Summer is in full swing and it's perfect BBQ weather and a great excuse to throw a garden party. If you’ve been following me on the gram you’ll know that I turned 40 and I’m milking it for all it's worth. I’m not just having one big party I’m doing several small things across the year and on my actual birthday I hosted a garden party with a small group of friends. If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to throw a party with maximum gorgeousness, then here’s how you to it.
Think about a theme and then base your colour scheme, flowers and any other decorative ideas around this. It can be really loose so don’t over think it too much. It could be as simple as your favourite colours, Spring or festival vibes. I find having a theme helps give me a starting point to focus on. I’m Australian so I wanted to have a little nod to my roots but done in a very tasteful way. Nothing snooty just a beautiful laid back affair with lots of botanicals.
You’ll need the following...
1. Wooden pallets to form a low table.
You can get really creative and stack them or just use a single layer like I’ve done here. They come in lots of different sizes, but the ones I used are 120cm x 100cm. The number of guests will dictate how many pallets you need but roughly speaking you can fit 4-5 people per pallet. You can buy pallets online if you google them or if you’re after free pallets head to your local Big Yellow Storage and I’m sure they will be happy to off load them to you. They usually have plenty lying around and they hold on to them for about a week and then they pay for them to be collected, so you’ll be doing them a favour.
2. Sheets, towels or blankets
Firstly lay 4-6 sheets down in a row (the number of sheets will depend on how large your table is) and make sure there is enough sheet sticking out on either side to sit on. I allowed about 70cm each side. This is your base and now you need to layer. Place either towels or picnic blankets around the edge on top of the sheet. I used these cool stripy towels from H&M, which were really good value and were perfect with my setting. I then added cushions so people could lounge on them. I used a variety of cushions from House Curious and some extra large ones from Sainsburys.
3. Botanicals and foliage
This was the most fun for me as I love flowers and I managed to find the most beautiful Australian botanicals that were perfect for my Australian theme. I had a mixture of eucalyptus, monstera, banksia and some other exotic flowers. I also bought lots of extra foliage and palm leaves. The best place to buy your flowers are from a wholesaler or flower market as it can get quite pricey or see what you can grab from your garden. I always go to The New Covent Garden Market when I'm doing an event but make sure you go super early to get the good stuff.
I used palm leaves as my place mats, but you could also use banana leaves, or use a roll of craft paper instead. It’s all about the layering! I used two large glass vases from House Curious as my centre piece and filled them with my gorgeous Australian botanicals. I placed the large vases of botanicals in the middle of the table and then used branches to weave between the vases to complete the centre piece.
4. Ice buckets filled with icy cold rose is a must.
Place ice buckets on the pallets so people can help themselves to the bubbles and rose. This gorgeous ice bucket above has just landed at House Curious and is the perfect accessory for summer parties.
5. Mix your plates
I used a mixture of plates from our Nordic Sand and Palm print range available here. No need to be matchy matchy, head to your local charity shop and get a selection of different plates. Gone are the days where everything has to match.
6. Extra-large balloons with tassels
Extra large balloons are great for adding that extra wow factor and they are very Instagram worthy. If price isn’t an issue you can get some great balloons from BonBon Balloons who also deliver. Or if you’re a bit thrifty like me you can buy extra-large balloons on Amazon for a steal. I also found DIY tassels from here. If you’re the craft type you can make your own tassels from scratch, which I did for my daughter’s birthday one year. It’s time consuming so if you’re time poor don’t do it. Here’s a link to a YouTube video on how to make your own.
7. The little extras
Weave tea lights in and around the foliage and dot lanterns, fairy lights and festoon lights around the garden to add a summer warm glow for when the festivities carry on into the night.
8. Props and games
I used a large Fortnum and Mason picnic basket as a decorative piece, but I also filled it with some games, sunscreen and picnic blankets. I love a bit of tipsy badminton!
To see more of the festivities of the day head to my instagram highlights.
A BBQ is perfect for this kind of setting and again makes for a chilled affair. I was lucky enough to have Anna Barnett do my catering for my birthday bash. After all it was my 40th so I wanted to relax and enjoy chatting with my friends. We had seabasss, slow roast lamb, BBQ corn, scallops, delicious salads and the most incredible cheese board. Our guests were asked to fill their plates up and we all gathered around my makeshift table feasting and chatting in the sunshine. The icing on the cake was live music by Steve. If you want to create that extra special touch to an event then Steve is your man! We spent the afternoon grazing on our large cheese board and my lovely friend made expresso martinis for everyone. We partied on into the night and I was a very happy 40 year old. Now that’s how you put on a garden party! If you found this interesting or helpful in any way please comment below and share your garden party tips with me. Don't forget to tag me on instagram if you use any of these tips to throw your own party.