Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A Guide to Summer Entertaining

Now that we have reached mid April, spring is well and truly here and the weather seems to be picking up (hopefully most of you will be lucky enough to enjoy a lovely Easter weekend).

With the blossom, the nice weather and several long weekends ahead of us, no doubt we are all starting to get excited for the months ahead and the prospect of days relaxing in the garden, evenings dining outdoors and most importantly the opportunity for BBQs and summer garden parties!

Here at The Garden Lighting Shop, we thought we would put together a little guide to summer entertaining to hopefully help inspire you and make sure that you too are starting to get in a summery mood.

First things first we must remember that we do live in Britain so can never guarantee sunshine! But so long as you have gazebos available and the possibility of going indoors if it gets too much then you will be fine; just keep your fingers crossed for good weather, or if possible plan things at relatively short notice when you know what the weather forecast is.

When it comes to summer entertaining you have a few choices food wise. BBQ is often the most popular choice, the important thing is to make sure you have a range of meats as well as vegetarian options so that everyone is catered for! To go alongside your BBQ food it is a great idea to prepare a selection of smaller bites and light salads (you will find many great recipes online); if you are inviting a lot of people it is a good idea to ask people to bring some sort of dish with them, this way there will be plenty food to go around and it takes the pressure off you slightly.

Before the main food is served it is nice to have snacks around for people to nibble on, crisps, nuts, dips; anything that is easy to set out but that won’t fill people before the main food!

Now we have to consider drinks, after all no party is complete without an array or summery beverages! You need to provide a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to ensure that you have something for everyone, and remember...ICE! Soft drinks such as lemonade, coca-cola and juices are good options, even non-alcoholic cocktails if you are feeling adventurous as these are sure to go down a storm. A variety of beers is a good choice, kept in buckets of ice to make sure that they are refreshing; a choice of nice cold wines is also a good move.

Of course, don’t forget the classic summer drinks such as sangria and Pimms! Looking up cocktail recipes is also a nice idea, but this will mean you need a lot of ingredients so bear this is mind before you decide to go for it.

Especially if you are hosting a party for a lot of people it is worth buying disposable plates, cutlery and cups as the chances are you won’t have enough to go round otherwise; plus it saves on washing up and means you don’t have to worry about your glasses getting broken!

Decorations can top off your party area nicely by adding fun with splashes of colour, whether this is with colourful napkins, tableware and tablecloths, or buntings and other decorations that can be found everywhere! For the evening a few candles dotted around are a nice touch.

If your party is going to go on into the evening/night time then it is a nice idea to have a few blankets lying around in case people get a bit chilly, patio heaters are also great but obviously these aren’t a cheap investment!

Garden lights dotted around your outside area will create a lovely atmosphere and will mean that none of your guests will have trouble seeing once the sun has gone down; there are many different styles of garden lighting around so you will have plenty to choose from!

Hopefully this little guide will help you out in some way, or at the very least get you excited for the (hopefully) glorious summer ahead and the many fun times to be had!

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