After so many months of being stuck indoors, we’re finally getting the chance to welcome our friends back to our homes. Those promises of longer days, warmer weather, and the freedom to get together outdoors have finally come true – and now it’s time to get the happiness we deserve, with the ones we love, in style.
Even now, as we start to see green shoots in both our gardens and our social lives, we still have to make the most of limits that continue to keep us safe – meaning outdoor gatherings are the only way to entertain ourselves in the short-term.
With this in mind, our team at Fenn Wright Manson – who love to throw get-togethers whenever they can! – has put together some top tips on how to make the most of being the host.
Dress to impress
It’s time to put your snug, homely attire to one side and embrace nature and glamour – you deserve to feel special, and there’s no better way to be at the centre of everyone’s attention than with something stunning from our Garden-Ready Outfits of spring dresses, printed tops, and versatile jumpsuits, which you can get for up to 50% off!
Spring and summer are the perfect time to wear some of these statement pieces. While your garden might be a little ways away from flowering, you can be in full bloom with bold, eye-catching prints filled with colour. Our Lynette top and skirt are the perfect pairings for classic glitz; our Suzanne, Emilie and Fleur dresses are effortlessly elegant; our Claudie, Shirley and Pennie jumpsuits are playful and stylish, and perfect both day and night.
What’s more, you can counteract any spring chills by matching your outfit of choice with our range of form-fitting and flattering cardigans, giving you warmth without ever compromising your style.
Don’t let the weather get in your way
The days may be longer and the sun may shine more, but it’s still spring, meaning you could be surprised by a sudden drop in temperature – or even a rain shower! As your guests have to stay in the garden, it pays to have two or three things to hand to keep them happy.
Ensure your guests stay warm by going the continental restaurant route: drape each one of your seats with a blanket, which you can pick up from good-value homewares stores. Not only will it combat chills as the evening starts to roll in, but they’ll also make chairs even comfier!
Consider investing in a pop-up gazebo. Hardware shops and garden centres have low-cost options, which you can use to cover food and drinks, or even move over your guests to stop the clouds from raining on their parade. If you’re hoping to host plenty of events, why not invest in an outdoor heater, fire pit, or chiminea? Not only will these keep your guests warm, but they’ll act as a nice focal point to gather around.
Finally, remember that it’s pollen season – keep some hayfever tablets or treatments to hand, in case your friends are caught out by the weather!
Quick fixes for maximum impact
You don’t need to get a professional gardener to make a big impact on your outdoor space. Whether you’ve got a huge, lush lawn or a more modest yard or terrace, you can transform your stage in a few hours:
- Mow your lawn a few days in advance, and not too short – keeping it longer means it’ll grow healthier throughout the year, but it’ll also feel nicer underfoot and, if the weather’s great, it’ll be comfier to sit on!
- Buy some nice garden lights. These can be really cheap, especially online, and solar-powered options will add sparkle and beauty to your space as the night rolls in.
- Get painting! For the sake of £10 or £20, you could add a fresh coat of paint to your fence, gate, wooden furniture, and more. Make sure it’s weather-resistant, but don’t simply opt for “safe” colours – using two or more colours in patterns on individual fence posts could transform your garden’s look in no time.
- Involve the family. If you’ve got kids, or you simply embrace your inner child, why not decorate the patio, brick walls and more with colourful chalk drawings? Add some playfulness to proceedings and keep the youngsters busy. You could even get everyone involved and award prizes for the best drawings!
- Get planting. Whether it’s a yard or garden, there’s always a place for a potted plant or two. Head to your garden centre or local DIY shop to pick up some simple, outdoor-suitable plants and pots to bring a bit more colour to your gathering.
Feeding your friends and family
When it comes to food, it pays to know what your audience is – and work around the weather. Will they prefer a barbecue, finger food, or a prepared meal? Are you catering to vegetarians, vegans, food allergies, or even just the occasional fussy eater? Don’t be afraid to ask – it simply shows you care.
Whatever you do, don’t hold back on what you offer. It often pays to have too much food, simply because the merriment and excitement of the occasion may make for hungrier stomachs, especially after so many months without a party. What’s more, you can buy carefully and open things throughout the night based on demand, ensuring nothing goes to waste.
Music is the perfect way to add mood and atmosphere to your garden get-together. Whether you’ve got a full stereo system, or even just a smart device, you can create a playlist and leave it to shuffle through the songs that bond you and your group.
If you don’t know what your friends are into, why not make a collaborative playlist? You could even theme it; pick a decade, or music style, and go from there. You never know, you might introduce each other to something new!
Give them something to remember you by
Once it’s time to say goodbye, make sure your guests get the send-off they deserve, especially after so many months away from you. Get some party favours for them to take home with them! They don’t need to be extravagant – you just want to make sure those smiles stay with them from your door to theirs.
Consider making something yourself, for that ultimate personal touch: a stack of biscuits or cookies wrapped in ribbon, or some cupcakes. If you make your own beer, jam or preserves, give them a bottle or jar with a personalised label. If you’ve got leftovers, you could even give them a to-go-style box so they can put remaining snacks into it before they leave – so nothing goes to waste!
Stay safe – but don’t be shy about being social
As has been the case for over a year, it’s important to stay safe and socially distanced, in line with NHS and government recommendations. With this in mind, make sure you follow official guidance to keep both you and your loved ones as safe as possible. It’s liable to change, but you can stay up to date on what you can do and when at the GOV.UK website here.
However, with a creative mind, you can still do so much, even if you end up having to host a lot of gatherings just to make sure you see all your friends and family. That doesn’t sound all too bad, does it?