Written in collaboration with Rosana Beechum

Hosting any type of party can be challenging, as there are many different things to think about and plan. You’ll have to arrange food and drink, send out invitations, and ensure that decorations are sorted, among many other things. When it comes to garden parties, there are even more things to consider to ensure everyone has a good time and that your party goes ahead without a hitch. Luckily there is plenty of advice available online to assist you in planning your party, turning what would otherwise be a mediocre event into a great one. Here are some of our best tips for you to use today.

Decide on a theme

If you’re struggling to think of what sort of décor to get for your garden party, you’ve likely not settled on a specific theme yet. This should be your first step, as it will help you with almost every other decision from here on out. There are countless different themes you could choose for your garden parties, such as a seaside theme, summer solstice, tropical, festival or outdoor movie theme, to name just a few ideas. When choosing a theme, imagine what decorations you could use and what activities you could include during the party. For example, an outdoor movie theme could include blankets, deckchairs, throw cushions and picnic baskets, as well as an actual makeshift cinema screen. You’ll just need a decent projector and a large surface to project onto, like a large white sheet or wall.

Create some great invitations

These can be very useful when hosting a party, as they provide guests with all the information they need, as long as the invitations are well thought out. You’ll want to include everything you want your guests to know, such as whether they can bring anyone as a plus one, what they should bring with them such as blankets, what they should wear, what sort of food will be available, and you can also request for people to let you know of any allergies or dietary requirements in advance. You’ll want to get creative with your invitations, too, as these will help to set the scene for your party before people arrive. For example, you could use digital invitations and make your own GIFs to add some quirkiness to your invites, or you could shoot a video invitation to explain in more detail what the party will entail.

Set out a clear dress code

One thing that can be really problematic for us when attending a party of any kind is when the dress code isn’t clear. A simple suggestion of “smart casual” doesn’t get the creative juices flowing and can leave many of your guests confused about what they should wear. Ultimately, you’ll find a huge variety ranging from those who may have drifted too far on the casual side of things to others who will end up turning up to your party in a tux or evening dress. Consider expanding on your dress code for your guests, offering a selection of example outfit suggestions to help people make their choice. For example, if your smart casual idea is jeans, a nice shirt, and summer dresses, say that. You can include all of this in your invitations.

Help your guests feel welcome

When your guests start to arrive, first impressions are everything. You want your guests to walk into your party with mouth agape, in awe of your wonderful decoration choices. Lighting will play a large part here, especially during the evening. Fairy lights, open flames, and lanterns are all great ways to set the mood and draw the eye, but during the daytime, you will want to make sure that you have some things set up that really set the scene. Not dissimilar to adding balloons and banners to the front of the house during a kid’s party, you’ll want to have some form of décor at the entrance to your garden party that clarifies that people are at the right place and that they feel welcomed. A drinks station near the entrance is a great way to do this, as people can often feel anxious and awkward if they don’t have something to occupy their hands. A glass of prosecco or a bottle of beer is an ideal solution to this and can very quickly help people blend in and relax.

Have backup plans

Hosting any event always brings with it the potential risk of things going wrong, and when that event is outdoors, a lot of these risks involve the weather and the general environment around you. Swarms of insects disrupting your party, freak rainstorms, and strong winds can all bring your party to a screeching halt. Instead of letting this defeat you, it’s important to have prepared some backup plans just in case something like this happens. Have your home prepared to bring everyone inside, clearing space to bring tables and chairs in and essentially replicate the same party atmosphere indoors. If needs be, you could also offer some alternative dates to people in advance to ensure that if you need to reschedule, people will still be able to make it to the next party.

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