May 28th 2015

5 Tips for Outdoor Entertaining

Make the most of a sunny afternoon with these time saving party tips.

outdoor partry seating

When the sun is shining there is nothing better than relaxing with friends outdoors. However, when it comes to hosting a garden party it can be easy to get so caught up making sure everything goes smoothly that you miss out on the fun. Whatever your open space – be it a rolling lawn, a paved patio or a roof terrace – planning is key to taking a lot of stress out of any event. And while you can’t control the weather, there are plenty of other aspects of your al fresco party that you can prepare for.

Over the summer months I’m going to be sharing tips to help you get the best of outdoor entertaining, from décor, to drinks, lighting to lounging. As all seasoned party planners know, when it comes to entertaining it is not about how much money you spend, but how you spend it. Similarly, it’s not always how much effort you put into the organisation, but knowing how to use your energy to best effect. Below are a few simple things to think about during preparations, so that when the time comes to party, you can enjoy it.

ideas for summer parties

Use self service bars:

Depending on the size of your gathering, you may or may not have a separate bar. But as host a lot of time and energy can be spent making sure that everyone has a drink and running backwards and forwards to the kitchen. An easy solution is to have a drink station where people can help themselves. This can simply be a shallow box, galvanised tub or an enamel bucket, filled with ice to keep the drinks cool.

Don’t stress over seating:

Don’t panic if you’ve not got seating for all your guests. Research has shown that for a great party atmosphere its optimal to only have seats for about 40% of people, because when people are standing it creates more energy for your event and also encourages people to mix more and talk to new people. Depending on your space you might want to use some high tables which provide a focus and give people something to lean on. And you can add to formal chair seating with more casual cushions and pouffes.

Look after your guests:

It’s not your job to make sure that everyone has a good time, but sometimes the things that spoil someone’s enjoyment of an outdoor event is easily remedied. Sunscreen can be bulky to carry around, so often guests don’t bring any along. It can be helpful to put together a small box where guests can help themselves to sunscreen, insect repellent, cream for insect bites, antiseptic wipes and hand sanitiser, should they need it.

Double up where you can:

Why do something twice if you don’t need to? It is easy to waste a lot of time, energy and money on favours that guests probably won’t use and might not even appreciate. If you want to give your guests something to take home with them, takeaway bouquets of fresh flowers are a fantastic option. Use them to decorate the tables for the party, then hand them to guests to take home with them after the celebrations.

unusual wedding venues

Enjoy yourself rain or shine:

No matter how much you spend you can’t guarantee to get the weather you hope for on the day. Most people have a plan to provide umbrellas or some kind of shelter if it rains – even if it means retreating indoors. Bright sunshine, however, can also be a problem that is often overlooked. If your garden doesn’t have ample shading from trees, think about ways in which you could introduce shaded areas for those who might need it, such as parasols, gazebos, a marquee, or some other outdoor structure.

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 May 26th 2015

40th Birthday Party Images

New Images online!  A party at home need never be dull…..infused with imagination and some personalised details…this 40th was amazing..

party drinks ideas party catering ideas party decor ideas

party decor ideas party catering ideas party drinks ideas

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 May 14th 2015

Tips For Planning a ‘Royal baby’ Inspired Christening Party

Party planning for your baby’s special day.

No sooner had the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge revealed the name of their new baby, Princess Charlotte, than bookies were taking bets on when and where her christening would be. While most parents celebrating a new arrival with family and friends won’t have the eyes of the world on them, the occasion is no less special. Whether you are planning a traditional christening or a naming ceremony, here are a few pointers to help make sure it’s a memorable day for you and your family.

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge

Choosing a venue

Once you’ve chosen your Godparents or mentors, and checked when they are available, the next step is to find a venue. Princess Charlotte’s christening will most likely be held at the Chapel Royal in the grounds of St James’ Palace, the same as her brother, Prince George’s christening before which the royal couple held a very informal tea party at Kensington Palace. For many people the venue for the ceremony will be a local church. Unless there is a church hall available for hire, this usually means finding a separate venue, as the royal’s did, for the christening party. It is important to choose somewhere close to where the ceremony will be held. If you are inviting families with young children it is a good idea to choose a venue with plenty of space, and ideally provide some kind of entertainment or a separate area where children can play. Many people will bring gifts for the baby, so it is also good to check in advance if the venue has a secure area to store any presents so you can give all your attention to enjoying the day.

What to eat?

The timing of the ceremony will largely determine the type of menus you consider when choosing catering for the party. Tea parties are very popular for afternoon ceremonies, like the royal party for Prince George, while a fork buffet or family lunch is more suitable following a morning ceremony. It really depends on who you are inviting and how far they have travelled, because after a long journey people will need, and may well expect, something substantial to eat.

