How Does Your Garden Grow?

Gather & Grow  

Join me as I host my family for an al fresco garden-inspired celebration in my very own backyard. With a bright, airy setting and a delicious homegrown menu, this outdoor celebration was the perfect way to welcome in the new warm-weather season.

When Should You Host an Al Fresco Gathering?

As long as the weather is nice, you can host an outdoor gathering whenever you please. Depending on where you live, the temperature outside could change during different times of the year, but we recommend hosting the majority of your al fresco garden parties in the springtime when it’s the perfect middle ground between too hot and too cold. 

Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, we love to plan a festive and fun gathering outside when the weather is nice. Something about the fresh air, delicious food, and fine company adds up to a memorable event every time. With our inspiration and guidance, setting the table for any occasion is simple. 

The Mood

My garden was in full bloom, and I needed to use up the last of my lettuce crop, so I set the tone for the rest of the mood using that single ingredient as my main inspiration:

The Gathering

A new season brings new reasons to celebrate. What better way to soak up the warm, fresh air than to gather with friends and family in your own backyard? I chose to host my garden-inspired lunch in my orchid house. With a fresh, light menu featuring my homegrown lettuce, this garden party was an afternoon to remember. 


 The Table

I featured our Iris Blue Collection for the table setting to add a cohesive look to the garden theme. Paired with a centerpiece full of thriving green ferns in various terracotta pots to create a fresh garden feel with layers of texture. Lunch was served family-style so guests could enjoy their time at the table and linger in conversation without feeling like they needed to go to the kitchen to prepare their dinner plate

Essential Dinnerware for the Garden Party Place Settings

If you intend to replicate this delightful event, pull out these dishes from your collection to complete each place setting:

  • Dinner plates (or pasta bowls)
  • Salad plates
  • Placemats
  • Cocktail napkins
  • Cloth napkins
  • Flatware
  • Glassware

Must-Have Serveware for the Garden Party

We recommend serving your al fresco gathering family-style, meaning every serving dish is set in the center of the table for guests to serve themselves. Choose the right serveware for your theme and fill the dishes with your delicious recipes:

  • Serving utensils (fork and spoon)
  • Serving platters (oval and square)
  • Mango wood dough bowl
  • Cake stand (and matching glass dome)
  • Salt and pepper shakers
  • Butter dish
  • Small bowls (for garnishes, dips, and more)  

The Menu

I wanted the menu to be simple and fresh while also hearty and delicious. A recipe I chose for Wild Rice and Chicken Salad featured seasonal ingredients that I knew would pair well with my homegrown lettuce. Pair with an assortment of fresh berries for a flavorful Berry Medley side dish, plus everyone’s favorite yeast rolls, and you’ll have the perfect garden party menu. For dessert, I chose a store-bought Carrot Cake from Tasty Pastry, one of our favorite local bakeries.  

The key to creating a memorable menu for your garden party is using fresh and seasonal ingredients, as seen in some of our favorite dishes: 


    5 Steps for Hosting Your Own Garden Party

    Host your own garden-inspired celebration with our favorite dishes for the occasion. Just follow these steps to setting the table outside and prepare a fresh, seasonal menu that everyone will enjoy.

    Step 1: Gather Your Table Components

    Before you set the table, lay out all of the dishes you intend to use. Depending on your menu, you may have different white salad plates, bowls, dinner plates, or serving dishes. Make sure you have the correct number for each place setting.

    Pro tip: Whether you are featuring the stylish Iris Blue designs or Signature White items as your focal point, make sure to tie in a natural element to create a curated look inspired by the freshness of nature. 

    Step 2: Craft the Perfect Menu

    Pair seasonal ingredients to create a fresh and light menu that is full of flavor. A classic Wild Rice and Chicken Salad recipe is absolutely delicious and easy to prepare in advance for your garden party.  

    Step 3: Create a Lively Centerpiece

    Every garden party needs plenty of fresh greenery as the focal point. Place your favorite ferns alongside your dinnerware to bring in a natural element to your tablescape design.  

    Step 4: Serve Lunch Family Style

    Family-style dining is perfect for any casual gathering where you want to focus on connection and community while enjoying your meal. Just set out your Garden Party recipes on serving platters, trays, and bowls in the center of the table and encourage your loved ones to serve themselves. Guests will enjoy having the opportunity to stay at the table and chat over lunch rather than running to the kitchen to fill their plates.  

    Step 5: Set Up the Music

    No party is complete without the perfect soundtrack. Before guests arrive, press play on your favorite tunes to bring together the atmosphere of your garden party. My go-to music for almost any gathering is the Celebrate Everyday curated playlist on Coton Colors' Spotify. 



      Take it from me, a simple excuse like an abundance of a single ingredient can lead to something really special! Take our cue and host your own outdoor gathering, too. 


       - Marcie


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