Garden parties are the quintessential outdoor gathering. Full of sunshine, beautiful foliage, and conversation it’s a wonder that anyone would consider hosting indoors. While garden parties typically take place over brunch or lunch, we strongly encourage afternoon parties, as well as evening soirees. Read on for our tips on how to throw a garden party your guests will remember all season long.
Garden Party Ideas
Whether you’re planning a multi-course meal or light hors d’oeuvres, opt for seasonal food and drink whenever possible. Shop your local farmers market to find out what ingredients are in season and start your menu planning there. Fresh food is full of flavor and adds vibrant color to your tablescape.
While shopping for party décor and place settings think about the current season, upcoming holidays, or common point of interest among guests. Having a theme as your north star will help you plan your party, regardless of how simple or extravagant the details.
Like seasonal themes, color palettes are an easy way to give your party a sense of cohesiveness – and you needn’t look far for inspiration. Take a look at what’s in bloom. Think lilacs in the spring (lavender) or sunflowers in late summer (yellow).
While a dress code is totally optional, it can be a lot of fun for guests to dress to the occasion. Suggest party attire can include vibrant colors, bright floral prints, and flowy fabrics. If temperatures dip in the evening hours, promise guests you’ll have plenty of light blankets and wraps on hand to keep things cozy.
If you plan to dine formally, use it as an opportunity to create a memorable tablescape. Mix and match cups, plates, and napkins with floral designs and small vases of flowers for guests to take home.
Even in mild climates, long afternoons in the sun can be a bit exhausting. Make sure your guests have a shaded place to recharge and rest. A large beverage dispenser filled with cucumber or lemon water makes for a refreshing treat.
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Keep guests refreshed with a variety of beverage options – both adult and non-alcoholic. Big-batch cocktails are a no-fuss option for busy hosts and a fun way to serve up seasonal flavors (think cucumber lemonade or sangria with fresh stone fruit). Use a bar cart or re-purpose a garden bench to save on table space.
A successful garden party will last well into the evening, so make sure you have plenty of lighting to create a romantic glow. Set out lanterns and drape string lights from pergola beams or tree limbs, and turn off motion-activated flood lights that may disrupt the ambiance.
Get inspired and find other creative outdoor string light ideas for your patio, deck, and backyard!
Prefer a casual, family-friendly vibe? Host your garden party picnic-style. Blankets spaced throughout your backyard create a playful, no-rules environment (and plenty of space for energetic kiddos to move around). Provide cushions and outdoor throw pillows, too, for a little added comfort.
Buffet-style spreads are nice if you prefer your guests to mix-and-mingle. Dedicate one large patio table to your seasonal fare and setup multiple areas for guests to gather throughout the party. Making a trip or two back to the table encourages individuals to socialize with the entire group.
Lawn games are a great way to enjoy the outdoors and help guests mingle. Bocce ball, ladder ball, and crochet are common backyard favorites, but be creative! Set out sidewalk chalk and hula hoops for kids or create a floral station so guests can make their own arrangements to take home.
Remember: garden parties should be a time to relax with family and friends, so don’t let the planning become a burden. As long as you’re outdoors and enjoying the beauty of seasonal foliage, you’re gathering can be as simple as you’d like it to be.