Nothing can rival the idea of having brunch, cocktail hour, or a BBQ party with your close friends and family. With that, you'll be happy to know that it's much easier to plan and host an outdoor party instead of a formal dinner inside your house. It's easier to clean up after the party because it's outdoors and disposables are easy to throw.
Cooking will be a breeze as you can ask people to pitch in and plan a potluck event instead of cooking on your own. Check out the rest of these ideas and tips to learn more about hosting the perfect garden party.
You don't need to have a fancy-schmancy setup that Martha Stewart will envy. Have a classy and straightforward setup using handpicked flowers from your very own garden. You can even stray away from the usual and use salad greens as your centerpiece. Different colored lettuce that your guests can eat and not just stare at is better than flowers. Herbs like lavender and peppermint can add aroma and color to your table.
While outdoor parties usually use disposables, try getting out the expensive dinnerware that you only reserve for your formal parties. Use real table linens and mats as well. Your guests will they are important and that you value them. It's a plus for the environment too.
Besides the dining table, if you have a spacious garden, you can provide guests with different seating options. Swinging daybeds makes a great spot catch up on the latest celebrity gossip with your girlfriends after the meal. Put out a rug, some ottomans, poufs, and floor cushions if there are no other seats available. Having different seating options will make your guests mingle with each other and make them want to stay more even after meals are over.
Be ready for any weather changes, even when the forecast states that it will be sunny and fair. Adding a shade sail will protect you and your guests from sunburned and dry if it suddenly rains. Shade sails can also be used even if you don't have existing posts to anchor it on.
Timber or steel posts can be installed to support shade sails. Opt for free-standing umbrellas that are more flexible. If your garden has a pergola, drape a canopy over it and weigh it down with table weights or affix it to a tree. In any case, clean and prepare your living area if you need to transfer at the first sign of rain.
Keep your guests comfortable by offering portable food and beverage stations. Mobile bar carts are perfect for keeping drinks handy, and you won't need to continue serving your guests one by one, plus it's easy to move it indoors when you're rushing to clear everything when it rains.
Provide easy access to small snacks and refills for refreshments, towels, insect repellants, blankets, and sunscreen. Help guests identify their glasses by getting some masking tape or washi tape and a marker to write down their names.
Just like how you use accent lights indoors, it'll make evenings more relaxing in your garden if you have more than one light source. String lights or battery-operated paper lanterns will set the mood with a subtle glow. You can also light up the firepit and add tiki torches to provide warmth when the temperatures start to dip at night. Don't forget to add step lights to avoid people from tripping over and getting into accidents.
If kids are allowed in your garden party, it's better to happily enjoy the party because it will give the adults some time off their hands. Make their table fun by filling it with Kraft paper and giving them markers or crayons. Please have a few outdoor toys on-hand to keep them busy. Sandboxes and water tables can provide hours of fun and let their creativity flowing. For the older kids, you can try out giant board games that are easy to create, like a giant chess set or scrabble.
If you have many guests coming over, plan a space that allows guests to move around comfortably. Make it accessible for everyone by allowing at least 4 feet of clearance between furniture. If necessary, take out a few furniture from indoors for additional seating. Place a mat or an outdoor rug on your lawn to protect it from moisture. Add small side tables and use space-saving or multifunctional furniture to avoid cramping your garden.
Before the party, clean and dump any stale water in your garden to avoid mosquito breeding. A few electric fans should also keep away the pesky bugs. Place some natural mosquito-repelling plants in your gardens like citronella or mint. Otherwise, you can provide your guests with some mosquito-repellant wipes.
No rule says that you have to ultimately purchase and use outdoor items to dress up your garden party. Look around your house and see what you can take outside to make your party cozy and inviting.
For example, you can take some of your indoor sofa pillows outside to add some needed accent to your outdoor furniture. Sheer curtains can be added to your pergola for a summery billowing effect, and small wicker hampers can be used to store folded blankets or throws for your guests to pick up during chilly nights.
The most crucial key to hosting a garden party is planning. It'll help you create a budget and save you from unnecessary costs. Hosting parties can be stressful, and if done the right way, you and your guests will have a memorable and happy time together.
Suppose you want to explore getting shaded while dining without the center pole of an umbrella, obstructing a portion of the view or a part of your guest's profile. Buy offset outdoor umbrellas, also known as Cantilevers, instead. They are highlighted with an arched or jointed pole positioned off to one side.