Sunny days are here and it’s finally starting to feel like spring in the Northern Virginia area. And now that we’ve finished our spring cleaning and started to get our outdoor spaces in shape, why not usher in the new season by throwing a warm and inviting springtime garden party? An afternoon garden party — one that could potentially extend into the evening — is one of the best ways to celebrate spring. As with any successful venture, planning is key to hosting this type of party successfully, and a little bit of preparation goes a long way. To help you get started, we reached out to Frederique Stephanie, a local Fashion & Food Stylist at The Pop-Up House in Washington, D.C. Here are a few of Frederique’s pre-party ideas to help set the right mood and feel for your outdoor gathering:

How to host a spring garden partyAdd Fresh Flowers and Decorations

You don’t have to go over-the-top here — a few strategically placed vases with cut flowers will boost the seasonal charm. Sunflowers are always a winner. You can also transform your garden space by putting up some decorations. Paper chains and bunting can immediately put your guests in the party mood (visit Pinterest for DIY bunting ideas and templates).

Choose the Right Seating

Scatter a few colorful bean bags, cushions and blankets around the patio and grass to give people somewhere comfortable to lounge in the sun, add instant pops of color and set the party tone.

Set a Theme

Setting a culinary theme for your party is a great way to introduce guests to new cuisine and customs. You can go distinctly Italian and introduce the aperitivo, celebrate the beloved French goûter, indulge in British Pimms, tea and cakes, or add some spice with Mexican delicacies.

Add Ambience with Lighting

When the light starts to fade and the party is in full swing, some strategic lighting can make all the difference. There are plenty of great-looking light sets — from fairy lights and Chinese-style lanterns to Nordic wood boxes — that can be strung in branches to provide atmosphere. And the most important thing to remember about throwing the best garden party, ever? Don’t stress about making everything perfect. Enjoy yourself, relax and spend time with your guests. That’s what great events — and great memories — are made of!   --- Curious to see which Van Metre communities have the best outdoor spaces? Get in touch.