Garden Party Planning: Themes, Decorations, Food, & More! (2023)

Garden Party Planning: Themes, Decorations, Food, & More!

With sunshine on the horizon and the King’s Coronation just around the corner, you might be thinking about outdoor celebrations and how you can make the most of the glorious British summertime. In this article, our lifestyle team has put together their ultimate garden party guide, complete with delicious food & drink ideas, games, themes, and decorations!

How do you plan a garden party? When planning your garden party, consider these aspects:

  • Choose a theme and stick to it throughout the planning
  • Decorate your party accordingly (bunting, balloons, flowers, crockery, lighting, etc)
  • Choose your food, which may include a BBQ or picnic
  • Stock both alcoholic and soft beverages
  • Entertain with garden party games such as croquet or rounders
  • We’ve created the ultimate garden party guide; read on for food & drink ideas, as well as our favourite garden party theme ideas, party games, decorations, and much more…

    Garden Party Theme Ideas

    The first step to organising your party is choosing your theme - this will dictate your decorations and your food & beverage choices! We’ve outlined some of the best garden party theme ideas below:

    • Royal / the King’s Coronation
    • Beach party
    • Spring fling
    • Boho picnic
    • Pink party
    • Tropical
    • Garden brunch

    If you’re throwing a garden party for younger kids or teenagers, why not try these themes instead?

    • Mad Hatter’s tea party
    • Unicorn & rainbows
    • Football (great for when large events happen, such as the World Cup)
    • Animal jungle

    Decorations For a Garden Party

    For a Pinterest-worthy garden party, decorations are a must. They don’t have to be expensive! We explore some of the most colourful and creative decorations for a garden party below:

    (Video) 55+ Best Garden Party Ideas You Can Make at Home

    Garden Party Planning: Themes, Decorations, Food, & More! (1)

    Garden Shelter

    British weather can be so unpredictable, so make sure you plan ahead for wind and rain, or even an unexpected heat wave. You can do this by renting or buying a gazebo for shelter from the rain, or by creating an area for the little ones with a teepee. If you simply want to create shade for your guests, use a garden awning.

    Bunting & Flags

    Bunting can be a cost-effective way to decorate your garden or gazebo. Be sure to keep your chosen theme in mind when buying your bunting. For our King’s Coronation garden party, we’ll be purchasing red, white, and blue flags with the official emblem.

    If you have time ahead of your event, get your kids involved by making paper chains instead of buying flags. You can make them in almost any colour, and they are a great eco-friendly and budget option.

    Wicker Baskets

    Wicker baskets look particularly good if you’re going for a coastal or boho theme for your garden party. As the cold evening draws in, we’d recommend that you fill up a blanket basket with cosy throws for guests to wrap themselves in. Wicker baskets also work well as planters or cutlery storage.

    We stock a range of stunning and sustainably made household wicker baskets here at Northern Willow, which you can find by exploring our website categories. We offer free and quick delivery on all orders!

    Fresh Floral Arrangements

    Fresh flowers and foliage are an effective way to make your party look super stylish. Choose flowers that keep with your chosen theme, if it has a specific colour. Pop your arrangements in vintage vases and dot them around your party. If your budget allows, why not consider a hanging floral arrangement? The beautiful floral installations will definitely help you create that unmissable ‘wow’ factor!

    Top Tip: If you’re on a budget, buy one large bunch of your chosen flowers and split them into smaller jars. This way, you can spread them around your garden and tables

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    Wine Baskets

    Add a touch of elegance to your garden party by storing your wine and beer in wine carriers. Wine carriers are perfect for displaying your bottles on the food table, or for dotting around your party for your guests to help themselves to. Combine with a posh picnic for the ultimate outdoor excursion.

    We stock beautiful wine baskets, which are specially made for garden parties. Our Chilled Garden Party Set has a built-in zipped chilled compartment making sure drinks are kept cold even on the hottest days and includes 12 champagne glasses which can all be stored in their own compartments.


