Throwing creative parties is totally Lauren Conrad’s cup of tea. To celebrate a friend’s spring birthday, Us Weekly’s guest entertaining editor settled on a dreamy garden-inspired afternoon tea. “It’s a time when you can break out your more floral, feminine pieces,” says the 31-year-old LC Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s designer, whose new Dress Up Shop capsule collection launches February 23. (Check out the video above for her tips on hosting your own garden tea, including how to choose crowd-pleasing teas and pair them with the perfect menu.)
But even with a whimsical theme, Conrad, who is expecting her first child with lawyer husband William Tell takes a pragmatic approach to planning. “The first step is a venue and the time of year,” says the Celebrate author, pointing out that the amount of space you have will dictate how many guests you can include, which then factors into your budget for food and drink. She also notes that it’s helpful to consider your location and take cues from elements that are already there so that you create a cohesive environment. Her example: If you’re entertaining in an outdoor space with delicate garden flowers, you’re not going to want a centerpiece with tropical orchids and hibiscus.
From there, you can use seemingly basic details, such as a favorite food or place, to inspire the overarching theme. In this case, it was the color lavender, which not only became the main hue for décor (flowers, glassware, seating cards) but also the launching point for the overall garden tea party theme. The Laguna Beach, California, native chose mismatched floral china for place settings and served three tea blends, two of which included garden flowers (a lavender and a white peony).
A party favor is always a sweet finishing touch, but Conrad again tied her pick back to the idea of afternoon tea by handing out small glass jars filled with honey and accented with floral fabric in her chosen color palette. When choosing a parting gift for your own fete, resist the urge to give out “little trinkets” that end up as clutter in people’s homes. Instead, consider implementing the same rule Conrad uses for holiday gifts: “When people ask me what I want, I just say: something you can eat, drink or burn.”
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