Book Review: Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring

Today, I'm delighted to share an extract from the gorgeous new book by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring - Decorate for a Party. The duo teamed up previously in their book Decorate with Flowers (read my review here), so it's wonderful to see them back together, styling up the most beautiful settings for parties. 

Book Review: Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Jacqui Small) - Gathered Cheer blog

The main thing that strikes me about the book is that is takes absolutely everything into account. I've sometimes heard it referred to as the 'texture' of an event. You know, the things that go beyond the more obvious elements of the event, things such as the all-important playlist and the lighting. The season you're holding your gathering in also may affect what theme, colour, centre-pieces, music and flowers you choose - and each of these and more are covered in the book. 

The sections will appeal to many different tastes and will also work across the year for a variety of different types of party - these range from 'New + Romantic' and 'Pure + Simple' to 'Warm + Cosy' and 'Playful + Sweet'. My hands down favourite section is 'Gather + Make' - a festive, monochrome affair full of geometrics, metallic accents and that all-important hygge feeling. I'm so excited to have a go at bringing together some of these elements at my next gathering. 

Dotted throughout the book is a recurring feature '6 ways'. These pages are filled with tips on any given element of a party - such as goody bags, white balloons and name cards. Each of the six ways is varied and you're sure to find one that works for your own get together. To get a better flavour of this lovely feature of the book, take a look below at the extract from the book - '6 ways: Place Settings'. I literally want to replicate every single one of them at my next dinner party... 


6 ways: Place Settings

6 Ways: Place Settings - an excerpt from 'Decorate for a Party' by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Photo by Holly Becker) on Gathered Cheer blog
6 Ways: Place Settings - an excerpt from 'Decorate for a Party' by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Photo by Holly Becker) on Gathered Cheer blog

1. Lace trim was snipped to mark a place setting and simply laid on top of the tablecloth. A linen napkin is topped with a round cocktail napkin with sprigs of greens on top and a strip of paper with ‘Let Us Eat’ stamped on with dark brown ink. Small baking tins become tealight holders. Sprigs and blooms are scattered on the table to bring in colour and a touch of nature. A menu card is tucked beneath the napkin, with pattern peeking through that complements the subdued palette of the tabletop.

2. A plate holds some candles wrapped in greens – we just used wire and sprigs and made these simply by hand-forming little circles and placing candles in the middle. Ribbons dance down the centre of the table with petals from a daisy. A larger wreath was placed on a plate – in the centre a small candle has a tag that says ‘Make a wish’ (created on the computer, printed out and trimmed with scissors) pinned onto ribbon. Silverware was placed in a napkin tired with string.

6 Ways: Place Settings - an extract from 'Decorate for a Party' by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Photo by Holly Becker) on Gathered Cheer blog
6 Ways: Place Settings - an extract from 'Decorate for a Party' by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Photo by Holly Becker) on Gathered Cheer blog

3. Metal baking tins mimic the floral shape of the soup bowl. A pretty votive candle greets each guest with hello on a strip of paper (or write your guests’ first names) – just punch a little hole in the top of the paper, pull the wick through, bend beneath the candle and tape in place. A simple dahlia head continues the petal-shape theme. The linen runner in blush rose adds additional colour.

4. Mixing linens makes a table feel warm and natural. A napkin placed below a gorgeous handmade plate topped with tied silverware against nubby linen is simple but elegant. Use your computer and a favourite font to create a ‘Thankful for’ slip, placed near the dinner plate with a wooden pencil. This is such a wonderful way to connect people at a dinner. We’ve done this before and asked each guest to share their list during the evening and it always made the gathering more magical and intimate. A small sprig of green in a tiny vase is as simple as you can get but beautiful still. We used a paper bag from the grocery store and a circle punch to add some polka dots to the table. A wine glass is topped with a strip of lace trim and the name of the guest is placed on top. Small candles in tin holders work nicely with the colour of the napkin and patina of the vintage silverware.

6 Ways: Place Settings - an extract from 'Decorate for a Party' by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Photo by Holly Becker) on Gathered Cheer blog
6 Ways: Place Settings - an extract from 'Decorate for a Party' by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Photo by Holly Becker) on Gathered Cheer blog

5. Add a wreath to just one of your place settings for the birthday girl, bride-to-be or someone who is being honoured at a special gathering. You can even ask her to wear it in her hair or hang it later from the back of her chair, and definitely invite her to take it home. Use two runners on your table, placed along each side to use as placemats. A darker linen napkin in an eggplant tone adds contrast. Simple twine looped around silverware is easy but pretty. A tiny note on a small plate is a personal touch.

6. A little scroll can be for your menu or a sweet note to your guest. We found these adorable candle holders, which are also vases, and it was love at first sight! We mixed in some greenery and used the same greens to form a little wreath and tied on the guest name. A tiny bottle with sprigs of flowers acts as a sweet takeaway hostess gift.


What a beautiful and inspiring extract - I hope you'll agree! This is just one of the many gorgeous parts of the book, which is packed full of how-to's, styling hints and ideas for ways to make your party pack a punch. I know I'll be dipping in and out as and when I have a party or gathering to plan to dose up on inspiration. 

-x-

Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Jacqui Small Pub) is out now

 

Copy and Photo credits //

Top photo is by Ruth for Gathered Cheer

Extracted from Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, published by Jacqui Small (£20). All images © Holly Becker