13 Garden Party Themes, Plus Tablescapes and Decoration Ideas

Saffron Marigold - Updated: January 2, 2023

That magical time when the earth begins to warm, and the sun overshadows the dark, gloomy days—that’s when you can start to plan your garden party. Barring rainy weather, spring, summer, and even early autumn months are perfect for hosting garden parties. If you’re in search of garden party tablescape ideas or garden party decor themes, we have thirteen here for you to sample!

How do I make my garden party look good?

First things first. Break up the garden party planning process into bite-sized pieces.

  • Choose a theme
  • Create a drinks and food menu according to your theme and event
  • Use beautiful table linens and table settings that match your garden
  • Match your decor to your backyard plants (e.g. Use the colors of your seasonal flowers in your table linens)
  • Hang up string lights or streamers on trees and walls
  • Manicure your garden, and put away tools, machinery, etc.
  • Lay out lanterns along paths for a magical atmosphere
  • Map out your stations: food, drinks, lounging area, activities, etc.
Photo: Rachel Red

Without further ado, let’s take a look at 13 garden party themes you can try out for your next garden party!

1. Fairy garden birthday party

A fairy garden birthday party isn’t complete without storybook decor. Sparkling lanterns, abundant fresh flowers, and whimsical lawn ornaments will set the magical mood. Accessorize with candles (whether real or battery-operated) or string lights. Small, thoughtful touches like personalized place cards will leave guests feeling extra special.

Photo: Catherine Dooley

Get the look

Wayfair

Decorative Butterfly Metal Lantern

FTD

Beyond Blue Bouquet

2. Garden theme birthday

If you’re inviting a couple of close friends for a garden theme birthday dinner, try our Enchanted – Ivory round table cloth. Pair with the matching Enchanted cloth napkins and a set of taper candles for an elegant, luxurious look that rivals any fancy restaurant you might have had in mind. Top it off with your nice china and a bouquet of flowers—pink to bring out the pastels in the Enchanted table linens!

Photo: Cindy Magnus

Get the look

Kathy Kuo Home

Caskata Arbor Coastal Beach Blue Porcelain 4 Piece Place Setting

Crate and Barrel

Pink peony Floral Arrangement

3. Garden party bridal shower

Whether for your best friend or a family member, a bridal shower should be treated with as much care as their wedding day. A garden party for a bridal shower begins with the right decor. Floral is always a fantastic choice for anything wedding-related, and Orange Blossom is high on our list of refined and colorful linens for such a special day. Don’t forget the place cards and invitations!

Photo: Rachel Red

Get the look

Annie Glass

Edgey Charger / Serving Plate

Fromyouflowers.com

Fall Fragrance Bouquet

4. Garden dinner party

If you’re hosting a dinner party outside, we recommend starting the first course well before sunset. That way, you can enjoy your meal and conversation while there is still light—as the day makes way to night, the glow from your string lights and candles will create a warm, charming atmosphere.

Photo: Linda Halbrecht

Get the look

Green Fairy Candles

King’s Crown Thumbprint Avocado Tiffin Glass Goblet

Fromyouflowers.com

Fiery Lily and Rose

5. Vintage garden party ideas

Vintage-inspired table cloths like Victorian Lilac (pictured below) will make your vintage garden party the talk of the entertaining season! While Victorian Lilac is a discontinued print, do check out Versailles or Orange Blossom for more vintage-influenced table linens.

Photo: Cindy Magnus

Get the look

Wedgwood

Royal Albert 100 Years of Royal Albert 1960 Golden Rose 3-Piece Place Setting

Bice’s Florist

Kalanchoe Plant

6. Garden tea party ideas

Lush and ornate, Orange Blossom will pop against your verdant backyard scenery. The same goes for Tropical Garden collection, which features colorful lilies and red hibiscus. Coordinate these florals with feminine tea sets and serve ware to complete your garden tea party decor. A rectangle table cloth is also a fine idea for a tea banquet for larger guest lists.

Photo: Mary F. Saunders

Get the look

Wedgwood

Royal Albert 100 Years 1990 Bouquet 3-Piece Set

Bloomingdale’s

Royal Albert 3 Tier Cake Stand

7. Autumn harvest garden party

Celebrate the mid-autumn festival in style using Tropical Garden and fall-themed decor. Yes, Tropical Garden connotes summer and spring, but its color palette definitely adapts to an autumn harvest garden party. Amp up the fall aesthetic with classic motifs like pumpkins and bales of hay.

Photo: Patricia Maristch

Get the look

Terrain

Wicker Pumpkin

Terrain

Green Chinoiserie Jar Vase

8. English garden party

What better print to use for your English garden party than our very own English Gardens table cloth! An English garden is decidedly traditional, but relaxed. Maintained, yet natural. In a tablescape, this means setting out a semi-formal place setting complete with a classic floral bouquet and vase.

Photo: Cindy Magnus

Get the look

2Modern

Wonderlust Waterlily Coupe Plate

Cultural Interiors

Sky Blue Amphora Vase

9. Summer garden party

Summertime calls for spontaneous outdoor affairs, aka summer garden parties. Bring out the cold lemonade in a large glass pitcher, and set up the table right under the canopy of your backyard tree to enjoy the fine weather with your loved ones. Here, the Enchanted – Ivory table cloth shows its versatility.

