The Utterly Inessential Garden Party Shopping List, from summery clothes and barbecues to the £1,000+ ice bucket

The Queen won't be throwing any garden parties this year — so it's time for you to step up.

The last few weeks have seen coronavirus restrictions chopped away bit by bit, but not so much that the big garden party and outdoor events of the summer will take place.

But don’t let that stop you — throw a small garden party with a few friends or family (while following to the latest social distancing regulations, of course) and you’ll discover what every true Utterly Inessential aficionado knows full well: swanning around in your back garden can be just as smart and entertaining as a party full of hundreds of strangers. Probably more so, since you’ll be able to push the boundaries of food, dress and drink in ways which would never do at a Buckingham Palace event.


Hannah Sophia England Philippa Floral Dress

You’ve already got clothes — or at least, we assume you already have clothes? — but a new frock is an utterly inessential starter for ten. This one even has eco credentials: the makers plant a tree for every dress sold.

Priced at £269 — see more details.


Acqua di Parma by La Double J

If you’re going for that Mediterranean look, feel and food, you’re also going to want that Mediterranean smell.

Priced at from £37 — see more details.


British Blanket Co plum & green check picnic rug

Nobody likes a soggy bottom. Perch your derriere on this British-made throw.

Priced at £100 — see more details.


Sterling Silver Ice Bucket 1949

Providing ice in a bucket made of base metal? Oh no. Not on my watch.

Priced at £1095 — see more details.


William and Son serving board

Serving nibbles on plastic trays? Oh no. Not on my watch. (Hang on — we already did that joke, didn’t we? Ah well. Too late now.)

Priced at £160 — see more details.


Laguiole by Jean Dubost cheese knife set

You’d think that what amounts to a finger food spread would mean that there was no room for a cutlery-related faux pas. These cheese knives put paid to that — you’ll be able to spot wrong-uns as soon as they pick the mini-cleaver up and head for the brie.

Priced at £35 — see more details.


Really Wild palazzo pants

That thing we mentioned about rules being different when you’re throwing your own back garden garden party? Yes. That.

Priced at £245 — see more details.


Kamado Joe Classic grill

Clearly, you could just pop a portable barbecue on a couple of bricks. But then again, you could rip out your Aga and cook on a 20-year-old Hotpoint model you got from Freecycle. These swish Kamado Joe models have ‘thick-walled, heat-resistant shell that locks in smoke and moisture at any temperature’.

Kamado Joe Classic around £900 — see more details.


Favourbrook Therese coat

It’s 30 degrees as I type these words, but no resident of Great Britain can ever forget that chilly, damp weather is around the corner, so a coat such as this — in cool cotton voile with Italian embroidery — is a good plan. And as a bonus, it’s perfectly camouflaged should you drop some prawn cocktail down your front.

Priced at £1,550 — see more details.


Smirnoff Raspberry and Rhubarb Seltzer

Honestly, what is the point of flavoured water? We’re baffled by this trend. But if you’re a fan of that squash-your-grandmother-made-with-too-little-squash-in-it vibe — and we know many people are — then these cans are cool and refreshing, and ideal for pouring over the ice cubes served from your £1,095 ice bucket.

Priced at £1.80 from supermarkets


Fairfax & Favor Raspberry Sandals

At some point in the afternoon, you’ll have had enough ‘refreshment’ to get to the point when you need to make a point of kicking your sandals off. This will draw all attention, momentarily, to your sandals. So wear nice ones.

Priced at £135 — see more details.


Tartan Barbour hip flask

If the garden party is… well… dragging a little, you’ll need something to either soothe your nerves or pep things up. And this is what you should keep it in.

Priced at £34.99 — see more details.


Longines Dolce Vita Watch

Clearly, you’re not going to buy a watch specifically for a garden party. But if you were going to, then this would be a good one.

Priced at £1,320 — see more details.