I've never been a big follower of the Royals. But after watching Will and Kate tie the knot (and admittedly blubbing like a small child when they had an extra kiss on the balcony), I think it really is all rather charming.

And with the finishing touches already being made to Harry and Meghan’s special day (May 19) another celebration is on the horizon.

But if dusting off the red, white and blue bunting from yesteryear is already making your eyes roll – don't worry. We may be celebrating a historical moment in Great British history, but with these young, diverse couples making brilliant strides in breaking traditions, it’s time for us to start branching out too.

So, if you’re looking for a get-together with a difference, look no further.

Sticking with the traditional garden party theme, I've kept all the good bits i.e. alcohol, and replaced the tired trends with something a bit more exciting I.e. more alcohol.

Without further a do, here are my top five garden party ideas for cheering on the royal wedding, in style.

1) An intimate affair

Now. I don't want to blow my own horn, but I've been to a real garden party. It wasn't with the Queen. In fact, it was hosted by a man called John, who, when we pulled up, was standing in the outside bin trying to flatten the recycling with his own bodyweight. Don't let that impression fool you however. The house was huge. They had tennis courts, a croquet lawn and they'd casually purchased a £2,000 marquee just for that one event.

Following this rather extravagant (and slightly mad affair) this has ended up being my impression of garden parties. A massive house, a massive garden and people attempting ridiculous lawn related games.

This, as we know, is not true. In fact, you don't even need a garden. Clear out the shed, pack it with massive cushions, lots of fairy lights and a cocktail making kit, and you have yourself a party.

Also, you may not realise that balcony parties are a thing – but they're a thing. A similar premise, they're more about small snacks, big drinks and close friends – and there's not a croquet mallet in sight.

2) Grab the bubbly

Celebrations are just as good without champagne, but nothing is officially fancy until you pop open a bottle. And having a champagne-themed party may sound a little OTT but there are lots of ways you can weave in the good stuff, without the hefty price tag.

Strawberry and champagne jam for scones (with lots of clotted cream of course), champagne truffles and champagne flavoured icing on cupcakes - all make great variants.

And as the sun goes down, bring out the sparklers for an extra slosh of pizzazz. Scatter the garden with ice buckets and bottles so that everyone can keep themselves nicely topped up, and don't forget the decorations – gold and silver balloons will work a treat.

P.s. no one will know if it's Prosecco...

3) Totally tropical

image of a slice of sweet cake with fruit in a garden

Totally tropical is officially, totally on trend and the shops are currently bursting with punishingly-bright picnic ware, fluorescent throws and an influx of anything pineapple. Admittedly, I tend to steer clear of bright colours, but even I can't help but fondle the passionfruit pink wine glasses as I wonder into the supermarket.

And, if like me, everything you now own has some sort of flamingo or watermelon slice on it, then I say go with it. Basing a theme around the tropical trend is about spicing things up and having fun. Break out the barbecue, get some jerk chicken on the go, pour out some fun and fruity cocktails and combat that UK grey with endless amounts of neon.

Rain taking over? Grab a foldaway table and set up a mini bar indoors. You'll have all the fun and colour of summer, without the Great British climate.

4) Night time is the right time

image of lights in a garden

Not all of us have the luxury of having a free Saturday with nothing to do but sit around in the garden, enjoying a drink or three. But that doesn't mean you have to miss out. Having an evening celebration outside is a great opportunity to make the evening really magical.

Light some lanterns, hang up some rope lights and dot a few candles around the table, and you already have a twinkling setting for you and your friends. Hand out the gin martinis, serve up some sumptuous Italian-style food and make sure there's something warm and chocolatey for afters. You can also get some chunky, cable knit blankets to help keep out the chill when the cold sets in – perfect!

5) On the streets of New York

image of american style dinner with fries and a burger

Red, white and blue might be a little dry for celebrating all things British, but with the lovely Meghan Markle hailing from across the pond, it's a great opportunity to celebrate the American way. New York style street food, salty French fries, sticky-sweet doughnuts, cosmopolitan cocktails and massive slices of pizza, dripping with melted cheese.

Drinks can be fun too, and something you wouldn't normally consider for a party – milkshakes and huge cups of frothy coffee are the first things that come to mind. And for dessert, who's going to say no to a thick slice of banoffee pie topped with whipped cream? As you can see, garden parties can quite literally be anything you want them to be.

image of banoffee pie with whipped cream

And it doesn't matter whether you're contemplating a second chandelier for the marquee, or simply wondering if cocktail sausages are classed as a starter, do whatever makes you happy and enjoy being in your home!

susie signature for hartleys blogs