Rain was threatening the grandest of all Norwegian garden parties on Thursday, but those keen to “see and be seen” were likely to brave the weather and show up anyway. Publishing firm Aschehoug’s annual party for around 1,600 carefully invited guests is considered one of the social events of the year.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Aschehoug director Kari Spjeldnæss told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) when the weather forecast was still good. “We hope to see the garden filled.”
The event is always held in the large garden of a classic old mansion in the heart of Oslo’s most fashionable Frogner/Skarpsno district. It’s also home to many embassies and ambassador residences, also known for hosting receptions and parties.
Aschehoug (roughly pronounced “ah-skeh-howg”) invites a wide range of people “who have or can be of importance for Aschehoug books,” Spjeldnæss told DN. That includes artists, media folks, various celebrities and, among others, Aschehoug’s own authors, some of whom are celebrities themselves. Around 1,200 generally show up, and Spjeldnæs admitted that the invitation list is altered every year, with around 10-15 percent of the guests dropped and replaced by new names to “allow in new faces.”
Norway has a long tradition of influential garden parties in the summer where the elite meet, with even the king and queen hosting one in every port as they sailed down Norway’s coast earlier this summer on the royal yacht. They were also plagued, though, by rain and cold weather.