The Diamond Jubilee weekend is here; people up and down the land will be celebrating and gathering with friends and family. You may be opting to take part in the 'Big Lunch' on the Sunday, or throw a tea party or picnic on the Bank Holiday Monday. But another option would be to throw your own garden party.
This year's Royal garden parties have begun - with two out of the usual four having taken place already (the most recent one was earlier this week). Why don't you use this as your inspiration for your Jubilee entertaining? So what if your turf isn't 42 acres? Who cares if your tea tent only fits a few relatives and a squashed fondant fancy? Don't get bogged down in detail. Keep Calm and Carry On!
Here's how you can turn your bijou back lawn into a garden party fit for Royalty.
First, consider whom you will invite. Royal garden parties are made up of those who have done good in the community. Bury the hatchet and invite your mother-in-law so perhaps next year your valour will be rewarded by an invitation to the real deal in London
After this, send out the invitations. If you are inviting your neighbours to your soiree then make sure you post it with the rest of the invitations rather than clambering over the front garden fence to deliver. Word the invitations nicely: you know, like how Her Majesty does. "The Lord Chamberlain is commanded by Mrs. B. Smyte to invite...". No one will know you don't have a Lord Chamberlain to hand in the back-bedroom-cum-office.
Pop along to B&Q and buy a luxury gazebo or two. Stick a well-placed mirror in places and, hey presto, your tent now looks 400 feet long - your guests will basically think they are at the Palace.
Allow guests to arrive from 3pm but as host and hostess you shouldn't arrive until 4pm. If a military band is indisposed on the date of your party then dust off the portable cassette player and stick on a tape of the Grenadier Guards playing the National Anthem. Stand to attention at the foot of your patio, looking aloofly into the assembled guests whilst it plays out.
Greet your guests - but not all. Only some. You are too busy to greet them all. Select a handful - those who have made an effort and look presentable (note: avoid those who've come in fascinators... their surname is probably Middleton). Point out your blossoming Ena Harkness (that's 'roses' to the horticulturally challenged) and encourage people to tour your otherwise closed garden (mind the rockery, please!) and you're almost done.
Disappear at 6pm after another blast of something suitably rousing on the cassette player and that's your very own DIY garden party done.
Find out more information about Royal Garden Parties in my new Royal Protocol App, available from the Apple App Store now.
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