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.

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