With spring having officially “sprung,” my entertaining philosophy has shifted completely to outdoor gatherings that celebrate blooming flowers and sunshine on bare shoulders. What better way to embrace the season’s bounty that by hosting a garden party, complete with loads of colorful vegetables (preferably picked straight from the garden!), a refreshing citrus cocktail and delicate blooms arranged haphazardly in vintage containers?
Here are five tips for hosting a perfect garden party:
1. Serve a simple menu of light bites that can be served at room temperature. This frees up the hostess from rushing back and forth to the kitchen so she can actually enjoy the party with her guests!
Greet guests as they arrive with vodka-spiked rosemary lemonade. Combine 1 part vodka to 2 parts fresh-squeezed lemonade, garnish with a long sprig of rosemary and serve simply in a mason jar tied with colorful ribbon.
2. Create a feast for the senses by moving a long table outside and layering it with details in shades of white and green. Start with a long white linen that falls to the floor, then top with a botanical runner made by cutting 3 yards of gorgeous upholstery straight from the bolt (no need to hem!).
Pretty white plates with linen napkins or rustic dishtowels make lovely place settings, especially when topped by seed packet favor bags bearing guests’ names. (For these, we were inspired by Chelsea’s tea party favors and made a few garden party-worthy tweaks!).
3. Ash from The Byrd Collective created the stunning centerpiece using poppies, daffodils, cabbage, geranium leaves and other interesting foliage. Think outside the vase and get creative with vessels; these blooms would look gorgeous displayed in mason jars, vintage medicine bottles, terra cotta pots, watering cans or drink pitchers. And not to worry if your flowers look less than “perfect”…these arrangements should appear as though they’re wild and growing straight from the garden!
4. For a fun activity, ask guests to bring a favorite flower or gardening book for a book swap! Each guest introduces her book during the meal, and afterwards everyone gets to choose the book they’d like to take home with them.
5. For favors put together “gardening kit” to encourage post-party green thumbs! Line a terra cotta pot with kraft paper, then fill with springtime bulbs, pretty gardening gloves and pruning shears. It’s such a sweet way for guests to remember a lovely day surrounded by food, flowers and friends!
Editorial Styling and photography by Camille Styles.