GardeningTips AU

Garden party ideas for any occasion

By Elise Hodge

Updated: May 19th, 2022

Make the most of the outdoors with a gorgeous garden party surrounded by your closest friends.

Thinking of hosting a garden party? Whether you’re throwing a milestone birthday, a relaxed wedding or a baby shower for the mum to be, there are so many ways that you can host the ultimate celebration in the comfort of your own backyard. Here are a few places to start.

Sitting or standing?

First things first… What style of garden party do you want to host? If you want to keep things casual and allow for plenty of mingling, a standing garden party is the way to go. You can still provide sitting options dotted around your space, and you can serve canapes to feed everyone.

On the other hand, a seated garden party will create a more formal atmosphere. You could have tables and chairs, or you could take a creative approach and use palettes for tables with cushions for seating.

Tablescapes

Let’s start with the finer details first. Your table design can completely set the scene for your garden party. And there are so many options to choose from! Consider whether you want to use fancy cutlery or simply opt for a plastic alternative. If you’re going for something a little bit more formal then a centrepiece might just be the thing to spruce things up.

Alternatively, you can line your tables with foliage, linen or candles. Of course, you’ll need to consider glassware or cups. And napkins will add the perfect elegant touch.

garden party decor
Source: Photo by Jill Wellington from Pexels

Decor

Apart from the decorations on your tables, you’ll want to fancy up your outdoor area with pieces like balloons, fairy lights or flowers. For simplicity’s sake, it’s always good to stick to one or two types of decorations and go all out with them!

Food and drinks

This is the most important part, in my humble opinion… And I’m sure your guests think it is too! So before you get too carried away with the decorations, consider how you’re going to serve food and drinks. As I’ve already mentioned, canapes are a fantastic idea for garden parties, particularly those that are more casual.

Alternatively, you can serve meals to the table, but this will require a good caterer and wait staff. Another popular option is to hire a food van and have guests collect their food from that one central location.

When it comes to drinks, you could have someone serving them. If you’re wanting to keep things relaxed, you could have a couple of buckets filled with ice and drinks so guests can serve themselves. But if you’re wanting to make it really special, you could set up a bar and have a designated bartender pouring drinks throughout the event!

Here are 25+ of our favourite, easy garden party ideas.

1. Shades of pink and purple

Ooh, la la! Would you look at this setup? The hot pink provides a vibrant backdrop for the colourful desserts. Under the tablecloth, this garden party makes the best of both worlds with palette-style tables and cushions for seating and full-size tables with timber chairs.

garden-party-ideas
Source: Photo by Marianna from Pexels

2. Fairy lights

You can never ever go wrong with fairy lights. If you’re hosting your garden party in the late afternoon or evening, just string them up and turn them on!

The beauty of fairy lights is that they instantly make any space look really special, no matter how simple the rest of the decor is. And you can find them in all different sizes – whether you want something a little more bulb-like to provide more light, or simply tiny lights to add a twinkle in the dark.

garden-party-festoon-lights
Source: Photo by Askar Abayev from Pexels

3. Under the stars

Classic, beautiful, and absolutely breathtaking – this setting speaks for itself. The tablescape is stunning with flowers, candles and more candles! Plus, I love the addition of an abundance of candlelight – it definitely helps to set the mood. Most people think candles should only be used in the evening. But the truth is that they can look just as stunning in the day time, and provide another dimension to the decor.

romantic garden party
Source: Photo by Thomas William on Unsplash

4. Flowers in jars

Here’s a simple yet effective decoration idea. All you’ll need is a bunch of little glass jars, some twine for hanging them to a tree, and a few different types of flowers to add colour! If you don’t want to hang them, you can just place them as table décor.

garden-party-decor
Source: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

5. Drinks cart

Pimms, anyone? Set up an adorable drinks cart that’s got everything you need for your garden party! A cart provides a central place for guests to pick up their drink of choice, allowing you to stand down from any drink-serving duties.

6. Make it big

Who says garden parties have to be laid back and simple? If you prefer to make things fancy, go all out with an extravagant setup like this—even if your table décor comprises sprigs of rosemary and fern!

garden party table
Source: Photo by Mat Brown from Pexels

7. Neon signage

If you’ve got cash to splash for a special event, this is a fun option! A quirky sign makes for a great photo spot for guests. Plus, it adds lots of colour and fun!

8. Buckets of drinks

Need to keep your drinks ice cold? This is the solution for you! If you don’t have any fancy buckets, just grab a large wheelbarrow and it will definitely do the trick. Just make sure you have enough ice!

garden-party-drinks
Source: Photo by Becky Fantham on Unsplash

9. Fruit galore

Fruit is always a good idea, especially when it comes to grazing boards. The truth is that not everyone likes to snack on cheese and crackers (I know, shock horror…), so it’s a good idea to provide some alternatives. And the best thing about grapes is that they instantly add so much colour and life to your table, especially if you grab them in all different varieties.