    If your garden already looks pretty, then you won’t need many decorations! Use wicker basket planters to pot herbs and fresh flowers. Smaller potted plants can also be used as table centrepieces in a pinch.

    If you’re keen to learn how to use wicker baskets for planting flowers and vegetables, give one of our latest articles a read - ‘Building a Sustainable Garden’.

    Tableware & Crockery

    Mismatched tableware can be a fabulous way to incorporate funky colours without worrying about finding matching plates for extra guests. Look around vintage stores and charity shops to find unique pieces for your garden party. To add a cute feminine touch, tie sets of cutlery together with a bow made from colourful ribbon.

    For those of you who don’t want all of that washing up to do (we certainly don’t!), you could instead opt for biodegradable plates and cutlery.

    Mood Lighting

    If you’re planning a garden party that you know will run into the late evening, ensure you set the mood with fairy lights, lanterns, and candles. You could also use a fire pit or patio heaters for lighting and warmth if you already have these on hand.

    Other decoration ideas include:

    (Video) 60+ Amazing Backyard Party Ideas 2021

    • Paper pompoms
    • Handwritten signs
    • Balloons

    Garden Party Food & Drink Ideas

    Garden Party Planning: Themes, Decorations, Food, & More! (2)


    Food is one of the most important aspects of any garden party (at least in our opinion!). We’ve outlined a variety of options below, each ideal for a range of garden party themes:

    Grazing Tables

    Grazing tables and boards are one of the most stylish food options you can go for. We love this option as it's very versatile whilst remaining social - guests can graze and chit-chat around the table over the course of an afternoon. Grazing platters can be made to suit groups of all sizes, whilst remaining a hassle-free option for you as a host or hostess.

    A Classic BBQ

    There is nothing better than hot dogs and burgers in the British summertime, so a BBQ is a perfect option for your garden party. Most supermarkets bring out dedicated BBQ ranges at this time of year, so there are plenty of options to choose from. For any veggie guests, we’d recommend grilling halloumi and vegetable skewers, or buying meat-free burgers for them to enjoy. Serve alongside fresh salads, buns, and plenty of sauce options!

    Posh Picnics

    Posh picnics are a great option if you only have a small number of guests attending your garden party, or if you are celebrating away from home. Simply lay out a soft rug or picnic blanket and lay out a selection of picnic nibbles (think finger sandwiches, salads, and other ‘picky bits’). If you’re feeling extra fancy, bring your supplies in a fully-stocked picnic basket, complete with crockery, plates, and wine glasses!

    If you’d like to find out more about creating a fancy picnic for your guests, complete with equipment, food ideas, drinks, and decorations, why not read one of our popular blogs- ‘Posh Picnics: Your Ultimate Guide’?


    Popular in the US, a ‘potluck’ is where guests who are attending your garden party each bring a dish to share. Agree in advance on what each person should bring, for example, a dip, a platter, a meat dish, a salad, a pudding, etc. A potluck is great if you are on a budget, or simply if you can’t find the time to cook!


    We like to get a little more creative than your standard beer buckets, so we’ve outlined some easy garden party drink ideas below. Keep your drinks on a sturdy table lined with a colourful tablecloth, and most importantly, encourage guests to help themselves!

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    Cocktail Pitchers

    If you are hosting a garden party for the King’s Coronation this year, a pitcher of Pimms & lemonade on the table is a must-have. Top your beverage with fresh summer fruits and lashings of fresh mint and ice before serving.

    Other fabulous pitcher options for your garden cocktail party include the classic Mojito, as well as spiked strawberry lemonade, spicy Margaritas, Pink Sangria, or bloody Marys.

    Top Tip: Always have a mocktail version available - this is a great way to make kids feel ‘grown up’, whilst offering an option for those who don’t drink alcohol.

