In German there’s a saying that translates something like this: “One should celebrate the festivities as they fall”. This has always been true and even more so in recent years. It will probably surprise no one, but I prefer to celebrate my parties in the garden. Whether it’s just a glass of rosé after a long day at work, or a special occasion (hello Mother’s Day on May 8!) where the table is beautifully set and the linen napkins are brought out, I think al fresco is just always better. One often thinks, to celebrate parties in your own garden is a huge hassle and extremely stressful. To show that it does not have to be so, I have summarized my tips for a successful garden party… for example for Mother’s Day.
Tips for a relaxed garden party for Mother’s Day
Preparation is the be-all and end-all
It starts with the basics: sweep the terrace, check any flower troughs on the terrace and if necessary remove withered and dead plants. Clean the table and chairs (especially in spring, the pollen that settles everywhere is my personal nemesis) and maybe also set up a small sideboard for food and drinks to self-service.
What’s for dinner?
When celebrating with friends and family, I think time spent together should be the priority. Therefore, I would advise against large menus that require a lot of time in the kitchen and exact timing. A great option are for example tapas, cold salads, or something similar. Many small dishes that can be easily prepared and then be put out for the guests to help themselves. An alternative, and my personal favorite, are so-called “grazing boards”. Large wooden boards filled with everything your heart desires. Different kinds of cheese, salami, prosciutto, some chutney, prepared mini caprese skewers and in addition olives, grapes, pears and / or nuts … whatever you want. There are no limits to the imagination here. On the side, olive bread or ciabatta with high quality olive oil and aceto balsamico for dipping and everyone will be happy. I promise.
What to drink?
With the classics such as white wine, rosé, champagne and alternatively beer you can never go wrong. Add an Aperol Spritz (tip: quarter the oranges in advance and put them in a bowl) and there’s something for everyone. . For children, drivers and guests who do not drink alcohol, you can easily prepare carafes with berry juice (frozen berries make even raspberry juice an eye-catcher) or sparkling water with lemon and mint from the garden.
The necessary decoration
I love to make things beautiful and of course this does not stop at the table decoration. If you believe a successful table decoration is a huge undertaking, you may be mistaken. Especially for garden parties it does not need much. Mostly I decorate the table with a linen runner, straw placemats, fresh herbs in terracotta pots (yes you read that right! 😉) and individual flowers from my garden distributed on small vases. (Tip: Tulips are excellent in the spring. With the right care tips, the flowers will last for days after the garden party).
Linen napkins with napkin rings give the whole thing a slightly more elevated feel and if you want you can spice up the table decoration with colorful water glasses. All in all, it’s done in max 10 minutes.
The most important thing – forget about perfection and make sure to enjoy the day.
What you should always keep in mind: it does not have to be perfect! Personally, it’s important to me that the food looks (and tastes) good, that there are a few flowers on the table, and that the overall look is nice. I do that first and foremost, for me, because I just like things to look nice. But don’t get stressed. The important thing is to enjoy the day and collect beautiful memories with your loved ones.
With this in mind, don’t shy away from celebrating parties in your own backyard. Yes, it’s a bit of work but it’s still manageable and a celebration in a private setting is always more cozy and beautiful than in a restaurant.
All the best,
PS: Did I forget something? Do you have any tips and hacks to ensure a smooth garden party? Feel free to let me know. 🙂 🙂