Tips for Hosting a Garden Party

Spring + summer are perfect months for hosting outdoor gatherings. Here are a few of my favorite tips + ideas for hosting an outdoor garden party in your own backyard. 

When the weather is nice and you’re looking to celebrate, look no further than your own yard as the perfect spot to entertain your guests. Whether you have a quaint little nook in your garden or a sprawling backyard in which to entertain, you can create the perfect setting for any outdoor party at your own home. There are so many benefits to hosting at your home, including cost, a more personal and welcoming atmosphere and being able to create a personalized event with your own vibe and energy.

If you’re looking to host a garden party in your own backyard, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning your event.

Creating a Beautiful Theme for your Backyard Party

You always want to work around a theme when it comes to entertaining. There is likely a good occasion or reason you’re hosting in the first place, whether it’s a graduation party, engagement party, anniversary party, milestone birthday or beyond, let the reason for the celebration be your main source of inspiration when developing the overall theme and elements that will go into your backyard gathering.

If the gathering is a little less around an occasion and more for the purpose of just getting folks together, the world is your oyster and you can be a little more creative in your party themes.  We’ve hosted everything in our backyard from a 1st birthday party with a camping theme to a backyard wine night and girls night in our woodshed. Some are more formal and others are more of an impromptu get together with neighbors. Despite the occasion, a fun theme or concept will make it easier as the host to bring elements together to ensure you and your guests have a fun time together.

The moment I saw our Hydrangea pattern on our large linen tablecloth, I knew a Garden Party theme was the perfect way to celebrate the launch of this summer collection. The floral theme was brought to life here against the greens in the pattern, the grass and the jasmine lattice in the background, pulling it all together just perfectly.


Finding the Perfect Spot for your Backyard Garden Party

If you’ve settled on hosting your gathering at your home, finding just the right location outside will make all the difference. Consider the guest count and the setup needs of your event. If it will it be a seated dinner, you’ll need a table that will accommodate your gathering size and all the tables, chairs, dinnerware and set up options to meet those needs, along with the room in your space to set up all those things.

I love finding a little area that feels comfortable enough for the guest size so there is an intimate area where folks can gather, chat and all be together at one time. I find this helps to make the evening more intimate, makes it easier to decorate just one area and maximize the wow factor, and to keep guests in the area in which you intend without them sprawling all over your yard or home.

A Garden Party is a wonderful concept, and building your space among the already beautiful greenery, stones, flowers and setting elements of the garden in your yard already makes for a beautiful backdrop to work from. Adding more elements to your garden is an easy place to start building the perfect garden party set up. In our front yard we have giant flowering limelight bushes and a little gravel pathway that would be a perfect place to host. We have also hosted a little family dinner with strawberry shortcake in our backyard, among our vegetable garden, which provided the perfect ambience there to enjoy the outdoors together.


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Garden Party Table Ideas

The Garden Party theme came together beautifully with the bold Hydrangea tablecloth from our summer collection, and I knew I wanted to run with this floral theme for the Garden Party Table too. I layered our large white linen tablecloths as the base here for a floor length look to really pop against the greenery and set a dramatic and elegant garden party table.

Having freshly cut hydrangeas for the table was a must. I used a variety of white vases and ironstone pitchers to fill the table with fresh, fragrant blooms. You could also use artificial flowers if you’re having trouble sourcing them in season or if staying fresh in the outdoor sun may be an issue, I have these artificial hydrangeas that we use for photoshoots and love them! Cutting fresh flowers from your garden is a wonderful way to tie in the tablescape to your setting.

This was a bit of a more intimate table setting with fewer guests, so we brought out dinnerware pieces, wine glasses & silverware from the kitchen collection that were nice (and breakable). If you don’t have enough place settings for your party guests, or you don’t want to worry about things getting broken, it’s great to have a catering collection on hand if you frequently entertain yourself. These are more cost-effective place setting pieces that generally come in larger counts (like a 12 piece set) for a cohesive look. They are also usually more durable to withstand outdoor parties or guests that are focused on enjoying the evening. Pottery Barn has a fabulous Catering Collection that you can build based on your party needs.

You’ll also want to consider having enough event or folding tables and chairs on hand to be easily storable so you can break them down and set them up as needed. I purchased a set or two of these folding bamboo chairs and they’ve been perfect to keep on hand, are easy to store and are also so pretty!

Despite your theme or creative desires for your garden party, having all the elements on hand to host is essential as the base layer for your table. If you don’t have or need to keep these items on hand all the time, renting them from a local events company is another way to go.

Other Details for your Backyard Party

Other things to consider for your backyard party are food & drinks, music & ambience, these will all help set the tone and stage for a beautiful event. Food and drink should be tailored to time of day, your guests needs and your set up. For example, if you’re hosting a full seated dinner, you can serve plated meals or family style dishes. If you have high boys or a buffet and guests are wandering & eating on plates, finger foods and nibbles may better suit your needs. A pretty dessert is also a fun way to celebrate a garden party, such as a nake cake topped with flowers

A beverage station maybe a great way to serve your guests and if you’re hosting outdoors you’ll want to ensure there is lots of ice and refreshing options for your guests to partake in. For a garden party, having a beautiful beverage dispenser with floating citrus, flowers or herb ice cubes is a beautiful way to tie the floral theme together. Providing a signature drink is another fun way to incorporate a theme, and a garden party cocktail with a fresh sprig of herb or a floating flower is a pretty way to celebrate the occasion. Be sure to have non-alcoholic as well as any alcoholic beverages on hand to suit your guests needs.

Music is another consideration, whether you have a bluetooth speaker piping in a special playlist or a live musician or band to set the tone for your event. Ensure there is a good ambience for your setting and you follow any noise ordinances in your area. For a small garden party gathering, some quiet tunes among the flowers or an instrumental musician is the perfect way to entertain your guests while still allowing for plenty of conversation.

Lighting is another consideration, especially when outdoors or in the evening. Your tablescape can have candles scattered throughout to provide lighting, you garden paths can be illuminated or you can hang string lights all of which provide ambience and are functional for guests navigating what could be uneven terrain.

heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of “keeping heirlooms around for another generation.” Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of “goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy” with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com

I’m an old soul based in Atlanta, GA and mom of 3 with a deep love of all things from the past with a story to tell, on a mission to keep heirlooms around for another generation - whether it be a tradition, splattered family recipe, or historic home.

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