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How to pick flower arrangements for your next party

How to pick flower arrangements for your next party


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Flowers are a central element of bringing a party together. They lighten the mood, visually and psychologically, and are especially important when pulling together a Spring Fling.

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I spoke with florist Shelley Montoya, of Here Come the Blooms in Los Alimitos, California, on BloomNation. BloomNation is a little like Etsy for florists. You search local florists' designs--no cookie cutter arrangements here--and they send you a picture of the actual arrangement before it's sent. (Editor's note: I'm having flashbacks to an arrangement some girlfriends and I sent to a grieving friend a few years ago. It was *nothing* like what was pictured on the chain florist's website, with neon pink scraggly blooms jutting out at weird angles. But at least it made her laugh. Anyway. Check out BloomNation. It's a cool service.)

Here's what Shelley had to say about picking flowers for parties:

What's the most important thing to remember when designing arrangements for entertaining?The space you are arranging for. You don't want the arrangement too big and overpowering or so small that it doesn't make an impact. Another important aspect is combining colors. For some, it comes naturally, or as I like to say, it is a gift. For others, it's a bit of a challenge. If you are in doubt, purchase a color wheel.

How should my floral situation differ if I am having a stand-up buffet versus a sit-down dinner?A sit-down dinner can handle something long and low or a smattering of bud vases and still have an elegant feel. A stand-up buffet dinner usually has smaller tables so something small with not a lot of greenery is best - think monochromatic roses arranged small and compact.

What sorts of trends are you seeing in floral for spring and summer?Definitely the boho or field-to-vase look is not going away anytime soon! I love the look and feel of something so unstructured--just like you picked a bunch of flowers from a garden and placed them in a vessel. Also, flowers overhead, such as floral chandeliers, are a big hit whether you're entertaining indoors or out.What's the biggest bang for my buck in flowers these days?Contrary to popular belief, carnations are a great buy. They’re often underrated and underestimated but they last forever and look gorgeous alone or paired with other blooms.How might one incorporate seasonal foods into tablescapes?I love to incorporate seasonal foods into arrangements. For summer, think citrus fruits with beautiful yellow and orange blooms. Another way is to create a pretty garland with silver dollar eucalyptus and to add some figs or plums. Just remember, fruit shortens the life span of flowers, so it's best for these types of arrangements to be hand-crafted the day of your party.


25 Charming Ideas for Summer Party Table Settings

These summery place settings dish out plenty of creativity.

Impress your party guests with these colorful and creative summer table settings and centerpieces. Pair these with some homemade flower arrangements, a couple of summer dishes, a delicious summertime cocktail, and you'll have an epic party in the making.

Gear up for a barn party with down-home decorations like galvanized metal plates, burlap linens. bandana napkins, and blue mason jar vases for a look that's colorful and country chic. Milk jug vases and hay bales (used for seating) also set the scene.

Pair fresh fares with a variety of silver and glass vessels and summery blue linens to recreate this field feast look, which&mdashyou guessed it&mdashfeels right at home in fields of flowers or crops. Leave scissors at each place setting to encourage your guests to go out and pick flowers to fill your table's empty vases.

Twirl up a porch party with with neighbors with terracotta pieces and pots used to house utensil, centerpieces, and food. You can even DIY your own cake stand by turning a large planter saucer atop an upside-down planter.

Down-home bandana "place mats" set an appropriately casual tone, and cowboy boot "vases" kick the Lone Star factor up a notch. (Simply place a water-filled glass inside each shoe.) Plastic toy horses (spray-painted gold) run&mdashmake that trot!&mdashdown the length of the table. Finally, a sleek leather pouch place card, filled with bronze flatware and paired with rope-trimmed melamine dinnerware, reins in the rustic look.

Reader Missie Crawford, who hails from Jackson, mixed Mississippi-made McCarty pottery with her great-grandmother's transferware. Plucked from her yard, the magnolia is a nod to the state flower.

This whimsical table pays homage to the Minnesota State Fair. Topped with sunny gingham and birch wood cutlery, the small sheet pan "place mat" is a smart choice for buffet-style gatherings. Game balls and tickets, tossed casually down the table, reinforce the casual vibe. But the fairest of the state fair flair is the "cotton candy" place card, which is simply a fluff of cotton stuffing coated in pink floral spray paint (available at craft stores), then tucked in a paper cone.

