Planning a great garden party

It’s time to stock up on strawberries, wipe down the garden furniture and crack open the Pimms. Summer has arrived and with it a whole host of sunny weekends that are simply crying out for a garden party.

Whether it’s to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, retirement or simply because there’s a ‘y’ in the day - a summer garden party takes a lot of organisation. Here are some top tips for ensuring your summer social runs smoothly…

Top tips

  1. Refreshments that refresh
    Unless you’re going for a classic barbeque, it can be a good idea to put on a spread that complements the weather. Assuming it’s a warm summer’s day light finger-food will go down a treat. Chilled gazpacho, crunchy salads and zesty sorbets are bound to delight sun-soaked guests.
  2. And now for something completely different...
    Take your garden party from ‘so-so’ to ‘splendid’ with some light entertainment. Close-up magicians and live musicians can be a great talking point. Why not ask around for recommendations for anything from a local harpist to an accordion player? And when it comes to keeping kids amused, hiring a bouncy castle will have them jumping for joy!
  3. Attention to detail
    It’s the little things that can make or break a party. Make a list of must-haves to ensure you don’t forget anything when the big day rolls around. Our summer party list would always include ice cubes, music and plenty of shade.
    TOP TIP: Why not provide your more glamorous female guests with high-heel protectors? These little plastic mouldings can be popped onto stilettos to protect their shoes as well as your lawn.
  4. Food for thought
    Depending on the size of your get-together there’s a fair chance you’ll have at least one guest with special food requirements. Make sure the menu has something for everyone including vegans, vegetarians and those with food allergies, to avoid awkwardness and rumbling stomachs.
  5. The softer side of summer
    Pimms, chilled rosé and summer cocktails are normally the standard tipples at garden parties. But make sure you don’t forget the designated drivers and those who’d prefer a non-alcoholic drink. As well as stocking up on fresh juice and sparkling water, why not put together a refreshing non-alcoholic cooler such as Iced Tea or an Apple and Elderflower Mojito?
  6. Healthy competition
    Give your garden party a certain vintage charm with some classic lawn games. John Lewis stocks a whole range of garden games, from boules and badminton to giant connect four and croquet.
  7. Musical chairs
    Unless you’ve chosen a picnic theme with shoes off and blankets on the grass, remember to provide enough seating for all of your guests. Borrowing chairs from neighbours can be a good option if you’re entertaining at home, or for a larger ‘do’ consider renting chairs and tables from a local supplier. Remember, if you’re hosting a big party with rented equipment it may be worth looking into getting Event Insurance to ensure you’re covered financially.
  8. Me-time
    Anyone who’s ever organised a party will know that you tend to be rushing around like a mad-man right up until the moment the first guest arrives. Try to delegate the last-minute jobs to allow yourself plenty of time to unwind and get ready. That way you’ll be sure to enjoy the event as much as your guests.
  9. Flower power
    A fun idea for providing decoration as well as party favours is a plant swap. Encourage guests to bring a cutting or small plant from their gardens to create attractive centre-pieces. Then, at the end of the party, you can draw lots to see who gets to take home what!
  10. After-dark
    No matter what time your garden party is scheduled to finish it’s bound to go on after dark. Create a special ambience by ensuring your garden is well-lit. A beautiful effect can be created using simple tea-lights in jam-jars decorated with ribbon or perhaps solar powered lanterns. John Lewis have an excellent range of outdoor lighting which are bound to enchant guests when the sun goes down.

How can John Lewis Insurance help?

When it comes to a big event there's a variety of things that might go wrong. John Lewis Event Insurance covers problems such as cancellation and damage to equipment, plus public liability.

Choose from different levels of cover to make sure that you get the right protection for your event and you can even add optional marquee cover.

Your garden can also be insured against loss or damage with John Lewis Home Insurance. Garden cover can protect things like your garden furniture, barbecue, plants and ornaments and with John Lewis Home Insurance your visitors personal effects can also be covered.

Get a Home quote online