22.3.21

Hosting a Quirky, Yet Classy Dinner Party That Reflects Your Style and Personality


With the sun just beginning to peek out from behind the clouds (finally), the country appears to be getting ready to welcome some warmer weather, after what may very well have been the longest winter that has ever existed. And, alongside this appearance of the sun, the government have continued to venture down the (whisper it) ‘road out of lockdown’ setting out the gradual easing of lockdown rules and restrictions and, eventually, the end of social distancing altogether!

With a return to the ‘rule of six’ outdoors seemingly on the cards for the months of April and May – just in time for Easter, Fathers’ Day, and the first Bank Holiday weekend of the year – there’s plenty to look forward to celebrating with the people you’ve missed over lockdown. Having been required to remain inside for the first three months of the year (which, thankfully, have been dreary, wet, and cold for the most part), many of us simply cannot wait to joyfully open those doors wide and venture into the world of outdoor entertainment!

So, whether you’re planning a full-blown, luxurious outdoor feast or a more casual, nibbles-and- alcohol-laden affair, here’s a guide for making sure that your garden dinner party is true reflection of you – after all, with all this time apart, your friends could probably do with a gentle reminder of why they love you, right?

Quintessentially ‘You’
The worst thing that anyone can do when hosting a dinner party is to try and be someone they’re not. Before you even start thinking about the mouth-watering food and plethora of alcoholic drinks you’ll be serving, you need to consider the overall vibe of your outdoor space and the evening you’ll be hosting.

There’s no need to own a massive garden that’s perfectly pruned and maintained, or have a complete garden makeover, to make your evening a success. Turning the space into an extension of the house – an extra room, if you will – by creating a seamless link between indoors and outdoors (think: complementary colour schemes, matching fabrics, lighting that travels between the two spaces) engenders a sense of privacy and familiarity whilst simultaneously enabling you to feel part of nature.

If you have decking in your garden, this is particularly effective, as you can lay out rugs and potted plants to create a contrasting effect in your outdoor space, bridging the gap between indoors and outdoors. Ecoscape UK’s Liverpool Project, where a home was fitted with graphite-coloured composite outdoor decking, demonstrates this effect beautifully, with the decking blending in with the colour of the door and window frames whilst steps – fitted with LED spotlights in the risers – lead the way down to the grassy area. Non-slip and an eco-friendlier alternative to traditional decking, this could be exactly what you need!

However you choose to decorate the space for your evening, the most important thing is that you like it. If you love house music or the 90s club scene, why not have d├ęcor tastefully inspired by fluorescent

shades, metallics, and glow sticks? Big into boho living? Woven rugs, kitsch collectibles, and colourful hanging lamps with random splashes of colour on pillows and throws will emulate this look for you.


Matching the Menu
Not a huge fan of fine dining a la Masterchef, with unusual flavours and complex techniques combined in a miniscule portion of food? Then you would be setting yourself up for both stress and failure to even attempt it.

Stick to what you know and enjoy, no matter how ‘simple’ or ‘easy’. Everyone loves a good BBQ or pizza; tapas say ‘sophisticated yet adventurous’; a tasty, slow-cooked chilli with crusty bread is warm and comforting round a fire pit, wrapped in blankets under the stars. The key here is making sure that the food you produce matches the vibe of the evening – if you plan on music and dancing, something carb-laden and comforting is unlikely to do the trick!

The Devil is in the Detail
Now, we would all do well to remember that we are not in some lovely, warm country where balmy nights are guaranteed as we enter this new ‘outdoor entertainment’ period but are, in fact, still here in the UK, where the weather is both stubborn and changeable. Unexpected torrential downpours are almost inevitable – as well as a whole host of other outdoor terrors – so you would do well to prepare.

Invest in an easy-to-set-up gazebo; prepare a basket full of blankets, jumpers, and fluffy socks; set up a music system that isn’t going to be affected by weather; set up waterproof fairy lights leading from outside to indoors (for your guests to locate their designated and fully-sanitised bathroom); get some small tipis for the kids to enjoy, jam-packed with goody bags, blankets and activities to keep them occupied; get yourself a new fire pit you can all sit by to keep warm – there are plenty of small details that can help elevate your night to one of success.

Chosen a theme? Then go the extra mile and match as many items to theme as possible – napkin holders, table decorations, lighting, music, drinks…even your outfit!

Needless to say, we’re all looking forward to being able to enjoy spending time with our nearest and dearest, whether it’s for a casual coffee date or garden soiree, but why not celebrate your gradual escape from a year of lockdown hell by letting loose and eating some good food with friends? It really has been too long.

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