Have you always wanted to host an outdoor party without it turning into the typical barbeque with friends? Maybe your looking for something a just a little more elegant without it being a turn-off to your male guests? If you're looking for something casual and fun with a hint of elegance this spring or summer, why not host an outdoor garden party?
All you need is a day of good weather, a backyard and some friends; an actual garden is optional! It's all about enjoying the season, the outdoors and the seasonal bounty of flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables.
The great quality of this theme party is that you can keep it very simple and casual or it can be turned into a formal event if desired to celebrate a special occasion. Below I have come up with ideas for you to pick and choose from to inspire you to create your own perfect garden party!
The day before the party, plan on mowing your lawn during the morning or evening (not during the periods of sun so your grass does not burn) and then rake up and dispose of any yard clippings.
Trim any hedges, pull weeds from flower beds and garden and use a weed-eater for anything the mower couldn't reach.
Purchase some citronella candles and/or tiki torches with citronella oil to be placed around the party area to keep mosquitoes away
If you will be entertaining into the evening, you can wrap trees in clear Christmas lights for a special effect
Lanterns with candles can be hung from trees for added natural lighting once the sun begins to fade
A nice gazebo would be perfect for a garden party so if you were thinking of purchasing one, now would be a great time!
Make your gazebo feel like an indoor room by adding wooden flooring sections and/or indoor/outdoor area rugs, outdoor chandelier, outdoor furniture with cushions and throw pillows and maybe a light throw blanket or two for evening entertaining.
If you don't have outdoor furniture, you may have furniture indoors which you could "borrow" for the party. Provide a coffee type table for guests to set their glasses, plates etc. on if using sofa height furniture.
An outdoor fireplace makes for a cozy touch and also helps to keep mosquitoes away
Fill small aluminum buckets (can find nice, inexpensive ones at craft stores)with freshly cut flowers and place on tables and around party area or go even less formal and use glass canning jars in different sizes.
If a more formal atmosphere is desired, you can rent tables from a local rental company as well as colored cloth linens and napkins. Instead of using buckets for the flowers, use a variety of different sized glass vases and set out in groups for a nice effect.
Set up a stereo or boom-box with speakers out of sight of the guests and provide music to set the tone of your party
If desired, you can hang a variety of wind-chimes from the trees in the area of the party
Miscellaneous Decorating Ideas
Fill shallow glass bowls with water and float flowers and/or floating candles in them
Set out candles in glass hurricane holders
Use small aluminum buckets or terra-cotta pots to hold things such as silverware, bread-sticks/cheese straws, straws etc.
Purchase enough mesh food domes as needed to keep insects off from the food
Food and Drink Ideas
Lemonade served in glass pitchers
Fill a a large metal bucket with ice and fill with a variety of drinks such as bottled beer, wine coolers and other bottles alcoholic beverages such as Smirnoff Ice, Mike's Hard Lemonade, and other individually bottled cocktails, bottled water, plain and flavored, and glass bottled sodas in interesting flavors such as Jones Soda which you can even order with custom labels for your party.
Wines, sparkling wines and especially a homemade Sangria would be a very nice drink option.
Easy Reg Sangria Recipe
Moderately priced red wine (1-liter)
4 ripe peaches, washed, peeled and cut into large cubes
1 cup orange juice
Sugar (optional up to 1/2 cup)
Rum (optional up to 1 1/2 cups)
Cut the orange, lemon and lime into thin slices. Mix the orange juice with the wine
Mix the wine and orange juice (add sugar and/or rum now if desired) then add sliced fruit and chill for several hours. Prior to serving, stir the sangria to release the juice from the sliced fruits.
To stay with the garden theme, provide many fresh fruits and vegetables
Vegetables and dip
Garden fresh green salads with a light vinaigrette dressing (raspberry vinaigrette would be a nice choice)
Fresh fruit salad
Cut-up fresh fruit with a yogurt dip
Salt or new potatoes
Mini ears of corn-on-the-cob
Other Food Options
Assorted cheese and crackers
Baked Brie in puff pastry served with fruit preserves
Chicken or shrimp kebabs with vegetables
Roasted or grilled chicken or fish
Hard rolls, rustic bread, bread-sticks or cheese straws
Vanilla ice cream with fruit toppings and syrups
Fruit tarts or pies
Cheesecake with cherry or strawberry topping
Angel food cake with whipped cream and fresh fruit topping
Fruit sorbet,Italian Ices or sherbet
Chocolate cake or brownies drizzled in raspberry sauce