The best summer party decorations to buy for your next alfresco event

From balloon installations to a build-your-own tiki bar, impress guests at this year's summer party with these spectacular decorations.

Updated on 06 March 2024 • Written By Ellie Donnell

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The best summer party decorations to buy for your next alfresco event

The sun is shining, the good vibes are flowing and, to celebrate the arrival of the best season (in our humble opinion) it’s the perfect time to host a summer party. Sure, while the location and the guest list are both very important parts of planning an occasion, the bit that will really bring your party to life is the decorations! So, to ensure your next alfresco event is as pretty as it possibly can be, we’ve compiled all the best summer party decorations to buy right now that are sure to take your event up a notch.  


Depending on whether you're hosting an outdoor work event for clients and colleagues, or planning a birthday bash for a friend, your summer party is likely to vary in theme, atmosphere, size and location. From a chilled BBQ to an elegant garden party to a blowout bash at a venue, there are multiple types of summer events to choose from. However, we’ve gone ahead and assumed that you’ve chosen to throw your summer party outdoors, which is why all the recommendations in this list are perfect for use outside, from solar-powered lighting to pretty picnic plates. 

We’ve put together a guide to the best summer party decorations to buy for your next outdoor event. We’ve included a mix of summer party essentials and some more unusual items that vary on budget and scope - all of which will all add instant pizzaz to your summer bash. But before all of that, we’ve compiled a few of our top tips and tricks when it comes to planning what you need before you hit the shops. Good luck and (most importantly) have fun!  

Tips for buying summer party decorations

Planning a summer party is a little different to planning an event indoors, especially when it comes to the decorations. Weather-proof decor, clever lighting and sustainable solutions are all important things to think about when it comes to bringing your summer party to life!

Get inspired

If you’re struggling with ideas, remember that the internet is your friend! Check out Pinterest and party planning websites for lots of great inspiration. Many party decoration retailers offer seasonal, summer sections on their websites, too. 

Theme it

It's not mandatory, but it might be helpful to choose a theme or colour scheme before you start shopping, which will help narrow down your options and ensure your event has extra impact. There's a lot of choice out there, so knowing what kind of style you're going for will help keep things focused.

Stay prepared

If you’ve hired a summer party venue to host your event, such as on a rooftop or an alfresco terrace, make sure to double check if there are any limitations on what decorations you can use. Lots of venues specify using certain suppliers or sticking to the items they already have in-house, so it’s worth checking beforehand.

On a budget?

You can still give your event wow-factor if you're on a budget! Simply focus on the items you really need – things like napkins, plates, cups and seating – and go from there. It’s amazing how much some colourful tableware (and maybe some bunting) can transform a space. 

Lovely lighting

If you’re hosting your event in the evening, lighting can be an effective way of transforming the feel of a space with fairly little effort. Fairy lights, coloured lanterns, outdoor candles or glowy light features look spectacular when the sun goes down. 

Sustainable solutions

Inevitably, throwing a party is going to produce a fair bit of waste, but you can minimise your impact with a few simple tricks. Try to use as few disposable items as you can, such as cutlery, plates and streamers, and instead invest in equipment that can be used in years to come. If you do end up purchasing a few disposable items, remember to recycle them! Think about any summer party decorations you buy as an investment – you want to get as much use out of them as possible. Plus, it will give you an excuse to host another party again next year! 

The best summer party decorations

From a bright, blow-up balloon arch to pretty lighting ideas, our pick of the best summer party decorations to buy right now will transform your alfresco event.

Tropical Balloon Arch Garland Kit

Tropical Balloon Arch

This tropical balloon arch kit is one of the easiest ways to add wow-factor to your summer party on a budget. For just £11.99, you’ll receive a selection of colourful balloons and leaves, knotters, glue dispensing and balloon chains to quickly achieve a stunning balloon feature.
How much? £11.99
Buy now

Heavy Duty Connectable IP65 Festoon Harness

Heavy duty festoon lighting

Nailing the lighting is an important part of your summer party set-up, especially if you’re hosting an event that carries on into the evening. As the night creeps in, illuminate your outdoor space with some twinkling lights! This heavy-duty garland is great if you’re after a more industrial feel, and would work best in larger spaces if you want something bright but cosy.
How much? £59.99
Buy now

Dolce Vita Large Paper Plate

Dolce vita plates on table

Paper plates are a must if you’re hosting food at a party, and these Dolce Vita-inspired plates are sure to bring a slice of the Italian coast to your outdoor event. They’re 100% recyclable and look super effective when arranged as part of a table spread. 
How much? £9
Buy now

