| Lucy Dunn

Upgrade Your Summer Garden Party, As We Return To Socialising

Welcome summer with the ultimate luxury and comfort in a spectacular garden party experience to rival any and all social events this season.

We’re emerging back into social gatherings with joy and optimism this summer. While we’re undeniably excited to revisit old favourites and discover new culinary hideaways, we’re also very aware that not all of us are going to want to head straight back into busy restaurants and bars right away.  

Al fresco dining, getting back to nature and surrounding ourselves with the company and conversation of friends; there’s no better antidote to the solitude of a year of lockdowns and consequential effects to our mental health. Rushing back into social gatherings may not be easy, but we’re sure that a slow introduction, surrounded by nature is an ideal way to start.  

From the 17th of May, although restrictions are due to ease, if we’re looking to socialise indoors, the rule of 6 or 2 households will still apply here in the UK  So, as we enjoy ever so gradually warmer evenings, The Sybarite is breathing new life into the evergreen soiree of the garden party, where you can socialise with the ones you love in comfort, a relaxed setting and in the very style you want to create. We’ve got some Sybarite approved, essential tips to upgrade your garden gathering to a divine summer garden party.  

There is a certain air of romanticism and charm about a garden party, and we remain in love with the ability to transform our outdoor areas into a unique, enchanting experience. 

A table with food

Upgrade from gathering to experience by keeping these top tips at the forefront of your planning…

It’s all in the detail 

A garden party brings its own style but can also be bent and shaped into any kind of specific theme or style you’re looking to create. Whatever it is you choose to go for, don’t skimp on your decor, because creating that charisma you’re striving for, whether that’s elegant opulence or rustic chic, lies in the detail. 

Dress your event; use florals or statement features, plenty of tableware, even if you’re serving ‘finger food’ over a sit down meal or spreading across separated tables, dress the tables with ample table cloths, glasswear, napkins, beautiful dishes and serving options. Think flowers in vases, candles, cake stands and table runners. And remember that layering heights and textures offers a real depth of style. 

Thoughtful additions can go a long way with your guests.  Preempt each possible need or dilemma ahead of time to offer the utmost comfort and joy throughout their experience.  Think about adding extra blankets to each chair for an added layer, umbrellas or parasols and ward off any midges or other bugs with plenty of citronella candles. In a post-COVID world, offering individual sanitisers and smaller individual vessels for nibbles for each of your ‘households’ is a very thoughtful way to ease any anxieties around cross-contaminations. 


The Food & Beverages

Whether you’re organising this yourself or using a caterer, you’ll need to think about taste, colour, timing and quantity (quality is a given!).  Your food is another opportunity to enhance a luxury experience, with impressive bursts of colour and flavour. 

Do you want to serve arrival canapes or nibbles? Would you like to have a sit down meal or more of a meze or grazing platter, an afternoon tea or possibly something even more unique?  For summer garden party platters which really steal the show, take a look at Stargrazing’s stunning platters. 

There’s nothing worse than a gathering of any kind without a healthy bounty of food and beverages to keep the party satisfied, so again, more is more, over prepare on all fronts. If you’re going for a more relaxed setting over a formal meal, we’d suggest organising rounds of food so there’s always something available to reach for. If outsourcing this, this is something which you’d be able to easily discuss with your hospitality with little hassle to you personally. For your beverages, remember to cater to all of your guests with alcoholic, non alcoholic, hot and cold options. There are some incredibly delicious non alcoholic drinks available, so it’s worth exploring these for any tea-total or driving guests, we’ve sampled a few impressive ones recently and summed them up into a helpful review article to get you started and if you need any inspiration for cocktails, we’re here to help you get started there too. 

A table with food, wine and candles in a garden

Over Prepare 

If you’re hosting in the UK, the unavoidable issue of the weather will unfortunately need to be an area of consideration, but in offering up access to a Sybarite worthy experience, you’ll have options at the ready to keep your company warm and dry. Realistically you need to plan for all eventualities, and have precautions in place for changes in weather and temperature.  If you have large numbers you may already have considered an open marquee to offer shelter, or you may have a covered outdoor area which can accommodate your party if cover is needed.   We’ve all become accustomed to dressing for outdoor gatherings and meet ups, however, communicating the outdoor situation with your guests prior to arrival, complementing this with your additions of blankets, fire pits or electric heaters. 

Create Your Atmosphere

When building your atmosphere, a rule of thumb we would always employ is to cater for all of the senses. Use light, textiles, sound, smell and of course taste, but we have you covered on that front already! 

Set your mood with lighting, even if you’re hosting in daylight, use some atmospheric lighting to accent your space, such as outdoor festoon string lights, candles (an opportunity to bring your chosen scents to life) or hanging lanterns – using these at different heights can again offer depth and composition to your welcoming aesthetic.  Don’t forget your real flame chimineas and fire pits which bring light, warmth and offer a focal point for your venue; when hosting in the UK, warmth, in reality, will likely be a very necessary addition!  Pick your soundtrack for the evening, this may be a playlist or you may have a section of live music or entertainment planned, and match this to the theme and atmosphere that you’re creating as part of your garden party experience. 

With blankets and cushions, possible marquees and outdoor rugs and throws, there’s a myriad of options to add textures and colour to your space, doubling up as options for warming extra layers too. 

A terrace with sofas, candles, lights in a garden. Cozy environment.

Transforming an outdoor space to create a coveted, bespoke event is definitely one way we’ll be making the most of these coming summer months, welcoming friends and family back together in a setting which exudes luxury, comfort and personalised hospitality for a truly unique experience. 

For inspiration for your luxury events, dive into The Sybarite’s magazine and for more luxury experiences explore our hand-picked selection here.

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