Top tips for the ultimate summer soirée

Whether the weather agrees or not – summer is here! It may be the season of entertaining and relaxing with friends and family but get-togethers can be intimidating and above all, take a lot of preparation. However, with a little time and these helpful tips, your summer soirée just got easy.

Garden parties have a natural and relaxed atmosphere that isn’t the same when indoors. Garden lighting is a necessity and the options are endless. Lanterns and fairy lights look great as do tea lights dotted around your table. LED lights are also more efficient than normal lighting and you can choose from a variety of colours and styles.

Next, move to your table - you may find that setting a theme helps bring your whole party together. However, theme or no theme, inside or out, your dining table should be dressed to perfection. Invest in some plastic tableware, matching napkins and napkin rings as well bright-coloured glasses and remember straws! Set the table and mood with coordinated platter dishes and opt for linen tablecloths, which can be easily washed. Place cutlery in containers so guests can grab them easily and keep the napkins handy, as there's always someone who drips sauce down their top!

Make your guests feel at home and as comfy as they would feel inside. Cushions and garden rugs will provide extra seating and encourage your family and friends to give their feet a rest. Decorating your garden will also enhance the ambience and from bunting to tree accessories, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

The best summer parties are down to good food and even better company. When it comes to a BBQ, most people look for the traditional favourites so don’t spend hours in the kitchen. Instead serve up unique sauces for your favourite burger and how about brioche buns for the sausages? Get creative with your drinks and personalise your summer soirée with a signature drink. Homemade lemonade is popular right now as well as frozen cocktails. Don't forget to have a designated drinks station, that way you don't have to play host and serve.

Invest in some summer garden games that everyone can get involved in. If you have the space then sports such as rounders always goes down well but watch the windows! Likewise, music will enhance the atmosphere but make sure it doesn’t interrupt conversations. You may also want to create a playlist beforehand.

Finally, whilst we all dream of our get-together going to plan, the reality is that you’ve got to be prepared for bad weather. Whether you have some cosy blankets for guests if the weather gets colder or have the option of taking your party indoors, make sure you have a back-up plan. Happy entertaining!