Whenever we host an event for Remodelista or Gardenista, our editors are in charge of the decor—and it’s always a DIY affair. Why? First, because we’re picky. Second, because DIY floral arrangements give us a chance to flex our creative muscles, and finally, it’s definitely more economical.
Case in point: our recent Gardenista book launch party in New York. For this event, Alexa took the helm, setting a $200 budget for flowers and heading to the NYC Flower Market to buy (in under an hour) everything she needed to make five arrangements.
Michelle, Meredith, and I tagged along for moral support, and for extra sets of arms.
Photography by Justine Hand.
Above: Protea “Blushing Bride” caught Alexa’s eye right away. (The hardest part of our quest was choosing among the many seasonal blooms offered at New York Flower Market.)
Tip: Alexa advises having a specific palette in mind before you shop. For this autumn event we had an idea we’d see a lot of dusty pinks.
Above: Alexa and Michelle select some bodacious dahlias. You will note that with the dahlias we were able to introduce a little pale yellow and white to the palette while still keeping to the overall theme of warm pinks and pastels.
Tip: When making a lot of arrangements in one go, volume is important. Now is not the time for fussy posies, so think big.
Above: Greens are a great way to introduce texture to arrangements. We chose prickly rosemary and unruly passion fruit vines.
Above: Having completed our floral purchase, the team heads out for vases.
Above: At Haven’s Kitchen, which hosted the event in a light-filled loft in Chelsea, Alexa lays out her purchases. Our $200 budget allowed us to buy: dahlias, protea, hellebores, greens, ranunculus, Pampas grass, silver Brunia, and a giant palm leaf (more on that later).
Tip: “I like to spread the flowers and greens out on a large surface,” Alexa notes. “It helps me really take stock of what I have and makes for quicker assembly.”
Above: Alexa embarks on a long, low arrangement. “These are great for using as centerpieces or for layering with taller bouquets,” she notes. To begin, she builds up the base with some greens—here the passion fruit vines. She then adds the larger blooms and finally fills in the gaps with smaller blooms and bits of texture.
Above: A detail of the low arrangement.
Above: Alexa’s second arrangement is more vertical.
Tip: When planning an event for which you will need several bouquets, it’s more visually interesting to create a range of different arrangements at different heights. She suggests unifying these by sticking to the same general palette for each.
Above: Alexa advises against using all the same flowers in each of your arrangements. Sometimes using just one common bloom or even a green is enough create a cohesive theme. Also the general structure of arrangements can serve as a subtle unity. You’ll note that whether vertical or horizontal, all of the bouquets have an expressive, unstructured feel.
Above: You don’t need to kill yourself by creating five elaborate arrangements. At times a single expressive leaf or flower makes a bold statement. Here she used an original combination of pampas grass and protea.
Above: For the final arrangement, we mixed things up with a more contemporary ensemble: a simple sculptural palm leaf laid with a few passion fruit vines. “I paid a little more for the palm leaf,” Alexa admits. “I think is was thirty dollars, but I couldn’t resist. Plus, we can use it again for other events.”
Above: Another Remodelista entertaining favorite: simple votives with beeswax candles light a table featuring stacks of our book (and a bouquet, of course).
Above: A detail of the arrangement showcases varying textures.
Above: For the third floral arrangement, we used the remaining dahlias and hellebores to create a more uniform shape.
Above: Our potted plants were courtesy of Sprout Home in Brooklyn.
Tip: Don’t forget the potted plants. A few leggy or bountiful plants, artfully arranged on the floor is an easy and economical way to introduce some greenery to your event.
Want more easy entertaining arrangements and DIYs? See: