It seems like only yesterday that the chill of winter had sunk its teeth into our beloved gardens, rendering them cold and barren. However, spring is well and truly here and as we settle into June most of us have already put in the hard work and elbow grease of getting our gardens spring ready and are now getting ready to enjoy the explosions of warmth, color and scent that come with the summer. The summer is the perfect time to reap the fruits of your labors (literally if you’re growing food in your garden) and spend some relaxing and emotionally nourishing time alone with your own little slice of nature’s bounty.
But then, you ponder, it’d be selfish to keep such a wonderful garden all to myself. As summer draws near, now is the perfect time to invite family, friends and neighbors over for a garden party. What could be more enjoyable than the prospect of great food, refreshing drinks, fun and laughter in the company of your nearest and dearest? It’s a wonderful idea, but one which can quickly sour if the event is not planned to perfection.
The prospect of hosting a garden party may be a little intimidating if you’ve never hosted one before, but while there are certainly potential pitfalls, they can be easily managed. With a little preparation and imagination, you could throw a party that not only wows your guests but provides the perfect showcase for your beautiful garden…
It’s all about the planning
It’s an age old adage that’s applicable to more or less everything… “failing to prepare is preparing to fail”. Impromptu events can be a lot of fun but by and large, the more time you have to prepare, the more enjoyable and manageable the occasion. Thus, you should establish a guest list and get your invites out well in advance of your proposed date. You can either design your own from scratch or use one of these lovely templates. It might also be a good idea to create a Facebook group so that you can manage your guests effectively.
Some hostesses like to add a sense of fun and theatricality to proceedings by choosing a theme. Blogs, magazines and of course Pinterest are great resources for planning a theme that will give your party its own look and feel and help it to stand out in people’s minds.
Prep today so that you can enjoy tomorrow
Planning will make all the difference between making your party an enjoyable summer event and a stressful nightmare that you’d rather forget.
Two days before your event it’s a good idea to send a message to your Facebook event group, enabling you to create a final guest list. This will allow you to purchase just the right amount of food while allowing you to manage your guests effectively. You don’t want anyone going hungry or having to ration food among your guests but you don’t want to be up to your elbows in festering leftovers for the next week and a half either.
When it comes to catering, this is a perfect opportunity to wow your guests with a selection of seasonal canapes which will delight your guests’ taste buds. If you can source as many ingredients as possible from your own garden this can provide the perfect talking point for guests. Our British friend Jamie Oliver has some impressive yet delightfully easy recipes for these. Of course, you don’t have to stress yourself out by having to become a master of the culinary arts in a matter of days. Keeping things simple but making sure they’re done right is always a useful approach. It will also ensure that your nibbles cater to a broad range of palettes and ensure that fussy eaters are well catered for.
If you’re nervous about the prospect of catering for a large group of people, do not despair. Bring and share parties are a way of easing some of the pressure placed on busy hostesses, allowing them to pay more attention to the little details which will give your event personality and pizzaz. If you choose to do this, however, just make sure that you communicate with your guests beforehand to make sure everyone knows who’s bringing what. You don’t want to spend weeks wading in potato salad.
Cater for everyone
If you’re firing up the barbecue (and why wouldn’t you on a summer’s day) just remember that a lot of people today eschew meat and animal products for health and ethical reasons. Likewise some of your guests may suffer from dairy or gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Make sure that your guests let you know of their dietary restrictions well in advance so that you can ensure that everyone has a full plate without offending their sensibilities or condemning them to an evening of crippling stomach pain.
Transforming your garden
Anyone can lay on some nibbles and drinks in a well maintained garden. A sense of theatricality and adventure can make a huge difference in making your event stand out in the minds of guests. Transforming your garden needn’t even be a huge undertaking. Often, a few design flourishes are all that it takes to transform your garden. Using LED rope lights is a great way of adding sparkle and dazzle to your garden while also marking out different zones for guests or even drawing special attention to your horticultural masterpieces. You can also create a magical area while cordoning off no-go areas or lending a sense of dazzle to dull or drab areas with LED curtain lights. When the sun retreats and the garden goes cold, burning some dried logs in a fire pit will add a touch of romance along with a sense of visual wonderment!
But give your guests a space to cool off!
If your guests will be in the sun all day, it might be a good idea to give them a place to cool off under some shade or a cooling outdoor fan from www.modernfanoutlet.com. This will give them a place to stay cool and hydrate before returning to the party proper.
Remember to have fun!
Your guests are there for the delicious food and beverages but first and foremost they’re there to see you and your family. Don’t transform yourself into a stressed and overworked scullery maid as you strive for an unattainable level of perfection that your guests never even asked for. Take the time to enjoy the evening before it passes you by.
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