Over a week ago, Lee and I celebrated getting married with our friends and family (we eloped in New York). We decided to do a simple do in my parents garden- simple, elegant and fun. That’s what we were aiming for.
The party was amazing. It involved a lot of laughing, lots of drink and just a whole lot of good times.
We are coming towards the end of wedding season (with one of my gorgeous friend’s wedding coming up sooooo soon!) but also I feel that September is the time for last min alfresco parties to enjoy the remaining sunny weather. It could be a good luck at uni party, a birthday party or a general family or friends get together, there is always an excuse to get people together and have a lovely time outdoors.
For the purpose of this post, I am focusing on throwing a wedding garden party, but you can use these tips for any event. Whilst we didn’t have a reception in the traditional sense if you are wanting to host your own reception- these tips would be perfect for this also!
Food & Drink
I think that parties revolve mainly around two things; why you are at the party and what’s being served. I mean, who is not looking forward to the food that is being served at a party?
With food, always be considerate to allergies and food aversions. I had two people who were GF at the party, so rather than doing them some sort of kiddie table with a minor selection of food that would feed them, my mum (the goddess, check her out here) made sure that half the food was GF- whether it be making a GF tart, pasta salad and GF bread, it was something that everyone could enjoy without those people feeling segregated.
With drinks, especially if there is someone who is not drinking alcohol, I like to ensure that their drinks are just as exciting as the cocktails. For our wedding garden party, we had two Kilner drinks jars, one filled with Pimms and one filled with a virgin strawberry mojito- simply lemonade, mint and fresh strawberries. Much better than putting a plastic bottle of pop on a table. If you are not wanting to make cocktails but rather wanting to create a drinks bar for everyone to make their own mixer, place the mixer options into glass jugs next to the alcohol bottles for an extra little touch. HomeSense does an amazing glassware that is decorative but affordable.
The Decorative Details
Whenever I am at a party, I take the time to point out to the organiser how much I like the decor. For one thing, it’s something that not every guest is going to do, but as someone who spent hours fretting on exactly how the party was going to look, the sense of happiness and relief that someone notices the effort you went to makes hosting an event so worth it.
For our wedding garden party, it was important for me to ensure it looked rustic and floral- the Pinterest board reflected this. So dotted around the tables were gorgeous little vases filled with fake flowers from HomeSense, there was wooden confetti and big confetti balloons from Ginger Ray and even more fake flowers gather into bouquets again from HomeSense. I also had a mini colour scheme of white and rose gold, so having white table cloths and rose gold straws and napkins pulled everything together.
I also got a little crafty and did some DIY wooden signs (post coming up on Wednesday!) to label the key areas and also let everyone know what the party hashtag. Not that you couldn’t recognise where the food was (it was the table I was constantly hanging around at) but it was just something extra to add to the feel of the event.
When coming up with what decorations to have for your party, think of the event or the theme you want the party to be about and go from there. And remember, if going to a party, ensure you let the host know how much you appreciate the decorations- trust me, they will 100% appreciate it!
Go With The Flow
An important thing about a party is the flow of the people and ensuring every can move freely around. Ensuring that there is enough space between your stations but also that your stations are in the right place is the key to a relaxed party. I would always make sure your drinks station is separate from your food- it stops bottle necks and long queues but also minimises the mess that is normally created at an event.
Having a quieter section is also important, we had some bucket chairs with a coffee table out under a gazebo for a little intimate area for people who wanted to still be part of the party but want to get about from the hustle and bustle. You also want to ensure you have seating but seating in the right area, again spreading everyone out to ensure there is a good flow to the party.
Party Into The Night
All parties have an end point, but a lot of times when an event is being hosted at a home unless you have specifically said you kicking people out at a certain time, you may have people milling around until the evening time. For those times it is worth ensuring you have something planned for later on in the night- even if it doesn’t happen, it’s better to be prepared. For our wedding garden party, we decided to have our fire pit ready for the evening so everyone could hang outside when it got colder but also ensured we had everything we needed for sausage butties- so that everyone could be replenished but also help towards socking up some of the alcohol that had been consumed.
Good things to have on hand for later on into the evening is a good card game (cards against humanity anyone?) maybe changing up the music or a fun activity such as sparklers or fireworks.
What tips do you have for hosting your own alfresco party?
All Homesense items were gifted to me, but my hints & tips are all my own!