How to Host a Chic Summer Garden Party

An overhead shot of a chic garden party

Jayme Burrows / Stocksy

Feeling ready to party? Summertime is the perfect season to host friends and family, and if you're looking to plan a chic garden party but need a bit of a refresher when it comes to hosting, you've come to the right place. Take a look at our top tips, then get ready to bust out your favorite sundress and make some memories.

garden party

@s.u.s.a.p / Instagram

Serve Small Bites

Who doesn't love appetizers of all kinds? There's no need to serve a heavy meal to your friends, but be sure to offer plenty of small bites; it isn't a get together without some food, after all! Consider serving caprese skewers, mini quiche, tea sandwiches, or other seasonal or on-theme treats that guests can easily enjoy while walking around and mingling. Ensure that you have a variety of vegetarian and gluten free options on hand for guests who may have dietary restrictions.

Make a Punch

What says summer more than a festive punch? If you wish to spike yours with alcohol, it's easy to do so—whip up a sangria featuring seasonal fruit or make a large pitcher of watermelon margaritas to pass around. You can still keep a few bottles of wine on hand, but offering a signature drink like this is an excellent way to make your gathering feel more special. Take things to the next level by setting out favorite vintage glasses or champagne coupes to elevate the experience.

Don't Forget the Flowers

Be sure to display flowers, whether you're entertaining indoors or out. Set out sunflowers, daisies, tulips, or whatever other blooms are calling your name. Nothing says summer like a colorful bouquet. Perhaps you can even shop your own backyard!

Perfect Your Playlist

Whether you like jazz or hip hop, be sure to have some beats going in the background! No party is complete without a great playlist, after all. If you're not as musically inclined, consider asking a friend who always knows the latest hits to curate a playlist for you on their smartphone. All you need is some portable speakers and you're golden!

garden party

@luckyplot13 / Instagram

Dress Up

Every occasion feels more special when you're wearing something fun and frilly. By no means should you require a specific type of dress code (this is a get together among friends, not a black tie wedding!), but why not subtly encourage your guests to put on their best sundresses by noting something like, "tea party attire welcome" or "come wearing your favorite floral print piece!" This keeps guests' options open while allowing those who wish to go the fancier route to do so. Be sure to take photos to document everyone's getups! If you feel like adding a vintage twist to your party, purchase a Polaroid camera and get snapping. Polaroid photos are always a blast and make for excellent party favors, too.

Mix and Mingle

A good host is aware of guests who may be feeling shy or don't know many other people and swoops in to play matchmaker. Sure, you'll likely be busy during your gathering as friends arrive and glasses need to be refilled, but don't leave your loved ones in the lurch. Who knows, maybe your lovely coworker and next door neighbor will end up developing a friendship of their own! If you see a guest standing alone, make an effort to loop them into a nearby conversation and introduce them by name to other partygoers.

garden party

@herzenstimme / Instagram

Pay Attention to the Little Details

Your guests will notice when you go above and beyond, trust us! Visitors to your home will appreciate all of the little touches that help distinguish a good host from a great one. In the bathroom, light a pleasantly scented candle and set out extra roles of toilet paper in a basket. Stock up on water, especially if it's a particularly hot day, and be sure to offer guests a nonalcoholic beverage option, be it sparkling cider, flavored seltzer, or iced tea. Always purchase more food than you anticipate will be necessary—you never want your guests to go hungry, after all! Thinking ahead of time to ensure your friends and family are comfortable and well fed will go a long way, we promise.