A garden sofa, complete with cushions and bottle of champagne, is ready to host guests at a garden party celebration

Host a Gold-Winning Olympic Watch Party: Steps to Success

Two glasses of wine sit on ottoman ready to celebrate sporting success at an Olympic watch party

Are you ready for a summer of outdoor sporting celebrations?

The Paris Olympic Games open this summer on Friday 26th July.

And so will begin 16 days of sporting magic; human stories of overcoming adversity; and the opportunity to become the undisputed expert in Greco-Roman Wrestling...

Then come the Paralympic Games!

This year the Olympic and Paralympic Games are in our time zone (or close enough!) We can follow the action live and bring friends and family together to experience the excitement.

Invite your friends over for an Olympic garden party

Get the dates booked in with your nearest and dearest and make sure your outdoor space is ready to host some serious sporting celebrations. 

Set the scene for outdoor sport-watching success

Step 1: Know your sporting schedule

The BBC will be broadcasting the Olympic Games this year, whilst Channel 4 will again lead the way with Paralympic Games coverage.

The athletes of Team GB and Paralympics GB will be announced over the next few months - keep a listen out for the names that, by the summer, you'll know by heart! Of course, Great Britain and Northern Ireland may not be the nation you choose to support. The beauty of the Games is the opportunity to support athletes from across the globe.

Whether it's the diving, or perhaps the gymnastics, you'll have your own unmissable Olympic events. However, when bringing people together for loud collective cheering and outdoor sporting celebration, I’d suggest you consider the following dates and events:

  • Sunday 4th August: crowning the fastest man on earth in the men’s 100m final (8.50pm BST) is the perfect reason to get together for sport-watching. It’s not just about the athletics though, there’s boxing, dressage, and the tennis finals to get behind too. And, if you’re in Scotland, Monday is a holiday: perfect!
  • Friday 9th August: the sport of breaking is a new event in the Olympic repertoire (along with surfing, skateboarding, and sport climbing). Whether or not you’re a fan of less traditional sporting events, breaking’s debut (women’s final from 7pm BST) is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
  • Saturday 10th August: with 39 gold medal events, Super Saturday is a great day to get together for an Olympic Watch Party. There’s a vast array of sporting prowess on show to keep guests at your garden party enthralled. From Tom Daley’s old event, the 10m platform diving at 2pm BST, to track cycling (4pm BST), to beach volleyball (8pm BST), to the 400m relay finals (8.12pm BST). What a line-up!

Step 2: Create a tip-top (outdoor) viewing experience

You could just turn the television on in the living room… or you could create a fabulous outdoor cinema.

For unbeatable sports-viewing and socialising for all, consider zoning your seating. This way you can provide for those who want to sit, fully absorbed, by the sport; those who are more interested in a good chat; and those who mill between the two.

Make sure to set out low comfortable seating right in front of the screen for the sports fanatics. I love Armadillo Sun bean bag chairs because they won’t block the screen, they’re easy to move around, and, with stain-resistant fabric, the inevitable knocked plate or glass with the leaps of celebration don’t cause any stress.

I like to have a convivial garden sofa set up a little away from the action - but still in sight of the screen - with the food close at hand on a table or outdoor ottoman.

Add garden pouffes and garden coffee tables around the edge of the key viewing zone as places to perch for those that mill in and out of the action.

Don’t forget speakers too – BBC Olympic commentary is brilliant! Make sure to warn the neighbours or, even better, invite them to the party.

A soft blue cushioned outdoor sofa is placed in the sunshine and covered with orange and white throw cushions as an invitation for conversation and socialising.

Step 3: Offer an alfresco menu they'll be talking about for the next four years

If a potluck party appeals, allocate your guests to a country participating in the Games and ask them to bring a national dish.

However, as this year the Olympics and Paralympics are in France, it’s a wonderful opportunity to focus on French cuisine. In the words of Julia Child (the famous chef who shared her love of French cooking with a global audience), “in France, cooking is… a national sport!

Keep it simple with cheese, wine, and charcuterie: order fabulous British cheese and charcuterie plates to be delivered and tick something off the party prep list. Add a glass of my favourite French wine, Picpoul de Pinet, and - whatever happens in the sport - a glorious garden party is guaranteed.

Or, if you relish the chance to experiment with French cooking, then add this fresh and delicious tomato medley dressed with roast garlic. Perfect for enjoying outdoors! This lentil, beetroot, and goats’ cheese salad is delicious too.

If you'd like to offer a more substantial dish (perhaps to soak up the wine!) the experts at The Woodee have created this roast chicken and ratatouille recipe to cook outdoors on a fire pit. A traditional coq au vin would be perfect too.

Although a dessert is unnecessary, a dish of baked peaches and lavender is irresistible. To impress your guests bake classic French palmiers ahead of time (they’re so much easier to make than they look!)

Whilst the sport will take centre-stage, a delicious French-inspired menu will be an excellent accompaniment!

Get the garden ready for outdoor celebrations

A cushioned outdoor sofa is ready for garden party guests on a sunny patio

To host a fabulous garden party you need your outdoor space to look fabulous too: don’t forget to ensure the patio is guest-ready!

If you’ve been hankering after an excuse to refresh or revamp your outdoor area, this summer of sport could be it! As inspiration, we’ve gathered together ten expert tips for designing a garden great for entertaining.

Most importantly have your flags at the ready and choose the most eclectic sport you can to become an expert in.

We can’t wait!