10. Palette table picnic

Looking for table ideas for your garden party? Palette tables are seriously easy to put together. They’re simple palettes stacked on top of each other. Once you’ve positioned your palettes, simply load up your boards with heaps of goodies and place them on top – voila!

11. Boho style

Create a relaxed bohemian-style garden party with rugs, tables, and plenty of candles. The key to perfecting this look is to combine lots of different types of patterns, shapes and textures.

garden party table decorations
Source: Photo by Wedding Photography on Unsplash

13. Pretty picnic

This garden party food combines so many different pops of colour… and I’m here for it! How fun is this combination of colours and—no doubt—flavours!

Having a BBQ for your garden party instead of finger foods? Instead of BBQing the food yourself, why not hire a BBQ caterer to do the job for you?

garden party food
Source: Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

14. Teepee in style

One creative way to ensure there’s plenty of shade is to use a teepee. Opt for a flowing design that looks absolutely gorgeous with rugs, cushions and blankets all around. Plus, draping green foliage at the front of the tent will add a pop of colour!

15. Flowers in vintage buckets

I can’t think of a more fitting centrepiece for a garden tea party than a vintage buckets filled with flowers. This would be so sweet for a feminine high tea or bridal shower. Or, you could go for flowers in an old teapot for extra charm.

garden party lanterns
Source: Photo by Melissa from Pexels

17. Floral ice cubes

If you want a creative way to set your summer soiree apart, then this is it! Freeze flowers in the ice cubes – they’ll add gorgeous colours to your guests’ drinks. Talk about paying attention to detail!

18. Lemon and lime

Add a zesty twist to your party by having your own homemade lemonade on display. Another great option is to offer lemon or lime-infused water… it makes plain water just that little bit fancy. And the vintage style bottles and stripy straw are a cute addition!

garden party decor
Source: Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

19. Paper decorations

Simple picnic tables covered in tablecloths adorned with paper fancies can make for a simple yet stunning look for your next event. Decorating your space with large flower paper lanterns, honeycomb balls and tissue paper pom-poms. Bonus points if they’re hanging from the trees!

20. Lilac tones

If you’re wanting to host an intimate garden party, take inspiration from this setup. It’s glamorous, feminine and downright gorgeous. I particularly love the soft, muted tones with plenty of babies breath and lilac flowers.

garden party table decor
Source: Photo by Photos by Lanty on Unsplash

21. Draped tables

Draped table coverings are a simple decor fix and a sure-fire way to dress up your standing garden party. Serve canapes and cold drinks to guests as they gather around the tables. Plus, add in a few stools or higher chairs to provide some seating options.

22. Comfy cushions

How adorable are these little cushions? They make for a cosy sitting option! Simple glass jars with blooms, a hessian runner over old timber tables—too easy.

garden-party-table-setting
Source: Photo by Stella de Smit on Unsplash

23. Vintage tea party

Love a good high tea? I do too! And this setup is be bound to please… especially if you have plenty of cupcakes on offer (yum!).

garden party high tea
Source: Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

24. Handy sign

If you’re hosting a large garden party or simply a wedding that’s outdoors, a sign can be a helpful guide for guests. Apart from the practical element, it’s also a really cute addition to your outdoor area. And the best thing is that you could create a simple sign for yourself with pieces of timber and white paint or better yet – outsource to a signwriter!

25. Sweet touches

When planning your garden party, it’s easy to get carried away with all of the big checklist items like food, tables and drinks. But it’s important to make sure you also pay attention to the little details because they can make or break your overall look. Draw inspiration from this little setup!

garden party decor
Source: Photo by Jordan Arnold on Unsplash

Want to host a fancy shindig for your next garden party? Or maybe you’re planning a backyard wedding? It’s time to find an event planner near you. Or, perhaps you just need a party helper to assist you to pull it all together. You can even hire a florist to take care of all your greenery needs!…

There you have it, 25+ garden party ideas that’ll wow your guests! I’m obsessed with any space that has fairy lights. Plus, I’m a sucker for flowers – the more the better, in my opinion! So I’ll definitely be incorporating those ideas for my next garden party. I’d love to hear which ones you loved the most. Comment and tell me which idea was your favourite!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elise H

I've recently moved into a new home and I've been having so much fun decorating it with pretty wall prints and Scandinavian-inspired furniture. So as well as being a freelance writer, I'm always on the lookout for new design pieces for my home!

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