    ‘Pimp Your Prosecco’ Table

    If you’re having your girlfriends over, a ‘pimp your prosecco’ station always goes down a treat! Simply set up a table with the following:

    • A large ice-filled bucket with plenty of prosecco
    • Carafes of fresh orange, cranberry or elderflower juice
    • Slices of citrus fruits and berries
    • Edible prosecco glitter
    • Sorbet in a variety of flavours to make a sgroppino-style cocktail
    • Springs of fresh mint

    Homemade Lemonade

    This classic drink is popular with almost everyone, and here’s how you make it:

    1. Remove the zest and juice a bag of lemons (we use one lemon per person)
    2. Add the zest to a saucepan with 400ml of water and 120g of sugar
    3. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously to dissolve the sugar before adding your lemon juice
    4. Use this mixture as a lemon cordial to mix with still or sparkling water
    5. Garnish with ice and lemon slices, and enjoy!

    Garden Party Games

    Keeping your guests entertained all afternoon might initially sound like a challenge, but trust us, it’s way easier than you think! We’ve outlined a few of our family-friendly favourites below:

    • Croquet
    • Beer or prosecco-pong
    • DIY pub quiz (a royal-family-themed quiz would be perfect for a King’s Coronation garden party)
    • Giant classic games like Jenga, Connect 4, or Noughts & Crosses
    • Mölkky (also known as Finska)
    • Rounders

    Garden Party Hosting Accessories From Northern Willow

    From posh picnic baskets, to elegant wine carriers, outdoor planters, blanket baskets, and more - you can find everything you need to host the perfect outdoor soiree on our website. Each of our items is carefully handcrafted from sustainable materials, so you can trust that they’ll last for years (and many garden parties!) to come.

    If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team via email - we’ll be more than happy to help! PS… we also offer free shipping on all orders placed through the website.

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    Garden Party Planning: Themes, Decorations, Food, & More!? ›

    Leave the short skirts, crisp denim and rompers tucked away in your closet and choose longer dresses and pantsuits instead. A-line dresses that sway on a breezy evening are universally flattering. A chic, sleek pantsuit is another amazing option for formal garden party attire.

    How do you make a garden party amazing? ›

    15 Garden Party Ideas From A Professional Party Planner
    1. Pick a stable place in the garden for your party table. ...
    2. Provide shade from the sunshine. ...
    3. Match decorations to your garden plants. ...
    4. Consider color-coordinated party food and drink. ...
    5. Serve summer fruits with edible flowers. ...
    6. Extend your party through the garden.

    What do ladies wear to a garden party? ›

    Leave the short skirts, crisp denim and rompers tucked away in your closet and choose longer dresses and pantsuits instead. A-line dresses that sway on a breezy evening are universally flattering. A chic, sleek pantsuit is another amazing option for formal garden party attire.

    What is an important theme in the garden party? ›

    Death and life.

    The writer handles the theme of death and life in the short story. Laura's realization that life is simply marvellous shows death of human beings in a positive light. Death and life co-exist, and death seems to Laura merely a sound sleep far away from troubles in human life.

    What is significant in the garden party? ›

    The garden party symbolizes the excess enjoyed by the upper class, which occurs simultaneously while nearby lower class members suffer. To host the party, the family has their servants do all kinds of extra work in preparation. They also order excessive amounts of unnecessary supplies such as lilies and cream puffs.

    How do you make a party look expensive? ›

    How to Fake an Expensive Dinner Party
    1. Hide Your Ugly Table.
    2. Pick Up Some Chic Disposable Place Settings. ...
    3. If You Want Real Plates, Find Interesting Ones. ...
    4. Use Proper Glasses. ...
    5. Mood Lighting Hides Everything. ...
    6. Make a Really Good-looking Cheese Plate. ...
    7. Serve One Spectacular Dish. ...
    8. Gold Spray Paint Is Your Friend.
    May 25, 2016

    How can I make an outdoor area more inviting? ›

    Fences, garden walls, shrubbery and trees all provide privacy and help establish a serene atmosphere. Lattice, pergolas and arbors adorned with fragrant climbing vines are creative ways to help define outdoor spaces, screen views of neighboring homes and add instant character to your space.

    What is a garden theme dress code? ›

    What to Wear to a Garden Party Event. The garden party dress code is semi-formal, meaning it is open to interpretation rather than just having a cocktail dress code. The garden party dress code is fairly loose, so you can experiment with colour, patterns, frills and statement silhouettes.

    What time is a garden party? ›

    The best time to start your party is at around 1 pm – serve up some snacks upon arrival of the guests that they can pick at throughout the day, and you could bring out the BBQ at around 4 for a feast. The earlier you start the party, the earlier it will finish.

    What is garden cocktail? ›

    Celebrate summer with an English garden cocktail. It's a refreshing mix of gin, elderflower cordial and apple juice, plus mint, lemon and cucumber flavours.

    What are some symbols in The Garden Party? ›

    This lesson discusses the symbols used in 'The Garden Party,' including the lilies, the hat, and the road. Lilies are a flower that represents royalty, purity, and rebirth.

    Who is the most significant character in The Garden Party? ›

    Laura Sheridan is the protagonist, or main character, of the story. Her reaction to the news of a neighbor being killed in an accident shows how she is beginning to notice that she has different perspectives and values from her family.

    What are the main themes in a garden of love? ›

    "The Garden of Love" is a poem by English Romantic visionary William Blake. Blake was devoutly religious, but he had some major disagreements with the organized religion of his day. The poem expresses this, arguing that religion should be about love, freedom, and joy—not rules and restrictions.

    What is the arrangement of The Garden Party? ›

    The setting of The Garden Party is primarily the Sheridan estate, where their elaborate gardens and tennis courts are being prepared for an expensive party complete with flowers, food, a marquee and a band. In contrast to this luxurious estate are the cottages below, where the impoverished people reside.

    What is the structure of The Garden Party? ›

    Class Structure: “The Garden Party” focuses on the contrast between two neighboring families: the wealthy upper-class Sheridans and the working-class Scotts. When Laura Sheridan hears of the death of Mr. Scott, she urges her mother to call off the party.

    What is the bread and butter in The Garden Party? ›

    Bread and butter– Laura's elatedness with a piece of bread-and-butter in hand while guiding the workmen regarding the marquee symbolizes her affiliation with the people from the lower ranks of society.

    What is the cheapest food to feed a crowd? ›

    Pasta is one of the cheapest and most filling pantry staples you can buy, and that's exactly why it's the perfect food to feed to a crowd! Plus, everyone loves a good pasta dish.

    What is the cheapest food to make for a party? ›

    20 Great inexpensive party food ideas
    • Ham and cheese pinwheels. ...
    • Mini spinach pies. ...
    • Spaghetti bolognese. ...
    • Baguettes with toppings (bruschetta) ...
    • Egg, cheese, and ham skewers. ...
    • Chicken pot pie. ...
    • Cheese straws. ...
    • Macaroni and cheese. You can make a few dishes of macaroni and cheese and serve it from warming trays.
    Oct 13, 2022

    How much food do you need for 50 guests? ›

    Food for Dinner Parties
    FoodUp to 10 guests40-50
    Side dishes5 cups25 cups
    Green salad10 cups50 cups
    Fruit salad5 cups25 cups
    Rolls or bread slices20 pieces100 pieces
    9 more rows
    Nov 14, 2022

    What is in a finger buffet? ›

    A finger buffet meal consists of food which may be picked up with the fingers (finger food), such as small (finger) sandwiches, canapés and vol-au-vents.

    What are good soft finger foods? ›

    soft cooked vegetables, such as carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, parsnip, butternut squash. fruit (soft, or cooked without adding sugar), such as apple, pear, peach, melon, banana. grabbable bits of avocado. cooked starchy foods, such as potato, sweet potato, cassava, pasta, noodles, chapatti, rice.

    What are the five outdoor games? ›

    There are a variety of outdoor games that are played in India like Kho-Kho, kabaddi, cricket, volleyball, basketball and football.

