8 TIPS FOR HOSTING A GORGEOUS GARDEN PARTY

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It’s mid-summer and the atmosphere is positively charged. Make the most of the magic with an idyllic garden party!

We’re in love with this time of year. With its hazy heat, it begs a little mischief. The delicious weather offers the perfect excuse for gathering together a few of your favourites for a mid-summer soirée.

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The Zanui outdoor furniture range, featuring the Orlando Outdoor Lounge Chair and the Lauderdale Outdoor Dining Table, available in a range of colours online at Zanui.

Playing host/ess is nothing short of ace. So you’re more a Bridget than a January Jones. No sweat. Putting on the perfect spread is an achievable goal with these simple tips! It doesn’t matter if your garden’s not much more than a few flowerpots.

‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry. (In any order!) Treat yourself to a little summer decadence!

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Adorn your little patch of green with pastel bunting and coffee + tea ware. Tiered cake stands look so pretty. Image sourced: jingjobs.com.

DECORATIONS

You don’t need to go to town to create a delightful setting for your shindig. But every good garden party needs a little bunting. There are plenty of templates on the interwebs for this easy-but-fancy-looking decoration, like these cute watermelon ones.

Work with pastels and pretty patterns for a playful vibe. You’ve got this!

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Images sourced L to R: partyplanningplace.com and pinterest.com.

Another delightful option is adding a handful of confetti to plain white balloons, and pairing them with different coloured strings – helium these babies and display in clusters for maximum charm.

Or haul your sofa out onto the lawn and add a few festive super-sized balloons!

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Images sourced: designsponge.com.

Opt for a variety of flowers – mix big blossoms with small. Display them in trios of bud vases or an eclectic mix of different-sized vases, bottles, and jars.

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AMBIENCE

Make the most of the magic of dusk with tealight candles. I once attended a Summer Solstice party where paper-bagged tealights lit the pathway to the back garden. Place your tealights in a tea cup inside each bag to avoid flaming consequences.

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Lanterns and candle holders create intricate shadow and light play that adds another element to your party. From L to R: Square Candle Holder with Rope Detail from Casa Uno and Galle Lantern from Satara, available online at Zanui.

Equally fairy lights, lanterns and hurricane lamps cast delightful light patterns across your gathering. Opt for aromatic candles and intoxicate the senses.

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Image sourced: missparaply.tumblr.com.

SOIRÉE OR SIT-DOWN AFFAIR? 

If you’re a little space-poor, canapés make a great option. Plus, they allow you to showcase your chic serving ware. Do a round with them then leave them on a little serving station for folks to help themselves.

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Relocate your coffee table outside with cushions for a casual gathering or set up a little serving station – it doesn’t have to be huge for catering – this Cube Cart Side Table from Alliance Furniture is super-cute. Image (left) sourced: rentcafe.com.

For sit-down options, consider a picnic on cushions for boho-fun. Lay down a rug to define your dining space. Or if you’d rather fancy-it-up, opt for a full five-course dinner party. Mix up your dinnerware for quirky flair. Combine vintage British chintz with modern shapes for distinctive style.

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Mix and match for eclectic looks. From L to R: Fable Dinnerware from Royal Doulton and Tea ware from Royal Albert, available online at Zanui.

Perhaps you’re better off starting a little earlier in the day and going for something more Mad Hatters’ tea party!

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The Zanui outdoor furniture range, featuring the Deltona Outdoor Dining Chair and Dining Table fashioned from powder-coated steel, available in a range of colours online at Zanui. Image (right) sourced: salforddiocese.net.

ENTERTAINMENT 

Having a few fun party games up your sleeve is an adorable way to pass the eve. After the food’s served and the bubbles have reached their peak effect is the perfect timing. Cards Against Humanity is a personal fave. It makes for a riotous game but be warned – it gets you right in the pit of your politically correct stomach!

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Image sourced: ohitsperfect.com.au.

An outdoor movie is also an idyllic way to while away the final hours of the day. Hang up a bedsheet and project your fave cult classic (eh-hemm… The Princess Bride) for kudos. Popcorn is a must!

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Images sourced L to R: pinterest.com and bellacor.com.

POLAROID BOOTH

Instagram is a great way to remember this dreamy night. But add a vintage touch with a little Polaroid Booth onsite complete with a corkboard.

Encourage your guests to snap pics of themselves with said Polaroid and pin them up. It’s a cute way to capture the magic of the moment.

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From L to R: the Maxwell & Williams glassware collection and the Lissmore Essence Champagne flutes (Set of 2) from Waterford, available online at Zanui.

COCKTAIL HOUR

You don’t have to go all Tom Cruise and throw open the COCKTAIL bar to have a bang-up brilliant celebration. Bubbles, wine and beer will cover most peeps – and BYO keeps it cheap(er). Then pick a couple of signature cocktails for the night.

Think quick and easy… If they can be pre-made in pitchers (or punch bowls!), then all the better.

We love these two cocktails for their gorgeous on-trend pastel hues!

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Pink Grapefruit Margaritas (image sourced: theregoesthecupcake.com) and Royal Doulton’s 1815 dinnerware, available online at Zanui.

Pink Grapefruit Margaritas

  • 1 cup ruby red grapefruit* juice
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
  • 1 cup triple sec orange liqueur
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1 cup silver tequila
  • 1   lime cut in wedges, optional Kosher salt

Combine grapefruit juice, lime juice, triple sec and ice in a blender. Pour into a large pitcher. Add tequila. Stir.

Rim glasses with lime wedge and dip in salt. Or add a sprinkle of salt to each glass – it enhances the flavour.

Makes 4 drinks.

* Ruby red grapefruit juice is much sweeter than regular and has a lovely pink colour.
Recipe sourced from theregoesthecupcake.com.

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Fab Rugs outdoor rugs and cushions add tropical flair to your gig, and Blue Lagoon Cocktail, (image sourced: theartofdrink.com).

Blue Lagoon Cocktail

  • 30ml vodka
  • 15ml Blue Curacao
  • 90ml lemonade or bar sour

Build in glass and garnish with an orange slice.
Recipe sourced from theartofdrink.com.

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Royal Albert‘s iconic British fine china tea and dinner ware – ideal for classic garden parties, available online at Zanui.

DESSERT BAR

As it gets later, you’ll want to be less hands-on. (Trust us!) Pre-made desserts make the perfect end to a night of culinary indulgence. Display them on your cake plates and tiered stands and request your guests make an orderly queue!

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Super-sweet succulents and cookie tins to say thanks for the memories. Images sourced: justbaustralia.com.au. 

LAST BUT NOT LEAST! PARTY FAVOURS

Gift your guests a little something to remember you by… Tie together a trio of multi-coloured macaroons with a little rustic twine or package up some sweet treats for them to savour on the way home. We love these adorable mini succulents!

Done and done. Too much fun. 😀

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.