From The Salonniere:

To you, my little prairie flower, I’m thinkin’ of you every hour.

Much has been made of Meghan Markle’s wedding bouquet, which included Forget-Me-Nots, which were Princess Diana’s favorite flower; sweet peas; lily of the valley; astilbe; jasmine; astrantia; myrtle, a flower that symbolizes hope and love; and some blooms that Prince Harry handpicked from their private garden at Kensington Palace. In other words, Meghan’s wedding bouquet spoke volumes.

Flowers have long been used to communicate emotions. The practice of assigning specific meanings to flowers began in Turkey in the 17th century and continued in full force through the years, particularly during the Victorian era, when people were encouraged to keep their feelings in check. During that time, flowers became a secret language for expressing emotions, and floriography directories—floral reference books—became popular.

Did you know that yellow roses are the perfect flower to incorporate into a party welcoming someone to the neighborhood? Or that sending sweet peas is a thoughtful way to thank a hostess for a lovely time? Read on for a garden of opportunities for using posies to communicate festive sentiments.

The Salonniere’s Guide to the Secret Language of Flowers

Buttercup: Childishness
Calla Lily: Magnificent beauty
Camellia: Admiration, perfection, and good luck when given to a man
Camellia (white): Adoration
Chrysanthemum: Abundance and wealth
Daffodil (yellow): Chivalry
Dahlia: Dignity. grace, and elegance
Forget-Me-Not: Memories
Freesia: Innocence
Gardenia: Secret love
Gerbera: Innocence
Hyacinth (purple): “Forgive me.”
Hyacinth (red or pink): Playfulness
Hydrangea: “Thank you for understanding.”

Dahlias are the perfect centerpiece at an elegant dinner party

Irish: Faith and wisdom
Iris (yellow): Passion
Lilac: Beauty and pride
Lily: Majesty and honor
Magnolia: Nobility
Morning Glory: Affection
Orchid: Love, beauty, and fertility
Pansy: “You occupy my thoughts.”
Peony: Happy marriage

Peonies are wonderful for anniversary celebrations

Petunia: “Your presence soothes me.”
Poppy (yellow): Wealth and success
Ranunculus: “I am dazzled by your charms.”
Rose (orange): Fascination
Rose (yellow): Friendship
Snapdragon: Gracious lady
Sweet pea: “Thank you for a lovely time.”
Tulip (yellow): “There’s sunshine in your smile.”
Tulip (white): Peace and love
Violet (white): “Let’s take a chance on happiness.”
Zinnia (magenta): Lasting Affection

White tulips send a message of peace

Photo sources: Getty, Flower Magazine, Carolyne Roehm

Want to read more about flowers? Here are a few more stories that we think you’ll enjoy:

Carolyne Roehm and the secrets to her entertaining style

The best floral party dresses for spring

The 10 best floral-inspired tabletop products

A guide to the 10 best edible flowers

The Secret Language of Flowers Welcome Photo and Quote Mashup

Welcome photo: Elizabeth Taylor
Welcome quote: The Awful Truth (1937)

The post The Language of Flowers: A Guide to Picking the Perfect Party Posy appeared first on The Salonniere.

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From The Salonniere:

Do me a little favor, will ya?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle might not follow every tradition when it comes to their upcoming wedding. For example, they’ll marry in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Palace instead of Westminster Abbey, and they’ll hold their ceremony on a Saturday instead of a weekday. But there’s one British tradition we’d love to see them carry on: party crackers as part of the celebration.

Once considered a Christmas-only addition to festive tables around the U.K., these charming, trinket-filled paper packages that open with a pop became part of royal-wedding history when Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer incorporated them into their wedding breakfast.

According to Susan Dench, the British-born owner of It’s My Party!, makers of bespoke celebration crackers, Charles and Diana’s crackers were decidedly more stylish than whimsical. Each was presented to their guests in a silk-lined box containing cufflinks for the gents and a silver brooch for the ladies. Meghan was spotted pulling open a party cracker with Prince Charles during her first royal family Christmas lunch, so perhaps we’ll see a similar scene with Prince Harry at her wedding breakfast.

Join us as Dench reveals everything from the history of celebration crackers to her suggestions for popping them into your own parties.

First things first, since you were born in England, we have to ask: Are you excited about the upcoming royal wedding?

YES! I happened to be in England visiting during Charles and Diana’s wedding, and we had a fantastic time celebrating with my family’s entire village! We have a special connection to royal weddings, so it’s especially fun for us. During the run-up to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding, our London-based daughter was working for milliner Philip Treacy, who created hats for more than 30 of their guests, including Princess Beatrice’s widely discussed bow hat. For this royal wedding, we’ll be having a party. I’ve been planning it for months. The festivities will start at 5:00 a.m. to watch it live, and we’ll be indulging in all sorts of British goodies—with crackers, of course.

Tell us about the crackers you’ve made for your wedding-watching party.

We created a special pattern for the day called Royal Wedding—it features peonies, which are one of the bride’s purported favorites; roses; and of course myrtle, a flower that symbolizes fidelity and love, which every royal bride has incorporated into her bouquet since Queen Victoria. We also created a new print called Tiki Time, because we hear that Prince Harry and Meghan’s second reception (for the inner circle) will feature a tiki bar, to honor his favorite London club, Mahiki. Inside the crackers will be a gold crown, a package of colorful tissues (who doesn’t cry at weddings!), and little cards featuring fun facts about the Royal Family.

