Top tips for arranging outdoor summer events

Effective Business Events Blog   •  21st June 2019

ebe blog summer events - Top Tips For Arranging Outdoor Summer Events

What types of activities can I arrange?

It all depends upon what type of event you wish to have – do you want a competitive team building day, or just a chance to let people unwind and enjoy themselves?

Riverside venues offer a range of water activities such as dragon boat racing, raft building and sailing with space on the riverbanks for activities.

“It’s a Knockout” provide hours of fun-filled activities based on the hit UK TV show. Colourful inflatable obstacle courses, silly costumes, bubbles, foam and water all add to create a thrilling and competitive atmosphere! You could even have a famous commentator such a sporting or even the Big Brother narrator to provide a voiceover!

If you want to use your brain, then CSI style murder mystery and kidnap events, Crystal Maze, spy games, treasure and scavenger hunts with iPads stretch the brain, or you can working together to break Guinness world records and take an achievement back to the office. Retro school sports days, “I’m a Celebrity get me out of here” type challenges, giant Monopoly, Scalextric races, motorised activities, duck herding, archery, go kart racing and medieval days also provide fun entertainment for several hours.

For a more laid-back day, how about a fairground or festival? A stage with live musical entertainment can play with a range of fairground rides and stalls, test your strength, win a teddy, arcade games plus stalls offering face massages, glitter and temporary tattoos. A festival survival pack can be given to each guest with essentials such as sun cream, lip gloss, a poncho, a branded bottle to fill with water, sunglasses….it also gives the chance to give away branded gifts.

Can I have a theme for my event?

Once you have decided on the type of event you would like, it’s time to think of your theme. For example, if you are thinking of a British theme then Union Jack bunting, flags, blankets and cushions provide a great background with deck chairs to laze in the sun. Iconic Mini Cooper with Union Jack painted exterior or London Black Taxi’s are available to hire as photo booths for events, celebrity appearances or lookalikes of the Royal Family, popstars and TV stars can mill around and talk to your guests. You could play croquet on the lawn and other garden games, hire a fish and chip van for lunch, served Pimm’s with fruit from a tricycle cart, hire a strawberries and cream cart or traditional ice cream bicycle for a more vintage look.

If you wanted a beach or Caribbean theme, then hiring an island in the middle of a river or the ocean provides a perfect “castaway” location with colourful flags along the waters edge. Your guests can arrive by boat, be greeted with Hawaiian necklaces, wear their best Hawaiian shirts and drink coconut cocktails while a steel band plays in the background and inflatable beach volleyball and surf rodeo entertain your guests along with hula hoop competitions… There may even be the opportunity for some sandcastle competitions!

What type of Catering can I arrange outdoors?

BBQ’s are always popular at outside events and if the weather is bad, the food can be transported into the function room or marquee. BBQ’s are no longer just sausages and burgers – a range of fish, ribs, kebabs, pulled pork, pork loins and salads offer a range of choice for everyone – just make sure the vegetarians and vegans also have a great selection!

Depending on your numbers, offering street market stalls give guests a great variation of food including paella, fish and chips, jerk chicken, pie and mash, seafood and squid, Columbian food, pizzas, luxury burgers, jacket potatoes…they are all self-contained and there really is something for everyone!

No doubt your guests will want a nice cool drink and there are a variety of options. You could install a bar within a marquee but with such a great offering of alternatives it’s more fun to pick something more novel! A converted VW camper van can provide a fun cocktail bar, a Pimm’s area with fresh fruit and picket fencing, a large red vintage double decker bus or a giant bottle of Prosecco bar can provide other attractive yet functional bars.

Ice cream vans are always a welcome addition in the middle of the afternoon when they arrive with their music playing loudly! Candy floss, slush, popcorn and pick n mix stands are also always popular at these events and provide branding opportunities if required.

How do you plan for bad weather?

Of course, everyone hopes the day of their event will be bright sun with no rain, but this is the one thing we can’t control! All we can do is make a “plan B” in case of bad weather!

Most venues that hire outside space for events also have an indoor area which can be hired in the case of rain. If there is no such area adjacent to the event space, we recommend hiring a basic marquee which can accommodate a bar, tables and chairs and be used as either a rain or sun shelter depending upon the weather – it doesn’t need carpets, drapes or chandeliers!

Select some activities which can take place either inside or outside such as masseurs offering head and/or back massages and nail treatments, garden games, table football and table tennis. Using a corner of the marquee or a separate Capri marquee or gazebo for treatments with cushions and blankets also creates a chill-out area no matter what the weather!

Providing ponchos and umbrellas is a good idea if you do need to be outside for any length of time. A burning hot day to some people can be as bad as a washout, so arrange a sun cream station with a range of brands and factors of sun lotion if it’s a scorcher– you don’t want all your staff going down with sun stroke! And make sure there is a water station where your guests can refill their water at any time (and save on those plastic bottles!)

We have many years’ experience arranging and holding summer events throughout the UK with a vast knowledge of outdoor event spaces. If you would like some inspiration for your next event, then please get in touch!

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