A house is not a home until you’ve thrown a party so a big thanks to my gorgeous Mum for having a big birthday this year and giving me the excuse. Holding a summer garden party is a British classic as we brave it outdoors and gamble withe the weather! As an interior stylist I have lots of easy styling tips up my sleeve to make it a success whatever the weather and I’m a stickler for getting things done on a bit of a budget too. As with any project I started by collating inspiration from Pinterest. You can view my board here.
Invest in a marquee. You can’t trust the British weather! I think it’s important you find one with windows, or lift the sides away. Position it away from the wind direction and maximise the view. I chose a Chinese Hat marquee from Sussex Marquees, which is 6m x 6m, ideal for seating up to 30 which I thinks a nice number.
Have a buffet lunch. It keeps the vibe relaxed and helps keep the cost down too. I think it’s important to think about colour so I indulge in vibrant food, piled high and dressed with fresh herbs and edible flowers. I simply adore the food by Blid and Hatton who supplied this spread for our party. It was mouthwatering! Think mozzarella with peaches drizzled with pesto and Feta salad with watermelon. And a platter of mouthwatering roast beef.
I begged borrowed and stole extra large dishes from family and friends. This blue and white china platter has been handed through the generations from my Great Great Grandmother! Served on top is Blid and Hattons baked ricotta. I must get the recipe off them!
Position the drinks table so it’s easy to access and circulate. A nice idea is to have a champagne table so everyone can pick up a glass of fizz when they arrive. For a summer flourish I popped a fresh strawberry in each glass.
For young children provide a picnic lunch on rugs with paper plates and cups. This saves on providing extra seating and means they can eat on the hop and then get on with playing. Provide platters so everyone can find something that they like to eat.
Make sure there is lots to keep the kids entertained, so the parents can relax. I provided trampoline, bouncing castle, swings and a bell tent full of games. We didn’t hear a peep from them all afternoon!
Fill a wheelbarrow full of iced water to keep bottles cool. I then filled plastic tubs and galvanised buckets full of iced water for cans and bottles of beer. It also encourages a help your self service.
Create maximum impact with affordable paper decorations. Rather than scattering them around the space, clump them all together in one place for a bigger impact either like a central chandelier from one point or grouped across one wall. Keeping in with the theme I then taped a paper fan on the back of each alternating chair. I got these from an online party supplier called Party Puffin and found them really good, but there are loads of great sites that are just as affordable.
Nothing says summer like an abundance of fresh garden flowers. Collect vintage and flea market vases and containers, even teapots, to make a relaxed display. Be careful to keep any flower displays low so people can still talk to the person opposite them.
I bought armfuls from the local Flower market in Brighton, which is cheaper than getting them from the florist, especially if you are buying a lot and what a great choice of blooms. I bought armfuls of typical English country garden blooms in a rainbow of colours.
Finally make sure you have all your favourite people there. Here I am with my fabulous Mum and my mother in law, my son and his friends. Happy days! And for my absolutely to die for chocolate cake recipe which is fail proof hit on any occasion check out my recipe here.