If Harry and Meghan were to incorporate celebration crackers into their wedding, what party favor do you think would be inside?

This is such a fun, decidedly unstuffy couple—crackers at their wedding breakfast would be a fantastic addition to the festivities. I don’t think they’d have a traditional favor inside, however. Instead, they’d probably have a sweet note telling guests that a donation had been made in their honor to one of the couple’s favorite charities. It’s so wonderful to see a couple so obviously and madly in love that earnestly wants to do good in the world.

Can you tell us a bit about the history of celebration crackers?

A beloved British tradition, crackers date back to 1845 when, after a trip to Paris, a confectioner got the idea to wrap sweets as love tokens. They weren’t very popular initially, though. It wasn’t until he added a “snap”—which provided a satisfying “bang!” when the crackers are pulled—that they became a celebration staple. Today, when you pull a cracker, a paper crown, a toy or trinket, and a silly joke fall out. The crowns symbolize the crowns worn by the Wise Men and wearing them during Christmas dinner is a hallmark of a quintessentially British holiday celebration. Even with the Crown Jewels at her disposal, the Queen always gets in on the fun. Brits go through more than 150 million crackers during the Christmas holidays alone.

How did you first become interested in celebration crackers?

Being British by birth (I lived there until I was eight, so I have dual citizenship), crackers were always part of celebrating life’s special moments. I’ve also always loved how they can quickly get the fun going at a dinner party. We’ve always invited strangers or “orphan” friends over for Christmas dinner when they can’t get home for the holidays, and crackers have always been a great icebreaker.

What inspired you to introduce them to a wider audience through your business?

I was inspired to start the business as a way of getting the conversation flowing among strangers who have been brought together by an event. Crackers are a great way to get party guests mixing and mingling, and happy memories are the best gift hosts can give their guests.

Your celebration crackers are unique in that they include a conversation starter. Why was it important to you to do that?  

After becoming a corporate refugee, I conducted communications workshops and even wrote a book on the subject. I’ve observed firsthand how real, face-to-face conversation is becoming a lost art. Our Conversation Pieces crackers include a conversation starter as a way of giving friendly chatter a jump start. They are a great way of making everyone feel more comfortable at a dinner party, and the more comfortable your guests feel, the better the overall experience will be for them.

Crackers are becoming very popular at parties all year round. How do you suggest people incorporate celebration crackers into their social gatherings?

Today, crackers are being used at all kinds of parties. They’re a beautiful addition to a tablescape or event décor, almost like a piece of jewelry or art, and can help set a party’s tone. Although traditionally they’re part of the table setting, crackers can also be used to deliver invitations or save-the-dates; as an icebreaker or party game; for an event raffle; to direct guests to their seats at a party; and as party favors. They can also be used as a business-branding tool, which is something Aerin Lauder did at a party she hosted to launch some fantastic new products. I’ve also seen them used very successfully at fundraisers, since people are much more likely to open their purses at a fundraiser if they are engaged and having a great time.

You recently incorporated celebration crackers into your parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. Tell us about that.

That party was one of the most meaningful celebrations we’ve had, and everyone is still talking about it!  Inside each cracker was a thoughtful message that was specific to their relationship—for example, inside jokes about their interests in gardening, fun facts about their life together, and questions that took them on a walk down memory lane. It was a wonderful way of reliving their beautiful love story.

Your crackers are to celebration crackers what couture is to ready-to-wear. How do you select the gorgeous paper patterns that you use?

I’m a pattern addict. I’m constantly inspired by what I see. We offer hundreds of options, but what they all have in common is that they are fresh, bold takes on classic patterns. We carry patterns from chinoiserie to madras patch plaid. We’ve even made crackers from Thibaut’s Tea House wallpaper. And we’ve been getting many requests for fabric, so that’s not too far behind.

And here are a few more stories we think you’ll enjoy: 

The Sally Award: Kate Middleton

Cathy Graham: RSVP

Inspiring party-theme ideas

The Salonniere’s Party-Planning Checklist

Celebration Crackers Welcome Photo and Quote Mashup

Welcome Photo: Princess Grace of Monaco and Princess Margaret, circa 1970
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, 1948

Photos: Susan Dench, Pinterest

The post Celebration Crackers: The British Party-Favor Trend That’s Popping Up All Over appeared first on The Salonniere.

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The Salonniere by Carla Mcdonald - 1w ago

From The Salonniere:

Few names are as synonymous with “hostess” as Carolyne Roehm. A classic beauty who reigned at the top of 1980s New York society, Roehm has since gained renown as one of America’s most esteemed tastemakers, the author of a dozen coffee-table books about style and entertaining, and a gifted designer of everything from glamorous clothing to chic table linens. A member of the Salonniere 100, Roehm—who splits her time among homes in Manhattan; Sharon, Connecticut; and Charleston, South Carolina—has hosted unforgettable fêtes for members of the cognoscenti ranging from Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to Downton Abbey and Gosford Park creator Julian Fellowes. Kick off your Manolo Blahnik  “Carolyne” sling-backs, an iconic style named for Roehm, curl up on the settee, and listen in as one of the nation’s most gracious and gifted hostesses shares the secrets to her entertaining style.

