Spring weather has been teasing us with longer days of sunshine and the promise of outdoor parties. And knowing I’ll be spending 90% of my time outside over the next few months, I’ve had my sights set on our side yard patio which has always had loads of potential but needed major TLC before I was ready to throw a party over there. As is usually the case, the idea of a party served as all the motivation I needed to spend some time sprucing up the space with my favorite pieces from Target’s new patio collection. Y’all – the pieces are GORGEOUS, and the bohemian vibes of this global-inspired Opalhouse furniture inspired the entire look.

I couldn’t think of a better way to break it in than a springtime get-together with a few of my favorite mama friends. Every now and then, we all need a kid-free brunch with our besties, yes?

A simple menu highlighting my favorite flavors of the season, plus a turmeric-citrus mocktail, felt celebratory but didn’t weigh down those of us who needed to head back to the office or straight to school pickup. It felt like such a luxury to have time together in the middle of a weekday, though when schedules don’t allow, a weekend gathering would be just as festive. And our newly-renovated garden was the perfect backdrop to our festivities. Scroll on to see how we pulled it together fast using all pieces from Target, plus my best entertaining tips for hosting a warm weather party that’s completely stress-free. Break out the breezy floral dresses – it’s officially garden party season!

pictured: women’s short rain boots, solid doormat in beige, round artificial boxwood wreath, rattan outdoor lanterns, glass outdoor lantern

Create the Vibe.

The earthy furniture and outdoor decor I chose from Opalhouse’s global-inspired collection helped create various entertaining spaces for guests to mix and mingle. I loved taking inspiration from nature’s color palette and the eclectic materials like rattan and ceramic to create the overall vibe of the party. A design that’s done in a mostly-neutral palette of natural materials can feel exciting when it boasts tons of texture – plus, it’s the perfect canvas for pops of color in your accessories! I peppered in modern items, like these stone planters from Project 62, that kept everything a little streamlined.

pictured: women’s floral print midi dress, glass tumblers, potting table, basket

Booze-free doesn’t mean boring.

Non-alcoholic cocktails are on the rise as people embrace a healthier lifestyle. My garden-inspired Orange-Turmeric Mocktail felt just as celebratory without the booze. To make it, I made a simple syrup by boiling sliced turmeric and ginger root in sugar water, then cooled, added a splash to a pitcher of orange juice, and topped it all off with ginger ale. The fresh mint and pineapple garnishes made it feel like springtime in a glass.

pictured: hat, garden tools, potting table, large white pot, terra cotta rectangle pot

My new favorite party trick? Use a gardening bench as a makeshift bar or food buffet! This one was the perfect small-but-mighty bar setup where guests could help themselves to drinks. It takes up less room than a full bar, and I loved showing off my adorable new addition to the patio.

pictured: two-toned large stoneware pot, white ceramic pot

pictured: charcoal stoneware planter, plant mister, garden gloves, birdhouse

pictured: floral dress, southport egg chair

Outdoor Lights Are A Must.

Twinkling lights, lanterns, and candles are the finishing touch we love for every outdoor space, and I kickoff every warm-weather season by adding a few new ones to my patio space. They’re the quickest way to capture a magical ambiance that’ll keep the party going from daytime past dusk! These string lights stay up all year around, and I scattered a mix of stoneware and rattan lanterns throughout the space. I love to use them as the centerpiece for a table when I don’t have any flowers on hand.

pictured: macrame plant hanger, umbrella, dining table, dining chairs, string lights

Keep it Casual.

One way to make your space feel relaxed is by mixing-and-matching different furniture styles. Here, I paired a modern dining table from Target’s Project 62 brand, with more bohemian dining chairs from Opalhouse, and the result is a space that’s pulled together, yet still laid-back.

Family-style grazing tables are a feast for the eyes – and sharing everything is my favorite way to put guests at ease and get them interacting with each other! This Bagel and Lox Board is my favorite thing to serve for a brunch get-together since it’s basically an entire meal on a platter.

Since there are so many great faux plants at Target right now, I brought a few onto the patio to mix in with our real plants and make it all feel more lush. Not a single guest could spot which of these plants was faux. Can you?

Early spring parties can always be a little tricky since plants and flowers often aren’t quite in full bloom yet. Using faux in the garden can help it all feel more green during this awkward stage in the season, and then when the garden is more lush, move the faux indoors for the green vibes all year round.

pictured: dining plates, black flatware

I love how this macrame runner adds a little boho texture to an otherwise clean, contemporary table. Fringe-y napkins echo the laid-back vibe but still feel really clean in a neutral palette.

Let’s talk about this sturdy melamine dishware, shall we? I’ve never seen such gorgeous and practical plates that you don’t have to worry about breaking, making them perfect for all the outdoor entertaining needs of the season, for ALL ages! The painterly prints are so on-trend this season and instantly dress up even the most casual tabletop.

This is that moment of the party where I asked myself, “Why don’t we get together in the afternoon a lot more frequently?” It’s such a refreshing break from the grind, and if kids happen to be in school, it means no babysitters required.

pictured: wooden tray, marble bowl, antique spoons

Okay, here’s what I put on my Everything Bagel & Lox Spread:

  • Toasted Everything Bagels
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Sliced Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Thinly-sliced Red Onion
  • Radishes
  • Chopped Chives
  • Cream Cheese – I folded in a little garlic and dill to dress it up
  • Lemon Wedges
  • Capers

The entire platter came together in 5 minutes – exactly how long it took my bagels to toast in the oven!

pictured: glass platter

I love a salad that incorporates spring’s newly sweet strawberries! This recipe combines just a handful of ingredients for minimal effort and maximum impact.

Click here to get the recipe for my Strawberry & Arugula Salad with Spring Herbs & Goat Cheese!

pictured: white ruffled blouse

Create outdoor rooms without walls.

Elevate your outdoor space by creating a few inviting areas where your guests can dine, lounge, mingle, etc. These little conversation areas totally change the flow of a party, and since we had clear blue skies, I was able to dressed them up by bringing out a few of my favorite poufs and pillows from indoors. Want permanent poufs, but worried about rain or fresh-out-of-the-pool party guests? Target offers equally gorgeous designs in durable outdoor materials. Win-win!

pictured: brittana chaise, sofa, terracotta pillow, neutral geo pillow, grey stripe pillow, colorblock pillow in pink

pictured: hanging rope chair, coffee table, outdoor rug, rattan serving tray, glass lantern, stoneware patterned vase, large stoneware vase,  lory pouf, darien pouf

For dessert, I served Raspberry Fools in pretty glasses. With only 4 ingredients, this is pretty much the easiest dessert imaginable — but guests go crazy for them.

pictured: stoneware bud vases, terracotta pot, denim pantswide leg pants

Keep the Party Going.

In keeping with our garden party theme, I sent guests home with cute little potted succulents so they could bring a little spring into their homes. It’s such a sweet and inexpensive way for guests to remember a gathering long after it’s over – and may just inspire a little gardening, too!

pictured: stoneware basic planter

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Kristen Kilpatrick