The time is right for hosting outdoor garden parties as the flowers are blooming and the temperatures rise. You don’t need a special occasion either, although Mother’s Day, showers, and birthdays are all good reasons to host a party in the garden. I’ve gathered some inspiring ideas to help you in the planning process, and even if you don’t have a garden or it’s too chilly to go outside, all these ideas can easily be brought indoors too.
Setting the Scene: Even though I often begin my own planning with a specific menu in mind, the tabletop is the biggest visual feature…other than the garden of course. Set a table that isn’t too fussy but brings in the colors of nature. Bright colored flowers to coordinate with the surrounding garden is certainly an option, while green herbs are also a welcome compliment to the setting.
You can bundle a centerpiece in the middle of the table, or set it up down the center like a runner. Either way, use small pots, bottles, or jars to hold the plants. Use a mix of vintage containers and new ones, and you can add even more interest by inserting small planter stakes into the vessels.
Prepare the Menu: Outdoor party menus always have me thinking of salads. You can create a whole menu around them from starters to sides to main course to dessert (fruit salad). See the links above for recipes to help you get started on your menu planning.
The nice thing about salads is that they don’t leave you feeling sluggish. Serve a refreshing fruity punch to accompany the meal and your all set… until dessert.
Something Sweet: The dessert table above is so inviting and the perfect display for an outdoor setting. Bring a piece of indoor furniture outside if you’re able, and set up the dessert offerings on it. A distressed piece adds rustic charm, but any side table will do.
Set up a pie tasting table as shown, or try your hand at some decorated cupcakes and cookies that look like a grassy garden and hats for the ladies. You could also have each guest bring her favorite dessert recipe to share. That way everyone leaves with a new set of dessert recipes to add to her collection.
Have Some Fun: Don’t let your garden party turn stuffy – add some fun yard games to bring out everyone’s inner child. If you’ve already invited the guys and the kids then this is essential. Games like bocce, croquet, yard bowling, ladder ball, and corn hole are great for all ages to play together.
A Stylish Farewell: Send your guests home with thoughtful favors that support the theme of the party. These ideas aren’t expensive at all and they’re the gift that keeps on giving. DIY bird seed packets, and flower seed packets can be used in the yard by guests, while herb and flower pots can be brought indoors or out.
Let the favors double as name card holders and place them at each person’s seat, or set up a pretty display with them all corralled together. You’re guests will think of the fabulous day they spent in your garden every time they see these favors.