Organising a garden party this summer

If you are organizing a garden party this summer then you might be wondering where to start. Regardless of whether the party is an intimate gathering or a much larger celebration, the planning fundamentals remain the same. The longer you have to plan the party the smoother the logistics will be.

garden party

Formal or Informal?

Invite those you wish to come so you have an approx.. idea on numbers. You then need to decide how formal or informal the party will be. Do you envisage a sit down meal complete with place settings? Or will this be more casual with a BBQ and casual tables and chairs?

Interior of a tipi

Garden party in Essex

Garden BBQ

Depending on your numbers you might need to consider a marquee structure  , even if the party is informal you need to plan for weather contingencies. Pop-up gazebos are fine for small numbers but no good if your party is 40+

4th July party

Marquee Events - Dream Occasions

An-Evening-Wedding-Party-AN 22 430

Plan your furniture

Think about what furniture you need to provide for guests. A formal sit down meal will require tables and chairs, whereas a casual BBQ might just need garden furniture. You need to think about what furniture is needed both for eating and relaxing. If you don’t have enough of your own you can hire some in easily.  If you’re in Essex try Alfresco Hire.

Poseur tables in garden

Garden Furniture

Rattan Furniture


I’m a big believer that light can create the different ambiance. You’ll need some practical lighting so guests can see what food they’re eating, the way to the toilets or the exit. But you also want to create more atmospheric lighting. There are so many options available now

  • Bamboo flares
  • Firepits
  • Battery Tealights lining a pathway when its dark
  • Fairy lights or festoon lights hanging from trees or hanging over a pathway
  • Candles, candles, candles
  • Chandeliers for a touch of glamour
  • Spots lighting dining tables
  • Uplighters under trees 



Festoon Lighting

Food to tempt the taste buds

If you’re heading down the formal route then hire in outside caterers, they can provide not only the delicious food but all the staff and equipment you need. Even if you decide not to have a sit down email the caterers can offer options like bowl food , food stations, BBQ’s.

Party food


If a more casual affair then consider using your local butchers to provide the BBQ for you, most will provide side dishes. In the past clients have done exactly this and for dessert we had large bowls of strawberries and mini cakes from the supermarket. You don’t have to spend big bucks on catering to have a fabulous event. Its mainly depends on the vibe you’re going for.


A more formal party will require drink served to guests, especially if it’s a sit down meal. More informal and you can make it a little more self serve. You can have a pimms station with jugs of pimms made up, pimp your prosecco, local ale and even bottles of larger on ice. Of course if a larger party you might decide to have a mobile bar with staff, drink and glasses. This mobile bar can be a structure within a marquee or outbuilding, or indeed there are many vehicle versions available.

Jugs of Pimms

Glasses of Champagne


Bubble Bros

Just remember if you’re providing the drink you need to think about:



Glasses (more than 1 per person)

A bucket for the dredges to be poured into

How to dispose of all your bottles afterwards

Someone on hand to clear up throughout the day/evening

These are the key things you need to get right for your party. Of course there are additional aspects like entertainment, music, flowers but get the core elements spot on and everything else will flow more easily.

Remember that venues have banqueting managers to deal with problems but you’ll have no-one. A party planner can manage the planning of the celebration and project manage discreetly on the day itself. You can look at previous parties we have organised by visiting our party gallery, if you are interested in hiring us for your celebration please do get in touch.



Photographers at past Dream Occasions events: Kerry Morgan , Nick Kontou , Tim Bowden , Paula Day , Mark Bothwell  , Contre-Jour, Purple Peartree

Furniture Hire: – Alfresco Hire

Prosecco Van: Bubble Bros Ltd 





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