The christening cake has traditionally been the top tier of the parental wedding cake, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge saved the top three tiers of their 11-tier wedding cake for Prince George’s special day. Stored this way the icing will need to be re-done, but once defrosted the cake should be as good as it was on the day. This tradition, however, is less common these days. If you are planning on buying a new cake, either fruit or sponge works well, and there are lots of decorations to choose from. Opt for something you like, but make sure you’ve got the basics – white icing, and the baby’s name and date of the occasion.

Giving the right impression

The invitations might go out a month or so ahead, but they are still an essential part of making sure your day goes smoothly. The invitation gives guests an idea of what to expect from the day and you should ensure that any important information is clearly visible. Don’t forget to include, times; directions; details of refreshments; any dress code, and a date by which to RSVP with a contact address and telephone number. Also, remember to invite the vicar, priest, or whoever is leading the ceremony, as a thank you for the service.

The star of the day

All eyes and cameras will be on your little one, so you want the baby to be dressed for the occasion. It is expected that Princess Charlotte will wear the same christening gown as her brother George, which was a replica of the gown worn by 60 royal babies, going back to Edward VII in 1841. The original Spitalfields silk-satin gown, with cap sleeves, a lace overlay and a bow at the neck, was last worn in 2004 by Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex. If you are looking for similar heirloom clothing, then quality is key. It’s important that your child is comfortable, so choose natural, breathable fabrics such as silk, organza, linen, cotton or gabardine. Remember too that babies grow fast, so it’s usually best to leave purchasing the baby’s clothes until nearer to the day.

Capturing the moment

Videos and photographs are all part of creating a lasting memory of the day. You might like to hire a professional photographer. However, you need to check in advance if photos are allowed during the ceremony. Some churches don’t allow this, so check and make sure that the guests are aware what is permissible on the day. Many people opt for family or friends to take photographs at the ceremony and party, and then stop off at a nearby photography studio before or after the service for a formal family photo.

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 May 5th 2015

Perfect Party Lighting

Perfect Party Lighting

When organising a party the last thing many people think about is lighting. That’s because when people walk into a room they might think of it as welcoming, warm, intimate, cosy, vibrant or buzzing – all words associated with atmosphere. Perfect Party Lighting is used to create this effect, which is often taken for granted, but get it wrong and see how quickly the mood can change. Whether you want to create a dramatic statement or a more subtle ambience, the following tips will help you choose Perfect Party Lighting to create the perfect atmosphere for your event.

Perfect Party Lighting

Go for the clever option.

When making choices it can be easy to be dazzled by new technology, but intelligent lighting will offer you much more than the latest buzz word. Put simply it is creates the kind of effects you’re used to seeing on stage – laser effects, moving lights, changing colours and projected patterns. This kind of lighting can be pre-programmed and is sometimes also called automated lighting, moving lights or moving heads. Use it when you want a dramatic, theatrical effect to bring the wow factor to any party.

Perfect Party Lighting

Vary the height of your lights.

Overhead lighting is only one option when considering how best to illuminate a venue for your event. Positioning lights at different heights, such as lighting the walkways and tables, can be a great way to create intimacy. For a vibrant feel you might consider up-lighting, which can instantly transform a wall and ceiling with a wash of colour.

Perfect Party Lighting

Use plenty of candles.

I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t look more attractive when bathed in candle-light and for this reason it is always a hit when it comes to evening events. As well bringing a touch of romance, candle-light also adds drama to any occasion. For a modern twist on this traditional form of lighting, vary the heights and sizes of your candles. Mix and match chunky candles in large glass holders with tea lights. Again you can change the mood by choosing candle holders in different colours and designs.

tlc ltd party planners home gallery 2016

Bring out the best in your venue.

From church halls to railway arches, there are no shortage of different event venues to choose from. Lighting can be a good way to subtly draw attention to any unusual architectural features, open brick walls, or sculptures that make your venue special. For more standard shaped rooms, you can also create interest by building lit pedestals at various points around the room.

Add sparkle.

If you want your guests to really dazzle on the dancefloor why not opt for a pre-lit floor. Overhead, glitter balls are a traditional but effective way to add an extra twinkle to your dancers. For added intensity, focus some coloured spotlights on the glitter ball, or mix with coloured lasers and patterns.Perfect Party Lighting

If you found our Perfect Party Lighting tips helpful, take a look at this


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 May 1st 2015

Strictly’s Robin Windsor chats to Liz in ‘Taylor Talks’

**UPDATED** As autumn arrives, the colours and scents more towards a more homely, comforting vibe with rich reds, burnt oranges and russet browns replacing the bright summer hues.  The party season kicks into full swing, with Satuday nights a rare treat at home for the busy TLC team.  When it does happen, we love joining one of the country’s most popular sofa parties…..BBC Strictly Come Dancing.  A feast of dance, music, incredible lighting and yes, sequin filled drama! Our MD, Liz Taylor, was lucky enough to interview one of the programmes biggest professional dance stars, Robin Windsor, for her column in The Cheshire Magazine. Here it is:

Robin Windsor Robin Windsor Robin Windsor Robin Windsor


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