This is my fourth year creating florals and décor for this wonderful holiday party which is held in the Presidential Suite at the downtown Seattle Westin hotel. The suite is on the 47th floor, and the view it offers is expansive and amazing. From here you can see the neon sign of the Pike Place Market, the ferris wheel, the Sound, the Macy's star and all of the twinkling lights of the shopping core. The view from the bedroom includes the Space Needle.
It's a company Christmas party, the guest list is always less than 20, so it's it intimate affair.
Though some of the elements we use are the same each year, we're always editing and expanding and trying hard to create an experience that's a little different each time for the guests. It seems the level of detail increases, as does the amount of stuff, too. It just keeps getting more and more elaborate and festive!
My client has a wonderful collection of holiday decor pieces, candles, containers, and glittery things. I pull from this collection, shop for a few new elements to add, create many handmade pieces, and, of course, arrange lots of fresh flowers for this party. It takes weeks to prepare for it, but the set up happens in just one day, and it's a mad scramble to get everything done before the guests arrive.
The table "centerpieces" are built first so the hotel staff can get the tables set, then I move on to create all the vignettes and place flowers around the room.
One of the tables is a woodland theme. In the center of the display is a icy acrylic tree, and the rest of the scene is built around that. There are many layers of bottle brush trees, live cypress trees, LED trees, logs, birch tubes, bark-covered containers, pots of live moss, and small, dense flower arrangements. Tucked into all of this you'll find little woodland creatures. Some of these critters are interacting with others and exchanging gifts by their own tiny, lit christmas trees and other's are hiding in their dens. It's always my goal to create a view that delights from every seat at the table.
The second table is a glittery holiday town. I decorated the little houses a few years back, and we've been incorporating them into a table display ever since. The layout changes and the other elements do too. and I try to make it a different town each year. Like the woodland table, it's very detailed. There are icy trees, bottle brush trees, lots of live potted trees and moss, many flowers with glittered pinecones and Christmas balls tucked into the arrangements, mercury glass, lots of candles, tiny presents waiting on porches and wreaths on doors, and lots of little paper critters living in this town. The houses have faux votive candles inside, so they have a nice warm glow.
I absolutely loved our linen selections this year from Choice Linens. We used a rich and luxurious blue velvet which looked incredible in the room and under our tablescapes. We rented their gold-rimmed chargers and some very lovely gold striped napkins. We also brought in gold flatware from another local rental company, which added a lot to the place setting. We found new chairs to rent too, which were perfect in the room.
Instead of a place card, I made a personalized ornament for each guest. It served as a practical thing, but it was also a gift for each guest, and a memento of this lovely event.
Also for the guests, their own little copy of the Christmas Story.
Every surface of the room is adorned with flowers, sparkly deer and trees, topiaries, and candles. Each vignette is full, and like the tablescapes, there are details to discover within. The flower arrangements are all lush and full, and there are poinsettias scattered all offer the room.
Once everything is in place and any messes we made disappear, we light the candles, switch on the LED trees and votives, and it all comes to life.
The sun was setting as we were finishing up this year, which created a pretty spectacular view for us, and a very nice endnote for this chaotic day.
During the party set up, we always get lots of visits from hotel staff. This event has developed a reputation, and so many like to come visit the suite and soak up the holiday spirit. It really is pretty wonderful seeing the joy on everyone's faces as they explore the room. "THIS is Christmas", they often exclaim.
I've done events in many venues over the years, and I have to stay the staff at the Westin is as good as it gets. They're all such kind and accommodating people who take such good care of their guests, and also folks like me, who are just there working.
This party is a lot of hard work, but every step of the way it's enjoyable. In the event world, it's so rare to have the creative freedom that I do with this event, and I'm so grateful my client has the trust in me to allow me to really run with it. It's so creatively fulfilling, and I appreciate the opportunity so very much. I feel lucky having someone so wonderful to work with and I'm proud of the what we create together.
As we breakdown the event the following day, we always talk about how we can "up" our game next time. My head is already spinning with ideas, and I'm looking forward to next year's party!
I've posted a lot of photos here in this post, but if you would like to see more, you can visit this album on Flickr. Thanks!