Your guide to the ultimate summer soirée
There is no doubt that 2020 has been a challenging year, which is why it is so important we celebrate and treasure our time together this Christmas!
While some of us may not be able to travel and see our loved ones, that doesn’t mean Christmas has to be anything less than special. To help you plan something truly impressive yet intimate, we’ve compiled our top tips for creating the ultimate Christmas summer soirée at home.
Whether it’s a backyard pool party, an alfresco dinner or a carefully curated picnic spread, you can create a truly magical back drop for your Christmas this year.
Choose a theme
The easiest way to upgrade a typical gathering at your home into a summer soirée to remember is to give it a theme. This will provide you with an overarching plan that will help streamline all of your event ideas, making the decorating and menu planning easier.
It’s never too early to start planning a festive get-together, and these themes will leave your guests wishing the celebration lasted all year long:
- Boho garden chic: stylish and comfortable, move your lunch or dinner to the ground with a soft picnic rug, low table (or crates if you would like to DIY!), surrounded by a selection of colourful cushions and throw pillows. Decorate the table with a lovely table cloth, beautiful flowers and add twinkling fairy lights around your outdoor deck or hanging from the trees to create an intimate atmosphere
- Wine connoisseurs: if you’re missing your favourite wineries or breweries, consider turning your gathering into a mini wine-tasting party! Ask each guest to bring a bottle of their favourite summer beverage to accompany the delicious food that will be on the menu. Alternatively, you could ask guests to bring drinks originating from an area of the world they have travelled to, with each guest asked to share a story from their travels upon sharing the beverage itself. All you’ll need is a large selection of glasses, and some palette cleansers to match – think cheese, fruit and some crackers to nibble on throughout the tasting session.
- Poolside party: take the summer theme to a whole new level with a poolside party, complete with fruity flavours, flowing cabana style accessories and the ultimate pool accessory – pool balloons. Balloons are a great way to create a scene in line with your colour theme. Place them in the pool alongside pool floats, around the drink or dessert station and anywhere else you want to create a fun atmosphere and impress your guests.
- Intimate backyard dinner: If you prefer cool summer nights over daytime heat, plan an intimate backyard dinner party underneath the stars (or balcony depending on the weather). Decorate your table with table runners, place settings, carefully folded napkins and mason jars with candles to create a beautiful and charming dinner table for your guests.
Plan your menu
Christmas doesn’t have to mean extravagant menus and home cooked meals on the day. With an intimate summer soirée, you can take the stress out of cooking by being creative with your menu planning. Add a twist on simple family favourites to create something truly special.
If you’re having a pool party, make delicious sandwiches sliced into fingers so they are easy to eat whilst lounging poolside. Cut fruit into fun and fancy shapes using a cookie cutter or add an ice cream station where guests can decorate their own ice cream cone, complete with fruit, nuts, sprinkles, chocolate and other toppings.
Consider sharing plates of smaller sides for your garden party, placing them in the middle of the table for everyone to choose from. Think Middle Eastern Meatballs and dipping sauce, roasted carrots in sherry vinegar, and savoury tarte tatin – they sound fancy and look fancy, but are easy to make and taste delicious. Prepare some of the small sides ahead of time to free up your time on the day.
For an extra element, create a beautiful drinking station. Instead of putting a number of drinks in an esky, set up a beverage station with glass drink dispensers and colourful cocktails in crystal glasses. Add a selection of fruit to your soda or sweet tea for something refreshing, or create a flavoursome sangria for guests to enjoy.
Once you’ve planned your menu, type it up and paste it into a beautiful design online that fits your theme and print it off to place on the table for guests. This added element will get them excited about the food you have created and will make your table settings just that little bit more impressive.
Use little details to create special moments
It’s the little extra details that will make sure your summer soirée an occasion everyone will remember.
- Start a lawn games competition: For some added fun, consider running a series of lawn games before or after your meal. Wooden skittles, Twister, Bocci and giant Noughts & Crosses can all be easily set up on the back lawn for guests. If you’re looking for some friendly competition, you can also create your own score sheet for guests to fill out so a winner can be crowned at the end of the day. Up the ante with a fun prize.
- Capture the moment: Family photos can always be a little bit tricky, however, you want to make sure you capture all of the special summer memories with your loved ones. Invest in an instant camera that can be passed around for your guests to take their own happy snaps. They’re fun, easy to use, and of course – instant, meaning your guests can take home their photos with them. You can also set up a pin board or string for the photos to be displayed, creating a beautiful visual photo board as the night progresses.
- Set the mood: Every summer soirée needs some atmosphere, and what better way than creating your very own music playlist. Mix older classics with newer numbers to cater for the whole family, or consider an already existing list from Spotify or Apple Music. There is something for every occasion, including a Summer Garden Party!
This Christmas, connecting and celebrating with your friends and family is so important. We hope these ideas help you create a day to remember – one with plenty of food, beautiful decorations and special moments! If you’re looking for additional Christmas recipes, be sure to visit our recipe section for more inspiration.