20 Company Picnic Ideas: A Simple (But Complete) Planning Guide

employees enjoying company picnic on checkered tableclothsA corporate picnic can be an employee event that staff members want to attend—and should be if you use these ideas for planning your next company picnic.

Set goals and a theme

Every company picnic should be planned with goals and a theme. The first step is to set measurable goals that can be used during planning and for evaluation after the event. During this process, the demographic of the target audience should be determined. The audience demograhic is the key to selecting the venue, such as a more formal venue for a formal event or a family-friendly site for an employee plus family company picnic. The exact nature of the target audience is also used to set a company picnic menu and select event entertainment.

Other key details should be set in stone during the initial planning process, such as the budget and an estimated guest list. The budget and guest list play a significant role in choosing the date and venue. Some venues are available for discounted rates during off-season or off-peak days, which can help a company picnic planner stay within budget.

Brainstorm company picnic ideas

This step can occur before or after confirming the venue.

  1. For a company anniversary, hold a picnic that is themed back to the same era as the start of the company.
  2. Boost attendance by sending out “sneak peaks” to employees.
  3. Make a family company picnic entrance welcoming and fun with balloon twisters.
  4. Use show girls to set the stage for a formal employee event, such as a Mardi Gras or casino-themed company picnic.
  5. Hire a caricature artist for a neat company picnic party favor that guests can take home.
  6. Use an entertainer to serve fun refreshments, such as retro-costumed waitress at a 50s-themed company picnic.
  7. Hire children’s entertainers for a special kids area at the company picnic.
  8. Serve guests’ favorite drinks with a flair, such as by hiring a champagne girl to circulate and serve.
  9. For a casual picnic theme, put out yard games and contests that families can enjoy.
  10. Use entertainers to reinforce a company picnic theme in an event venue that doesn’t allow a lot of décor.
  11. Hire an excellent face painter that employees’ kids will flock to.
  12. Surprise employees with a celebrity impersonator during the main stage show.
  13. Roll out the red carpet (literally) for a formal adults-only company picnic.
  14. Choose company picnic menu items that fits with the event theme, such as peanuts and cotton candy for a circus company picnic theme.
  15. Make a company picnic feel like a destination with Caribbean entertainers and refreshments.
  16. Plan an Around the World theme with tasting stations with favorites from all over the world.
  17. Set up a unique photo opportunity for guests with a fun-themed backdrop and entertainer to pose with.
  18. Choose a main stage company picnic act that makes a big impression on guests and reinforces the picnic theme.
  19. When hiring a band, select a band with the right amount of entertainers for the venue space (or contact an entertainment agent to choose the right company picnic band).
  20. A nautical-themed company picnic can be a fun way to celebrate the beauty of Chicago’s lakefront.

Confirm the venue

A company picnic venue is the foundation of all other details. Some companies hold their event on-site every year, while other companies hold employee events at local venues. On-site employee events require more décor that fits with the theme.

Off-site company picnic venues present a unique opportunity to choose a company picnic venue that reinforces the event theme. For example, a jazz club is the perfect site of a formal Roaring 20s event suited for a formal adult guest list. Family company picnics can be held at a park, recreational venue, zoo, fairgrounds, aquarium, or aquatics facility. Choosing a company picnic venue is based upon: date availability, budget, capacity, location (convenient for target demographic), amenities (i.e. catering space, technological capabilities, etc.), and theme.

Choose vendors

Selecting a vendor for a company picnic is all about checking off boxes. The right vendors are available on the event date, can meet the needs of the picnic (and theme), and provide services within the event budget. Typically, the vendors needed for a company picnic include: caterer, décor company, equipment rental (unless provided by the venue), event staffing (if additional staff is needed), and entertainment agent. The entertainment agent selects the right entertainment that suits the theme and budget and coordinates every detail of event entertainment; contact an experienced entertainment agent with an extensive amount of experience to ensure a stellar company picnic experience for every guest.

Execute and evaluate

The execution of the company picnic should be closely followed by a full evaluation (after feedback is collected from the guest list). The evaluation should include a review of what went well and what could have been improved. Future company picnic ideas, both suggested by guests and event planners, should be recorded for future employee events.

20+ Wedding Cocktail Hour Musician Ideas

acoustic artists for wedding cocktail music hourWedding cocktail hour musicians are a beautiful addition to any wedding entertainment line-up. The right wedding cocktail hour musician doesn’t have to fit the traditional vision of soft music, though it certainly can be if you’re planning an elegant or traditional wedding reception.

