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How to Throw a Winning Melbourne Cup Luncheon for Your Office

It’s almost time for the race that stops the nation! Melbourne Cup only happens once a year, so you might as well make the most of it. The race is a great opportunity for team building,  light-hearted fun, and to give your team a break from their everyday work duties. Planning a Melbourne Cup office party is a way to treat your team and make them feel valued and appreciated. It’s also fantastic for building cheeky anticipation for the upcoming big Christmas bash. Here are some ideas to help you throw a winning Melbourne Cup luncheon for your office.

Make it an event with a venue

Hosting your Melbourne Cup party at an external venue takes it from a bit of entertainment to an all-out event. While we’re no enemies of a good old office party, there’s something special about gathering your team and sending them out of the office to enjoy themselves for the day.

There are plenty of places where you might want to host your Melbourne Cup party. The most obvious choice is hiring a private venue just for you and your team. There, you can relax outdoors on a terrace or in a garden and make the most of the warmer weather. Hosting an outdoor event is a great opportunity to soak up the sun and relish in one of the first BBQs of the season. Of course, you could always go for an indoors venue where TVs are set up, comfort abound, and the game can be taken in from all angles.

Another option is to take your team down to a local pub where they can participate in the Melbourne Cup spirit with the general public. If you do decide on a pub, it could be worth booking a private room for your team to sit down and enjoy a peaceful lunch and social time together. If we know anything about pubs on Melbourne Cup day, it’s that they get incredibly busy and seats are scarce!

Melbourne Cup office sweepstakes

Office sweepstakes is half the fun of a Melbourne Cup event. Even those who aren’t interested in the actual race itself are always excited by the thought of placing a bet and trying their luck. It’s a good idea to get the sweepstakes going at the start of your event so that you can build anticipation and excitement amongst your guests. The office sweepstakes is also a great source of conversation, so it’s good to get it going and let people socialise about who they’re going for and how much they’ve put down.

Here are some ideas for your Melbourne Cup office sweepstakes:

  • You can grab a Melbourne Cup sweepstake from a local newspaper on the day, or download one from a betting site and print it off.
  • If you have less than 24 people attending your Melbourne Cup party, you can let each person select more than one horse (there are 24 horses in the race).
  • If you have 24+ employees attending your event, then offer different buy-in amounts (e.g. $5, $10, $15), list each of the 24 horses, and let people choose how they’d like to place their bets.
  • Don’t forget to make a note of who is betting on what, and display it somewhere where everyone can see it.
  • Get your accountant to keep track and manage all the money for the sweepstake, or assign a bookkeeper for the day.
    If you’re not a fan of gambling in the workplace, then you can still take part in the sweepstakes without exchanging money! It’s all a bit of fun.

Get dressy

Sure, Melbourne Cup is about horse racing, but it’s also just as much about dressing up. Turn things up a notch and create a mood for your Melbourne Cup party by setting a dress code. Have everyone in your office try to frock up for the day and join in the celebrations. You can offer prizes for the best dressed to encourage participation.

Let your ladies inspire with their brightest, shiniest colours and biggest hats. Gents can turn up with funky and strange ties and socks. Remember though, not everyone is thrilled at the idea of dressing up. So try not to exclude those who do show up in jeans and a t-shirt.

Organise extravagant Melbourne Cup catering

Melbourne Cup day is all about extravagance, so make sure that extends to the catering you provide as well. Corporate catering is a must-have on Melbourne Cup day, and something everyone will be looking forward to. Things just wouldn’t be the same if you expected employees to duck down and grab lunch for themselves amidst all the madness. Go for gourmet canapés, a smorgasbord of salads, or a grazing table in the first half of the day. You want there to be food available any time someone feels like sustenance or a snack.

Serve your mouth-watering lunch spread before the race begins at 3pm. One option is a sit-down meal, to encourage team building and bonding. Another option is to host a buffet, so people can serve themselves whenever they feel hungry. Remember, half the fun of Melbourne Cup day is indulging in a little drinking. Because of that, it’s important that you provide your team with enough food to soak up all that champagne they’ll be downing!

If you have a large team, it’s a good idea to hire waitstaff to distribute finger foods and canapés. This way, people can be reminded to eat, and everyone can get their fair share of the good stuff. To really impress, hire a private chef and have them be a part of the entertainment. Your chef can prepare and serve a standout meal that’s specially designed for your office while people watch on.

Fun and games

Melbourne Cup parties can sometimes feel like a stretch. When you’re a few bevvies in, have been celebrating all day, and need to wait until 3pm for the event to start, it’s important you organise some entertainment to help your team fill in the time. There are plenty of fun games and activities you can encourage your staff to participate in. This is as good a chance as any to inspire some team building and bonding! Here are some ideas:

  • Melbourne Cup trivia – The day is all about winning, so you might as well fit in as many competitions as possible. Melbourne Cup trivia can be a fun little exercise to see who knows the most about the most important race event of the year. Ask questions about Melbourne Cup history, the horses in this year’s race, the jockeys participating, and any other interesting facts you can source about the event. Make the questions as easy or as hard as you want – it’s all fun and games anyway!
  • Melbourne Cup parade – Well, everyone’s all dressed up, so you may as well have them show off their outfits! A Melbourne Cup parade should be some light fun to see how everyone has turned out. It’s also a great opportunity to dish out those awards for best dressed, best fascinator, best tie, and so on.
  • Desk decorating – This is a more creative and interactive exercise that will keep people busy throughout the day. Gather a few different materials to have on hand. This could be tinsel, pipe cleaners, crepe paper, glitter, and more. Then, encourage people to decorate their desks in any style using these materials. At the end of the day, have a tour of all the decorated desks and you can either vote for the winner or have judges decide on the best desk.

Melbourne Cup is a winning day

If you need some help in organising your Melbourne Cup catering or office party, we can help! We have exclusive access to luxury venues for your event, and a team of incredible private chefs who can deliver fresh, custom-designed catering to your party. We can also take care of decorating, wait and bar staff hire, drinks, and more! Whatever your budget, we’ll scale our services up and down to meet your needs. Get in touch with our team now for a FREE quote for your Melbourne Cup party.