Garden parties are quintessentially British as afternoon tea and Victoria sponge cake and have over the years evolved into a far more informal affair involving BBQs, pimms and late night sing-a-longs to your favourite tunes. After all summer, wouldn’t be summer without a good BBQ! What more could you want than a beautiful summer evening spent with good friends, family and good food! Whether it’s sitting in the garden sharing a platter of barbequed delights, playing fun games or cuddling up by an outdoor fire there is something undeniably comforting about the British BBQ with family and friends!
Here are our eight top tips to help you throw a fun-filled garden party from food to seating and lighting to decoration ideas.
Make your BBQ one to remember by offering up more than just burgers and sausages. Create delicious marinades and butters, exciting options for vegetarians and tasty side dishes without spending the earth!
Check out our simple Tasty Recipes for the BBQ blog post including sizzling skewers, saucy steak, sticky chicken wings and even a cheeky ginsecco cocktail!
The key is to include fresh and light ingredients, add sides and salads to keep guests full and happy whilst in your home.
Set-out a grazing board or two as appetizers and for people to serve themselves. Add tasty treats including cured meats, cheeses crackers, pickles, fresh and dried fruits, vegetables, nuts and dips.
Remember to cater for all dietary requirements too! There is nothing worse than rocking up at a party and finding that there is nothing you can eat or the vegetarian option is the same old boring pasta dish you cook every night. Full bellies, equal happy guests.
Create a Condiment Display
We all know a condiment makes a burger or hotdog. Why not go beyond basic ketchup and mayo and offer an array of toppings for guests to help themselves. Dress the condiments in individual cute jars and add a little label. Simple, effective and an easy way to get everyone involved in creating their own ultimate unique topping sensations.
Having a central round or square table is perfect (but not a must) for BBQs and dining alfresco, it’s much more sociable and brings people together, everyone can easily chat, interact and enjoy one another’s company. Have a folding table to hand for when you need extra space for food and drinks. Don’t worry if you are limited on garden space, and a six-seater table is out of the question you can still seat your guests, and with the right garden furniture even the smallest of spaces can seem bigger.
Try a small bistro set, consisting of two chairs and a table, their slimline designs make them ideal for smaller spaces. Pick up a few travel chairs you can easily store away or try adding a bench to your garden instead, space saving and perfect for relaxed entertaining and sipping sangrias into the night.
Decorations & Tableware
For a touch of fun and rustic elegance hang DIY bunting and paper lanterns and decorate your table with artificial or real flowers for pops of colour; balloons and balloon displays are a fun alternative too!
When it comes to place and table settings, BBQs are not formal so keep it light and casual.
Adopt a less is more motto adding colourful tablecloths and napkins for a summery feel, simple glassware and quaint accents such as stripey straws – simple and cute.
Create family style serving in woven baskets or on platters and ready the silverware, by wrapping cutlery in napkins, tying them with ribbon and setting them aside in a cutlery holder or basket for easy grab and go appeal.
These small, budget friendly touches can take your everyday garden party to a whole new level of alfresco dining.
Lighting & Eye-Catching Fires
Add magical mood lighting with solar string lights. Create an ultra-soft glow into the night by draping them around your parasol and gazebo or hanging them along the fence. Pop solar powered fairy lights or tea light candles into a glass mason jar for a cute and elegant glow after dark and place them along the patio.
You can always take the chill out of alfresco evenings with a garden chiminea or fire basket and add throws and cushions to your seating to create a warm inviting environment. Your guests will love cosying up with a throw around these fire catchers to keep the party going.
Drinks on Ice
Dress up your ice buckets with flowers and fresh fruit for a charming look.
It’ll not only chill your bubbly but will look amazing as a centre piece. See how at Sugar and Charm.
Alternatively opt for a rustic look and fill up your wheel barrow with ice to chill your drinks, it’s casual and your guests won’t have to wait for you to top up their glass.
Prosecco Time! For a boozy ice cold twist, try soaking grapes in prosecco, see how at Delish. Coat them in sugar, toss into a large bowl and watch them disappear in an instant!
Who said fruit was boring!
Easy DIY Desserts
It’s always a good idea to prep as much in advance as possible, so you’re free to host and enjoy the evening with your friends and family.
If serving ice cream, pre-scoop into cup-cake cases and store them in the freezer until needed.
You’ll save yourself time and won’t need to worry about it melting when serving. Then simply let your guest add their own toppings, easy!
You can always simplify an ice cream sundae to an ice cream cone with sundae style toppings.
Dress up waffle cones ahead of time by dipping them in melted chocolate and roll in nuts, crushed oreo biscuits, sprinkles or your favourite toppings, then simply add a scoop or two of ice cream. Delicious!
Try combining the two, pre-scooped ice-cream into pre-prepared waffle cones!
More Great Ideas...
Why not take a quick look at our other great garden ideas, top tips and tricks from Getting Your Garden Ready for Spring to Upcycling Old Garden Pots to add a bit of creative flair.
We’ve even rounded up our Top Trending Garden Items, for you to have a sneak peek into what everyone else is loving right now! Sssh! We won't tell if you won't!