Fortunately, Chicago is full of wedding cocktail hour musicians that enhance the wedding cocktail hour and take wedding music to a whole new level. As you find and hire wedding cocktail hour musicians, be careful about hiring amateur musicians with little or no experience. In the same way, a wedding cocktail hour musician is no good if they don’t show up. If you’re worried about both of these issues, contact an entertainment agent to select the right musicians for your big day.

The perfect wedding cocktail hour musicians check off boxes in experience, quality, reliability, and the capability to fit with the desired wedding atmosphere. Modern wedding cocktail hour musicians fit with a contemporary wedding theme. Period entertainers reinforce a Great Gatsby or throwback affair. Traditional cocktail hour musicians complete an elegant wedding reception and coordinate with every other detail of your special day.

Wedding Cocktail Hour Musician Ideas

  1. Acoustic Performers
  2. Jazz Quartet or Band
  3. String Quartet
  4. Pianist
  5. Piano & Vocal Duo
  6. Dueling Pianos
  7. Jazz Vocalist
  8. Orchestra
  9. Blues Band
  10. Mariachi Band
  11. Steel Drum Band
  12. Violin Show
  13. Brass Band
  14. Guitarist
  15. Guitarist & Vocal
  16. Country Band
  17. Throwback Celebrity Impersonator (perfect for period weddings)
  18. Rock Star Impersonators
  19. Reggae Band
  20. Cover Band
  21. R&B Band
  22. Swing Band
  23. Cellists
  24. Tropical Band

Chicago Children’s Entertainment Ideas

child with butterfly face painting from professional face painterNo Chicago family event is complete without children’s entertainment. These entertainers can bring smiles to the youngest guests at grand openings, birthday parties, company picnics, and holiday parties. These children entertainers are also a good fit for weddings, especially for receptions with a child-friendly room.

Magicians

Magicians are a fantastic way to amaze kids and keep them entertained through the event. Quality magicians can customize their acts to any event, making it possible to deliver a performance that fits with the event atmosphere.

Balloon artists

This timeless children’s entertainment is a great addition to a grand opening, company picnic, festival, or holiday party line-up. Balloon sculptures can also be a great event favor that guests appreciate—and a great way to play up the event atmosphere. Quality balloon artists can bring smiles to young faces, form sculptures that fit with the event theme, and serve as an attention-grabber that draws children and their parents.

Jugglers

balloon sculptures at grand opening chicago ilNothing catches the eye—or the eyes of children—like a smiling juggler. Jugglers can provide an interactive form of entertainment that draws in children and keeps them entertained. To choose the best juggler for the event, contact a local entertainment professional who can coordinate and juggle the details.

Face Painters

Guests have higher expectations for face painting than ever before. Professional face painters are an integral part of creating a polished event image and creating an event atmosphere. Quality face painters can offer images related to an event theme.

Musicians

Children’s musicians are fun way to entertain children, especially young children. The best musicians can customize their act to the event and keep the children entertained as long as needed. Children’s musicians can also be a great way to draw attention to a particular attraction or event.

Holiday Entertainers

holiday gingerbread man for corporate christmas partiesThere are several holiday entertainers perfect for Chicago holiday events. Father Christmases and carolers are obvious choices for holiday children’s entertainment. Other fun children’s entertainers are holiday characters, such as toy soldiers, the Grinch, and elves. Contact a entertainment agent for holiday children’s entertainers that fit with the event atmosphere.

Tips for Finding the Best Chicago Wedding Ceremony Musicians

wedding ceremony site needing wedding musiciansCouples shouldn’t have to settle for wedding ceremony music that’s any less than the wedding reception entertainment. And you won’t have to, if you use these tips for finding and hiring the right wedding ceremony musicians for your big day.

Consider the acoustics and size of the venue.

Before hiring any wedding ceremony musicians, the first step of the process is to consider the wedding atmosphere, type of music, and amount of musicians that fit with the wedding venue. A small duet may have issues with volume in an open-air outdoor venue, whereas a quartet may seem overwhelming in a small indoor ceremony venue.

In addition to the venue, consider the desired wedding atmosphere when choosing wedding ceremony musicians. The right wedding ceremony musician contributes to the wedding theme. A ceremony musician with a Carribean sound is the perfect fit for a beach wedding. A violinist or harpist reinforces the atmosphere of an upscale wedding. A guitarist sets the stage for a contemporary or modern wedding atmosphere.

Set the wedding ceremony program.

