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DIY Holiday Tablescape Tutorial From the Pros

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You know how one minute you're planning a sweet little intimate holiday dinner and then, before you know it, you've got a guest list that's expanded to include your friend's latest Tinder hookup (didn't they just meet?!), your significant other's buddy, your just-moved-in neighbor, or other various characters you didn't plan on hosting?

At times like these, the last thing you want to be stressing over is preparing a pretty tablescape—but duh, domestic goddess that you are (or are at least pretending to be), of course you need to make that happen. Thank goodness I was lucky enough to score some tips on setting the table from The Bouqs Co., a Venice-based, farm-direct floral delivery service. I recently got a home visit from David Plafchan, part of the company's creative team, who showed me some floral arranging basics and explained how the brand can help you with your last minute decor needs.

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David arrived with an incredible variety of blooms and greens including a rainbow assortment of roses, amaryllis, safari sunset, hydrangea, ranunculus, and even kale. Yes, kale. I explained that I'd like to make the focus of my table setting a "wintery" arrangement, though not holiday specific. We quickly decided on some seeded eucalyptus, evergreen, red berries, and white roses, with a few accents—sort of a mishmash of The Bouq's seasonal Comfort n' Joy and Holiday Sweater arrangements. After trimming the stems on an angle and stripping the bottom bits of leaves (which can promote bacteria in the vase), I got some tricks of the trade in how to make an beautiful, natural-looking centerpiece.

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Starting with a lovely white kale bud, David showed me how to build a bouquet by working from the inside out (imagine looking at the finished product from above when constructing it) and spiraling it around as you add in other buds and fillers, which helps you create a nice shape and 360 degree effect. Some softer pieces that offer a bit of movement—in this case the eucalyptus—can be added to the exterior to give that "Oh I just foraged this perfect-looking bunch of flowers and threw them in this vase!" effect. Since The Bouqs consults with local florists, they know exactly how to achieve this Pinterest fave aesthetic.

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Next, David showed me how to find the perfect height for the arrangement in your desired vessel. I opted for a plain, glass cylinder (though bouquets from the company can come in a ton of other cute containers) and we lined up our creation with the buds about an inch above the opening, then trimmed the bottoms to that length. Per David's instructions, I added just a few inches of water (to minimize the growth of bacteria) and then we fluffed and made final adjustments. We even snipped a few bits of evergreen to add to my silverware rolls, and tied with a bit of twine—which pretty much will guarantee me Martha Stewart cred from my guests.

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Despite the fact that we customized my bouquet, The Bouqs offers pre-made arrangements, so you can keep them as-is, or break them up and reconstruct to best suit your needs. For example, order a mid-sized bouquet ($50/$60) and make a few small ones to scatter around. Since their focus is on directly farm-sourced flowers (no teddy bears, balloons, or other cheesy fillers) you get a look that is looks effortless, yet totally natural-looking. And the best part? You can get blooms shipped next-day.

Since many of their farms are local, select arrangements require less travel time—which means in a addition to getting them to you in a jiffy, the company is also practicing sustainability. So though I'll still be stressing over expertly roasting a whole chicken and making sure the liquor cabinet is stocked, I can at least chill on prettifying the table. The Bouqs is doing the dirty work for me.