How to plan the perfect summer party
What’s not to like about spending a summer evening sipping cocktails, eating mini sliders and taking in the sunshine at a party in the heart of London?
The gardens at 116 Pall Mall will be hosting clients and events this summer. Through our experience we appreciate that finding the perfect venue to match the occasion can be the difference between an evening to remember and one you’d prefer to forget.
So, we spoke to event planner Rebecca Kobus to offer some essential advice, as well valuable hints and tips that will help you to host the perfect summer party…
1. Avoid clashing with a major event
“There was one event that I remember from last summer, and it was during the World Cup. Our guests were all from the United States, so the World Cup didn’t matter to them. But the waitstaff were Portuguese.
At one point we started saying, ‘where is all the staff and why is the service slow?’ Then we realised Portugal were playing a big match that night and they wanted to watch the game!
That is definitely something to think about when you’re planning a summer party, as it can also have a knock-on effect on how many people attend.
But also you need to consider about what else might be happening in your vicinity. Will there be another occasion that means the traffic will be bad, such as a parade, a protest march or a festival?
I recently worked on an event at 116 Pall Mall and there was a march happening on the same day. It wasn’t an issue for us or our guests, but we suddenly noticed it got very busy on the streets.
2. Make it memorable
Summer parties are often held by companies for their employees and clients. So, you want to come up with something more than just having a few drinks after work or a meeting.
Think about whether you want a theme or book a space that will create a talking point. For example, 116 has got that amazing garden in a great, central location. You’re virtually in-between Trafalgar Square and The Mall.
Maybe you can add some little touches. If it’s a British Summer theme, you can buy Union Jack bow ties for the waiters very cheaply online. Or you can include a speciality drink or a fun summer cocktail.
Rebecca K Events planned a summer party at the Design Museum to celebrate the opening of a Ferrari exhibition. We wanted it to be festive evening honouring the history of the Ferrari Company and family. We added a little party attire to the handsome waitstaff with red bow ties and braces, while they served Bianco Negronis and glasses of Prosecco throughout the evening.
We had a sketch of Mr. Ferrari himself printed in gold foil on cocktail stirrers and the napkins had racing quotes along with black and white images from the client’s archives.
Those little touches created a great conversation piece and some guests even saved them as souvenirs!
Food and drink
If it’s going to be a drinks and canapés reception, make sure you have enough to go round. It may sound really obvious, but don’t spend a load of money on an elaborate flower display, if it means the only food you’re going to be serving are crisps and peanuts.
Also have a variety of drinks. Bear in mind that there will be people attending who are teetotal, or you may have women coming along who are pregnant. Have non-alcoholic options because people will expect them.
Sometimes clients will say ‘ooh, let’s have the guests go home with a goody bag.’ But, personally, I would put that at the bottom of the list. If you have some money left over on your budget, perhaps you can get your guests to have their photos to take on a fun backdrop and add a hashtag. Therefore, when people post their pictures online, it will give everyone a memory of the evening and something to talk about afterwards.
Silence is Not Golden
Again, it may seem obvious but make sure everyone is ready when people arrive. You don’t want people spending a lot of time waiting for name tags or queueing up for a cloakroom or the drinks aren’t ready. All of those things can have a knock on effect for the rest of the evening.
You also need to consider the music as well. Nobody wants to arrive to an empty room with no background music.
Last Impressions Count
When people leave, make sure you have number for taxis. Also, it’s worth checking if there is an issue with public transport. It’s good to be able to advise your guests of alternative travel options when they leave. An essential element of any party is the quality of the service.
Don’t Forget the Great British Weather
You might find this amazing outdoor space but you need to have a back-up plan to ensure your guests stay dry. So if you’re going to have it outside, also book some space inside. At 116 Pall Mall, you can hire the Carlton Room which opens out onto the terrace and garden meaning if it does rain, there is shelter! 116 have just launched a new summer party BBQ package which includes hire of both the Carlton Room and garden - take a look here.
Key sporting dates to look out for this summer:
1 June – Football, Champions League Final
6 June – Football, Nations League Semi-Final - England v Holland
9 June – Football, Nations League Final
7 July – Football, FIFA Women’s World Cup Final
13 & 14 July – Tennis, Wimbledon Women’s & Men’s Final
Key events happening in Central London this summer:
23 & 24 June – West End Live, Trafalgar Square
6 July – Pride Festival
3 & 4 August – Prudential Ride London
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Summer parties at 116 Pall Mall
Make the most of our oasis of calm in the heart of London and host your summer party at 116 Pall Mall. With canapés, a drinks reception and a BBQ, you can enjoy the sun in lush green surroundings - a rarity in central London.