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. For one, it’s easier to clean up after the party because it’s outdoors and disposables are used. 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 how to host the perfect garden party.
You don’t need to have a fancy schmancy setup that Martha Stewart will envy. Have a simple and classy 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 make use of disposables, try getting out the expensive dinnerware that you only reserve for your formal parties. Use real table linens and mats as well. This shows your guests that they are important people and that you value them. It’s a plus for the environment too.
Aside from the dining table, if you have a spacious garden, you can provide guests with different seating options. Swinging daybeds makes a great spot to 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 is going to be sunny and fair. Adding a shade sail will protect you and your guests from being 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 keep 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, as well as 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 source of light. String lights or battery-operated paper lanterns will set the mood with a subtle glow. You can also light up the fire pit and add tiki torches to provide warmth when the temperatures start to dip at night. Also, 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 if they are happily enjoying the party as well 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. 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.
Prior to 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 just provide your guests with some mosquito-repellant wipes.