With spring officially here and summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start enjoying outdoor fun and entertaining alfresco. Garden parties are a delightful way to not only celebrate the beauty of nature but also a great excuse to enjoy the company of family and friends - whether celebrating a special occasion or having a relaxed dinner party of seasonal fare and good conversation.
Here are 7 tips for throwing the perfect garden party
If you plan to throw a garden party for a special occasion or holiday, giving it a theme can ramp up the fun. Birthdays are also perfect for creating a garden party theme, especially if it honors the birthday recipient in a personal way.
As with any kind of party, your guests’ comfort should be a top priority. For a daytime party be sure there are shaded areas available, and for a soiree keep bug repellent nearby. Depending on the weather, handheld fans or misters can help with the heat, while heating lamps or an outdoor fireplace can provide warmth when the temperature drops. Having throws and blankets available can also be a lovely way to decorate and give your guests options.
Depending on the size and layout of your outdoor space, an open seating plan is one great option. This allows your guests to move around and mingle. If you have a lawn area, you can lay down blankets and pillows. If you have a larger space, bring out your dining table. A smaller space requires a bit more ingenuity, but you can still throw a fabulous garden party. For example, if you have doors that open to a backyard, keep them open to allow guests the freedom to move inside and outside.
If you plan to dine outdoors, creating a beautiful tablescape will tantalize your guests’ taste buds and display the meal with a gorgeous backdrop. Garden parties can be elegant and sophisticated or simple and laid back. It all depends on the occasion and the mood you want to create. Don’t be afraid to layer your tabletop with colors, textures, and patterns. Flower arrangements are a wonderful way to decorate your dining or buffet table. You can have a centerpiece or several smaller vases arranged around the table. Small potted plants like succulents are also a fun option for smaller surfaces. You can also decorate your surfaces with beautiful rocks and seashells.
Nighttime garden parties can be magical with the right kind of lighting. Candles in glass jars around seating areas and dotted on table surfaces create an enchanting ambiance. Globe string lights or lanterns hanging from tree branches enhances the décor and creates a delightful feel.
Serve Seasonal and Local
For your menu, think seasonally and locally. Spring and summer offer an abundance of fresh foods and drink ideas. Whether it’s homemade raspberry lemonade, local wine or summer craft beers, serve options that showcase the season, occasion and your local community. Check out your farmer’s market for tasty ideas and ingredients. If you can cook or grill outdoors, invite guests to participate in the prep or cooking. Serve up large jugs of your drinks so guests can easily help themselves, alongside a bucket of ice. Keep beer and wine in large tubs of ice as well.
Whether your garden party is kid-free or not, outdoor games are the perfect way to bring out the joy and laughter. You can set out bubbles or hula hoops, provide lawn games like jenga, croquet or bocce ball, or even play board games if you have the right surfaces. For concrete areas, kids love to draw with chalk.