Spring/Summer 2018 Entertaining Trends

TOAST.Life talks Spring/Summer entertaining trends with the experts

Spring has sprung! Well, almost. To make sure you’re ready for some totally on trend entertaining, TOAST.Life has caught up with some leading event experts to get their thoughts on what’s hot for SS18, from the food to the flowers and everything in between, plus their top tips for stylish event success!


Supper club supremos Billy and Jack

Since appearing on BBC One’s fierce cooking competition Masterchef in 2016, Billy and Jack have taken the supper club world by storm. From exotic flavours to booze free vegetarian barbeques - they’ve got a whole host of mouth-watering predictions when it comes to what we should be serving up this SS18…

“With more and more people opting for a meat-free or reduced meat diet our meat-laden barbecues of old will have to change - expect to see restaurants leading the way with innovate ways of using vegetables as well as meat-substitute ingredients replacing burgers and sausages. We're excited to experiment with flame-grilling all the lively seasonal veg we get in the summer, we already love to grill salads so expect more of the same!” they explain.

A recent trip to Malaysia has highlighted London's lack of top quality and exciting Malaysian food, recent years have seen more and more Taiwanese restaurants pop up, and Mexican food has never been more accessible or tasty. We think Malaysian is the next cuisine to have people queuing around corners, or at least we hope so, the food is THAT good!”

 Strip Sirloin Langoistine Charred Corn Mushroom Moked Butter Billy And Jack

Billy And Jack Supperclub

Aluna Run Cured Salmon Billy And Jack

Jelly And Ice Cream Billy And Jack

(Imagery courtesy of Billy & Jack)

“Also non-alcoholic drinks such as Seedlip made a big impact in 2017. We expect to see more experimentation and innovation in this area, 2018 could be the year that soft drinks really do become a worthy alternative to a great wine or cocktail with a meal. Whilst we love a good drink it's nice to have the option!”

Billy & Jack's top tip 

  • Keep it simple

  • Focus on British-grown produce and make the most of the ingredients. We have incredible produce in this country, from veg to fruit to brilliant, sustainable meat and it should be celebrated.

  • Sharing platters are here to stay. Not only does it make cooking and plating for groups a lot easier it's fun to dig in and try lots of dishes and reflects the trend towards more casual dining experiences.

Top London Caterers Rocket Food

20 years on and still going strong - leading luxury caterers Rocket Food are considered specialists at serving exquisite food and drink in virtually any location. Co-founder Caroline Hall thinks it’s all about creativity, sustainability and cocktails this year (hurrah).

“Creative, fun, beautiful food stalls are gaining momentum instead of table service - it’s a great way for people to socialise and network instead of sitting at a table throughout a meal. Think tacos and tequila, juice stations, salmon carving, or a churros bar - presentation is key everything has to be visually pleasing” she explains.

“Sustainability will be important, such as using paper straws instead of plastic and using local produce - serving regional specialities when in season. Hero vegetables will be big i.e. more dishes with a hero vegetable focus which replaces carb or meat elements, and using alternatives to carbs such as almond or coconut flour and flax seeds instead of wheat. Also the use of alternatives to refined sugar - natural sugars like stevia, coconut sugar, and raw maple syrup” she adds.

Rocketfood SS18 Spring Menue

SS18 Food Station Rocket Food

Rocket Food Guinea Fowl

(Imagery courtesy of Rocket Food)

But it’s not all about being healthy, you’ll be pleased to hear.

Cocktails will take centre stage – wine import tax has increased therefore people are turning to local products such as English gin and Scotch whisky. Comfort food with a twist will remain strong - people like substantial canapés rather than small bites - think fish and chips in a cone, mini lobster and chips and sliders

Rocket’s top tips  

  • Create an Instagrammable moment with food – such as a “living bar” covered in foliage and flowers

  • Wireless dinner table lamps instead of candles gives a modern twist

  • Focus on minimum waste – potted plants, fake leaves instead of florals



Luxury Event Planners Cranberry Blue

Found on the prestigious recommended supplier list of the likes of Blenheim PalaceHedsor House and The Mandarin Oriental to name just a few, Melanie Helen - founder of luxury events company Cranberry Blue  – knows a thing or two when it comes to planning luxurious and sensationally stylish events. 

When it comes to décor, we’re seeing an increase in popularity of retro 70s and 80s looks within events which is really fun!  We love the colour palettes associated with these and the fact each look doesn’t take itself too seriously. Rather than just copying past trends though these looks will be given a modern twist by incorporating technology and more contemporary entertainment. Colour takes on a new direction for 2018 with bold tones from the 70s and 80s eras but alongside metallic tones, with gold being the leader” she explains.

