 799 people will fall under the ‘standard’ tier of the new Martyn’s Law too, which means that certain measures must be taken to reduce the risk of terrorist attack.

Creating unforgettable corporate summer parties

Planning and managing a corporate summer party can be daunting, but armed with this comprehensive guide, you’re well on your way to organising an event that will leave a lasting impression.

Remember, the key to success lies in knowing your audience, designing your event around a central theme and keeping your objectives in mind.

Consider the professionals

Although this guide will equip you with the key information you need to run a successful corporate summer party, it remains a long and complicated process.

Before you begin to plan your large-scale event, consider partnering with a professional events company. Regardless of your experience, we know that event planning is challenging, time-consuming and stressful, especially when you’re stretched for time and internal resources. This can make the task overwhelming; none more so than when you have multiple suppliers calling you to chase payments and run through timetables. It can soon build up!

A professional company will work as an extension of your team, providing you with much-needed experience, knowledge and resources. From conceptualisation to the day itself, professionals can ease the burden. This allows you to be a guest, be present with your guests and enjoy yourself. After all, you’re a part of the team too!

Discuss your corporate summer party with us

At MGN events, we can provide comprehensive end-to-end event planning and management. From finding the perfect venue, designing a great experience and helping with delegate management, we can provide the support you need to ensure your event is a success.

Discover how we can help you with your corporate summer party today. You can get in touch with one of our experienced team members by filling in the contact form below, emailing hello@mgnevents.co.uk or giving us a call on 01932 223333.


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