While we continue to adapt to what has quickly become the “new normal”, unfortunately, the pandemic restrictions have meant that many celebrations have had to be put on hold. Whether it may be a big birthday milestone, anniversary or engagement party, there is nothing more disheartening than having to cancel or reschedule an event that you have looked forward to for months. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t stop you from putting plans in place for the ever-hopeful 2021 that we are finally reaching closer too. Although things may be a little more unconventional than we had hoped, this most definitely doesn’t mean that you cannot have a wonderful time with your loved ones. So, to give you a helping hand, we have put together a host of tips for hosting a party, taking into consideration the potential for COVID-friendly alterations.

Tips For Hosting A Party After The Lockdown

As our area of expertise are marquee hire in Oxford and event hire in London, we have seen first-hand how the pandemic has started to shape how events will pan out in the future. However, while it may seem as if the lockdown restrictions are neverending, there is no better way to keep spirits high than through putting together plans for 2021. There are a wealth of super easy ways that you can tailor your celebrations to meet with the rules that could potentially be in place. And even better, look on the positive side, the more time to plan, the easier it will be to throw a party that goes down a storm with your guests!

With this in mind, whether you are attempting to reschedule an event or are putting together a celebration for your loved ones to look forward to, it can be tricky to know where to start. Is it too risky to reserve any bookings? Do you still let guests know in advance? There are a whole host of questions you may be asking yourself, but we hope that our following tips will help to guide you in the right direction:

Friends At Party

Choose An Outdoor Venue

One of the trickiest hurdles that you will need to overcome when planning your 2021 party is where it will be hosted. Unfortunately, while we have become accustomed to living amidst a pandemic, there is still a lot of uncertainty, which means that we cannot quite anticipate venue rules this time next year. It is for this reason that we would recommend playing it safe and choosing an outdoor venue as even if there are restrictions in place, you will still be able to enjoy your celebrations with your loved ones.

Although often not first considered, outdoor venues do, in fact, come alongside a whole host of fantastic benefits, which can make them far more enjoyable than inside alternatives – and we promise we’re not being biased! Not only will you have plenty of availability to choose from, especially if you host on your own land, but you also have full creative freedom over the decor. You can customise every aspect of your party without any limitations from venue owners, adding the perfect personal touch to your special day.

When running through outdoor venue options, you most definitely will not be short for inspiration. However, because we all know that the British weather is not always on our side, the best route would be to opt for a marquee. This will ensure that you can enjoy your celebration, come rain or shine! As reputable suppliers of marquee hire in London and the surrounding areas, we have a whole host of fabulous hire packages available. All of our tents are inflatable, which means that they are fully waterproof and will stand tall, even when you’re faced with unpredictable weather conditions. There are a host of different shapes, sizes and styles available, so feel free to head over to our packages page for a quick browse and more information!

Inflatatent Marquee

Determine The Best Time & Date

We know that it may seem a little early to begin putting dates and times in place, but if this year has taught us anything, its that you can never be too prepared. Even more so now as many people who had booked to jet off abroad have postponed their holiday until next year, which means that you may have months where many loved ones are not available. If this is something that you are worried about, then you may benefit from sending a quick message to your nearest and dearest checking whether they have anything pre-planned for 2021. Once you have an idea on possible timeframes, you can then take into consideration whether your party is to celebrate a specific day, then begin narrowing down dates.

Another important factor to determine is what time your party will start. This will typically be based on the age groups you plan to invite as if your celebration will be child-friendly, then you may need to consider choosing either the afternoon or early evening. For those with only adult guests, on the other hand, then around 8 pm would be ideal as this will allow those with little ones plenty of time to settle their children before leaving them in the trusted responsibility of a babysitter.

Shortlist Theme Options

Now that the logistics of your party are out of the way, its time to move only the more exciting aspects, beginning with your theme. Now, while a theme is not always necessary, it does make planning your outdoor party far more straightforward. It sets a solid foundation for your celebrations, which you can then base your decorations, activities, food and drink on. When determining whether a theme is for you, don’t forget to keep in mind whether you will also put in place a dress code. If your family and friends love nothing more than rummaging through fancy dress shops to find the perfect outfit, then this would be an excellent way to break the ice. However, if you think they’ll be less keen on the idea, then there is no harm in encapsulating your theme through your venue instead.

