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How to start planning your garden party

The theme is everything:

To differentiate between a casual backyard gathering and a marvelous garden party, your party should have a theme. The theme can be simple like picking your favorite color or maybe a tea party with lacey table cloths, tea, cucumber sandwiches and scones.

After you pick your theme, it’s time to decorate. Cover your table with a festive tablecloth, hang lanterns from your trees, fill terra cotta pots with brilliantly colored flowers or set candles afloat in a pool. Your tables will be the focal point of the decorations, so make them stand out.

“Place oranges, lemons or limes with some greens tucked in a clear bowl for an inexpensive and unique centerpiece,” suggests Susan Valentine founder of Event Planner Hudson Valley. Choose accessories in white or green, so that the flowers in your garden take center stage.

Or, says owner of Déjà vu Event Creation Vicki Weed, “you can ask your guests to bring some flowers from their gardens in vases they’ve decorated and you can have a flower swap. That way all your guests can go home with a party favor and it won’t cost you a cent.” Just by making a few simple changes, your backyard will be transformed into the perfect party location.


Send the invitations early:

Now that you established the perfect theme, it’s time to invite your guests. Incorporate your theme into your invitations, but be sure it is clear to your guests that the party will be outside so they can dress accordingly. If there is a dress code or a theme you want your guests to participate in, be sure to let them know.

To ensure you have a rough estimate of how many guests to prepare for, include an RSVP request. To save time and postage, you can use Evite.com to send out your invitations. Using Evite.com has many advantages: You can find hundreds of themes, send out invitations in minutes and easily track your responses. “Make sure you send out your invitations a minimum of four weeks before your party date, especially during the summer months, because people are often away on vacations,” Weed instructs.

Bridget Schultz lives in Orange County and believes parties are always better outside.