If you're looking for some outdoor autumn/winter party ideas, we've got you covered. Here are some of our top tips for making sure your guests have a wonderful time at your autumn garden party.
Autumn can be one of the best times to throw a party in your garden. While the weather cools, there’s still often plenty of bright days to be enjoyed, and with a little planning you can keep everyone warm, dry and entertained, even if the rain does make a dreaded appearance.
Here’s our top tips for a successful Autumn garden party.
1. Keep your guests warm and cosy
Nothing cools the mood of a party quicker than shivering temperatures and in autumn, cold conditions are always a possibility. It's important to keep your guests nice and toasty so they won't want to dash off early back to the comfort of indoors.
Before guests arrive, arrange the chairs with a blanket draped over each one. You can bulk buy fleece blankets fairly cheaply and if you don’t think you’ll find use for all of these after your party, they can be donated to a homeless charity or a local animal shelter.
Patio heaters have a bad reputation for their less than eco-friendly credentials, so consider carefully if a patio heater is really necessary. If you do decide to go down this route, electric patio heaters are the better choice from an environmental perspective. If your party is an adult-only event (or one with older children who are aware of the importance of safety around open flame), consider a firepit instead. Here’s the Telegraph’s round up of your outdoor heating options.
Rain forecast? Keep everyone dry with a sturdy gazebo. If you don’t have the space to store a gazebo all year round, you can simply rent one for the occasion.
2. Prepare seasonally appropriate food
Image source: BBC Good Food
Traditional barbeque weather is unlikely during Autumn in the UK, so scrap the burgers and sausages in favour of warming food and drink.
When it comes to the food, choose big pots of homemade chilli which can be prepared in advance and kept warm in slow cookers, served with jacket potatoes. Using whole roasted pumpkins as bowls to serve up dips provides an eye-catching autumnal centrepiece too.
Warming drink options include mulled wine, hot chocolate, teas and coffees (with the option to give coffee an Irish twist) and of course, pumpkin-spiced anything is always on trend at this time of year.
3. Lighting makes all the difference
As we head into dark nights, you’ll need to consider lighting if your outdoor party is happening in the evening. Not only is this a functional necessity of an autumn garden party (it’s always a bonus if your guests can actually see one another!), when done with a little creativity it can bathe your garden in a beautiful glow that really sets the scene for your party.
Candles in mason jars (to protect them from the wind) look great, alongside strings of fairy lights draped around the tables or a pergola if you have one. You could invest in some solar powered outdoor lights to illuminate your paths – superb for when the sun sets early and you're not ready for the party to end.
These lighting ideas from Gardeningetc.com are a great source of inspiration.
4. Clean garden, happy guests
Before any other party prep begins, take a look around your garden and think about the ways it could be tidied and cleaned. Nobody wants to be slipping on wet leaves or sat next to a stinky bin, so consider the following autumn gardening checklist when preparing for your garden gathering:
- Tuck away the outside bins
- Blow away the fallen leaves with a cordless leaf blower
- Scoop leaves and debris from ponds and water features
- Cut back the foliage
- Pressure wash patio areas (check out the Champion range if you don’t already have one)
We think Autumn is a great time to have an outdoor party; sunburn chances are significantly reduced and with Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas all packed into the season, there’s plenty of reason to organise a get together with your nearest and dearest.