Bring your picnic celebration from daytime fun to night-time funk

by Sarah ▪ 18 May, 2021


Sometimes it’s a shame to stop the fun when the sun goes down. So it’s time to bring out the classic tunes of choice, and make your picnic into a proper party. Hosting an outdoor event in your garden or yard is a great way to catch up with friends and family, and it only takes a few deft touches to dress up your space for a special occasion.

For a stylish yet laidback yet vibe, try layering rustic textiles for tablecloths and use more folded linen or wooden chopping boards for displaying serving dishes. Use Mason jars or jam jars to hold candles and fresh flowers. Cushions and blankets in the seating areas add both comfort and beauty.
Bunting always looks pretty, so festoon your fences with tiny fluttering flags for a festival feel. There are lots of beautiful designs available to buy, but you can also hire bunting for one-off occasions. And if you’re handy with a sewing machine, why not try making your own? Try running your bunting across the garden, rather than simply along fences, for a an especially elegant effect.

Let there be light

For a chic yet cosy aesthetic, try mixing fairy lights, lanterns and tea lights into your lighting plan for a truly luminous outdoor space.

For a simple yet elegant lighting solution for outdoor tables, try suspending a mixture of jam jars from a cord above the eating area, filled with tea lights. (This also works for decoration – just pop posies of wild flowers into the jars for a colourful and aromatic country atmosphere.)
String fairy lights work beautifully when threaded through bushes or low trees, and solar-powered garden lights can be used to mark out walkways and boundaries.
Finish off with a variety of feature lanterns – either on tables or patios, or suspended – for a truly magical ambience. Just be sure that the lights you choose are water resistant – or make sure the weather forecast is ironclad!

Turn up the heat

Although it’s getting sunnier, evenings are still on the nippy side, and it’s always best to err on the side of warmth. A fire pit provides warmth, light and atmosphere, with crackling, glowing flames and plumes of smoke curling into the night. They’re also a fantastic opportunity to embrace your inner child and roast some marshmallows!

If you have safety concerns or just don’t fancy tending a fire, you could invest in a patio heater – it’s now possible to find a variety of styles, many at reasonable prices.
And, of course, don’t forget to provide your guests with a range of cosy outdoor blankets, throws, or even slankets for snuggling under!

Mouth-watering munchies

When people are making merry, they tend to get hungry. And British evenings often carry a chill, however warm the days. Put those together, and it makes sense to serve up some warming, satisfying grub to keep your guests in the party mood.

To keep things simple, try offering up portions of one of Gourmade’s all-time favourites, Macaroni Cheese & Bacon – or the veggie alternative. Served alongside fried sausages and onions, this makes for the ultimate outdoor feast. Bamboo trays are a durable, practical and stylish serving solution for meals like this.
Another option to really rock the food stall vibe is hand-held cones – there are lots of eco-friendly, biodegradable options available, or you can make your own. These are perfect for fries or Sweet Potato Wedges – which can be made extra special with delicious toppings. ‘Dirty’ fries with cheese and bacon are a classic – but we think our wedges with pulled pork or multi-coloured Mexican-inspired toppings (sour cream, guacamole and cheese) are even better!
For dessert, an outdoor party definitely calls for comfort. Why not create your own version of a mug cake, by serving Sticky Toffee Pudding in cups, so guests can warm their hands while digging in to the gooey goodness within.

Music to your ears

Creating the perfect playlist in advance is a sure-fire way to ensure your garden festival atmosphere never falters. If you’re a real music buff, you won’t need any advice from us, but if you’re looking to compile something simple without devoting every free moment for a month, read on.

One of the easiest ways to make sure you have an up-to-date, diverse mix of music is to download an existing playlist. You can even find playlists of past festival sets – and you can’t go wrong with the most famous of them all, Glastonbury.
You can also download playlists based on a theme. Whether you are revisiting the swinging to 60s hits or 90s numbers, there are fabulous choices for any time period you desire. You could also choose a music style – and for a rustic outdoor evening do with Mac n’ Cheese, why not whip up some energy and yee-hahs with some country music? Nobody can fail to feel cheerful with Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash belting out their best tracks in the background.
We’d love to see pictures of your festival food and décor. Tag us into the merriment on Insta, Twitter or Facebook, and share your own suggestions for stylish party snacks.