A Summer party takes some serious planning – and I’m not just talking about who to invite and what to wear! I love hosting gatherings at my place – and after an invite to a summer garden party at Eltham Palace hosted by The White Company, I was inspired to reveal my top tips for throwing the ultimate summer party for yourself. From show-stopping cocktail recipes, styling your entertaining space and even a ready to download playlist this post has it all covered!
This is the part that I love doing the most. Working in visual presentation, this is the area that I take just that little bit of extra time on! It’s the attention to detail that will really make your party a success – after all, we live in an era obsessed with taking a photo of anything pretty and uploading it to Instagram #homegoals #picoftheday #summerentertaining
ideas and inspiration:
I’m a firm believer that the plates and cutlery that are used has a big impact on the overall aesthetic of the food being served. Forget your average dinner-set side plates and opt for dishes with character and charm.
In addition to regular serving plates these little Frites buckets are a wonderful idea, not only for chips but also for other snacks such as bread sticks or asparagus.
Bunting is a great party favourite and gives a nod to the festival season which also takes place over the summer. If like me, you’re short of outside space place a couple of these Pavilion lanterns into plant pots for a beautiful glow as the sun sets.
This beautifully veined marble board is great for serving cheese after dinner or even to serve drinks on. I used mine to place the Frites buckets on…
Forget paper towels and add a touch of luxury with these gorgeous striped Napkins. Don’t worry, they wash super well – even the greasiest of spills!
These elegant Champagne Coupes are perfect for celebrating with. These glasses also work magnificently for serving cocktails in too.
Make a statement that says ‘I know how to throw a good party’ with this Champagne trug. Fill it up with ice and let your guests help themselves. Here’s to a bubbly good time!
In the style of a mezze platter, laden this chopping board with cheeses and cold meats. The sheer size of it makes the whole sharing experience even simpler. Grab a plate and set the world to rights with your friends and a glass of red.
You may not have even considered it before, but lighting a few scented candles or spritzing of a room spray will help to create a last memory of your party. I love ‘Summer‘, the vetivert and sea salt work perfectly to create a scent that is reminiscent to the coastline on a tropical paradise island.
Scatter a few of these cushions in different sizes onto the floor of your outside space – a stylish and relaxing way for your guests to enjoy their food and drink whilst soaking up the relaxing atmosphere.
These miniature slate hearts are a terrific way of labelling your cocktails. Write the name of each with a chalk pen and attach to your different beverages. I wrote the WIFI details on one for my guests to login with – saves having to repeat it several times and looks very charming indeed.
Try jotting a few of these chunky little vases around the room with succulents or flowers to instantly liven up any coffee table or shelf.
Below are some simple to prepare and cook recipes as an idea for what to serve your guests. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t have the patience for complicated cooking so these recipes require only a little preparation and cooking time… I’ve found that people never really eat very much at parties (usually out of politeness) and a lot of time is wasted in the kitchen when it could be spent with your guests. These are great bites that look and taste wonderful!
Green beans, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, olive oil, spinach
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1kg fresh green beans, cutting off the tips and ends
- 1 handful of spinach
- 10 chopped cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 2 pinches of pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- Salt and pepper, to seasonMethod:
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add the garlic; cook and stir for about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat if garlic begins to brown in colour. Add the chopped green beans and cook for around 4 minutes.
- Add and mix in the tomatoes, spinach, lemon juice and pine nuts, then season with the chives and salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer gently uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes. Optional side: Corn on the cob
- Add a drizzle of olive oil to finish and plate up!
A great selection of cheeses, crackers, grapes and bread always goes down well with guests looking for a light bite.
Asparagus, parma ham, hollandaise, sea salt
- 500g green asparagus
- 6 slices Parma ham
- Olive oil
- 1 lemon (cut in half)
- 1 tablespoon Hollandaise sauce
- 1 pinch Sea SaltMethod:
- Break the ends off the asparagus and add to a pan of hot water. Boil for just 2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
- Group 2 or 3 stems of asparagus together and wrap a slice of ham around them. Place in an oven dish. Repeat this with the rest of the asparagus and ham that you have.
- Drizzle with olive oil and juice of half a lemon and place in the oven for around 20 minutes on a medium heat.
