June 20, 2019

Transforming a back garden into a fabulous summer party venue

garden furniture hire for a summer garden party

Rio Lounge’s Managing Director, Jo, tells us how she planned a summer garden party for her Dad, John’s 80th birthday last year.  Turning 80 in ’18 seemed like the perfect excuse to throw a fabulous family ‘do’ ! Jo and her Mum decided on a quintessentially English summer afternoon tea party to celebrate the occasion.  Read on to find out more about how the party was planned and, of course, the lowdown on essential garden furniture hire for a summer party!

How did the idea for John’s Summer Garden Party come about?

Dad’s 80th birthday was actually in April!  However, celebrating in summer seemed like a better plan, as we were more likely to be lucky with the weather.  Although we themed the party as an ‘afternoon tea’ celebration, lighter nights and warmer weather meant that we could keep the party going longer into the evening.

marquee hire for garden partyWhy did you decide to hire a marquee?

Hiring a marquee was an easy decision as we are fortunate at Rio Lounge to have some lovely contacts in the industry! Some people may be surprised that marquees for hire come in all sizes and don’t have to be huge! Pridewatch Marquees, based nearby in Luton, supplied us with a 12mx 8m marquee which was the ideal size for the garden.  Providing shelter in case of rain, as well as shade from the hot sun, it was perfect for the occasion. 


How did you decide on furniture for the occasion? What did you choose from Rio Lounge’s garden furniture hire range?

marquee garden furniture hire

garden furniture hire for outdoor party

We kept it all quite informal.  The idea was to create smaller ‘zones’ within the marquee and the garden.  Creating cosy, sociable areas can be a really good tip, when you’re hosting a lot of people.   Especially with such a wide range of ages attending! Outdoors, we used the Mambo sofas and chairs.  Totally weather proof and hard-wearing, these are the perfect garden furniture hire for an outdoor party. For guests who preferred to stand and mingle, we also placed some Hi-Ball Poseur Tables. They’re great for popping your drink or plate down too, when you want to stand, eat, drink and chat all at the same time!

Inside the marquee, we created smaller seating areas using our white faux leather Club Sofas, and gorgeous Chesterfield Benches. Our matching large white glass-topped Cabo Tables were the ideal height for teacups and plates.

The decor in the marquee looks fantastic – was it expensive?

decor for marquee garden party

Not at all!  We all liked the idea of muted pastels – blues, lilacs and blush pinks.  So, to create the floral displays, we used Dad’s favourite irises, (purchased from Tesco!) and bunches of lavender, which was from the local garden centre.  The vases and little bucket-shaped pots were from Ikea and cost about £1 each!  Rio Lounge’s scatter cushions in mauve, baby blue and  blush pink added some subtle colour, depth, and comfort to the white sofas.  We actually tried to keep it all pretty simple, which turned out to be really effective!  For the finishing touch, we got some inexpensive frames from TK Maxx and placed old photos of Dad all around the marquee.  The guests had great fun looking at the photos and reminiscing! 

Did you have a bar in your marquee?

Not a formal one, no.  We placed glasses, and bottles of red wine and soft drinks on top of a Rio Lounge Kubo Bistro Table. Guests were also invited to help themselves to the chilled drinks, which we placed in large trugs filled with ice. Silver champagne bowls placed atop our Daiquiri Poseur Tables also added a stylish touch!

Serving afternoon tea and cakesAfternoon tea for all those people – how did you keep on top of the washing up?!

We didn’t!  We hired literally everything from glasses, to teapots, plates, and cutlery from Jasper’s of Luton. They even supplied us with little pots for the jam and cream!  Hiring meant that no-one was stressing about washing up on the day, leaving me and Mum with more free time to socialise with our family and friends.

Given the chance to do it all again, is there anything you’d do or plan differently?

All in all, it was a pretty perfect day, and Dad loved every minute.  If I could change just one thing, I’d have hired someone in to serve the tea!

Hosting a garden party of your own this summer or next?  Find out more about garden furniture hire for your event by calling our team on 0845 46 77483.  Alternatively, you can email us by clicking here.  We look forward to helping you plan your next event!

Marquee garden party