Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Partying it Up in Style--on a Budget

This past weekend our dear friend, Dorsey, celebrated her graduation and the significant accomplishment of completing her graduate degree.   Happily, she and her husband hosted a party together with another fun graduate friend, and I was thrilled to be enlisted to help with the flowers.  

Because this wasn't a seated dinner party with lots of tables, I only needed a few arrangements-- which meant I wanted to make them count!  I decided to create one pretty large one for the dining room table (the first thing anyone sees as they walk in), one smaller one for the bar and something bright and fun for outside.  

As soon as we moved here I started keeping an eye out at every grocery store and flower shop to get an idea of price and selection. (Trader Joe's, for instance, often has bunches of fresh eucalyptus that can be hard to find-- and I love the smell!)  So for this project, I headed to two of my local grocery stores that I know often have good deals, and I worked around what they had available, choosing lilies, tulips and hydrangeas as my focal points with others for filler.  I always try to go with a variety of color, bloom size and shape to keep things visually interesting. 

For a large or more formal arrangement like this I always use an oasis (or in this case two), which helps keep the flowers both watered and anchored in place.  First I cut the dry oases with a sharp knife to fit my bowl and then soaked them for a few minutes in cool water until saturated.  Normally I like to have the oasis stick up over the top of my bowl, which makes arranging easier and the finished product more natural looking, so in this case I layered flat boards of styrofoam underneath to raise everything up.

For the outside table I wanted something bright and fun-- and also easy-- so I bought two six packs of hot pink petunias, stuck them in a wire basket and filled in the outside with Spanish moss for softness (and to hide the plastic containers).  This is my new favorite super-fast centerpiece!  

I had to get creative when transporting the arrangements:)

For tablecloths I was excited to use Mel's amazing look of white linens and burlap that I loved at the Mockingbird conference a few weeks ago.  One small problem I encountered was that I don't own enough white tablecloths in the right sizes for Dorsey's three buffet and bar tables.  So instead I brought over a couple of white twin bedsheets and folded them to fit.  Since they're almost completely covered in burlap anyway, you couldn't even tell!  So sheets make a great tablecloth substitute in a pinch.

After comparison shopping between craft stores, I found this pretty sage green burlap at JoAnn's, which I loved so much I went ahead and bought the whole bolt-- 20 yards worth!  I knew I would want to use this look again for parties in the future...

Happy arranging!


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