• Coralie Tyler

PARTY AESTHETICS: COTTAGECORE

Embrace the subculture aesthetic of the summer while partying with friends!



‘Tis the season for "cottagecore", the subculture that pays a visual romantic homage to a rural lifestyle and embraces harmony with nature. Think of it as a fulfillment of an escapist outdoor fantasy of running through fields. Imagine yourself walking through the forest in a beautiful hooded cloak bearing a basket filled with sweet treats. Minus the creepy wolf, of course.


Whether you’re an aesthetic veteran or a newbie, cottage is accessible and easy to replicate for any outdoor social event! Here is a crash course to get you started on party planning:



Setting


Cottagecore thrives on the romanticism and celebration of the outdoors. To feel truly at one with Mother Gaia during your soiree, set your party on the green grass on an appropriately warm summer day! You could set up chairs along with a table for a whimsical tea party tone or sit on the grass for an intimate atmosphere. The aesthetic also works fantastically on a patio deck. Remember to use bug repellent if you’re taking this outdoors!


If you don’t have access to outdoor space (or if it turns out to be a rainy or cloudy day), a living room will suffice. Be sure to move furniture around beforehand!




Decor


A low portable table allows for an innermost family-style feast that radiates fairytale picnic vibes. Add several pillows and an oversized blanket for comfortable seating. Picnic blankets work as both a fantastic tablecloth or as a great place to rest your derriere if you are doing away with a table altogether!


Take advantage of the trees if you can! Hang a few lanterns, signs, lights, and other miscellaneous whimsical decorations that amuse your nature-loving soul! Leaving them bare is also a statement to make in themselves! They are also a fantastic source of shade (but do mind whatever critters may dwell in them).


Always incorporate flowers. Bonus points if they’re wildflowers! They make fabulous centerpieces when paired with mason jars. You can also scatter them around the table to set a quirkier tone. Your guests can take some home with them. They will also make a lovely addition to your home for the next few days!




Food and Beverages


Do away with fancy course meals and aim to satisfy your soul with snacks and desserts that will keep you satisfied as the sun shines over your party!


Charcuterie boards (both the French and English pronunciations are acceptable here) are a fun and sophisticated treat to pack with your favorite cheeses, meats, crackers, berries, bread, nuts, and other side dishes! Pack a bundle of bite-sized sandwiches of your choice to eat to stay hyper as a garden fairy during the party. Go for a mix and match of jam sandwiches and savory sandwiches. Cookies are self-explanatory. Fruits (grapes, oranges, apples, and so forth) enhance the cottagecore aesthetic by a hundredfold. For a domestic touch, try to bake as much of your snacks as you can. But no pressure! No one’s going to judge you if you get store-bought snacks.


Cakes are a classic. Everyone loves cake. To keep up with the theme, go for cakes with floral decorations or earthy colors. Naked cakes are unusual, but they are certainly a break from the traditional aesthetics of cakes. They can be served as typical slices or offered as mini cakes (be sure to have your guests RSVP to ensure there are enough to go around)! To switch things up, have everyone cut their cakes with their wine glass by simply pressing the cup into the cake and flipping it to enjoy.


Juices, iced teas, mocktails, and lemonades are great accompanying refreshments to have on a warm summer day. Depending on the temperature and setting, tea brings out a regal element to the party. Champagnes, wines, cocktails, and other alcohols could be fun but be sure to provide non-alcoholic options! And remember: always serve water!




Clothing


Consider a dreamy and whimsical dress code. Think flowy sundresses, poet shirts, bishop tops, peasant blouses, head kerchiefs, linen aprons, flower crowns, maxi-dresses, maxi-skirts, soft colors, floral prints, and anything boho-chic that allows you to fulfill your fantasy of running away to the countryside! Jeans (whether they’re long, short, or mid-length) go with everything! Don't forget your hats!


As for shoes, sandals, wedges, boots and sneakers immediately come to mind! Going barefoot is an equally chic route to experiment with for the occasion. You could either go au natural or add color-coordinating nail polish to add pizazz. All feet are unique, beautiful, and valid! The decision is entirely up to you!




Entertainment + Activities


The entertainment possibilities at a cottagecore themed party are endless! Dance underneath the clouds! Go flower picking and make a wish on a handful of dandelions. Adorn yourselves with flowers. Watch the sunset. Bring a deck of tarot cards and try your hand at divination. Read and exchange books with your friends. Lounge around and philosophize with your friends for hours. Play a friendly game of crochet or badminton. Experiment with sketching, painting, or even coloring! Play some music with an instrument or from your devices (I strongly suggest bardcore music on YouTube for a medieval vibe)! If you want to tap into your inner child, play tag or hide and seek across the green!




The above tips are merely foundation guidelines. Cottagecore can be whatever you want it to be. Allow yourself to live out your outdoor countryside fantasies as you party this summer!


What would you incorporate in a cottagecore party?