When the sun is shining, there is no better way to make use of the glorious weather than to have a garden party. It can be the perfect way to celebrate birthdays, engagements and holidays such as Thanksgiving. An outdoor soiree with friends, good food and fine wine, can even just be a luxurious way to spend a Saturday.
Of course, the stress of hosting can often disrupt the enjoyment of a social gathering. Hiring a catering company allows you to focus on entertaining guests and enjoy the occasion worry-free while replicating an intimate and exclusive restaurant.
But there are still complications that can emerge if your home isn’t catering-friendly, and home entrances and exits can have a surprisingly large effect on how the night flows. To lessen the risk of potential obstacles, certain adaptions can be made.
To find out some of the ways you can modify or design a house to make it more suitable for private catered events, we decided to seek advice from the experts:
Susan Lacz—CEO of the catering company, Ridgewells
Richard Nix Jr—president of catering company, Butler’s Pantry
Joe Halsall—digital marketing manager at bi-fold door manufacturers Origin
In a recent survey conducted by Origin, almost one in eight people said accessibility and functionality were the most important aspects when designing a house.
Richard Nix Jr: “Event flow and logistics is a primary concern when catering in private homes. We strive to establish a predetermined flow for guests, without them having any idea.”
This is especially important when using caterers, as service staff may need to move from the kitchen to the eating area often. This can be challenging if the door leading to the garden is difficult to open.
Joe Halsall: “Doors that can slide or stack to one side can make the process of serving food seamless, so that guests aren’t distracted by any disturbances.”
According to Susan Lacz, low thresholds also make it easier to push hand carts and wheeled equipment.
Susan Lacz: “When staff are carrying platters of food or trays with drinks, they may not have a free hand, so an ‘open’ doorway or doors that can be pushed are ideal. But what I worry about most in these scenarios are bugs getting in – but that can be managed.”
To avoid upsetting the flow of the event, make sure guests can access indoor bathrooms and service staff can pass through entrances by keeping catering equipment out of the way.
Susan Lacz: “Place bars and buffets away from all entryways. Guests tend to gravitate and gather around stationary drink and food tables which can easily cause a bottleneck or jam at the indoor/outdoor entryway(s).”
An essential part of hosting is the safety of your guests and hired staff, which can be affected by your home entrances and exits.
Joe Halsall: “The threshold of a bi-fold door should be set low to the ground to reduce any risks of falls or accidents when carrying food. This also makes it easier for guests with mobility issues to access the home. Wide doors are also more accommodating to wheelchair users.
“Installing doors with finger-safe gaskets can also help prevent young children from trapping their fingers in doors.”
In case of an emergency, doorways should be big enough to enable safe passage for guests and caterers to enter and exit through.
Of those that took part in the Origin survey, 10% considered the size and floor plan of a home a top priority. This is a big element to consider when hosting parties, as the property will need to occupy a particular number of guests.
Richard Nix Jr: “Pathways leading to larger open spaces are ideal, as they offer plenty of space to set up a bar or a food station and still leaving plenty of room for guests to mill about.
“Keep the weight of furniture in mind if you’re hoping to keep the space flexible. Big, heavy marble, stone or iron furniture pieces are beautiful but can limit your options if you aren’t able to move them around.”
Bi-fold doors can create extra space, as you can open up an entire room by stacking them to one side. You can also keep them shut and close off a room that’s off-limits to guests, or to bring the party inside and escape the night-time breeze.
Susan Lacz: “The size of the garden capacity for outdoor guests could determine how you structure your party. For example, if you have a small garden area that would comfortably accommodate 15 people, but you have 25 guests, you might opt for an indoor/outdoor party and structure your event to encourage a steady flow of guests moving between both the garden and the inside of your home.”
If your guests are constantly moving between the garden and the house, an entrance that can stay open is ideal.
A beautiful view can complement any garden party. It can ‘wow’ guests and provide the perfect backdrop for a wonderful occasion with friends. You may also have an exquisite garden with heaps of flowers or water features that you’d like to show off.
But there may be some guests who would rather enjoy the view or any impressive features from inside as a respite from the hustle and bustle.
Joe Halsall: “A glass door is a great way to show off views of the garden from inside if the weather gets a bit chillier, or if the guests simply prefer staying inside. Doors that slide or fold away allow guests to appreciate the view while still enjoying the gorgeous weather.”
If you regularly throw catered outdoor events it makes sense to take full advantage of your property and garden by tailoring it to your lifestyle. These adjustments will let you experience the joys of hosting, without any of the pressure.