Laura Lee worked with celebrity florist Kenneth Turner for over 25 years, creating floral masterpieces for homes, parties and high profile events all over the world. Now Kenneth Turner London’s Floral Designer, she works with the team and has helped to create the company’s latest luxury candle collection, inspired by some of Britain’s favourite flowers. Here she gives her top tips on the best blooms, floral displays and candlelight to wow guests.
The transition from winter to spring totally spoils us when we’re entertaining at home. With wonderful flowers at our fingertips and the sun still setting relatively early we can use plenty of blooms and candlelight to create a lovely ambience.
WHERE TO START?
If you’re going to use a table cover, choose something versatile and neutral that won’t clash with your styling theme. A natural cotton, twill dust sheet is perfect. Available at hardware stores, it won’t set you back a small fortune but will provide a great base on which to build your table display and will be big enough to drape onto the floor to create instant elegance.
Next choose the containers to house your flowers. A mix of bud vases with single and double flower stems make for a more relaxed table display and are easy to move if food is being served at the table and you need to make space. Shallow glass bowls with floating flower heads and floating candles give more room if table space is tight. Silver plate milk and water jugs, pressed glass sugar bowls and crystal rose bowls give a more sophisticated look. All easy to create, with no floral expertise needed.
Some of my favourite flowers to work within these three styles are blue bells, paper white narcissi, hyacinths, French tulips, hellebore, prunus and camellia blooms which are beautiful for floating. Try not to mix too many different types of flower – it’s much more effective to keep it simple.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, mix seasonal flowers, fruits, mosses and spring flowering plants for your table display, with a sea of low candlelight to relax and wow guests. Some of my personal favourites include artichoke leaves, magnolia, cowslips, primroses, witch hazel, avocados, rhubarb, kumquats and botanical tulips.
There are many ways to add candlelight to dining tables and they add a beautiful elegance and ambience. Simple, glass tea light holders in mixed colours with flickering tea lights inside give easy, warm and laidback lighting.
Mercury glass containers with votive candles add sparkle and wonderful glass candelabra make a bold statement, whether contemporary or more traditional in style. For the perfect finishing touch, always opt for extra-long taper candles for the ultimate style statement.
Place mats can really set off your dining table too. Mirrored designs give a beautiful reflection of candlelight, slate mats are more contemporary and perfect for chalking guests’ names or if you’re looking to have some retro fun, try using old vinyl records.
AROUND THE HOME
Once your table is sorted, extend your design and creative touches to other areas of your home to complete the look and welcome guests. Opening the door to a wonderful waft of fragrance is the perfect welcome, so place lit, scented candles near the front door, in hallways and bathrooms, along with a small vase of flowers that reflect the theme you’ve chosen for your table. This carries the theme throughout your whole living space and adds a nice touch for guests to discover.
About Laura Lee
Laura Lee is a floral designer that is an expert in her field in more ways than one. She combines her savoir-faire with event design, both private and business, and is also regularly tutoring and creating sets for film and TV.
Laura has created designs globally, from weddings in Tokyo, Dubai, Sardinia and Australia, and has travelled the world tutoring in locations including Singapore, Europe and her hometown of London. Events are one of her passions – she loves to develop imaginative ideas, tailored for each occasion, and creating the wow factor her clients love.
Her years of training under the watchful eye of the master himself, Kenneth Turner, opened up a wonderful world of flowers, colourful people and fabulous places for Laura to shine. She currently splits her time between Berkshire and Basse in Normandy where she lives with her husband and where she can always be found tinkering with new floral and creative ideas – when she’s not off on her travels conspiring with another prospective client that is!