In the UK, it’s a well-established tradition to host outdoor street and garden parties to mark national events including coronations, weddings, and jubilees.
A street party is a perfect way to build community spirit, eat lots of treats, and have an all-around good time over the long coronation weekend. By now you’ve probably set the date and gotten the go-ahead from your local council, next up is making the final preparations and getting everything together. So, whether you’re hosting a formal street party or an informal ‘street meet’, here are some tips and inspiration for putting on a fabulous coronation celebration.
Comfort and safety
Before we get into how to decorate your street party, it is worth going over some practical tips to make sure everyone is safe and comfortable on the day. If you’ll be closing your street for the party, make sure to put up road closure barriers and signage to let drivers know that there will be lots of people in the street and access will be limited.
When it comes to setting up for your party, make sure to enlist help from neighbours to set up the tables and chairs rather than taking it upon yourself. If you and your neighbours don’t have enough outdoor seating for everyone to be comfortable, you could contact your local community centre to see if they could loan you some for the day. Also, don’t forget to set up bins and recycling areas in the street – it will save you all a lot of pain when it comes to tidying up after the party.
Preparing for any weather is another important consideration. In the event of a shower, a gazebo or marquee won’t go amiss to protect your food – after all, no one will want to tuck into soggy scones. Dash inside, grab your windproof umbrellas to keep yourself covered and let the party continue!
Bunting is a staple at any outdoor UK celebration and for an occasion such as the King’s Coronation, bunting decorated with the Union flag is a must. But it’s also a great opportunity to get your street involved, especially kids, in making their own designs. You could even turn it into a little competition to see who can make or decorate the most interesting coronation-themed bunting.
When it comes to other party accessories such as napkins, paper plates, balloons, tablecloths etc., red, white and blue will naturally be the given colour theme. Or you could up the British picnic vibes by using gingham-patterned table covers, wicker baskets to display food in, or even set up picnic areas on grassy areas. A backdrop or photo area for all your neighbours and guests to take pictures against is another great way to make memories on the day – from red, white and blue streamers and balloon arches to life-size cut-outs of the King himself!
Food and drink
For your catering, think finger food – dishes that are quick and easy to set out and distribute. Classics and crowd-pleasing favourites such as Victoria sponge cakes, coronation chicken sandwiches, samosas, and scones with jam and cream are a must-have. Royal head chef Mark Flanagan has also created the ‘Coronation Quiche’ to celebrate the occasion. Featuring spinach, broad beans, and tarragon, this veggie delight is perfect for sharing with your neighbours.
A street party is also the perfect opportunity to try lots of different kinds of foods – why not ask families in your street if they would like to contribute their favourites? If everyone in your street is bringing something to the spread, it’s a good idea to ask them to attach labels with the ingredients on them so that anyone with a dietary restriction can pick something suitable for them.
As for drinks, Pimm’s served with fruit is a staple for any outdoor party in the UK. Sparkling wine with strawberries is also a delicious option to celebrate with. For non-alcoholic options, you could try making fruity mocktails or a bowl of punch for everyone to enjoy, along with plenty of juice, squash, and water for the kids.
Party games and activities
You’ve got the food, all the decorations are in place, but what about entertainment? Firstly, it’s important to include activities that all ages can get involved with. For kids (and big kids), try fun party games with a royal twist, such as musical thrones or pin the crown on the king. Crafty activities are also great for keeping them occupied while you chat with your neighbours – print off and cut out paper crown templates to decorate, have art competitions, or grab lots of coloured chalk to draw pictures on the pavement with.
Classic lawn games can also bring lots of fun to your party, as long as they’re kept a good distance away from all the food! Skittles, badminton, tug-of-war, limbo – sticking to games with simple rules will make it easy for everyone to jump in and have a go.
For grown-ups, you might also wish to put on a royal-themed quiz, or perhaps a raffle to win gifts and a hamper – ticket sales can be put towards the prizes or a local charity. Or why not incorporate a bake-off into the day? It’s a chance for everyone to show off their skills and as a bonus, you’ll end up with lots of sweet treats to share amongst everybody. You might also wish to set the theme for the day with a royal dress code, wearing red, white, or blue for example, or dressing after your favourite royals.
Whatever you’re getting up to over the coronation weekend, a street party will be great fun for all your family, neighbours, and guests. So, we wish you a splendid party, and keep your fingers crossed for good weather!