Create a New Old-Fashioned May Day

Guest blogger and event designer/stylist Lauren Saylor of provides a few new takes on the age-old traditions surrounding and celebrating May Day …

A fresh floral scene.

Spring is the start to lots of outdoor entertaining. This year, why not begin a new tradition with your family and friends and celebrate the ancient holiday of May Day? May Day is celebrated differently in each country, but you can take cues from each and combine them to create your own unique bash.

For this May Day celebration I combined inspiration from the traditional maypole decorating, basket giving, and celebrating the delicious fruits and beautiful flowers that come with spring and summer.

Traditionally, dancers will wrap the maypole with colorful ribbon and streamers. To create a similar look, I used 2 bright umbrellas to display colorful paper garlands. The garlands were a perfect backdrop to a spread of drinks and snacks to be enjoyed at the party. Garlands were made by cutting simple shapes from paper in the color scheme then sewing them together on a sewing machine. Drape them casually from umbrellas or anchor points around your yard for an effortless pop of color and playful decor.

Display your florals in a stylish vase like this white one, perfect for letting your flowers shine in its simple color, but in a great shape. All of these flowers were grocery store finds! It’s easy to use what is available for your summer parties. Grab a few bright bunches that go with your color palette and add in some greenery. Start with bigger branches and add colored blooms until you have an overflowing and casual arrangement.

To create a relaxed seating area for guests to mingle, serve themselves some fruit, and mix up a cocktail, I used 2 of these super fun bright yellow side tables and added a glass top to display all of the treats. Underneath the table I added this rug and some outdoor throw pillows. Both were comfortable and great for the outdoors, as they could simply be brushed off after any food and drink spills throughout the party.

Fresh fruits in a mix of colors.

These plates were my jumping off point for the color palette. And these glasses matched perfectly, plus, they were a great size for either cocktails or just serving yourself a fresh glass of lemonade. I try to use real plates and glasses as much as possible when entertaining. They can be a piece of your decor, are much more eco-friendly, and add a little class to your backyard entertaining.

Inventive name cards ...

To keep all of the drinks and mixers for the bar cool, I used this salad bowl with a little ice. I separated drinks into individual bottles and added labels. This kept the unattractive cans and bottles off the table. Throw in some lemons and limes so guests can mix up their own cocktails.

Simple DIY ideas ...

And don’t forget about favors! In May Day tradition, people put together baskets with flowers and other goodies. They leave those baskets on neighbors’ and friends’ doorsteps for them to find as a surprise. Instead, I created a little DIY bouquet-making area on the table for guests to enjoy throughout the day or as they left. You can create a small list of instructions asking your guests to pull a few blooms and wrap up to take home and enjoy. Set out a roll of Kraft paper and some twine for wrapping.

A pink color palette ...

Remember when sourcing items for your party that things don’t need to be used as intended. I used a salad bowl for cocktails, side tables to create one large table and umbrellas to display decor (and obviously provide your guests with some much needed shade). Don’t forget to add lots of color – it will be the one thing that really makes it a spring party!

Lauren Saylor,


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