Hosting a garden party is the height of sophistication, and it is something that everyone should try at least once in their life. However, there are some things that you need to think about when planning such an affair. Here is our ultimate guide to garden parties, to help you throw together a do that no-one will forget.
Pick a Theme
Some people like to just have simple garden parties that all can enjoy, whereas others prefer to pull together some sort of theme to help them build the day up and select other important features for guests to enjoy. It is up to you to decide what you want to choose. A theme like Alice in Wonderland means that you could host a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – something that could be whimsical and fun for all.
The sooner you can decide on a theme, the better. This is something that you need to decide early so you can plan around it. There is no point in picking everything for the party and then deciding that you want to include a theme.
Finalize the Guestlist
You need to make sure that you have the guestlist down as this is another factor that could determine much about the actual party. A small affair between friends like a small engagement party is never going to be overly complicated, but the more you invite the harder things become to plan.
For example, a golden wedding anniversary is a spectacular reason to throw a garden party. However, such an event warrants quite the guestlist as the couple will no doubt want to invite people from multiple points of their life, and so hiring a party planner might be a wise idea. They will be able to help you manage the large crowd and the day as a whole, so you can focus more on enjoying the party that you have put together.
Bad Weather Back-Up
Even if you live in the sunniest of places, garden parties have this magnetism about them that seems to attract bad weather. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have a plan in place that could save the party should the weather turn against you.
Check the long-range weather forecast in the run-up to the party to see what the day is likely to bring you. With a little luck, it will hopefully be sunny and fair, but of course there is always a chance that things will turn. Therefore, it can be wise to have a marquee on hand should it rain. If the weather is pleasant, you can open its sides to let the sunshine in, or it might prove to be a welcome shelter. It is also a fine way to prevent your home from being over-run with guests.
A marquee is also a good idea if you live somewhere hot, as it will provide shelter from the sun and will be a nice place to rest. Bad weather does not always mean rain – it could just as easily be a scorching sky and blistering heat when it comes to hosting garden parties!
Food and Drink
You need to think carefully about the type of food and drink you serve at your garden parties. If you want to have a traditional English-style garden party, this means tea to drink and finger food like sandwiches and small cakes to eat. If you want to add in a touch of Southern American hospitality, you could serve lemonade or iced tea instead, and think about finding some barbeque food to enjoy.
If this is an adults’ party, it gives you full permission to come up with a delicious cocktail that you can enjoy. You might have a bar that people can go to as they feel like it, or you might just have the one drink being mixed up. Since this is a garden party, try to find something that uses botanicals. A refreshing and sharp beverage will be just the thing to cool you down at a garden party.
Decide a Dress Code
While garden parties are never going to be the same as a grand ball, there are some clothes that you should consider vetoing to make your garden party into a classy affair. For the gentlemen, smart casual will always be the way to go. They can wear a suit if they like, but can dress it down a little if they do not want the full formality that a suit brings.
Ladies have many options when it comes to garden parties. The classic choice, however, will always be a tea-length dress. This is the perfect length that hits the laid-back nature of the day while still being semi-formal. You could pick one in a single color or a bright print, and it can be dressed up or down further with accessories.
While this is optional, having some entertainment on stand-by for guests is always going to be welcome. Having music playing in the background is always going to be pleasant for guests and can make everyone feel more relaxed as they circulate through the party. You could put together your own playlist on an app like Spotify, or you could even hire some live musicians.
For an extra bit of fun, consider some game stalls like a coconut shy or ring toss. They are easy to source and set up, and they can provide some endless fun for guests as they mill about. If you have a large party with plenty of guests, something like this can provide them with a little activity they can try out when they feel like it.
Garden parties are great as it is one of those affairs that can be quite formal or laidback depending on how you approach it. It is the perfect setting for another event – be it a wedding, baby shower, or anything else – and it should prove to be one of the finest parties you have ever thrown.