    What is a summer garden party? ›

    A garden party is an outdoor social event that's hosted at home, usually in a yard or a garden. But just because garden parties are outside doesn't mean they're “thrown together.” Garden parties are famously pretty, offering stunning tablescapes, perfectly-planned eats and tons of charming diversions.

    How do you look unique in a party? ›

    First, allow yourself enough time to get ready. Groom yourself properly by taking a shower and moisturizing your skin. Next, choose the perfect outfit that matches the occasion, compliments your body type, and accentuates your skin tone. Last, avoid any stain-prone food or drinks at the party and have fun!

    How can I make my party more lit? ›

    Top Tips To Make A House Party Amazing
    1. Lighting will set the mood. Whatever you do, don't leave overhead lights on, the brightness will kill the atmosphere before the party has started! ...
    2. Decorate. ...
    3. Move furniture around. ...
    4. Hire a DJ. ...
    5. Book a photographer. ...
    6. Serve bowl food. ...
    7. Stock up on drinks. ...
    8. Plan a midnight snack.
    Aug 25, 2017

    How can I decorate my party for cheap? ›

    With the below party decor ideas, the answer will certainly be no one.
    1. Light candles to create an intimate space. ...
    2. Decorative buffet. ...
    3. Make dessert a centerpiece. ...
    4. Spruce up your food table. ...
    5. Brighten up the space with fresh flowers. ...
    6. Turn your wall into a photo booth. ...
    7. Add some garland. ...
    8. Create your own personalized barware.
    Nov 5, 2021

    What time should a party start? ›

    Best Party Start Times

    Most parties should start at 7:00 p.m. I'll tell you why. An event that starts at 7:00 p.m. gives you guests enough time to finish their workday. They can either come straight to your party after work, or they can eat dinner before arriving.

    How do you keep guests cool at an outdoor party? ›

    Here are important tips for keeping guests cool while avoiding large cooling bills:
    1. Schedule an HVAC Inspection. Have a technician inspect and clean your air conditioner. ...
    2. Seat Guests Wisely. ...
    3. Provide Shade Outdoors. ...
    4. Cover the Patio Door. ...
    5. Use Fans. ...
    6. Provide Cold Food and Drink Options. ...
    7. After the Party.

    How do you stand out in a crowd at a party? ›

    How To Stand Out In A Crowd
    1. Take a stand. There's no better way to feel confident and in control than by standing or sitting up straight. ...
    2. Exude confidence. ...
    3. Get passionate. ...
    4. Dress the part. ...
    5. Be original. ...
    6. Master the balancing act.

    Do you wear a hat to a garden party? ›

    Of course, you could always style this look with a wide brimmed hat for a more formal vibe — but hats are absolutely on a the menu for a Garden Party. Not only do the inject your outfit with a bit of extra style, they also help to shield your face from the sun (you know I'm all about that anti-aging sun protection!).

    What is outdoor chic? ›

    Outdoor chic clothing is dressy but not formal, effortless but not casual.

    Is it OK to wear black to a garden party? ›

    Can I wear black to a garden party? While black is a classic color, it can be a little too harsh for a garden party. If you do wear black, make sure to add some softer colors or patterns to break up the look. On the other hand, wearing white to a garden party is always a good idea!

    How many people should you invite to a garden party? ›

    Estimate about 5-8 people per room and figure out how many rooms you're guests can go in and it'll give you a rough number. How Many Guests Should you Invite to a Garden Party? This again depends on the space you've got available. You also need to think about how much food you want to offer.

    What do you wear to a garden party event? ›

    What to Wear to a Garden Party: Outfit Ideas For Any Outdoor Celebration
    • Choose lightweight fabrics. ...
    • Summery colours. ...
    • Florals. ...
    • Flowing silhouettes. ...
    • Wide-leg trousers. ...
    • A lightweight jacket. ...
    • Sandals. ...
    • A polo shirt.
    Aug 18, 2022

    Do you bring something to a garden party? ›

    Before you attend a garden party you should ask the host what you can bring. This typically eliminates having too much of one thing and not enough of another. If the host tells you, “you don't need to bring anything, then a simple bottle of white wine as a thank-you gift for hosting everyone is the perfect gift”.

