Outdoor party planning tips

Rose Vlajic of Singapore Flower shares her al fresco party tips

Outdoor party planning tips

While most of the planet is sad to see summer go, in the Middle East we jump for joy when the mercury drops. We say, ‘Hello October, it’s time to get our party on!’ so here are some tips and tricks for entertaining friends and family in the open air.

1. Dress your table
A simple touch such as a colourful tablecloth is a chic and easy way to add a festive vibe to your gathering. Large scarves and sarongs can quickly do the trick, as well.

2. Flowers
Even simple single blooms in an upcycled jar can liven up your table. Keep in mind that seasonal blooms are longer lasting (and fare better in the warm areas), and are often better priced than off-season flowers. Using a monochromatic colour pallet in clusters will help the blooms pop.

3. Eat your décor!
Using a bowl of citrus fruits or a platter of cheese and spreads (weather permitting!) is an excellent way of creating a quick and eye-catching centerpiece that can double up as an appetiser. When using fruits, pick ones such as mandarins and berries which are easy to eat.

4. Make it glow
Candles will bring your event from daytime to dusk seamlessly, while creating a cosy atmosphere. Investing in larger candles and lanterns means you can reuse these many times over. Spreading citronella candles also helps keep bugs at bay – double win!

5. Hope for the best, plan for the worst
Murphy’s law seems to favour the weekend. Keep your stress levels manageable and always have a plan B. Be prepared to move the gathering indoors in the event of a freak dust storm or a sudden spike in temperature or humidity.

6. It’s the little touches…
Keep your guests comfortable. Paper hand fans are a simple and chic way of letting your guests stay cool during a daytime event. When the temperature dips, stacks of blankets will keep them cosy and the party going.

7. A hydrated guest is a happy guest
Make sure your refreshment area is visible, easily accessible, and well stocked (don’t forget the ice!). Chilled water, infused with citrus and mint leaves, looks appealing but to take it to the next level, have mixed beverages ready to welcome guests.

8. Prep ahead to party on
Outdoor gatherings are best suited for buffet- or family-style meals. Prep your platters and buffet areas ahead of time so you can mingle with your guests when they arrive. Don’t forget to keep your food in a shaded and cool area!
Singapore Flower is a floral design studio with expertise in event planning (mostly weddings). Open Sat-Thu, 8am-8.30pm. Osama bin Zayed Road, Adliya, www.singaporeflw.com (1774 2456).

In bloom

Rose suggests some seasonal flowers to make your party décor really pop

These blooms come in fun, bright colours and are great for creating a relaxed and summery vibe. We love pairing them with chrysanthemums for the ultimate garden party theme.

Available all year round, roses can be found in any shade. These hardy blooms are chameleons and ideal for every occasion.

Is it a cabbage or a flower? The jury is still out on this one. This bloom offers great bang for your buck, as they are sizeable. We love using them for events with a farm-to-table aesthetic.

Cymbidium Orchid
These luxe blooms are perfect for elevating your outdoor space into a tropical paradise – they go great with all types of ferns.
Top tip: Try and avoid using heavily scented flowers (such as hyacinths) outside as these can attract bees.

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