Garden party: family having a toast

As temperatures rise, parties begin to move outside. And what’s a better setting for an outdoor party than a lush, colorful garden? Below, we’ve got tips for bringing a laid-back elegance to your garden party. From stylized tablescapes and themed invitations to lawn games and garden party decorations, keep scrolling for our favorite garden party ideas that’ll leave a lasting impression on your guests all season long.

13 Stunning Garden Party Ideas

It’s easy to host a garden party — all you need is a yard and something to celebrate! Hosting an incredible garden party takes a little more work, though. Explore these creative garden party ideas to help you plan a special occasion that any seasoned horticulturalist would envy.

1. Choose a Garden Party Theme

The beauty of garden parties is often found in their surroundings, but that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate a theme, too. A theme is a lovely way to celebrate a guest of honor’s interests or put a twist on your annual garden party soirée.

Popular themes for garden parties include vintage tea parties, Alice in Wonderland, bright florals, tropical, boho, and minimalist. Whichever theme you choose, you can’t go wrong — simply look for decor ideas to match.

2. Send Themed Digital Invitations

Garden party: Lush Garden Invitation

Design: frau brandt

Whether you’re going with a theme or not, sending garden party-themed invites is the perfect way to spread the word about your upcoming event.

We have a wonderful collection of garden party invitations. Our collection includes traditional florals, modern blooms, tropical leaves, and watercolor illustrations — like this stunning floral design. Monet vibes, anyone? There’s something for everyone and every celebration. Once you’ve found a design you love, it’s easy to customize. Change the layout, fonts, colors, and wording to create a garden party invite that feels beautifully bespoke.

3. Focus on the Tablescape

An outdoor venue often shines on its own, so consider the places where your decorations will have the largest visual impact — like the tablescape and place settings.

Invest in floral tablecloths and napkins, or plain white table linen if you have a pattern or color that you want to showcase. Create a stunning centerpiece with in-season fleurs and an eye-catching vase. Bring out vintage tableware or colorful glassware, and take time to style your table settings

4. Add Delicate Lighting

Garden parties work well in the daylight but can also make a big impression if held in the evening. If you’re hosting an al fresco dinner party as the sun goes down, invest in some lighting to create ambiance or a sense of drama.

String lights or fairy lights hung within trees or over a canopy work well to light a backyard party. Lanterns, torches, tea lights, and pillar candles are also great options — especially as table decor on a dining table or to light a pathway. Look for soft, golden lighting or swap in colorful festoon lights for a more lively event.

5. Keep the Party Food Simple

Finger foods are perfect for an outdoor party. You want something your guests can grab and enjoy while talking, playing outdoor games, or relaxing in the sun.

We love the idea of offering mini charcuterie boards or platters and sweet little snack bags that you can serve with chips, popcorn, or mixed nuts. This works well for either brunch or lunch. Fresh fruit and vegetable sticks are ideal, too, especially with a mix of dips for your guests to sample.

6. Create a Dessert Station

If the weather’s warm, your guests will definitely appreciate something sweet and refreshing to enjoy after they’ve eaten. Set up a table or cart with some dessert favorites and encourage your guests to stop by for a treat.

An ice cream stand is a wonderful idea for a summer party, and you can create your own DIY version or hire a catered ice cream cart for the day. Mini donuts, brownies, and cheesecakes are other good dessert options for an outdoor party. If it’s someone’s birthday, create a fun backdrop behind the cake stand for photo ops that’ll be cherished for years to come.

7. Serve Seasonal Beverages

Sweet Lemonade Invitation

Design: frau brandt

Your guests will appreciate a beverage option with the season in mind. Seasonal garnishes and fresh ingredients add an extra special touch to your outdoor dining experience.

Consider serving a fruity cocktail that’s made with muddled fruit or a pitcher of lemonade with fresh sprigs of lavender or slices of lemon. You could even theme your invite around your favorite seasonal beverage, like this sweet lemonade invite. A mix of chilled bottled seasonal drinks in an ice bucket is another great option for a more casual gathering.

8. Create a Comfortable Seating Area

It can get tiring outside in the heat, especially if there’s nowhere to rest. Create a cozy outdoor space for your guests to take a break and enjoy some time surrounded by the sounds and sights of nature.

Giant outdoor cushions are ideal for a casual backyard get-together around a fire pit, or even a picnic blanket with some throw cushions from home. For a grander event, rent some rattan chairs or outdoor sofas for your guests to lounge on — complete with giant parasols to protect them from the sun (and feel extra fancy).

9. Bring Out the Lawn Games

Games and garden parties are a match made in heaven when it comes to outdoor entertaining. As lovely as it is to catch up with everyone, sometimes you just want something to do — and outdoor games are the perfect companion.

Whether it’s croquet, cornhole, badminton, or bocce ball, lawn games are always a hit. If you have space, we recommend setting out a few balls your guests can toss around. Consider any younger guests, too, with child-friendly garden games or even a mini treasure hunt.

10. Decorate with Flowers

Nothing makes more sense than floral decor at a garden party. Celebrate those beautiful blooms by looking for ways to feature them throughout your party space.

We love the idea of incorporating simple flower stems into decorative glass jars (and so will your guests). With a few snips and a little imagination, you can turn humble glass jars into party-perfect decorations. Add a floral touch to your food or drinks too with edible flowers as garnish. 

11. Create a Photo Backdrop Area

Have your guests strike a pose. Invite your guests to step away from the action for a moment and capture some photos they can treasure forever.

We love the idea of creating a backdrop for photos, especially one with delicate, colorful flowers. Get a natural textile backdrop and fix faux or dried blooms and greenery to it for a DIY look, or ask a florist to create a stunning fresh flower wall for your guests to take photos with.

12. Send Guests Home with Themed Party Favors

If you’re hosting an event, consider sending your guests home with a party favor as a thank you. Your garden party gives you a fun opportunity to make this token themed and give them something memorable.

You could hand out mini packets of seeds to your guests or a small potted plant as they leave. Floral-etched glassware, garden-themed stationery, and even small gardening tools are all fun ways to continue the theme. If you had floral arrangements set up around the space, you could even let your guests choose one to take home.

13. Send a Floral Thank You Note

Say It With Flowers Card

Design: Signature Greenvelope

Once your guests have headed home, you might consider sending them a fun thank you note. This is a lovely little way to express appreciation for their presence at a birthday party, baby shower, or other big celebration.

When you’re considering thank you notes, try one of our digital thank you cards. Our collection includes some beautiful designs that work well for garden parties — like this floral thank you card.

Throw the Ultimate Garden Party

The magic of any garden party is the scenery around you, but adding some of these party details can help you take your event to the next level. Use these garden party ideas to inspire your menu, decor, and party theme.

Once you’re set with your ideas and party plans, use one of our garden party invitations to let your guests know all about it. Simply find your favorite design, customize it to make it feel personal, then send it out to your friends and family members. Your guests will dig it.