Make Sure Your Garden Party is Glorious By Avoiding These Pitfalls!
Getting out into the garden and soaking up the sunshine is one of the greatest joys of summer, and a barbecue is the perfect opportunity to get everyone together. A day of fun, conversation, food, and drink- what could be better? However being a host (especially if it’s for a lot of people) isn’t easy, and to allow your party to run as smoothly as possible there are a couple of things you will need to consider. Here are a few of the pitfalls and mistakes people commonly make when entertaining guests in the garden.
Pitfall 1: Not Considering Guests With Special Diets
Lots of people have special dietary requirements, and if you don’t cater for these people they’re going to be sat at your party without any food! Which is never going to be much fun for them. Maybe they’re vegan or vegetarian or don’t eat certain things due to religious reasons. They might have food allergies or intolerances. Double check with your guests when you’re inviting them if there’s anything they can’t eat. Catering for them isn’t as complicated as you might think, most people for example can eat grilled vegetables such as corn, mushrooms, and peppers. Buy a disposable barbecue and cook these away from everything else, so those with special dietary requirements definitely have things to eat.
Pitfall 2: Not Buying Enough Food or Drink
There’s no greater disaster when you’re hosting a party than for the food or drinks to run out. Make sure you don’t underestimate when you’re shopping. Preparing big batches of potato salad, green salad, baked potatoes, coleslaw and other side dishes helps to bulk out the food on the grill. It’s a good idea to buy more barbecue meat than you think you’ll need, keep it on hand in the fridge and if it doesn’t get used pop it in the freezer after the party. That way you can use it yourself over the weeks and months without it going to waste. Don’t forget condiments, bread rolls, cheese, onions and other extras. When it comes to drinks, most people will bring a bottle, but it’s a good idea to have a variety available. Wines, beers and ciders are great choices on a warm day. Or you could purchase some spirits and whip up some cocktails in big drinks dispensers. You’ll need garnishes like chopped fruit, plenty of glasses and ice too. Don’t forget soft drinks for kids, designated drivers and those who don’t drink alcohol.
Pitfall 3: Not Having Enough Seating
When you’re having guests over you, need enough seating so that everyone is comfortable. Most of us have patio furniture upside which seats four or six, but when you have lots of people over it can pose a problem. One idea is to spread out a picnic style blanket on the lawn with some large outdoor cushions for people to relax on. You could set up a teepee with fairy lights, blankets, and cushions for the children to sit in. You could even purchase a bean bag chair or couch for comfy additional seating. This would be useful to lounge around on in the garden even when you’re not having a party, or in the house the rest of the year! Otherwise, invest in some fold down deck chairs, these can be pulled out every time you have guests over and store away in the shed without taking up too much room when you’re done.
Pitfall 4: Not Getting Your Garden Up To Scratch
You don’t need a luxury landscaped garden to be able to host a garden party, but it should be tidy if you’re having guests over. No one wants to get stung by nettles or scratched by brambles, or be tripping over children’s toys. Spend a little time getting everything looking nice. Mow the lawn, weed the flower beds and tidy away things into the shed or garage. You could fill some pots with colorful flowers, they’re not too expensive from garden centers and can really make all the difference to the ambiance.
Pitfall 5: Not Including Any Entertainment
If you want to really get people chatting and mingling, consider including some entertainment. How about giant lawn games like Jenga or Connect Four? You could have swingball competitions, or even hire a bouncy castle for the kids. You could hire an entertainer such as a magician or tarot card reader. You could hire a photo booth company (or set up your own photo booth area with props). Have a think about what kinds of things your guests are likely to appreciate and what will get people chatting. At the very least you will want some background music playing, create an inoffensive, easy listening playlist that everyone will enjoy.
Pitfall 6: Not Thinking About The Weather Cooling Down In The Evening
If your party is going to stretch on through to the evening, the sun will be down, and the weather will be a lot cooler. To stop guests from getting too chilly, you could provide some cozy blankets and all sit around a chiminea/ wood burning fire. You could make some hot chocolate or warm cider in the slow cooker to warm everyone up, and toast marshmallows. If you entertain outdoors often, you could consider having an outdoor fireplace installed in the garden. Don’t forget about the light too, check your patio light works and consider lighting some large pillar candles in outdoor lanterns to create a soft glow.
Consider these common pitfalls and take steps to ensure you don’t make these mistakes and your garden party will run smoothly, and everyone is sure to have a fantastic time! Be sure to do your planning, get the garden in order and work out what you need for the number of guests you have coming.
Have you made any of these mistakes when hosting a barbecue? What pitfalls do you think people should be wary of when entertaining guests?