The great thing about a September gathering is that it gives you a chance to catch up with family and friends after their summer holiday and before colds and viruses come along to keep people indoors this winter.
Plus, the weather is still lovely enough to enjoy an outdoor party, so why not invite your favourites round for a garden get-together?
The evenings in September are still light until around 8pm, making it ideal for an afternoon-into-evening event. You can enjoy the warm late-summer sunshine It also provides a natural end to the gathering as guests will head off home when dusk falls.
The best way to carry on the conversation into the evening is to add some lights around your garden. This keeps your guests safe if they’re wandering around and lets you stay outside for longer. Flick on your outdoor light, or string up some fairy lights – if the Christmas lights you’ve already got are suitable for outdoors, that would be ideal.
Candles create a cosy glow and a feeling of warmth. If you’ve got citronella candles, even better, as they’ll help to see off any bugs that come out in the evening. Plus, insect-repelling plants in your garden could help to naturally ward off insects and flies.
Make a meal of it
An afternoon-into-evening event means it’ll span dinner time so be sure to provide something tasty to feed your guests. An outdoor gathering in the summer usually points to a barbeque but, for more of a cosy autumnal feel, why not pop the lid on the BBQ to turn it into an oven and roast some squash, wrap jacket potatoes in foil and have a pan of bubbling chilli beans on the go? It’s a really filling meal and doesn’t cost much to make.
Alternatively, in warmer weather, you can provide fresh pizzas and salads if you’ve got an outdoor pizza oven. Or just cook your food indoors and bring the meal outside to serve on your patio for an alfresco dining experience.
Check the weather
In September you can’t really guarantee sunny days or warm nights but it’s likely to still be rather mild – definitely nice enough to lounge outside in a deckchair or hammock. But, the weather can change quickly so make sure you’re prepared! Check the forecast and put up a gazebo or umbrella if there is any chance of rain. Plus, you can provide blankets to keep guests warm if the temperature drops. There’s no need to buy anything new – just pull out any of your throws or quilts and offer them around to keep everyone cosy.
If the weather report shows high temperatures, as often happens on balmy September days, try to avoid being out in the midday sun and start your party later in the afternoon. Make sure your guests don’t leave cellphones or glasses frames out in the sun as they can become damaged and get warped in the heat. Provide plenty of shade so that everyone can stay comfortable. Again, there’s no need to buy a new awning or parasol – even just setting up your table in the shade of a tree will be enough to help guests stay out of the sun.
Gather for games
One thing I love is playing garden games at parties, so be sure to have some on hand to entertain your guests. If you’ve got an area of lawn, you could play a round of croquet, a couple of games of Kubb skittles or roll some boules. These games are ideal for all ages, young and old.
If you’re confined to the patio, all you need is a deck of cards to play some classic games when gathered around a fire pit. Or you could bring out any of your existing family-friendly card games like Uno, Whot or Dobble to include youngsters in the entertainment too.
I hope these ideas will help you to organise an early-autumn gathering with your friends and family. Let me know your own outdoor party tips, I’d love to hear your ideas for food, shelter and entertainment in the comments below.
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