There’s nothing better, or more British, than gathering friends and family together on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Having already enjoyed two balmy Bank Holiday weekends, and with a long (and hopefully hot) Summer ahead of us, there’s no better time to hone your hosting skills. So, why not use National Barbecue Week as the perfect opportunity to dust off your grill, master new seasonal recipes and invest in some outdoor accessories?
1. Food for all
When planning any Summer soirée, start with the menu. A selection of lighter, more relaxed dishes is perfect for feel-good feasting over the warmer months. Choose crowd-pleasing recipes that require little cooking time and won’t leave you slaving away in the kitchen.
With meat dishes traditionally taking centre-stage, it’s important to cater for any vegetarian and vegan attendees with show-stopping alternatives. In need of some recipe inspiration? Try our 3 easy food swaps for healthy barbecues.
2. Dress the table
Barbecues are more informal affairs and this should be reflected in your place settings. Avoid highly styled surfaces and adopt a more laid-back approach. Make linen, the ultimate in Summer fabrications, the base of your outdoor tablescape. A linen tablecloth and matching napkins will achieve an effortlessly luxurious look.
3. Take a seat
Creating adequate seating for all guests is important as juggling plates of food while standing is notoriously tricky. Invest in some outdoor options, such as bistro chairs, which can be handily packed away once they’ve gone home, or a classic deck chair to use all Summer long. Top chairs with plump seat pads to create a comfortable perch guests will want to sit for hours on.
We recommend also keeping a picnic blanket close at hand for any smaller, or unexpected visitors.
4. Scent the scene
Selecting a fragrance to add ambience is a great way to stamp a bit of your own personality on the occasion while also creating a homely, inviting atmosphere for your guests. Why not try seasonal Summer, Vine Tomato or far-away-island-inspired Seychelles.
During the warmer months, it is also advisable to ward off insects by placing a few Coriander & Ctronella candles along the table.
5. In the details
It’s the small things that can really make an impact. Create a centrepiece for your table by filling our glass hurricanes and tealight holders with clever air plants, which don’t need soil. Or, simply embrace the natural beauty of your garden by picking a few stems to style in a slim vase. For a truly British barbecue, artfully criss-cross bunting from all corners of your garden.
6. After-dark ambience
Make your garden look truly enchanting once night falls with minimum-effort, maximum-effect outdoor lighting. Enjoying a quiet nightcap with those last remaining guests will be the perfect end to your evening. For smaller gardens, lacing multiple strings of battery-operated fairy lights among the branches of a tree will create a charming look, while larger outdoor areas will benefit from staking torches and hanging lanterns down your garden path.
7. Don’t forget the drinks
To reduce stress levels on the day, we recommend preparing cocktail jugs with delicious concoctions before guests arrive. It’s hard to beat the alluring orange of an Aperol-based cocktail, or the timeless appeal of a Summer Pimms. Ensure you have plenty of ice stocked up in the freezer, as cold drinks are a must in warm weather. Any drivers or children will appreciate an equally aesthetically pleasing mocktail option.