15 Garden Party Ideas from a Professional Party Planner

Enjoy your dinner or cocktail parties outdoors this summer with top garden party tips.

Warm summer days and balmy evenings make summer the perfect time to take dinner or cocktail parties outdoors. But when it comes to hosting a fabulous garden party, it pays to get creative. We asked professional party planners to share their top garden party tips with us. From staving off the evening chill in style, to stopping bugs from landing in drinks, they've got it covered.

1. Pick a Stable Place in the Garden for Your Party Table

If you’re serving dinner, choose a stable place to position the table and chairs where there’ll be minimal wobbling and fewer mishaps. Investing in some wide wooden planks is a good idea, so you can lay them over the lawn to create a solid base or temporary decking.

2. Provide Shade from the Sunshine for Your Guests

Offer guests both sun and shade options, so that everyone can take a break from the heat if they need to. Erecting a canopy or small marquee, which you can decorate with flowers, is a great idea. Or if you’re lucky enough to have a room that leads on to the garden, open up the doors and invest in decorative rugs to protect your floors.

3. Match Decorations to Your Garden Plants

Choose a simple decor theme for the party – a shade that matches the flowers in your garden always works well – and carry that through your table settings, chair covers and candles. It’ll help to give your party a sophisticated, stylized feel, even though its outdoors.

4. Consider Colour-Coordinated Party Food and Drink

To create real synergy between all the elements of your party, mix-up a signature fruity punch or welcoming cocktail that coordinates with the colours in your decor theme. You could even carry that through to the snacks and canapés, where possible, to create a talking point.

5. Serve Summer Fruits with Edible Flowers

Have an impressive statement dessert on display. Fruits in a champagne jelly always work well, or a delicious summer tart decorated with fresh berries and edible flowers. Your guests won’t be leaving in a hurry if they know what’s still to come!

6. Extend Your Party through the Garden

Scatter throws, light blankets and a few cushions around your garden furniture. It’ll help create a softer atmosphere early in the party, and then allow guests to keep warm and cozy when the evening draws in. Any spills or stains on furniture can be easily tackled with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Remove stains from throws and blankets – and infuse a fresh scent – with Tide PODS.

7. Create a Magical Party Garden

Consider the lighting in your garden and, as evening draws in, make use of strategically placed candles (Febreze scented candles can help enhance the magical mood). Scattering tea lights around the lawn and along paths will create a beautiful atmosphere while two or three large candles in key areas will keep the party well lit.

8. Harness Nature’s Scents for Your Outdoor Party

The beauty of a garden party is that you can use nature to help create an ambiance. Emphasize the scents in your flowerbeds by dotting a few scented candles that share the same fragrance around the garden. Position seats near impressive plants, too, so that guests can take in the glory of their surroundings while they relax.

9. Protect Your Guests from Garden Pests

Bugs can be a problem, and nobody wants a fly in their drink! Try serving drinks in quirky jam jars instead of glasses. Drill a small hole in the lids so that you can slide in straws, and match them up to your colour theme. Lighting a few mosquito candles and placing them around the garden can reduce the chance of any guests getting bitten, and it’s also a good idea to have a bug spray on hand.

10. Plan Party Table Decorations to Match the Garden

Use any fallen petals and leaves from your garden to sprinkle over the table or drinks area. Small decorative ideas like this create a consistency between the garden and eating areas, and also add plenty of colour to your arrangement.

11. Make Sure Party Glassware Sparkles in the Sunshine

Decorative glass tableware can really set off a garden party, as it will sparkle in the sunshine. Try displaying desserts on a glass stand, and dot large glass jugs of iced water and fruity coolers around the table to catch the light. Before guests arrive, give all your glassware a good clean using Cascade dishwasher detergent.

12. Have Fun Planning Your Garden Party

Garden parties are the ideal scenarios for quirkier decorations, and sites like Pinterest can be an endless source of inspiration. Wooden welcoming signs with hand-painted messages always look great, as do vintage birdcages filled with flowers.

13. Provide Party Music in the Garden

Don’t forget the music, as it’ll help you create the right atmosphere. Make two different playlists ahead of the party – one for the day, and one for evening – filled with happy, uplifting songs. A portable speaker is a great idea too, so that you can plug in your device outdoors.

14. Hang Party Decorations in Trees

Make use of the trees in your back garden for hanging fairy lights and bunting. It’ll add a nostalgic feel and help carry your decor from the table settings to the rest of the garden, so that no area looks bare or forgotten.

15. Serve Easy-to-Eat Food at a Garden Party

When it comes to the food, choose dishes that are tasty, but easy to eat. If you’re hosting a sit-down dinner this is less of an issue, but when guests are mingling around a buffet, it’s better if food is easy to enjoy. Don’t forget to put out plenty of Bounty napkins on the buffet table to help keep your diners tidy.

Do you have any tips for throwing a memorable garden party? Share in the comments below!


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