Teepee Play Tent

White teepee in outdoor garden party scene

There’s something about an outdoor teepee that brings a cosy element to an alfresco scene. Fill it with comfy cushions to create a snug place to relax, or to take refuge from the midday heat if it’s a particularly sunny day. This blank canvas teepee would work well for a variety of outdoor events, from kids' parties to tea parties.
How much? £49.99
Buy now

Pavilion Boho Marquee Tent

Boho pavilion teepee

A marquee if always a good idea if you’re hosting an outdoor event, especially when the British weather is so tricky to predict. We love this boho pavilion-style marquee, which is available for 24-hour hire (including set-up) on Etsy. It’s able to host up to 30 people for a dinner party, and can be decorated however you like, with fairy lights, balloons and more.
How much? £445
Buy now

Shades Of Red Cotton Bunting

Red bunting

Add a flash of red to your alfresco scene with this bright bunting. Featuring bold red stripes, red paisley, plain red and gingham, it’s a great bet for everything from BBQs to product launches. Plus, it’s 100% cotton so you can simply pop in the washing machine and use it again.
How much? £14
Buy now

LED Light Bottle Stopper 

Twinkling lights in glass bottle

This is both a sustainable and effective method of lighting up your garden (or equivalent outdoor space) while reusing any old bottles you have to hand. Upcycle glass bottles with this nifty bottle stopper, then use them to light up a garden path, or position them as a centrepiece for your table.
How much: £8.99 
Buy now 

Tiki Bar Deluxe Decorating Kit  

Tiki bar

Take your drinks offering up a level with this build-your-own tiki bar kit, complete with a bar, sign, tablecloth, table skirt and flower garland. Mix up a homemade punch, or a few different fruity cocktails, and place them underneath for guests to help themselves.  
How much: £77.99 
Buy now 

Tropicale Small Plates 

Patterned plate

Chances are you’re planning on serving food at your summer party, which means you’re going to need plates. If your gathering is small and you’re hosting at home, then you could probably just use dinner plates to save money and waste. However, to avoid any breakages and ensure you have enough to go around, these tropical-themed paper plates boast a pretty pink, green and gold design and you get eight in a pack for just over a fiver! 
How much: £3.99 
Buy now 

Paper Tablecloth Fiesta 

Outdoor table and chairs with colourful tablecloth

Tablecloths provide the dual function of making your table look extra special, while also protecting it from any stains that might arise from spilt drinks. This paper tablecloth has a fun colourful trim for summer fiestas, garden parties and BBQs – and can be recycled once you’re done with it! 
How much: £5.99 
Buy now 

Luxe Bright Balloon Arch with Paper Honeycombs 

Balloon arch

Turn heads with this incredible multi-coloured balloon arch, an awesome feature whether you’re looking to impress clients or loved ones. Comprising 200 balloons in various sizes, as well as paper honeycomb spheres, you can hang it from a doorway or wall both indoors and outdoors. It’s a great one for guests to gather underneath for photo opportunities, too.
How much: £39.99 
Buy now 

Wisteria Foliage Garland

Pink floral garland

Create a romantic aesthetic with this gorgeous 1.8m wisteria garland, whether you're throwing a garden party, summer wedding or themed picnic. Simply hang above an entrance, fix to a wall or use to decorate a celebration table - it's the perfect hack for creating eye-catching photos.
How much: £16.99 
Buy now 

Personalised Light Box with Logo 

Personalised Light Box

These unique LED light boxes can be personalised with your brand logo, if you're looking to promote your company at your event. They're wireless, waterproof, offer eight hours of battery life and you can choose your preferred shape, colour and design, too. 
How much: From £164, final cost dependent on quote
Buy now 

Kilner Clip Top Round Dispenser 

Kilner Clip Top Round Dispenser filled with lemonade

This fancy decanter is a pretty special way of serving a batch of homemade lemonade or punch, especially if you’re hosting a cocktail party where the focus is on the drinks. It holds 5 litres of liquid, so you won’t need to worry about constantly refilling it.
How much: £16.50
Buy now

Wooden Party Cutlery 

wooden cutlery

A set of cutlery is transferable to pretty much any outdoor event! We’ve picked a biodegradable option, with painted handles and a sturdy feel, that are great for both kids and adults to use. Plus, this pack includes six sets for just £3.99 - a bargain. 
How much: £3.99 
Buy now 

Yet to sort out the food? Take a look at some of the best event canape ideas from London's top caterers.

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