The Garden Party

What is your first reaction when you are invited to a garden party? Do you consider this to be an informal party if it’s at someone’s garden at home? Would you react differently if the event was held at a public garden?

Garden parties are traditionally held in the afternoon usually from 4pm onwards and as the name implies, held outdoors. During the warm summer months and when the days are long, organising a garden party is a great opportunity to get family and friends together at home for an informal yet fun gathering.

Have a read through the below for a glimpse into what makes a memorable garden party at home.

Attending a garden party

1. On receiving the invitation, make sure to RSVP in a timely manner and observe the dress code on the invite.

2. If there is no dress code, then the perfect outfit for ladies would be a flowy dress or outfit made of light fabric. Flowers and patterns add a beautiful touch to any outfit and if you prefer trousers, then go for wide-legged ones. The aim is to be effortlessly stylish. Hats may be worn as well as sunglasses, however if you go inside remove your sunglasses.  For afternoons, go for knee length tea dresses or sun dresses whereas for evening parties you may opt for a flowy maxi dress.

3. Gentlemen should aim to look polished. Ideally, sticking to cottons and linens is best. Instead of a T-shirt, go for a polo shirt or light long-sleeved shirt with rolled-up sleeves. Deck shoes or loafers are both good.

4. Ladies should not wear heels but wedges and ballerina pumps or sandals. Remember that if you tread upon soft ground you will end up having your heel digging into the ground with every step you make.

5. When you have a welcome drink, keep it in your left hand so that your right hand is free to shake hands with the host or other guests. Nobody likes to shake hands with someone who has moist hands especially in summer when they can be mistaken for sweaty hands.

6. Mingle with others and keep conversations light.

Hosting a garden party

1. Plan well ahead and have a contingency plan in place in the event of inclement weather. This is the very first planning detail that you need to settle before sending out invitations.

2. Remember to include a dress code on the invitation.

2. Will you be dressing the garden for the occasion? Then colour themes would tastefully transform your garden.

3. Consider candles and fresh flowers around the garden. You want to welcome your guests with warmth and freshness.

4. The choice of food also contributes to a successful garden party. Be sure to have a refreshing welcome drink to serve the guests on arrival and have some cool refreshments – pastries, hors d’oevres, finger food.

5. As the host, the garden party is yours so own it. Go around all the guests and have a word with everyone. Needless to say, you need to see that everyone is having a great time.

6. Don’t forget some background music – It’s all about the environment you wish to create.

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece” – Claude Monet.

It should be the same for you.

Ramona Galea
Ramona Galea

Ramona is an International Etiquette Coach and an avid believer of the importance these soft skills have nowadays. This passion kicked off from a young age when she questioned why elbows couldn’t stay on the table and her inquisitiveness continued and she founded First Class Etiquette, to address the developing need for people’s understanding of the importance of international business and social etiquette. It really is not just about elbows but confidence, attitude, assertiveness and knowing the how, the when and the why we do things. Amongst her hectic schedule, her two biggest indulgences are travelling with her family and reading with an Aperol Spritz in quiet surroundings - just being away from it all to de-stress.

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