Inspirational ideas - How to host the perfect garden party
This summer is turning out to be a proper summer for us here in Fulham, London - with a good few days of sunshine behind us and the longterm weather forecast promising more.
So our thoughts have been turning to garden parties. There’s all sorts of reasons you might want to host one.
- It could be a simple get-together with friends, where you want to entertain outside and enjoy eating al-fresco.
- It could be for a party to celebrate a birthday or an engagement.
- It could be for a housewarming for your new flat or house.
- It could be just to celebrate how beautiful your garden is looking.
Mind you, you don’t have to have acres of garden to have a garden party. If you live in town and have a patio-style garden, then you can still host a garden party. This is often the case with London based garden parties, with patio style gardens widespread throughout London properties.
Country garden style
If you have a garden with a decent-size lawn, then that’s a real bonus. It’s time to pay back all those friends you owe hospitality to, take a deep breath and host a weekend lunch, either on a Saturday or Sunday (whenever the weather suits best for a garden party). Kids are also welcome. The trick is to have plenty of things going on and here’s what we suggest:
Have trays of drinks at the entrance that guests can help themselves to. Label them alcoholic and non-alcoholic. As well as sparkling mineral water you can also offer elderflower cordial, no-alcohol beers, homemade ginger beer - get a bit creative. Summer garden parties are all about making sure everyone tastes those exotic summer flavours.
On the alcoholic tray think about fruit-based cocktails and crisp white wines and rose, or Prosecco. A barrel of craft beer in the corner would also go down well. You could also put beers in a paddling pool to stay cool!
For the kids, make sure you have garden entertainment. You can hire outsize games of Jenga, croquet and put the sprinkler on for kids to run through. It’s also a good time to set up a scavenger hunt to keep the youngsters occupied whilst the adults catch up. Maybe suggest they put on a play or performance which they can rehearse and show later to a captive parent audience!
Even if your event is fairly casual and you’re barbecuing, it’s still inviting for your guests to have a table properly laid up. Think about a colour theme here - you could keep it simple and stick to whites - with white napkins, white flowers and table mats, like these from Posh Trading Company.
Put a rug under the table to give it ‘structure.’
Remember to leave some rugs and quilts lying around for guests in case the weather turns chilly later on. You might also like to think about hiring or investing in a patio heater.
For a more rural feel, think about having a chiminea, or two or three scattered around for guests to cluster close to as the evening draws in. Remember to have candles and lanterns about to light the way.
Of course, in Britain we can never depend on the weather to do the right thing, so you will need to have some shelter at your garden party, in the absence of a handy barn! It doesn’t matter whether it’s Brighton, London, Cornwall or Manchester, the weather can never be predicted!
If you want to make a real statement, then hire a beautiful tent from the Raj Tent Club - fill with floor cushions and Turkish rugs. Move your furniture from out of your house and put it inside for the party to give a really homely, comfortable feel.
On the other hand, eating in full sun isn’t much fun either, so make sure you have shade and parasols about for hot days.
A party isn’t a party without music so make sure you have a good playlist set up. Try and set different moods so you have relaxed music when guests arrive and when people are eating, then up the tempo if you want people you want to dance.
The lovely thing about a garden party is the relaxed tempo. People can sit and chat, play with kids, wander about looking at the flowers or even have a snooze. Maybe hang a few hammocks around if you have room!
We hope this has given you a few ideas to inspire - enjoy your garden party!