5 tips for a Great British garden party
Like Wimbledon tennis and trips to the seaside, the garden party is a key part of a Great British summer. After the difficulties of lockdown and the pandemic, now is the time to celebrate like never before, and so here our five top tips for hosting a garden party for family and friends that will be the talk of the summer…
Pick your theme wisely
Picking a theme for your garden party will help you bring everything together with minimal stress. Do you want to host a smart afternoon tea party or a casual barbecue? Is a boho festival theme with chilled music and stylish decorations what you have in mind, or will you embrace the bright florals with a party inspired by Hawaii? Whatever you decide to go for, make sure everything is on point, from the invitations and menu to the drinks and decorations. The Party Pieces store is stacked with eye-catching summer ranges – for that festival vibe checkout our Boho Spice range, for a tropical set up Hawaiian Party is what you need, and for a traditional tea party, dive into our Summer Flower Garden and Best of British collections.
Top tip: When sending out your invitations (themed, of course!), make sure you include a dress code. What people come dressed in, be it smart linen suits and summer dresses or dazzling Hawaiian shirts, will set the tone for the afternoon.
Make your party table a sparkling centre-piece
At the centre of any garden party worth remembering is an eye-catching table. How you decorate yours will be determined in part by the theme you’ve chosen for your party. So, for example, a boho festival garden party will need a table festooned with wild flower bunches and foliage garlands, while a casual barbecue party needs a table popping with colour – a bright runner, dazzling plates and this candy stripe platter for burger rolls or a big salad will look the part.
Top tip: Getting food prepped ahead of time will mean you don’t need to be in the kitchen for vast chunks of the party. Grazing plates laid out with cold cuts, pickles, dips, crudités and toasted pitta can be done an hour or so before people arrive, and will look inviting on your party table. For more ideas, read our blog on three of our favourite ways to prep your summer table.
Croquet: the ultimate garden party game
Croquet is that most English of garden party pursuits. Although it has many antecedents, the origins of croquet as we know it can be traced to 1852 when an Irish game called “crooky” was introduced to England. With equipment soon made available, the popularity of the game grew throughout the British Isles and way beyond. If you’ve got the space, it’s a wonderful game to have on offer at your garden party, particularly if you’ve gone for an afternoon tea party theme. If that’s the case, get yourself a croquet set and let battle commence.
Top tips: Croquet is relatively straightforward but there are rules to be followed. Make sure you bone up on them before the party starts, so you can get other people up to speed when the time comes to play. You could plan a tournament to run throughout the party, especially if you’ve got particularly competitive guests.
Be prepared for rain
A British garden party needs a wet weather plan. It’s annoying to have to contemplate the heavens opening over your carefully planned party, but that’s the state of play in this country (and how else do we get our gardens to grow?). With this in mind, set up a gazebo or small marquee depending on numbers and the size of your garden, so there’s some shelter if the rain falls. This will double up nicely as a shaded area if the sun decides to be kind.
Host an evening garden party
When thinking about hosting a garden party, a day-time celebration often seems like the obvious option, but at the height of summer when the nights are warm, an evening do is a lovely option. Set up chairs, picnic rugs and cushions around the garden in clusters, so people can mingle and relax, and prettify the garden with gorgeous fairy lights and solar lanterns. These will not only transform your outdoor space into a magical retreat for your party, but will glow it up throughout the summer.
Top tip: No one likes to get cold, so keep the chills at bay by providing your guests with blankets to put over their shoulders, or set up a garden heater or fire pit to really bring warmth to proceedings.
Are you staycationing this summer? Read our guide to doing a UK-based holiday that won’t have you pining for foreign shores.