Decorating for Family Parties

It’s Summer and for once the weather is being kind, so planning a party outdoors might not be such a silly idea. Start with a gazebo, to give cover as needed and you’ll find you can dress it to suit an event for anyone from 5 to 95. Here are some tips to decorate your house and garden for Family Parties.

getting ready

Make sure the gazebo goes up a couple of days prior to the event so that the ground will be dry for the party, you can then wheel heavy things like BBQ’s onto it without having them sink into the grass. It also means that all the equipment can be stored outside and undercover until you’re ready to decorate.

paper balls and bunting

Be systematic and think about how the space will be used – do you need electrical supply? Is your house big enough to fit everyone if the weather does take a turn for the worse? Will the gazebo take on a secondary role if that happens? What type of food will you be serving? Do activities need to be planned for children?

This party was a 50th for 100 guests and the gazebo was designed expressly as wet weather cover for the BBQ chef – we had to think about this because the kitchen really wouldn’t have coped with that volume of food – and we wanted a more substantial meal than canapes. We planned the space so that the chef would be undercover as well as the buffet table – if the weather did turn bad, the food could at least be ferried indoors. Once that decision was made, we embraced the garden theme and embellished it with a bright vintage feel.

table decorations

We also added a few little quirky touches to the garden to make people smile; paper flowers wired into the bushes, a blue plastic heron perched in the undergrowth and the fabulous toadstool tables and hedge seating we hired from a props company (http://www.theme-works.co.uk).

paper flowers

To get electrical supply for our fairy lights (the outdoor variety) we ran a rope from the edge of the gazebo to an upstairs bedroom and used cable ties to attach the flex to it. We used cable ties a lot – to attach all manner of decorations to the frame of the gazebo. Not only are they quick to assemble, they can simply be cut free when it comes time to take everything down. We also ran an extension lead around the base of the house for a chocolate fountain that was on a table under the kitchen windows. That kept everyone safe and reduced the risk of a trip hazard.

decorated gazebo

The bar we kept indoors, so that people had their drinks as they came into the garden – and it meant we could introduce the decorations into the conservatory area as well. As the guests came through the house, it became progressively more festive and thus zoned the areas that were ‘open’ for the party and those that were ‘closed.’

buffet table

So, don’t let the weather dictate your plans. Get that gazebo up and you can do whatever you want by way of celebration safe under its cover. Wouldn’t it be great for a scout theme – or a circus – or a beach party? The possibilities are endless! Have a happy party.

About Diane Harvey-White

Having retrained as an interior designer when my children were small, I enjoy helping my clients get the best out of their homes. I also write an interiors blog to inspire new homeowners to get creative, www.puttingthelovein.wordpress.com

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