Spring is in full-force and the time has arrived to show off that gorgeous garden and your skills as the perfect host! Considering the many different types of outdoor spaces, there are many different ways you can design the lighting, décor, activities, and food for a party. For a timeless and elegant way to celebrate spring, the team at The Perfect Light is here to tell you how to throw a backyard garden party that could give Martha Stewart herself a run for her money!
Plan Your Design to Suit the Space
Depending upon the size, layout, and structural configuration of your outdoor space, your entertainment area should be designed to maximize the space you already have. Moreover, your aim should be to make your guests as comfortable as possible. Here are some general ideas to consider for maximum comfort:
1. Add a Pergola
If your backyard has an uncovered entertainment or dining space that you plan to use for your garden party, there are many things you can do to add some comfort and style. Even if you’re not the handiest of hosts, there are plenty of easy-to-use assembly kits and even retractable pergolas that you can find at hardware stores and online. We love the idea of a pergola for outdoor parties, because they can provide some cover from the elements when needed, while serving as a magical dining and entertainment area. Here are some ways to decorate your pergola for the perfect experience:
Add Some Flowing Curtains
There is something romantic about flowing curtains billowing in the springtime breeze. Especially when hung over a pergola entry, flowing curtains can look like an enchanting, old-world portiere. For the simplest installation, you can use a tension rod between the supports of your pergola wall. Be sure to choose fabric designed for outdoor use that will be resistant to fading and mildew.
Adorn It with Climbing Plants
Another way to make your pergola an enchanting dining area is by growing climbing plants along the pergola beams and atop the frame for a vibrant, green canopy. For a classic look, we recommend a mixture of climbing roses, honeysuckle, jasmine, grapevine, wisteria, and sweet pea. Not only will these climbing flowers offer an irresistible floral aroma but will add an element of timeless romance to your dining and entertainment space. For the best shade, include climbing ivy.
Festoon It with String Lights
To add an extra touch of magic as your garden party continues on into the later hours of the evening, you can add some string lights to your pergola. For more subtle illumination, opt for small LED twinkle lights or “fairy lights.” If you want more of a vintage vibe, you can hang string market lights or string lantern lights.
Hang Some Whimsical Lighting Fixtures
For a more whimsical aesthetic, you can hang mismatched chandeliers or lanterns from the beams of your pergola or covered space over your dining table. However, the tricky part of this feature is ensuring you have safe access to a power source for the hanging fixtures. You will also want to make sure they are safe to hang outdoors, in the event of rain.
2. Keep the Bugs Away
Now that you have some ideas to provide the right aesthetics and shade, you will need to consider ways to keep your guests from becoming the main course for insects and bugs.
Add Citronella Candles to Your Table Setting
One of our favorite ways to keep bugs at bay is by placing citronella candles on the dining table. These will provide your guests with some candlelight ambiance and protection from winged pests.
Ward Off Bugs with a Bonfire
Another option for repelling insects is building a bonfire and burning sage, lavender, and mint. This will not only keep the pests away but will create a beautiful aroma.
Create Your Own Insect-Repellent Mason Jar Luminaries
As another of our favorite DIY solutions, repellent mason jar luminaries make an aesthetically pleasing centerpiece while keeping insects away from the festivities. These jars contain 10 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil and 10 drops of citronella oil, along with 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary and lemon and lime slices. After filling the rest of the jar with water and leaving at least 2 inches of space at the brim, place a floating disc candle on top of the water and light it to activate the repellent.
3. Keep the Temperature Under Control
In addition to shading your guests from the sun and keeping pesky insects away, ensuring they remain cool or warm enough is imperative. Here are some ideas to keep your guests comfortable, regardless of the climate:
Invest in Portable Coolers
For a multi-functional cooling option, you can invest in portable coolers. There are many coolers on the market that function as ice chests, as well as a cooling device for your guests. We recommend looking for models with rechargeable batteries, so you can avoid the hassle of ensuring you have access to an electrical outlet.
