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On a sunny summer afternoon in Vancouver, 200 guests gathered at a venue by the beach to get transported back to the 1950s. Every year our client hosts an annual themed corporate summer event that encourages mingling and socializing. This year they wanted an interactive, fun, and appealing theme for adults and their children. As a result, the company’s summer BBQ included theme-related and engaging activities, entertainment & food. 

The planning for this event included a “Save The Date” Invitation sent far in advance to inform guests of the theme & date and encourage dressing up in 1950’s costumes. The costume contest was heavily promoted; to our surprise, almost 75% of the guests participated. Approximately six weeks before the event, we mailed an official invitation, printed on a ’45 record with more event details such as event timing, parking options, contests and more. 

Registration was a vital station to set the tone for the entire event. When guests approached the registration tent, they immediately felt the ambiance and theme of being at a 1950’s Rock N Roll event. The band played rock n roll songs in the background while guests were greeted by female staff dressed in poodle skirt costumes with rhinestone sunglasses and the male team in classic jeans with white T-Shirts and cigarettes in the sleeves. 


We chose a décor colour scheme of bubble gum pink, with black, white and red. All signs were created in bubble gum pink with black diner font. Tablecloths were alternated with white or black on the bottom, covered by either pink or a customized tablecloth illustrating joining images of records. We inflated a 4.5-foot-long Guitar and a 4-foot-tall Jukebox to use as a table centrepiece under our dining tent. From the tent’s ceiling, we created a mobile of black musical notes and 45 records which was a nice compliment to all the colours on the tables.

Under the performance tent, we installed a black and white checkered dance floor and decorated the stage with customized pink signage that lit up behind the band. Flanking each side of the stage, we erected 1950 car flats on an upright and finished off the vignette with a 4′ record to cover the stand.

We approached an Antique Car Club and had four 1950’s antique car owners attend and show off their cars. They were so excited about our event theme that they offered to come for free!


Activities were very important to this client, as they wanted to keep the young and old guests busy and entertained. Therefore, some of the events that we offered the guests were: 

Sunglasses Decorating

 Colorful jewels, beads, gems, mini pom-poms & glitter-adorned a variety of eyeglasses. Most popular with the ladies were the Cat Eye Glasses and the men the Elvis Glasses.

Scarf Decorating

Black and pink poodle badges were ironed onto chiffon scarves. Guests loved that they could iron on the badge themselves 

Yo-Yo Decorating

This activity was popular with all ages, especially the boys. The guys were serious about the Yo-Yo contest, so they didn’t add too many decorations

Silly Putty

This activity was popular with the children, who were amazed to discover that Silly Putty was such an old invention!

In addition to activities, we wanted to host themed contests to draw in the guests’ engagement. Some of the contests that we promoted were: 

Hula Hoop Contest

Men and women alike loved this contest. We were surprised at how good the females were. 

Yo-Yo Contest

After the guests had decorated their Yo-Yo’s, they were encouraged to practice for the big Yo-Yo competition. We had quite a few males that did terrific tricks.

Costume Contest

Because over 75% of guests were dressed in costumes, the costume contest was by far the most well attended activity. We awarded prizes for Best Female, Best Male and Best Children. Each winner received a customized 1950s candy Box filled with items like Candy Cigarettes, Bazooka Gum, Tootsie Pops & Boston Baked Beans


All of our entertainment was theme-related and interactive. An Elvis impersonator performed his classic hits on the stage for 30 minutes and then stayed for an hour to pose with guests by the Antique 1950’s cars. Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday” to two guests celebrating birthdays. The rock n’ roll band assisted in various contests, adding to the ambience. A popular activity station was a live Interactive Video Recording Booth where guests could record their rendition of “Heartbreak Hotel” and immediately email it to all of their friends and post it on Twitter or their Facebook page. 

Event Summary

The event objective of having an engaging corporate summer event was achieved through creative décor, activity and entertainment plans. Many guests commented that having guests in costumes encouraged conversation. Guests left with 1950’s souvenirs, photos with Marilyn, Elvis and 1950s Cars, and personalized Cat Eye Glasses and Chiffon Scarves. 

We loved the opportunity to help plan this themed corporate summer party for our client and think that the event was a total success, having achieved its event objective. This is just one of many themed office summer events we have helped plan over our 30 years of experience. We would love to chat with you about the other corporate summer events ideas that we have to offer in a 30-minute free consultation call. Head over to our website to fill out a quote form. 

You might also enjoy reading the following:

Tips For Planning Your Office Summer Party

10 Award Winning Event Themes

Unique Catering Ideas

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