It's winter and you're longing for those warm summer nights spent basking in the sun, fairy lights bobbing in the breeze, and a large bucket of ice at your feet filled with beers and wine. The atmosphere of an outdoor party is simply unrivalled but it feels almost unthinkable to host an al fresco soiree during the colder months. Your backyard offers plenty of space, a safe enclosed environment with no breakables or valuables, almost like a blank canvas which forms the backdrop of your party. Having everyone huddled inside with the heating on doesn't quite feel like a worthy alternative, does it? But if you think it's impossible, think again. Outdoor parties in winter are perfectly possible and what's more, they are actually a completely new genre of party in their own right, completely different in style and vibe to their summer counterparts. So how do you host a party in your backyard during winter?
Hire a venue
Marquee hire really is your saviour when it comes to partying alfresco in winter in Australia. Gone are the days of flimsy gazebo-type structures that blow away with the first gust of wind. A marquee will provide warm shelter for your guests, even if it's pouring down outside. They come in various sizes and styles so you can choose one which is perfect for your requirements or tailored to your party type. A reputable marquee company should be able to advise you on the best type and size of marquee for your party and backyard, but may also deliver, fit and secure your marquee. Most have the option of flooring, heating, electricity and even water supply, so check with your provider before you book.
Indulge in a cosy theme
Winter is the perfect time of year to indulge in a fantastic theme. A Nordic pine theme with hay bales to sit on, gingham cushions and soft fleece throws is always popular. You could even match your food to the theme for the complete experience and an unforgettable party-serving venison, smoked salmon appetisers and specialist beers. If that doesn't take your fancy and you're still longing for the summer sun, then perhaps a Kasbah theme might be more your thing - so for the duration of your party your guests can sit back, relax and imagine they are a million miles away surrounded by candles, exotic fabrics and spicy culinary offerings.
Make the most of your surroundings
Summer parties pose a few challenges when it comes to the catering side of things. For starters, there's the food to keep at the perfect temperature, so it doesn't spoil - tricky when it's scorching hot outside. Cue fridges stuffed full of canapÃ©s, salads and desserts and freezers full of bottles - meaning there's no room for any of the other drinks. Buckets overflowing with ice are strategically placed in the shade, eventually spilling water all over the grass. In winter, you simply don't have these sorts of problems. Providing food is secure and well-covered (to prevent the wildlife and any peckish guests prematurely pinching it) you can keep it outside where the temperature is more favourable. Plus, drinks stay ice cold with no buckets or spillages!
Take it outside
We know you're already outside but go one step further and get everybody all wrapped up for a bonfire, fireworks or some other sort of entertainment - dancing, singing or toasting marshmallows. If you're not catering your party formally, then how about making the food an outdoor activity and organising an impressive hog roast or jacket potatoes hot and fresh from the fire?
Considering the tips above may make your party just that little bit more special.