Ever since I started planning my garden makeover, I have been desperate to get out there and relax in the peaceful space with some nice drinks and a low fire as the evening goes cooler. Well I’ve finally had my chance!
Last weekend we had a couple of friends over for a BBQ and it was really lovely. There’s something nice about entertaining outdoors and how the space changes as the light fades. Today I thought I would share a few tips that we do when we plan on entertaining in our garden in the summer months.
Lighting is a key feature to any party; it helps set the mood for your evening. My favourite lighting for entertaining is soft and twinkly lights – think fairy lights and candles. The last thing you want is the glare of a main light, or a pitch black garden where no one can see what they’re doing. In our garden, we have a mixture of candles and solar lanterns – these are great as they will automatically turn on as the light fades, and highlight key areas of your garden.
Make sure you have enough space for everyone to be seated. We have our sofa now and a bistro set by the back doors and that is just nough for the amount of people we have over, however we have a few spare deck chairs in the shed just incase. If you don’t have enough space or money to get and store more seating, try keeping a few tightly rolled picnic blankets and cushions to put on the grass.
No one wants to be cold sat outside. We have a firepit in our garden which gives off a lovely warmth, but it’s nice to have something extra. Keep a selection of blankets for outdoors and pile them in a basket so guests can grab one if they’re chilly.
To me, this is essential. I hate the thought of having people leave my house hungry if they’ve come over to be fed. So make sure you plan enough food for everyone! Think about who is coming, what they like and how much they eat. Aside from, BBQ food, I like to do a few extra things like chips and dips for when guests arrive, plus things for the table to eat while the rest is cooking on the BBQ, like quiche and chicken wings. For drinks, I know most people will bring things with them, but I like to have a couple to offer them first, so plan to buy enough for 3 drinks per guest. You could always make some nice cold cocktails in jugs for everyone to help themselves to.
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This is another feature which helps set the mood of your party; are you partying on the beach in Ibiza or chilling around a campfire? Two very different music types right there. I like to make a playlist on YouTube, or Spotify has some good ones ready made. It’s also nice to have some relaxing music for later on as you get the party to wind down. At the moment I’m loving relaxed acoustic versions of songs everyone knows to set my late night summer vibes.
When you’re out in the garden, I don’t think decorations are really necessary unless you’re hosting a birthday or themed party. My favourite dinnerware to use is disposable incase of breakages! I serve food on decorative plates but have paper plates and napkins for guests. I also like to give them the option of plastic cups or glasses, some drinks its nice to have a proper glass.
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Tidy up as you go along – prep early if you can and clean up anything you use. That way it’ll be easier to clear up later as there’ll be less to do. And finally, the best tip for any entertaining (and one I am still learning) is relax. If you are stressed, your guests will notice and feel uncomfortable themselves!
I can’t wait for more fun weekends in the sun, if it ever stops raining on my days off! And I hope your parties go great too! See you soon!
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