Starting your search for the perfect theme can be a little overwhelming as there are hundreds of possibilities to choose from. With an outdoor party, in particular, this becomes super exciting as you can use your surroundings to your advantage. Some of our favourite outdoor themes include:

  • Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – If an excuse for unlimited cake and sweet treats is your idea of heaven, then throwing a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party would be perfect. Fill your marquee with vibrant decorations, patterned cake stands and themed tea sets to set the tone.
  • Copacabana Beach Party – Known for beach parties and extravagant entertainment all year round, there is no better way to bring life to your celebrations than through a Copacabana-inspired event. With our marquee hire in London, you can even alter the colour of your tent using LED lights for an added touch of vibrancy!
  • Secret Enchanted Garden – By far, one of the most popular outdoor themes is a secret enchanted garden party, perfect if you love all things magical and fairytales. You can find tonnes of inspiration over on Party Doll Manila’s Pinterest board.
  • Winter Wonderland – For those planning a party over the colder months, there is no better-suited theme than a winter wonderland. Transform your marquee into a snow-filled grotto with a blue and white colour scheme, complete with plenty of fairy lights.
  • Welcome To The Jungle – Especially suited to little ones with a keen eye for adventure, the “welcome to the jungle” theme is all about exploring the weird and wonderful animals of the world. Both Party Packs and Party Pieces stock a vast range of jungle-themed decorations.

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Spread The Word To Your Guests

As mentioned above, we are all feeling hopeful that life can finally return to normal in 2021, which means that many of your guests are likely to be already putting plans in place. This means that the earlier than you can spread the word on your party, the better. Your invitations do not necessarily have to be formal or extravagant at this stage as we cannot quite anticipate whether it will definitely be able to go ahead, so small “save the date” style alternatives would be the perfect solution. While these are most commonly associated with weddings, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t use this handy idea for your party, especially as this year has been all about living a little more unconventionally.

To save you from having to head out to your local post office, we recommend using e-invitations which can be sent to your guest list in a matter of minutes. Paperless Post has a fantastic range of online templates, which you can customise to your event and then send straight to the inboxes of your loved ones. On here you can simply add the date, time and address of your party, along with any information on your theme should you choose a dress code. It may also be worth noting on your invitation that things may change closer to the time based on the climate, so for guests to keep an eye out.

Shortlist Food & Drink Options

No party is complete without food and drink, and while you do have plenty of time to decide on your options, its always worth shortlisting those that you like the most. Remember, thousands of people will be rescheduling events for next year, which means that caterers will be starting to fill their diaries. This means that if you do plan to enlist the professionals for a more formal meal, then it is always worth reserving a slot on the date and time of your party in advance. Most companies are being far more flexible than they would have been in the past, so even if you change your mind closer to the time, there is no harm in being extra prepared.

When it comes to an outdoor party, of course, the most popular food option is a BBQ – it is always guaranteed to go down a treat! This is perfect if you have many different age groups attending as the “help yourself” approach means that you can accommodate to even the fussiest of eaters. Country Living has put together a super helpful article, including 101 summer party food ideas, which will fill you with tasty inspiration. If you are committed to sticking to your theme, on the other hand, then this will create the foundation for your food and drink theme. For example, a winter wonderland theme calls for indulging in a chocolate fountain and warming up with a mug of hot chocolate, complete with all the toppings.

Garden Party

Get Creative With Your Decor

The beauty of an outdoor party in a marquee is that you have the full creative freedom to decorate your space however you wish. There will be no venue owners restricting you and no need to try and tailor your decorations to fit with the aesthetics of your venue. Instead, you will be given a completely blank canvas, which you can customise to encapsulate your personality. There will be no such thing as too many colours, patterns and textures, especially if you are transforming your marquee into the perfect themed space.

The only consideration that we would keep in mind when bringing your decor to life is seating. It is important for all guests to feel welcomed to your party and comfortable throughout the celebrations, so be sure to set out plenty of seating options. This will be an aspect that you can tackle closer to the time when you have enough RSVP’s to gauge an idea on how many friends and family you will need to accommodate. The seating can even be incorporated into your theme such as rustic wooden benches draped with fairy light for your secret garden party, or cosy chairs with plenty of fluffy blankets for your winter wonderland grotto.

Counting Down The Days Until Your Celebration

Although it is super frustrating having to postpone celebrations or hold off your party planning until we have a better idea on what 2021 will hold, there is no reason why you cannot begin searching for inspiration. If we need anything this year its something to look forward to, so staying positive and using this extra time to your advantage is a wonderful way to throw a party that your guests will be counting down the days to. If you are in your early stages of the planning process and looking for event hire in Oxford and the surrounding areas, then do not hesitate to get in touch with our team. We have a wealth of fantastic marquees available for your party, each of which can be tailored to your theme.