How would you describe your approach to entertaining?

I’m a designer, so I’m very visual when it comes to entertaining. Designing a dinner party is like creating a stage set: the flowers, how I set the table, and the food are the scenery, and the guests are the actors on stage. I always want to create something special so people pay attention. I love the process even more than the party—all I want is for the guests to come and experience it, and I’d be happy staying in bed, watching TV, and eating a potato.

You’ve thrown so many parties. Are there any that stand out as your favorites?

One comes to mind because it was so much fun—it was based on peonies. I filled a long table with bowl-after-bowl of gorgeous peonies. I’ve also given a lot of Halloween parties that I’ve really loved because I put so much thought into them. I need to do one in Charleston. And there were the square dance parties I did at my country home in New York during the heyday of the ’80s. Those were really fun. Barbara Walters, Henry and Nancy Kissinger, Brook Astor, and the de la Rentas were all there, and everyone would really loosen up because no one knew how to square dance. It broke down all the barriers. I remember Henry Kissinger saying, “What is this square dance? I don’t understand.” And then he and Nancy would go out on the dance floor and have the best time. When his son got married, they did a square dance.

How and where are you entertaining most often these days?

I’m doing more at home in Charleston—mostly smaller dinner parties—because it’s a newer residence for me, and I want to get to know people. And I’m more inspired there because it’s a fresh palette. I do very little entertaining in New York City these days, although I do need to have a ladies’ lunch there.

How do you come up with your guest list?

I actually don’t think about it too much. I’ll just think, I’ll invite this person because he’s a friend of so-and-so, and this one because I owe her a dinner. When doing the seating, I do try to balance the energy level at the table. If someone’s shy, I’ll put him or her next to a talker.

Who would you most like to host at a dinner party?

I love history and would have loved to have met George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abe Lincoln. Shakespeare and Catherine the Great would have been wonderful guests, too. I really enjoy the company of creative people—other designers, writers, and fine artists. I’m not interested in talking to some billionaire unless he’s doing something really interesting. I also love to be around funny people. I love people who can make me laugh.

How important are themes to your parties?

I always have a theme. It could be based on a holiday, what flowers are in bloom, the season, or what’s really good in the food market. For example, in July and August in Connecticut, I’ll feature corn in whatever I do. I can actually go overboard at times. I’m always thinking about how fun it would be to do a party based on this or that.

Why do you love to entertain? Why are parties important?

Parties are an antidote to stressful times. Life is not easy—there’s a lot of noise out there now that we didn’t have to deal with years ago, including constant “breaking news”, the Internet, and social media, which have added an entirely new level of stress to society. It’s so important to have parties to have fun and forget about all that—difficult times are when we need come together, to share what we have, and remain tight. They also play an important role in fundraising. In fact, in the ’80s, they were all about fundraising—people seldom went to private parties in those days.

Do you have any party pet peeves?

I have one HUGE one, and it’s gotten worse and worse: people who don’t respond to an invitation or who cancel at the 11th hour because the BBD—the bigger, better deal—came along, or they don’t want to make an effort. It’s SO RUDE! People are just so lackadaisical these days about replying. It just really dampens the appetite for entertaining, especially since it’s already hard to get a good group of people together because everyone is so busy.

Roehm with her mentor Oscar de la Renta in 1984

Who inspired your love of entertaining?

My grandmother—she was very talented visually, decorated beautifully, and always set a pretty table. She owned a gift shop, and I would go to the home-products market with her every year when I was a young girl. She gave me a blue-willow tea set when I was a girl that really inspired me, and my love of peonies comes from being in her garden. Oscar de la Renta was also a wonderful mentor, and I learned a lot about table settings from Bill Blass.

You have the most divine and extensive collection of dinnerware. How many sets do you own? And how do you shop for them?

I am to plates what Imelda Marcos is to shoes! When I shop for tabletop pieces, it’s very intuitive. I connect things visually all the time. For example, I was in an antiques shop recently, and I saw some pretty plates that reminded me of a certain tulip I grow, so I bought the plates.

What inspires your tabletop designs?

I love the Dutch flower-and-fruit paintings of the 17th century and am fortunate to own a few by Jan van Os. I’m very inspired by them, although I might occasionally put a little butterfly in here or there. I find buying postcards at museum stores to be a helpful source of inspiration, too.

Your tables are always so beautifully layered. Do you put a great deal of time into all the dinner parties you plan?

My partner Simon (retired businessman Simon Penniger) will say, “Carolyne, it’s just some kids coming over for spaghetti!” And I’ll say, “It’s been 16 years, and you still don’t get it! I don’t care if it’s the president of the United States or a group of teenagers. I have a certain look, and people have certain expectations when they come to my house, so I am always going to give it my all. It gives me great pleasure to give people the memory of a special evening.

You have such a wonderful sense of color. Are there any color combinations that you’re particularly drawn to right now? Do you like Pantone’s Color of the Year?

