home garden & outdoor

Outdoor party ideas this festive season

Think garden parties are over for the year? Think again! We know it’s cold outside, it gets dark really early and choosing to socialise outside feels a bit odd… but outdoor winter parties are pretty magical. Think fairy lights, fire pits and fantastically warming cocktails – it’s all about the ambience. 

If you’re trying to get a big group together and don’t fancy the cost of hiring an indoor space, a festive outdoor party is a great way to celebrate without huge expense at a time when we’re all thinking more about our budgets. 

Taking your party vibes outside is a great alternative to crammed bars and packed restaurants during the festive season. 

An outdoor party gives you space to spread out, you can choose the playlist yourself and set it at a volume that doesn’t hinder conversation… all all-round win!

Take a look at our tips for setting up your outdoor winter party. 

Get prepared

If you’re sold on the idea of celebrating outside this winter, the first step is to prepare your space. A folding garden table is a good idea for setting up a food and drinks station – this foldable version means you can store it away with ease afterwards.
If you’re focusing more on fancy cocktails, a drinks trolley means you can play hostess with the mostess by wheeling drink options around to your guests! This Scandi style bar cart is easy to move around and will look fantastic back inside your house when the party is over. 


Garden lighting 

Lighting your outdoor garden party is really important – you don’t want guests banging into each other in the pitch black!
Think about the areas of your garden that your guests will congregate, and give these spaces the most light. The way in and out of your garden, the route to the loo, where food is being made and served – these are all high-traffic areas that need to be well-lit so there are no accidents. A few of these wall-mounted copper lights will make sure everything is illuminated perfectly.
For seating areas, go for something a bit more subtle – these outdoor fairy lights can be strung across fences to cast a softer, warmer light and keep the mood cosy. 


Add warmth 

Probably the most important part of any outdoor gathering in the winter months – keeping warm! Especially when standing still in groups, it can be hard to keep comfortable in low temperatures, so make sure you have lots of options for your guests.
An open fire pit not only kicks out loads of heat, it adds to that ski lodge style and will be a focal point of your party. We love this low version for stacking up the logs and creating a roaring fire. 
Another good way to keep your guests toasty is by adding patio heaters to your garden space. This taller style is nice and compact – setting a couple of these up in key seating areas will create heat pockets for your guests to congregate under. 


Shelter from the wind 

Hopefully you’ll get clear skies and a calm breeze at most on the day of your festive outdoor party… but we all know you can never rely on the British weather to behave. A sharp, cold wind could really mess up your celebrations, so create sheltered areas in your garden to keep it out so guests aren’t blown away (by the wind, anyway!). 
Simple things like opening your shed doors to provide a windbreak can work really well – place chairs on the inside of the doors so guests can sit in shelter. You could also look at using garden trellis or spare fencing to prop up around your seating areas so they’re blocked off from those chilly gusts. 


Get cosy 

Sticking with the warming theme, lots of blankets, throws and cushions are essentials for any outdoor party – but especially if there’s a risk of snow! Outdoor cushions like this jazzy style are great for dotting around your space, but blankets are the real winners when it comes to keeping warm. 
Go for chunky knitted styles like this checked version for ultimate cosiness. Encourage guests to get wrapped up in gloves, scarves and hats, then add a blanket or two to really lock in that heat!


Choose a theme 

The obvious choice for a winter garden party theme is festive – Christmassy décor really works in an outdoor space, but Christmas isn’t the only celebration date in the winter calendar!
Why not throw an outdoor Halloween party and go for those spooky vibes? The dark night and chilly surroundings make the perfect setting for a scary gathering – drape some fake cobwebs around, crank up that Halloween playlist… you could even set up a projector and watch a scary film in the great outdoors. 
There’s also Bonfire Night – another perfect date to get friends together outside. A compact fire pit is a good alternative to an actual bonfire, and if you don’t have space for full-on fireworks, just get the sparklers out instead. Keep the theme going with classic Bonfire Night food like jacket potatoes and chilli. 
One final theme idea is Après Ski – used to describe the culture on the slopes when the skiing part is done. Après Ski is all about faux fur throws, alpine or fair isle prints and massive mugs of hot chocolate. This cosy jumper paired with cord trousers and chunky boots is the perfect hostess outfit. 


Food for thought 

When it comes to serving up food at your winter outdoor party, it’s best to keep things simple. Think easy carbs like chips, jacket potatoes and garlic bread, served with a big pot of something warming like chilli. Soup is another great one, and you can serve it in mugs with chunky slices of bread. 
If you’ve managed to get that firepit going, toasting marshmallows is a must and makes for a great party activity. And of course, the drink of choice has to be mulled wine!


Consider your tablescape

Ok, so we’re not talking full-on Instagrammable tablescaping for an outdoor party – let’s face it, no one will be able to see your careful styling details out in the dark! But simple things like tealights in glass holders will add to that cosy atmosphere and help shine more light on your food area too. 

Now you’ve got everything you need to host that outdoor winter party! Just make sure you wrap up warm – here are some cosy winter outfit ideas to ensure you’re as cosy as your guests. 
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