 Bars Cranberry Blue

Alex Beckett Photography Lighting Cranberry Blue

(First image by WhiteSmoke, second image c/o Pinterest, third image Alex Beckett. All courtesy of Cranberry Blue Events)

Increasing the fun and interaction between guests at events will continue into 2018 and services such as pop-up beauty bars are a great addition to a party.  Guests are treated to a spot of pampering before making the most of the continuing but evolving popularity of photo, selfie and video booths” she adds.

“And I think we’ll see modern drink stations. Signature cocktail bars have been popular for a while now but we’re seeing a move on to more specialised drink stations such as whiskey and bourbon bars for the men and then Champagne tasting stations for the women, with the option to create Champagne cocktails. These bars are fully styled to suit the event and come complete with specialty glassware, decanters and mixers. Guests can either help themselves or a suitably dressed bar tender can assist

Melanie’s top tips

  • Have fun when thinking about the style or theme for your event and push the boundaries! Whatever look you go for, rather than trying to decorate the entire event space though it’s important to have a few statement pieces at the venue as these are what will create that wow factor whatever your budget. 

  • Don’t overlook the importance of lighting and production.  It’s something which often gets put to one side but even some simple up-lighting can completely transform a space and make a good event into an amazing one. There are of course lots of incredible and more complex options available - we’re loving projection mapping at the moment - but it really does create a party atmosphere and the colours, patterns, movements can change throughout the evening.

  • When considering your table décor, rather than choosing the more traditional route of linen, why not lose this altogether and instead hire some fabulous tables that stand out on their own?

Immersive Event Experts Darling & Edge

Following their hugely successful immersive dinner party pop up Beauty & The Feast at Christmas, ‘experimentalists’ Darling & Edge are now looking towards the warmer months.

We're really excited to be collaborating with The Lost Estate  and the Aranskey Chamber Orchestra this spring on their immersive orchestral arrangement of Swan Lake  - The Dark Masquerade Ball. We're making a sumptuous, monochromatic set out of lots of lovely shades of blacks and whites - deep navy blues, dark purples, and the whole spectrum of warm to cool whites” enthuses co-founder Elise

Immersive techniques are so flexible, it’s a really effective way of enhancing storytelling at any event. It's good for smashing up old stereotypes, and looking at traditional art forms in a new way

Medieval Golf Darling And EdgeDarlingandedge Decor

Darling And Edge

(Imagery courtesy of Darling & Edge)

Darling & Edge’s top tips

  • Don’t just theme a party - think about a story, how to tell it and what kind of journey to take your guests on

  • Think about how you can combine different themes to come up with a brand-new concept, such as Bollywood and sci-fi, or medieval mini golf!


Super Cool Balloon Emporium Bubblegum Balloons

Despite the fact that they are about to celebrate their fifth birthday, Bubblegum Balloons  still have their finger firmly of the pulse when it comes to event trends. Balloons were HUGE last year, and I am pleased to say that they are here to stay.

“If you thought Rose Gold was done, you're wrong! This year it's all about the Rose Gold Cubez, Diamondz and Orbz. Whether combined with white giants for a crisp finish, or warmed up with bright pinks and oranges, it's a totally versatile product and colour for any celebration” explains marketing manage Ellen Reed.

Bubblegum Balloons Anyhoe Park

Bubblegum ORBS

“This year is also all about the outdoor themed party. Whether that's bringing the outdoors in, or spending all afternoon basking in the spring / summer romantic light, in 2018 we're going outside!” she adds.

“With this in mind we've created a Tropical range to help you decorate any lounge, kitchen, marquee or venue. Whether you're going all out for a Tropical party, or simply wanting to turn up to someone’s BBQ with a quirky gift, these balloons are perfect!”

Bubblegum Buildings

Outdoor With Bubblegum

(Imagery courtesy of Bubblegum Balloons)

Bubblegum Balloons’ top tips

  • Pick a colour theme and then go wild. If everything co-ordinates then you can't go wrong!

  • We've created a number of new ranges based on gorgeous colour-ways to help you make your party look like it's been decorated by a professional. Who says you have to be under 5 to enjoy Mermaid colours?!



Beautiful Blooms From Bloomon Flowers

Bloomon specialise in creating original, seasonal hand wrapped bouquets made from flowers direct from Dutch fields, and delivering them straight to your door. Every stylish do requires fabulous florals, and Bloomon’s Director of Concept & Content Paul Aguirre knows what’s hot when it comes to fabulous florals this spring.

“As we saw on the runway last season, flowers are going to be huge for 2018. This summer, we're going to be seeing a lot more flower crowns again. In terms of floral stems, you can expect a lot of Iris Apollo Geel, Forsythia, and the beautiful Chasmanthe to pop up in shops” he explains.

