During the summer months, we all want to dine al fresco as much as possible. You might want to show off your garden in full bloom, your recent home improvements or simply want any excuse to spend time with family and friends. Whatever the reason, there’s always an excuse for a summer garden party.
We spoke to party planner Maria Reidy, a signature event planner in Dublin, to find out what the garden party trends are, this summer:
Before even attempting a guest list, pick a theme. People normally start off by picking a colour, a favourite location, or even a movie/book: some of the big trends we’re seeing this season are floral and anything oceanic. Alternatively, for the foodies out there - pick your favourite cuisine.
Then use your theme to inspire everything from the invites to the table styling, food, drinks and even the music.
To help you on your way, Maria has given us some quick inspiration for some of these popular themes:
- Floral Wonderland
- Let your imagination run wild with a floral theme. Indulge in some DIY decor with paper-flower-and-leaf mobiles hanging from painted branches and faux flower topiary trees. For a quick, modern centerpiece, float peonies - or any flowers that strike your fancy (even ones which grow in your garden) - in small bowls, and arrange them with flame effect led candles. You can bring this theme to life, even adding it to your food. Flower-shaped sandwiches anyone? There are plenty of edible flowers out there, and you can even extend your theme to the sweet stuff by creating flower-inspired cupcakes. Continue the theme and celebrate florals with this summer’s most popular drink: elderflower cordial, served from a pretty flower-topped glass.
- Ocean Dreaming
- Blues and greens are a big trend this season - use colourful picnic tableware to remind guests of the sea. Bring the theme through to your menu, by grilling fresh fish - BBQ or no BBQ - and match it with suitably light and fresh salads – you can bring your garden’s fragrances to your glass with basil, mint or thyme-infused drinks.
- Ay caramba!
- If you want to base your party around a cuisine, Mexican lends itself well to outdoor sizzle and is centered around community and sharing. Use vibrant-coloured plates and dishes, wicker baskets and terracotta bowls to bring a full Mexican Fiesta to your table. Add some cacti and colourful flowers to your table for an authentic feel. And when it comes to food, think traditional (and delicious!), like tacos, quesadillas and nachos. You could go the whole hog and supply your guests with sombreros…
- Light fantastic
- Lighting is a must for outdoor parties, helping to create a magical space that can be enjoyed even when the sun’s gone down. We highly recommend staying away from the use of candles; you can easily set the mood with tabletop led lights placed in pretty wind-resistant vessels and go for smart spotlights in walls and pathways to illuminate the way for guests. Wireless solar-powered lights are an easy and eco-friendly solution which will also give you peace of mind.
The nitty gritty
If you’re planning a large bash, professional caterers can be worth their weight in gold. They’ll supply everything extra, from tables and chairs to crockery and cutlery.
Remember, that the providers you choose for rental items and facilities such as marquees, additional tables, chairs & crockery should be fully & independently insured, as these items are not covered by some home insurance policies. You can check this within your policy documentation or you can contact your insurer in advance.
“Or you can cut costs by organising grazing stations – cheese and antipasti stations work very well – and simply hire equipment and professional wait staff so that you can mingle with your guests,“ explains party planner Maria Reidy who organises events with food from Butler’s Pantry. “As our weather is so unpredictable, money spent on gazebos and outdoor heaters is money well spent.” Don’t forget to leave out a basketful of colourful blankets that match your theme, so that guests can snuggle up under the stars. They’ll thank you for it!
Summer fruit punch
- In a large pitcher, combine cranberry juice with all of the fruit and stir gently.
- Refrigerate for at least two hours, and serve over ice.
70kcals, 0.2g fat (0g saturated), 16.3g carbs, 12.7g sugars, 0.3g protein, 2.3g fibre, 0.003g sodium
- Combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan and place over a high heat just until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and pour the syrup into a jug. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Stir the lemon and orange juice into the syrup and refrigerate until very cold.
- Add some ice cubes, lemon slices and/or mint leaves to garnish, and then serve.
180kcals, 0.4g fat (0g saturated), 46.1g carbs, 45.5g sugars, 0.6g protein, 0.7g fibre, 0.008g sodium
If you spend a lot of time in your garden during the summer, you have probably invested in items which are left permanently outside. We offer an optional Garden cover policy with our Home Insurance, for such items, to learn move, visit here.