I'm excited to feature a guest post by Denby, sharing with you how to create the prettiest and most stylish al fresco dining this spring!
In this article, Hayley Baddiley, Global Marketing Director at Denby, shares her tips for putting together a spring-themed dinner party in your garden.
As lockdown begins to ease, you might be looking forward to welcoming a small group of loved ones round for a long-overdue get-together this spring. Since March 29th, gatherings of up to six are permitted outdoors, with more restrictions set to lift as the year goes on. And, with warmer weather on its way, it really is the perfect time to host a dinner party at home in your garden.
Below, I'll share my tips for putting together a picture-perfect gathering to treat the people you've missed the most.
Start with your menu
We're all craving a holiday, so when putting together your menu, why not take inspiration from our favourite holiday destinations? From Italian pasta dishes to Spanish paella and tapas, the foods served in the sunniest spots in Europe all encourage sharing and socialising — perfect for your springtime celebration.
You can also serve some stylish charcuterie alongside your dishes to really give off that group holiday vibe. A selection groaning with meats, cheeses, pickles, and fruits served along with a choice of wines and cordials is sure to delight your guests! Serving a hot dish with accompanying cold nibbles means that everyone can eat their fill, and continue to graze as the evening goes on.
Prepare the dining area
Make sure there's adequate space for a dining table and chairs, trimming bushes and hedgerows back if you need to, and try to leave extra space around the table so people can continue to socially distance. In terms of décor, you can continue the holiday theme by adding coastal decorations such as seashells, or drape colourful silks and fabrics to give the feel of a foreign marketplace or bazaar.
Finally, don't forget to include plenty of light after sunset. Fairy lights and electric lanterns designed for outdoor use, plus a few tabletop candles in secure candleholders, should do the trick safely and give a soft lighting effect to your dinner party. It's wise to leave out a few blankets for your guests to get under too — British spring weather can still be chilly!
Setting the table
The great thing about dinner parties is that the right dishes can do most of the wowing, so you don’t need to decorate your table much at all. In fact, all the different colours, textures, and other visual elements of a charcuterie board or graze box mean that they make great edible displays or centrepieces. So, start with a stunning board or box and plan where to put the rest of your dishes and carafes around that.
Focus on the colours of your food and make those pop with contrastingly coloured and patterned tableware — some attractive, high quality ceramics can really elevate your table. Don't neglect to garnish, either: you can liven up a dull looking dish with a sprig of green herb or a sprinkle of chillies. Your guests won't be able to resist taking a few photos!
The tips in this guide can help you put together a garden party for a small group of six this spring. Remember to check the latest government guidelines while planning your party, and you're sure to create an evening to remember.