Summer is FINALLY upon us which means so is the al-fresco fun. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday or just gathering your friends and family for a barbeque, I’ve found the best tips to help you host the ultimate summer garden party…
–Pimp your drinks: to avoid the constant running back and forth to the kitchen, buy a drinks dispenser on a stand; preferably go for one with more than one holder like this one. Fill each one with a different drink of choice, try one with Pimm’s, one with lemonade and one with water, this way there is different options and people can keep hydrated whilst drinking or mix their own alcohol with the lemonade in their glass. Try adding fresh fruit to the Pimm’s and Lemonade for added flavour and keep the spirits nearby. For some added fun, add bowls of fruit to your drinks table and have a ‘pimp my prosecco’ section, where people fill their glass with fizz and add their own fruit. Use disposable cups so you don’t have to worry about washing up.
–Furnish with decorations: to add to the party feel, pick up some decorations. You don’t have to blow the budget nor spend time creating fancy things. Try these paper pom-poms and lanterns and hang from your tree or fence. Add a waterproof bunting to the wall and a floral centrepiece to your dining area. Stick solar lights across the garden which will charge all day in the sun and shine a light when you need to find your way back into the house. Light lots of candles as the sun disappears and display blankets in a box/basket for if it gets chilly. A good idea for lighting up things that may disappear and act as a trip hazard in the dark (particularly when tipsy) is to wrap fairy lights around it.
–Bring out the canapés: don’t want to spend hours slaving away over a hot stove? Rustle up some canapés in advance or buy-in frozen (I won’t tell if you don’t) so that you can spend less time cooking and more time entertaining your guests. Serve on pretty boards, platters and plates to really impress.
–Start early: the best bit about summertime is starting parties earlier on in the day. Get everyone over late afternoon to raise glasses until the sun goes down. Just remember, it’s wine o’clock somewhere, right?!
–Order in boozy popsicles: you need to try these calipo-style popsicles which are made from 37% real Champagne and contain only 52 calories each. And for a real summer treat, order in these Pimm’s popsicles, which taste just as good as they sound, trust me.
–Say cheese: set up a DIY photo booth with your wall as the backdrop. Add decorations to the wall if you have time and fill a basket with props and leave nearby. If you’re on a budget, ask each of your guests to bring some props; you can even suggest a theme. Try using an Instax polaroid camera so people can see their photos and add a piece of string to the wall with pegs, for people to hang up their photos while they develop, or of course use disposable cameras so you don’t have to worry about your digital one getting lost or broken. Add a sign or a chalk board that lets people know it’s a photo booth and silly photos are encouraged.
–Forget fancy pudding: don’t worry about creating fancy desserts, who has time for that?! Especially when you spend loads of time making it look pretty, just for it to get devoured. Try making fuss-free brownies, dust with icing sugar and serve topped with raspberries. Or for those of you with a real sweet tooth, Eton Mess is the perfect summer pudding and can take just two minutes – we just won’t tell anyone the meringues are shop-bought.
–Make a playlist: to throw a great party, music is a must. Set up a sound system and play some chilled house music for an Ibiza vibe. If in doubt, set up a Spotify playlist, ask your pals to send some song recommendations and add them before they arrive. You won’t have to worry about changing the tracks and every time you hear the playlist again, it will remind you of your party.
–Serve summer cocktails: ask Pinterest to show you the top summer cocktails and have a go at making them before your guests arrive. If you’re having a girly night, why not make the cocktails together as something fun to do. We recommend Prosecco mixed with elderflower, mint, lime and lots of ice.
–Go for street food: if you want something more to serve than just finger food, and you have some spare time, set up a build-your-own nacho station or opt for posh hot dogs and serve with different homemade sauces. If you’re struggling with ideas on what to cook, head to a street food market for a little inspiration. If you are having a large party, ask everyone to bring their own picnics and picnic blankets and enjoy an afternoon on the lawn, tucking into your grub that you cooked up earlier. This is a much easier way of catering for all your guests likes, dislikes and allergies.
–Fill it up: Number one party tip: keep the flutes freely flowing. Party guests are rarely happier than when they’ve got a full glass in hand.
Thanks so much for reading guys, I hope you all have a fab summer and are enjoying this lovely weather. If you’re hosting a party this year, I hope it’s filled with love, laughter and great memories.
Some ideas in this blog post were inspired by Sheerluxe.