FRESH AIR FESTIVITIES
We think that entertaining outdoors is one of the best things about summertime. So we've compiled some tips to help make your outdoor get–together a success.
Simply select from the options belowabove for a bit of entertainment inspiration!
DINING IN THE DAYTIME
We all agree that there's nothing better than having all your favourites around for a low–key feast. The ingredients for a great time? Simple, fresh food, a bright, fun table setting and, most importantly, plenty of good company. And with the sun now staying up late, now's the perfect time to organise an outdoor get–together!
SETTING THE SCENE
Part of the fun of hosting a summertime event is creating a beautiful tabletable that reflects your personality. Stuck for ideas? Using bright tablewaretableware and colourful textilestextiles is always a great way to create a relaxed summertime vibe.
If it's a casual affair, we suggest ditching the tablecloth in favour of lighter textiles and tablematstablemats then mixing and matching dinnerwaredinnerware and glasswareglassware in your favourite, cheerful colours.
A PERSONAL TOUCH
If you're feeling adventurous, use your table setting as an opportunity to create a fun theme for your event! Our suggestion? Neutral placematsplacemats combined with red and blue glasswareglassware and striped napkinsnapkins a summery mood perfect for a garden brunch!
Or, as the festive season nears, use gorgeous, fresh white tablewaretableware set off with groups of tealights or fairylights and bouquets of bright red native flowers to form a fresh and unique festive table setting perfect for the warm Australian climate.
THE LITTLE THINGS
We all know that it's the small details that take a party from good to great. So, we've compiled a few little tips for making sure your get–together is as much fun as possible.
- Spray a little insect repellent around the bottom of your outdoor furnitureoutdoor furniture before your guests arrive to minimise any visits from pesky flies or ants. Serving stands with covers are also a good way of keeping bugs out and food fresh!
- GlassesGlasses with name tags look great, can double as place cards and mean that guests will reuse the same glass all night – meaning less washing up for you afterwards!
- Keep the event informal by serving your food on brightly coloured trays placed in the middle of the table and letting your guests serve themselves.
- Paper napkins are practical and cost effective. Remember to place them in a napkin holder to ensure they don't blow away and make a mess of your backyard!
- If you'd rather not use plastic drinkware, invest in a set of thicker, sturdy style of glassware. It's the perfect alternative as it looks great but is tough enough for outdoor use.
WHAT'S ON THE MENU
When it comes to feeding your guests, the options are endless. Here are some thought starters:
- Keep it casual with a backyard barbeque and serve your meat on plattersplatters alongside bowlsbowls of delicious, fresh salads, allowing your guests to serve themselves.
- Avoid cooking all together by serving fresh seafood. Serve with salad, fresh bread and lots of lemon.
- Turn your party into a high tea with cupcakes, macarons and treats served on tiered stands. If you're short on time, visit your local bakery to stock up on delicious sweet treats. No one even has to know that you didn't bake them yourself!
- Remember to account for any vegetarians or special dietary requirements your guests might have.
FINE DINING GOES ALFRESCO
Avoid a boring, stuffy dinner party by taking it out into the fresh air. A beautifully presented formal set up in an unexpected setting is guaranteed to impress you guests and if you time it just right, dessert can even be enjoyed under the stars!
WHERE TO BEGIN?
Once you've got your outdoor furnitureoutdoor furniture set up sorted, we suggest you next choose a colour scheme for the event. If you're aiming for a sophisticated, formal affair, try sticking to one or two colours – a classic white and silver theme for example. Don't worry, fancy doesn't have to mean pricey – try buying fabric by the metre to make your own tablecloths.
We recommend using pure cotton or linen as it is colour–resistant and machine washable so you can easily reuse it next time.
LAYING THE FOUNDATION
A beautiful table starts with a lovely, fresh tableclothtablecloth. But don't worry, fancy doesn't have to mean pricey! Try buying fabric by the metrefabric by the metre to make your own. We recommend using pure cotton or linen as it is colour–resistant and machine washable so you can easily reuse it next time.
