Hosting Tips

Brunch in the Garden with kate spade new york

By Camille Styles
garden party cake topped with roses

Now that the holidays are under our belts, it’s officially acceptable to start dreaming of al fresco entertaining with light, fresh flavors and the sun on our shoulders. To celebrate the first hints of spring, we teamed up with our friends at kate spade new york for a fresh and flirty brunch in my garden — thanks to the perfect weather, delicious bites, and great company of girl friends, our moods were as bubbly as the cocktails in our hands. Click through the slides for inspiration on throwing a garden fête that’s perfect for a springtime bridal or baby shower, birthday party, or simply to celebrate the fact that warmer temps have arrived!

*photos by wynn myers

First things first: a tabletop that’s as unabashedly feminine as the garden roses on top of each napkin. I layered my always-versatile larabee dot dishes (dress them up or dress them down!) with linen napkins and paired with casual cream-handled flatware.

I took a page (quite literally!) from kate spade new york’s newest obsession-worthy book, All in Good Tasteas the inspiration for my gathering. The “Garden Party” section (page 71) suggests vintage botanical invitations which Jenn recreated for our guests — click here to download the templates and print your own! (and don’t forget the polka dot envelope liner.)

I served a deceptively simple menu that felt fancy but required minimal prep time on the day of the brunch. This baked oatmeal with blueberries, coconut, and bananas can be mixed up (in a polka dot bowl, of course!) the night before so that all that’s left to do in the morning is bake it up and serve.

On the bar cart: all the fixings for lillet blanc spritzers (lillet blanc + tonic + a squeeze of orange over ice), rosé champagne, and fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice.

*shown: first come first served pitcher, larabee dot stemless wine glasses

I for one do not prescribe to the “no white before Memorial Day” rule; if the sun is shining, spring attire is fair game!

Chanel carries out a stack of party favors: one copy of All in Good Taste for each guest tied up with a satin ribbon.

My friend Carly from Margot Blair Floral is to thank for these garden party-esque blooms; peonies, garden roses, tulips and lilacs cascade over mini vintage vases.

You guys, I devoured this entire book in one sitting. Full of unpretentious ideas on style, entertaining, food, and manners, it’s truly a modern gal’s classy guide to life and my current go-to gift for the ladies in my life.

These apps were a major hit and couldn’t have been simpler to whip up! Toasted seeded bread gets topped with a smear of creamy goat cheese, figs, salty prosciutto and mint, all served atop a cheeky wood serving board.

Another menu item that looks fancier than it actually is: greek yogurt bowls topped with berries, pomegranate seeds, and the ultimate garden party garnish – a sprinkle of edible flowers.

shown: sculpted scallop fruit bowl in turquoise

Place cards are an instant way to elevate any gathering, plus they allow the host to get a little strategic with the seating chart. We took a cue from our botanical invitations and created matching cards — download here, then print, cut, and write your guests’ names.

*shown: larabee dot 4-piece place setting, larabee dot stemless wine glasses, flatware

My new favorite pitcher is the perfect vessel for grapefruit juice — and it’s inscribed with a cute message that couldn’t be more fitting for an AM gathering.

A statement floral arrangement always makes a great bar cart detail. Carly filled a blush pink vase with taller blooms — vivid fuchsia peonies are a bold contrast to pastel roses and fragrant lilacs.

Instead of the more predictable cheese board, I filled a square baking dish with seasonal accoutrements: seeded toasts, cherries, a block of cheddar, and sliced figs let guests build their own little nibbles at the table.

Because pink bubbly always gets the party started.

Page 64 of All in Good Taste provides some helpful guidance on how to give a classy toast in a pinch. The foolproof formula:

Here’s to (name), my (adjective) (relationship), who (accomplishment); may you (verb) with (noun) and (frequency) (verb) (noun). Cheers!

Or you could take a cue from Emily and simply toast spring’s arrival.

*shown: larabee dot stemless wine glass

This baked oatmeal was the standout dish on the table — everyone went back for seconds. Studded with blueberries, coconut, bananas, and pecans, it was almost like bread pudding, but way healthier. I baked it in this pretty green casserole and then served it on the table right out of the same dish (it kept the oatmeal warm, plus it meant fewer dishes for me to clean!)

Polka dots played against the tweedy material of our tablecloth for a modern spin on a classic feminine brunch table.

Suruchi adopts a #ButFirstCoffee approach.

*shown: larabee dot mugssculpted scallop fruit bowl in turquoise.

I dished up all the yogurt bowls in advance, though you could certainly let guests build their own for the ultimate in ease.

A classic vanilla buttercream frosted cake gets topped with garden roses and lilacs — the quickest party trick to making a store-bought cake look custom.

The best part of this cake stand is the clever message that’s revealed after all the cake has been served — we certainly took it to heart!

On the table: larabee dot 4-piece place setting, cream flatware, larabee dot stemless wine glasses, All in Good Taste book.

Everyone leaves with springtime vibes, pretty Instagrams, and a few blooms to enjoy at home.