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Setting the Table Outside: Garden Party Table

Allow your flowering garden beds to inspire your next outdoor get-together.

You Will Need:
  • Several varieties/colors of flowers
  • Gardening shears or scissors
  • 20+ small, glass jars or containers that can hold water
  • Water
  • Smooth stones (1 per guest)
  • Metallic permanent markers
  • Metal serving trays (optional; 1 per guest)

Whether a small gathering of close friends and family or a celebration with a larger party, a creatively styled table adds a certain wow-factor, especially when it’s outside. You know all those glass jars you’ve been saving—jelly jars, hot sauce jars, baby food jars? We’re going to put them to good use today! If you don’t have a plethora and don’t want to raid the neighbor’s recycling bins, just purchase a pack or two of jelly sized canning jars. Additionally, antique stores will often carry interesting bottles in many shapes, sizes and colors. We’re going to use these as vases to design a whimsical runner of blooms for your table—the more jars the merrier.

Keep the flowers indoors in fresh water until right before guests arrive. Cut flowers wilt faster in direct sun, heat and wind. You can get the rest of the table ready ahead of time.

Make sure all the glass vases are clean. Bacteria will diminish the vase life of your flowers. Begin to set out the vases down the center of your table. If it’s a particularly wide table or you don’t need space for serving platters (for instance, you have a buffet table elsewhere) you can plan for many vases to create a lush, abundant runner. On the other hand, if the dining table must house the décor, guests and their food, you can still achieve an adorable affect with a single row of vases and flowers.

Oval stones can serve as place markers, adding a personal touch and encouraging guests to find their seats. Use a permanent metallic marker and your best cursive to write names or initials, space depending. These stones will double as a weight for napkins if it’s a breezy day. For smaller parties and/or if you have plenty of room, each setting could be on an antique metal tray for a touch of grandeur.

Just before guests arrive, trim flowers down appropriately and pop a stem or two in each mini vase on the table outside. To tie in the surroundings, snip anything that’s blooming in your garden. Just be aware that those plants may not hold up as well after being cut—not all plants are suited for a vase.

After the party, you can send the teeny vase arrangements home with guests as a little “Thank You.” Many would likely fit in the cup holder of a car. And after all, the vessels you used were destined for (or salvaged from) the recycling anyway. You might also have leftovers to bring inside to add cheer in every room of the house. They can remind you all week of the nice time that was had at the party.

View Party Plan: BIG Fun in the Summer Sun!

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