A simple tin of Old Bay Seasoning&mdasha Mid-Atlantic must-have!&mdashsparked this table's casual coastal feel and color palette. Here, the tins, used to corral safflower blooms, sit atop a kraft paper tablecloth featuring an appropriately crabby (but not kitschy) print. Seasoned country favorites such as hand-dipped spatterware and striped bistro napkins add a pinch of charm, and a simple lemon place card (paired with a claw cracker) provides a sunny pop of yellow.

Inspired by the lush scenery of The Big Island, this blooming tablescape is a happy blend of patterns (floral, coral) and textures (raffia, bamboo). The embroidered fan place card is pretty and practical, and other tropical touches, like tiki mugs, paper umbrellas, and plain old pineapples up the "aloha" factor.


11 Cheap and Easy Floral Design Ideas for the Holidays

Dutch floral designer Pieter Landman offers tips for holiday floral arrangements using unexpected materials.

Related To:

An internationally renowned trend-spotter and -maker who consults for Giorgio Armani, Ball Horticultural and Farm Star Living among others, the jet-setting Dutch floral designer Pieter Landman has created floral designs for Wimbleton and for the Sultan of Oman. He recently sat down with Made+Remade to offer up some tips for holiday decorating—on the cheap—with flowers and plants and some quirky tricks of the trade.

Railroad Figures

Railroad model figures make adorable accents to a floral design.

Gregarious, imaginative and determined to demystify floral design, Landman soon had me under his spell as he employed unexpected tools from a bundt pan, to rubber bands to fat rolls of yard and knitting needles, all in the service of inventive, DIY floral arrangements. Steeped in a more European approach to floral design, Landman is an advocate of informal, looser floral arrangements and letting the natural, wild beauty of flowers shine through. So if your bouquet starts to fall apart over the course of its life on your buffet, he says, don’t stress. “Let the petals fall. It’s drama. It’s part of life.”

Pieter Landman

Floral designer and trend expert Pieter Landman.

“My mission is to make it easy, accessible and enjoyable,” says Landman, who divides his time between homes in Holland and Ecuador when he’s not preaching the gospel of flowers in cities around the world.

The most valuable takeaway from my meeting with Landman: creative design doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and can be easily found in items already laying around your house. Simplicity, ease and having fun with design are Landman’s mantra, “if you want to make floral arrangements, don’t think” advised Landman. “Everyone is creative, but someone ruined us” he laughs, stifling our natural creative impulses at some point in our lives.

So don't be a shrinking violet, go for it!

Grab Some Rope (or Grapevines)

Rope Accent on Flower Arrangement

The simple addition of a rope bow brings a unique look to this floral design.

Organic materials are all the rage in floral design.

Organic materials are all the rage in floral design says Landman, so find ways to incorporate elements like natural rope, undyed wool and feathers into your arrangements.

Feathers

Feathers are an on-trend element in floral design.

Add Grapevine Wreaths

Add grapevine wreaths to a flower arrangement for a rustic touch.

Yarn and Needles

Incorporate unexpected items like a chunky, red ball of yarn into your floral design.

Go Vintage

Santa Arrangement

Incorporate vintage items of your own, or sourced from thrift stores into your holiday floral displays.

Great vintage items bring whimsy and uniqueness to your holiday floral design. Whether found at thrift stores or in your own collection, incorporate everything from retro Santa figures to model railroad model characters into your arrangements.

Use Edibles

Edibles in Flower Arrangement

Incorporate edibles into your flower arrangements.

They’re cheap, they’re abundant. They add color and fun to your designs.

Brussels Sprout in Flower Arrangement

Pierce a Brussels sprout with a toothpick or wooden skewer and add it to a flower arrangement for interest.

Shop the Grocery Store

Floral Arrangement

Edibles, glass beads and ornaments in a glass cylinder make a simple, inexpensive arrangement.

Don’t go for the standard bouquet. Pick a few interest blooms or plants and use them sparingly, mixed in with glass beads, ornaments, edibles and other items to fill out your floral arrangement.

Shop Your Pantry

Flower Arrangement in Cupcake Papers

Use cupcake papers to display plants and cranberries.

You may already have plenty of items to create a floral display. Cupcake papers, bags of cranberries, nuts, fruit can all be incorporated into your holiday floral display.

Shop Your Garden

Holiday Mini Wreath

Make a mini holiday wreath with leaves and cranberries strung on wire.

Use sturdy leaves folded and strung on wire and interspersed with cranberries or orange peel to create mini wreaths. These make great elements to place on guests’ plates at a dinner party.

