The best garden party ideas celebrate the summer, make the best of your outdoor space and create a truly memorable event for family and friends. After all, where better to create a special atmosphere for an extra special event than out in the open on a pretty patio or lawn in amongst the flowers?
Start your planning by deciding on a colour scheme. We've chosen white for our event - it looks smart and is easy to theme. Crisp white linen and toile cloths get your table setting off to a perfect start. Add elegant white china and bundles of white-handled cutlery to echo the theme and, of course, white flowers are so elegant, transforming your alfresco entertaining space into something truly special.
A drinks table with a good supply of cocktail glasses, shakers and coolers is a must, so you don't run out of anything and can keep your guests' needs catered for. When it comes to party seating, transform garden benches in an instant by adding elegant cushions.
Hand-made invitations will add a personal touch and why not continue the theme with homemade place cards on the day? Think about lighting - as the light starts to fade, you may want to illuminate certain spaces, such as pathways, while creating atmosphere around seating areas. Outdoor fairy lights look pretty as dusk falls and will add some magical sparkle.
Create an outdoor serving table (pictured)
Create a focal point for pre- or after-dinner drinks with a dedicated serving table for glasses and nibbles. Keep the area cool and covered with a simple voile panel canopy.
Similar glasses and cocktail shakers
1/10 Canopy fabric
Bassano Apple at Designers Guild
Liked this? You'll love our garden lighting ideas
2/10 Shady seating
Create a seating space in your garden where guests can relax before and after dinner. Opt for smart furniture and brighten it up with comfortable cushions. Parasols not only add instant glamour, but also provide shade and define the seating space.
3/10 Pretty handmade invitations
A smart party deserves a formal invitation. Choose pretty stationery to match your tableware and tie envelopes with ribbon for a stylish finishing touch. Why not have a go at making your invitations - or order custom-made versions.
4/10 Perfect place cards
Any occasion will benefit from a good old-fashioned seating plan. Make a party feel extra special with hand-written place cards that will let your tables shine. Make your own from folded card decorated with ribbon and tuck them into champagne flutes.
5/10 Simple china and tableware
Keep things simple on the table, making it feel special with silver-edged china. You cant go wrong with a crisp white set. Team with pretty place mats in a soft shade to add subtle colour to the table and introduce coloured glassware - green is the perfect choice for a garden setting.
6/10 Classic cutlery
Take an informal approach to laying the table and keep the mood relaxed and convivial - place sparkling cutlery in the centre so guests can help themselves. Keep colours within a narrow range for an easy, mix-and-match look that still has a co-ordinated feel.
7/10 Chair-back decorations
Decorate chairs with fresh flower posies. Choose your flowers and foliage carefully to fit your theme, arrange them to look beautiful hanging upside down and tie the stems together using a length of pretty ribbon. Hang on the backs of your chairs so that guests can take them home as a lovely memento of the evening.
8/10 Paper decorations
Create a day to remember by hanging large honeycomb paper decorations from overhanging trees or outbuildings. Mirror the look below by dressing tables with vases and jugs brimming with fresh flowers. In this scheme, the use of white creates a tailored and perfectly co-ordinated feel.
9/10 Atmospheric lighting
Good outdoor lighting will extend your gathering into the warm evening. Look out for fairy lights that are suitable for outdoor use, such as this gorgeous flower design, and make the most of every hour in the garden. Flickering tea lights will add shimmer, sparkle and atmosphere to tables, but never leave burning candles unattended.
10/10 Garden pathways
Lead guests to your party by creating a pathway with classic lanterns to light the way. Scatter a few petals in between the lanterns for a pretty finishing touch.
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Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.
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