TALOR's Top 8 Entertaining Tips

Entertaining at home is a great way to have an enjoyable get-together with your nearest and dearest in a controlled and comforting environment. However, we know that sometimes it may seem daunting to be the one calling the shots, especially if it’s your first time hosting. To help you create the best experience possible, we have created these 8 great tips for hosting a garden party and other small events. With good food, good weather and good company, who wouldn’t want to be part of the fun?!

1: Invitations & RSVP’s

A simple but effective way to get people excited about your event; taking the time to send an invite can add a memorable touch but also can help avoid any issues later when your guests arrive.

Making invitations can be a great way to get creative and crafty, but they can also be as simple as a group message online, or even a Facebook event. Invites and an RSVP also means that even if you have sent out a lot of invites, it takes out the guess work for the amount you can expect on the day.

Regardless of if it’s sent by email or snail-mail, here is a list below of things to include to help make your life easier on event day.

  1. What is the event?
  2. Where and when?
  3. Is there a theme or dress code?
  4. Do they need to bring anything?
  5. Allergy / Dietary information
  6. How to RSVP

2: Setting the scene

Mixing colours and textures can make a real difference to the look of your outdoor space and accessorising can bring a unique and personal touch to your furniture sets. Whether you prefer a bohemian, chic or a minimalist look, there is always an accent piece to suit your style.

Try adding a green wall or some screening to transform your old brickwork or introduce an outdoor rug to bring your patio area to life! The key is to have fun with it and consider your garden to be an extension of your home and yourself.

If you are unsure on what your first steps should be, the Royal Horticultural Society has some great content on garden design you can use for inspiration and help get you started, whether you are looking for a modern or classic garden, big or small: https://www.rhs.org.uk/garden-design/garden-themes

 

3: Seating and comfort

Take a load off, relax!

The comfort of your guests is important, and they will want somewhere to sit down and enjoy the atmosphere. Outdoor furniture sets are a great all-in-one solution, but don’t be afraid to mix and match to get that perfect layout that suits your needs.

If formal seating isn’t your cup of tea, try laying down a picnic blanket with some camp chairs. Digging out your camping equipment can create a relaxing but youthful feel, almost as if bringing the holiday to you, perfect to enjoy some light bites and lemonade. Alternatively for a more homely country look, try incorporating hay bales as casual seating for a unique and rustic twist.

If you want to improve your space but are looking for an alternative to sourcing something new, restoring any old furniture you have is a fun way to add a characterful statement in an eco-friendly and sustainable way. B&Q have this super simple 2-minute video giving you the top tips on how to bring new life to your much-loved wooden furniture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiURjWl10I4

 

4: Side tables and surfaces

When considering your seating solutions, it’s important to also remember that you will need a suitable amount practical surfaces too, especially if you have a less formal seating arrangement.

Outdoor side and occasional tables are a great way to compliment your chairs and other furniture but provide practical space for laying down drinks and other small items.

If you have limited floor space or just want a more urban feel, making a dedicated bar area is not only an impressive talking point with your guests, but a handy way to store & place things without intruding on your entertaining space.

TOP TIP: Having unique coasters or a way to customise them both protects your furniture and makes it easier for guests to know what belongs to who at a glance.

For those looking to keep things flexible and on the move, a dining cart is both a fun statement and a useful functional piece that can be the perfect all-in-one drinks solution for your next party. With a robust build and solid wheels, you can move the drinks station to wherever the party is; if you’re by the pool or at the dinner table, your drinks never need to be out of reach.

 

5: Serving food

Al-fresco dining can be the highlight of the summer or a nightmare waiting to happen, planning and contingencies help things run smoothly even if something goes wrong. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Have a variety of foods available

Whether it’s salads, snack bars or sushi, make sure that there is something for everyone to enjoy. Try including some tasty vegan or gluten free options for people to try, here is a great collection of recipes by Veganuary that includes both hot and cold food options:

https://veganuary.com/vegan-bbq-recipes/

 

  • Plates, cups & cutlery

The worst feeling in the world as a host is laying out all your food and drinks, taking a step back to admire your work and then realising that someone has been left with only a saucer to eat from! Maybe a guest brought a +1 you forgot about, or maybe something gets broken; be prepared by having a spare couple of sets somewhere easily accessible.

