This June, the UK will celebrate HRH Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, making her the longest-reigning monarch the country has ever seen. Her Majesty actually succeeded the throne from her father, King George VI, on February 6th 1952, but as her jubilee would also mark the date of his death it has always been celebrated four months later on June 3rd.
Events are being planned across the country in celebration, but many will want to enjoy the occasion more privately with friends and family at home. Here is how to ensure your jubilee celebrations are fit for a Queen.
How to throw a Jubilee party
As the old adage goes, fail to plan and you plan to fail. Get your invites in early as the country will be celebrating during an extended bank holiday weekend. Decide what you want to do and with whom so you can really make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime celebration.
Sunday June 5th has been earmarked as the date for The Big Jubilee Lunch, when more than 10 million Brits are expected to get involved with everything from a cuppa with friends to a whole-street party.
Make it legal!
If you’re planning a big knees-up in the street you’ll need permission from your local council. The government recommends you start party planning at least six weeks in advance by filling out an application form on your local council website. This gives them time to put a temporary traffic regulation in place and close your road to traffic so you can take advantage of the whole street. While some councils might charge a small fee, event officials are being encouraged to make street parties as affordable as possible and facilitate any necessary road closures.
Prep your garden
If you’re having a garden party, rather than a knees-up in the street, then make sure you have some time spare to get your garden in good nick. Give your patio and garden furniture a clean, and organise where each of the ‘party stations’ in your backyard will go (these can include an eating zone with easy access to the kitchen, a place for party games and a space for little ones to play away from hazards such as barbecues). You may also want to invest in a patio heater or gazebo in case the weather turns.
Plan the menu
Coronation chicken, Victoria sponges, sausage rolls, fish and chips – be it traditional British fare or more diverse flavours, it’s best to decide early on a theme and then stick to it. Check with guests if they have any allergies, or preferences, then browse our vault of incredible party food recipes.
When it comes to refreshments, you can serve alcohol as long as you don’t charge for it. Take a look at Olly Smith’s summer sip list for inspiration. Or why not whip up an alcohol-free punch using our pick of the best low and no alcohol drinks on the market? Quintessentially British brand Belvoir offer a range of no-alcohol drinks and are launching a jubilee-branded sparkling elderflower spritz, while Waitrose is selling a special Buckingham Palace gin for £40. Perfect for a celebratory summer picnic or party.
Lots of other brands will be bringing out limited edition products to mark the jubilee too – in fact, we’ve got a whole round-up of the best jubilee food and drink offerings from Marks & Spencer here.
Decide on decorations
Be it a small celebration with family and friends, or a wider community party, you’ll need some decorations and accessories to get everyone in the mood. In 2012 the country went bunting bonkers for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, and we’re expected to go even bigger and better this time round. Try online marketplace Etsy for patriotic decorations or ask guests to all design their own to bring with them.
Kate Fairlie, founder and stylist at Truffle Tablescapes has made a career out of precise party planning. She recommends planning a colour scheme well in advance of your Jubilee party. Kate says: ‘Red, white and blue is an automatic go-to but this can be a tricky combination to style easily. Consider opting for regal purple tones or classically royal gold and white if you would like to invest in tableware that can be used at other times of the year.’
Whether you’re hosting in your home or outdoors, remember to add some décor to your surroundings. Paper pinwheels, tissue pom-poms and battery-powered string lights can be draped on trees or over mantles in a flash and will instantly add to the party atmosphere.
As this is a one-day celebration, Kate recommends investing in a few quality pieces that will stand the test of time and using accessories to bring your theme together. ‘Ribbons in vibrant Jubilee colours can be used to tie napkins and cutlery together or bowls of berries can be placed down the centre of your table to bring extra vibrancy to your party tablescape,’ she says.
Her Majesty famously gave up her regularly evening martini last year due to health reasons, but she still treats herself on special occasions, and you can bet she invests wisely while enjoying a tipple. Nara Cambridge have produced a commemorative Elizabeth martini glass in honour of the jubilee, and investing in something unique and commemorative gives that wow factor to any celebration.
Create a centrepiece
A clever, and easy, table centre is a beautiful cake which you can decorate with blueberries and strawberries to tie in with the Jubilee celebrations. You could also try decorating individual biscuit favours to be used at each place setting. Kate says: ‘Try icing your biscuits in colours that complement your table scheme or go for playful shapes such as crowns, flags or corgis. Place each biscuit in a cellophane bag and tie it with red, white and blue ribbons for the perfect finishing touch.’
Don’t forget the details
Royal party planner Johnny Roxburgh, who has organised over 9,000 events in his time including the Queen’s Christmas bashes and William’s 21st, says the little details count. ‘To make your drinks royally special place a raspberry in each compartment of an ice tray, freeze in water, add to a glass, and pour over your drink of choice’ he says. ‘And don’t forget to pop juicy Strawberries on top of a Victoria Sponge or Cheesecake to add an extra touch!’
More is more!
The Platinum Jubilee is a once in a lifetime celebration so it’s a good excuse to make a statement with your party décor. Be generous with your decorations – table accessories look best when busy and filled to the brim with special Jubilee features alongside fresh, seasonal flowers.