    What do you drink at a garden party? ›

    Our Top 10 Drinks for a Garden Party
    • Pimm's No. 1 Cup.
    • Gin Basil Smash.
    • Piña Margarita.
    • Gin & Tonic.
    • Strawberry Gin Tonic.
    • The Sinners Sin.
    • Lillet Rosé Chic.
    • Mojito.

    What is after 5 attire? ›

    Although the phrase may seem mysterious when you see it on an invitation, "after five attire" is actually another way to say "semi-formal." To dress appropriately for after five events, you'll simply take your work-day style up a notch in formality.

    What makes an amazing party? ›

    A fun surprise: The very best parties always contain an element of surprise. It might be a performance-based cocktail or an interactive dessert such as chocolate fondue, S'mores, or a flambé. A treat for the stragglers: Once dessert is over, you'll probably lose most of your guests.

    What is the structure of the garden party? ›

    Class Structure: “The Garden Party” focuses on the contrast between two neighboring families: the wealthy upper-class Sheridans and the working-class Scotts. When Laura Sheridan hears of the death of Mr. Scott, she urges her mother to call off the party.

    How do you make a party unforgettable? ›

    How to throw a memorable party
    1. DO mix up your guest list. ...
    2. DON'T over-think the refreshments. ...
    3. DO use party games wisely. ...
    4. DON'T forget the playlist. ...
    5. DO be a “people mixologist” ...
    6. DON'T use Facebook as your only means of invitation.

    How do you keep guests entertained at a party? ›

    How to entertain guests at home
    1. Create a cozy atmosphere for company. ...
    2. Make a playlist in advance. ...
    3. Plan a theme or activity for the evening. ...
    4. Arrange food and beverages. ...
    5. Set Out Linens. ...
    6. Make the powder room a design experience. ...
    7. Remember, it's about the experience, not following a set of rules.

    What are the three important elements of a successful party? ›

    You can still organise a successful party, no matter how simple or grand the event is, by learning how to combine the three vital factors that make up a successful party. These crucial factors are as follows: the menu, the mood and the venue. The food is the deal maker or breaker of any party.

    How do you host the best party ever? ›

    Here are 10 things great party hosts do:
    1. They have fun. ...
    2. They don't force games. ...
    3. They embrace basic desserts. ...
    4. They keep the wine glasses full. ...
    5. They know lighting matters. ...
    6. They play fun music. ...
    7. They know when to tuck their kids in. ...
    8. They don't freak out if everything isn't perfect.

    How do you hype a party? ›

    Good music and good food are a must-have in any party or event. Your choice of playlist and drinks can also set the mood of the party. As you enjoy with your friends or guests, the musicians too feel enthused to give their best shot.

    What time is best for garden party? ›

    Choose The Right Time And Date

    The ideal time for a garden party is usually mid-afternoon, when the weather is warm and sunny but not too hot. As for the date, it's important to choose a day when most of your guests are likely to be available.

    How do you do a jubilee garden party? ›

    How to throw a Jubilee party
    1. Plan ahead. As the old adage goes, fail to plan and you plan to fail. ...
    2. Make it legal! If you're planning a big knees-up in the street you'll need permission from your local council. ...
    3. Prep your garden. ...
    4. Plan the menu. ...
    5. Decide on decorations. ...
    6. Invest wisely. ...
    7. Create a centrepiece. ...
    8. Don't forget the details.
    May 24, 2022

    What is a metaphor used in The Garden Party? ›

    The smoke from the cottages is like “little rags and shreds,” indicating poverty, while the Sheridan's smoke is “silvery,” silver being a token of wealth. Since rags are used to clean and polish silver this metaphor also maps directly onto the hierarchical relationship between the rich and the poor.


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