Pro tip: make sure anything that comes into contact with dinnerware is safe. Plant elements like Thai orchids are loaded with chemicals, says Landman. So make sure you are using organic elements or things from your garden free from pesticides for use at place settings.

Pare Back

Flowers in Milk Bottles

A single flower stem in a milk bottle becomes a beautiful table scape when displayed with bright green beans and cranberries in a row.

A single floral stem when displayed in an imaginative way might be all you need to create a beautiful floral display. Displayed in milk bottles with green beans and cranberries for color, these milk bottle arrangements can be used individually at guests’ place settings, or grouped together for a memorable centerpiece. Landman says that overdone, pyramidal, fussy arrangements are over and loose, natural arrangements are more on-trend.

Pro tip: a good, strong pair of rose clippers from a big box store are indispensable. Cut floral wire close to the junction of the blades and flower stems on a diagonal. A simple dedicated knife used just for flowers is also a great tool for cutting stems.


Go Gatsby! 9 Tips for a Roaring Twenties Bash

Remember: Sophisticated doesn't have to mean boring. Spice up a traditionally set table with brightly colored floral arrangements. Stick to a few different flowers and color hues in the same family to avoid going overboard.

In between the table's bold floral arrangements, place garden flowers in the same coloration. Whites, greens, browns, and a hint of yellow will tie in nicely with the party's garden feel. Floating white candles at varying heights in glass hurricanes will take the guests into the evening.

Keep your table linens simple &mdash a white tablecloth and solid-colored napkins will look elegant without breaking the bank. Tie together the linens and centerpieces with a lattice table runner.

Silver cups scream posh, chic, and Roaring Twenties. If you don't want to use the cups for their namesake cocktail, serve one of these mint julep flavored desserts in them. They can also be used as a creative alternative to vases.

Once the party starts you'll want to be with your guests, not in the kitchen, so pre-make a few specialty drinks, such as Fizzy Cranberry-Lemonade Punch. Set the punch out in chilled beverage dispensers so guests can help themselves all night long.

A hired wait staff will add to your party's elegance, but don't fret if it's not in your budget. Guests will be happy to sip champagne even if it's not served on a silver platter. Just make sure you know the right way to uncork champagne.


7 “Madcap” Party Planning Tips

Sweet-pea spread and thinly sliced radishes on toast make an easy appetizer.

The elements of a good party are simple: casual conversation, seasonal canapés, cocktails, ladies in floral dresses, and dogs underfoot. Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke of Madcap Cottage, who recently held a casual summer gathering at their home in High Point, North Carolina, break down the party planning basics.

1. PARTY VIBE

Easy, relaxed, no pretense. “Feel free to kick off your shoes, and dogs and kids are always welcome,” says Nixon.

Dogs and kids welcome.

2. DRESS CODE

Come as you are—colorful and comfortable. “In New York we’d go to a party and everyone would be in black,” says Nixon. “Southerners wear pink, orange, and yellow the women love their floral dresses, and the men sometimes have critters on their pants.”

/>Nixon and Loecke sport their colorful party best.

3. BLOOMS FOR ROOMS

“We look to the garden for bright, happy flowers such as zinnias and dahlias and mix with traipsing vines—a sort of Constance Spry moment,” says Loecke.

/> Loecke creates an impromptu arrangement with flowers just cut from the garden.

4. TASTY BITES

Southern favorites a little gussied up. Think pimento cheese and red peppers on pumpernickel toast, and zucchini roll-ups with goat cheese and matchstick vegetables. “Everything is easy to pick up,” says Nixon.

/>Pimento cheese and red peppers on pumpernickel toast

5. CRAFTY COCKTAILS

“Our house cocktail is a Gin Rickey, but we switch it up a bit for a party,” says Loecke, such as Gin Brambles (gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, blackberry liqueur) and Lavender Lemonade (vodka, lemonade, lavender simple syrup, prosecco).

Sparkling Lavender Lemonade and Gin Brambles

6. PARTY PLAYLIST

“We start with jazz, and as night falls we kick things up a notch—Blossom Dearie and Nina Simone segue into Roxy Music,” says Nixon. “We have a disco ball that spins in the basement, so the party often ends up down there.”

/>Music and a little something sweet, in this case a tray of ribbon shortbread, complete the party.

