I know what happened.
You were out of the meeting for less than five minutes, only to come back and discover that YOU had been unanimously chosen to plan the company picnic! 🙂
Unless you are a professional event planner (and most of our clients are not), this means that you have to put together your company picnic, while doing your already-very-busy job! Here are some helpful hints to assist you in having a worry-free picnic that you get to enjoy.
Picnics are generally divided into two categories, FOOD and FUN!
Our expertise is the FUN, so here are some things to consider, in a FAQ format.
Q1. When should I start planning the company picnic?
A. Timing is based on a few factors. First of all, if your picnic is happening next month, then, obviously, you plan right now. But it most cases, the larger the picnic, the more time it takes to plan. For picnics with more than 100 guests, it generally takes 9-12 months to secure the catering, reserve the venue and hire entertainment. If your event is smaller and more intimate, then 3-6 months is plenty. Do keep in mind, however, that there are “prime” dates, which get sold out for picnic vendors early (regardless the size of the event), so it’s truly never too early to start making plans.
Q2. What if my event is right around the corner?
A. If this is an annual event, it’s a great idea to begin with what was done last time. Short notice events are not the best ones to reinvent the wheel. Keep in mind, however, that the best and most affordable EVERYTHING (entertainment, picnic shelters, caterers, etc.) always get booked first. If you’re planning last year’s picnic this year in a hurry, plan to spend more money, or try to negotiate a date which gives you more time to plan and more options.
Q3. What kind of entertainment should I have at my picnic?
A. Answering this question is similar to answering the following questions: “What kind of food should I serve at my picnic?” The answer is, “It depends”. No two picnics are the same, which is why we encourage you to have a complimentary consultation with us about your event. We believe that there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” entertainment package. The kind of entertainment at a picnic dominated by young families is dramatically different than the entertainment for a group with teens, ‘tweens and retirees. And for events with all ages, you get to decide if you want the entertainment to focus on children, adults or both. The biggest mistake we see is when picnic planners neglect to consider how many guests they want to be entertained. It’s not enough to have entertainment at your picnic. Make sure you have enough entertainment at your picnic. I have noticed over the years that the more activities you have, the less important each activity becomes. For example, if you have 50 children at your event and one face painter, then the face painter is the highlight, and you want to make sure everyone gets reached. On the other hand, if you have inflatables, a petting zoo, a magic show and a face painter for the same 50 kids, then the dynamic changes. Rest assured, however, that with over 30 years of picnic experience, we know exactly what to ask to ensure that your guests’ needs are met, allowing you to relax and enjoy your own event.
Q4. Entertainment vendors all look/sound alike. How can I compare?
A. True, we are all offering similar services (face painting, balloons, magic, games, etc.), however there are distinct differences which can make or break your picnic. The best way to compare is to check reviews (How many? How recent? How relevant?). Next, check samples (again, how many? How recent?). Then check prices, keeping in mind that prices which seem too good to be true generally are! A face painter who is cheap and slow will ultimately cost you more than a face painter who is more expensive but fast. Remember that you’re not hiring someone to do time at your event. Click here to learn more about the hidden costs of saving money (link to that blog please). Finally, pay attention to the customer service and business practices of the vendors you’re considering. Your picnic entertainment is rarely better than the people who sell it to you. If your vendor is crabby, disorganized, indifferent and/or inattentive, chances are that the folks who come to your event will be also. Likewise, if your vendor is engaging, dynamic, interested, follows up, is confident and spends time with you to ensure your event is perfect, chances are that those same qualities will be demonstrated by the artists and entertainers who attend your picnic.
Q5. What kind of budget should I set for my picnic?
A. Most picnic planners allocate a per person amount to assist them in setting a realistic budget. The larger the picnic, the lower the per-person price will be. Keep in mind that good events cost money. We work with picnic planners each year who weren’t completely satisfied with last year’s event which was put together on a shoe-string budget. If you must cut corners, the best way is on your disposable goods, prizes and decorations. Cutting corners on food and entertainment will ultimately burn you. If money is really tight, consider a picnic during non-prime time. Just like airfare is cheaper when demand is lower, the same is true for picnic vendors.
Q6. This is our first picnic. Where do I begin?
A. Give us a call at 651-748-9442. We can help you prioritize the tasks which will make planning your event easy (okay… easier!)
We look forward to bringing joy and laughter to your guests and providing a worry-free experience for you!