SET THE SCENE
By Lauren Ashley Allan
By Lauren Ashley Allan
When it comes to decorating for the holidays, surround yourself with what makes you happy. Bringing children into holiday traditions young and taking them through the design process make it more fun to celebrate holidays. It’s not just about buying the perfect décor or pumpkins from the store, it’s about taking the kids with you to a local farm, selecting an imperfect assortment together, and learning about where they come from… we mix colors, sizes, shapes. I am teaching them to have fun with scale and to be bold with their choices! It’s all about the experience and building family traditions.
I mix and match my fine China patterns from my wedding and collections passed down through generations for a fun, spontaneous vibe. Choose patterns that complement one another. Referencing the history of the pieces can make for great conversation.
Take risks and break the rules. This especially applies to fine China. If you don’t have enough of a particular place setting to accommodate the full guest list, mix and match China patterns and glassware for a look that is artful and eclectic. The soulful juxtaposition of metallic and winter whites is my go-to holiday palette. Tie it all together with linens and florals. Pattern mixing captures a sense of easy elegance and infuses even the most refined setting with an effortlessly chic spirit, keeping the mood fun and spontaneous.
From striped straws to brass and bejeweled bottle stoppers, setting the scene with spirited accents and expressive accessories channels an unexpected, distinct voice. Guests will remember the little things that make an event stand out. Elevated barware is my favorite place to splurge. It adds so much to the art of entertaining. Pieces that add sophistication with minimal drama are on my “must” list.
Music makes such a big impact on creating a great environment for your guests. Ask guests to submit a song request with their RSVP, then create a playlist customized for the party. I was first inspired to do this for our wedding, and we had so much fun!
Brighten the space and enhance the experience for our guests. Candles and room sprays can bathe the environment in rich, soothing tones. Before an event, try choosing a single scent to place about the space in entryways, powder rooms, and lounge areas. Stick to fragrance-free candles near food. I always start cooking before the guests arrive so the house smells inviting.