Warm summer days call for all kinds of alfresco fun. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, an anniversary or just gathering the troops for a poolside barbecue, we’ve pulled together some genius party ideas – including everything from décor to dining – to throw a party your guests are guaranteed to rave about for years to come.
Hire a bartender
Can’t face mixing your own cocktail menu? Hire a professional bartender to do the hard work for you instead. They’ll come armed with their own cocktail making kit, ready to mix up a medley of fresh, summery concoctions that are guaranteed to impress. Our picks? Serve it Up Sydney, or for something a little more kitsch, call on Trolley’d who will fly over to your pad suited and booted in full aviation get up (and props if you want them), with a trolley full of boozy blends.
Set up your own cocktail station
If you want a more hands-on experience, why not create your own cocktail bar? Set aside a bench space or kit out a drinks trolley with all the mixology essentials:
- Equipment: Shot glass, cocktail shaker, muddler, strainer, juicer and stirrer
- Garnishes: Edible flowers and sliced fruit
- Mixers: Tonic water, soda water, juice, and kombucha
- Glassware: Highballs, lowballs, coupe and martini glasses
- Most importantly- alcohol!
To avoid over-indulgence, fill the bar with low-alcohol spirits and liqueurs so guests can try a bit of everything without going a sip too far. One of our favourite tipples is St Germain Elderflower Liqueur. With a low alcohol volume and 1,000 handpicked elderflowers in every bottle, this elegant French liqueur tastes delicious on its own, with soda and citrus, and complements a range of spirits, making it the perfect cocktail companion.
Here are a few of our favourite recipes to take inspiration from:
Image Credit: The Blonde Butler and
Call in the caterers
Yes, you can prepare your own, but if someone can do it for you, that means more time for bubbly. Whether you want canapés, cured meat platters or a full-on festive spread, we’ve pulled together a list of Sydney’s finest caterers, guaranteed to give you and your guests an unforgettable party spread. For Melbournians, the caterers du jour are Fred & Ginger- the perfect team for any occassion at home.
Fill up with finger food
Fancy doing it all yourself? Impress your guests with a homemade selection of delicious delicacies. Finger food is always a winner at parties, and even more impressive when you can tell your guests that you made them yourself. Here are a few of our favourite recipes to take inspiration from.
Image Credit: Pexels
Stock up on wine
An essential party ingredient. Make sure your wine list is on point with a selection of red, white and rosé for your guests to help themselves to. Oh, and don’t forget the fizz. Grab a mix of Champagne and prosecco – by the end of the night your guests probably won’t know the difference!
Image Credit: Love Maegan
Set the scene with party décor
You don’t have to blow the budget, but a few party decorations never go amiss when you’re hosting a gathering. Indoors or out, grab a few balloons, table centerpieces – we love a pineapple or two – even a few simple flower arrangements will add a thoughtful and decorative touch. Fresh foliage, candles, colourful cakes, prosecco and candy stations – let your creative minds run wild. Here are a few ideas to get your started.
Image Credit: Carla Choy @ Style Me Pretty
Create your guest list
Make sure your gathering is full of your favourite people, to guarantee optimum party time fun.
Send out invites
Image credit: Pexels
Prepare a party to-do list
The key to a successful shindig is all in the planning. So you don’t forget anything, write down a to-do list with all the essentials: shopping list, decorations, food prep etc. And turn it into a schedule so you know how to plan out your entire day in the build up to the main event.
Image Credit: Niki De Saint
Create a party playlist
Music is a must for any party. Set up a sound system to play all your favourite tracks. If in doubt, make a Spotify playlist that you can play in the background – that way you won’t have to worry about changing the tracks.
Set up a photo booth
Ensure your party is Instagram-ready with some carefully-curated props – think wigs, giant glasses, and silly inflatables. Giant paper corsages and lanterns make the perfect backdrop for photos. And don’t forget a bucket of strategically-placed sparklers for post-sundown snaps.
Image Credit: Lights.com
Add ambience with hanging lanterns, candles and tea lights, or even a few stylish table lamps to set the scene. Fairy lights look particularly magical if you’re hosting a garden gathering.
Introduce party games
Get the party started with a few adult-themed party games. Channel your inner child with a game of Twister, Pictionary or charades, or a few drinking games are always a good conversation starter. Heads Up is hilariously funny (particularly when paired with a few vinos) – you can download for free on your phone – or get the gang in trivia mode with a fun pub quiz. You can always bring in some old school board games too, for added party kicks.