Table with floral centerpiece and cake

There are few things we love more than a themed party — especially when flowers are involved. A garden party is the perfect way to celebrate the season in style. Read this guide to learn how to plan a garden party that will have your guests talking all season long.

What is a Garden Party

Rumor has it, garden parties originated in England during Queen Victoria’s reign in the 1860s. The Royal Family would invite citizens to their palace grounds to mingle and enjoy light refreshments. They still do today, inviting over 30,000 guests to their garden parties each year. 

You don’t have to be royalty to throw a garden party, though. Most garden parties are held in someone’s backyard or a local park. They’re the perfect excuse to dress up, eat treats, and spend time with family and friends. 

When to Throw a Garden Party

There are two main things to consider as you’re scheduling your garden party: the time of year and the time of day.

Garden parties are typically associated with springtime, as that’s when most flowers are in full bloom. And while a spring garden party is lovely, don’t discount summer and fall! Think about your favorite flowers and when they will be at their peak. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Tulips, lilacs, and peonies bloom in the spring
  • Sunflowers, zinnias, and marigolds bloom in the summer
  • Roses, pansies, and mums bloom in the fall

Once you’ve settled on your season, think about the weather and what time of day would be ideal for an outdoor party. You might consider mid-morning for a brunch party, early afternoon before the temperature peaks, or evening after the sun starts to set. Pick a time that is both convenient and favorable for your guests — you don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable in the heat! 

How to Decorate Your Garden Party

If you’re hosting a garden party, you likely already have a venue in mind. Whether it’s your patio, backyard, or your favorite local cafe, let the outdoors do most of the decorating for you. Keep things simple and focus on the areas where guests will spend most of their time, like the dining table.

Details like a floral centerpiece, butterfly place cards, or floral dishware can help you create a tablescape that’s both simple and on theme. 

Flowers in a vase on table
Photo by Diane Boots

How to Plan Your Menu

If you’re following British tradition, a garden party menu typically includes tea, finger sandwiches, and cake. You can stick to these culinary staples or have some fun with the floral theme. Here’s a few of our favorite garden party dishes and drinks:

  • Flower-shaped charcuterie board: check out this helpful how-to from the cheese masters at Sargento.
  • Edible flowers: use them to decorate a cake or add them as a garnish to your favorite floral cocktail.
  • Flower power fruit salad: use a flower-shaped cookie cutter to cut watermelon and cantaloupe. 
  • Flower tarts: the cutest addition to your dessert spread. 
  • Dirt dessert: perfect for a kid-friendly party, and it’s a crowd pleaser for all ages.

You can also get creative with the presentation of your food and beverages. For example, instead of using a serving tray for vegetables, put them in a (clean) flower pot for a cute floral touch. Or, make ice cubes with edible flowers for a hidden surprise!

What to Do at Your Garden Party

While you don’t need to have an itinerary for your garden party — after all, they originated as a conversation starter — it’s always wise to have a few activities lined up. 

Ready to get your hands dirty? Host a make-your-own bouquet or floral wreath station. Queue up an instructional video on YouTube to help your guests learn a new skill.

Hosting a creative crowd? Turn your backyard into a paint studio. Give each guest a blank canvas, paint, and thirty minutes to translate your garden into a work of art. 

Feeling crafty? Try your hand at making soap out of pressed flowers or invite guests to make a nature collage out of old magazine clippings. 

Each of these activities will give your guests something to take home with them as a reminder of your time together. If you want to give each guest a garden party favor, consider something small like a seed packet or a flower pressing kit. 

Next Steps

Planning a party can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. An event platform like Eventective can help you manage everything from invitations and guest lists to venues, caterers, entertainment, and more. Before you dive into garden party mode, check out our library of event resources to help you enjoy a smooth and successful floral fiesta!

Rachel Kauffman is a Detroit-based content writer, bookworm, and cat mom to two feisty felines.