Who says all the best parties end up in the kitchen? Backyard gardens are the perfect place to host a great gathering, especially during the warmer weather.
Be it a grand event or a low-key get together, from weddings and receptions, to graduation parties, birthdays and baby showers, make the most of our spring and summer seasons by transforming your backyard living space into a place to celebrate, lounge, chat and enjoy a little sunshine (or starlight).
Of course, weather is one of the biggest factors to take into consideration when making any arrangements for an outdoor event. In other words, never assume Mother Nature will co-operate with your plans. “Sun and heat can drain the life out of a party faster than anything, even rain,” says Krista Olynyk, Lead Planner and Creative Designer of Burlington-based KJ and Co. “I always suggest providing shade in the summer months, with umbrellas or tents so people can get out of the sun if they want. Even providing sunscreen is a great idea.”
The menu is also a big consideration, depending on the type of event you’re hosting. If a fork and knife are needed to eat, you’ll want adequate and comfortable seating for your guests to enjoy their meals. If more casual finger food is planned, it can probably be consumed while standing and mingling. She also suggests making it clear where waste should go, with clearly marked receptacles to reduce post-party cleanup. “Parties can be formal or informal, and I provide recommendations for everything you might need to make it a success, from gourmet barbecue to buffet style.”
Interior Designer and owner of Bash Panache Rental Collections and Services (a division of Reimer Design Inc.), Wendy Reimer, offers a variety of high end globally curated rentals for all types of events. Reimer loves to create outdoor seating lounges and dining areas by incorporating antique and reproduction furniture pieces, down-filled cushions, beautiful dish and glassware and accessories in the garden to bring the indoors outside. All of these details matter and make a big impact when well planned.
Reimer believes that making your guests feel comfortable is paramount. Pretty baskets filled with environmentally friendly insect repellent, optional fun hats for the guys and paper parasols with bamboo handles for the ladies are always well received. They are functional in terms of providing a reprieve from the sun’s rays, and when co-ordinated to work with your party’s colour palate, they bring style to any event! With busy lives a reality for most, Reimer likes the idea of streamlining the process by providing clients with convenient one stop shopping.
Reimer also suggests letting guests know in advance what type of footwear might be appropriate. “If on the grass, do make your guests aware of this ahead of time. There is nothing worse than a woman arriving in heels only to be struggling with sinking into the lawn. Wedges can solve that problem or flip flops if a more casual affair.”
Some other items you don’t want to forget about include enough ice for the drinks, mood lighting and music, whether it’s a string quartet, a DJ spinning some dance tunes, or simply a playlist of favourites you’ve put together yourself. But parties don’t have to be elaborate to be fun and successful, and keeping it simple doesn’t mean overlooking the overall theme and appearance of your gathering. If your budget is a little tighter, you can still be aesthetically pleasing with bold summer colours, floating tea light candles, white string lights, homemade flower arrangements and a do-it-yourself barbecue.
In the end, parties are always about having fun, so keep your stress levels in check by hiring a professional planner to help you out, or keep it all low-key and simple and go it alone. Either way, don’t forget to enjoy yourself!
by Alison Dempsey
Bash Panache Rentals
KJ and Co