Few things are able to bring a summer tablescape to life like a fragrant bouquet of flowers. And while floral arrangements have been adorning stylish tabletops for years, the latest creative garden parties are taking this chic trend to a whole new level: Think DIY bouquet bars, lush garlands, and walls adorned with whimsical single-stem blooms. In other words, if your summer soirée has only one vase of fresh flowers, it's time to step up your game.
To show us how it's done, The Glitter Guide has given us an exclusive first look at its five-year anniversary garden party—an intimate, flower-filled celebration held in Campbell, California. Founder Taylor Sterling called on Karen Burling from Petite Petal Co. and event planner and stylist PJ Dunn of Going Lovely to adorn almost every aspect of the event with fresh blooms, transforming it into a fragrant, feminine, and seriously photogenic 'do. Try these five easy DIY ideas to create a gorgeous garden party that belongs on every guest's Instagram.
Floral arrangements needn't be static; in fact, Burling admits that the Glitter Guide's interactive bouquet bar was one of the most loved elements at the event. The concept, which is perfect for bachelorette parties or bridal showers, is easy to mimic if you follow her three-step rule: "You always want a thriller, filler, and spiller," she says, referring to the size and texture of each element in the bouquet.
"A 'thriller' flower is one that commands attention. They are usually large head blooms that help direct the eye to a focal point," she says. Her favorites include traditional roses, spray roses, peonies, and dahlias to create a statement bunch. Next up: a 'filler.' "[This] refers to the flowers that help fill in areas. Filler flowers add fullness and texture, [like] spray roses, feverfew, daisies, and wax flower," she recommends. Finally, complete the bouquet bar with 'spiller' flowers, that "have a natural drape to them. These can also be green foliage and vines," she says, noting her favorites are seeded eucalyptus, jasmine, and passion vine. Add twine, paper, and garden shears so guests can customize their own bunches.
Yes, when we said the exclusive event was dripping in fresh flowers, we meant it. The Petite Petal Co. team even threaded delicate garlands to adorn areas that wouldn't normally house fresh blooms, like the tops of cabinets. To create the lush garlands, Burling used thin floral wire and pierced the stems of flowers, then concealed the wire with foliage. "It's definitely not difficult to make, but it does take some practice," she notes. To try this at home, Burling says it's essential to pick the right varieties to withstand the summer heat. "Certain foliage does better in garlands since they are out of water. We recommend seeded eucalyptus, dollar eucalyptus, and olive leaves for a soft, romantic look," she says.
Edible flowers in cocktails and cooking continue to dominate our Pinterest feed, and this DIY take on the trend was a clear crowd favorite at the event. Guests were served cocktails in rose-tinted glassware and given the option to add their own floral garnish, a daisy-like blossom known as tiny feverfew or camomile. "They're not edible but are safe with food and drinks," Burling notes. "The best thing about these garnishes is that they can be used for any type of occasion. If you want a casual party, throwing them in some Mason jars adds a nice touch. If you want something more formal, a blush-colored stemmed glass or goblet pairs perfectly with the feverfew garnish," she says.
Transforming a garden into a stylish party venue can be a challenge, especially when the space has basic brick walls or rustic side passageways. To continue the theme, Burling and her team attached single-stem vases to an otherwise ordinary brick wall to create a delicate backdrop for guest photographs. Looking to try this at your next 'do? Find the mini plastic vases at your local florist, and be sure to evenly space different colors and varieties.
Naturally, the Glitter Guide's fifth birthday cake was floral themed and picture-perfect. Re-create this statement topper using real flowers by following Burlington's DIY tips: "The most important thing to keep in mind for cake flowers is proportion," she says. "You want to make sure that the flowers are slightly smaller than the top of the cake so it's not overwhelming." Her recommendations for a balanced and beautiful cake topper include traditional roses, spray roses, ranunculus, olive leaves, and Italian cuscus. Serve it on an elevated cake stand with a hand-lettered place card to show off the artful creation.