7. PARTING WISDOM

“Be confident and relax,” says Loecke. “And if something doesn’t turn out as planned, open more liquor and order a pizza. No one will notice the gaffe.”


Materials

Hoola hoop
Green paint for the hoola hoop (if you can’t get a green one)
Wire hoop with 30cm diameter – we found ours at Spotlight
Fishing line
Green washi tape or florist tape
Green florist wire
Scissors
Lengths of fresh jasmine vine
Lots of fresh flowers – pick anything in season. We used an assortment of spring blooms including poppies, ranunculus, carnations, sweet peas, chrysanthemums, pink snowberries and wall flowers.


Frequently Asked Questions…

Are edible flowers good for you?

Depending on the flower, most of them do contain vitamin c and antioxidants. For example, hibiscus is a flower used around the world in tea and is thought to lower blood pressure. Read this article to learn more, 11 Edible Flowers with Potential Health Benefits.

What purple flowers are edible?

Pansies, Lavender, Lilacs, Violet, and Dandelions all grow in a beautiful purple shade.

Where can you buy edible flowers?

Your local nursery will sell flowers that you can plant. Your selection will depend on the season it is and your location. Buy organic flowers if possible.

Can edible flowers be frozen?

We don’t recommend freezing them. They can be frozen, but once they thaw they will wilt, change color and look pretty sad. Instead, you can try pressing and drying them!

Dried flowers look stunning on desserts as well.

How do you store edible flowers?

Once you harvest your blooms, plan on using them within 1-3 days. You can keep them in the refrigerator by placing a wet paper towel in a bowl and then setting them on the towel to keep them moist.


How to Properly Cut Peony Flowers to Bring Indoors

Before heading out to cut your Tree peonies know that stems should be cut short, less than two inches, to avoid cutting off what will become next year&rsquos woody stem and flowers. They can be floated in large glass vases and bowls making an incredible statement on any table.

I did not follow this but only took a few flowers from each plant so I hope it will still produce as many flowers next year.

You also want to have a container of sugar water or a little sugar mixed in tepid water. Not too cold and not too hot. Immediately place the cut flowers into the sweetened water so they can absorb the energy.

If you want to cut some buds, be sure they feel like marshmallows and not hard.

The later will not open for you and you sacrificed that stem for next year. See above.

Once you bring them in, you can arrange them in a vase or floating in a shallow vase. My peony flowers buds opened and closed slightly at night and reopened in the morning.

I am so grateful for my friend who shared the volunteer plants from her mom&rsquos house and wishing you the same amount of success.

For the summer peony, or herbaceous, you don&rsquot want to cut more than a third of their flowers. Also always check for ants, they love these summer blooms.


These Super-Simple Flower Arrangements Are Like Prozac for Your Home

For those seeking a useful way to spend their time during social distancing&mdashor anyone simply interested in forging a deeper connection with their homes&mdashHB has launched Home Love, a series of daily tips and ideas to make every minute indoors more productive (and gratifying!).

A vase filled with flowers isn't just a pretty way to perk up a room&mdashkeeping fresh blooms around can actually be a benefit to your physical health. (Really, it's science!) And when you're stuck inside for the foreseeable future, they're equally valuable as a mental pick-me-up. While we love an expertly-curated centerpiece straight out of a Dutch Masters painting, a simple bouquet of readily-available flowers like tulips, lilies, or even backyard branches can have just as much of a room-brightening effect. Check out these easy-t0-make arrangements for proof that you don't need to be a professional florist to create a stunning display.


The Simplest and Most Stunning Flower Arrangements

For a more interesting and colorful bouquet, select some flowers that have already bloomed and others that are just budding.

Clear a table or counter and group your flowers in loose piles so you can quickly pick up separate stems. Fill a vase two-thirds full with cool water.

Using sharp scissors, trim stems as you go to avoid wilting (cut at a 45-degree angle so they get more water). To prevent mold, strip leaves that will sit in the water.

Add greenery to the vase first to create a base for your arrangement allow some to drape over the sides. Layer in larger blossoms before filling in with smaller buds.

5. Forget Perfect Symmetry

Aim for off-center harmony instead: Pair two of your bigger flowers on one side of the vase and add a single blossom on the opposite side. Repeat as needed.

Step back and look at your bouquet. Do you like the shape? The color? Balance any overly green patches with sparser flowers or fill in holes with greenery.

