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outdoor dining

Summer living: How to host the perfect outdoor summertime event

By Natasha Heard on 3rd July 2020

With a cracking few weeks of weather this summer already, citizens of the UK have been basking in the bright weather, be it on a family walk, a trip to the beach or in their own back gardens.

Though good weather isn’t always promised and is more of an unexpected treat, that’s not to say we can’t be fully prepared for those days the sun chooses to make a welcome appearance.

The last few months have seen social gatherings limited and, with things set to change, now could be the time to plan in some quality time with those you love. For an intimate gathering in the garden, there are a number of ways in which you can be the host that everyone will look forward to receiving an invite from.

So, if you’re looking for some inspiration on how to host the finest of gatherings for your select friends and family, then look no further as we’ve picked our favourite four ways of hosting the perfect outdoor shindig.

Barbecue

barbecue food

There’s nothing like heading to a friend’s house with a bottle in hand ready to sample some delicious barbecued food. Full of flavour, quick to cook and offering a wider range of options than your typical sausage or burger, food cooked on the barbecue has to be the tastiest. If you’re going to host then the first place to start, of course, is with a decent piece of equipment. Buy the best barbecues online at the likes of wayfair.co.uk, grab yourself a recipe book full of ideas to inspire, from the finest seafoods to delectable desserts and start planning the perfect event.

When planning a barbecue, it’s nice to keep it casual but it is also a good idea to make sure you know how many people are going to come and that they know when you will be serving the food. Ordering too much can be a waste, too little could leave guests hungry and you want to make sure everyone gets hot food fresh from your shiny new barbecue.

Cinema night

outdoor cinema

Take movie night outdoors and recline with popcorn in hand in your own back garden. With so many classics to choose from depending on the crowd and mood, you’ll be sure to find something enjoyable to watch, it doesn’t have to be the latest release. To make it work properly, set up some comfortable seating with cushions and blankets should there be an evening breeze, grab yourself a popcorn machine and hand out sweets to replicate that authentic cinema experience. It’s the little touches that will make the event really enjoyable.

Make sure you invest in a quality projector, connect to a video source and find the best spot in your garden to place a screen – all of these elements won’t be too difficult to achieve, the biggest issue will be ensuring the clouds stay away!

Afternoon tea

afternoon tea

Nothing says a classic English event like an elegant afternoon tea served on the finest of crockery. Add an air of sophistication to any soiree with a selection of scones, savoury bites and sweet treats and you are sure to be the ‘hostess with the mostest’ among your friends.

Prepare a selection of sandwiches – crusts cut off for authenticity – including salmon, cucumber, beef with horseradish and ham with mustard and pair with scones, cream, jam and an array of tiny treats to nibble. You can up the elegance factor with a glass of Champagne for your guests and serve outdoors on some floral china. Play some gentle classical music through an outdoor speaker to create a refined atmosphere and top off with a game of croquet on the lawn to truly replicate an upmarket authentic English garden afternoon party.

Alfresco themed dining

barbecue

Invite your friends over to dine with you for a themed evening upon your garden furniture. A theme is a great way to set the scene for a night of fun, and we’re not talking cheesy fancy dress (unless you’re that type of group, of course), we’re talking about transporting yourselves to another place entirely through good food, wine, music and companionship.

A popular choice has to be a Spanish themed evening as the tapas style of dining lends itself well to this type of event. Many dishes can be prepared in advance and brought out when you and your guests are ready to eat. Try serving up some authentic dishes including patatas bravas, ham and cheese croquetas, crispy squid with capers, sautéed chorizo with red wine and smoked salmon and quail’s egg. Round off with a seafood paella, a selection of traditional Spanish wines to pair and play some Spanish tunes to immerse yourself. It may not be quite the same as the real thing, but it should come pretty close.