What better way to welcome the warmer weather than by opening your garden to family and friends for a barbecue, dinner party or a laid back get-together? From the latest outdoor accessories and decorating ideas to mouth-watering recipes to please all tastes, here’s everything you need to know to throw the ultimate soiree for family, friends and loved ones this summer…
Whether it is nibbles and drinks or a full-blown four course alfresco menu, creating a stylish seating area outdoors will provide you with the perfect setting to hold your summer soiree. Our outdoor upholstery fabrics are ideal for creating comfortable sofas that can cope with inevitable spills and stains. Also, never underestimate the power of a beautiful tablecloth to completely transform a dinner table.
Fire-up the BBQ
Nothing signals the start of summer quite like the tantalising smells of a barbecue in action. Utilising your barbecue can also take the hassle out of cooking for a crowd – simply combine a few good cuts of meat with a simple homemade marinade and add a trusty friend willing to oversee the action (your guests will fight over the job, trust us.) You can’t go wrong!
Even if you only plan on sitting down for one course, a beautifully laid table adds such a sense of occasion to any summer party. Make your guests comfortable with cushions or seat pads, and don’t be afraid to go over the top with table décor! Bunches of freshly picked flowers, homemade centrepieces or candlesticks in wine bottles dotted along the table take mere minutes to prepare but will add a real sparkle to the proceedings.
Ever reached the end of a party only to realise you missed most of the action dashing around refreshing drinks or mixing cocktails? Encourage guests to help themselves by filling a drinks dispenser with a batch of homemade cocktail or set out a drinks trolley with spirits, mixers and garnishes so guests can make their own. This will mean you’re not constantly on top-up watch and will leave you free to mingle and enjoy the party
Create a Designated Chill Zone
Set aside at least one area where people can sit and rest. Consider an outdoor rug, floor cushions or more relaxed seating such as deckchairs or bean bags. This is particularly beneficial for larger parties, where you want to make sure a certain area doesn’t get too crowded, but it will also allow guests to refuel, catch up with one another, and generally soak up the atmosphere of your event.
If you’ve got children in attendance, plan some fun things ahead of time so you’re not subjected to a chorus of “I’m bored” just as your guests are arriving. A pop-up theatre playhouse will provide hours of entertainment and encourage children to take turns in putting on their own productions, while a simple set of lawn games will appeal to older kids as well – you may even find the adults can’t resist an opportunity to show off their skills!
If the sun’s setting and your party is still in full-swing, keep your guests toasty with a fire pit or selection of warm throws. There’s nothing quite like a crackling fire on a summer’s evening, and, when coupled with a generous helping of marshmallows, it will provide a memorable and intimate end to your evening for all your guests will enjoy.
It’s often the little details that make a summer party run smoothly, from pretty decorations and evening lighting to choosing the right music. These little extras take hardly any time at all to plan, yet will make for the kind of event your guests will be begging you to recreate time and time again.
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