“Look for luscious candy-coated stems in yellows, pinks, and purples. At Bloomon, we're mixing tulips, ornithogalum, and Golden Ness for arrangements that bring a little bit of the outside world into your home. Top it off with perfect peach tones and baby blue hues for that extra special glow”

Mini Vases Bloomon


(Imagery courtesy of Bloomon)

Paul’s top tips

  • Think about the mood you want to convey. For daytime events, Scandi-inspired bouquets throughout the room or venue to brighten and create a sense of lightness and space.

  • For more intimate dinner parties or gatherings, we'd suggest an arrangement of mini-vases with loose stems throughout the middle as a modern centrepiece. 



Top Children’s Party Planners NOTORiOUS KiDS

We don’t want to forget the little people now do we? Gone are the days of a dodgy old clown for entertainment – in 2018 children’s parties can be super stylish too. Here Victoria Pearce, Managing & Creative Director NOTORiOUS KiDS, shares her secrets for planning an unforgettable party for the little person in your life.  

“In terms of party décor trends for SS18 I think our clients will be looking at more statement pieces and personalised items to create main focal points and sustain the theme of their party. Ideas such as large statement balloon designs, bespoke backdrops and personalised items will all be examples of trends for this year” she explains.

We get more and more enquiries for original party themes which we create from ideas of what the child loves whether this be a colour, a storybook, a favourite toy or movie. The original ones are our favourite as they are totally unique to the child however popular movies and TV shows do influence the requests we get. We’d love to see enquiries come in for more Circus themed parties inspired by The Greatest Showman, especially for older children, and I imagine we will be getting lots of enquires for Peter Rabbit parties following the release of the new movie!”

Giraffe Party Notorious Kids

(Imagery courtesy of NOTORiOUS KiDS)

Victoria’s top tips

  • Always plan in advance and secure your venue early.

  • Your venue should be able to cater for the number of guests you expect to have, especially for children’s parties where you want space for children to move around and be entertained.

  • Natural light and neutral décor is ideal so you can choose any theme to compliment the space.


Top Children's Party Ideas from Poppy's Parties

Rosie Marsh, Principal Party Planner and founder of Poppy's Parties  says that Children’s parties are always changing and evolving to reflect their parents’ trendier, hipper tastes; "We’re seeing a real move away from the ‘cheese’ and towards a more sophisticated, fun look for kids’ parties and events. Owning a children’s entertainment company, I have to say 2017 was firmly the year of the mermaid and the unicorn, but to be ahead of the trends in 2018, it's all about the glitter garlands, balloon installations, healthy and nutritious food and Club Tropicana!"

Poppys Parties

Poppys Parties Pirates

(Imagery courtesy of Poppy's Parties)

Rosie's Top Tips

  • Balloon Art - Welcome 2018 the year of balloon sculptures (not to be confused with balloon ‘sculpting’, which is making balloons into poodles and flowers). The art of transforming a wall, doorway or even ceiling with garlands of different sized balloons in beautiful muted colours. The effect is surprisingly sophisticated and stunning, and perhaps a little too nice to be enjoyed by just the kids.

  • Beautiful Bunting - Bunting has seriously upped its game in the last few years (triangles are like, so 2016), and now its all about the personalisation. Go for gold glittered letters which spell out your childs’ name and hang above the cake table for added effect, or if you really want to splash out then you could go for a whole room of gold letters.

  • Colour Combos - Last year we saw a lot of ‘vintage’ colour combinations in children’s parties - this year the colour stakes have gone up a notch, and instead of seeing contrasting colours, there’s a real emergence of the same colour but in different shades. This is a stunning, contemporary look, which cleverly allows you to decorate a party in your child’s favourite shade without going completely overkill on just one single thing. This works especially well with cakes, where you can get playful with drip effects, chocolate shards and even sweets to create something unique and beautiful- for best results, go for slightly muted shades of the same colour rather than super-bright (ombre works wonderfully for this too).

  • Club Tropicana - This is the year of the flamingo. This is one of those trends where more really is more- the colour pallette for this trend is very much ‘miami beach.’ Think outrageous pink flamingo confetti, glittery yellow Pineapple plates and cheeky watermelon napkins. Perfect for any summer babies out there.

  • Nutritious and delicious - Over the last few years we’ve all seen a total shift in food trends, and a positive shift to less sugar and more focus on food which can be fun and nutritional at the same time. There are some simple tricks to swap out ‘bad’ foods for healthier alternatives without any little ones even realising. Try a ‘Swedish Glace’ as a dessert instead of ice cream- this frozen goody is soy based, dairy free, lactose free and gluten free so is pretty much ok for the large percentage of children to eat. And the best bit? It’s absolutely delicious. 

For more information and contact details for all the sensational suppliers featured, then head over to TOAST’s Little Black Book, and for more event inspiration and trend tips for 2018 head over to TheEDIT.


- Explore the vendors featured in this article -

Search our Little BLACK BOOK for hand-picked experts & suppliers