Whether you’re hosting a family BBQ or having the neighbours round for an overdue get-together, there’s something so satisfying about opening up your garden and seeing everyone mingle in the good weather. A perfectly planned event will help the day run effortlessly, so follow these tips for garden party success.
First things first, cement your guest list – a firm estimate on numbers will help plan how much food and drink you need. Then consider if you have enough seating to accommodate people who would like to sit down, and make sure you allocate enough surface space to lay out food and create a drinks station.
Next up… keep a firm eye on the weather. If the outlook isn’t great, don’t assume your gathering is ruined; simply ensure you have a plan B in regards to indoor space and if you have a large gazebo or parasol – now is the time to dust it off and put to good use.
Giving your party a theme will help make it even more memorable – this could simply be a colour or if it’s a birthday or wedding celebration, personalised bunting will also double-up as a lovely keepsake.
Pick an area or piece of furniture – such as a table – and make it a stylised focal point. A runner or place mats can transform even the most tired-looking tables, while pots and jugs are great for stowing cutlery.
Pick brightly coloured plates and platters to arrange buffet food on.
Tea lights are a garden party’s best friend for creating ambience when the sun sets, so have plenty of holders and pots dotted around with candles read – that way your guests will know that the party is set to continue.
Don’t be tempted to leave the soundtrack to your party until the last minute. If you’re not sure where to start – or don’t have the time – go from a pre-compiled list to get you going. This one was conceived with a laidback gathering in mind, while this one declares itself to be the ‘ultimate’ – so expect to hear lots of old classics.
Anything that you can prepare in advance and that guests can help themselves to will make a host’s life easier. As impressive as canapés are, sometimes it’s easier to only have a buffet to oversee. Homemade dips and skewered vegetables are an easy win if you’re waiting for a BBQ pit to heat up. If certain guests have allergies or dietary requirements, make a couple of dishes or salads that are dairy, gluten and meat-free to cover all bases. Vegan recipes are good for this, such as this courgetti salad and these chickpea bites.