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Planning a summer get-together? Try your hand at entertaining in the garden with our tips and inspiration

Great British summer

When the sun shines in Britain, you need to be ready to get out there and make the most of it. Luckily, our party food can be ordered online and collected in store as little as three days. Afternoon tea staples, like our platter of sandwich fingers, are perfect for a garden party. If you’re having family or friends over to watch Wimbledon, make sure to serve up some fresh strawberries – you could even use them to decorate one of our naked cakes.

Nothing says summer quite like a fruity cocktail, so mix up your own and serve in a picnic jug. We love this melamine bubble jug and the matching glasses. Complete your relaxed tablescape with seagrass placemats and a pretty glass cake stand.

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Bring the sunshine home

If you’re getting together to watch the Tour de France or the Olympics in Paris, allow yourself to be transported to the continent with our French food and wine pairing hamper. Featuring a bottle of Saint Emilion red wine, as well as a standout selection of French cheese and charcuterie, it’s perfect for sharing over a long, sunny afternoon outdoors with your guests. Pair it with some fresh bread from the Foodhall to bring a holiday feel to your garden gathering.

Need some new outdoor tableware to serve up your spread? We love these outdoor dinner plates, with a stunning artisan-style pattern and a practical stain-resistant finish. Make sure you’ve got some sophisticated wine glasses worthy of your Saint Emilion, too.

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Keep things fresh

Bright, fresh flowers are sure to make your guests smile and bring a summery feel to your outdoor table. Choose from our selection online, including our cheerful sunflower abundance bouquet and our pink and white charmelia alstroemeria bouquet. Display your blooms in pretty vases – we love this confetti glass style. Don’t forget: you’ll get free delivery with all flowers and plants.

Focusing your food and drinks around a central theme can help your tablescape feel more coherent. Zingy lemon is perfect for summer – use fresh slices to decorate one of our naked cakes, and as a garnish for our low-alcohol lemon and rosemary botanical. For more al-fresco hosting inspiration, catch up on our M&S Live.

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Words: Rebecca Hastings

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