How to decorate your garden for your engagement party
Whether you’re on a strict budget, keeping it intimate, or your engagement party plans were turned on their head by the pestilential pandemic, there is a solution for everyone – a garden engagement party.
Gone are the days where this is considered “tacky”.
In fact, with careful planning, a few expert tips, and a touch of creative flair, your backyard bash will be remembered fondly by every attendee for decades.
In typical “always the bridesmaid” fashion, I’ve assisted many a friend in need in planning intimate engagement parties, bridal showers, and even weddings (using my knack for arts and crafts to enhance the day), so without further ado, let’s jump into how you can throw the garden-based engagement party of your dreams!
Money, Money, Money
Before you can begin planning for the finer details, you should establish what your overall budget is and then break your budget into sections.
I’ve provided a range of budget-friendly decoration ideas below, but it is still best to know exactly how much you have available for every area.
Work out your major costs first
Things like the cost of the caterer, the band, the photographer, and so on.
This will give you an idea of how much room you have left to play.
By doing this, you’ll also get a feel for where you can opt for cost-saving alternatives, such as asking your culinary talented aunt to provide the cuisine, as opposed to hiring a professional.
Get a Feel for the Surroundings
From the color of the flowers in the garden to the layout of the garden itself, you should have a good grasp of the space that you intend to use.
I recommend doing a birds-eye-view mapping of the area, which you can use for your planning.
If you are having photography done, consider not only your seating and bar areas but also where you would like to have photos taken.
Remember, the backdrop and lighting will make or break even the most special photographs. Consider having your photographer assess your space beforehand to advise on what they feel would be best for you.
If the garden you’re using does not have a lot of shade, consider hiring a tent or gazebo (depending on the space available).
Tables and Chairs
Seating and table arrangements are affected by both the number of guests you will have attending your event and the overall aesthetic that you intend to achieve.
A shorter guest list not only means that you need fewer tables and chairs, but it also means that you have more creative freedom in terms of your decorations.
Decide early what kind of tone you want for the event. Your seating will be very much affected by the kind of vibe you want to achieve.
I’ve attended events that have felt just as elegant as any other, where beanbags and ottomans accounted for the largest part of the seating arrangements.
Outdoor sectionals are a great way to create a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere, without compromising on the quality of the overall look.
I particularly like sectionals being used as a general area, away from the main seating, where guests can chat or enjoy a late-night bonfire.
Browse some reviews online to help figure out which is the best outdoor sectional for your outside space.
From oversized wooden barrels to wrought iron masterpieces, you truly have endless options for your tables. If you have a variety of tables, a quick stop by your nearest textile factory will make keeping them uniform easy.
If you need plenty of tables and don’t have the budget to hire or buy (or just want to keep the theme rustic), check out industrial spools. They come in a ton of shapes and sizes and can be picked up for free (if you know where to look).
Of course, you’ll likely want some kind of floral arrangement for your centerpiece. Having an outdoor party mitigates the risk of taller arrangements making the area feel cramped, though you should still consider your guests and how the centerpiece may disrupt cross-table conversations.
If you are looking to save money, there are a ton of amazing options available. One of my personal favorites is using succulents as your centerpiece.
Succulents come in a wide variety of colors, so you can choose plants that suit the tone of your party (or garden).
Plant each succulent in its own pot and you have gifts for your guests when the party is through.
Not all centerpieces need to be floral. There are dozens of unique ways that you can create your own bespoke centerpieces affordably, without eating into your budget for flowers.
Keep it Handmade
Nothing is as personal as handmade decorations.
From the name cards to the mats or underplates, handcrafting your table decorations not only looks great, but it can also be a fun activity for you, your intended, and your bridal party.
This is something often overlooked when throwing garden parties.
The last thing that you want to do is work for two days to create the perfect look, only to serve drinks from cooler boxes.
Hiring a full-blown bar will dig into your budget, so consider looking into rustic alternatives like wheelbarrows, barrels, or troughs.
Top shelf liquor looks great on a ladder with wooden slats run through each step.
Nothing sets the mood better than a well-thought-out lighting setup.
Fairy lights strewn through surrounding trees makes any garden look like a fantastical wonderland.
Likewise, paper lanterns offer a soft, warm array of lights throughout your garden (and cost next to nothing).
Glass jars half-filled with water make the perfect home for tea-light candles and offer a surprising amount of light.
Ask your bridal party to start saving coffee jars, pickle jars, and any other glass jar they can get their hands on.
In my experience, the larger the variety of shapes and colors, the more effective the finished look.
How Did It Go?
Have you hosted or attended a garden-based engagement party?
Leave a comment and let me know how you made it unforgettable! If you have any other ideas or tips, I’d love to hear them.
If you know someone who has recently gotten engaged, share this with them!