Garden Party Ideas: Throw a Summer Bash Guests will Remember

If you’re looking for garden party ideas, we’ve got them. Ideas for a summer party that your guest will remember – and rave about – until Christmas. Or maybe even Easter. From Mother’s Day to the Autumn Equinox – we’ve got months of outdoor fun ahead of us. Summertime, and the living is easy. Decorate your garden party with umbrella lights, with white lights and with flowers. And set an elegant table. Use food stations and beverage stations – even for a traditional sit down dinner. It’s easier on you and will let the guests control their own portions and preferences. Unless you have staff, that is. Then, go ahead and do a full-service dinner party a la Downton Abbey.

Garden Party Ideas: Throw a Summer Party Guests will Remember

Which of the summer days are worth worth celebrating, you ask? Start with a backyard brunch for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Then we have the Memorial Day long weekend, then the best of all, the first day of summer and the Summer Solstice. Almost right after that, July 4 and then the  Labor Day long weekend. And then, Bam, it’s the September (22) Autumnal Equinox. They are all perfect days to host your summer soiree in the garden. So get out your party clothes, the game is afoot. And with these tips below, you can host a backyard bash that will be the talk of the ‘hood – all winter long.

Bare White Lights are All the Rage

Elegant table with bare white lights

Strings of white fairy lights, and jars full of summer flowers say GARDEN PARTY in capital letters.

Garden party bare white light

If you’re lucky enough to have a clifftop overlooking the ocean in your backyard, you have a great start. Otherwise, you can still do this incredible look. The garland of fresh leaves and summer blossoms is a fantastic garden party idea. And the hanging bare white bulbs? Well, they just make this setting, don’t you think? Although we would have had the guests looking at the view, to be honest. Source

Pool Party Bare White Lights

Pool party – and those lights are already incredible, think how awesome they will look once it’s dark and they’re reflecting in the pool. You just can’t go wrong with a summer party by the pool. Source

Crazy bare light bulbs dinner table

Wow – these bare bulbs really make a statement when they are hung en mass. What an incredible industrial setting they create for the perfect garden party dinner table. Source

Set the Mood with Creative Lighting – and Umbrellas

Set the Mood with Creative Lighting - and Umbrellas

Umbrella lights are the latest trend for your outdoor garden party decor and whoever had this idea – we approve. So many umbrella designs to choose from these days, including standard umbrellas, Chinese paper umbrellas and vintage (or reproduction) parasols. And they look really arty. Source

Elegant party umbrella lights

Vintage parasols would set a perfect stage for a Great Gatsby garden party. Source

Red umbrellas and string lights

These red floating umbrella lights are a DIY with bare bulb white string lights. Source

Colorful patio umbrella decor

These Moroccan-style patio umbrellas are perfect lighting for the perfect summer party. Source

Those Perfect Touches of Summer Decor

White is always right for a summer party

White is always right for summer – such a clean crisp look. These white spheres were made using balloons. Source

Paper lanterns are summer party staples

Paper lanterns have long been a garden party staple – and with good reason. Source

A tree strung with paper lanterns

Bare branches serve as a fantastic hanger for paper lanterns. Source

Yellow summer party lanterns

What’s more appropriate for a summer party? Yellow party decor screams sunshine and lollipops, doesn’t it? Source

Sweets Bar outdoor summer party

Red and white is another popular summer party color choice. Source

Elegant summer party curtain

Tie carnations to fishing line in multi-gradient hues for a curtain of flowers.

Elegant summer party cascading lights

White cherry blossom lights add an elegant touch when strung vertically over a summer party table. Source

Pom pom summer party decorations

If you want to have floral curtains that you can reuse – try tissue paper pom-poms for your garden party. Source

Paper Flowers and strings lights - garden party

A paper flower DIY for long lasting summer party decorations – intertwine them with fairy lights for a special look. Source

Say it with Flowers

Ice cube flowers and Cristal champagne

And champagne. Say it with flowers…and champagne. No summer party is complete without both. Or so say we. Source

Flower bucket garden party

This is so simple to DIY. A trip to the store for a galvanized pail, some floating candles and some flower blossoms and there you have it – instant summer party decor.

Beer bottle vases look fantastic

Don’t these white flowers, fresh from the garden, look fantastic in these brown (beer) bottles? Instant summer party floral arrangement. A simple outdoor bottle DIY.  Source

Edible flowers in ice cubes

If you’ve got an edible garden, it’s easy to make floral ice cubes for your garden party. Source

Candle flowers wine glasses

Sometimes – it’s a matter of looking at everyday household items with a different perspective. What a great floral candle holder this makes for a summer party table. Source

Flower umbrellas Say it with flowers

Set an Elegant Table for your Summer Soiree

White linens natural summer dinner party table

Greenery and white make for an elegant tablescape. Source

Boho summer dinner party seating

Not everyone has 20 dinner chairs. But you can always go Moroccan-style and sit on cushions at a low table. A touch that makes your garden party just a little more memorable. Source

Clear chairs make a modern summer party table

Transparent chairs and accents – white table and candles – seem to disappear. This tablescape really makes the coral flower arrangements pop, doesn’t it? An elegant garden party dinner table is as easy as this. Source 

Rocks and moss table for your garden party

This moss and rock runner in the middle of your garden party table takes it all back to nature. Get the moss from your very own moss garden.

