Patio and garden parties can be sophisticated or casual, but the focus is always on the beauty of nature and the flavors of summer. Let colourful flowers and fruits guide your inspiration. Here’s the low-down on how to transform your outdoor space into a vibrant garden oasis for guests.
Floral Decorating Ideas
Clay pots fit any decor and can be used for flowering plants, green plants or even flower arrangements.
Topiary designs look great in clay pots and can be created with ivy or flowers.
Floating candles and flowers in crystal bowls add a soft glow to the party.
Miniature vases showcasing different types of flowers make great table decorations and can be given to guests as party favors.
Small clusters of roses in low containers with a sprinkling of rose petals on the table among votive candles can create a very elegant mood.
Floral name cards or a flower on each napkin adds a personal touch.
When it comes to summertime food, seasonal veggies and fruits add flavour and zest. Here are some great ideas for tasty summer eats:
Use seasonal vegetables or fruits as a base for your summer salads – like a diced tomato or cucumber salad. Or try this refreshing watermelon-based salad that your guests are sure to enjoy, courtesy of Foodtv.ca.
If you decide to incorporate an herb garden into your outdoor planning, your food fare will take its cues from the spicy flavours you grow. Fresh parsley and dill make salads and main dishes more savoury without adding extra calories that creamy dressings and sauces include.
Become a grill master! Learn the ins and outs of barbecuing (whether you have a full-size range or a small coal apparatus) so you’re ready to impress on the grill. Arrange a kit with the necessary tools (include a BBQ brush, tongs, sauce brush and tea towels that you don’t mind getting dirty).
Many dishes can be prepared ahead of time (potato and macaroni salad is delicious), giving you ample time to mingle with guests.
If you’re adventurous and want to create your own backyard vegetable garden, HGTV.ca has great tips on the the best veggies to grow.
Cool Summer Beverages
Serve thirst-quenching drinks quickly is a fantastic skill every host should enjoy. Here’s how to keep drinks light and refreshing:
Maintain an ample supply of ice cubes. You may want to buy some cute new ice cube trays in fun shapes. Ikea has a great selection.
Club soda adds instant bubbles to fruit juice and transforms white wine into summer spritzers.
Mint leaves are great for garnishing summer drinks, and the extras can be used on top of whip cream and berry desserts, too.
Keep a ready supply of lemons and limes on hand to add zest to beverages. Practice your lemon rind swirl skills using a paring knife.
As afternoon soirees turn to early-evening fetes, keep the twilight going with lighting. Luckily, there are lots of affordable ways to infuse twinkling lights in your outdoor space:
Candle votives grouped in odd numbers on tables or railings are great for illuminating food areas and outdoor perimeters. Try matching votives with your garden & flower palette.
Candle torches in citronella are a great way to ward off pesky bugs when the sun sets. Set-up couldn’t be easier — stick the torch in the ground!
Candle lanterns are a great way to add a lot of light to tables and they protect flames from light winds, too.
Hang twinkle lights or lanterns from trees or place lights among flowering plants.
Outline the patio with plants and twinkle lights at the ground level to create a defined space.
Pulling It All Together
Ah, the final touch. Consider easy-listening music for hot summer events like Diana Krall or Feist. Test-run your music system and find ways to set up without leaving stereo cords loose where guests may trip. Enjoy the fruits of your labour! Invite a few friends over to enjoy a summer barbeque or dinner party in your new space.
Your New Year’s Eve party is tomorrow night and you still haven’t decided on the decorations? We have some ideas for you!
All That Glitters
Choose a theme and design your party decorations and menu around it. New Year themes can include gold and silver star decorations, gift packs and party favors. Choose traditional New Year’s colors to start. Metallics like gold and silver with black are popular choices and can be used in any combination. Brights like red, blue, yellow and green are also festive colors you can use to decorate a New Year’s party. Visit your local party store to select New Years decorations and your local florist for flowers and centerpieces. Most party stores offer a wide variety of themes, from elegant to family friendly, and themed packages are a great way to coordinate your party and get everything you need. Or go simple, and choose a few key decorations as the focal point for your party.
Patriotic New Year themes can include small flags or decorations that use red, white and blue as the key colors of your indoor and outdoor New Year decorations. Look for wind chimes, candle decorations in flowers arrangements, ribbons and streamers, noise makers, and balloon decorations. Set your table with colorful paper goods for ease and convenience. Mix metallic colored plates, cups and napkins with black tablecloths. Before setting the table, liberally strew about a few generous handfuls of glittering confetti and party poppers. Inflate as many balloons as possible with helium, tie on ribbon, and let them float to the ceiling. You can hang party favors or snacks from the ends of the ribbon. Mylar balloons can reinforce a metallic theme, and a mixture of brightly colored balloons is a feast for the eyes of skyward-looking guests.
Find or create decorations with New Year’s images. Top hats, crowns and noisemakers can double as decorations and costumes if they are hung or placed decoratively. Hang banners featuring “Father Time” and “Baby New Year,” clocks, dates, champagne bottles and glasses. Cut out or printed stars can be another fun theme, and you can even hang strands of star-shaped white lights. Any specialty shapes can help create a theme. Hearts, snowflakes, bells and fun confetti are great additions to the overall decor. Hang festive streamers or strands of ribbon from the ceiling, from railings and decorate the backs of chairs. Recycle metallic ribbons from Christmas.
Make centerpieces low, so party goers can see each other and interact. Try a bowl of floating candles and flowers or a wreath with metallic ribbons and candles. Floral centerpieces can usually be delivered the morning of the party, or even the day before so they are at their freshest. Discuss your options with your florist.
We know Barack chose white roses with babies’ breath for his and Michelle’s 16th wedding anniversay. It was reported by the Chicago Sun! And while we didn’t catch the scoop on the type of flowers John might have chosen for his and Cindy’s 28th anniversary, we dare to presume he may have sent her orchids…
If you are looking for ideas for your own upcoming anniversary, here are some great suggestions:
Her Favorite Flowers – This is a great choice, but talk with your florist to make sure they are in season. Not all flowers are stocked year-round.
Flowers in Her Favorite Color – Your florist can create a beautiful arrangement in shades of almost any color.
Roses – Roses are anniversary favorites world-wide because they symbolize romantic love, celebration and high value.
Holland Arrangement – The best quality flowers come from Holland. These are usually the preferred flowers for weddings, anniversaries and special events because of their color, texture and superior quality.
Exotic Flowers – For a bolder, more distinctive floral gift, you might consider a tropical design.