Photo: Cindy Magnus

Get the look

Kirkland’s Home

Baja Blue Pitcher

The Flower Factory

Summer Spritz Bouquet

10. Fourth of July garden party

Fourth of July is perhaps the quintessential American “garden party”. Granted, most shindigs for this holiday center around barbecues and fireworks, but it’s nice to prepare something more polished once in a while. Try the Starry Nights table cloth to keep it on-theme: cyan and blue stars are decidedly patriotic!

Photo: Cindy Magnus

Get the look

Neiman Marcus

Mario Luca Giusti Lente Basso Tumbler

TOPS Malibu

Gold Mini Stick Sparklers

11. Moroccan garden party

Morocco is no stranger to outdoor gatherings. In fact, luxuriating in a riad or courtyard garden is a great way to spend time with friends and family in Morocco. Bring out your Casablanca Blues table cloth, Moroccan glasses, and pitcher full of mint tea to embrace Moroccan style.

Casablanca Blues
Photo: Cindy Magnus

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Over the Moon

Bloom Carnation Plate

Moroccan Gifts US

Moroccan Ceramic Twin Small Cups With Silver Work

12. Enchanted garden theme party

Similar to a fairy garden party, your Enchanted garden theme party should take elements of tales about curious worlds and magical creatures. Make use of our Enchanted – Blue table cloth to create a tablescape that’s truly captivating. Pair with whimsical table centerpieces and dishware, and transport guests to faraway lands.

Photo: Cindy Magnus

Get the look

Williams-Sonoma

Famille Rose Mixed Salad Plates

Tablecloths Factory

11″ Gold Wrought Iron Cinderella Pumpkin Carriage Table Centerpiece

13. Blue and white garden party

Simple, dignified, and versatile. Whether a graduation reception or a housewarming, this color palette is a win! English Gardens adds its undeniable charm, and you’re free to add tabletop decor as you like. To start, blue and white china is foolproof, as are clear tea glasses.

Photo: Catherine Lukens

Get the look

Williams Sonoma

Marlo Thomas Dinner Plates

Belk

20 Ounce Iced Tea Glasses Set

Backyard party decorations for any occasion

Some garden party decor can be used again and again.

  • Colorful bunting
  • String lights
  • Cushions, blankets, and pillows
  • Candles and lanterns
  • Glittering garden wind spinners
  • Fairytale-themed lawn ornaments
  • Birdhouse stakes
  • Floral wreaths and garlands
  • Reusable floral panels
  • Decorative arches
  • Garlands
Photo: Handicraft Exports

Garden party food

What kind of food do you serve at a garden party? The answer depends on the nature of your gathering. Baby shower? Bridal shower? Birthday fete? And, is it a morning, afternoon, or dinner affair?

Finger foods are always a hit:

  • Tea sandwiches
  • Fresh vegetables and dip
  • Fresh seasonal fruit
  • Pinwheel sandwiches
  • Loaded bruschetta
  • Cheese board
  • Flautas
  • Chips and dip
  • Bite-sized desserts

Don’t forget to account for food allergies or dietary restrictions! Offer up vegan, veggie, or gluten-free options in your menu.

Photo: Fu Zhichao

Garden party drinks

Be sure to provide a selection of nonalcoholic drinks in addition to your adult-catered beverages. Ideas include large batches of lemonade, canned sparkling water, and fruit-infused water. Better yet, a signature nonalcoholic drink for the party can make your menu extra special, and it gives everyone a chance to enjoy something tasty no matter what.

Make sure everything that contains alcohol is clearly labeled.

If you’re thinking of setting up a bar table, remember that it can be as fancy or casual as you want it to be. For bridal showers and more formal occasions, you might even hire a mobile bartender. These mixology pros can help you come up with a special drink for the occasion. This can lift some pressure off of your shoulders—now you can plan the rest of your garden party!

Photo: Gillian Harrison

How do you entertain guests at a garden party?

Besides food and drinks, you probably want to provide some form of fun at your event.

Games

Outdoor games give guests something to do, especially if you’re hosting a wide range of ages. Try the classics:

  • Cornhole
  • Skittles (Nine pins)
  • Hoopla (Quoits)
  • Giant Jenga
  • Giant chess
  • Boules
  • Croquet

If you’re hosting for a children’s birthday party, try setting up a treasure hunt throughout the garden. Charades, party card games, backyard dominoes, and backyard Twister are also fun hits.

Lounge stations

Given there’s enough space, provide areas for sitting or hanging out away from the food and drinks tables. Outdoor blankets, cushions, and pillows can make guests feel more at ease. This will also be helpful for guests bringing smaller children who may not be old enough to run around just yet, but are more than happy to crawl and explore.

Merry music

Your garden party playlist will help to set the ambiance. The right songs depend on the occasion, and you certainly don’t want to be playing rock music on blast at a bridal shower garden party, for instance.

One suggestion? Curate a playlist with hit classic instrumentals or ambiance music like jazz piano. Play your music loud enough to register to guests’ ears, but not so loud that talking to the person to your left is impossible.

Photo station

Rent a photo booth by the hour, or set up a selfie booth using a polaroid camera! Guests can leave with adorable photographs to memorialize the day’s smiles and laughter.

Photo: Jarred Clapperton

Don’t forget…

Some reminders for little things you might forget!

  • Bug repellant
  • Garbage bins
  • Weather preparedness (e.g. umbrellas, wind blockers)
  • Put away unsightly backyard items (e.g. lawnmowers, old, rusty bicycles, etc.)
  • Extra food and drinks
  • Guest book for big events

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