Look out of the window. Go on, take a peek. Is it sunny? Is it warm? Probably. We’re on the very brink of summer, a delightful time of year, and you’re mulling over the plans for your first big alfresco ‘do’ of the season. You want everything to go right first time. But what if…? Here are our tips for the perfect alfresco occasion. Get these under your belt and total party perfection is within sight!
20 tips to help you create total outdoor party perfection
- How’s your garden looking? If this is the first time you’ve partied outdoors for a while, it might need a wash and brush-up first, so give yourself enough time for a cleaning and tidying session
- Get your chiminea, fire pit, pizza oven or BBQ out nice and early so you can carry out essential maintenance and cleaning before people arrive – and buy more than enough fuel for the event so you don’t run out if it’s going brilliantly and lasts extra-late
- Do an overall garden risk assessment and remove anything dangerous that people could fall over, fall into or fall foul of
- If young children are going to be there, make sure you have a comfy, quiet, calm place to stash them when they need a nap
- Figure out how many bottles of booze you need. Then double it and you’ll be fine
- Do as much of the food prep as you can beforehand, so all you need to do is slam the meat, fish or veg onto your chiminea grill and barbie the hell out of it
- Do the same with cutlery, crockery and cooking implements – there’s nothing worse than racing around like a crazy person trying to find things when you’re guests have already arrived
- Provide more seating than you think you’ll need so people can change positions, get nearer or closer to the chiminea, fire pit or fire bowl
- Get enough fuel for your chiminea, pizza oven or whatever, so you don’t run out and have a panic on your hands half way through
- Teens ahoy? You might want to provide garden games like giant Jenga to keep them happy, or put up a teen tent for them to hang out in away from the boring old grown-ups
- Ask your guests in advance if they’re vegan or veggie – it feels like the entire country is rejecting meat and fish right now, and plenty are avoiding dairy, so it’s best to be sure up front. You might want to pick up a veggie or vegan cookbook or download an app if you’re not familiar with cooking that way
- Provide some shade if it looks like it’s going to be hot and sunny – and make sure it can provide shelter against showers, just in case the weather turns
- Talking about the weather, it’s always a good idea to have an alternative plan in your head in case it pees down or we get a late Beast From The East type thingy going on. The weather is getting weirder and it’s wise to be well prepared
- Glasses are great, but of there’s a lot of you or a lot of little kids zooming around it might be better to buy some plastic glasses for safety. The same goes for crockery – how about paper plates?
- Alfresco drinks are never quite so good without ice, and lots of it. Make sure you have a good supply
- Insects? With a bit of luck you’ll have bought some citronella garden incense sticks or something else designed to keep them at bay. It’s also wise to have creams and so on indoors in case anyone gets bitten or stung. Oh, and a first aid kit is always a good idea
- How about preparing the music beforehand? Maybe you don’t want your lovely guests choosing horrible music!
- If there’s pre-prepared food, label it so people don’t have to keep asking what’s in it
- Partying long and hard? You might need lights to keep your guests safe when they’re tottering around, having had a few too many bevvies… better safe than sorry
- Clearing the decks afterwards is so much easier and more efficient when you have a plan. Make a clear-up plan, have all the cleaning equipment you need handy, rope in some serfs beforehand, and get it done in no time
Planning your party means you should be able to chill, relax and enjoy the whole thing properly instead of running to and fro like a blue-assed fly. That’s what we call a jolly good party, from start to finish.