Organising a party can be a huge task – or not, depending on your preferences – and it’s fabulous to get planning and thinking about themes, décor, cuisine, entertainment and such. As everyone knows, there are parties and then there are PARTIES. Imagine hosting THE party that everyone talks about at other parties for months afterwards? With an outdoor party, you can let your imagination run free…

What’s the Occasion?

The first thing to consider is occasion. Are you celebrating something special or is it ‘just because’? The occasion will to some extent dictate any theme and therefore décor. Weddings, Christenings and the like will be vastly different to any 18th or 30th, for example. If it’s a specific occasion, then you’re tied to a certain time of year so the weather will be a major factor – will you require heaters or fire pits? Will it be dark before 7pm? It’s relatively straightforward to hire appropriate lighting and heating solutions if you don’t already have them. Likewise, marquees or gazebos, dependent upon the scale of your event. Some sort of shelter is essential – it will give the party a cohesive feel but you just can’t rely on the weather to play nicely. Some guests will need shade if the sun stays out for you!

Location, location, location

The location is also somewhat governed by occasion and season. If you’re blessed with a sizeable garden, or better still, grounds, then you’re set – or will you need to hire somewhere? The most desirable venues tend to be booked well in advance, so ensure your chosen venue is available before getting carried away with the planning. Having your party at home gives you complete carte blanche with décor and timings. Preparation is everything – make sure your garden is up to scratch. For larger gardens, professional help in the run up to the event is wise, but even smaller gardens will benefit from maintenance and some well thought out planting – be sure to consider what flowers, when.

What to Serve

Refreshments have the power to make or break a party. Again, occasion, theme and season will be your guide. If you’re having outside caterers, book early, but do your research – ask for some sample platters and be sure they know well in advance of any dietary requirements. Keeping it simple is never a bad idea, so long as there’s plenty of choice but your event is sure to be remembered if the food’s a bit special. Provide lots (you can always cover the leftovers for tomorrow) and supplement the buffet with lots of nibbles.

What about drinks? For a start, don’t neglect non-drinkers – provide plenty of interesting soft drinks, rather than just cola or lemonade. Think about virgin cocktails – these will be a sure fire hit with any younger guests, too. All the good supermarkets stock a range of less ordinary soft drinks and slightly more exotic fruit juices (these will also come in handy for mixing ‘real’ cocktails). As a rule of thumb, it’s best to over cater. Speak to a local wine merchant who will operate a return policy on any unopened bottles – if you run out of fizz, your party will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Facilities

Last but by no means least, do you want your guests traipsing through your house to use the restroom? What if you only have the one bathroom, or it’s muddy outside? Take the stress away by hiring a portable loo – like the range from Top Toilets – or even a few. One less thing to worry about!

With all the basics now settled, it’s now time enjoy your party, and enjoy future parties where everyone talks about yours!