  • Lemonade & Mocktails

American style lemonade is simple to make but always a hit! Have a pitcher out and garnish with some fresh lemon slices for a classic, mouth-watering look.

Your guests will also love a mocktail bar as a way to spice-up your soft drinks in a fun and novel way. Try printing and laminating a few simple recipes for your guests to try making together.

What better way to cool you down on a hot day than an ice-cool drink, but you don’t want guests stuck in your kitchen crowded around your freezer. Fill up a bucket or cooler with ice for both easy access and a way to store / chill bottled drinks.

 

6: Lighting

The party doesn’t have to stop just because the sun goes down. There are great lighting options to meet all your needs.

Citronella candles add a romantic touch to your evening drinks but are also a great method of keeping bugs away, especially if you live near water. These candles come in all shapes and sizes meaning they will never look out of place and are available in most good home and outdoor stores for an affordable price.

Philips Hue lights offer a range of dynamic and adjustable lighting that can transform your night and help modernise your home. It’s time to say goodbye to boring bulbs and hello to the future, whether you’d like simple warm tones to softly light your space or a mix of bold and bright colours to get the disco started! A key advantage of having smart lighting is that you can adjust it from anywhere in your home or garden, allowing you to continue that conversation without having to run for a light switch.

TOP TIP: If you don’t have any insect deterrents but you do have a set of full-colour lighting, changing the light colour to a warm yellow or red will attract less insects than a cooler or brighter white tone will.

Alternatively for people also wanting their lighting solution to be a focal point, a fire pit or bowl can add a cosy and homely feel while keeping you warm on those slightly cooler evenings. Not only a way to stay warm, having a fire pit is great for roasting veggies, making “s’mores” and other tasty treats, what better way to wind down the evening!

7: Beating the weather

British weather is notoriously unpredictable and even on the best of days, your guests may want somewhere to take some shelter from the elements.

Investing in a gazebo can be a great way to keep your guests happy come rain or shine. Opening the sides to provide sun cover but allow people to move freely, or you can have an enclosed space to shelter from the breeze or a wet spell. When looking for a gazebo for your space, remember to consider the location and any requirements for securing it to the ground. Most kits will come with pegs which are perfect for lawns, but special leg weights can be bought separately for use on hard surfaces. (Note: If leg weights are used ensure compatibility and read all instructions, these are often not recommended for use in strong or inclement weather.)

If a gazebo isn’t your style, the perfect parasol can provide shade and a cosy feel to your space. We recommend a cantilever or “banana” type parasol because of its ability to offer cover, but not detract from the overall style of your furniture.

For those looking to make a long-term investment in their home, a pergola is an ideal way to ensure your guests are comfortable and dry all year round. With a range of styles and build materials available it’s easy to find something that fits your aesthetic and makes you smile for years to come.

 

8: Enjoy yourself!

Saving the most important point for last, don’t forget that it’s your party too! It can be easy to get wrapped up in hosting and maybe even a little overwhelmed if you are new to it. Don’t feel guilty about taking a break to mingle, play some games or sit down with a drink.

Making sure that you are happy and relaxed is just as important to having things run smoothly as any other aspect of the day, prepare what you can the day before and make a list of what you need to do. However, don’t forget to set aside some time before your guests arrive to take a breather and get rid of those last-minute nerves.

If it’s your first time or you are anxious about something, ask a friend to help before or incorporate it into the party, for example if you’re struggling to think of what food to make, ask everyone to “bring a bowl” and turn that problem into a fun part of the day. 

Hopefully with these other seven tips you will feel prepared and excited about hosting your next big garden party and we hope that it’ll have your friends and family talking about it for weeks to come.

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