From Dresses to Décor, Here's How to Throw a Stylish Summer Garden Party

·4 min read

Dining alfresco is practically a requirement for the summer. Not only does it involve a change of scenery, but also, somehow, everything feels chicer and more elegant when you're leisurely eating out in the open air. There are only a few months of the year when I actually want to be outside (without a massive puffer coat on my body and harsh winds swirling in my face), so why not take full advantage of it? With only roughly a month more to go before the easygoing vibe of the summer makes way for the refreshed beginnings of autumn, it's time to start thinking about the last-hurrah celebration.

From a sophisticated outfit to an elegant table setting, throwing a gathering to remember can be way less stressful than you'd think. There are a lot of elements to consider if you take on the task of hosting your own outdoor party, but don't worry, I've laid out everything here. I've also sprinkled in some visual inspiration throughout so you can pull from the best ideas that thrill you. Ahead, keep reading to check out my favorite décor and fashion pieces to make your next summer soirée one for the books.

The Setup

Running through all of the basics for an outdoor party can get overwhelming fast, but it really doesn't have to be stressful. A rustic vibe that melds contrasting styles can feel just as elegant as coordinating table and chairs. The important part is that you create an ambiance your guests want to feel relaxed in.

Costway 18-Inch Bentwood Stools, Set of 4 ($95)

These stools are simple yet so chic.

Great Deal Furniture Yilia Outdoor Wicker Dining Chair (Set of 2) ($151)

If you're willing to splurge a bit more, I love these.

Fredericks & Mae Citronella Hanging Coil ($38)

You never realize the importance of anti-mosquito measures until you're covered in bites at the end of the night. These are supremely stylish, too.

Urban Outfitters Alanis Striped Tablecloth ($39)

Don't stress over buying an expensive table. A good tablecloth is a transformative hack that's super affordable.

Yihomer Pastoral Rectangle Tablecloth ($18)

The cottagecore vibes are strong with this one.

Addlon 48 Ft Outdoor String Lights ($50)

String lights really add a touch of romance.

Ita Outdoor Blanket ($175)

If you're gathering is more laid-back, opt for a beautiful blanket for a picnic-style party.

The Table Setting

The key to a stylish garden party is the tabletop. Even if you're working with limited furniture, a beautiful tablescape can make all the difference. Pro tip: Don't forget the fresh flowers!

Tina Vaia Zahara Marbled Ceramic Serving Dish ($270)

How gorgeous is this?

Anthropologie Spectrum Pitcher ($38)

A rustic vessel for a stunning bouquet of dried (or fresh!) greenery.

H&M Wine Glass ($10)

Even drinking water will feel fancy with these.

H&M 3-Pack Cutlery ($13)

Although real cutlery isn't a requirement, it certainly elevates a table setting.

H&M Mouthblown Glass Carafe ($50)

This looks so expensive.

Urban Outfitters Retro Wave Placemat Set ($18)

If you don't want to splurge on fancy plates, consider cloth placemats as a way to amplify the design aspect.

H&M 2-Pack Linen Napkins ($13)

Cloth napkins are just better.

Etsy Set of 2 Hand Blown Ripple Glasses ($28)

Throw in some unique glassware to really get your guests' attention.

Urban Outfitters Soleil Rays Plate ($14)

These can act as mini serving plates as well as salad plates.

Dinosaur Designs Stone Resin Serving Ware ($107)

Any dish you serve with these will look like a 10.

H&M Large Stoneware Serving Dish ($30)

So simple and stylish.

The Outfit

So you've put in a ton of effort to create a welcoming atmosphere for your guests. Now it's time to focus on your look. Being a hostess with the mostess is about being comfortable and confident, so choose something that you'll feel good in the entire night. Whether you're firmly about dresses or love a good pair of pants, I've outlined a few options I think are stunners.

If you like dresses…

Free People Feeling Groovy Maxi Dress ($168)

Joostricot Midi Tank Dress ($475)

Reformation Nikita Dress Es ($248)

Lioness Stone Cold Mini Dress ($59)

Fe Noel Sundance Slip Dress ($550)

City Chic Flutter Spot Faux Wrap Dress ($99)

Vineyard Vines Textured Tassel Dress ($158)

If you're a pant person…

Reformation Cleo Linen Two Piece ($248)

Reformation Feste Open Knit Tank ($128)

Shop the matching Rosso Open Knit Pant ($178).

Mango 100% Linen Pants ($50)

Shop the matching 100% Linen Shirt ($50).

Tach Clothing Palmira Cardigan ($265)

Shop the matching Gloria Shorts ($253).

Reformation Pinegrove Linen Pant ($158)

Shop the matching Vio Linen Top ($98).

Up next: 30 Random Under-$300 Finds I Can Vouch Are Ridiculously Cute

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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