Garden Party Edit: Outfit Ideas, Hosting Tips & More

It’s June, which means we’re finally moving into garden party season! 

We’re here to offer our top garden party style tips, along with a few stylish outfit ideas to give you some inspiration. 

We’ll also be covering some British garden party basics, including a checklist of essentials for every summer soirée and our favourite BBQ recipe ideas to impress your guests! 

We understand that it’s an uncertain time right now, so we’ve also included some information at the end of this post regarding the topic of BBQ’s during lockdown. Above all, be safe, and remember to always stay up-to-date with the latest government guidelines.

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Garden Party Style

Figuring out the perfect garden party outfit can often prove a challenge. The dress code is usually unspoken, and typical garden party attire can be perplexing for many, requiring that you strike the perfect balance between dressy and casual. On top of that, you’ve got the English weather to account for as well! 

So what is garden party attire, exactly? It can perhaps be summarised as semi formal, but as it’s a daytime affair, you’ll likely lean more on the casual side. Think of a dressed down version of a summer wedding outfit: maxi/midi dresses and skirts, flowing styles, floral prints, but swap the heels for something a little more comfortable. 

Similar advice goes for men’s garden party attire: go for a button up shirt and a blazer (if the weather calls for it), but ditch the tie. If the dress code calls for casual, you can get away with shorts, otherwise slacks are the way to go!

Above all, comfort is key. Remember that you’ll be outdoors for the majority of the afternoon, and possible into the evening, so a lightweight jacket is always a good idea. And appropriate flat shoes are a must!

Garden Party Outfit Ideas & Jewellery Style Tips

The midi or maxi length sundress is every woman’s best friend when it comes to a traditional British garden party. Comfortable, cute and lightweight, there are plenty of patterns, lengths and styles out there to create your personal summer look! 

Florals will forever be the front-runner when it comes to women’s garden party dresses. Timeless and romantic, floral prints look best when splashed across elegantly flowing skirts and delicate ruffles. We suggest pairing with some cute nature-inspired jewellery from our Serenity collection to really embrace that delicate summer vibe. 

Dress: Dorothy Perkins; Earrings, Bracelet and Necklace: Joshua James

A jumpsuit or playsuit is another fun (and comfortable!) option for your garden party outfit. Florals again are always a favourite, and bold prints are popular for really making an impression. Delicate gemstones, for example those in the Joshua James Radiance collection, can be used to complement and enhance the different shades within your outfit, offering a gentler touch to a bold colour palette.

Jumpsuit: Wallis; Necklace, Ring and Earrings: Joshua James

Alternatively, a pair of lightweight tailored culottes or palazzo trousers make for a slightly more relaxed outfit. These are so versatile, you can effortlessly swing from casual and comfortable to elegant and sophisticated! Pair with a smart fitted blouse to achieve a dressier garden party style, or a cute strappy or off-the-shoulder top for a more casual outfit. We’ve taken it casual with the outfit below, and teamed with some cute ChloBo stacking bracelets and hoops to achieve a relaxed boho vibe!

How to Host a Garden Party

Getting your outfit sorted is a big step in planning for a garden party, but if you’re hosting, you’ve still got plenty more prep to do! 

There are lots of garden party ideas for themes out there, in case you want to be a little adventurous, but you can never go wrong with keeping things traditional. One of our favourite themes is the quintessential British garden party: barbecue, bunting and Pimm’s is all you need!

No matter your theme, there are certain things that every BBQ or outdoor soirée will need. We’ve put together a brief checklist of garden party essentials that you might want to keep handy while planning your do! 

Outdoor/patio furniture

Make sure you have plenty of seating options! No one wants to be standing around for hours on end, or end up sitting on the grass. You don’t need to worry too much about coordination – an assortment of whatever chairs you can find is absolutely fine for a casual garden party.

You’ll also want a good amount of table space, mainly for serving food, but also to act as a place where people can leave empty glasses and plates. Consider setting up stations for different purposes, and make this clear to guests with a few cute little signs! 

Tableware

It seems fairly obvious, but all too often people underestimate the number of knives and forks they might need, or forget something simple like napkins! Garden party essentials include cutlery, plates, serving platters, napkins and glasses – and double check you’ve got enough for the expected number of guests (plus some extra). Mesh food covers are also a must!

