How to guide: Stylish summer parities in London hot spots

Summer is truly on its way! From the moment the first summer ray hits the top of the Shard we are ready for summer party season. The seasonal events merry go round is about to go alfresco given every opportunity. Of course you will think of Cooks & Partners synonymous with our devotion to celebrating the seasons. This means we are bubbling with excitement that we are almost coming into asparagus season, we are buzzing that we are placing orders for London’s local Sipsmith summer cup and of course we are brimming with enthusiasm that our English berries will soon be bountiful.

So where do we recommend that you spend your summer soirée and how do we suggest that you style an al fresco palace?

Here are our top 4 of each (and there are, of course, many more ideas once you get us chatting).

SUMMER LOCATION HOT SPOTS

  • The Orangery at Holland Park, a secret spot in exclusive west London and an old regal dining residence  http://bit.ly/2mN4BGF
  • The View from the Shard, there is no better place to get a breath of fresh air in London (level 72 is at the building pinnacle and is a semi outdoor gallery) http://bit.ly/2m5mmEi
  • Harrow School, nestled in English history, the venue offers several options for outdoor hospitality. The complex spans across sports grounds and parklands, giving ample opportunity for team away days.  http://bit.ly/2mN4BGF
  • Eltham Palace, it’s worth the little venture out of central London. The Grounds and gardens adjoin the Medieval Palace and Art Deco house making it a very exclusive location (they have their own private bridge too) http://bit.ly/2mxE9QM

How to style the best summer party

  • Alfresco hospitality often relishes less formality – we love recreating the buzz of the London Street Food scene, drawing inspiration from the busy seafood grills on the English coast.
  • Work with the outdoors rather than compete against it. This often means more organic choices in lounge furniture of table linens.
  • Think about how your event will change in the sunlight. Although our summer evenings offer extended daylight you still need to be mindful of the latter part of your evening. Simple uplighters, lantern trails or festoon lights are all great ways to add atmosphere.
  • Think about your drinks choices carefully as this is a big tone setter – opt for elegance with English sparkling wine. Our favourite at the moment is the Blanc de Blanc from the Bluebell Vineyard (Kent) or vibrant splashes of colour with festival inspired gin infusions.

Copper & Geometry Styling

How to style with copper and geometry!Copper styling

Current trends in event styling often centre on a texture, shape or colour. One of the most prevalent requests from our private and commercial clients alike at the moment is copper and geometric shapes. Started by the high street’s love affair of terrariums overflowing with sedum heads, it’s not taken long for the event design world to embrace it. From luxury place settings to personalised copper touches there are lots of ways that we know to fill our venues with the warm metallic glow.

Here is our top list of highlights to inspire your next event styling project….

Copper cutlery; it’s our most common request. This is a beautiful way to show detail in your table layup.  It’s also a fantastic way to link with your table centres to give an edge of luxury.

Terrarium table numbers! Nothing says detail more than a different table number. It’s a great way to pull your table styling all together.

Copper pipes and hooks: they can form fantastic interactive canape stations or bar canopy. Using and re-inventing something common place in the plumbing department is a sure fire way to get people’s attention. Guests of our events are always intrigued by inventiveness of a repurposed material. Stacked hexagons filled with cocktail garnishes are a great effective display tool too.

Copper tankards: In general tankards are a great novelty. They conceal what they carry which can always help us play with our event guests expectations but they also set the scene that this is an event with extra flourish!

Candle light (even if LED) is the best way to set off copper. The cosy lighting means that blemish and anomalies are picked up and the true beauty of the material is allowed to shine.

Wedding trends for 2017

wedding blog imageWith the wedding season coming closer and closer we are spending more and more time with our wedding couples. We love hearing about all of the elements that they have on their wish list, and even more so we love making this happen. So what do we think is going to be prevalent in 2017 weddings, and what, if you are still planning the final touches, should you ponder on? Here is our helpful guide:

1. Elaborate entrances
It’s long been established that the first impression counts. This is being taken to heart, with olive trees and lantern clusters, archways of blooms or modern calligraphy signs and finished silk died ribbons. A lot of the venues we work in have stunning entrances but this is certainly a lovely way to welcome your guests.

2. Inspiration from above!
Although this poses logistical challenges in some of our venues, there is always a way around it, from floral chandeliers to Edison light bulbs we are keen to make sure that the guests are wowed from the ceiling down.

3. Ice breaking drinks receptions
From food stations to afternoon tea hampers, we are seeing a rise in requests for our menus to play a big part in getting guests chatting. We love combining this with encouraging guests to explore the unique spaces that we are working in. From secret bellini bars to dress-your-own ceviche stations, interactivity is still ever so popular.

4. Organic!
Not necessarily in our ingredients but certainly in our presentation. We are hearing about a multitude of looser tied bouquets and our plates are matching suit. With pretty floral or foraged herb flowers to the colourful purees swiped across our plates, nature’s rainbow is our inspiration.

5. Alternative cakes
We have seen over the years a shying away from the traditional tiered fruit cakes. Our couples are starting to opt for fun alternatives from towers of their favourites Tunnock’s tea cakes, decadent custard filled doughnuts or even one to two pork pies! We love seeing individual choices being made here! It usually means they are devoured more quickly too!

Craft beers; a great London story for your drinks reception

Craft beers blogIn a world where small batch and artisan are heralded as the new en-vogue and yet this of course is not a new trend. It’s been prevalent in our shopping habits for years, from the bricked corridor of Malt Street Market to the everlasting queue outside Monmouth coffee. It’s not just our food bills to be indulged in craft batches however; it’s our beer list too.

By popular demand our beer often expands into London craft ales and lagers to tie in with London-centric events across a range of venues. Logistically these craft bottles are a dream as they avoid the ‘settling’ time needed of kegs.

Here are our top favourites.
1. Camden Town Brewery  our favourite is the Gentlemen’s Wit, based on a traditional Belgian wit (white) beer, they’ve added the bergamot and lemon zest of Earl Grey tea for a well turned out beer that politely packs a punch.

2. Hepcat, by the Gypsy Hill Brewing Company. The Hepcat’s strong line-up of Mosaic, Citra, Equinox and Motueka hops combine to produce an intensely tropical-citrus hit.

3. Beavertown Brewery, 8’ Ball. A big chunk of rye is used to give the beer a spicy earthiness, mashed up with Cara malts to create a rich, bold mouth feel. Masses of dry hops are plied after fermentation to spike a wild blend of tropical, spicy aromas.

4. Crate Brewery’s Lager  A refreshing amber lager, full of character and flavour. They also do a forest fruit sour!

Of course, if you fancy a tester most of these have tap rooms that allow you to whittle away the afternoon sampling. Click here for some great tap room recommendations.

The wonderful thing about serving a craft beer is the story behind it, which really gets through to your guests if you choose to serve in the bottles.

We expect to see lots of requests coming through this summer!

Our Top Picks for Alternative Conference Venues in London

Cooks & Partners have just launched their new Day Delegate Packages and Delivery Service Menus and we wanted to help you find some of the best alternative London conference and meeting venues in which to use them.

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Our DDR packages are designed to fit the format of most conference days, and are packed full of great dishes to work to most budgets.  Using a DDR package doesn’t mean your event has to be standard and certainly not your venue.

As a London Caterer we are lucky enough to work in some very exciting venues and here are some unique venue ideas for your next meeting, conference or away day:

Level 21 at The View From The Shard, SE1

thumbnail_level-21-panorama-1The View from The Shard is a truly unique venue for London and is Western Europe’s tallest building. The Shard’s Level 21 is now available to hire for filming and events. With over 19,000 square feet of CAT A office space and floor to ceiling windows providing 360 degree views of London, Level 21 is a fantastic blank canvas for your brand and activity.

Lancaster House, St James’s, SW1

lancaster-house-collageSteeped in history and offering a feeling of grandeur for your event, this stunning high profile venue is a gem in Central London. With capacities up to 250 for conferences and with access to the gardens for the summer months Lancaster House is not to be missed when tasked with a venue search.

Harrow School

harrow-school-collage-conferenceCurrently our Venue of the Moment, Harrow School is much closer than you think to Central London! There is nothing else like this venue. Offering 400 years of history and magnificent views across London its eight unique spaces offer flexibility for your events. Sports facilities and a golf course all add to its charm and make it a perfect venue for away days too.

CNBC Studios, EC4

cnbc-studio-collageEver thought of holding your event in a television studio?  Well here’s a perfect location and opportunity to do so at CNBC Studios.  Ideal for smaller workshops, training days and talks, pitches and branding.  A modern high-tech space you can make the most of with capacity to 100 standing or 40 seated.

Wellington Arch, SW1

wellington-arch-collageDelight your guests by hosting an event at Wellington Arch one of the capital’s most iconic landmarks at Hyde Park Corner.  Offering a contemporary back drop over two floors of event space and a capacity for 80 for networking and 45 for presentations and breakfast meeting.  Doors open directly onto two viewing platforms where guests can enjoy spectacular panoramic views across London, peeking into the Queen’s back garden, across to Big Ben, and Canary Wharf.  All inclusive breakfast packages now available. Contact the Cooks & Partners team on 020 7731 5282 for more information.

The October Gallery

october-gallery-collageSituated in the heart of Bloomsbury, and close to Holborn tube, this 17th Century Grade II listed venue is an oasis of calm. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy vibrant exhibitions comprising artworks from around the world and representing some of the art world’s biggest talents and rising stars. The Gallery and Garden, Theatre and Club Room are unique in their charm and all benefit from natural light and fully integrated AV.  Perfect for presentations, workshops and meetings up to 70 theatre style or 150 standing.  Check out their latest exhibition here.

Stationers Hall and Garden, EC4

stationers-collage

Steeped in history and tradition, the magnificent grade 1 listed Stationers’ Hall offers an impressive and unique venue in the heart of the City of London, just moments from St. Paul’s Cathedral.  Stationers’ Hall consists of four elegant inter-linking rooms, each possessing their own individual charm and character as well as the secluded Stationers’ Garden offering an oasis in the City.  Perfect for a range of business and social events, from breakfast meetings, AGMs and conferences to formal lunches and dinners as well as summer garden receptions.

If you are looking for something more bespoke and fun to serve your guests then our new Autumn/Winter menus may be just the ticket and we have food stalls and DIY food fun to add into the mix too!

For more information and any enquiries please contact the Cooks & Partners team on 020 7731 5282 or info@cooksandpartners.co.uk