I have always had a great color sense—color combinations come easily to me. But following trends is not my strong suit—I don’t even know what the Pantone Color of the Year is! I love blue and white—it’s always in style and goes with everything. A friend once said that my headstone would say, “Here lies someone who worked really hard.” I said, “No, it’ll say, ‘Here lies someone who moved furniture and loved color.’”

I know you have a new book coming out this fall. Tell us about that.

Yes, this book will be my 13th, lucky 13. It will be out in October, and it will be very different and very personal. I’ve never really talked about the time I spent in the fashion business. When I made the choice to shut down my fashion-design business, my life fell apart. It was a very painful time. My new book will look at my entire life in design, from designing clothes, homes, and tablescapes to products. There’s a certain constant thread that you’ll see—things that I’ve loved since I was five years old, like red-blaze roses, polka dots, blue-and-white Chinese porcelain, stripes, graphic things, and peonies with pink and magenta in them.

Playing Favorites with Carolyne Roehm

Let’s play favorites. What’s your favorite party wine?

I love Casal Garcia Vinho Verde—I’ve been serving it for years. It’s inexpensive and delicious. It’s young and fresh and a little effervescent, so it’s great for summer, and the alcohol content is a little lower (9%, which is less than a beer).

Favorite dinnerware?

I love Mottahedeh and old patterns like Blue Canton. I also like Aptware from Apt in France.

Favorite glassware?

I love glasses from NasonMoretti because they come in beautiful colors. I’m also a fan of Baccarat’s Provence collection; it’s such a classic design. Williams Sonoma also has great glassware at a great price. That’s actually one of the great benefits of the time we live in—there’s so much affordable stuff out there that’s great-looking.

Favorite flatware?

Oscar de la Renta has beautiful flatware, and I like CB2 flatware for hors d’oeuvres.

Favorite table linens?

I’ve just started designing my own placemats and napkins, so I love to use those. I also love E. Braun.

Favorite powder room candle?

I love Rigaud, Cire Trudon, and Manuel Canovas Empire Celeste, but they are very expensive. Capri Blue candles, which I discovered in Charleston, are wonderful and just $22 or so a candle.

Favorite powder room soap?

I tend to buy small ones that I find when I’m traveling. I love Ortigia soaps from Sicily. They’re very pretty. I also like Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley soaps.

Photos via Carolyne Roehm

And here are a few more stories we think you’ll enjoy: 

How Charlotte Moss entertains

How Julia Reed entertains

How Sara Ruffin Costello entertains

The post Carolyne Roehm: RSVP appeared first on The Salonniere.

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From The Salonniere:

Bella Hadid in Chrome Hearts

Few parties draw as many fabulously dressed guests as the annual Met Gala. A black-tie fundraiser benefiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, the Met Gala is fashion’s party of the year. Held tonight and co-hosted by Anna Wintour, Donatella Versace, Amal Clooney, and Rihanna, this year’s party called for guests to wear their “Sunday Best” to support the Institute’s annual exhibition: “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” The red carpet was a religious experience for any devout fashionista to behold. Here are our picks for the 2018 Met Ball’s 10 best-dressed party guests:

Kim Kardashian West in Versace

Jennifer Lopez in Balmain

Kendall Jenner in Off-White 

Taylor Hill in Diane von Furstenberg

Bee Shaffer in Valentino Couture

Kerry Washington in Ralph Lauren

Lily Collins in Givenchy

Brooke Shields in Zac Posen

Lily Aldridge in Ralph Lauren

And here are a few more stories we think you’ll enjoy:

The best spring party dresses

Our Sally Awards for the year’s best party looks

Met Gala Photos: New York Times

The post Met Gala 2018: The 10 Best-Dressed Party Guests appeared first on The Salonniere.

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From The Salonniere:

I always have a wonderful time, wherever I am, whomever I’m with.

Hola, mis amigos. May 5th is Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates Mexico’s unlikely victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Celebrating an important historical occasion calls for a cocktail that is itself steeped in Mexican history, so of course we’ll be toasting the occasion with an original margarita.

Rumor has it the original margarita was created in Acapulco in 1948 by Texas socialite Margarita Sames. As the story goes, Sames was hosting a summer fiesta at her villa in Acapulco when she set about creating the perfect poolside drink using tequila, her favorite spirit, and Cointreau, her favorite liqueur. Known as “The Drink,” and then “Margarita’s Drink,” and ultimately “The Margarita,” the cocktail became all the rage when the socialite’s friends—Joseph Drown, owner of the Hotel Bel-Air, and Conrad Hilton, Jr., whose father owned the Hilton Hotel chain—began serving it in their hotel bars. The rest, as they say, is history. Here’s how to make it. Salud!

Margarita’s Original Recipe

Photo: Pioneer Woman


2 parts white tequila from the Jalisco state of Mexico. (We like Casa Dragones, a 100% blue agave tequila, for its smooth taste and authenticity and because it’s hands-down the prettiest bottle of tequila we’ve ever seen.)
1 part Cointreau
1 part fresh lime juice


Chill a rocks glass. Then run a piece of lime around the rim of the glass. Pour salt onto a paper towel and dip the rim of the glass into the salt. Don’t twist the glass in the salt; Margarita always felt that people over-salted their margaritas. Pour all ingredients into a pitcher and stir. Fill the glass with large ice cubes and pour in the mixture. Garnish with a slice of fresh lime and enjoy.

Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd in Acapulco, 1957

here are a few more story topics we think you’ll enjoy:

Festive and delicious winter margarita recipes

Fun and refreshing cocktails for summer parties

The Original Margarita Welcome Photo and Quote Mashup

Welcome photo: Rita Hayworth, Errol Flynn, and Orson Welles in Acapulco circa 1940
Welcome quote: Harvey, 1950

The post The Margarita: How, When, and Where it was Founded appeared first on The Salonniere.

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From The Salonniere:

In his gardens, men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.

Just when we couldn’t take another day of winter’s doldrums, spring enters in all its glory. The season is one for transformations—out go our bulky coats in favor of light, fluttering fabrics; lighter spirits replace heavier brown ones on our bar carts; and our tables come to life with the help of bright blooms. The way we entertain changes as the weather warms, too. To inspire your spring soirées, we asked some of our favorite event experts to tell us about the entertaining trends that are blossoming this season. Pour yourself a May Flowers and get ready to spring into party action with these festive tips.

Photo: La Basque

A Sense of Grandeur

It’s time to bring out your best china and glassware. “Formal classicism, tradition, and discreet luxury are back,” says Alejandro Muguerza, president of full-service catering and event-design company Le Basque of Miami, Florida. “Thick linens, fine silver, quality china and crystal, and a whiff of good antiques are pleasing to the hand and eye.” While he adds that rustic themes are out, elements of nature—“trees, branches, fruits, and flowers”—will always be in style. “Important, opulent flowers like peonies, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, and dahlias shouldn’t be crowded. Instead, sprinkle them in with more humble wildflowers and roadside greenery,” he says. “An arrangement that appears effortless can be very grand.” However, don’t overlook the simple pleasures of the season: “What I really want this spring is to sip a cooling Pimm’s Cup and dip into a creamy Eton’s Mess with fresh spring berries,” he says.

Strong Colors

While spring is practically synonymous with pastels, there’s a new approach to color for gatherings. “The biggest trend right now is moody color palettes accented with a metallic,” says Rick Davis, president and owner of Amaryllis Floral & Event Design of Washington, D.C. He also sees a trend toward mixing florals and greenery in centerpieces and décor. “The thing that’s out is decorating with only greenery,” says Davis. “How much Southern Smilax can you throw at a party?”

Photo: Botanical No. 9

Bring On…The Balloons!

This spring, there will be less emphasis on dressing up every surface in favor of going for one or two big statement pieces. “We are seeing more ‘impactful’ pieces, such as large floral walls or other interesting photo-ops for guests versus lots of centerpieces,” says Wendee Sawran of Botanical No. 9, a floral-design studio based in Austin, Texas. There’s also one trend that can no longer be ignored: balloons. “They’re HOT HOT HOT. We are doing them almost every weekend, and we’re not talking about your ’80s prom balloon arches but huge installations for that total WOW.”

Eye-Popping Instagram Moments

Barbara Hamilton of Ociana, a floral, décor, and event design studio in South Florida, Washington, D.C., and New York, concurs. The trend this season is toward “creating a memorable evening—one that will have guests not only talking but also posting all over social media,” she says. “At a gala, you may see artists performing on aerial silks above the crowd.” Though swinging from a chandelier is best left to the experts, you can inspire a few Instagram moments by offering something unexpected. Perhaps it’s using authentic vintage glassware for mid-century-inspired cocktails or setting a few old-school Polaroid cameras by the bar.

Photo: Marc Hall

Artfully Composed Florals

Marc Hall, president of Marc Hall Design in Boston, Massachusetts, has been a longtime observer of the stylistic trends in florals. To look forward, he looks back at what now seems dated. “What we were doing between the late ‘90s and 2010 seems, in retrospect, necessary but soulless—monochromatic blooms, stripped of their natural foliage, were gathered in clear glass vessels in perfect precision under water,” he says. After making arrangements in this style for a few years, Hall opted to embrace a looser style inspired by the unstripped beauty of flowers and other natural elements—even going so far as to refer to his creations as “botanical art” rather than arrangements. It’s a look that has caught on, he observes. “Not only do I predict that the integration of vines, leaves, branches, corms, and bulbs into our compositions will continue to ‘grow’, but I see a trend where floral design pays homage to the ancient craft of ikebana,” he says.

Striking Silhouettes

“This spring, the trend in florals will continue to be to use lots of greenery, to bring the outside in,” says Susan Davis of Fresh Designs Flora in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The silhouettes are also growing larger, she says. “For example, there’s a movement toward decorating your entrance with climbing florals or hanging florals from chandeliers. The idea of a long feasting table will still hold this spring to allow for long garland centerpieces with loads of candlelight in varying heights,” she says.

Photo: Creative Edge Parties

Focus on Food

Feeding guests is always a priority, but this spring, careful attention will be paid to how food enhances the experience of a get-together. “The hot trends in entertaining right now seem to highlight people’s interest in food, where it comes from, and the philosophy around creating ‘smart’ culinary experiences,” says Carla Ruben, president and creative director of Creative Edge Parties in New York City and South Florida. “‘Fine casual’ experiences—simple yet curated menus that accentuate sophisticated palates without pretense—are also on the rise. Both trends include homemade elements, like bespoke sodas, infused waters, simple syrups, and juices and incorporate ‘gut-friendly’ foods by fermenting, pickling, and preserving menu items.”

