5 SUMMER PARTY PLANNING TIPS
How to organise the party of the summer, by Dazzle and Fizz co-founder Charlotte Morris
Summer is a great time for parties: al fresco dining, sundowners and free-range parenting (I can’t be the only one whose child goes completely feral during the summer holidays?..) But whether you’re throwing a children’s birthday party, naming day, christening, baby shower or just a good old summer knees-up, a bit of planning goes a long way. I have been a party planner for 7 years now, and this is what I’ve learnt so far...
1. Always weatherproof your summer party
I cannot stress enough the importance of weatherproofing your event. Even if the BBC tells you that your party afternoon will be glorious, the simple fact is that in the UK, there are no guarantees. A marquee or tent is a perfect addition to a garden party and can be purchased relatively cheaply from a number of hardware and high street stores. If you are buying a tent, allow plenty of time (and headcount) to erect it, as many a party host have been stumped by a set of Argos instructions. Also ensure that your marquee is adequately anchored and secured and, if the weather is very windy, or there is heavy rain forecast, it is better to go with a professional marquee company who will be able to ensure that your marquee stays intact until the end of the party. Even if the sun is beaming down on you, it is still advisable to offer guests (and children) shade, so a gazebo is recommended. You want to make sure that your party can function whatever the weather so, when planning your summer party, always plan wet weather contingency.
2. Choose a colour scheme
Choosing the right colour palette for your summer party is a great way to start the fun part of your party planning process. I love eclectic colour mixes during the summer months, as there’s just something about the season which lends itself to being more adventurous. Light and airy pastel tones are a classic summer staple and look particularly great for young children’s birthday parties and baby showers. Another great colourway is bright and bold tropical shades such as greens, oranges, yellows and vibrant pinks. These shades are ideal for tropical or beach parties, older children’s events, birthday parties and fancy BBQs. Establish your colour palette first, and then build the party from there. Taking a flat lay photo of partyware in your chosen colour palette is a great way to check that the colours that you have chosen look great together.
3. Go DJ
For me, music can make or break a party. If you choose to make your own party playlist, allow yourself plenty of time to put it together. It’s best to make a playlist that starts off more relaxed and then builds to up to full-on party mode as the day progresses. It is also worth planning how you are going to play the music. If you’re running your playlist from an iPod or smartphone, make sure that you have the relevant aux leads to convert the music to your speaker system (unless you have bluetooth of course). Also make sure that you have enough sound systems to play music both indoors and out, to keep the party mood flowing throughout the space. For garden parties, plan your power supplies in advance and if you’re using a battery operated system, do check the battery life. The last thing you want is the power running out mid-Despacito… If you’re hiring a DJ or band, ensure that the venue is fit for purpose and do bear in mind noise restrictions (and the neighbours).
4. Think about who you’re catering for
Family parties, or parties with a mix of generations, are notoriously tricky, however they can be magical when approached correctly. First, write down your guest list and then establish your party age range from youngest to wisest. Once you have done this, separate all of the guests into the following categories; babies and toddlers, young children, older children, teens and adults. Next, write down the food and beverage options for each age group, including the logistics of them consuming their food (toddlers at a self-service buffet is always a no-no for example). The next best thing to determine is how each group is going to be entertained throughout the course of the event. Consider music, games (try to think of cross-generational games such as parent-and-child relay races to make the activities more accessible), professional entertainment (if applicable) and activities that can be returned to throughout the day (craft activities are great for children during lengthy events for example).
5. Paper over plastic
Washing up is never fun, but washing up after a big summer party can be a particularly painful task. Disposable tableware is therefore a great option for your forthcoming summer party. At Dazzle and Fizz, we have banned plastic tableware of any sort (where possible) and instead choose biodegradable or recyclable paper alternatives. Check out our Dazzle and Fizz online shop, where you can browse by colour or theme for a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic. Littlecherry.co.uk is also a great website specialising in eco-friendly partyware solutions. They even have bio-degradable balloons!
Most of all, have fun! The party planning process should be as creative and enjoyable as the event itself, so stay calm, allow yourself plenty of planning time and rope in friends and family to help ease the workload.
:: All images above are from Dazzle & Fizz parties. For further inspiration, visit their website