Summer might be the happiest season of the year.
Everyone is out and about enjoying the long hot days, the balmy nights and all the mood elevators that come with them—barbecues, lawn games and dreamy sunsets to name a few.
For Deb Gee, experiential design lead with Lululemon, it’s a wonderful time to add refreshing, relaxing and whimsical touches to events.
“Summer is when nature is in full bloom and oxygen is at its peak,” Gee said.
“It’s a time to engage with the Earth and really disconnect as well as an uplifting time to play in the company of others,” she added.
Gee shared her favorite wellness-inspired tips to create innovative and engaging summer-themed events.
Ambience & Decor
Get Outside: Incorporate as many outdoor spaces as possible if the weather permits. At the very least, allow for the breaks and some of the meal periods to be outside.
Creative Lighting: Use whimsical string lights, patio lanterns and tiki torches. Indoors or out, utilize big trees and “uplight” them to really bring that feeling of being outside alive. Also hang different styles of lanterns in big trees outside or rent large trees and do it inside as well.
Be Playful: If you have a pool, a pond or other water element at your event, pool toys, such as big unicorn and rainbow floats, can be whimsical things to have. They're soon trend right now. They just make people really happy.
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Have fun with your theme. Think along the lines of beach volleyball, playfulness, beachy backyard and picnic, which inspires the feeling of relaxation.
Outside or even in a ballroom, give people picnic baskets and have a picnic.
Happy Campers: It’s also fun to pitch tents or teepees and play on the camping theme inside or outside. Have big cushions and throws inside so guests can get comfortable. They can be used for breaks or even as a Zen zone, where there are no cell phones or computers allowed, and it's a silent area to stretch out and meditate.
Shades of Summer: You have a lot of really bright, sunny, happy colors in summer. It is a time to celebrate beautiful long nights, and there are a lot of pinks and peaches and beautiful sunset colors. Play off the warm colors of the sunset.
Beach Event Setup With Hanging Lights
Keep It Cool: Also think of ocean and beach and incorporating a cooling vibe. Bring a water feature into your decor to add a cooling element.
Go for a total Zen look and bring in a water fountain or do something like a kiddie pool for people to kick off their business shoes and splash around for laughs at the end of a long, crazy day.
You can also create a cooling station with essential oil face mists and spritzers.
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Sense of Place: During summer, evoke the sense of places such as the Mediterranean and the Greek Isles, like sitting at an outdoor cafe. Use a lot of bistro tables and picnic tables to reflect that feeling of being outdoors. Some tables can even have umbrellas for a jovial touch.
Food & Beverage
Classics in Season: Summer is an obvious time for seasonally inspired things like barbecues, picnics, cold salads and soups. You can really ramp up your use of fresh produce that is in season, such as tomatoes, stone fruit, melons and corn.
Other fun summer treats include s’mores around the fire, beautiful fresh fruit popsicles, milkshakes, floats and sundaes. There are so many great non-dairy nut milks out there to experiment with.
Smoking Is Hot: One big summer trend is smoked items, such as smoked vegetables, playing off the smoky barbecue pit theme. Chefs can do interesting things like smoked carrot hummus.
Summer Setups: Farmers market-themed food stations are imaginative ways to play off the season, as well as big, beautiful grazing stations, food trucks and ice cream trucks.
People Enjoying a Picnic Outdoors in Summer
Have a Blast With Beverages: Create playful drinks inspired by the beach, for instance, with a lot of fresh ingredients. Examples include a mojito or a twist on the mojito using lots of fresh mint. It's wise to work with a mixologist who can incorporate an array of colors in drinks with things like herbs and flower petals.
Non-Alcoholic Refreshers: Interesting non-alcoholic options are a must. Batch drinks are great for summer, such as lemonade and iced-tea stations with colorful garnishes. Tea is always popular, including interesting infusions.
Two great things for gut health are fruity kombuchas and shrub sodas made with vinegars, and they're very unique.
H20 to the Rescue: My biggest F&B wellness takeaway for summer is incorporating tons of water. Have vibrant water stations with lots of fresh-cut fruit—skewers of melons, for example, and berries, as well as fresh herbs.
Gifts With a Purpose: The best gifts are those that are useful. For summer, some of my favorites are eye masks for better sleep, considering how light it stays into the evening, a nice sunscreen, flip flops, fans, sunglasses and essential oil face mists.
Chill Out: Beautiful scarves or pashminas can be incorporated into the decor and used for chilly summer nights in the desert, for instance. Turkish towels, which play off the beach theme, also make a great scarf or a great throw over your shoulders.
Flying High: Kites are another lovely summer gift. Flying a kite is a very soothing and quiet, and it always reminds me to breathe.
Fresh-Air Fun: Summer is the perfect season to get everybody outdoors for a variety of active diversions and classic games. Horseshoes, ring toss, croquet and cornhole are great, as well as beautiful nature walks, outdoor yoga and marathons. If you have access to water, get guests out there to splash around on floating toys.
Outdoor Yoga on the Beach
Artsy Alternative: One great arts and crafts activity is mandala painting, where you paint dots on a rock. It’s very soothing and therapeutic, and you can have guests go out and find their perfect rock.
Above all, get guests outside to breathe, move and roll around in the grass. It’s a must in summer.
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