Words: Clare Vooght
It’s the biggest excuse to go outside and party with your neighbours since the royal wedding, so do it in style. Here’s how to
pull off a successful street party for June 5.
It’s going to take a bit of planning to execute a Jubilee Day street party. Before you begin organising, make sure your neighbours are on board – it’s not going to work if Beryl down the road can’t get her car out and knocks over your waving royals cutouts. Enlist her help, too.
It’s dull as hell, but there are forms to fill in and rules to abide by. As you’ll be closing off the street, you need to get permission from your local authority. Get in touch early – councils recommend at least four weeks in advance. As part of this, you’ll need to sign a liability form, in case anything gets damaged. It’s worth getting public liability insurance, in case this does happen – it’s about £50. See direct.gov.uk.
Then, come up with a theme. Emma Angel from Angel’s Fancy Dress in central London’s Shaftesbury Avenue says: “Theme it. And keep a constant theme, instead of mixing and matching all sorts of different things together. Go with Union Jack or go with crowns. Because everything looks better if it’s got a universal theme to it.”
Before you start buying things, work out how much you want to spend – will you do it on a shoestring and get people to make everything and bring tables and chairs from home, or will you get everyone to put in £20 for a party where you pull out all the stops? If you need tables, you can rent them from £2.50 per day at capitalhire.com.
Rebecca Robinson, 32, is secretary of her local residents’ committee in Chelsea. She’s organising a street party through The Big Lunch , a project that encourages people to get together with their communities every year.
Robinson says: “On our street, we’ve had various street parties, we thought it’d be nice to have a big lunch for the Jubilee. We’re not having costumes, but we are having flowers and a jazz band from a charity called Sound Minds – every street party we do we give half of our funds to charity.”
Their street party will be funded by residents’ association subscriptions, and they’re also applying for a council grant to pay for a screen to be put in the street.
Lastly, you need to get the invites out. Set up Facebook groups, post flyers through letterboxes, knock on doors and put up posters – get your whole area involved if you want.
Think all things Britain – the more you can find the better. Angel says: “You need to have bunting and you need to have flags. If you’re not going to do anything else, I’d suggest that those two go in. It’s the little things.
“At the royal wedding we completely sold out of bunting and Union Jack dresses. I think the same is going to be true for
If you’re going for Cool Britania, go for red telephone boxes, Union Jacks, letterboxes, English bulldogs and plenty of red, white and blue.
If you’ve got the budget, get a lifesize statue of the Queen. Theme Traders in Cricklewood rents them for £175. They’ve also got thrones for the same price, or make your own cardboard cutouts if you’re on a budget.
For dressing up, Angel suggests girls go for Union Jack dresses and mini top-hat fascinators, emblazoned with the flag design.
The guys should go for red, white and blue masks. Or dress up as members of the royal family, with masks of their faces.
Kim Einhorn from Theme Traders suggests making an entrance for people to walk through.
“Have a sentry, a guard in a box. It’s about wow factor,” she says. ”Have people waiting by the door so you don’t get little boys zooming down on their bikes and nicking the food. Or rope off either end of the road.”
Robinson is having a village-fête theme, with coconut shys, dog shows and a bake-off: “We’re not buying anything, but we are making bunting. The idea is everyone makes whatever they can and we’ll join it up together.”
The food and drink
This could be tricky and expensive for just one person, so get everyone to bring one dish. Go for Blighty’s greats, like coronation chicken. Or get a hog roast in from spittingpiglondon.co.uk.
You shouldn’t need a licence – a temporary events notice to sell alcohol, costs £21 from the council.