Contrasting Colors and Materials

Though spring is synonymous with floral motifs and lightweight fabrics, contrasting elements give these standbys a bit more edge. For instance, Melisa Soued of Eventorist in Miami, Florida, mentions fine leathers alongside florals. “[It’s] the essence of fancifulness and glamour,” she says. This nuanced approach also extends to incorporating a wider range of colors and bold floral prints. “Colors are soothing and range from pastel to jewel-like, and florals will be embellished and stylized, following a natural repetition pattern,” she says.

Photo: Fleur de Vie

Expressive Floral Arrangements

“The trend toward loose, lush, and expressive garden-style florals continues,” says Madeleine Elmer of Fleur de Vie, a floral design studio in Houston, Texas. “Some clients are requesting a fresh citrus palette paired with a chic mix of blue-and-white pottery, which reflects the revival of classic interior design. Soft neutral colors with mixed metals or gold are also holding their own in event design.”

Witty Themes

Stiff formality is falling out of favor. In its place are witty party themes that show plenty of personality. “Party themes have taken a turn toward more interactive events,” says Julie Richter of Townsley Designs of Austin, Texas. “Themes are centered around what a host truly loves, like full Southern fare, which might manifest itself in a chic, comfort-food bar and décor touches like slat walls, decaled wooden food tables, and a resin cow.” While you don’t have to go whole-hog, this theme can certainly translate to your own table by serving up your favorite local barbecue. Which brings us to…

Photo: Townsley Designs

Seasonal and Local Sourcing

“The idea of ‘going green’ is always going to be in style,” Richter continues. “Knowing where your food is sourced and incorporating sustainable décor into your party design lets your guests know you care about your carbon footprint and minimizing waste.” In this spirit, Townsley Designs created a “Melon Bar” for an event that featured craft cocktails made from fresh spring fruits and herbs. The party took the seasonal theme one step further with a custom citrus wall as decor. Similarly, think of incorporating fresh fruits, herbs, and edible flowers into your tabletop as decor.

Non-Traditional Desserts

The element of surprise extends to the menu, which makes it “exciting, fun, and interesting for us,” says Tina Houston of Reid’s Cafe & Catering Co. in Sugar Mountain, North Carolina. Don’t be surprised if you see chef-led experiences like open-fire roasting or fresh-shucked oysters at parties this year, or family-style service replacing buffets. But even more departures from tradition are on the horizon. “Dessert bars are in, especially for non-traditional desserts.” Perhaps banana pudding is poised to make a comeback?

And here are a few more story topics that we think you’ll enjoy: 

Great warm-weather party themes

The best floral party dresses for spring

Spring and Summer Party Trends Welcome Photo and Quote Mashup

Welcome Photo: Natalie Wood
Welcome Quote: The Great Gatsby, 1925

The post Spring Party Trends: Event Experts Reveal What’s Hot appeared first on The Salonniere.

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The Salonniere by The Editors At The Salonniere - 3w ago

From The Salonniere:

Anybody got a match?

Scented candles are one of the most popular hostess gifts, but they’re also one of the most often regifted. In fact, our research shows that 51 percent of the hosts and hostesses who receive scented candles wrap them right back up and give them to someone else. Read on for 10 scented candles that are so chic, gorgeous, or fun that no one would dream of paying them forward. Stock up, party friends. Few hostess gifts can hold a candle to these flambeaus.

Aerin Ceramic and 18-Karat-Gold-Plated Candle

Atelier Candle and Cloche

Richard Ginori Labirinto Candle with Lid 

Fornasetti Ortensia Candle

Celestial Candle by Paddywax

Tom Dixon Air Candle

Carved Sphere Teakwood Candle

Diptyque La Proveresse Candle

Tompkins “Barbicide” Candle

Baccarat Heritage Candle

Nymphenburg Porcelain Votive

And here are a few more story topics we think you’ll enjoy: 

Host and hostess gifts for fall

Tastemakers reveal the best hostess gift they ever received

Scented Candles: The 10 Most Beautiful Welcome Mashup

Welcome photo: Carole Lombard
Welcome quote: To Have and Have Not, 1944

The post Scented Candles: The 10 Most Beautiful Flambeaus appeared first on The Salonniere.

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From The Salonniere:

The calla lilies are in bloom again.

Spring has finally sprung, and with it comes a bouquet of vibrant party dresses celebrating the season’s prettiest blooms. Pour yourself a Garden Party and drink in our picks for the 10 most blooming-fabulous floral party dresses for spring. From where we’re sitting, everything’s coming up roses.

