By our estimation, late summer is the perfect time for garden parties. The weather’s hot, but there’s not enough time left to feel happy cooped up by the air conditioner, and everyone’s in a social mood. While planning our next event, we decided to take some inspiration from a few iconic garden parties from art, film, literature and well, abroad to give us the boost we need to start that ‘Come over!’ email. We might even take some style inspiration from these iconic events — the overarching message we’re seeing is that it’s all about the hats. Click through to see ten of our favorite iconic garden parties, and let us know which of your own favorites we’ve missed in the comments!
“The Luncheon of the Boating Party,” Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Renoir’s hazy brushstrokes are like looking through the heat.
The Mad Tea Party, Alice in Wonderland
Possibly the most infuriating of garden parties, with those unanswerable riddles and all.
Twelve Oaks Barbecue, Gone With the Wind
Note to attractive ladies: this is not the way to get the other girls to be your friends.
Party at the Gatsby Mansion, The Great Gatsby
Hats, hats and more hats.
The Queen’s annual garden parties at Buckingham Palace
The perfect image of propriety.
The “Tarts and Vicars” party, Bridget Jones’s Diary
This movie has caused us to bring a change of clothes to every costume party since.
The President of France’s annual Bastille Day garden party at the Palais de l’Elysée
No one has gardens quite like the French.
Croquet battles in Heathers
Only the Heathers could turn a classic garden party pastime into something so sinister.
Nighttime party in Stealing Beauty
What could be better than the backyard of an Italian villa in the summer night?
Bilbo’s birthday party, The Lord of the Rings
We’ll give them one thing: Hobbits know how to party right.