The best wedding ceremony musicians for your big day are a perfect match for your wedding ceremony program. Every wedding ceremony program is different, but a traditional program general consists of:

  • Prelude music is soft, background music played as guests enter and are seated.
  • As the wedding party enters, there are two songs played during the processional. The second processional song is a more exuberant song signifying the bride’s entrance and walk down the aisle.
  • Select ceremony music played during special moments, such as during the lighting of a unity candle.
  • During the recessional, a louder song is played as the bride and groom exits followed by softer music as the guests leave.

When finding and hiring wedding ceremony musicians, ask them if they experience playing in wedding ceremonies and, specifically, your chosen wedding ceremony music. (This list of songs for a wedding ceremony can give you a head start on selecting the right songs for the program.) Don’t settle for amateur musicians with no experience with wedding ceremony music.

To ensure that there are adequate musicians for the ceremony and cocktail, ask wedding ceremony musicians if they have a minimum amount of time required for a booking. If you want to skip these steps (finding, hiring, and coordinating wedding ceremony music), contact a professional entertainment agent to find, hire, and coordinate wedding ceremony music.

Know venue restrictions for wedding ceremony music in advance.

Some venues have restrictions on music volume or specific songs. Talk to the coordinator at your ceremony venue, or discuss any limitations with your officiant.  Some venues or ceremony sites do not allow amplifiers or restrict the wedding ceremony songs included in the ceremony program. If your service is in a church, synagogue, or temple, ask about hymns or traditional religious music that is played at weddings.

Best Chicago Wedding Bands

A low shot of the dance floor with a crowd dancing at an event under the colorful lightsThe Windy City is full of quality wedding bands, many of which can fit the term “awesome.” Hiring the right band for your Chicago wedding is like finding the “one.” The trick (though it doesn’t have to be) is to narrow down the options to the right band that fits the wedding atmosphere.

Hiring a Wedding Band

The process for hiring a wedding band doesn’t have to be a long one; the simplest way to find and hire a wedding band is to use a professional entertainment agent. An experienced entertainment agent manages the entire process, from selecting quality musicians and band that fits the desired wedding atmosphere to coordinating every entertainment detail.

No matter what avenue you decide to take, the top tip for couples is to not wait too long to choose the wedding band. The top Chicago wedding bands’ calendars fill up fast. Use a wedding checklist and a prompt contact to ensure that you get the best wedding band.

When selecting the best, don’t make the mistake of believing that price determines which band is best for your wedding. While the wedding budget always plays a part in the decision, amateur wedding musicians and bands can cost you a memorable and quality night. Always consider more than just cost when hiring a wedding entertainer. There are other factors that should play a role in choosing the right wedding band, such as the experience of wedding entertainer, size of the venue and group, and, finally, the contract details.

Chicago Wedding Band Ideas

These Chicago wedding bands are only a few of the quality bands available for wedding receptions.

Jazz Band-Petra and the Recession 7 Band

chicago jazz band for weddings

Are you looking for a fabulous jazz duo for your corporate event in Chicago? Petra can perform as a duo, trio, quartet and all they way to her Recession 7 Band.

Variety Band-Endless Summer Band

ESB will select the ideal blend of music from their huge song list to insure that the dance floor stays full all night, and they will take requests!

Country Band-Pamela Rose and Windy City Country

country band for chicago weddings

The members of Windy City Country are all full-time musicians with loads of energy and talent who love country music – and it really shows!

Dance Band-BBI

Are you looking for a perfect dance band for your Chicago festival or corporate party – Then, check out BBI.

Period Band-Swingtime Orchestra

orchestra for chicago weddings

Our full brass orchestration and harmonizing vocalists will keep your crowd hopping, jumping, jiving, jitterbugging, swinging, and zoot suiting all night long. Ready to cut a rug? Big Daddio, we can make the scene, ride the A-train, and croon any Big Band tune from the 40’s and 50’s. But we promise never to sit under the apple tree with anyone else.

Latin Band-Mambo All-Stars

latin music for chicago wedding

The Mambo All-Stars is an energetic dynamic band which plays salsa, merengue, cumbia, cha-cha, and boleros, a complete variety of all the Latin dance rhythms.

12 Out-of-the-Box Chicago Wedding Entertainment Ideas

red carpet entertainer with guests at masquerade themed charity galaIf “extraordinary” and “unique” are the words you want to hear about your wedding entertainment, these ideas for themed wedding entertainers are for you. You know what we’re talking about: creative entertainers that amaze, unusual entertainment that fit with a one-of-the-kind wedding theme, or an entertaining act that makes guests feel like the ultimate night out in the Windy City.