- Plate up the asparagus and drizzle the hollandaise on top. Enjoy!
Sweet potato fries
- Sweet potatoes with skin on, washed
- 1 teaspoon of Paprika
- Sea Salt and pepper, to season
- Olive oilMethod:
- Chop your sweet potatoes into strips around 2cm thick, don’t worry if they aren’t equally sized – the beauty of these is the rustic look.
- Place foil into a large baking tray and pour in enough oil to lightly cover the surface area, add a teaspoon of paprika powder
- Place your sweet potato wedges onto the tray, carefully turning to ensure both sides are covered in the oil and paprika mix
- Put them into the oven at 200 degrees for 45 minutes, turning after 20 minutes.
- Season with a little pinch of sea salt and pepper if required
Sloe Gin Eton Mess
- 1 large box of Strawberries, washed and hulled
- 1 small box of raspberries
- 1 small handful of blueberries
- 4 meringue nests
- Handful of purple basil leaves
- 500ml whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons of caster sugar
- 100ml sloe ginMethod:
- Whisk the whipping cream in a large mixing bowl until thick but soft
- Wash and chop your strawberries into chunks and put into a large mixing bowl along with the raspberries and blueberries, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of caster sugar over the berries and leave to sink in
- Crumble in the meringue nests to the mixing bowl with the whipped cream
- Pour in 100ml of Sloe Gin along with the berries, folding into the mixture
- Lightly dust with caster sugar before serving
The Drinks Menu
Shake things up and impress your guests with these refreshingly easy-to-make cocktails. I would recommend making a small batch of each before your guests arrive, saving you time to enjoy the party with them.
Remember to drink responsibly, especially in the heat!
Mint Matcha Mojito
Ingredients (to serve 4):
- 230ml of White Rum
- 100ml of vodka
- 100ml of boiling water
- 1 bottle of soda water
- 2 tea spoons of Matcha Tea Powder
- 1 bag of fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- Crushed iceMethod:
- Put 2 tea spoons of Matcha tea into a large pitcher and pour in 100ml of boiling water
- Add in the white rum and vodka along with the sugar
- Fill the pitcher with enough ice to fill the it just over halfway
- Pour everything into a blender to crush the ice
- Add in the mint leaves and soda water to the pitcher and pour back the blended mixture
- Garnish with a mint leaf and straw, voila!
Ingredients (to serve four):
- 250ml of gin
- 150ml of vodka
- 100ml elderflower cordial
- 300ml tonic water
- Champagne/Prosecco (1 dash worth for each guest)
- 1 stem of fresh lavender (for decoration)
- Ice and slice of limeMethod:
- Pour 230ml of gin over ice
- Add the vodka, elderflower cordial and tonic water
- Serve in a martini glass or champagne coupe
- Add a shot of Champagne/Prosecco
- Finish with a sprig of fresh lavender and a slice of lime
Ingredients (to serve 4):
- 230ml of Prosecco
- 145ml of Aperol
- A dash of soda water for each guest
- 1 large orange, cut into chunks for garnish
- 1 fresh lavender plant, to garnish
- In a large jug add the Prosecco and Aperol over ice
- Cut the orange into chunks and put a slice into each glass
- Cut a stem of fresh lavender long enough to sit in each glass for decoration
- Pour in the Prosecco, Aperol and Ice
- Top up with a dash of soda water and enjoy
Frosted Strawberry Daquiri
- 200ml vodka
- 400ml Funkin Strawberry Daquiri mix
- Crushed ice & frozen strawberriesMethod:
- Shake 200ml of vodka, Funkin Cocktail mixer and crushed ice together
- Pour into glasses and serve with a frozen strawberry on each drink
Ingredients (to serve 4):
- 200ml of Gin
- 200ml of Funkin Cocktails Elderflower Collins mixer
- 200ml of soda water
- Crushed iceMethod:
- Mix the gin, soda water, crushed ice and Funkin Cocktails mixer together in a cocktail shaker
- Pour into a tall glass and enjoy
For me, the background music really sets the tone of an environment. Hopefully your guests will be chatting and laughing, rather than sat in silence toe-tapping to the music! You want to start off with something quite chilled and build up the beat as the night progresses or you can download my specially curated Playlist on Spotify to save you time and worry.