Summer Garden Party - click here for our 10 Top Tips....

1)  Plan ahead.  Save time and take the pressure off. Prep ahead of your event.  Start with your BBQ grill and make sure it is clean and oiled to prevent food sticking. Avoid turning meat constantly, as this will reduce it sticking and leaving behind any tasty coating on the grill.

2)  Marinate meats overnight, assemble side dishes and dressings, and chop up any fruits and vegetables the night before.  Ideally, this will just leave the BBQ cooking on the day, leaving you free to relax and be the perfect, unflustered host.

3)  Inviting your guests. This is a great time to let your guests know the basic details, such as time and place. It also provides the perfect opportunity for them to let you know of any specific dietary requirements, or allergies, or if children or pets are welcome, or if dishes or beverages should be bought with the guests.  

4)  Choosing your menu. Consider how many people who you will be catering for. If you are catering for smaller groups then go for a variety of dishes and options, and add some interesting choices such as baguettes and ciabatta instead of the typical BBQ rolls. If entertaining larger parties, then keep it simple and stick to the basics. Offer a range of beverages to keep everyone happy.

5)  Offer vegetarian choices for non meat eaters.  An assortment of side dishes makes great partners for flame grilled vegetables. Sweet corn, roasted peppers and mushroom make tasty kebabs and are perfect vegetarian choices to accompany a range of salads.

6)  Organise seating and eating areas. Garden furniture is ideal, and nothing looks prettier than a nice cast iron bistro set or two, laden with tasty food and drinks.  Ensure you have enough seating or cushions out for your guests for them to be comfortable, or a nice comfy throw or blanket is ideal to throw on the grass for those who like to be more casual, and is just perfect seating solutions for children. Or if you have the space, a comfy hammock is just the job for hanging out in.

7)  And as the sun goes down... you may well want to expand the day and dine alfresco under the stars, so why not dot a few t-lights here and there on the boughs of trees or parasol to help create that ambient mood, or citronella candles to stave of those annoying mosquitoes. Fairy lights, buntings and lanterns are also great to drape around the garden and are just fabulous for creating atmosphere, and a sense of occasion.

8)  Provide entertainment. It’s always a great idea to have a few entertainment options that cater to adults and children. Music is always a good choice, and even better if you can stretch to a live band! Failing that, create an interesting music mix ahead of your BBQ, so you can just switch on and chill to the groove. Classic games such as cards, charades, and ball games are always a good fun way to liven up the party and keep guests entertained.

9)  Entertainment for children is always a must.  Play tents in the garden offers fun and play with the added bonus of providing a little relief and protection from the sun.  Paddling pools to splash around in, or set up an activity such as an arts and craft table, hide and seek, or provide some paints for face painting.

10)  Enjoy your party in style. Pretty melamine plates, cups, beakers and bowls are lightweight and easy to clean and perfect for outdoor dining. Or if you really want to make an impression, then a throw in a few vibrant, hand painted enamel Tiffin Tins to add a practical flair to your table.

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