This time of year is perfect for soaking up late-summer sunshine and celebrating the season's happiest bloom: the sunflower! Sunflowers are beautiful on their own, but when paired with a few effortless decor touches and sunny sweet treats, you have all the makings for a stunning sunflower party that will impress friends and loved ones!
"Sunflowers are abundant in August through early September, and their big blooms always bring on happiness," says DIY pro and event planner Jeannine Rose, founder of Sweet Humble Home. "Thankfully, throwing a sunflower party doesn't have to break the bank! Just grab fresh blooms, a mix of on-theme accents and tasty desserts to make a memorable celebration."
To get the look of the sunflower party (above) designed by J&K Events by Design based in Miami, start by attaching faux greenery (like an artificial boxwood wall) to a blank wall to create a backdrop. Then, insert 10 to 12 sunflowers through the faux greenery wall. Next, set a table in front of the wall and cover with a yellow tablecloth. Elevate on-theme treats on cake plates and wood crates for an eye-catching display. Finish by decorating the table with bouquets of sunflowers and festive, printed greetings set inside wooden frames.
Greet guests with a refreshing signature sip
Give lemonade a grown-up twist with this delicious sip. To do: The night before your party, add a handful of fresh mint leaves to a pitcher of lemonade. As guests arrive, pour 1 oz. of citrus-flavored vodka into an ice-filled glass, then fill with lemonade. Top with a splash of seltzer for a touch of fizz. Garnish with more mint leaves. Tip: The bubbles will help release mint oils from the leaves for a hint of scent.
Sweeten the day with sunflower cupcakes
Your crowd will go crazy for a mix of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes — and the colors of the treats echo the brown and golden hues of sunflowers. To enhance the effect, ice the cupcakes with your favorite frosting, then top each treat with sunflower cake decorations like Wilton Royal Sunflower Icing (Buy at Amazon, $12). For a fun, festive touch, finish with a drizzle of flower-shaped sprinkles (available in the baking section at craft stores).
Brighten your table with a casual-chic centerpiece
A large, quart-size Mason jar is the perfect vessel for sunflowers: Its tall height and wide mouth perfectly accommodate their sturdy stems. Plus, the jar has plenty of room for adding extras, like citrus slices that echo the shape of the sunflower centers and the color of the petals. To make this arrangement, gather the stems of sunflowers, daisies and mums in your hand. Secure the bouquet at the top and bottom of stems with a rubber band, then trim the stems to an even height. Place the flowers in the Mason jar, then fill with water. Slide a few slices of lemon in the jar, using a skewer to position. Finish by tying the jar with a length of twine. (Click through for tips on making your cut flowers last for weeks.)
Dress up a simple cake with 'bees' and blooms
This garden-inspired cake created by J&K Events by Design is sure to get guests buzzing! To get the look, smooth a little bit of frosting around cake layers using a flat metal spatula or simply scrape most of the frosting off a store-bought cake.) Then position royal icing sunflowers around the cake. Next, make tiny bumblebees by rolling premade yellow fondant into balls and squeezing slightly to create a bee shape. To finish, add details using an edible black ink marker.
Cultivate happiness with seed packet favors
Guests will remember your sunflower party long after the summer ends with a gift of “seeds of friendship.” To do: Place packets of sunflower seeds from the garden center (or order custom packets, like these cute ones from FavorUniverse via Etsy) in a basket accented with flowers. For a thoughtful touch, stick a note on the back with instructions to plant the seeds after the last spring frost in your area.
Keep sunflowers happy with this easy trick
Right now, you can find sunflowers at farmers markets, farmstands and supermarkets. As soon as you get them home, trim the stem, remove extra leaves and place in water. To ensure the blooms last, try this surprising floral trick: Fill the vase with 2 cups of water and add 2 cups of lemon-lime soda and 1⁄2 tsp. of bleach. The sugar in the soda nourishes blooms and the bleach kills bacteria.
Note: Sunflower heads can be heavy, leading to droopy stems. If any break off, turn them into mini decorations. Simply fill a mini terra-cotta pot with presoaked floral foam and insert the bloom into the foam. Cover any visible foam with greenery. Place the finished flourish on plates for a pop of pretty that doubles as a favor.
Click through for more party-planning tips:
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.
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