How to Throw a Springy Garden Party

Load up on leafy green plants, heaps of spring flowers and fresh appetizers
Lauren Mang  |   March 2014   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
how to throw a party seattle magazine
“This style of party is very approachable for guests,” says floral and event designer McKenzie Powell. “All of your finger foods are presented on platters so guests can help themselves as needed.” Toulouse white platter ($79.95), Marin white large oval platter ($39.95), Marin white small oval platter ($29.95), Olivier five-piece place setting ($69.95) and Raza zigzag platters ($24.95), all from Crate & Barrel; red napkins ($6.95 each) from Cookin’ at Madison Park; raw wood board ($59) from West Elm; Old Havana salad plates in mint green ($12 each) from Anthropologie.

March 20 marks the official first day of spring, but the warmer, drier, al fresco entertaining days may not arrive for months. And we’re not fond of playing the waiting game. To show us just how to throw a lush and springy fete indoors, we called upon floral and event designer McKenzie Powell, who brought the outside in with a mix of blooms and foliage, rustic flatware and crisp white serving platters, accompanied by almost too-pretty-to-eat bites (plus one fizzy adult beverage). “Everyone is excited for the onset of spring,” she says. “So I kept everything neutral and simple, with lots of white and greenery to make it feel fresh.”

Choose your eats wisely
“Food brings so much life to the table through color and texture,” Powell says. She partnered with Redmond-based Lisa Dupar Catering, which provided a delectable spread including peeled and sliced grapefruit pieces with mint (an easy and colorful addition); goat cheese panna cotta with baby arugula and roasted baby beets; goat cheese asparagus tarts; and Oregon baby shrimp salad on challah dill rolls with baby arugula and avocado. Also on opposite page: crushed sweet pea crostini with crispy Parma ham and spiced crackers with goat cheese and spicy kumquats.

Florals made simple
Instead of creating big floral arrangements, which can be challenging for beginners, Powell suggests clustering flowers—such as these puffy white peonies—in a water pitcher. Find similar ceramic water pitchers at Crate & Barrel. Opposite page: cobalt bulb vases ($20 each), Celebes sea votives ($12 each), tall green vase ($32), green twist tumblers ($22), all from Watson Kennedy Fine Home; potted plants (prices vary) and wood stool ($230) from Molbak’s Garden and Home.

Resources: Event and floral designer: McKenzie Powell, 360.815.4031; Caterer: Lisa Dupar Catering, 425.881.3250; Napkins: Cookin’ at Madison Park, 4224 E Madison St.; 206.328.2665. Pitchers, silverware and platters: Crate & Barrel, Bellevue Square and University Village; Wood board: West Elm, South Lake Union, 2201 Westlake; 206.467.5798; Salad plates: Anthropologie, Bellevue Square, downtown and University Village; Votives, glassware and vase: Watson Kennedy Fine Home, downtown, 1022 First Ave.; 206.652.8350; Plants and stool: Molbak’s, Woodinville, 13625 NE 175th St.; 425.483.5000;