Provide Handheld Wicker Fans
For a simpler approach, you can include charming handheld wicker fans as a party favor for your guests to use throughout the festivities. Not only will these fans help keep bugs away, but are effective and simple cooling solutions, as well as a fun party memento.
Warm Cooler Evenings with Patio Heaters
If your party continues on into the evening, you may encounter cooler weather once the sun goes down. Consequently, keeping your guests warm can become an unforeseen challenge. As the most effective solution, you should explore the market for different types of patio heaters.
4. Choose the Right Seating
A big part of your guest’s comfort will center on the seating. While comfort is key, there are plenty of different styles of seating you can play with to achieve the aesthetics you desire. Here are some ideas to get you started:
For a more classic and romantic look, there is nothing more perfect than vintage iron garden benches! These will provide some old-world elegance to your dining area, and you can make them more comfortable by adding some cushions or pillows with an antique rose or floral print for your guests to use.
Go Rustic with Re-purposed Wooden Crates
To add a rustic touch to your garden party, you can use wooden crates as seats for your guests. You can create a charming French rustic look by painting them with chalk paint, and fitting cushions or pillows onto the crates with floral prints to soften the look for the occasion.
Capture a Boho-Chic Vibe with DIY Tire Chairs
Looking for a boho-chic look for your garden party? Add your own DIY touch by re-purposing tires into eclectic seats for your guests.
5. Plan Your Menu
Now that you have your dining area and seating planned, you can start focusing on the food and drinks. Here are some options to consider:
Cocktails and Light Bites
A fantastic way to start off any party is by offering a delicious cocktail menu with light bites for guests to enjoy while they mingle before the main meal is underway. For a truly welcoming atmosphere, you can set up a bar area with a chalkboard welcome sign that contains a drink list. Here are some cocktail ideas, most of which can be made as non-alcoholic options:
- Mint Julep
- Blackberry-Bourbon Iced Tea
- Blueberry Mojito
- Strawberry Sangria
Include your light bites on another table near the bar area with smaller chalkboard signs that have written descriptions of each appetizer option. To give you some ideas, here are a few classic light bites that are guaranteed crowd-pleasers:
- Deviled Eggs
- Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Party Poppers
- Spinach and Vidalia Dip with Veggies, Chips, and Pita Slices
- Fried Green Tomatoes Topped with Pimento Cheese
Fresh Springtime Meal
To really capture the essence of springtime, we recommend incorporating some crisp, fresh ingredients for the main meal menu. Here are some dishes to consider for your menu:
- Three-Bean Salad
- Fresh Caprese Salad
- Arugula, Watermelon, and Feta Cheese Salad
- Lettuce Wedges with Blue Cheese Dressing
- Fried Pickle Po’ Boy (Excellent choice for vegetarians)
- BLT Sandwiches
- Grilled Chicken or Pork Lettuce Wraps
- Classic Chicken Salad Sandwiches
- Potato Salad
- Rice Salad
- Baked Bean Crostini
Fun and Refreshing Desserts:
- No-Bake Mason Jar Strawberry or Blueberry Cheesecakes
- Miniature Key Lime Pies
- Banana Pudding Mason Jars
- Rent a Popsicle Cart with a Topping/Dipping Station
Plan Your Entertainment
For a classic party theme, we recommend having some classic games set up for your guests. To achieve the most attractive look, opt for higher quality wooden game sets, such as croquet and giant Jenga. You can also set up a DIY photobooth for your guests to capture the fun with the perfect garden background.
How to Throw a Backyard Garden Party with The Perfect Light
Now that you have some inspiration, you can begin planning the perfect backyard garden party. However, even with great décor, entertainment, and food, an the magic is made with your lighting! As experienced and passionate outdoor and event lighting experts, the team at The Perfect Light are ready to help you plan your next event! For help from lighting pros you can trust, call us today at 972-616-4104 or schedule an appointment on our website.