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Here’s everything you need to host the perfect dinner party this summer

Words by Eleanor Wilson
In partnerhship with Ozsale

Pour some life into your next COVID-safe picnic.

For those of us at the mercy of lurking COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, the prospect of enjoying a simple dinner with friends feels like a modern-day golden ticket. 

To be honest, a few years ago I would have expected myself to be sunbathing on the Mediterranean coast on a rite of passage Euro trip, or pushing up against sweaty strangers in mosh pits at busy music festivals.


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But alas, the game of life dealt its cards and for now, hosting a wholesome candlelit dinner with friends or enjoying a picnic at my local park is what I’m looking forward to. 

As vaccination rates rise, and so too does talk about the prospects of a lockdown-free summer, here’s a list of everything you need to host the perfect summer dinner party this season, with the help of Ozsale’s wide range of affordable homewares. 

 

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Decor

As a child who often groaned when tasked with the responsibility of setting the table for dinner, I take it as a sign of maturity that I now find decorating the table the most exciting part of hosting a dinner party (aside from enjoying the company of my friends, of course). 

When it comes to decorating for a dinner party or picnic, it really does come down to personal style. For those of us brave enough to risk staining our table cloths a bold shade of pinot noir, a classic neutral toned theme with tassled cushions and fringed placemats is an elegant and classic choice.

Alternatively, you may have fallen in love with the bright eclectic styling trend that is taking social media by storm, and could choose to decorate with an alfresco table runner and bright crockery

You could even go super left of field and use a soft pillowy doona for your next picnic, which, while not the most practical choice, is undoubtedly aesthetically pleasing.  

Long wooden boards like this one make a perfect base for a charcuterie board of meat and cheeses, and if you’re embarking on a double-vaxxed picnic for a smaller party of five, this all-in-one cheese platter board includes everything you need.

The final decor dilemma, and my personal favourite part of dinner party decorating, is the flowers. If you’re going for a classic look, an eccentrically shaped coloured glass vase gives character to a neutral-toned table. If you’re going for more of a DIY vibe, grab some old wine or spirit bottles and fill them with dried baby’s breath for a rustic flair. 

The practical stuff

From keeping your ear pricked for guests arriving at the front door, to making sure your customised music playlist is well received and your food isn’t burnt, the job of a host is not an easy feat. To keep stress at a minimum and ensure your guests are happy and hydrated, a drink dispenser is a must-have for any party or picnic. Fill this stackable dispenser duo with both a cocktail and mocktail option, to satisfy both the alcohol fans and their designated drivers. 

If you’re due for some new kitchen cloths and are looking for something different to your token striped and checkered tea towels (you know the ones), Blue Q’s range of humorous accessories are sure to make a statement. Personal favourites include Blue Q’s ‘Get the Hell out of my Kitchen’ dish towel, ‘Bitch I am the Secret Ingredient’ oven mitt, and the ‘Boss Lady’ apron.  

 

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Entertainment

If you’re anything like me, spending almost 250 days in lockdown since the COVID-19 pandemic began has meant my social skills are well and truly lacking. To combat this, a good old party card game is a perfect tool to avoid explaining that the only new introduction to your life recently has been a different route on your daily Hot Girl Walk

Drawing Without Dignity will put your NSFW illustration skills to the test, while a drinking game like Cooked Aussies is sure to bring out the social benefits of liquid courage. Or, if you prefer the old school games of your childhood, Jenga and Twister never fail to entertain. 

The clean-up

Almost as iconic as a dinner party itself is the universal post-party clean-up experience. You stare out into the backyard, looking for clues to jog your memory of how the night ended, only to be met with a frenzy of empty beer cans, open packets of stale Doritos and a cluster of flies helping themselves to the dessert leftovers. 

Admittedly this isn’t a welcome thought, but with the help of a few clever accessories, you can put off the clean-up and sleep off your hangover without a worry. 

First up, and I can’t stress this enough, invest in a mesh food cover. This one from Ozsale retails for less than $30, and is the quickest way to protect your food from the wind, rain and lurking ants. Next up, bag lids. These lids go on top of packaged food like chips, so you won’t need to throw out those crackers that were left out overnight. Thirdly, stretchy silicone lids. Perfect for storing your leftover one-pot pasta, or the potato salad you made way too much of.

Finally, if you plan on celebrating the end of lockdown as hard as I do, Champagne will be a necessary feat. If you don’t want your precious bubbly to go flat, you’ll need a Champagne resealer, that is, assuming there will be any leftovers. 

For everything you need for your next dinner party, head to Ozsale.

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