Cushnie Et Ochs Floral Collage Sheath Dress 

Diane Von Furstenberg Ruched Mesh Gown

Dolce & Gabbana Cold-Shoulder, Silk-Chiffon Dress

Monique Lhuillier Strapless Hi-Lo Polka Dot and Floral Gown

Mary Katrantzou Silk-Blend Bubble Dress 

Dolce & Gabbana 1950s-Inspired, Cotton-Poplin Dress

Alice McCall Gathered Cut-Out Dress

Naeem Khan Long-Sleeve Floral Gown

MDS Stripes Two-Tier Cotton Dress

Michael Kors Strapless Floral-Print Jacquard Midi Dress

And here are a few more stories we think you’ll enjoy: 

Five über chic, historically based party themes for spring and summer

The best wines for spring entertaining

Chic hair styles for spring parties

The secret language of flowers

A guide to edible flowers

Floral Party Dresses Welcome Photo and Quote Mashup

Welcome Photo: Audrey Hepburn
Welcome Quote: The Lake, 1933, and Stage Door, 1937

The post Floral Party Dresses for Spring: Our Picks for the 10 Best appeared first on The Salonniere.

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From The Salonniere:

It’s called the most exciting two minutes in sports. It’s also a great excuse to throw a super-chic party. Of course, it is the Kentucky Derby, the horse race held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, on the first Saturday in May. To inspire your Derby-party planning, we turned to Jon Carloftis, Kentucky resident, two-time Salonniere 100 honoree, and one of the country’s most creative “Run for the Roses” party hosts. Following are Jon’s top tips for throwing a Kentucky Derby party just like the ones they host in Louisville.

Let’s start with the guest list. Any thoughts on the perfect Kentucky Derby party guest list?

You’ve got to invite nice, interesting people of all ages and from all walks of life—for example, an incredible 90-year-old, a group of teenagers (no drinking of course!), a horse-farm owner, a farm worker, a billionaire, maybe even a stripper. You want people who know how to get—and keep—a party going. If it’s warm out, make sure to invite the person who’s going to jump into the pool!

I’m assuming you recommend serving mint juleps?

You have to serve mint juleps at a Kentucky Derby party. But argh, I’ve had so many bad ones that it’s a pleasure to share how to make a good one. Make the simple syrup ahead of time using pure cane sugar and Kentucky Colonel Mint, which has huge leaves and the perfect flavor. Sometimes I’ll even add some fresh ginger to the syrup since I’m a fiend for ginger. Put the mixture in an old glass decanter and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to mix your drinks. Take freshly made ice (it makes a huge difference!), place it in a bag, and use a hammer to crush it. Then, pack a silver mint julep cup to the top with the crushed ice, and pour in a jigger or two of Maker’s Mark bourbon (it’s the best!) and half an ounce of simple syrup. Serve it with a sprig of mint and a pretty cloth napkin, and you’ll be a winner, no matter which horse you bet on.

What foods do you recommend serving at a Derby party?

For a traditional menu, serve cashews or pecans glazed with brown sugar and tossed in hot pepper; thinly sliced country ham; tiny beaten biscuits; fresh collard greens with bacon; peas; and fried chicken. For dessert, serve Derby Pie—a chocolate and walnut tart, or make your own and add in a little bourbon.

What do you recommend for tabletop décor? 

Use English antique plates, Hermès flatware, Lalique stemware, and CB2 water glasses, which look so fragile and expensive but cost about $3 each. Lexington Silver Stirrup Cups are perfect for serving dessert or a really good bourbon after dinner. Sferra linen napkins in deep or acid green, deep or sky blue, chocolate, or charcoal will add a pop of color, although when Momma, who is 90 and a grande dame, comes to my Kentucky Derby party, she likes white, so that’s exactly what this good son uses.

What’s your favorite Kentucky resource for buying tabletop items?

LV Harkness is where everyone in Kentucky shops for their Derby party essentials.

Jon Carloftis and his partner Dale Fisher

What kinds of flowers do you recommend?

Use a combination of moss, horns, and the fresh flowers that are abloom in Kentucky right now, like dogwoods, tulips, late daffodils, and snowdrops, to name a few. Of course, since the Derby’s known as the “Run for the Roses”, red roses are fun too.

What about music? How do you balance playing background music with having the TV on for the race?

I usually start a Kentucky Derby party with Amy Winehouse Radio on our Sonos system, and I like to play it a little too loud at the beginning of the party just to get things going. Then, I switch to Al Green Radio or Aretha Franklin Radio because the older folks love it, and I like to educate the younger folks about the real deal: Motown. Have the TV on in the background without any sound, and about 30 minutes before the race, turn the volume on and the music off so people can start betting and talking like they know something about horses! Ask all your guests to bet $20 on one horse to win—it adds an element of fun. There are tons of horses in the Derby, so if nobody wins the pool, it can go to a good charity.

And here are a few more story topics you might enjoy: 

Classic and creative mint julep recipes

How Kentuckian Jon Carloftis entertains

Photo sources: Southern Living, One Kings Lane

The post How to Throw a Kentucky Derby Party: Tips from Jon Carloftis appeared first on The Salonniere.

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The Salonniere by Jenna Gallagher - 1M ago

From The Salonniere:

Regular old happy hour is so 10 minuti fa. Today, the hottest trend in cocktail parties is aperitivo, also known as “Italian cocktail hour”. Featuring pre-dinner drinks and nibbles native to Italy, aperitivo is the cornerstone of la dolce vita, which has become a way of life for gracious hostess, 2018 Salonniere 100 honoree, and Today show entertaining expert  Annette Joseph. A resident of both the U.S. and Italy, Annette reveals the secrets to this popular Italian tradition in her just-published tome, Cocktail Italiano: The Definitive Guide to Aperitivo. Equal parts cookbook, guidebook, and travelogue, Cocktail Italiano offers Annette’s helpful tips and delicious recipes for hosting aperitivi just as the locals do in Santa Margherita, Portofino, and 10 other towns on the Italian Riviera. Read on, miei amici, the Riviera, herb-marinated olives, and a Red Kiss await you. Cin cin!

