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Summer is full of celebrations, and time and reasons to enjoy good company, good food and fun times outdoors together with your loved ones. Here are some quick and easy ideas for garden party decorations that will brighten up any festive occasion in a flash.

Think of the table, where food and drinks are laid out, as the heart of any celebration, so take the time to make it special, make it pretty and let it stand out. Lay down a bright, colorful cloth to bring the table to life. You can use a folded sheet, sarong or piece of fabric if you don't have a formal tablecloth. You can also just buy a simple white or plain colored one and decorate it quickly and easily with a few summer props. One idea I love is to collect things from your surroundings, like flowers from your garden, or some herbs, or beach stones or seashells or even just some large branches of foliage in various colored leaves. A large bucket or vase in the center of your table, or several smaller ones running down the middle will add height to your display, and color and flair.

Lighting is always important to set a festive mood. If you are having a daytime party, consider hanging paper lanterns without lights. You can find them online or in party stores in so many fun colors and shapes. Just hang them above your table, or around the perimeter of your patio, or around the main doorway to bring a whole new fun element to your place. If you are enjoying an evening get together, consider using vases with water and floating candles, and some large pillar candles or lanterns as well. If fire safety is a concern, there are many options for beautiful patio lights on strings, which create a very special feel as well. Give the kids some jars with lids with holes in them and they can have a firefly-capturing contest, then see whose jar glows the brightest, and use them as part of your table décor for the evening before, setting them free.

Music is another key element to a great party. Think about the tone you want to set, whether it's upbeat, relaxing, jazzy or whatever, and take the time to make a playlist or two ahead of time. You can enjoy the same lists all summer, like a soundtrack of the season for your family. Fill it with music you love, and that's festive too. Everyone's mood changes  for the better when they hear a great tune.

How do you set up for summer festivities?

© iStockphoto.com/ lucop

by on Jun. 25, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Replies (21-25):
elasmimi
by on Jun. 25, 2013 at 8:45 PM

I love the paper lantern idea. We usually put on dome Jimmy Buffet music, make a pitcher of lemonade, and we are good to go.

copperswifey
by on Jun. 25, 2013 at 9:11 PM

I just make a lot of food and invite people over lol :)

Charizma77
by Member on Jun. 25, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Great ideas!

Bob192
by Member on Jun. 26, 2013 at 12:37 AM
1 mom liked this

I use lots of bright dishes and try to have an open comfortable environment.

.Angelica.
by on Jun. 26, 2013 at 1:34 AM

I've never done this either.

Quoting goddess99:

I never had a cute little summer party like that before but these are great ideas.


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