Spring is here, which means it’s time to start enjoying your outdoor spaces again. The warmer weather and longer days are a great excuse for entertaining, but hosting a stellar event can also be stressful. Organising, planning, cleaning and did you remember to buy ice? Take the stress out of party planning & styling with our 7 rules for easy-entertaining, to ensure your party goes off without a hitch.
1. First Impressions Count
You don’t need to be Jay Gatsby to host the event of the season, but you do need to plan ahead. Your party starts before the guests have even arrived. Make sure everyone is clear on where they are going, where they can park and what they should bring (hint, you can never have too much ice, or too much wine). No matter your budget, small gestures can go a long way in making a great first impression. Invest in some key pieces like this doormat from Bloomingville and this Ferm Living coat rack to put guests in the party spirit the minute they arrive.
2. Set the Mood
Have you ever been the first person at a party? It can be awkward to arrive unfashionably on time, but there are simple things you can do as the host to ease this stress. Our number one tip is to invite a few close friends or family over early. That way there will be someone for your first guests to mingle with, leaving you free to attend to any last-minute preparations. Create a sense of liveliness within your home with fresh seasonal flowers, candles, music and the smell of food cooking. There is nothing more inviting than the sounds of happy chatter and good music! Need some inspiration? Here is what we are listening to right now.
3. Mix It Up
A drink upon arrival is standard, but it doesn’t have to be boring. If you know someone who is handy behind the bar, that’s great, but you can entice guests into mixing their own cocktails, especially if your set up rivals that of Sydney’s best bars. A beautiful console like the Terrace bar cart from West Elm is a great focal point and will have your guests talking (and feeling merry) in no time. You can style your mixology station to suit the occasion by changing the napkins, glassware and drinks on offer. Quality glassware is a great investment, because not only is it a practical addition to your bar, a gorgeous serving tray of Spanish glassware for example, is a simple way to make a huge impact. Some of our favourite pieces this season include the MENU glass carafe and Skultuna bottle opener.
4. Take a Seat
The type of party you are throwing will dictate the type of seating you require. If you are hosting an intimate dinner party, update your setting with simple changes like new cushions. If your event is more informal, spread some throw rugs out on the lawn, or remove your dining chairs entirely and use your table as one giant grazing plate. Don’t expect people to stay in one place though. Have several spots for guests to enjoy pre-dinner drinks and food, such as a bar or lounge area.
5. Good Food, Good Mood
I don’t know about you, but the food is always my favourite part of a party. You don’t have to create a ten-course extravaganza to impress your guests. Keep it light and elegant with in-season produce and incorporate colour and edible blooms into your displays to add to those fresh spring vibes. The easiest way to entertain is to choose food that you can prepare in advance, meaning you spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the fruits of your hard work. Here are some ideas to get you inspired. Remember, always over cater just slightly. To really make an impression, invest in some gorgeous serving platters like these.
6. Make Your Guests Feel at Home
Your guests have arrived, they have their drinks and the food is out. Hopefully they (and you) are feeling relaxed and happy. There are a few simple things you can do around your home to make sure this is the case. Number one tip: have a well stocked and inviting bathroom with towels to suit your spring colour palate. We love this gorgeous Meraki tray to keep everything neat and tidy. Outdoors, make sure there are plenty of water and glasses. A water dispenser filled with fruit is perfect for spring entertaining. Thinking about these things in advance makes it easier for guests to settle in and feel comfortable and reduces the amount of running around you have to do on the day, leaving you more time to enjoy yourself.
7. Keep It Simple
At the end of the day your guests are there to see you. You don’t need to exert huge amounts of time, money or energy to throw an amazing party. Just be yourself and have confidence in your style. Draw elements from your interior design into your outdoor areas. Use vases or candles you already own as centrepieces, rearrange your pot plants to create a sense of life around your entertaining area and add personal touches to your menu, like your grandma’s secret gin and tonic recipe. For simple, yet stunning styling tips, check out our Celebrating Summer - Outdoors blog post.
Bonus Tip: Catering for Children
If your guests are bringing kids, don’t stress. As a mother of a toddler, here are a few easy tips to ensure both the kids and the adults all have a good time. Firstly, make a separate area for them. Depending on the ages of the kids, this might be an extra big rug out on the lawn, a cosy corner indoors with plenty of books and blankets or a garage full of pre-teens eating pizza. Or all three. Either way, have a place for them to go when they get bored (which they will). Have a place for parents to take their little ones if someone starts crying (which they will). A spare bedroom or lounge room that can be closed off works well for this.
Set up a table low down so kids can help themselves to food and water. This saves parents having to rush around after the kids every time they drop their fruit kebabs (which they will). When it comes to food, don’t underestimate the palates of your mini-guests. Most of the food you plan to serve your adult guests can be adapted to suit little hands. Portion smaller, go for colour and double check with the parents for allergies. Most parents with very young children will bring their own food for them. If in doubt, send a message to your parent friends ahead of the event asking if there is anything they need. If you’ve got a large hoard of toddlers headed your way and all else fails: bubbles. Toddlers love bubbles, but this sounds like Birthday Party 🎉 which is a whole other blog post. To stay tuned sign up below for our newsletter!