Since late 2021 the buzz around the four-day Platinum Jubilee weekend has had people up and down the country (and the World) making Jubilee plans. Now, with only a few weeks left before the big weekend, the realisation that you might actually need to start prepping for that street or garden party you organised back in December is probably kicking in.
When the weather is warm, the days long and work out the window, there’s nothing quite like a good get-together to bring out that feel-good community spirit. And of course, no party, let alone a Platinum Jubilee street party, is complete without decorations, fun outfits and food!
Despite the Jubilee weekend coming up soon, there’s no need to panic when it comes to prep. We have you covered with 4 sustainable garden party ideas that’ll make a mountain of memories and minimal waste. After all, 70 years on the throne is something to celebrate, but 70 years (and more) of plastic waste certainly isn’t
Check out these 4 sustainable Platinum Jubilee garden party ideas below:
As the much anticipated four-day weekend creeps closer, shops, supermarkets and online stores across the country have started packing their shelves with an abundance of red, white and blue Jubilee decorations. Soon villages, towns and cities will be doused in Union Jack bunting and flags.
As patriotic as this looks, unfortunately, many of these decorations are made from plastic, with a one-use lifespan. After we’ve enjoyed the festivities and filled ourselves silly with Victoria sponge cake, black bins will be packed with bunting, flags, plastic plates, tablecloths and more, all destined for landfill.
Although this may seem like a downer on an exciting weekend, there are plenty of planet-friendly garden party decoration ideas that’ll make your event special, patriotic and planet friendly!
- Make your own bunting: You don’t even need exceptional sewing skills to make bunting. Buy some red, white and blue fabric from your local haberdashery, online store or, even better, find some mish-mash fabric in a charity shop and get to cutting out triangles! Using a pair of pinking sheers will make the bunting last long as the edges won’t fray. Then, after the big day, you can find a new home for your bunting. Perhaps the garden shed, conservatory or keep it in a safe space until the next party.
- Use what you already have: Those fairy lights you have strung in your garden would look great at the street party…
- Have a charity shop rummage: Although you may not find that string of Union Jack bunting you’ve been eyeing up online, you’ll probably come across large amounts of fabric perfect for tablecloths. Buying second-hand means it doesn’t matter if the Pimm’s jug spills or someone’s ketchup squirting gets a little out of hand. Give your bargains a quick spin in the washer and you’re good to go.
Love it or hate it, a street party is the perfect opportunity to embrace fancy dress. Whether you’re planning on enforcing a Union Jack only dress code or red, white and blue optional, it’s important to remember you don’t always have to splash the cash on a new outfit that you’ll probably only wear once. Unless you’re going to wear those Union Jack leggings again, maybe remove them from your basket and buy a pair of plain red leggings instead that you could pair with a few different tops in your wardrobe after the event.
Remember, the most sustainable thing you can do is wear the clothes you already own. However, if you don’t have anything red, white or blue in your wardrobe, hunt through charity shops and online marketplaces such as eBay and Vinted for second-hand jubilee suitable attire – you’ll be surprised at what you can find.
And if you’re the one organising a street or garden party, think about making fancy dress casual or optional for those who don’t have the funds, accessibility or passion for it.
Once the decorations have been made, outfits planned and invites sent, it’s time to think about what you’ll serve at your street party. After all, food is an integral part of any event.
It’s important to consider the type of party you’ll be hosting as to what food you’ll want to serve. For example, a large homemade vat of tomato soup would be a perfect starter for a sit-down, indoor party (plus it’s easy to make in large batches). However, it may get more than a little cumbersome for a standing street gathering. Finger food is always a safe and popular choice.
But just because you’re organising a street party doesn’t mean all the food arrangements should fall to you. Ask each guest, neighbour or friend to bring a dish to share. Not only will that ease your load, but it also means there’ll be a variety of food available for all diets, palates and preferences.
Perhaps encourage some homemade cooking and baking to get people into that community Jubilee spirit. Nothing can beat a homemade Victoria sponge, after all. Homemade baking also cuts down on supermarket packaging - a win-win.
It’s so easy to throw a couple of packs of plastic or paper plates into your trolley as you scoot around the supermarket in preparation for your party. As tempting as paper plates and cups are, unfortunately, many of them are coated in plastic, making them unrecyclable. But fear not, you won’t be eating out of your hands this Jubilee (unless your choice of finger food means you can).
- Use what you have: As always, using what you already own is the most sustainable thing you can do. Whether it’s bringing out some old cutlery or placing the cake you spent all afternoon making on that fancy platter you inherited but never use. You don’t always have to buy new when hosting an event.
- Ask around: Between everyone, you may find a fair amount of people have old cutlery or dishware they don’t mind donating or using at the street party. If you don’t ask, you don’t get, and it may be surprising what your street party guests have in the back of their cupboards.
- Charity shops: Of course, using your own or your guest’s finest dishware (or even just your regular) might not be ideal for a street party. It’s probably doubtful the event will pass without one mishap, and the last thing you want to worry about is being left without any plates, bowls or cups come the end of the party. Take a trip to your local charity shops and top up on cheap dishware, cups and cutlery. So what if it doesn’t match? The eclectic mix will add to your party's unique, DIY feel. When the party wraps up, allow your guests to take home any items they like or give each item a good wash and take them back to the charity shop for someone else to enjoy.
Not only are these sustainable garden party ideas great for the planet, but they’re also kind to your budget too. DIY, home baking and bunting making are all great ways to bring the community together, save money and create a buzz for the big day.
Regretting not planning a street party, garden party or Jubilee event? Don’t worry, you can join us at The Great House for our very British garden party, complete with afternoon tea, live music and plenty of Pimms. And even better, all you need to do is book and turn up!