Whilst the height of summer is behind us, there are still plenty warm of nights and long afternoons left this year to clean out the BBQ for one last summer soiree. Even as we reach September and began the long run up to Christmas, with a little planning and a side helping of good fortune there are spell plenty of chances to entertain family and friends in the garden. Summer doesn’t officially finish until 21st September, so let’s make the most of the weekends left!
As there’s always a chance the weather won’t hold, place extra emphasis on serving up succulent, tasty meat and fish dishes for your guests. Marinade fish and meat overnight before the day of the BBQ to add spice and flavour and consider serving up a pre-prepared chili-con-carne to warm up guests should temperatures fall. Hot plates are especially useful for keeping hot food hot.
Set out sides, salads, condiments and breads inside the house or within a marquee in a buffet style for guests to help themselves. The cover will help food retain its heat and protect it from any potential spots of rain.
If you are serving food on ceramic plates, pop them in the oven at a low heat for fifteen minutes prior to serving to help food stay hot for longer.
Everyone knows an ample drink offering is of paramount importance to any BBQ, so invest time to get your bar fully stocked. A mix of beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks is key to ensure no-one goes home disappointed.
Pimms, the un-official drink of summer, should definitely be present to let everyone know that the twilight hasn’t yet set on the summer months. Cocktails with rum and whisky help keep guests warm, craft lagers or pale ales give the hint of impending autumn and a fruity punch retains a summer vibe.
Make sure beers and white wines are kept cool in ice buckets or a drinks cooler and ensure there are plenty of non-alcoholic options for those who are driving.
Selecting a soundtrack is always somewhat of a minefield at any social gathering. Judge your guests’ music tastes carefully before creating your playlists. Whilst Dad might love Mark Knopfler, hours upon hours of classic rock might not go down too well with all of your guests.
Summer afternoons and early evenings are not the time for dance-floor anthems, aim for more music that lingers, floats and is a little hazy around the edges. Feel free the up the tempo as the evening sets in, but until then keep things minimal, light and loose-limbed.
Protection from the Elements
Ensuring your guests and the food is adequately protected from the elements is just that little bit more important once you reach the dying embers of those summer months. Spots of rain are slightly more likely (although they are fairly likely all summer!) and a cold turn is increasingly possible. As a result, the option to take the party in doors is often a useful one.
A fun alternative is to hire and erect marquee in the garden. It offers shelter from any potential cold, wind and rain and a great extension to your home. Moreover, they add a sense of style and even sophistication to any party. Search ‘Marquee Hire Kent’ for affordable marquees in London and the South East.
At the very least, open up your home to guests (particularly later on in the evening) and erect an umbrella or some sort of shelter for the BBQ! Blankets, throws and soft outdoor furnishings are also great additions for the later summer party.
Now, decorating for a BBQ isn’t always the highest priority on the host’s list, but adding some subtle furnishings can really make a party feel special. Simple touches such as flowers and table decorations show you’ve made a real effort as a host and are sure to impress your guests.
Lighting is also very important for those late summer days as the evenings draw in a little sooner than earlier in the year. Chimineas, patio heaters and gas lanterns are great ways to ensure your guests remain warm and visible as the evening progresses!