TIME: 25 minutes
Materials

Floral shears
Small white cup or vase
Sunflowers (clockwise from top left)
Queen Anne&rsquos lace
Chamomile
Mint
Geranium

1. Use the floral shears to trim the bottom of a few geranium stems. Cluster them at the base of the vase, allowing the leaves to drape over the sides.
3. Trim about two or three sprigs of mint and tuck them in on different sides of the arrangement, filling empty areas between the geranium leaves.
4. Insert about three or four trimmed stems of Queen Anne&rsquos lace at the far edges of the vase, varying the height and choosing pieces that have already bloomed, as well as ones that are just budding.
5. Select seven or eight sunflowers and trim to different heights, keeping some the same length as the Queen Anne&rsquos lace and the others a bit taller. Group a few on one side of the vase, and turn the faces of the flowers in slightly different directions for a less formal feel. Place one opposite the group to create a low, oval shape. If the flower heads are too heavy to stand on their own, lean them against the hardy mint sprigs for support.
6. Cut a small bunch of chamomile and place just off center. Add some sparser pieces to break up overly green patches.
7. Select a handful of wispy nigella and cut them just longer than the Queen Anne&rsquos lace, adding to fill in any last gaps and complete the shape.

1. Try a footed, opaque vessel for an interesting bouquet silhouette. Bonus: Stems won't distract.
2. To create whimsy, play with scale, like these small chamomile blossoms and larger sunflowers.
3. Position hardy greenery (here, mint sprigs) to hold up heavy flower heads.

TIME: 25 minutes
Materials

Floral shears
White pitcher or vase
Maidenhair fern (clockwise from left)
Peony
Foxglove
Columbine
Geranium leaves

1. Beginning with the geranium leaves, trim a few stems short enough that the leaves sit just at the brim of the vase. Loosely arrange them around the edges.
2. Choose several blossoms of Queen Anne&rsquos lace. Vary the heights (trim the stems accordingly) and add to the arrangement, allowing longer pieces to drape over the sides of the vase.
3. Trim about four large peony stems and add to the vase. Create balance by pairing blooms of varying heights on one side of the vase, and adding a single blossom or two on the opposite side.
4. Cut two or three garden roses and add to the bouquet, filling in any larger gaps.
5. Choose a few columbine blossoms and, matching the height with the tallest flowers in the bouquet, trim. Add in any overly green spots.
6. For a finishing touch, insert a couple of trimmed sprigs of maidenhair fern along the bottom lip of the vase plus two or three foxglove stalks 1" higher than the tallest flowers. Position these on opposite sides of the arrangement.

1. Use a large pitcher or vase with a wide opening to neatly corral a large bunch of stems.
2. Stick to three colors&mdashwe used pink, white and green&mdashto let big blooms stand out.
3. Remember the finishing touches: Tuck in taller stalks like foxglove, and wispy clippings like Queen Anne's lace.

TIME: 10 mins
Materials

Glass jar
Floral shears
Geranium leaves
Chamomile
Mint
Queen Anne&rsquos lace
Oregano

1. Choose a couple of geranium stems and, using the floral shears, trim them short enough to hang over the front of the jar. Trim another two or three stems slightly taller and arrange toward the back of the jar.
2. Cut a handful of chamomile a couple of inches taller than the lip of the jar and cluster them toward the center. Trim two or three wispier shoots about 3" taller and arrange them at opposite sides.
3. Select two sprigs of mint and snip to the same height as the shortest chamomile bunches. Add to the jar so the center of the arrangement feels full.
4. Choose a combination of bloomed Queen Anne&rsquos lace and just-budding pieces, and trim them at varying heights. Insert the shorter pieces near the chamomile blossoms. Place the taller blooms on opposite sides of the jar, leaving an airy space between them.
5. Grab three or four oregano stalks and cut them to the height of the tallest flowers. Use them to fill any open gaps in the bouquet.
6. Snip a couple of chamomile branches slightly higher than the tallest Queen Anne&rsquos lace and nestle at the back of the jar.

Longevity Tip: Change the water in the vase daily and give stems a small trim every few days to keep bacteria at bay.


Sometimes party snacks get repetitive and boring, therefore you could try something new and surprise your guests with these cute recipes. You don’t need sophisticated ingredients like salmon, caviar or shrimps… All appetizers and snacks are simple, easy and rely on your fantasy and creative touch.

Fun appetizers and snacks with creative arrangements

We’ve all heard the warning “Don’t play with food!”, but we just can’t resist to try these party ideas that would entertain your guests and especially the kids.


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