With the expense of summer trips away, activities to keep the children entertained and lots of local events to show your face at, why not get the masses to come to you for once with a garden party?
Not only is this everyone’s cup of tea – what’s not to like about a relaxing party where you are fed, watered and can bring the little ones? – but it also takes the pressure off you paying out huge amounts of money for trips. And, once you’ve had one successful party at home, people will be asking when the next soiree is!
As long as the weather is kind to you, you could make this a regular thing, getting your friends and family involved in preparing the food, drinks and entertainment together.
Garden Party Food
There’s two ways to go with this – swanky, or not so swanky. The swanky way includes putting on finger sandwiches, mini horderves and fancy cakes and muffins. More of an afternoon tea, if you will. The great thing about this option is that you can make the majority of this ahead of time, giving you the luxury of really pull out all the stops with your food.
You can set a dress code of ‘summer smart’ and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) can be served in champagne flutes for the adults.
The other way to go for the garden party is by having a more informal BBQ. The dress is very casual, all you need to do is prepare a couple of salads, buy in bulk amounts of meat and vegetarian/vegan options, and a couple of fresh and fruity desserts to please adults and children.
For a light and fresh summer salad, BBC Good Food has this great (and colourful) lime, sesame, courgette carpaccio salad that is sure to be gobbled up quickly. There’s also some great potato salads to have ready, including this recipe from Skinny Taste that includes apples for a tangy crunch.
For your guests who are vegetarian or vegan, Linda McCartney sausages are usually a winner, simply in a burger bun with some sauce. Or, you can make up some chickpea and harissa burgers in advance ready to be thrown on the BBQ. Morsels and Sauces has a tasty recipe that’s very easy to follow.
Creating the Space
Depending on the size of your garden, the layout will differ, but the key is to create designated spaces for certain activities. Your food will be displayed in one area, the BBQ (if you choose this option) in another, while entertainment and seating will sit somewhere else. Your guests will want an organised and inviting space so they know where to go and what is on offer.
To make your outdoor space feel a bit more spacious, you could invest in some external bifolds to really open the back of your home into the garden. Your kitchen or dining room could open out onto the garden to give your guests the option of heading indoors, without feeling like they’ve left the party.
Although most of the guests will be happy enough just mingling with everyone there, it’s always worth having some entertainment options up your sleeves to keep the fun levels high. An awesome playlist is a good place to start – Spotify has a free trial of its premium account so you can enjoy some ad-free songs playing from a speaker outside.
If you will be inviting lots of children, and you are lucky enough to have the space to accommodate it, you should get a bouncy castle. So much fun for the little ones right up to the very big ones. Try to limit when the kids can go on it, as lots of bouncy right after food can have dangerous effects!
Last, but not least, is getting the children to put on a show for the party. This could be a puppet show, or a little play, a dance to their favourite song or even a singing contest on a karaoke machine. Sooooo cute to watch as well as providing a chance for them to do some showing off!
Bad Weather Provisions
The British weather is quite unpredictable, so even if the weather forecast is in your favour for the garden party, try to prepare for the worst too. Invest in some umbrellas for your garden furniture just in case it rains, as well as dotting about a few little heaters for guests to huddle around. To get a campfire-feeling, get a fire pit – they are both atmospheric and toasty warm.
You can also transition from day to night with the help of some decent garden lighting, along with a handy supply of blankets, hoodies and spare slippers to make sure the party animals can stay warm to keep the party going!