If you have ever attended an afternoon tea in garden Party as part of the VIP tourist ticket to Buckingham Palace, you will already know the differences between an average and a truly fabulous garden party. So, in an effort to help you feel like a king or queen this summer, continue reading to discover the perfect way to host a civilized garden party from start to finish.
Now, the beauty of living in the UK is that the quintessential English country garden is all around and so it makes perfect sense that your sophisticated garden party sticks to this most beautiful and authentic theme.
Fresh flowers are the perfect aesthetic for a garden party and if you are already someone who is green-fingered, all this will involve is to titivate your flower beds the evening before the party to make sure all your plants, bushes, and fauna are on point. When designing your invitations (because, of course, invitations to a garden party should be sent through the post and not consist of any e-mail invitation nonsense) be sure to use a handwritten note with a hint of the theme, so your guests are prepared.
If you are planning on hosting the garden party of the year at the beginning of the summer, when the British weather could turn on a sixpence, then you will want to plan an outfit that can easily be adapted to deal with a sudden patch of rain. Established and renowned plus size boutique froxx.co.uk showcases an impressive range of beautiful tea dresses and top-and-skirt combinations, which are perfectly suited to a summer afternoon but can also seamlessly transition into the evening. Furthermore, if the fashion for your garden party is important to you, there could always be a little note on the invitations expressing a smart/casual dress code for the day.
An Eco-Friendly Focus
Especially when holding any kind of event outdoors, even if the location is your own back garden, it is important to have an environmentally friendly and conscientious focus for the party, which can be achieved in a few simple steps. Firstly, when focusing on the food, try and purchase everything you need to feed yourself and your guests at the same time as supporting your nearby farmers’ market, or indeed local grocers and produce suppliers in your area. This way, you will be minimizing the carbon footprint of the event (and your own personal footprint) as well as ensuring your spread is pesticide-free – and if you choose, wholly organic too.
Another effective way to ensure your garden party is as eco-friendly as possible when it comes to the plates and cutlery, you should avoid using any dining set that requires the use of the dishwasher afterward. Now, obviously, nobody would have you believe that paper plates are the staple for any garden party at the palace, but there are a number of excellent substitutes in dinnerware that look fantastic and can be simply wiped clean. Notably, palm plates, which have no hint of any chemicals and are entirely sustainable would be an excellent choice.
Whether you are intending on providing freshly prepared barbecue food for your guests, or are following a traditional line of being served food at the table, or even arranging a buffet in the kitchen or conservatory for guests to serve themselves, you need to stick to a budget.
As a general rule, as indeed for any function regardless of the context, it is strongly advisable to prepare more food than you think you will need, as more often than not, this will result in the exact right amount. Focus on light and fresh ingredients and moreover, concentrate on mains and side dishes that are perfectly acceptable to be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge or freezer, which will help to minimize your stress levels on the day of the party.
Beautiful ideas for food and drink for your guests at any size of the garden party include, amongst many others, the following:
- Raspberry sorbets with fresh raspberries
- Freshly squeezed lemonade
- Pina Coladas
- Homemade potato salad and coleslaw
- Sticky chicken drumsticks with rice and salad
- Mini burgers
Living in the United Kingdom is wonderful, but it is certainly safe to say that predictably warm and sunny days throughout the summer are a pipe dream. It is for this reason that, as you would expect, you will need to have a ‘Plan B’ in the wings, just in case the heavens open, which mainly revolves around undercover cooking and food preparation facilities and alternative indoor seating arrangements.
If you have access to (or would like to hire) a gazebo, this would make any possible transition from the warm outdoors to the indoors a lot easier and would also be easy to incorporate into the overall party theme.
The final element of a successful, enjoyable, and truly beautiful English garden party relates to the lights and decorations – the former becoming much more of a consideration if you intend on the party going on through the evening and night. When it comes to the lighting, at least a couple of weeks before the date of the party, head to your nearest garden center or even supermarket and purchase a couple of boxes of solar string lights in warm white. Back in the garden, neatly hang the string lights so as to frame the perimeter of your garden and, if possible, include tree branches and roots too.
Additionally, you could also invest in stake solar lights, which have the appearance of a Mary Poppins-esque lamppost from yesteryear, and position them neatly yet sporadically in flowerbeds and plant pots. Lastly, other garden party decorations aside from warm solar lighting could include neatly folded throws on the backs of chairs for when the temperature drops in the evening; cream pillar candles of varying sizes positioned along the middle of the table; and brightly colored runners and other smaller items to make the table the focus of peoples’ attention.