Steel Drums

Transport your guests to the beach with tropical wedding entertainment. Think of it as a destination wedding at home. Your guests’ll love the signature tropical drinks, delicious tropical dishes, and sounds of a Caribbean island (especially on a cold Chicago day!).

aerialist at event hanging from ceiling

Aerialists

Take your wedding to new heights with aerialists—either for entertainment or for one of the most unique drink servers your guests have ever seen. Aerialists can be an extraordinary addition to an formal wedding or a whimsical touch to an upscale carnival themed wedding.

Performance Art

“Unexpected” is just one of the words your guests’ll be using as they are entertained by a unique performance art act. Contact an entertainment agent to select the right act compatible with the desired wedding atmosphere.

Magician

Bring the magic of you are as a couple to life with this unusual wedding entertainment. Contact an experienced pro who can select the right magician that can customize their act. To up the ante, ask your entertainment agent to coordinate the act into a surprising part of the wedding reception program.

Carnival Performers

Make your wedding more than just another event. Bring on the show! Plan a spectacular wedding with a fabulous dance troupe and a glamorous flare.

wedding entertainers

Artists

Art is a fantastic wedding entertainment that can entertain wedding guests of all ages. Face painters are a terrific way to entertain children (and some adults too). Caricature artists give guests an unexpected memory from a fun evening. A wedding painter can capture the wonder of a wedding and provide a wonderful painting for the future.

Tropical Bands

Heat up your wedding reception with a mariachi or reggae band. Your guests’ll appreciate the exceptional sounds, and bask in the feel of a tropical wedding atmosphere.

mardi gras entertainer with pink and purple dress and drink servers on the skirt

Champagne Girl

Champagne girls are an awesome and unexpected detail that has a BIG impact on guests. Guests’ll enjoy the entertaining aspect and uniqueness of the service. (Hopefully they’ll also enjoy the drink served, if you choose carefully!)

Jazz Band

Nothing completes a vintage wedding or jazz lounge atmosphere like jazz entertainment. And like this one-of-a-kind entertainment choice, a professional entertainment pro can help you choose the right act for your big day.

Celebrities

A celebrity can be just the entertainer than can spice up a wedding reception, but we don’t all have the budget to fly in our fave. However, your wedding reception can still feel like a Hollywood ball with visits by top look a-likes that can make everyone feel like they are in the presence of greatness.

great gatsby entertainers

Period Entertainers

Nothing takes a guest back to the period of a vintage wedding like a group of entertainers dressed in the styles of the 1920’s, 1930’s, 1950’s—really any period. Period entertainers can mingle, perform acts, or do anything that makes a wedding feel authentic. To connect with the right entertainers, contact an entertainment agent that is familiar with local acts that can put a wedding reception over-the-top.

Holiday Show

A Halloween Mystery or a Holiday Caroling Show is not what any guest expects to see at a wedding—and is what makes this out-of-the-box wedding entertainment so spectacular. These seasonal entertainers are a great match for a holiday themed wedding where a couple wants a one-of-a-kind main stage entertainment.

Top Roaring 20s Wedding Bands in Chicago

gangster and flapper entertainersEvery day in Chicago during the Roaring 20s was a hot occasion. Your Roaring 20s wedding should feel like no less—and it won’t, if you hire the entertainers that make it an over-the-top affair.

For an all-encompassing feel, choose the perfect wedding venue (such as a historical venue, historic jazz lounge, or a historic speakeasy) that embodies every part of Chicago’s rich Roaring 20s era. Build upon that theme by adding in key elements of the Roaring 20s, such as a champagne tower, the modern takes on Roaring 20s attire—all topped off by vintage wedding entertainers that put the “Great” in a Great Gatsby wedding.

Jazz Duet or Trio

Ceremony music can set the stage for a wonderful Roaring 20s wedding. The size of the group can depend on the size and location available for the entertainers. Contact an experienced entertainment agent to select and coordinate the right performers (and size of group) that can customize their act to your unique wedding atmosphere.

Roaring 20s Entertainers

Your wedding guests should be able to feel like they stepped back in time—and they can as they mingle with a crowd from another time. A professional can connect you with Roaring 20s entertainers that can mingle, serve vintage treats, and entertain guests so they feel like they are in an old Chicago jazz lounge or speakeasy.

Brass Orchestra

Roaring 20s décor is only part of the wedding atmosphere; a brass orchestra is a key ingredient in an authentic vintage wedding atmosphere. Select a smaller brass orchestra for wonderful dinner music or a larger group for main stage entertainment.

