June, 2016 Archive

When Rain Stops Play… Weather-Proof Parties

When the weather rains on your parade, there’s no need to call the party off.
Weather-proof your celebration with our all-weather solutions.


  1. Even when you’re expecting your party weather to be fine and dry, it’s always advisable to make back-up plans. That way, there’s no last minute stresses when the inevitable threat of rain rears its head. Don’t make too many plans that are entirely reliant on it being a sunny day, that way not all is lost if it rains, and have a plan B in place for everything else. Borrow, hire, or buy marquees, gazebos and awnings – enough for everybody to be covered – and make them cosy spaces that will be appreciated by guests, whatever the weather. Furnish tents with comfy places to sit – chairs, cushions, blankets and outdoor heaters if you’re concerned about the temperatures. Set up children’s tents and fill them torches, bean bags and blankets so that it all becomes part of the entertainment if they have to take cover!
  2. Allocate an under-cover, or inside area for everything you set up outside, and jot it down in a quick plan so that if the heavens open, you won’t be thrown into confusion and things won’t get soggy while you work out what to do. Use food tables that can be quickly lifted and brought indoors, keep all food preparation areas under shelter, and clear out your garage if you have one, and hang some festival fairy lighting so that the space can be utilised if necessary too.
  3. The last thing you want to be doing on the day is mopping-up muddy footprints. If you’re having guests coming into the house, to use the kitchen or loos for example, then put down some plastic covering over the areas that are likely to get trampled. Tarpaulin or those large plastic sheets that cover furniture when you’re decorating are great, weighted down well on each side so they can’t slip loose and expose carpet.
  4. Be clear about which areas are out-of-bounds should guests need to come indoors. Put up ‘No Entry’ signs. It’s not rude – it’s entirely sensible!
  5. You don’t need to rip up your dress code if rain is forecast. A waterproof poncho and a pair of wellies are all that’s needed to make any outfit rain-proof. Ponchos come in every colour under the sun (or rain) so guests can co-ordinate with their outfits, or go for transparent clear macs so that their carefully chosen dresses or fancy dress outfits are still on full view. If you’re the party organiser, buy a box of lightweight, disposable ponchos for your guests to throw on if the heavens open. With clear-disposable ponchos selling for as little as a few pence each, it won’t cost much, but it’ll make the world of difference to your guests’ enjoyment.
  6. For those who haven’t brought wellies, invest in some plastic shoe-covers for guests to use in the event of unexpected downpours (the kind they make you wear over your shoes at the swimming pool). You can get them from festival gear websites and they’re cheap as chips.
  7. Consider hiring-in portable loos. They’re available in different sizes and prices from basic to luxury, to suit all occasions and budget, and all the necessary cleaning up afterwards is taken care of by the hire company… Which is more than can be said for your own bathroom or downstairs toilet after you’ve had two dozen muddy pairs of feet traipsing in and out of them all day.
  8. If your event involves moving between different locations or standing in outside areas without shelter, then it’s also worth considering hiring in umbrellas for your guests to use. If it’s a wedding or anniversary party, our Splash Love umbrellas are a stylish way to keep dry.
  9. Where rainy parties are concerned, planning and preparation are your best allies. Send out a weather report the day before your party, giving guests a heads up if the weather looks like it’s going to turn nasty, and making them aware of the provisions you have in place to ensure they can party on, whatever the weather. Advise them to put a pair of wellies and a brolly in their car boot and let them know you have a festival attitude and a practical head on. It’ll stop fair-weather guests from wavering about whether to come, and set the tone for what will be a great party, rain or shine.
  10. Keep smiling! Don’t get too down-hearted about the weather. It’s perfectly possible to have a fun-filled, chilled-out, happy-as-Larry outdoor event in even the most torrential of downpours. Afterall, we’re British! We don’t let a little bit of rain stop us having a good time.

Our Top Tips for Organising a Street Party

queen's 90th

Celebrate the Queen’s Official 90th Birthday this weekend with a Right Royal Knees Up!

