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Planning for Summer Events Starts Now

Outdoor events are a cost-effective way to host a large group. Add in some blue skies and delicious barbequed goodies and you have a guaranteed all-ages crowd-pleaser. But, if you are planning on hosting a corporate event this summer, it’s already time to finalize your preparations. Here’s what you need to know:

First of all, you need two plans. One for sun and one for rain. Your rain plan will probably include tents, so set them up before you need them. If it stays sunny, they will be used for shade. If it does start to rain, you don’t want inexperienced volunteers putting up tents in a downpour, long after staging crews have gone home

For Bright Ideas’ produced events we always make sure there’s also an entertainment option for bad weather as well. At one corporate picnic, high winds and heavy rain put a damper on our Mini-Olympics. Luckily, we had planned ahead, bringing classic board games, arts and craft supplies, and a white board to play Pictionary. This pre-planning was invaluable, turning what could have been a dreary experience into a fun afternoon reminiscent of those rainy childhood days at summer camp.

Watching the Waste and Choosing a Location

Waste disposal is also a factor that needs additional attention for outdoor events. Make sure to pack in what you pack out, rather than filling up waste receptacles at a public park or beach. You should also check the regulations for your chosen venue against your planned activities, menu, and décor choices. For example some things are not permitted in Metro Vancouver’s regional parks, (smoking, alcohol, balloon decor). It’s crucial to know ahead of time what restrictions might impact your event.

For convenience, it makes a lot of sense to offer a shuttle bus to the outdoor venue. Typically we will advise clients to provide a shuttle from the workplace (where most employees will already have a parking arrangement) to the event location. Another option, when your employees are predominantly from one region in Metro Vancouver, is to find a venue that’s easy to access by the greatest number of people. Also, if you are inviting guests who aren’t employees or family, or have staff coming from multiple locations, this second approach is probably best.

So, outdoor events do have limitations and considerations you need to keep in mind. But they also offer a wide variety of theme options and entertainment activities for your guests. And, as a way to create a family-friendly event, it’s hard to beat the fun that results when you ‘take it outside’.

Feeling Groovy BBQ

Our client wanted their annual company picnic for family, friends, and top clients to be a 1960s interactive theme at the beach. We delivered with a far-out trip down Memory Lane we called the “Feeling Groovy BBQ”. Highlights included Flower Power Cake Pops, the many hippie guest giveaways, and our Austin Powers look-alike MC. Together with the colorful guest-costumes, the 1960’s music, and the fun activities, this event was a huge hit for everybody as they relived their hippie days.

Swinging Speakeasy
Jazz and gin. Mobsters and molls. Icons of a time known as the Roaring Twenties. We created a gala event centered on a Roaring Twenties and Speakeasy theme. The result captured the spirit of the age, delivered a unique twist to the festivities, and left our client and their guests raving about the experience. It took plenty of planning and there was no room for error, but thanks to our skill and expertise, we were able to deliver 4 outstanding events in 3 days, in a single location.

Snowflake Soiree
Few things are so clean, crisp, and beautiful as light snowfall on sunny winter day. For our Winter Wonderland staff party, we recreated the magic childhood memories of a Canadian winter with our Snowflake Soiree. Bright Ideas transformed a community cenre with large scale snowflakes suspended in mid-air, beautiful stylized ice and snow centerpieces, elegant lighting, and feature décor. Every element of this event contributed to the illusion of a fantastic winter wonderland.

Ask an Event Planner

Sharon Bonner, Bright Ideas Event Coordinators President and CEO

What makes a successful outdoor event?

Outdoor events can be unpredictable, so good logistical planning is the key ingredient. Think about flow from arrival to the end of the event. Have an interesting agenda with a balance of active and passive entertainment options. It makes sense to have an agenda board somewhere central, so people know what’s going on, and a professional MC can help keep things on schedule.

One thing that we have discovered over the years is that people will turn around and go home if parking is a big issue, so choose your venue accordingly, or arrange for a shuttle bus service. Perhaps the most important factor however, are there washrooms nearby? You don’t want dirty facilities and bursting bladders to be the memories you send home with guests.

How can I protect my event space in public?

In the Metro Vancouver region, new rules mean it’s no longer possible to fence off areas of our regional parks for private events. There are similar regulations in other jurisdictions as well. That makes it a bit tougher to keep out the party crashers, but there are subtle ways to create a private compound in a public space.

We use décor and activity features such as company banners, a bouncy castle or mini-golf course to create boundaries around the central party area.

We will also have our guests check in when they arrive. That way we can give them a wristband. It’s an easy way to identify invited guests and keep the gate crashers out of the food line-up.

When is the best time to hold outdoor events?

Naturally the weekend should be your first pick for events such as company picnics where families are also invited. Sunday afternoons are typically the one time of the week that many people keep free for relaxing or socializing, so it can be a good time to schedule your event. But for strictly corporate affairs, a weekday with an extended lunch break is great for on-premise events.

If your plans involve going off-site, hire a shuttle bus, or choose an afternoon event that runs until the end of the day. This minimizes the amount of driving your guests/staff will have to do.

Another consideration is summer holidays. Scheduling family-friendly events before school lets out is best. But if you can’t find a suitable date, make sure to avoid summer long weekends, or your event could look like a ghost town.

Staff Pick of the Month – Uta Groeber

Uta Groeber

The best event for me was the “Snowflake Soiree”. I really loved the concept of this event.

On the one hand there was amazing décor with ice-blue linens and ice sculptures on the tables, Christmas trees, and giant foam snowflake hung from the ceiling.

On the other hand the entertainment and service was great! Not only was there a delicious buffet, but also two emcees dressed up as Jack Frost.  How cool is that?  We also had a magician, caricaturist, oxygen bar and an impressive band.

The Snowflake Soiree was noticeable for everyone, especially those standing under the snowmaking machine. Fortunately the snow was not cold! For me this event was one of the best Christmas parties I ever participated in because it was so traditional and authentic.

Missed an Issue of the Bright Ideas Newsletter?

Catch up on all past issues from our newsletter archive on the Bright Ideas website. If you are tasked with planning or sourcing a supplier for your company’s special events, these back issues are a treasure trove of information you can use to create an effective request for proposal.

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Planning for Summer Event Starts Now

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