You’ve described yourself as “obsessed with the culture, food, cocktails, and camaraderie of aperitivo“. Why is that?

I love the ritual—the colors, the fashions, and the energy. I am also innately a scene-watcher and people-watcher and find the art of conversation and storytelling fascinating. And of course, I love a good Italian cocktail, especially if it involves Campari.

How does the Italian aperitivo differ from the American cocktail hour?

Italian aperitivo is every day and everywhere—whether at a fancy hotel or the local bar. Unlike the American cocktail hour, aperitivo is a true ritual. Before dinner, everyone—from royals and socialites to the lady who waits on you at the grocery store—will stop what they’re doing to gather with family and friends and partake in this delightful tradition. For Italians, it’s part of everyday life.

How important is food to aperitivo?

Extremely important. In Italy, eating while drinking is a must, so everyone enjoys nibbles with their cocktails.

What comprises a classic aperitivo menu?

Negronis and Aperol spritzes are very popular these days. Of course, it’s also nice to offer glasses of chilled prosecco. In terms of food, 99 percent of the time, potato chips—whether they’re store-bought in bulk, kettle chips, or homemade—are served. Other popular nibbles are focaccia, small sandwiches, pizza, olives, and nuts.

What items should a party host keep on hand to stay aperitivo-ready?

Aperol, vermouth, Campari, gin, and the odd Amaro are a good start. I would also suggest having club soda, tonic water, limes, lemons, oranges, bitters, a cocktail shaker, and a stirrer for mixing cocktails. For food, you’ll need potato chips, of course. I also like to keep plenty of olives, meats, and cheeses on hand so I can construct a killer charcuterie platter. And of course pretty cocktail glasses and colorful cocktail napkins—whether paper or fabric. I especially love vintage napkins.

How can those who aren’t seaside add a touch of the Riviera to their aperitivo?

A bright, well-prepared cocktail and a lovely Italian nibble are the perfect primer for the armchair traveler. Music helps, too. But of course the most important element of your aperitivo at home is the group of friends you’ve invited to enjoy it with you.

You mention music. What’s the perfect aperitivo playlist?

I love Spotify because you can find vintage Italian songs. I also love the songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s featuring Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. My favorite song for aperitivo is Mambo Italiano. There’s also an updated Mambo Italiano remix that’s super fun. Or you can play contemporary Italian hits. Nowadays it’s easy to find just the right Italian playlist.

What is the best way to dress for aperitivo?

Keep it casual: a summery sundress or colorful shirt are traditional for aperitivo. Think beachy and flowy.

What are the best flowers to use to grace an aperitivo spread?

Flowers are not really important. I suggest palm fronds and sea shells to create a beachy vibe.

What do you like to use for serving aperitivo cocktails and food?  

I love vintage cocktail glasses, particularly highballs and coupes. I own hundreds of them here in the U.S. and in Italy. For the nibbles, I use small dishes—single-serving plates and trays—and appetizer forks and spoons.

Is there an ideal number of guests to invite for aperitivo?

It depends on if you want to host an intimate gathering or an epic cocktail party. Aperitivo is for crowds or a few close friends.

If you could invite anyone, living or dead, to join you for aperitivo, who would it be?

Dolce and Gabbana—they seem super fun; Wes Anderson, because he’s my favorite; Bill Cunningham; Linda Fargo (because I grew up with her and would love to catch up with her by the seaside); Tina Fey; Truman Capote; and Lenny Kravitz.

All of the places in your book look fabulous, but if you had to choose one must-visit place, what would it be and why?

That’s tough, but I think I’d choose Portofino, because it’s such an iconic place to grab apero.

Who are the legendary hosts and guests of aperitivo that you admire?

Every noteworthy hostess has hosted aperitivo, and every movie star—from Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton to Brigitte Bardot, Federico Fellini, and Marcello Mastroianni—has enjoyed aperitivo in the Riviera at one point or another. Alassio, a seaside town where I lived for years, was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway.

What do Italians like to talk about while enjoying aperitivo?

I hate to generalize, but Italians are great at small talk! Favorite topics on the Riviera include the weather, family, children, and travel. They also like to tell jokes. They rarely—almost never—talk about work.

What restaurants in America do a nice job of re-creating the aperitivo experience:

Aperitivo is easy to find in New York and Los Angeles. In New York, I like Eataly and Tarallucci e Vino.  In L.A., I like Fig and Olive on Melrose Place, The Ace Hotel, DTLA, Bestia, and Terroni. In Atlanta, where I live, Storico Fresco does a great job.

One final question: Negroni or Aperol Spritz?

Negroni, 100 percent.

And here are a few more story topics we think you’ll enjoy: 

The six secrets of Italian party hosts

Ten tips for great conversation

Fun party themes for spring and summer entertaining

Photos: Skyhorse Publishing

The post RSVP: Annette Joseph appeared first on The Salonniere.

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