It’s the Queen’s official birthday on Saturday which means it’s most definitely time for party! And what better way to join in and celebrate with her majesty, who this year celebrates 63 years on the throne and her 90th birthday, than by joining the Big Lunch taking place on June 12th.

The Big Lunch is an annual event which encourages people to sit down to eat with their neighbours in streets and community spaces. Everyone can get involved. You don’t need to be a professional party planner and it isn’t too late to set one up.

Street Party Myth-Busting Facts:

  • You don’t need to fill in complex forms to have the street closed to traffic. For most small parties in quiet streets, all your council needs to know is where and when the closure will take place so they can plan around it. And it doesn’t need to be a special occasion like the Queen’s birthday either. You could plan a summer street party, or a Halloween street party.
  • You are not required by law to pay a charge for closing your road for small residential street parties in England, so if asked for a payment make sure to check what the charges are for.
  • You do not require a music licence at a street party unless amplified music is one of the main purposes of the event.
  • There is no requirement from central government to have public liability insurance and many councils do not insist on it.
  • The Food Standards Agency has confirmed that one-off events such as street parties aren’t usually considered food businesses, so there are no forms to fill in and you don’t need a food licence.



  • Whether it’s a street party for all the neighbours, or a ‘street meet’ in someone’s back garden, it’s a great way to build a community spirit, have fun and for children to experience the simple joy of playing out in the street.
  • Share the responsibility for food, entertainment, music and organisation. People are often afraid of knocking door to door to ask for volunteers, but you most likely be surprised by the positive response you receive.
  • Ask people to ‘Bring a Dish’. You could ask the even house numbers to bring sweet dishes, and the odd house numbers to bring savouries. Or set up a Facebook page where people can list what food items they’re bringing, so avoiding having 12 trifles and no salad.
  • If you’re holding your party in the street, contact the council about applying for a street closure. You’ll probably need to do this at least 3 weeks in advance, but don’t worry if it’s too late. You can always organise a ‘Street Meet’ instead, and set up stalls, games and tables in people’s driveways and gardens instead.
  • Ask people to bring their own chairs – and ask for folding tables and other equipment such as BBQs to be contributed. Allocate food stuffs to different BBQs; one for sausages, one for burgers, one for veggie sausages etc, with the owner of the BBQ overseeing the cooking on each.
  • Keep music volume modest and always address any concerns of neighbours who don’t wish to take part in the proceedings, reassuring them that music will be turned off before it gets too late. Sometimes people have fears about what a street party will entail, such as late night music, which can be easily allayed.


  • Have a mixture of games, including teams games for all the family to join in, games that are just for children, competitions that people can work on before the day, and quizzes that don’t require any hard work on the day. The following are great for big community events and keep costs to a minimum.
  • Guess the number of sweets in a jar. Winner takes the jar home.
  • Guess the name of the cuddly toy. Winner takes the cuddly toy.
  • Put out chalk for children to draw on the pavement.
  • Design royal-themed pub quiz sheets and leave them on tables for people to complete over the course of the day.
  • Ask all party-goers to bring a photo of themselves as babies, and a pin board for them to be displayed. Ask people to guess who is who. And have a picture of the Queen as a baby too, of course!
  • Design a list of items for children to track down on a Street Scavenger Hunt.
  • Face-painting. There’s usually a parent, or a couple of older children who will happily paint faces.
  • Host a Great British Bake Off. Ask people to bring along their own show-stoppers and ask an elder, experienced home baker on the street to volunteer to be judge for the day.
  • A crown competition. Ask children to design homemade crowns to wear on the day. A prize for the best ones in each age category (and a sweet for all children who entered to save tears!)
  • Hold a colouring competition. Print out pictures of crowns, princesses, castles and corgis.

All the resources you need, including recipes, guides to making bunting and paper chains, and organisers’ tips are available on the official Big Lunch website http://www.thebiglunch.com/