Planning A Garden Party

Faux flowers with cocktail glasses | Essex wedding planner

For anyone organising a summer garden party you will know that this is no small feat. From the all important guest list, deciding which catering options to offer, as well as how to keep your guests entertained. It goes without saying, planning an outdoor celebration comes with a whole host of considerations.

But, with a little forward planning you will be pleased to know that you can absolutely plan a celebration that you and your guests will thoroughly enjoy and will remember for years to come.

To help you along the way, I’m very excited to be sharing with you my tops tips and points to consider, which will help ensure all runs smoothly.

Inviting your guests

However you choose to invite your guests, whether it be via a formal invitation, email or message. As well as including the obvious information such as your address and the start time, consider including additional information such as whether or not there will be parking available for your guests. If you are able to accommodate your guests vehicles, provide clear instructions on where you would like them to park, and whether or not they can leave their vehicles overnight. If however you are unable to offer parking facilities, you could provide details on train stations which are nearby, local cab companies and details of hotels that are within easy reach.

You may also like to ask your guests to RSVP and provide any dietary requirements, so you can plan your party accordingly. It’s also worth informing your guests that they are invited to a garden party, which will allow them to dress accordingly.

Wet weather plan

Whilst I am sure you are hoping for glorious sunshine, thanks to the British weather this may not be realistic, so you should have a plan b in place incase it is required. If you are planning a small relaxed low key affair then having a number of gazebo’s on hand if rain is looking likely will act as shelter for your guests. If however you are planning a more formal sit down meal, or if you are inviting more than 50 guests you should consider hiring an open sided marquee. This style of marquee gives the option of removing some or all of the walls, which is the perfect way of allowing guests to dine under cover whilst feeling like they are outside.

Lace Tablecloth with urn of flowers and two pink cocktails | Essex Wedding Planner

Feeding & watering your guests

If you would rather not play chef, then you should consider hiring caterers to look after your guests. Depending on your parties timings you could treat your guests to afternoon tea, a relaxed and informal barbecue, luxury grazing stations, delicious street food or a formal sit down meal. Remember, if your party runs from the afternoon into the evening you may need to consider offering your guests a snack a little later on, with toasted sandwiches, hot filled rolls or fish & chip cones being a popular choice amongst guests.

As well as feeding your guests you should also give consideration as to how you will keep your guests glasses topped up. Of course, you could offer a DIY bar, but beware this isn’t as easy as it sounds and you should consider who will keep the bar stocked, collect and replenish glasses as well as ensuring there is a constant supply of ice & garnishes available. If this sounds like hard work and you have called upon the services of caterers to feed your guests, then most will be able to supply additional staff to run your bar for you. If however this is not an option then maybe look into hiring bar staff from a bar company or hiring in a mobile bar.


Unless you are planning a very small garden party it’s highly likely that you will either need to borrow suitable furniture from family and friends to compliment your own collection, or hire addition items from a furniture hire company or your marquee company, (if you are hiring a marquee).  When selecting the furniture you need, remember your guests will require seating whilst dining and also relaxing.

Luxury lounge area for your wedding day | Essex wedding planner


From elegant florals, fun balloon installations right through to atmospheric creative lighting. The styling options for your garden party are endless. If you would like to keep things simple, consider positioning small bud vases filled with fragrant blooms on surfaces around your garden, and surprise your guests with elegant candlelight and twinkling fairy lights delicately wrapped around tree trunks, both of which look beautiful as the evening sets in.

If however you would prefer to leave styling your garden to the professionals, then welcoming your guests into your garden with a statement floral or balloon arch never fails to make a great first impression. And as mentioned above, creative lighting is a fabulous way to create an evening ambience. Styling trees with additional fairy lights hanging from branches, as well as around the trunks creates an amazing focal point for your guests to enjoy as the sun sets. You could also consider hanging festoon lighting around your garden as well as illuminating the outside of your house and flowerbeds using uplighters.


If you haven’t booked live music, then downloading a number of playlists to play throughout the party will allow you to relax and enjoy mingling with your guests.  Remember to create a number of playlists from easy listening through to party classics which will allow you to change the style of music as your party progresses.

Of course, there may be many more points for you to consider when planning your garden party, but I do hope this blog post has pointed you in the right direction.  If however you are planning a garden party and feel you would benefit from working with a party planner, please do get in touch to discuss how I can assist you.

Image Credits: Terri & Lori Fine Art Photography & Film


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Essex wedding planner Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events in garden

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Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events
Brentwood, Essex

01277 226785
07889 171453

About Hayley

With a keen eye for detail, organisational skills that are second to none and the love of a “to do” list it was inevitable that Hayley would become an events planner. She started her career within the legal profession and was a Personal Assistant for 14 years before training with the UKAWP to become a professional wedding and events planner and then going on to launch “Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events”.

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Hayley Jayne Weddings & Events trained with the UKAWP