Food & Entertaining - Entertaining

Decorate for an elegant garden party

Pro tips on how to create a memorable, elegant special occasion


Early summer is prime time for garden celebrations—be it a graduation, anniversary or wedding. For style aesthete Ann Marie Favot, a design editor at Style at Home magazine, the beauty of planning her summer wedding included decorating with a multitude of fresh flowers. Ann Marie and her fiancé, Jonathon Raymond, wanted their garden wedding to have a casually elegant atmosphere with a definite sense of fun.

Although some of the best celebrations happen at home, not all of us—Ann Marie and Jonathon included—have enough room to host a garden party of more than 50 people. After careful research, the couple chose to marry at Toronto’s McLean House, a heritage home set in the bucolic grounds of The Estates of Sunnybrook. While the classic building and manicured gardens offered a gorgeous backdrop to the event, Ann Marie upped the ante with scores of flowers. “I wanted to create a sense of the outdoors in, and indoors out. That natural, abundant feel is my vision of a quintessential garden party,” she says. With my help, the bride bedecked McLean House with a personalized mix of blooms in a signature colour scheme of mostly greens and whites. “I love the way the brightness of chartreuse plays off cream flowers, making the shades pop,” adds Ann Marie. “The hits of green add a whole new dimension to wedding white.”

The results were breathtaking, yet surprisingly simple to achieve. With a little bit of planning, you can follow Ann Marie’s lead to create your own exquisite garden-inspired celebration, whether it’s held on your porch, in your backyard or at a rented hall.

Ann Marie's flower choices
  • Calla lilies
  • Delphiniums
  • Prairie gentian (Eustoma grandiflorum syn. Lisianthius)
  • Hydrangeas
  • Lavender
  • Florists’ roses, including ‘Escimo’, ‘Avalanche’, Vendela and ‘Viviane’
  • Rosemary 
  • Sedum cvs.
  • Spider chrysanthemums
  • Star of Bethlehem (Campanula isophylla)
  • Stephanotis

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