Organising a street party fit for a Queen

We know that some fond memories were made throughout the lockdowns of years gone by, from over-the-fence BBQs and VE Day ‘stay at home’ garden parties, to the weekly Clap for Carers. The nation came together and neighbourhoods began celebrating the big and small moments, creating a sense of community between neighbours, old and new. 

As we approach June, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee offers the perfect opportunity to draw on that party spirit and plan your next celebration! In true British fashion, why not organise a street party to celebrate Her Majesty’s amazing achievement of 70 years of service?

Street party vs. street meet

To get started, we should first clarify ‘street party’. There’s likely two types that you can imagine – one being a full-blown, road-closed, tables-lining-the-middle-of-the-street party, and the other being a party hosted in front gardens and on pavements, sometimes referred to as a ‘street meet’ instead.

A street party is the larger gathering of the two, generally implying that you would need to contact your local council about road closures, whereas a street meet uses a practical spot – like a row of front gardens or the end of a cul-de-sac – which doesn’t impose much disruption to others who may drive or walk by. Whichever you choose, you can still have heaps of fun with decorations, food, drinks and activities!

Once you’ve decided on your type of street party – of course, keeping in mind that you may need to request road closure permission from your local council anywhere from four to 12 weeks before your party – it’ll be time to get in touch with your neighbours and see who’d be interested in attending. Some neighbours may even like to join in on the party preparation, so why not create a street party committee? This way, everyone who wants to can get involved and help out.

What’s more, beginning your party planning now means you’ll be just in time to join in with other Jubilee celebrations across the nation. Splendid!

As planning a party can often be half the fun – especially when you have a to-do list to work from – we’ve noted down our guide to organising a street party fit for a Queen below.

Location, location, location

As one of the most important elements when planning a street party, finding the perfect location for your party is essential for some ‘right’ royal celebrations. While larger street parties may take place across several roads, street meets may only need a small area like a wide driveway or the end of a cul-de-sac.

The ideal area would be somewhere safe, especially for young children, with plenty of space for tables and chairs. A quiet street would be great for playing games, while roads with wide pavements mean parties could utilise their driveways and make the most of front gardens. Take a look at your street and consider what’s best for you and your neighbours.

Setting the scene

Now you know where your party will take place, it’s time to think more specifically about the logistics. With safety as a priority, if your party is taking place close to a busy road, get creative and create posters that inform passing vehicles and pedestrians of the party, so they’ll know to look out for people closer than usual to – or in – the road. If you’re hosting your party on a street where some households won’t be in attendance, posting a letter through the door will remind people to take extra care.

Next up is making sure everyone has somewhere to sit throughout the day. It makes sense to ask everyone to bring a chair for themselves, and where possible, bring spares for anyone who may struggle to find their own. Garden furniture is perfect for this occasion, including any outdoor tables where you can present food and drinks, and it’s definitely worth asking whether anyone has a gazebo in case you’re faced with a few summer showers!

Red, white and royal blue

It’s time to get creative with decorations for your Jubilee celebrations. Typical of the street party, bunting is a classic and colourful embellishment of fences, hedges, window awnings and even the occasional car! Red, white and blue is perfect for the Jubilee theme, rainbow will make a striking statement, and you can even go for a simple white and encourage neighbours to decorate themselves throughout the day and leave their mark.

Sticking with the Jubilee theme, you can find a range of patriotic decorations online – including seat covers, paper plates and napkins, blankets and window stickers. The list really is endless! It’s up to you how red, white and blue your street becomes, but we certainly expect to see that as a strong theme over this celebratory period.

The street-party soundtrack

When deciding whether or not your street party will have a soundtrack, it’s important to consider your area specifically. Though it’s likely that people living in neighbouring houses will be attending the party, loud music will be heard from streets away. And we don’t want you to upset the wider community!

If you do choose to have music, make sure it’s not too loud and that it’s suitable for a wide age range. Before your party, it might be worth creating a playlist with top singles from each decade to please both the older and younger generations. You could even get the input of your neighbours and ask each household to submit one or two of their favourite tunes. This will act as a great conversation starter, too!

Snacks and sweet treats

Generally as the party host, there’s some expectation for you to provide food for guests. But you’re in luck! With street parties, it can be a community effort to provide the snacks and sweet treats. If someone has a BBQ, you could collect a pool of money and buy some sausages, burgers and buns for the whole street. On the other hand, encouraging each household to bring one item of food would soon provide you with a buffet of the most varied and tasty dishes. If you’re looking for ideas, take a look at our delicious coronation chicken recipe.

For those with a sweet tooth, you could host a cake, biscuit and pudding competition. Have each household bring their favourite cake and nominate one particularly big cake fan to be the official judge – of course, the whole street gets a taste and can vote for their favourite, too! Our classic Victoria sponge recipe offers some great inspiration! Plus, nothing pairs better with a slice of cake than a hot cup of coffee or tea. Make sure you’ve got plenty of tea bags and coffee beans on hand throughout the day to make sure everyone gets their hot drink fill.

Fun and games

Lastly, it’s a great idea to plan some activities and games to keep everyone entertained. There are lots of quick and simple events you can organise to create your very own street party ‘sports day’. From egg-and-spoon and three-legged races to tug of war, it’s a great excuse to get everyone up and moving and is suitable for adults and children alike!

And if that’s not enough competition for some people, it’s time to get your wheelie bins involved! Wheelie-bin racing is easy – decorate your wheelie bin so it stands out from the rest, and then push your bin as far and as fast as you can. Chalk can be used to create a finish line – and for other fun artsy activities too, like drawing on pavements. Simply wash away with water.

If you’re looking for less physical activities, you could create a street quiz to test the general or local knowledge of your neighbours, or organise a raffle with items volunteered from within your community. All winnings could even be donated to a local charity! A street party is also the perfect occasion to host a ‘swap shop’, in which you can encourage neighbours to lend or swap things. For example, swapping toys, books, games and recently outgrown children’s clothes, or lending a hand by swapping services, like an afternoon of a plumber’s time for some garden maintenance.

For the older members of your community, it’s a wonderful opportunity to bring photos, letters and souvenirs of times gone by to share stories with the local community and future generations. We’re sure we could all learn a thing or two!

At Arthur Price, we have a host of accessories that can add an extra sparkle to any party! For your Jubilee street party, use our Vintage Cake Server to serve up a slice of classic Victoria sponge, or present your delicious coronation chicken dish on the Arthur Price For The Table 10” Chippendale Salver tray.

The Arthur Price of England Cocktail Shaker is a great addition to your celebrations – perfect for a refreshing beverage when the children have gone to bed. It is a party, after all!

We’d love to hear if you joined in with a street party over the Jubilee weekend. Get in touch on social media and share your stories about your celebrations – especially if you attended a party to rival Buckingham Palace itself!