A party to re­mem­ber

You can daz­zle your guests with just a few del­i­cate touches. Gabrielle Fa­gan chal­lenges the ex­perts to serve up their top dec­o­rat­ing flour­ishes

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - INTERIORS -

Summer gath­er­ings can be the most mem­o­rable of the year, espe­cially if they’re spon­ta­neous, re­laxed and filled with spe­cial touches and dec­o­rat­ing ideas that your friends and fam­ily won’t for­get. “When it comes to dec­o­rat­ing for a party, it’s not about play­ing su­per host­ess or lay­ing out the best china or the most ex­pen­sive crys­tal,” says Holly Becker, who with Les­lie Shewring has put to­gether a bril­liant guide to decor for all oc­ca­sions, Decorate For A Party.

“It’s about cre­at­ing a lit­tle magic and host­ing joy­ful cel­e­bra­tions in your own home, where you can do as you please and re­ally be imag­i­na­tive about your look.

“Most im­por­tant is adding char­ac­ter and love with cre­ative, thought­ful and fun decor, as guests feel im­por­tant, cher­ished and wel­come.” SUMMER SOIREE “We love a soft tac­tile look, which is a warm mix of or­ganic materials and tex­tures, hand­made de­tails and a touch of vin­tage glass,” says Holly.

“This el­e­gant style would be per­fect for an in­door or out­door evening, maybe to cel­e­brate a forth­com­ing wed­ding or sim­ply just to mark summer and all its plea­sures.

“Aim for a calm pal­ette of chalky, bleached colours, plenty of flow­ers in clear glass vases and plain white or strik­ingly pat­terned cloths for ta­bles.

“For a more rus­tic feel, leave wooden ta­bles plain and al­low glass­ware to star.” TIP: Tie sin­gle blooms to in­di­vid­ual nap­kins with rib­bon and har­monise by lay­ing more lengths of rib­bon down the cen­tre of a ta­ble to cre­ate a fo­cal point. Wrap party cut­lery in beau­ti­ful pieces of fab­ric (use off-cuts) that could dou­ble as nap­kins. NA­TURE’S TA­BLE “We love the chal­lenge of cre­at­ing some­thing spe­cial and mem­o­rable out of very lit­tle and keep­ing an over­all look in­ex­pen­sive and rel­a­tively sim­ple to prep,” says Holly.

“Be­ing in­spired by na­ture and us­ing fo­liage, leaves and plants is a lovely way to bring flair to a summer din­ner party. This can con­jure a coun­try garden at­mos­phere, or for a more ex­otic look, use trop­i­cal fo­liage. Add gold de­tails by us­ing a metal­lic pen to write guests names or mes­sages on large, glossy leaves.” TIP: Make a strik­ing cen­tre­piece by plac­ing a sin­gle large trop­i­cal leaf in a clear glass cylin­der vase filled with wa­ter. A group of three vases will look ef­fec­tive. Use plain brown wrap­ping pa­per to make a wall poster menu; write de­tails of the cour­ses in black and pin to the wall with a tiny posy on each cor­ner. AF­TER DARK “Noth­ing says party more than the disco ball,” says Clare Har­ris, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Talk­ing Ta­bles. “A cel­e­bra­tory clas­sic since the Seven­ties, the disco ball has come of age, fea­tur­ing on pa­per plates as well as disco ball-shaped cups.

“Glit­ter­ing foil cur­tains (gold or sil­ver, £8.49) are an­other party clas­sic that have made a come­back, cre­at­ing the per­fect In­sta­gram-wor­thy back­drop for your party pics.

“Frankly, cock­tail par­ties are not the time to be a min­i­mal­ist — layer up your bar and ta­ble with gold foil straws, party pop­pers and photo booth props, then bring the look up-to-date with a plug-in neon light or light box to show guests ex­actly what to ex­pect from their evening.” TIP: Don’t for­get to or­gan­ise games — they’re a great way to break the ice. Talk­ing Ta­bles has Pros­ecco Pong, £14.99, where play­ers at­tempt to throw or hit ping pong balls into glasses of Pros­ecco and op­po­nents must drink the con­tents of any glass in which a ball lands. Decorate for a Party: Stylish and Sim­ple Ideas for Mean­ing­ful Gath­er­ings by Holly Becker & Les­lie Shewring is pub­lished by Jac­qui Small, £20

TASTY TREAT: LSA In­ter­na­tional Moya Grand De­sign cham­pagne serv­ing set, £250, Black By De­sign

Cock­tails neon light, £69.99, Talk­ing Ta­bles

Cham­pagne cork wire cage side ta­ble, £149, Decorelo

Mini party drinks and canapes trol­ley, £18.95, Luck and Luck

Gold cut­lery set, 24 piece, £95, Mi­afleur

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