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How To Throw the Best Wimbledon/ Olympics Watch Party

Wimbledon? The Olympics? How to Plan a Tennis Watch Party

Tennis fans know that this is a great year for watching tennis. We have the four Grand Slams to enjoy as well as the Olympics. Wimbledon, the next major tournament, will be held during the first two weeks of July. The Olympics begin in Paris just two weeks later. Sounds like two ideal reasons to drink champagne with our tennis friends.

So, how to throw a successful watch party. We’ll start with Wimbledon which is the perfect inspo for a smashing get-together. The prestigious event is always in early summer—perhaps the most beautiful time of year. The very British tournament is also defined by traditions that are surprisingly easy to recreate. A Wimbledon watch party all but plans itself!  And isn’t that what traditions are all about? Do things the same way and do them right. Here are a few guidelines for channeling the Wimby spirit into a fab tennis party.

Wear white, of course! Whether or not your party involves playing tennis before or after watching the tournament, asking guests to dress all in white is an easy way to enhance the Wimbledon of it all. Tennis clothes or any festive white attire will do--no need to be as strict as the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

Decorate in Wimbledon colors. The official colors of the tournament are vivid purple, dark green and white. Use these shades for linens, paper goods, place settings and flowers and your party will look officially perfect.

Choose the proper flowers, if possible. Early summer in England is garden perfection. The Wimbledon grounds feature an abundance of hydrangeas, roses and petunias. Stick with these gorgeous blooms if you want floral authenticity at your gathering. And who wouldn’t?

Tennis party

Pop the Champers!  Champagne is THE bevy of choice at Wimbledon. Why not impress your guests by offering the official Champagne of The Championships? The French house of Lanson is Wimbledon’s champagne supplier and it’s estimated that some 4 million bottles of their high-quality bubbly have been served there since their partnership began in 1977.  In fact, Wimbledon umpires have warned the crowd not to pop their Lanson Le Black Label Brut while players are serving.

Put Pimm’s on the menu. The signature cocktail of The Championships is a Pimm’s Cup, made with Pimm’s No. 1 ( a gin-based liqueur) mixed with lemonade or lemon-based soda, and garnished with mint, cucumber and orange. Swap out the lemon soda for soda water if you prefer. Sub in champagne for the soda, and you have a Pimm’s Royal. And possibly, a headache.

Serve strawberries and cream the Wimbledon way. The delicious treat has been offered at the tournament since it began in 1877.  Strawberries, always in season in late June, were a very fashionable treat in Victorian England. Still immensely popular, over 2 million strawberries were served at Wimbledon in 2023. To make the dish as the Brits do, look for the most gorgeous strawberries you can find and serve them with a pour-over of good quality heavy cream. At The Championships, cream is not whipped or sweetened. (We won’t tell if you choose to offer a more American version.) 

Tennis party tablesetting

Time for tea. As for more food options, it makes sense to serve tea sandwiches in keeping with British tradition--think cucumbers and cream cheese, smoked salmon, and chicken and egg salad.  Since the matches are played in the afternoon in London, the finals will be airing in the morning on the east coast of the U.S., so scones and brunch items make sense, too.

Play on grass. Guests will naturally gather around the television at a tennis watch party. Do reconfigure the furniture if necessary to allow for comfortable viewing and good ‘party flow’ if you’re inviting a large group. That said, setting up badminton or other games on the lawn outside adds a nice touch if people want to play something on grass in their whites (as the tournament is played). This will keep kids engaged, too, if they're invited. 

Gold Medal Watch Party

If you have any champagne left over, save the French bubbly for the next big tennis event. The Olympics will be held in Paris this year starting on July 27, and watching the Olympics together is a great bonding experience for guests—go Team USA! For this party, you’ll have to check the event schedule to make sure you have the timing right or a particular match in mind. (It would be ideal to watch Americans go for tennis gold, but no promises there!) And while we don’t really need a reason to enjoy all things French, this is a great opportunity to serve champagne, croissants, French cheeses, quiche, baguettes and chocolates. Decorate with mini French and American flags, and the Olympic rings and voila!

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