The British weather can be unpredictable to say the least, but we are an optimistic bunch and the merest hint of some warmer weather has us rushing to throw the perfect outdoor get together with friends and family. This can often mean planning things at the last minute, so preparation is key. Knowing how to host in style, no matter how much or little time you have to prepare, will certainly make sure you don't lose your head while preparing a dinner or drinks get-together at home.
Think about your menu
Prepping as much of your food in advance as possible is one of the key things that you can do, and will allow you to spend more time with your guests when they arrive. Keep things simple. When hosting an outdoor get together don’t over complicate your menu with elaborate dishes. Whether you plan on barbecuing meat to go with salads or simply going with a more buffet style offering, simple recipes will be your friend. If the weather is very warm (we can always hope) then salads and fresh fruit will be popular choices with your guests, set out perfectly on the rattan table and chairs.
Prepare your garden
You will probably already have such tasks as mowing the lawn on your list for getting your garden ready. Don’t forget to tidy all the kids' toys and pets' toys if you have them as well. If you don’t have enough space to put them all away, then make sure you neatly piled to one side. This will really open up the space in your garden for your guests.
Styling your table
Pick a theme for your table that ties in with your wonderful outdoor setting, and to make this match perfectly, take cues from your garden. Natural table mats and linens that pick up the colours of any flowers in your garden are a great way to decorate the perfect outdoor table. Set it as you would an indoor table. Bring your garden right up to your round garden table and chairs with a simple floral arrangement and your guests will be delighted.
Plan for a dip in temperature
As we've already mentioned, even when you plan thoroughly, the one thing you cannot plan for is the weather. Even the warmest evening can see a dip in temperature, so be prepared with blankets and throws, cleaned and smelling fresh in your outdoor garden storage system.
If you have a firepit then stock up on firewood and marshmallows, because even if it doesn’t get too cold you are never too old to toast marshmallows around a flickering flame.
If your party is in the evening - or has happily drifted from day to night - plan the right lighting for when the sun goes down. Candles on your garden dining table will add atmosphere to your evening as well as a gentle light - maybe arrange in jars to stop the breeze from blowing them out - and festoon lighting will add additional lighting to the rest of your garden. You may also want to consider an outdoor floor lamp for additional lighting, particularly if you have some steps. If you don’t have one, how about a portable oil lantern for some flickering natural light. There are some great designs out there to consider.
Don’t worry about getting everything perfect. Plan carefully and everything should be fine, just enjoy spending time with your guests outside and hopefully the weather will keep up its end of the bargain. If not, you can always pick up your plates and glasses and head indoors at a pinch.
Share your ideas
What kind of party will you host this summer? See more from our Ideas and Inspirations and create a fabulous entertaining space both inside and out. Plus, we'd love to see what you create, so share your styling tips in the comment box below and your images @modishliving.