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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.

Planning a Company Picnic: A Checklist to a Successful Event

entertainers for company picnicA company picnic can be an afternoon with the family enjoying great food and entertainment. An evening out with your significant other that makes your efforts at work feel appreciated. An afternoon off of work celebrating a year of reaching vital milestones. Your company picnic can be any of the above if you check off the boxes on your company picnic planning checklist.

Goal

An event without a goal is an event without direction. Your company picnic goal dictates many decisions: activities, entertainment, favors, etc. For example, if team building is the event goal, choose entertainment and activities that align with the goal. Before you start choosing the venue or décor, or start planning the menu, choose a goal as a foundation for your company picnic planning.

Guest List

A guest list gives you more than a number; it also gives a general demographic that steers event choices. Frankly, it’s a list with a lot of clout in the process. The number and demographic of guests plays a large role in choosing the venue and entertainment, and setting the menu. For a company picnic planned for employees and their families, choose a family-friendly venue that can fit all the guests and schedule activities for adults and kids.

Budget

Event planning is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Plan a budget that can get you to the finish line; allocate accordingly for large-budget items, such as the venue and food, and make sure there is enough included for big impact items, such as entertainment and favors.

Venue

If you have a choice of venue, use your goal and demographic to select a venue that draws a crowd. Choose a venue in a location that is convenient for your guests and fits the desired atmosphere of the company picnic. For a company picnic with a country fair theme, search for a venue with enough space for the right entertainers (contact us for quality, reliable themed entertainers for your picnic). If there are any specific event needs (i.e. handicap accessibility, staffing, A/V, kitchen), add those factors to the company picnic venue checklist.

Entertainment

vintage entertainer serving foodOnce you have all the major details confirmed (the who and where), now it’s time to book the main stage entertainment OR the entertainers that make the atmosphere. To find the right, reliable entertainers that fit with your company picnic atmosphere, contact a professional who can recommend and coordinate the right professionals perfect for an enjoyable event.

Food

The right menu can reinforce a company picnic atmosphere. In the case of a country fair theme, food stations with cotton candy, popcorn, and other treats can be a big hit with picnic guests. Add entertainers who can serve the right company picnic menu and you’ve got a dynamic event atmosphere that guests’ll remember well after the end of the company picnic.

Company Picnic Acts Perfect for Your “Main Stage”

 

Summer weather in Chicago can be a draw for a company picnic by itself. If you’re looking for more than warm sunshine and good summer vibes to increase numbers at your next picnic, consider using one of these company picnic acts.

Band

A band is always a big hit at a company picnic, but that doesn’t mean that choosing a band is a one-size-fits-all proposition. Contact an entertainment agent to select the right band that’ll draw a crowd, especially if you’re planning a themed company picnic. A band that plays classics from the era your company was formed can reinforce a vintage company picnic. A jazz band is the perfect addition to a Chicago jazz lounge. The right band and atmosphere can be the perfect combination for a memorable company picnic.

Comedian

A bad comedian is going to leave your guests wanting for better. A hilarious comedian is going to be the topic of conversation around the office water cooler for quite some time. To choose and hire the latter, contact an entertainment agent who can select a quality act that can adapt their act to your company picnic.

Hypnotist

Mesmerize your audience with a hypnotist that grabs your guests’ attention—and keeps it long after the picnic is over. Hiring a hypnotist is not a one-size-fits-all proposition; each hypnotist has their own flare, and the high-quality performers can modify their act to fit your audience.

Steel Drums

For a unique dinner music and fun stage entertainment, consider a steel drum act that makes your company picnic feel tropical (along with tropical drinks, décor, and venue). A steel drum band can be the finishing touch to a beach- or tropical-themed company picnic, making your guests feel like they are at an island getaway.

Orchestra

For a more formal affair, talk to an entertainment agent about hiring an orchestra that makes your company picnic feel like they are part of an elegant event. An entertainment agent can select the right orchestra with the right number of musicians and instruments to fit your venue and meet your guests’ expectations.

Mariachi band

A mariachi band gives a company picnic a distinct feel; coordinating your company picnic act with all the other details (i.e. menu, venue, décor, etc.) makes your event a one-of-a-kind experience guests appreciate.

Pianist

The best pianists are versatile entertainers that can meet the needs of a company picnic. Especially at an indoor picnic, a pianist can provide background music, dinner music, and mainstage entertainment. To take your piano entertainment to the next level, consider adding dueling pianos to your company picnic program.