The beloved American actor and comedian, Robin Williams, once joked that spring is nature’s way of telling us: ‘let’s party!’ With eruptions of birdsong, the daily increase in daylight hours and the sudden appearance of colourful bulbs and blooms throughout our gardens, we really couldn’t agree more.
The advent of warm afternoons and evenings equally brings with it the perfect excuse to get your friends and family together for a party of your own and make the most out of your spring garden. Here are a handful of our favourite outdoor party ideas and tips to help you get the festivities started.
1. Cater for everyone
Picking the right food and drink sets the tone of your party. While you might be a connoisseur of the finest local seafood, you have to be aware that this won’t be everyone’s favourite dish.
When you put together your outdoor party ideas, plan a little something for any vegetarians and gluten-intolerants on your guest list, and remember to plan something fun and simple for any kids coming along too.
In addition to offering different types of cuisine, try to vary the size of the dishes on offer. Some guests might come expecting a three-course meal, while others will want nothing more than a snack. As we point out in a recent blog article on outdoor parties, be sure to have an easily accessible bar located outside to keep the good humour flowing.
2. Set a dress code
Outdoor parties are a great opportunity to get dressed up in your finest summer gear, but guests need to know what to expect. Whether you prefer your friends to be in white-tie or something a little more casual is completely up to you, but you need to make sure that everyone gets the message. Once the invitations have been sent, you can then match your outdoor party decorations to the tone of dress: think ribboned flower stands for special occasions or bunting for a casual summer barbecue.
If your party is centred around a swimming pool, make sure to offer your guests somewhere to change. Clear signposting is always helpful, as are fresh laundered towels.
3. Provide entertainment
It’s your job as host to keep your guests entertained, and many people revel in this responsibility. Music is an absolute must, but you might like to go one step further and provide some garden party games. Life-sized chess pieces are always good fun and work well as outdoor party decorations, but guests might find these a bit cerebral as the celebrations go on. Try to diversify your garden party games and offer a few for different age groups, with a piñata for the kids and a good old-fashioned limbo for any youthful-feeling adults.
4. Prepare for the evening
If you’ve succeeded in throwing an excellent party, your guests won’t want it to end. Lunchtime or afternoon gatherings could easily stretch into the evening, so make sure you have a few outdoor party ideas tucked away for those late hours.
As the evening rolls in, put on a gentler, more romantic playlist of jazz or blues so that your guests can sit and talk without being disturbed. Tone down the lighting into a soft hue, or dot candles about your garden in decorative jars. Make sure you still have some light foods available, such as cheese, fruits and crackers for anyone wanting a touch of supper, and switch the wine for a port or some whiskey to wind down the evening.
The key to throwing a memorable outdoor party lies in preparation. Follow the above tips, and you’ll have your friends and family reminiscing about your gathering for months to come.