During the Victorian era, wealthy English families often held garden parties at their lavish summer houses. Magazines such as "Harper's Bazaar" and "The Ladies Home Journal" reported on elaborate garden parties and gave tips on holding a successful garden party. Bring the elegance of garden parties of the past to the present by holding a theme party.
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In previous centuries, English hosts held the parties at their properties, so old manors or mansions with manicured gardens would work well as the theme party venue. Otherwise, get permission to hold the party at a local public park, or just have it in your backyard. Decorate the venue with ivory, gold and green fabrics on tables and centrepieces of roses, lilies and violets. Place candles on the tables or hang a chandelier.
On the invitations, mention that the party will have a Victorian garden party theme and that the guests should stick to Victorian dress code. Ladies can wear long dresses with corsets and big skirts. They can accessorise with hats or bonnets and jewellery with pearls and diamonds. The gentlemen can wear frock coats, cummerbunds, neckties, scarves, top hats or bowler hats, handkerchiefs and linen shirts.
Under a tent or a covered area, serve English refreshments such as tea, coffee, lemonade, bread and butter, biscuits, cake, sandwiches and fruits. An 1882 edition of "Harper's Bazaar" also recommended salads, cold birds, ham, tongue, foie gras, gold patties, jellies, ices, punch and champagne. Use a table that can be easily moved in case of a heavy downpour. If the party is held in your backyard, place refreshments in the dining room to free up more space.
Arrange for the guests to participate in Victorian outdoor activities such as lawn tennis, croquet, archery, ball games and races. Also arrange for card games and draughts under shady trees for guests who are less mobile. If there is a body of water nearby, consider rowing or boating as activities. Hire a brass band or a musician who plays classical music on piano, violin or harp. Invite the guests to dance on a cleared area on the grass.
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