Summer Nights

Looking for inspiration for al fresco entertaining? We’ve got it covered

Slap on that SPF 15 and dust off last year’s fairy lights – summer has arrived. While winter soirees have their charms, the warmer months are less restrictive when it comes to party planning. Aside from the practical advantages – entertaining al fresco means more space – there’s something magical about sipping elderflower prosecco in a bunting-festooned garden.

To help you make the most of the longer evenings, here are our top suggestions for summer entertaining…as long as the British weather holds out for you.

Grown-up’s Picnic

Ham sandwiches and paper plates are great for kids, but for an adults’ gathering, you may want 

to consider something a little more sophisticated. Fortnum & Mason has a range of gourmet food hampers, complete with handsome wicker basket, from £55, Fortnum and Mason, while The Little Picnic Company, in Surrey, can deliver delicious locally sourced picnics to your door, perfect for sharing and from £55.

Movie Night

What could be better than watching a favourite film under the stars? Share the experience by hiring your very own big screen and hosting a cinema party. Urban Entertainment hire out inflatable HD screens UK-wide, from £1,000 for up to 50 p

eople. No movie night is complete without popcorn – we love the traditional trolleys, carts and usherette trays from Sunshine Events, or buy your own from Proper Corn or Joe and Stephs 120g for £5, add some funky holders from Ginger Ray at £3.99 for a pack of 8 to finish off the look!

Tapas Party

Small sharing plates make great party food and the rustic flavours of the Mediterranean are especially suited to summer bashes. Iberica can create authentic tapas for groups of any size in their restaurants in

London, Leeds and Manchester, but for a real taste of Spain, invite Paella and Co to your home or venue for and authentic experience. If you want to prepare something yourself or you could even why not hang an Iberico ham from the ceiling and allow guests to cut their own slices. We recommend Brindisa’s offerings, from £85.

Brazillian BBQ

An obvious choice, but a crowd-pleaser nonetheless, the humble BBQ has moved beyond sausages and burgers this year. Thanks to the Rio Olympics, it’s all about Brazilian fare. Think spicy barbecued chicken, rice, fruit and, of course, caipirinhas.  Try this deliciously refreshing recipe from Aaron Wall of the London Cocktail Club for you to try out on your guests.

Cocktail Evening

Cocktails are experiencing a huge revival right now. For a special summer party, a freshly made seasonal drink, beautifully dressed and served in elegant glassware, will set a glamorous tone. Looking for something more interactive? Hire The Barman will send a mixologist to your door to teach you and your guests how to make three cocktails - From £30 per person.irethebarman.co.uk

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