Flowers are an essential element of any party. They can enhance the mood and help set the tone. Professional florists are experts at the art of self-expression – by tapping into the creative expertise of your florist and working with him or her on your budget and goals, you can make the most of your party and host a memorable event.

Size Up the Seating

Determining how and if guests will be seated is an important step in planning your party decorations. Be sure to avoid inviting more guests than your table or location can comfortably handle.

  • How many guests will be attending your party?
  • How many guests will your current dining table seat comfortably?
  • Is there enough extra space in the room for guests be able to move comfortably to socialize?
  • Does it make more sense to seat your guests at several smaller tables rather than one large table?
  • Is there enough space for drink or hors d’oeuvre stations?
  • Can you do a buffet in place of a seated affair?
  • Do you have an outdoor living area such as a patio that could be utilized, weather permitting?


Create Mood Magic with Flowers

The selection of flower varieties and color choice can go a long way in achieving the mood you desire. Just follow these three simple steps:

Step 1: Consider the Lighting

For low-light or candlelight use lighter or “warmer” colored flowers – such as yellows, oranges and reds. Whites and lighter colors are also excellent reflective choices for candlelight. Avoid “cooler” colors such as purple, violet or dark blue – these are considered passive colors and don’t reflect light as well. For bright spaces anything goes. Since bright light is highly reflective and shows color in it’s purest hue you might want to use deeper or darker tones such as burgundy, purple or deep blue.

Extra light can add dimension to any party. Add a few white “twinkle lights” to trees or try shining an inexpensive work light or can light onto a floral arrangement for dramatic impact. These can easily be hidden with a plant or cloth.

Step 2: Choose Colors That Help Create the Mood

When planning your floral décor, think of the way you might make the best use of color to enhance the environment. Take a cue from the type of food you plan to serve. To make the most of a zesty Mexican meal, spice it up with bright reds and golds. If a romantic wedding brunch in a traditional setting is on the agenda, pastels may be the perfect choice. A casual pasta dinner might call for eclectic colors.

Step 3: Select Flower Varieties That Get Your Point Across

While almost “anything goes” in flowers, there are certain varieties or design styles that best enhance the look or environment you are trying to achieve. Florists can help you with appropriate choices that will both highlight your mood or theme and stay within your budget.

Special Care Tips for Party Decoration Flowers

  • If possible, ask your florist to deliver your party flowers the day of the event.
  • If the flowers are delivered the day before your party, hold in moisture by misting the flowers with a spray bottle and cover lightly with a thin plastic bag or dry cleaner bag.
  • Always select the freshest floral products that will work best in your environment.
  • Keep your flowers as cool as possible, but never below 35 degrees.
  • Keep them away from drafts and sunlight and away from appliances or equipment that generate heat.
  • Never store fruit and flowers together. Fruit puts off ethylene gas, which can cause some flowers to wilt.

Party Countdown Checklist

  • When and where will the party be held?
  • How many guests will be invited?
  • What is the food and service plan?
  • What is the seating arrangement?
  • How many tables will be used (serving tables vs. seated tables)?
  • What are the sizes of the tables?
  • What is the mood or theme I want to create?
  • What is the lighting situation?
  • What is my budget for flowers?
Wedding table setting decorated with fresh flowers in a brass vase. Wedding floristry. Banquet table for guests outdoors with a view of green nature. Bouquet with roses, eustoma and eucalyptus leaves.

Working with Your Florist

  • If you are unclear about some of the above questions then invite your florist to see the home/facility to get his or her input and creative ideas.
  • Inform your florist of your seating and service plans so that he or she may provide some “unexpected” mood makers.
  • Explain in detail the mood you want to create and ask about rentals, props or other ideas to enhance the event.
  • Discuss your budget and expectations.
  • Sometimes special flowers require some extra time to order so be sure to give your florist plenty of advance notice.
  • Ask if your florist will deliver and decorate for you.

Unique Ideas for Party Flowers

Here are a few simple and inexpensive ideas to add that extra special touch to your party:

Flower Napkin Rings/Guest Favors

Ask your florist to create a floral napkin ring for each guest, or order a few extra flowers that match the centerpiece and simply tuck one into each folded napkin or napkin ring. Be sure to keep flowers in water until right before guests arrive and then cut the stem back to about 3 inches. Ask your florist about what kinds of flowers work best for this type of treatment.

Floral Place Cards for Each Guests

Use small vases with one flower cut very short in each as place holders. The card can be glued or taped to the front of the vase, or nestled into the blossom itself. Another option is to glue each place card to a single flower blossom.

Dressed Up Candles

Place votive candles on flower petals or a leaf. Add ribbons with flowers to candlesticks. Float flowers or fragrant flower blooms in crystal bowls.

Buffet Flowers

Ask your florist to make several designs in different sizes. Place them throughout the buffet table to allow everyone to see the flowers up close.

Decorate a Cake with Flowers

Ask your florist which flowers make the best cake decorations. Wash the flowers thoroughly and allow them to dry. Cut the stems to about 1 inch. Dip the ends into melted paraffin and allow them to dry before inserting the stems directly into the cake. Foliage or flat flowers such as pansies can be placed flat onto the cake.

Posies in the Punch

Make a punch float by placing washed fruit or edible flowers into a tube cake pan. Fill with water to about 3 inches. Freeze it and pop it into the punch bowl flower side up as guests arrive. Make sure that you replace the float when the ice melts.

Garnishing Trays and Platters

Line the tray or the edges of your serving platter with decorative lettuce leaves or kale. Use flowers as accents in the center or on a corner of the tray. This is a great way to disguise serving platters that don’t match.

FAQs — Party Flowers

When I am throwing a party, where do I start with planning the flowers?

Deciding on a theme is a good starting point. Determine how many guests you plan to have and how, or if, they will be seated. Look at your space and decide where you think flowers could be displayed for maximum impact. Set a budget, communicate your ideas to your florist and ask for suggestions on flower varieties and styles of arrangements. Clip pictures from magazines for ideas.

Most importantly, get your florist involved from the very beginning. You might want to ask him or her to come and look at where you plan to have your party – he or she can give expert advice and creative ideas on how to make the most of your budget and your decorations.

Can I decorate for a party with flowers on a budget?

Absolutely! Your florist can make suggestions to maximize your budget. Let him or her offer suggestions about where your floral dollars can make the most impact. Ask about seasonal flowers that might be in abundance and available at a good price (for example, roses are a great bargain in the summer). Find out if your florist has props or linens to rent – this will cut down on the expense of you having to buy them.

If I am organizing party flower decorations the day before a party, are there certain tips that will help them to last longer? Are some flowers better choices than others?

Many people decorate the day before a party to avoid last minute rushes and to give attention to details that may be overlooked in a hurry. If you put the party flowers in place the day before the event, be sure to water every arrangement until the water reaches the top of the container. To keep your flowers moist, mist the flowers with a spray bottle and cover them very loosely with a single layer of thin plastic (i.e. a dry cleaner bag). Ask your florist if any of the flowers in your arrangements need special care. Never place flowers in the sun or a hot place the day before your party.

Originally created for The Society of American Florists

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