Entertainment

While the majority of any garden party is spent chatting and admiring the greenery, a little bit of planned entertainment never goes amiss. Try out some traditional lawn games such as croquet for something more sophisticated, and make sure to prepare some kid’s entertainment if there will be any little ones in attendance. Some simple ideas include a pinata or even a slip ‘n’ slide. 

Music

Every garden party needs music! Create a playlist to match your party’s tone, whether that’s classy or casual.

Lights

Be prepared for your party to move into the evening (which should be the case, if you’ve done a good job!). No one wants to sit in the dark, so consider decorating the garden with some gentle lighting. String lights are always a popular option, while lanterns offer something extra decorative and artistic. Remember to illuminate paths where you can!

Blankets

Again, if it starts to get late, you’re likely to feel that British cold. Have a few blankets ready to share out if people start to look chilly.

And of course…food and drink!

The most important garden party essential there is! Read on for some of our top garden party food and garden party cocktail ideas…

Best BBQ Recipes

No garden party is complete without some amazing food! One of the best things about BBQ food is that it’s so simple, meaning you have plenty of time to spend with guests. Just make sure someone is manning the barbecue at all times to avoid chicken that is a little too chargrilled! 

We’ve picked out a few of the top BBQ recipes that are super easy to make and sure to be crowd-pleasers. 

Barbecue Sauce (BBC Good Food)

You can’t have a barbecue with BBQ sauce! Of course, it’s tempting to just put out a bottle of Heinz (or even put some into a bowl and claim it as your own). But the fact is, BBQ sauce is so easy to make yourself – you probably have all the required ingredients in your cupboard already. 

Why not give this simple recipe a go, maybe throw in a few extra ingredients to create your own signature BBQ sauce?  

Find the recipe here.

Barbecued Chicken (Jamie Oliver)

Of course, at least one Jamie Oliver recipe was going to feature here! His recipes are famed for being super easy to make, and this barbecued chicken is no exception. A little bit of orange adds a special zest to this recipe, but any citrus fruit will do really. 

For an extra punchy flavour, we suggest marinating the chicken for a few hours before cooking. 

Find the recipe here.

Halloumi Burgers (BBC Food)

Halloumi’s rise to fame has been revolutionary for the veggie BBQ experience! Honestly, you don’t even have to be vegetarian to enjoy this easy halloumi burger recipe. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you could even try making your own hummus as well. 

Find the recipe here.

BBQ Corn with Garlic & Chilli Butter (Olive Magazine)

Charred corn on the cob is a classic BBQ side, but the spicy garlic butter in this recipe gives it a zingy twist. It’s another recipe that is sure to please veggies and meat-eaters alike! 

Find the recipe here.

Pimm’s (Good Housekeeping)

A drink synonymous with British summer time, Pimm’s is the quintessential garden party cocktail! You might already know how to make the perfect pitcher of classic Pimm’s, but an article from Good Housekeeping offers several few fun twists that you might want to try at your next garden party. Pimmsicles, anybody?

Find the recipe here.

BBQs during lockdown – can you have a garden party?

For everyone across the UK, it seems that plans for summer have gone out the window. You might be dreaming of faraway beaches, but that just means it’s more important than ever to make the most of the occasional sunny weather we get here at home! 

With coronavirus guidelines constantly changing, it’s vital to stay informed on the latest restrictions and guidance from the government in order to stay safe. A recent update regarding what we can and can’t do has stated that we may now “spend time outdoors, including private gardens and other outdoor spaces, in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines.” However, it’s important to remember that this may change at any time, and above all we must continue to protect the most vulnerable among friends and family. 

With this in mind, a mini lockdown garden party isn’t completely off the table. If you’re living at home with family, it’s a great opportunity to spend some time together in the sunshine, and perhaps have one or two friends pop round for a (socially distanced) beer. 

We’ve linked and referred to the most recent coronavirus guidance above (updated June 10 2020 on writing this post), and we recommend that you continue to stay up-to-date on the government’s advice if planning a summer lockdown BBQ.


We hope we’ve offered some inspiration for your next garden party event, whether you’re a guest planning your outfit, or a host trying to figure out the menu! Above all, we recommend keeping things simple, and enjoying the time spent socialising in the sun with friends and family.

Browse the full range of jewellery now at Joshua James to find the latest summer styles from your favourite brands.

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