Lela Rose's Top Tips for Throwing an Amazing Bridal Shower
She designs not only wedding dresses, but also unforgettable, stylish parties, as captured in her new book, Prêt-a-Party.
The Ultimate Hostess
Name a party, and we can assure you, fashion designer Lela Rose has thrown it: dinner and birthday parties, holiday festivities, bridal showers, tea parties, and more. So, we asked the party-planning pro to share her no-fail formula for throwing an amazing bridal shower. Plus, we're bringing those tips to life with photos straight from her new book Prêt-a-Party
Pick a Party Theme
"Sometimes the word 'theme' can seem a little silly or unsophisticated, but to me, a theme could be 'the color citrine,' or inspired by a vegetable I see at the Green Market. The theme dictates every other piece of the party: what to wear, how to dress the table, what's on the menu, how many guests to invite, and the budget, for example," says Rose. For this old-fashioned sewing circle party, Rose played off of the theme (and age-old wedding saying), "old, new, borrowed, and blue."
Plan Way Ahead
"The more that I plan ahead, the better I am at executing," she explains. "Plus, then you have time to delegate. It might seem like over planning would take away the fun and spontaneity, but honestly, it doesn't."
Stir Up a Signature Cocktail
Always Greet Guests With a Smile
"Welcome guests with that signature drink (the first indication that they're in for a more special event than they might have expected!) … And a smile! Do not look stressed out!" Rose notes. "No one enjoys an overwhelmed host or hostess and appearing ready to entertain sets the tone for a great party."
Create a Menu That Showcases the Theme
"Giving dishes fun names or getting creative with pairings will better illustrate the party idea. I once threw a 'White Christmas Dinner,' and it was on White Street, but white-colored food is completely unappetizing, so I found ways to incorporate the shade into the menu without serving gobs of white dishes," the designer-turned-author says. Rose's solution? A salad with winter radishes and white-miso vinaigrette. Genius. Anther tip? "I cook for most of the entertaining that I do, and I rarely make something for the first time when hosting—it's too stressful!" she says.
Turn to the Outdoors
"There's something so magical and freeing about attending a party outside, rather than in just one curated space. They make me feel like I can throw caution to the wind knowing the celebration will go on rain, shine, heat, or cold. If you have the patience to pull off an outdoor party, because yes, they can be difficult, go for it," she recommends.
Don't Forget Dessert
Rose believes in a true three-course meal, explaining, "I've never thrown a party without dessert, and I actually get upset when someone doesn't offer it. Besides being a natural signal that the party's winding down, dessert gives celebrations a sweet finish." Among Rose's favorites are canelé, apple tarte tatin, and ile flottante. Here, a single tier blueberry-covered vanilla cake rounds out the spread of treats at a bridal shower.
Gift Useful Presents
"I actually use a lot of what I registered for," says Rose, including her (discontinued) Takashimaya china, crystal punch bowl (that more often holds trifle rather than punch), real silver, and cake server. On the other hand, Rose hardly ever parties with her cut crystal, noting, "So many pieces have broken, and it's just too formal for our parties because we really like to enjoy ourselves."
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