Spring has sprung and like many, you may be feeling the party planning itch. Warming weather makes an outdoor soiree the obvious choice, though less obvious is how to make a daytime garden party as elegant and sophisticated as a late evening sit down affair. The key is treating your garden party like any event you host – pay attention to the details and the results will always be perfection.
The ultimate garden party is equal parts chic and relaxed, with enough springy touches that friends and family have a chance to shake off any lingering winter blues so they can welcome the longer and warmer spring days ahead. Embrace the theme in all aspects of your backyard bash by incorporating some or all of the following elements.
Seasonal Small Bites
Spring's bounty is much more limited than summer's cornucopia, but that's all the more reason to celebrate it. Seasonal eating is still fashionable anyway so you should have no trouble creating plates of small bites that incorporate locally grown baby veggies and the first fruits of the year. Strawberries, asparagus, cherries, sweet peas, and radishes are just now hitting the early farmers markets, and all can be incorporated into savory and sweet tartlets just right for nibbling.
Young Wines & Lots of Fizz
Spring's grand entrance demands libations that pair perfectly with warm and cloudless afternoons spent relaxing on the patio with three or thirty of your closest friends. One such beverage is vinho verde, a low-alcohol white wine from northern Portugal. Literally "green wine," it's meant to be enjoyed young while still fresh and lively. It's not carbonated per se but because a tiny bit of fermentation continues in the bottle, vinho verde has a slight fizz that makes it incredibly refreshing. Need a less sweet alternative? Spiked seltzer is a modish choice.
The Chance to Move
This is the season many of us are only newly emerged from our winter cocoons and there's nothing like a chance to stretch idle muscles. Classic lawn games like horseshoes, bocce, or croquet can be adapted to work in almost any garden. Or let Mother Nature be your guide and invite guests to choose seedlings or succulents from a small selection and create their own potted mini arrangements. In either case, set up activity stations with everything guests need to get started.
An Extra Special Atmosphere
Even the most beautiful outdoor spaces can use a little sprucing up before they're party perfect. A long card table hidden under a smart piece of natural linen becomes a beautiful buffet with the addition of just a few vases of fresh cut hydrangeas. A drinks table, similarly decorated, puts signature cocktails front and center. Your wheelbarrow, well cleaned and filled with ice, becomes an outdoorsy cooler. And hang string lights – solar LED means no plugging in is required – and working paper lanterns so your daytime affair can become a nighttime event.
Hosting a springtime garden party is a fair amount of work so think about inviting a best friend to co-host so your responsibilities are halved and your own enjoyment is doubled. Why? Because not only will you have more time free to enjoy the festivities, but also because planning a party with a simpatico someone is almost as fun as the party itself.