How to entertain at home this summer

by Alessandro Ferrara

Tips from The Dorchester’s team to host the ultimate summer dinner party

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Create the perfect setting – Chris Fairless, head of events at The Dorchester

  • Choose your date for a summer party carefully, try and avoid any national holidays as your guests will likely already have plans. Try to also give your guests lots of notice and send a save the date.

  • If hosting with a partner or family, a really great tip is for each of you to look after something specific, mum on drinks duty, dad looking after snacks, your partner cooking and you making sure the atmosphere, music and lighting is perfection.

  • Never stress about refills of table snacks and appetizers, have fully prepared refills in the fridge ready to replace without fuss.

  • Experiment with different shaped ice cube moulds and freeze your favourite aromatic herbs in the ice. A sure fire ice-breaker. For the adventurous, why not order an ice-block rather than traditional ice-cubes. Those wonderfully chiselled icebergs floating in cocktails will have an incredible effect and the blocks hold their temperature much longer so should last you all night.

  • Why not use some natural lavender to tie your table napkins, even just sliding a couple of sprigs into the fold will have a wonderful effect.

  • A lovely rustic effect can be achieved by re-using some old jam-jars and filling with some natural flowers or foliage that are in abundance this time of year.

  • Music is key; it helps create an atmosphere and avoids your guests walking into a quiet room. Make sure you have a nice long playlist. Streaming services offer lots of readymade playlists that are hours long to perfectly suit a balmy summers eve.

  • A chic way for your guests to identify their glass is by using glass charms that fit neatly around the stem of a flute or wine glass.

  • Come rain or shine, it’s always best to prepare for the worst. Have a back-up plan in mind so you can swiftly move the party indoors.

  • String lights and paper lanterns are an obvious choice to dress your garden but nevertheless they are perfect for summer parties. If you have a tree in your garden, use this to wrap string lights around and place furniture underneath, which will look beautiful as the sun sets. A simple candle in a glass jar, then in a brown paper bag is so effective at lighting up a pathway or just adding some drama to a garden perimeter. The jar will weight it down too.

  • Keep some summer essentials to hand and find a spot in the shade for hand sanitizer, sunscreen, bug spray, hand wipes, and, as the sun sets, blankets.

  • Make room and have enough seating. Don’t be afraid of moving your flower pots and garden furniture around, make space for extra chairs – you can never have too many.