Pretty Party Flowers

New York party planner to the stars Preston Bailey turns blooms into breathtaking scenery for such noted clients as Oprah Winfrey, Uma Thurman and the famously critical Joan Rivers. He shared his floral dos and don’ts for events big and small.

Centerpiece Height
On a casual table, arrangements should be no more than 10″ high.

Best Bouquet Colours
I prefer doing monochromatic arrangements, even if using different flowers. If not, I usually choose complementary not contrasting colours, such as pale pink with a stronger pink. Think of a cherry tree or a field of sunflowers; there are hundreds of the same bloom. Using one flower in a bouquet looks much more luscious, natural and dramatic.

Flower Placement
The basic spots for flowers are on a console or dining table, but try to be more inventive and playful than that. Lay flowers across napkins or create a statement at the main entrance.

Affordable Bouquets
It tends to be less expensive to create bouquets using all the same flower. I also love working with branches. One big bunch of fall leaves is an easy way to make a big impression without spending a fortune.

Perfect Christmas Flowers
I love amaryllis. Using them potted and creating an arrangement of pine cones beside them is a great, fresh look.

Bloom Blunders
Flowers are beautiful by themselves, so there’s no need to introduce extra greenery to make them bigger. And no more babies breath in an arrangement of roses!

Most Underrated Flower
Gladioluses. They’re inexpensive and will last a week.

Most Overrated Flower
Peonies. They’re beautiful, but they’re overused.

Kimberley Brown
Courtesy of Inspirations by Preston Bailey (2006 Bulfinch Press)