How to host the perfect summer garden get-together by Alice Beer
Be it an impromptu family meet-up, a BBQ to make the best of the weather or a celebratory event, Alice’s tips make it easy to throw an al fresco party to remember.
We also spoke to wilko customers and team members to get their helpful tips for summer celebrations. None of these tips break the bank and they even make the organising process fun, especially when pitching in to do it together. Enjoy summer 2022 and make it one to remember, whatever the weather and whatever the celebration.
If you’re planning to get the neighbourhood involved in your party, start a street Facebook, WhatsApp group or stick some notes through doors. Don’t sit waiting for someone else to do it! You don’t need to shut the street as that takes quite a bit of pre-planning. Just clearing some cars off neighbouring driveways or sticking a couple of tables in front of your door can create a space for people to gather. This is especially useful if you’re short of back garden space.
Set the scene
Wherever your party space is, it’s easy to make it memorable and truly special. Whilst you can make decorations like bunting (this is a fun task to do with the kids using packs of card and craft paper – they can even make signs for your guests!), there is plenty out there to buy and consider. Trail decorations along the hedges or hang from the windows. If you’re laying a table: pop a small flag, a flower or a folded paper napkin (look for tips online) into each glass and suddenly you have a party!
The easiest option is to bring your own to the gathering, that way no one has to stress about mass catering or food allergies. However, if you plan to be the host with the most, consider jazzing up cupcakes and sweet treats by popping them on pretty cake stands.
With our fingers firmly crossed for a summer of sunshine, making sure guests have a refreshing beverage to hand is key. To save the effort of making everyone individual drinks, how about creating a refreshment station with jugs of various summery drinks? That way, guests can help themselves to a drink as and when they like, and you won’t need to check in on who needs a top-up!
Be environmentally friendly
No-one wants to be sweeping up broken glass, let alone find it in the tyres of their car the next day, so paper or plastic cups are definitely the way to go. In order to stay as environmentally friendly and non-wasteful as you can be, write people’s names in marker pen on their cups. That way you won’t have to keep giving them a new cup, it’ll also avoid germs being spread and will save money as you’ll need to buy less cups and glasses!
Gather some games
The whole point of any gathering is to have a laugh and celebrate and it’s essential to have a couple of games up your sleeve on the day. A good one is guess who. How it works is everyone writes a surprising thing about themselves anonymously on a piece of paper and puts it in a jar. As you pull the paper out, you have to guess which person has...skydived from a plane or climbed Mount Everest! This is also a great conversation starter for guests who may not know each other that well.
Dressing up makes for the funniest memories and amazing photos to look back on together. Do something simple that costs nothing so everyone can join in, such as a colour theme, things beginning with a particular letter of the alphabet or celebrity lookalikes.
Hopefully your gathering is such a success that you are all sitting around sipping and chatting long after the sun has gone down. It’s a shame to ruin a special time because you are all getting cold and fumbling in the dark. So, put blankets out on the chairs so you can stay cosy. We have ten blankets in bright colours that come out on every occasion, as well as adorable string lights and outdoor candles to help create an atmospheric end to the evening.
Teamwork makes the dream work
You don’t want to look out the window in the morning to see the remnants of your party blowing off down the street. Put a bin liner and a recycling box out by the door and ask everyone to drop things in before they leave to make clearing up a doddle.
Find the joy
Whatever the weather and whatever your budget or garden size, you can make any get together truly special. I expect as soon as the neighbours hear a cork pop or friends see a social media post with some funny games, you’ll have extra guests arrive. However you celebrate, have fun together and make it a party to remember.
Little wins from wilko customers and team members
“Pre-cook your sausages and burgers in the oven to save time, then finish on the BBQ for a flavoursome finish!”
“Fill a spray bottle with apple juice and spritz onto your BBQ meat to stop it burning”
“Pre-scoop your ice cream then freeze it!”
“Create a suncream station where everyone can go to top up their UV protection”
“Use fairy lights to create a cosy atmosphere as the sun goes down”
For more on making the most of your outside space, visit www.wilko.com