Are you enjoying your summer? It’s been fabulous weather here in Brussels for the past couple of weeks, might get some rain today but all in all we can’t complain. I hosted a summer garden party last week and had such a blast ( so much soo I forgot to take photos). I had about 14 people over on my tiny little terrace but it all worked out well as I stuck by a few golden rules.
I have been an event planner for more than 20 years now and although I enjoy entertaining at home, I recognize that it is somewhat a daunting task to pull it all off AND enjoy yourself at the party. To help you out I created an easy downloadable cheat-sheet, find it in the side column ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ and below, click on the image.
- USE A PARTY CHECKLIST – start with using a checklist ( like mine) so you won’t forget anything and stay on budget.
2. MAKE IT FUN – when entertaining at home outdoors/in the garden, have some fun with the decorations. Generally our homes are beautifully appointed and bringing in crazy flamingo decorations might clash or look silly. But outside in the garden you can go to town! And don’t forget the lighting when dusk falls have everything ready to turn on in a flash.
3. HELP YOUR SELF – setting up a “help yourself ‘ bar is always a good idea. I have this large iron tub I bring up from the basement storage and fill it with (shop bought) ice cubes and bottles of bubbly, wine, beer and water. I generally serve the 1st glass when guests arrive and than they can help themselves.
4. SERVE EASY TO EAT/GRAB FOOD – this does not mean you have to serve only bite size finger food, but make it so that they can either reach over and help themselves or it can be served on little plates. Don’t make people move too much by setting up a buffet in a different area of the garden or inside, people want to grab and stay put.
5. MIND THE TEMP – keep your food refrigerated as long as possible and only bring out when ready to serve. Remove food as soon as the last person is served and nobody wants seconds. Have plenty of ice available. I buy mine in bulk for parties as I have a tiny fridge/freezer I pick it up right before the party and keep it cool in cool-bags.
6. USE IKEA GLASSWARE – I am serious, I am not paid to post but get yourself a set of 12 champagne, wine and water glasses and use those for outdoor parties. At a garden party glasses tend to be put down on the floor or on a ledge and easily get knocked over. Save the crystal for sit-down dinners, use the €0.80 glasses for outdoor parties!
7. SEATING AND STANDING – if your outdoor space is small like mine ( it’s 8 by 3 meters and has 25 planters on it!) not everyone will be able to sit and that’s ok. Some people prefer to stand anyway, some go off and smoke in the corner and some love to sit on a ledge. Just let it be organic but always plan for both.
8. MINGLE – make sure you talk to all your guests, move around. Relax and enjoy as this is the reason you invited them and they came: to spend time with you!
9. PARTY FAVOUR – before they head out the door, give them a little something homemade. In summer I LOVE making jam, but I don’t really eat it ( haha) so I give jam. It can be cookies, it can be garden herbs, it can be leftovers.
Written and photographed by Sandra Slawinski without commercial deals.Thank you Sophie for being my model.