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Entertaining
Gathering for a Garden Party
A crafty Californian shows how to style the prettiest garden party— while dealing with rental constraints and a shoestring budget.
When you have a love for entertaining and a good garden party, you can sometimes earn the title of Hostess with the Mostest, and few are more deserving of that designation than Annette Maldonado. Her Palmdale, California, home is an expression of her farmhouse-meets-cottage rental style, and she’s an expert at creating beautiful garden parties... Keep Scrolling
Written by AUTUMN KRAUSE
Photography by BRET GUM
Styling by JICKIE TORRES


When you have a love for entertaining and a good garden party, you can sometimes earn the title of Hostess with the Mostest, and few are more deserving of that designation than Annette Maldonado. Her Palmdale, California, home is an expression of her farmhouse-meets-cottage rental style, and she’s an expert at creating beautiful garden parties that make guests feel special. Her Instagram, @cherished_ treasures_, is full of inspiring images featuring Annette’s tablescapes and welcoming vignettes, each one achieved on a budget and in accordance with rental restrictions.

Woven tray used as a centerpiece with fresh flowers, small plates, vases and cutlery.
FUN & FUNCTIONAL. Annette groups plates, cutlery and vases on a tray, which she then places in the middle of the table. It creates a pretty and practical centerpiece!

GARDEN PARTY VIBES

Annette takes advantage of the balmy southern California temperatures and often hosts brunches and parties in her backyard. “I enjoy creating outdoor spaces where my friends and family can enjoy the weather and make memories together,” she says. While she frequently uses her patio to host, she also uses her actual yard. For this spring bruncheon she placed wooden pallets on the grass to create a tablescape.

Garden party set up with a custom outdoor table made of wooden pallets and topped with bright pink and purple florals, greenery and lanterns.
DIY DARLING. Annette’s inspiration for this setup was a “springtime picnic” garden party. She elevated the dining experience by DIYing a table out of wooden pallets and weaving a bounty of flowers, greenery and lanterns down the center of the table.

“It’s my take on a picnic,” she explains. To make it comfy, she added blankets and throw pillows. Other times, she styles her traditional round patio table for more intimate gatherings with textured placemats, colorful flowers and leafy centerpieces, which add height. “I find most of my items on clearance at flea markets, thrift stores and home décor stores,” she shares. Her parties illustrate that the most important commodity is creativity!

Bright colorful trays and mason jars with cocktails and striped straws loaded into a vintage-style beverage caddie.
PARTY TOOLS. Portability for outdoor hosting is important—drink holders and trays make serving easy. Colorful trays and vintage-inspired beverage caddies add to the style of the party.

A PLACE OF ONE’S OWN

Place settings are another way that Annette makes guests feel loved—after all, it’s a little spot that’s just for them. “My place settings have textures and layers,” Annette says. They also showcase her creativity. She uses anything from open books to cutting boards to tree-stump slices to make personalized settings.

Garden party tabletop setting for a guest with woven charger plates and a blood orange and fresh fuchsia flower.
NATURAL BEAUTY. Seasonal fruits and flowers make place settings personal and thematic. “When planning a party, I ask, ‘What’s in season’?” Annette says. “It’s a great place to start.” Here, she mixes a blood orange and a flower for an organic and fresh feel.

“I use items that add height and dimension as well as tie together,” she says. She often incorporates multiple items into each setting. For her outdoor luncheon, she stacked a woven placemat, white plate and cutting board. Then she added a printed plate with an opened blood orange, a flower and a “Yum” topper. The details ground the tablescape and convey the party’s theme and spirit.

A hostess standing near her lovely displayed table, neutral chairs and linens topped with bright and colorful table decor.
SEASONAL AFFAIR. When it comes to styling her parties, Annette says she “takes her cues from the season.” For springtime fetes, she balances bright pops of color against neutral elements. Here, an ivory tablecloth provides a clean backdrop for the festive tabletop décor.

WELCOME WISHES

With her innate understanding of composition and artistry, Annette’s parties and vignettes are visual feasts for the eyes and heart. “I love creating spaces that make people feel welcome,” she says. And she does just that, allowing her creativity to be enjoyed by all who cross her threshold.

“I enjoy creating outdoor spaces where my friends and family can enjoy the weather and make memories together.”

A bright and colorful mimosa bar with champagne on ice and fresh juices and fruit to garnish.
FANCY FETE. A mimosa bar is enlivened with petals and greenery frozen in large ice cubes. “I use an extra-large silicone ice tray to make the ice,” Annette says. “It keeps the champagne cold while also adding to the styling.”

Want more simply beautiful ideas? Check out this post on Setting a Table with Limoges.

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