Jazz Band

The right jazz band can turn a wedding reception into a swinging occasion befitting the best years of the Prohibition. The right jazz band can make your wedding feel like the day Prohibition was declared over OR a classy night at an upscale vintage club.

10 Incredible Entertainment Ideas for Chicago Conventions

A successful convention is about more than just meeting the needs of an audience; it’s also about wowing them with the right entertainment. It’s like saying, “Yes, there is more to come in the program—and it’s better than ever and just what you wanted!”

Bands

A band might seem like the expected form of entertainment (and for some convention crowds, that’s okay-ask an entertainment pro for recommendations), but certain bands can make quite the statement. A band from the period that fits the anniversary of an association or movie, for example, can take guests back and celebrate their favorite era. For conventions with a retro theme, pair the band with period refreshments and décor for an all-encompassing and entertaining atmosphere.

Performing Art

Nothing takes an evening to the next level like performing art. From classic performers to a more modern group of performers, there are a number of performing art acts that can suit an audience’s tastes and put it over-the-top.

Piano Players

No act is more versatile than a piano player. Piano players can provide background music while convention guests network or jazz up the evening with an exciting dueling piano act. Ask an entertainment agent for suggestions; the best piano players are sure to delight.

aerialist at event hanging from ceiling
Aerialists

Take the convention program to new heights; add aerialists to the convention entertainment line-up. Aerialists can stun guests with their amazing acts or add an entertaining twist to a formal gathering with networking and drinks.

showgirl at elegant gala
Stilt Walkers

Stilt walkers add interest to a crowded room or entrance way. These interesting performers can customize their act to the convention topic or program and catch the attention of the crowd.

pictures from digital caricature artist
Caricature Artists

These artists are a hit at any event, giving guests a memorable way to remember their experience. Caricature artists can be a big hit at events where guests are costumed, giving them a fun way to show off their costume.

LED entertainer
LED Entertainers

Glow-in-the-dark entertainers are a huge hit at a convention evening program. LED entertainers can be a main stage act or circulate throughout the crowd as they network.

Atmospheric Entertainers

Themed entertainers are a key ingredient in creating an atmosphere around a convention theme. Contact an entertainment agent to select the right entertainers for the theme and, most importantly, for the convention guests.

10 Live Tradeshow Entertainment Ideas that Attract Visitors

The next unique and exciting trade show idea is just a brainstorm away; we’ve taken some of the guesswork away with this list of live trade show entertainers that draw visitors into any trade show booth. These ideas can be a one-of-a-kind standalone draw—or they can complement a modern trade show booth with all the technological upgrades.

The ability to customize acts is one of the key benefits of using live entertainment to attract visitors to a trade show booth. Contact an entertainment agent to choose the right entertainers that can personalize their act and attire to fit the trade show booth theme. 

juggler at mccormick place in chicago il

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jugglers

Performance Art

pictures from digital caricature artist

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caricature Artists

show girl entertainer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Show Girls

acoustic artists

 

 

 

 

 

Acoustic Entertainers

Bands

vintage entertainer serving food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refreshment Servers

barbershop quartet

 

 

 

 

 

Barbershop Quartet

stilt walker for outdoor wedding

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stilt walker

game show for corporate events

 

 

 

 

 

Game Show

20 Corporate Children’s Christmas Party Ideas

child with balloon sculpture that makes him look like santa clausDon’t leave your youngest guests off your list of holiday party entertainment. Use these corporate holiday party ideas that keep the kids at your holiday event holly and jolly—and their parents reveling in the holiday spirit. (Contact an entertainment agent to select the very best children’s party entertainment that fits with the event holiday theme.)

These corporate children’s holiday party ideas can be located in a special children’s area or through the holiday party venue for an interactive family event. Whatever the plan, these corporate children’s Christmas party ideas can make your event the merriest yet.

grinch character for holiday parties
1. Grinch
2. Father Christmas
3. Elves
4. Carolers
5. Magician

  • Father Christmas entertainer for office holiday parties6. Cookie Decorating
    7. Face Painters
    8. Balloon Entertainers
    9. Toy Soldier
    10. Ebenezer Scrooge
    11. Gingerbread Man
  • holiday gingerbread man for corporate christmas parties
    12. Make an Ornament Activity Table
    13. Juggler
    14. Holiday Treat-Making Station
    15. Holiday Bingo
    16. Children’s Band
  • child with holiday facepaint for corporate christmas holiday party
  • 17. Make a Snowman Station
    18. Holiday Coloring Area
    19. Mariachi Band
    20. Holiday Bowling Area