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How to Plan an English Garden Party-Inspired Bridal Shower

Look across the pond for bridal shower inspiration. Courtney Sixx of How2Girl walks us through throwing a bash the British way.

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A party in the garden is a perfect and festive way to celebrate a warm-weather bridal shower. And taking a nod from our friends across the Atlantic pond—who are serious about their gardens and parties—means you'll find a wealth of inspiration for decorative ideas. Our favorite How2Girl, Courtney Sixx, is a big fan of outdoor entertaining and traditions, so for this styled shoot, she looked to English tea parties as her muse for planning a shower complete with flowers, tea service, yummy treats, and pure girlie fun in her California garden.

 

Intent on throwing your own garden-party bridal bash? Scroll through for Sixx's best tips to get you started. The party pro offers great ideas, plus how-to instructions for achieving some of the details on your own. Her event design is easily imitable, but sure to impress your celebration's guests. Prepare to snack and sip to your heart's content in your own flower-filled outdoor oasis.

Patchwork Tablecloth

Something as simple as a tablecloth can make all the difference in bringing your theme to life. To get the look seen above, Sixx chose nine fabrics to create a summery, quilted linen that's perfect for covering a six-foot-long rectangular table. Sixx used a combination of different florals and textures, giving the party a whimsical, romantic vibe. Mimic the look for your own party with these easy instructions:

1. Cut each fabric into two 18-inch wide by 60-inch long "strips."

2. Lay one set of strips out on a work surface side by side to create a quilt type pattern.

3. Sew together along each side of each fabric with edges together so there is clean line in between each fabric.

4. Lay out the second set of strips in a different order than the first; the tops of both of these fabric panels will be sewn together to complete the cloth and varying the fabric order will add to the quilted appearance.

5. Repeat sewing up the fabric sides of second panel.

6. Line up both panels along top and edge to edge. Sew along top. This seam will run down the center of the table. 

Peat Moss Runner

The garden is literally brought to the table thanks to this moss runner. Add some texture (and English garden charm) to your party with a live green accent. You'll need three runners to fit down the length of the table seen here. Simply unfold each runner from its packaging and line each one up down the lenght of the table.

Tea Party Sandwiches

Sandwiches in keeping with the floral color scheme are as pretty as they are delicious. Sixx's favorite bridal shower bite? Tiny chicken salad and arugula sandwiches on sliced French baguettes, garnished with cherry tomato slices and arugula shavings. To make them all the more charming, she likes to dilute pink food coloring in water and lightly brush the top slices of bread to give the sandwich a colorful look. Be sure not to over saturate or bread will become soggy. (If you're ambitious enough to make your own bread, feel free to add the food coloring directly to your dough.) To finish, place your sandwiches on a cookie sheet in oven at 300 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes. 

Floral Centerpieces

Cluster centerpieces are hugely popular in the world of weddings, and they work well for showers, too. A grouping of floral teapots, tea bag canisters, and teacups can be transformed into the perfect vessels for floral arrangements. For this project you will need three teacups, three tea pots, and three tea bag canisters. Depending on the size of your specific table, you may need fewer or additional pieces. You will also need a package of peat moss and an assortment peonies, roses, English garden roses in pinks and fuchsias, as well as chamomile and greenery.

  1. Cut floral foam to fit in to three teacups; soak in water for 5 minutes and place in teacups.

  2. Trim flower stems so that blooms sit just over edge of tea cup.

  3. Arrange flowers and greens by poking stems into foam.

  4. Arrange flowers in teapots and canisters, finish with greenery and fill all with water.

  5. Arrange down center of table, alternating teapots, teacups and canisters.

  6. Tear pieces of peat moss to fill in spaces on top of runner and between vessels. 

Rose Petal Dessert

Carry your English garden theme throughout the party with a beautiful rose petal cushion for the dessert. To make this delicious treat yourself, use take fuchsia rose petals, folded gently in half, and place them around and just inside the edges of an antique plate border. Then, place either a large homemade or store-bought tarte on top of petal cushion. Finish the display by placing two petals on top of tarte as a garnish.

Lavender Tea Favors

A tea-inspired favor makes a lovely reminder of the day for guests. You will need tulle, ribbons of patchwork cloths, a gold teaspoon, loose lavender, and a mini mesh tea diffuser.

  1. Place 2/3 cup lavender in the center of the tulle.

  2. Gather ends of tulle to create a pouch and secure with fabric ribbon ties (each fabric should be used for a total of 9 ribbons; lay all together evenly and then tie as one ribbon).

  3. Before tightening ribbon completely with a knot, insert the bowl of a spoon into lavender pouch so that tip of spoon stands at the center of with fluffed tull ends on top. Then secure a tea diffuser to the package by wrapping the chain end of diffuser into knot before tightening. 

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