Party season calls for, well, lots of parties. It’s a time to gather together and make merry with the people in our life – new faces, old friends, family and those we wish we saw more. But what’s the key to a truly spectacular festive soirée? FLOWERBX founder Whitney Bromberg Hawkings has a fresh bunch of secrets and, thankfully, she’s willing to share.
After working alongside designer Tom Ford for 20 years, Whitney set up FLOWERBX in 2015 – a luxury online flower service that delivers blooms direct from the grower’s garden. Today, she’s the hostess behind some of the most double-tap worthy dinner parties on Instagram and counts many of fashion’s most famous faces as friends, collaborators and clientele – from Laura Bailey to Emilia Wickstead and Jimmy Choo. Scroll on for her top festive party hosting tips.
Flowers set the mood for a festive soirée
The same way a bag, sunglasses and shoes can completely transform the look of a little black dress in a thousand different ways, flowers can completely transform the mood of a party by conveying lushness, modernity, romanticism, starkness, femininity etc. For me, when entertaining, a room or a table is unfinished without the adornment of flowers.
Send your invitations weeks in advance
The rule of thumb is to send invitations three weeks before a dinner party, which I tend to stick to, but I also love to throw an impromptu dinner which always feels relaxed and fun.
Embrace the sit-down dinner this party season
As I socialise a lot and am out every other night for a cocktail party for a client or a brand with whom we work, I really crave the intimacy that a sit-down dinner creates. I like being able to have meaningful conversations with my guests, and I think it is easier to tell the story I wish to tell when I can control the food, the wine, the music and, of course, the flowers.
Serve beautiful, simple, seasonal food
I am a very healthy eater and try not to be too dogmatic when hosting a dinner. I always serve beautiful, simple, seasonal food with lots of choices. I like my guests to serve themselves, so they can take as much or as little of any of the dishes that they would like and always finish off with a homemade chocolate pudding – the nemesis from River Café is my fail-safe recipe.
Keep the music up, up, up
My favourite dinner parties are ones where the guests all end up dancing. Beyoncé always gets people out of their chairs, so I have great playlists that start quite calmly but end up with great dance songs about two hours in.
Don’t fret about dress codes
Unless it’s a costume party, I find dress codes slightly annoying. I think the dress code should always be CHIC!
Mix traditional festive blooms with the unexpected
I am obsessed with the two tables we have created for the holiday season. One is a winter white table which boasts white hypericum berries, Angel Wing eucharis lilies, and white cut Vanda orchids. The Festive Red table is also elegant using traditional holiday reds but featuring unexpected varieties like roses and carnations.
Get your flowers the day before your event
Ideally, the flowers will be in situ the day before, at least, so they have time to open beautifully and will be optimal for the event.
Create drama with lots of simple arrangements
Repetition works wonders at creating a chic table. For wilder or more experimental arrangements, keep flowers simple and tonal for an elegant, dramatic effect. For example, warm autumnal shades work beautifully together, as do clusters of different reds, or a sea of greens.
It’s not just about the flowers
Candles are a must and I love it when they are in the same tone as the flowers. I also think that crackers automatically create an immediate festive feel for a table.
Spread the warmth
I think that the most effective festive parties are the ones that are the warmest and NOT the most opulent. Good food, gorgeous flowers, lots of wine and a mix of good friends and new faces is my recipe for the most successful festive parties.
Don't forget to thank the host
Always send a thank you card. It is the smallest effort and means so much.
Hosting your own festive party? Shop our personalised invitations for Christmas and New Year here.