SOME USEFUL MEASUREMENTS:
- Allow each chair about 60 cm of space at the table to ensure enough elbowroom for your guests.
- Make sure there's at least 80 cm free space behind each chair, so that guests can come and go easily.
- When setting a formal table, the correct placement of the plate and cutlery is one inch (2.5 cm) from the edge of the table.
SETTING THE TABLE
For an elegant touch, try decanting your wine into a carafecarafe to air it before serving during the meal. Tall-stemmed glassesglasses are also an elegant way of serving cocktails or individual desserts.
Place or name cards make everyone feel welcome and add a level of formality to proceedings. They are also a creative way of ensuring your table is a memorable one. Stuck for ideas? Think anything from traditional, beautiful paper name cards to ones made from autumn leaves or other seasonal items. If you're feeling ambitious, try making personalised cookies and using them as edible name cards!
MAKE IT TRULY SPECIAL
When you purchase the fabricfabric for your tablecloth, allow a little extra for a set of matching fabric napkins. Using crimping scissors or iron–on hemming tape means you won't have to hem the edges. Decorate the table with a table runnertable runner made from a strip of lighter, translucent fabric and multiple vasesvases of beautiful, fresh flowers.
NAPKIN FOLDING TECHNIQUES:
Follow these instructions to make a grand first impression on your dinner guests.
LIGHT UP THE NIGHT
- For larger tables, two or three smaller lights down the length of the table are often a more elegant-looking and practical option than a single larger light.
- Tall candlestickscandlesticks look elegant create a warm, festive mood, but be careful that they don't block your guests' view of each other across the table!
- Steer clear of scented candlescandles as they can interfere with the taste and enjoyment of a meal.
- For a more modern approach to the candlelight dinner, stand block candles on dishes or place tealights inside lanternslanterns to keep open flames away from potentially flammable table decorations.
BIG PARTIES FOR LITTLE PEOPLE
Make the most of this glorious weather and create an outdoor wonderland for your child's next shindig. Throwing a kids party outside means not only do they have plenty of room for games and running around, any mess is kept out there too – it's a win win!
Individual plastic placemats are another practical way of adding colour to the table. They are available in a wide variety of durable materials such as rubber, plastic and bamboo and mean that any little spills can be wiped off without a worry!
A DAY AT THE PARK
If your place isn't equipped for a hoard of excited kiddies, why not head to your local park for the day? Bring some foldable tables, plastic chairs and picnic rugs and decorate with colourful lanterns. Prepare your food at home and transport in handy food storage containersfood storage containers to keep it fresh. Or, bring the barbequebarbeque for a good old–fashioned sausage sizzle! You can even bring along an umbrellaumbrella or gazebogazebo for some shade to keep your food from spoiling in the sun.
Fuelling the fun
Forget frankfurts and fairy bread and think outside the box when it comes to the party food. Try freezing pureed fruit or fruit juice in specially designed ice lolly makers to create kid-friendly, brightly coloured ice–blocks. They'll keep them cool and taste yummy – they won't even know they're healthy!
UP THE FUN FACTOR
Now that the basics are sorted, you can focus on the fun part: decorations! Colourful lanterns and streamers in bright colours are an inexpensive way of creating a fun, festive atmosphere.
You can also make sure your party is memorable by leaving each child with a small gift. We suggest small, brightly coloured fabric bagsfabric bags filled with lollies, or colourful crackers filled with fun toys and tricksfun toys and tricks. Plus, the trinkets can also act as table decorations and name cards.
What's a kids' party without lollies? We suggest filling bowls full of lollies and treats so that everyone can help themselves during the event.
Then, just before everyone heads home, add some spoons or scoops to the bowls, give your guests a small paper bag and let them create their own take–home lolly bags.
It means less wasted food and everyone gets to pack their bag full of their favourites!