How to plan the perfect garden party

Alyssa Vincent
Simple decorations for a tea party on a spring day. A garden party is most elegant when decorations are kept simple.

It’s May, flowers are blooming, and butterflies are making their first appearance. The days are sunny with a light breeze, and the evenings are cool and crisp. This the time to move the parties outside, and it is the perfect time to host an elegant garden party. Four simple elements make a charming garden party: location, attire, food and beverages, and entertainment.

1. Location

If the garden is in full bloom and has existing rich floral ambiance, this reduces the need for elaborate decorations.

Cara Rasmussen, 25, lived in a yellow house known around Provo as the “Meringue house.” She said it had a large rose garden in the front, where she had garden parties.

“I love throwing garden parties. I started out when I was younger with annual tea parties,” Rasmussen said. “As I got older, I was able to craft them into fun events that my friends loved. It was a great way to meet new people.”

To decorate, she used simple tablecloths with appropriate tableware and a centerpiece. Rasmussen recommended making sure there is adequate seating for guests.

2. Attire

It is customary that all women in attendance at a garden party wear hats. The host can request that women wear dresses and gloves and that men wear dress coats and hats to make the affair more formal. Rasmussen said with casual wear of today, requesting formal attire creates a fun and unique event for the guests.

3. Food and beverages

Food and beverages can be simple. If eating during meal times, then the food should be more robust. If scheduling for “teatime,” a few simple appetizers or hors d’oeuvres are adequate.

“Small sandwiches, embellished crackers, fruits, vegetables, salads and cakes are great options,” Rasmussen said. The beverage can be a tea, lemonade or fruit-flavored waters.

4. Entertainment

Music is the most critical element of a traditional garden party. The host or hostess must have appropriate music playing to encourage merriment and socialization.

Helen Allred lives in Alabama, where garden parties are popular. She said garden parties were viewed as ideal situations for networking and winding down.

Supplying live entertainment will impress the guests and give the event a more formal feel. However, today it would be acceptable to have classical and whimsical music playing on a sound system for the guests.  Croquet, tennis, badminton and dancing are the most traditional activities for a formal garden party.

Having a beautiful setting, a few treats, lovely attire and a little bit of merriment makes for a successful and splendid garden party.

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