The Royal Wedding is almost upon us and while you may not have a personal, gold embossed invitation to guarantee you a seat at the event itself, there’s no reason why you can’t be part of the celebrations. Heck, you don’t have to be a Royalist to hold your own party…
This is the traditional way to celebrate an event like this but be warned. If you haven’t approached your local council for permission already, you may have left it too late. The major legal requirement is permission to close the road.
If partying in the middle of the street isn’t an option, think about what else you can do. Are there front lawns, driveways, or pavement areas and cul de sacs that you could use? These events are called ‘street meets’ and don’t involve road closure.
Local parks and recreation centres may already be booked (no harm in trying) but also try smaller local churches with any outside space, scout and guide groups, even local shops with car parks that might be closed on the day itself… Always get permission.
If you’re organising a big, pukka event for loads of people you need to get insurance to pay out if things go wrong. There’s been a lot of fierce debate in the run up to the royal wedding about this issue, as many people believe it’s too bureaucratic unless you’re organising a major or commercial event. The other thorn in the side of larger events is getting a license if you plan to sell alcohol.
But if you’re organising something smaller and more informal for friends and neighbours you shouldn’t require insurance. That said, it’s still important to consider general safety. If there’s a barbecue, where are you going to position it? Keep in mind you may have hoards of excited children who want burgers and sausages. Have a decent first aid kit handy for minor scrapes etc. Make sure gazebos are properly secured and so on…
Food and fun
Okay, now we’ve dealt with the boring bits let’s get down to the food and fun…
1. Divide and conquer
Decide what you’re going to provide as food and then divide the cooking between several volunteers. Arrange for people to take shifts on the barbecue but be clear about when shifts start and end so that some people don’t get stuck there all afternoon, while others chill with a cold lager. Oh and think about who’s going to help you tidy up afterwards.
And to drink?
Your budget may not run to champagne but here’s our recipe for Royal Wedding Spritzer:
- 75cl bottle of white wine (dry or medium according to your preference)
- half litre bottle of sparkling water (or lemonade if you have a sweet tooth)
- 5 sliced strawberries
- 1 sprig of mint.
Chill the white wine and soda water / lemonade and combine all the ingredients just before serving.
Or depending on where in the country you live (and if they’ve blossomed yet) you may be able to make up a batch of » elderflower champagne
2. Simple decorations
Large sheets of crepe paper can be wrapped round trees and tied into big bows. You could go with a red, white and blue theme – or something celebratory, such as white and gold. And balloons always go down a treat.
Get younger members of the community creating paper chains. These can be made from brightly coloured strips cut from glossy magazines and then glued together. Think about lighting for later.
3. Entertaining children
You may want to relax with a beer and a burger but young participants can get easily bored at weddings, even royal ones. Here are our top tips:
- Organise a prince and princess fancy dress competition with prizes for the best entries.
- Rather than using table clothes or buying coloured paper ones, using draw lining paper and set up cups of crayons at regular intervals. Give spot prizes for the best drawings.
- Crown making. You need flexible cardboard – cereal packets are wonderful for this. Cut this into long, two inch wide strips. Size these to fit each child’s head, then let them decorate their crowns with tin foil, glitter etc.
- Royal musical chairs. Children get into pairs (it doesn’t have to be a boy paired with a girl). You start out with enough chairs for them all to sit down. When the music stops each ‘royal couple’ has to sit next to each other. At each round you take away two chairs. The final two to sit together on the last two chairs win. (It sometimes takes several round to achieve this. If all else fails, give the final four prizes.)