It’s the race that stops the nation – and most workplaces – on the first Tuesday of every November. Although it’s only a public holiday in the state of Victoria, most offices around Australia gather to watch this iconic race with their very own Melbourne Cup event. Even in 2022 when plenty of people are working hybrid or remotely, there's no reason anyone needs to miss out on the food, fashion or fun.
Read on for the winning tips to make your Melbourne Cup office party a sure bet with your colleagues, from food and drinks, to Melbourne Cup office games, decorations, and of course, the heart-stopping race itself.
Prepping for Your Melbourne Cup Office Party
When planning any office party, it always pays to be organised and prepared right out of the starting gate. From Melbourne Cup office catering, to games and activities, invites and decor, plus of course knowing what budget you have available, planning ahead means everyone (including you) can enjoy a seamless office knees-up on the day.
Before even sending out invites, check in with your boss or management team. Knowing what hours your colleagues can take off during the Melbourne Cup, whether they’re expected to go back to work after the race, and what your allocated budget is are essential for your planning.
Send out an emailed invitation to staff, and create a poster to put up in the office too – Melbourne Cup-themed, of course. Even if you’re no graphic design whiz, free platforms such as Canva mean you can whip up something professional-looking that’s sure to get everyone chomping at the bit. Make sure you include all the information they’ll need, such as dress codes, any competitions or games on the day, and what catering will be available. Don’t forget to ask about dietary requirements at this point!
Getting a caterer for the event takes the pressure off. It’s best to order this as far in advance as you can to ensure everything’s sorted. Whether it’s picnic boxes or grazing spreads, it’s important to make sure everyone is well-fed – this goes for remote team members too, if you wish to get something delivered to them at home. Make sure you’ve also organised enough crockery, cutlery, napkins, plates, and cups too.
Ensure your TV is sorted prior to the day and properly tested so there are no last minute glitches. If you have remote guests, organise a shared screen setup so you can stream the race together.
Getting your party decorations sorted in advance is also a must. Turn your office into a Spring Carnival with these Melbourne Cup office ideas: striped tablecloths and napkins, bunting, horse shoes, flowers, champagne bottles, equestrian-themed props, or fake turf. You should also start gathering together some competition prizes – more on that below.
Melbourne Cup Office Games
The Melbourne Cup race itself only lasts for a few short minutes, so games and competitions add yet another layer of excitement and fun to your Melbourne Cup event.
Organising an office sweepstake is a sure bet to keep everyone on their toes and bring true trackside tension to your own event. Download templates online or cut them out of that day’s newspaper and get everyone picking early in the day to build anticipation. Get an idea of who is interested in betting, and use that as a guide as to how many sweeps to run throughout the afternoon.
Although you should keep dressing up optional, host a fashion parade or give out prizes for Best Dressed men and women, Best Shoes, and Best Hat or Fascinator. Pub-style Melbourne Cup trivia is always another popular activity on the day. Both of these activities can extend to those playing at home, too.
In the lead-up to the event, you can also hold a desk decorating competition, encouraging teams to decorate their work area in theme. Not only is this a chance to hand out more prizes and build a fun, competitive atmosphere but it helps channel the Spring Carnival mood right throughout the office.
Melbourne Cup Office Catering
Food and drinks are a crucial part of Melbourne Cup day, no matter if it’s at the office, in an exclusive venue, or trackside. Organising corporate catering will take care of that side of things from start to finish, whether it’s a grazing table, cocktail party, classic high tea, gourmet finger food, or roaming Spring Carnival nibbles.
It’s essential that the food is not only delicious, but substantial enough to offset the drinks. Give everyone plenty of time to eat and drink before the big race, and make sure there’s a selection of alternative menu options so no one goes hungry. Then, all that’s left to do is see if you’ve backed the right horse!
For even more information about Melbourne Cup food and drink catering, speak to us about packages to suit all budgets and themes.