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Planning Retirement Online

Let's Party!

January 2013

Let's party in later life article series...

This series looks at some of the more unusual ideas to help you celebrate with style and panache – at affordable price levels, of course!

To see the full list of articles see the main Celebrating in Later Life page

Let's Party - Hot Stuff!

by LaterLife features editor Sally Smith

Outtrade Free Standing Garden Table Heater - Halogen A

Whether it is an anniversary, birthday, or another special occasion, at our age we all like to celebrate! In our regular feature on entertaining and celebration, this month we look at...heat.




A sure killer to any event is the temperature. If guests are feeling cold, the party atmosphere disappears. Yet chatting away in a room that is hot and stuffy is equally damaging as people begin to feel overheated and sluggish.

Temperature is surprisingly important and needs to be adjusted according to the event.

Obviously if the party or event is out of doors, then people will arrive rugged up warmly for protection. Even so, standing around is very different from moving in cold weather, and outdoor heaters can be really useful.

table top outdoor patio heaterThe most popular designs are the umbrella heaters, vertical in shape and radiating down warmth from their propane fuelled hood. They are surprisingly effective and can heat quite large areas well. Usually built onto a wheel base, they are easy to transport. They also come in all sorts of designs and sizes, from large commercial heaters down to small table top heaters.

Gas patio heaters can be bought from a range of online suppliers like: Calor; Patio Gear; and even Amazon.

While outdoors patio heaters are only used for short periods at a time (apart from in commercial areas); nevertheless some people are very concerned about their emissions.

Electric patio heaters are available which have only 15% of the carbon foot print of gas patio heaters and they can work very well too. Halogen garden table heaters are especially attractive and effective for immediate surroundings. Electric patio heaters come in a wide range of designs and styles.

Eco-NRG2 Freestanding Outdoor Heater 3kw AElectric patio heaters are also readily available from suppliers like: Heat Outdoors and

Gas and electric patio heaters are also available for rent from many party specialist companies including: Garden Party Hire and Erento.

Low burning chimineas and wood burning heaters are not so ideal for parties as they can overheat people standing right by them while the heat doesn’t necessarily flow out past them to help warm other guests.

For outside events, it can be a lovely idea to have a few rugs available near the door as there are always some guests who arrive without adequate warm clothing!

But at this time of year, many of us will prefer the idea of an inside event. A warm venue is essential. Generally the World Health Organisation’s standard for warmth is 18C (64F) for healthy people who are appropriately dressed and a minimum of 20C (68F) for the sick, disabled, very old or very young. For indoor events, most people will come in party clothes which are thinner and therefore a minimum of 20C (68F) is probably required.

Of course, as a room fills up with people, the heat can rise. In the midst of winter it is easy to have windows covered with thick attractive curtains and access can be made difficult by additional party decorations. Make sure you have a way to open a window or door quickly to cool an area and let in some air if necessary. Too hot is as bad as being too cold. If you are hiring a location, along with all the other preparations, remember to check how the heating is controlled and the temperature they have in mind, commercial venues don’t automatically get it right!

Don’t forget to ensure the bathroom and loo area are heated as well! A shivering visit to the loo can reduce the party mood.

CloakroomBecause it is winter, for indoor events people will arrive with coats. I have been to several events including winter weddings where I have had no idea where I can put my coat and scarf and only later in the evening discovered a whole room or cloakroom for coats.

Clear instructions or even signage can help so much and is often neglected. Just a handmade sign pointing "Coats This Way" or similar really does help with the initial welcome.

Drinks fridge - Image 1

The final aspect of temperature is food and drink. People are well used to serving drink at the right temperatures and many drinks are best at room temperature which makes things very easy. If you are short of fridge space for the white wine and other drinks that need cooling, it can be worth asking around to see if any friends or neighbours have a party fridge you can borrow.


It is possible to hire in small temporary fridges, such as the one here from Erento for around £75 a day, depending on your location and local party hire company charges. It is an expensive option, but if you are splashing out on a one off event, it can make a difference. The old alternative is the cold water with ice in the bath storage but this isn’t a very attractive way of storing party drinks.

The main thing is to give heating and temperature some thought. Finger food that is too hot to pick up or burns the mouth can spoil the fun; a little attention to temperature detail will ensure you give the hottest party in town!!!


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