Designers Share Their Tips for Hosting a Garden Tea Party

party food
Photo: Victoria Pearson

Gather in the garden for an afternoon tea party filled with flowers and friends. Floral designer Natalie Bowen Brookshire and chocolate expert Amy Guittard share their tips for hosting the ultimate garden party—along with ideas for arranging the prettiest bouquet.

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Gather in the Garden

garden party women at table
Victoria Pearson

There's no better way to celebrate spring than with a garden party filled with flowers and friends. We're sharing stunning ideas for tea party food, flower arranging, and pitcher cocktails. Gather your gals and head outside.

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Easy Apps

party food
Victoria Pearson

Keep the garden party food fuss-free by serving up a variety of topped toasts. From sweet chocolate-topped bread to a savory spread of cheese, these easy-to-eat appetizers are perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea (or a cocktail). Keep it casual by serving your appetizers on a pretty wood cutting board and setting out a stack of simple white plates so guests can serve themselves.

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Chic Buffet Table

close-up party food 3-tier platter
Victoria Pearson

Vintage brass serving ware and wood pedestals give this tea party an eclectic touch. Serve classic tea sandwiches and treats in a tiered stand. Arrange a variety of fruit and cheese on a wooden cake stand.

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Easy Accents

garden party women cheers drinks
Victoria Pearson

Serving up drinks in champagne coupes makes this garden party feel extra special. Mixing up a pitcher cocktail ensures you'll be free to enjoy the party. Just before serving, add a few slices of fresh fruit or pomegranate seeds to each glass.

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Tea Time

woman holding clear tea kettle with mint leaves
Victoria Pearson

In addition to a few special cocktails, serve a big pot of tea. For the prettiest presentation, just before pouring add a few sprigs of fresh mint. If the weather's warm, serve fresh iced tea instead.

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Bring the Inside Out

women conversing outdoor garden party
Victoria Pearson

If you don't have enough patio seating for a party, grab a few kitchen chairs and bring them outside. Scatter outdoor pillows and blankets for a setting that will make your guests feel instantly comfortable. Place small flower arrangements on tall candlesticks to add height to your dining table.

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Stunning Centerpiece

pink flower arrangement
Victoria Pearson

A low and flowing flower arrangement is the perfect centerpiece for this laid-back garden party. Start by placing large blooms in a pretty stone dish. Add smaller flowers and stems to fill in the arrangement, and finish it with a few sprigs of greenery draped over the side.

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Party Stations

garden party women outside
Victoria Pearson

Set up two designated areas at this crafting garden party. First, set up a buffet and dining table in one. It encourages guests to sit and chat while they pass food family-style. Then, arrange a second station for flower arranging. For easy cleanup, cover the surface of a long table with kraft paper, and provide fresh flowers, vases, scissors, and everything else guests need to create their own arrangements.

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Bold Blooms

garden party woman next to table with container flowers
Victoria Pearson

Create the ultimate flower arranging station with bunches of grocery-store flowers in a monochromatic color scheme. Tulips, carnations, ranunculus, lisianthus, and roses work well. Place the stems in water inside galvanized metal flower buckets. You'll need about eight stems per guest.

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DIY Flower Arranging

women arranging bouquets at garden party
Victoria Pearson

During the tea party, let guests arrange their own bouquets to take home. So they'll fit inside sheets of kraft paper, trim each flower stem to 10 inches long. Aside from the kraft paper, you'll need sheets of plain or patterned tissue paper, ribbon, and pretty scissors.

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Take-Home Bouquet

bouquet of pink flowers with ribbon bow
Victoria Pearson

Provide supplies so each guest can take her own bouquet home to enjoy. Tie the kraft paper or gift wrap with about a half yard of ribbon. Look for ribbon pieces or scraps at your local craft supply store, and get our must-have tips for creating bouquet wraps.

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Finishing Touches

scissors and ribbon
Victoria Pearson

Give your guests' creations a luxe touch with silk or velvet ribbon.

Editor's Tip: Rather than purchasing several full-size rolls of ribbon, look for ribbon remnants in various colors at your local crafts supply store. (These are usually less expensive.)

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Festive Party Favors

woman holding footed bowl of garden party favors
Victoria Pearson

A simple recipe like homemade granola bars becomes a pretty party favor when packaged in clear bags and tied with a handmade tag. Cut tags from brown kraft paper or cardstock and use a white oil-based pen to make a tag for each guest.

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