Thinking about holding a party in your garden? Planning an outdoor party can be a challenging feat and there are lots of things to consider which wouldn’t be an issue with an indoor event. That shouldn’t put you off hosting an outdoor event though! Garden parties, when planned properly, are great fun and allow for certain activities that wouldn’t be possible to do indoors. But where do you start? How can you ensure that your outdoor party is the best it can be? We’ve offered some ideas that you can explore to help you plan the best garden party ever.
Create a theme
A good place to start is by deciding on a theme for your garden party. This will help you to focus when it comes to deciding on tableware and décor, as well as help you to determine what food and drink you’re going to serve. Your theme could be anything you want and should help you to decide on the finer details, such as how your décor will look, what type of cuisine is on offer, and what music you’ll play. For instance, if your theme is based around a particular country, you might offer food and drink from that culture, as well as play traditional music from it.
There are endless ideas you can have for a party theme. Fancy dress, vintage aesthetic, Mad Hatters, a certain colour, or your favourite TV programme or sporting team are just a handful of the numerous themes you might choose. Ideas for garden party themes are limited only by your imagination, so be creative and go for it!
Once you’ve settled on a theme, use it as a guide for your party supplies. For instance, if your theme is the French Riviera, you might want to stock up on Mediterranean cuisine, decorate in a way that honours the theme, and create a playlist that transports you and your guests to the region.
Consider space and logistics
Don’t neglect your furniture when planning a garden party. You want to ensure the comfort of your guests, so do pay attention to seating numbers. If your party is going to involve a sit-down meal, then make sure you are able to provide the space for that to happen, whether you’re able to use one big table, or several smaller ones. Even if you’re planning on a more casual layout, like a buffet where guests can help themselves to food, it’s still important that there are enough seats for everyone to sit down comfortably within the space you have. If you can, make all the seating more comfortable by adding extra cushions. Also provide blankets and knitwear for added comfort, as well as extra warmth if you’re anticipating your party continuing into the night.
It’s advisable to check any special requirements with your guests beforehand. For instance, are there any dietary needs that might have to be considered? Some food allergies, such as peanut allergies, can be severe and can even cause reactions just by having nuts in the same room as the person, so do check this with your guests first.
Do be prepared for all weather scenarios on the day of your party. It’s a good idea to have some form of cover in case it rains. Temporary garden canopies are easy to put up and can look really pretty, especially when decorated with fairy lights. You might think of putting up a gazebo instead if you have the space to do so and perhaps consider adding an outdoor heater. Remember that grass will get muddy in the rain, so if your party is taking place on the lawn, then it’s wise to put down temporary decking to prevent the event turning into a quagmire. You should also be prepared for having to move your party indoors in the event of a storm or if the outside gets too cold after dark. Anticipating this scenario beforehand and preparing your indoor space for it will save you a lot of stress should the weather take a turn for the worse.
Use the garden as your kitchen
Add to the summer alfresco experience by preparing your food and drink outdoors as much as you can. Not only will it reduce the length of time you’re indoors and away from your guests, it’ll add to the authentic continental dining experience. Everyone loves a barbeque, why not consider that? Or, for a more contemporary vibe, while also being practical, why not add a pizza oven? The Outdoor Pizza Oven, Ooni Koda 16, can be used to cook 16 inch pizzas, sauté vegetables, roast meat, and much more, making it ideal for social events in garden.
You want to be the perfect host, but you don’t want to spend the evening pouring drinks for everyone. Therefore, you should consider having a drink station where guest can help themselves to alcohol or soft drinks. This way, your guests will feel more involved and it’ll create the feel of an outdoor bar. It will also prevent the main dining table from becoming too crowded. A table or trolley is easily transformed into a makeshift bar. Just cover with a throw or cloth and then stock with your choices of drink. You might consider a range of alcoholic beverages as well as soft drinks; or even a bowl of punch or a few pre-prepared cocktails. Don’t forget to include a bucket of ice, plenty of drinking vessel, mixers, spoons, measuring cups, cocktail embellishments, and anything else you might need.
Having a party is supposed to be fun, so think about how you’re going to entertain your guests. Relying on conversation alone can work, but sometimes it helps to think outside the box. Think of providing music – this could be a playlist in line with the theme or of the best party classics. You could also make the guests feel involved by inviting them to bring their own downloads or CDs. If you’ve got the space and the funds, you might even think of hiring a small band or local musician. Or why not make your own music and have a sing-along with a guitar and some makeshift percussion instruments?
Party games are ideal for an outdoor gathering and the list of possibilities are endless. There are a range of lawn games, such as bowls, croquet, or hoopla, that will bring out everyone’s competitive side. Oversized games of Twister often go down well at parties and can give everyone a real laugh; as can old favourites like charades. For more laidback parties, you can’t go wrong with board games, like jenga or snakes and ladders. These are also ideal for after-dark when you maybe want to start winding down.
Planning a garden party can be challenging, but with the right mind set, you can ensure that your event is the best it can be. Deciding on a theme for your party is a good place to start and will help you to focus on things better. Once you’ve settled on a theme, you should consider all the logistics and establish what you can and can’t do with the space and resources you have. Utilising the outdoor space as much as possible when it comes to preparing the food and drink will avoid you having to spend too long indoors away from your guests. You should also take into account the comfort and warmth of your guests in the outdoors, as well as consider what entertainment you’re going to provide. Most importantly though, you should aim to have fun.