Victorian garden party dinner table

White table cloths, candles and fresh flowers make such an elegant summer party table setting. Source

Outdoor table city garden party

Rich wood and glorious flowers make this simple setting into a magical summer party location. Source

Blue table touches garden party

The rustic look, with touches of blue. Note the cobalt blue flower vases – they are recycled Milk of Magnesia bottles. Source

Picnic table garden party dinner

Even a picnic table can look elegant when set with care. A simple runner, and lots of flowers. Note the mason jar vases. Source

Food Stations: A Garden Party Favorite

Garden party food in a canoe

Set the appetizers and crudites up in a spot where guests can help themselves. This temporarily repurposed canoe is a really creative summer party idea. Source

Good food garden party

A chalkboard menu is a great idea for an outdoor summer party. Put it at the head of the food station(s) – or use smaller chalkboards right beside the courses. Source

Outdoor summer party cheese station

A decadent cheese board is garnished with nuts, fresh herbs and dried fruit. Source

cheese and charcuterie board

A cheese and charcuterie board can be the bulk of the offeings – full of luxurious cheeses, cured meats, olives and olive oil, exotic nuts & fruits, artisan crackers & breads. Get yourself the longest 12″ plank from Home Depot or Lowes that you can find, and treat it with some vegetable (or coconut) oil. Charcuterie  is a huge trend right now and it will leave you with time to enjoy the party. Plus you’ll look like a star. Source

cheese and charcuterie board Add anything to your charcuterie tray that you would add to an Antipasto plate, and then add a lot more meat (because that’s basically what ‘charcuterie’ is, cured meat and lots of it). But you can almost add anything tapas-like. And you don’t really need a big long plank – you can use a combination of cutting boards and cheese boards just as effectively (although perhaps not as dramatically). Source

Cheese chalkboard for a garden party

Another great idea for your summer garden party is to use a chalkboard tray (or paint one with chalkboard paint). That way, you can present super exotic cheeses, identified for your guests’ convenience. Source

Bruschetta board summer party

Make your own bruschetta board. Toast the bread on the grill outdoors but have all the other ingredients ready in advance. Source

A taco bar is a great summer party idea

A Taco Bar is another great idea. If your party will last several hours – spread out the dining opportunities. Something to snack on as people arrive, laden trays of cheese and charcuterie mid-party and a Taco bar as the garden party begins to wind down. Source

Dessert Bars for Garden Parties

A macaron tree at a summer party

Oh yes, don’t forget the dessert stations. Champagne and a macron? Thanks, don’t mind if we do. Source

Smores station outdoor party

Really, could a summer party be complete without a S’Mores station? Source

Banana pudding shooters summer party

Banana Pudding Shooter Shots at the Dessert Station. Source

Strawberry shooters garden party food

Strawberries and fresh mascarpone cheese/whipped cream mousse in shooter glasses are sure to please. Source

Sweet shooter bar for summer party

Caramel and raspberry dessert shooters are another way to go.

Dessert shooters outdoor party

Beverage Bars for Your Garden Party

Rowboat beverage cooler summer party

You’ve seen the canoe appetizer station. Now we have a boat beverage cooler – both great summer party ideas. Source

Summer Solstice Party

Here’s a twist – serve champagne in split (mini) bottles – with straws. This is the kind of added touch that will have your guests talking about your summer party all the way through winter. Source

Beer for your summer party

And don’t forget the ice cold beer. A must for a garden party, don’t you think? Having beverage stations means your guests can help themselves. It’s important for two reasons. You don’t want anyone standing around with an empty glass wishing they could have another. and you don’t want to be running around filling up those empty glasses for the whole party.

Champagne for every course

A decidedly adult dessert. Source

Flower power garden party

Flower power cocktails – or Shirley Temples – are beautiful drinks to serve at your garden party. Source

Prepared drinks are perfect for a summer party

Mix drinks ahead of time – several different varieties – and serve them in mason jars wtih lids. Another way to make sure you’re not refilling drink glasses all afternoon or evening. Source

Infused drinks garden party

Decanters of flavored water are perfect offerings for those guests who don’t drink alcohol. Source

Parting Gifts

Giving each guest a gift on the way out is a small gesture that leaves everyone feeling very special and appreciated. And it can cost so little to make their day this way. From bright tissue paper-wrapped fresh bedding plants, to mini jars of homemade jam – it’s the thought that counts. And the thought that will be remembered.

Bedding plants as summer party favors

A small bedding plant (in this example Violas), wrapped in tissue paper and tied with twine or jute, makes a charming party favor / parting gift.

Soaps as summer party favors

Natural, hand-made soaps are always a lovely gift – look for one with a label like these – something that will remind them of your summer party. Source

Honey jars as summer party favors

Honey jar party favors – you can custom order mini jars of many suitable treats. Source

Jam jars as summer party favors

You could make your own jam for your party favors. Source

Mini pinata party giftMini pinatas from Tops Malibu are the total bomb – full of trinkets and treats. Put one at each place setting. Source

Hangover kit party gift

Bottled water and the hangover kit – a whimsical parting gift, sure to be much appreciated by some of your guests come the next morning. Source

Lasting Impressions

Given that it’s summer, your guests will likely arrive while it’s daylight and leave when it’s dark. At some point after dinner, light some candles on the pathway back to their vehicles. They’ll be touched at such a thoughtful gesture. And that’s really what it’s all about. The food and decorations don’t matter nearly as much as making each guest feel special – and welcome.

Thank you for coming to our summer party


About Joe Hats 176 Articles
Joe Hats is the founder of Joe has been remodeling homes since 1997 when he bought his first fixer-upper. He has built many pieces of indoor and outdoor furniture with his own hands and has every DIY woodworking tool in his possession. Coming from an engineering background, he has designed and built many patio fixture plans. Following his wife's lead, he is also very passionate about home decor and together they keep track of the latest trends. When he is not remodeling or trying a new woodworking tool, he is busy gardening or designing a new outdoor plan.