Top tips for planning the perfect summer party

posted on Monday 3 June

Who doesn’t love a summer party?

With blazing sunshine by day, ice creams and jugs of cold drinks; and balmy evenings with the sound of happy voices and the merry chink of glasses on the summer air.

The OUEV team share their top tips to ensure your party goes with a pop!

1. Location, location, location

Finding a location that ticks all the boxes can be tricky. Our Senior Event Venues and Marketing Manager, Vickie suggests, ‘With so many venues to choose from, it is helpful to note down what is most important and appealing to your guests – is it quirky interiors, easy transport links, show-stopping catering or fabulous outdoor space to soak up the sun? A great top tip is asking for feedback after each party to help you know what people would like for the next one. Once you know your key requirements, you will feel more confident approaching venues that meet your need.’

At OUEV, we think Osler House is the perfect venue for relaxing on the grass and soaking in the atmosphere of all the feasting and fun. Hidden just outside the city centre in Headington, our Art Deco venue is a quiet oasis complete with private gardens  and plenty of summery foliage.  Parties of 50 to 220 can be hosted, and as it is such a flexible venue, it really is a blank canvas to make your own. We host summer parties for a range of different customers – from large companies, to University departments to summer schools.

2. Go with a theme

Add a fun element to your summer soirée and include a theme with props and decorations. They will make for great photos and will be a great talking point amongst your guests. You can keep it simple or go all out, it’s completely up to you.

Some fun suggestions for you to consider are Beach Party, Sports Day or Tropical Paradise. A great local supplier is Frog Orange based in Headington. Simply choosing a colour theme, or having a fancy dress costumes are inexpensive ways of making your party pop.  Event Venues Coordinator, Hannah, says, ‘Every party brings something new and unexpected to Osler House – it is lovely to see how our customers interpret and transform the space.’

3. Pick the perfect menu

At OUEV we believe the key to a successful summer party is a flexible menu full of wholesome fresh ingredients, easy to eat dishes and some sweet treats to finish. A BBQ can be the perfect choice, providing a meat feast for those who wish to savour traditional ribs and burgers, and a vegetarian dream of grilled veggies, halloumi, bright colourful salads and delicious grains .

Food can be presented at a self-serve table, or in small bowls allowing guests to sample all the offerings easily and without needing to be seated. Browse our BBQ menu to  get some inspiration and ideas!

4. Serve refreshing drinks

Keep everyone quenched with a range of refreshing drinks. Blended iced fruit juices create the perfect mocktail, or whip up a traditional homemade Pimm’s. Dress it up with fresh slices of cucumber, oranges and fragrant mint for a pretty pitcher, and bring the fizz to your party with some bottles of bubbles, or perhaps a pop-up bar.

Our BBQ drinks packages include a delicious range of soft drinks, cocktails and fizz to choose from! Group Executive Chef, James Larkins shares, ‘This year we have added a Ginger & Lemongrass Mocktail that I love. You get this warmth from the ginger which is quickly followed by the hit of freshly smashed lemongrass… perfect for keeping cool on those warm sunny days.’

5. Set up the games

Who doesn’t love a garden game? Osler House has the most beautiful lawns, which are ideal for games. Giant versions of childhood classics like Jenga, skittles, swingball and connect four are all great ways to get your guests interacting and having fun! We can hire these on your behalf or you are welcome to bring your own.

6. Light up the night

The magic of the warm glow of lanterns and solar twinkle lights… It is the epitome of a summer evening as the dusk begins to fall and the gardens begin to light up.

At Osler House, dusk doesn’t have to mean the end of the party. Move your guests inside to enjoy music and dancing into the evening.

7. Set the mood with the music

An amazing playlist is a great way to provide instant ambience to any BBQ.  Pair that grilled minute steak sizzled with garlic and thyme, with some cool jazz, or make a mix of everyone’s favourite summer jams to get the party started.

Consider hiring in audio equipment to bring a party vibe if you are entertaining large number of guests – just make sure you have access to sockets or a generator for power. We have hosted a range of musical entertainment at Osler, a local brass band being a firm favourite!

It is always a good idea to check a venues music licence too – for example, our music must be played within the building, but by opening Osler’s large windows and doors the music will still be enjoyed by your guests.

8. Prepare for the weather

Unfortunately, the British summer weather can be changeable so it’s always worth thinking about a Plan B.  Investing in a marquee or a tipi means that the show can still go on regardless.

At Osler House, we can easily move your party indoors to ensure the mood isn’t dampened!If the weather is on your side (hooray!) it will be worth having some shaded areas if it’s an all-day event, and maybe a basket of sunscreen on hand.

9. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Have fun and enjoy yourself!

Don’t let the fun stop at the party! OUEV’s Marketing Officer, Amy, suggests capturing the fun through a photographer or photo-booth. ‘Having photos taken is a great way to capture everyone enjoying themselves providing a memento of the day. A photo-booth is always good fun, and the photos are sure to be a talking (and  laughing) point long after the party.’

*SUMMER PROMOTION* Book your party at Osler House before the end of July and all of your guests will receive a complimentary summer refreshment on arrival!

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