CELEBRATING WITH STYLE
Lauren Ashley Shares Her Design Tips For Throwing the Best Soiree
By Katricia Lang
Kool & The Gang captured parties perfectly in their classic hit “Celebration.” They’re celebratory affairs meant to bring people together in laughter and, of course, good times. Unfortunately planning a party often feels like anything but, though it doesn't have to be that way.
In fact, if you take a look at the sky right now, you’ll see the sun peeking through the clouds. That means expert event planner Lauren Ashley is in the building. The renaissance woman and owner of LA Weddings & Interiors, LLC is capable of tackling floral design, wedding planning, and interior design. She has the skills to pay the bills and advice for throwing the best soiree.
At the top of her list is to capture your guests’ attention. The Ruby Award winner says she got funky for Erica’s Table of 20, an exclusive luncheon attended by high-powered professionals. She added the florist favorite bigleaf white hydrangeas and mondial white roses to a monochromatic mix of specialty ordered green flowers that featured textured strands of hanging amaranthus. “I try to pick different things that are not normally seen. I want people to say, ‘Woah, I wasn’t expecting that!’”
People remember what they feel, says Ashley. So make the event an experience, not just for your partygoers, but also for yourself.
Do some introspection and soul searching when deciding on your theme, says Ashley. Make it mean something. And meaning something is open to interpretation. When it comes to themes, “Will Smith” is just as valid as “winter.” Ashley has thrown a ‘90s nostalgia and hip-hop flavored party to prove it.
Ashley also recommends seeking professional guidance, even if you are helming the project yourself. A simple phone or Skype consultation will do wonders for the do-it-yourself person, she says. “You can talk to me about your ideas and I can give you direction and help you connect the dots for what you’re trying to do.“
Other professionals can provide assistance, too. For an “under the sea” themed baby shower, Ashley enlisted the services of One Fiesty Chef. The food and fashion maven behind the catering company came with her own party supplies replete with prop sea shells and coral.
Another reason to hire a professional party planner is simple: You don’t know what you don’t know. There are, excuse the play on words, a host of logistics and practicalities to consider beyond budget, party size and venue: DJ or band, photo booth, servers, valet parking, linen rentals, bar service, housekeeping — the list goes on and on.
Ashley mentions cleaning up after the party. Though usually an afterthought, it’s just as important as set-up. Unlike Cinderella, your carriage won’t automatically revert back into a pumpkin. At the end of the night, you have to break down the set and put your toys away. It’s a simple concept, but a difficult task.
Whether you decide to hire a planner or not, Ashley has a bit of universal advice: Don’t overextend yourself financially. Food, drink, decorations, entertainment — it all adds up quickly. A lot goes into a party and your total can balloon to $5,000 very quickly, she says.
Don’t let party planning be a party pooper. Remember, this is your celebration.
LA Weddings & Interiors, LLC
SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY
One Feisty Chef, LLC
What's the Occasion Linens & Decor
13003 Murphy Road, Stafford
ERICA’S TABLE OF 20
D'Concierge Weddings & Events
13003 Murphy Road, Stafford
Ink and Elegance
(invitations and accessories)
Couture Bar Service