There’s just something about the summer, isn’t there? When the sun comes out, the leaves are green and everyone’s in a good mood, it feels like the right time to have friends over, meet new people and enjoy the moment – before autumn comes back round.
It’s also a great opportunity to build a good relationship with your neighbours, and reconnect with friends you may have lost touch with since the kids came along! But if you’re stuck for inspiration, why not try one of these party ideas?
1. Eurovision party
The theme: It’s the cheesiest night of the year, but we can’t stop watching, so why not invite some friends round for an evening of international food and terrible music?
The food: Most European food is pretty straightforward to make, particularly Mediterranean, but paella is a particularly good party food as you can make a big batch for people to help themselves. Alternatively assign each guest to a country taking part and get them to bring a national dish.
The décor: It’s all about the flags for Eurovision. You could get the kids to research and draw as many countries’ flags as possible, and then hang them around the house.
The dress code: Kitsch glamour of course – think pop star style gone slightly wrong.
2. Royal garden party
The theme: Summer’s when the Royals are out in force, at the races, at the Queen’s Garden Party and, of course, at the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Take a leaf out of their book to create a Best of British traditional garden party.
The food: What could be more traditional than afternoon tea? It’s also pretty cheap to make. Whip up some sandwiches on white bread, with the crusts cut off, cut into tiny triangles – cucumber with butter and a sprinkle of pepper is a classic. Then pile up some little cakes – eclairs, brownies, fairy cakes, custard slices and so on. Serve with homemade lemonade.
The décor: Bunting is your friend. Hang fairy lights and bunting around the garden, and if you have traditional tea cups or cake stands hiding at the back of a cupboard, now is the time to use them.
The dress code: Fascinators, floral frocks and pretty sandals. Think wedding guest (but a bit more comfortable, as you do want to enjoy yourself!). And of course, all those fine manners are improved by a posh, whiter-than-white smile. Try Oral-B 3D White Luxe Perfection for quick-acting stain removal and whitening.
3. Community street party
The theme: Bringing your community together for a day of dancing, music, food and gossip feels like a wonderful achievement, and because it’s only your street that’s invited it feels like you’re all in on a brilliant secret. You’ll need to plan a month or two ahead, to make sure you have road permissions in place and so on – read our guide to throwing a street party for more information.
The food: Ask your neighbours to bring their signature dish and some drinks – everyone likes to show off a favourite, so just put a big trestle table out with some paper plates and a buffet of everything. If you want cold drinks, you could fill a couple of big tubs with ice, and put your bottles and drinks in there to keep cool.
The décor: Probably a good idea to get some help on this, but once you have your street barriers up, put the crucial elements in place first: a big food and drink table, space for a band or DJ, space for the kids to play with some games, and so on. Once the structure is there, you can put up bunting and balloons for a classic British street party vibe.
The dress code: Comfy and casual is the best approach – this is about relaxing with your neighbours, so while it’s nice to make an effort, there’s no need to stand on ceremony.
TOP TIP: Parties aren’t all about the grown-ups. If you’d like to get your kids involved in a fun family gathering, read our guide to throwing a successful kids’ garden party
Will you be throwing any parties this summer? We’d love to hear your tips for fun and fabulous entertainment…