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5 Hostess Hacks That Turn Your Basic Picnic Into a Dreamy Garden Party

A picture-perfect posey picnic.

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‘Tis the season for backyard picnics. Something about the grass between your toes and the sun on your skin as you eat sandwiches and sip something sweet just screams springtime. And while having a simple picnic on a blanket under a tree is lovely, why not kick it up a notch by bringing in the best of the season — fresh flowers? Even if you don’t have an enormous estate with perfectly manicured gardens and luxurious landscaping, nothing’s stopping you from throwing a gorgeous garden party. Keep reading to see how you can treat yourself and your loved ones to a refined luncheon in a floral fantasy land — without leaving your backyard.

Pretty up plates with posy-kissed napkins.

Banquet service with pink napkins, glasses, pink bouquets
Adobe Stock

Every dining affair needs napkins, especially when they’re hosted outside. Unexpected winds can make for unplanned messes. So why not make this functional item into easy decor? All it takes is a stem of perky pink blooms and a bit of ribbon to transform a simple napkin into an inviting accent that’s sure to make your guests smile. To do: Fold a pink dinner napkin into a rectangle, then wrap at the center with a length of pink satin ribbon; and tie into a bow. Snip a pink spray rose stem to 4 inches and slip under the ribbon; add the napkin to a plate.

Boost the beauty with a hatbox bouquet.

hat box bouquet pink with pink and white flowers
Adobe Stock

Flowers in vases are beautiful and classic. But switching it up and putting fresh florals in an unpredictable but feminine container, like a chic hatbox, adds a splash of style and panache to your party. To do: Fill a 5-inch-tall vase with water and place in a 6-inch-tall hatbox. Cut 12 fuchsia blooms (like roses, calla lilies, peonies, and zinnia) and fresh greenery to 8 inches. Crisscross flower stems in the vase to form a tight bunch; tuck in greenery.

Brighten their day with a special garden scene.

Garden party table setup
Courtesy of Josefina Martinez of Dream & Party LLC

The centerpiece of any garden party is the seating area. The key to creating a charming brunch that celebrates spring in pretty style: mixing patterned fabrics, beautiful blooms, and vintage tabletop accents. See this beautiful example from party styling pro Josefina Martinez of Dream And Party. Here, a low-profile table is surrounded with soft, velvety pillows for plush seating. Its surface is layered with floral fabric runners, pink chargers, scalloped plates, and dainty vintage teacups (Buy from Amazon, $39.99 for set of 6). The finishing touches? A duo of garden arches (arranged over the table and wrapped with craft-store vines and faux flowers) and a “runner” of gorgeous blooming centerpieces. To make the runner: Line up a tiered server, two wooden crates, and two pitchers, then fill with fresh (or faux) greenery and fuchsia flowers.

Sweeten the day with a ‘rose’-kissed cake.

ombre rose-piped frosting on cake
Adobe Stock

If you thought flowers were simply part of your party’s decoration, think again. Floral-inspired foods can quickly and easily elevate your event. Try these sugary frosting flowers, which make a frosted cake bakeshop-beautiful in minutes. It’s easy to do, but looks professional. To do: Use a round cookie cutter to lightly press evenly spaced circles on the top and sides of a frosted cake. Tint vanilla frosting pink with food coloring, then add to a pastry bag fitted with a star-shaped tip. Starting in the center of each circle, pipe frosting in a circular motion out to the edges. Need a little help? See a tutorial on how to make easy frosting roses from Natasha’s Kitchen below.

Warm their hearts with a signature floral sip.

flower tea in clear glass teapot
Adobe Stock

Have your guests feeling floral from the inside out with a tasty tea. This vanilla rose tea is beautiful to look at, and perfect to warm them up from any lingering chill in the air. To do: Add 5 teaspoons of culinary-grade dried rosebuds like Rosebuds & Petals Tea (Buy from The Tea Spot, $11.50 for ⅛ pound) to a 40-ounce teapot. Fill with boiling water and steep 6 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons honey; strain into five cups.

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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First for Women.

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