Molly Beauchemin

Non-Floral Decor To Illuminate Any Party

Party Essentials

GC recently styled a Garden-Inspired Baby Shower in which we sought out beautiful, ethically-made necessities in order to create a comfortable party atmosphere. We replaced plastic plates with biodegradable ones; disposable plates made from bamboo or palm leaves emulate the blemishes in wood, offering a more authentic, organic feel with depth and (affordable) elegance.

To complement the drinks, we chose patterned paper straws (also biodegradable) in a graphic print to add a sense of whimsy and innocence, appropriate for the celebratory nature of a baby shower. For a more rustic option, birch patterned paper straws are a charming, unobtrusive accent.

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Where available, natural surfaces (like wood, marble, or granite) were embraced and left uncovered, which we recommend doing in any social setting to lend a sense ease and beauty. Where natural surfaces are unavailable, serving areas can be dressed up with burlap table runners, which adapt to easily different decors and seasons. Their texture is not overly demanding but still provides depth and feels close to nature.

Molly Beauchemin for Garden Collage

Paper Products

For our goodie bags at GC events, we often used Garden Collage totes, which are made with unrefined cotton. The presentation of the gift should reflect the thoughtfulness and care of what is contained within. Wrapping paper in natural textures or floral motifs easily imparts beauty and charm. To fasten gifts together, baker’s twine is a bespoke alternative to plastic ribbon and comes in a variety of colors. Fresh herbs and small flowers from your garden can be tied in with the baker’s twine or affixed to front of a gift bag for a more personal presentation. Any type of paper signage (designations for food, thank you cards) can be made from seed paper–including confetti. What is left can be planted when the party is over.


Garden Collage’s baby shower took advantage of the space’s tall windows for natural light. Where natural light is not available, lighting should be comfortable–warm without being too concentrated, bright without being too harsh. Candles can be incorporated into décor for an ambient glow, scattered across the space. Cheerful and festive when wound around furniture or hung along walls, strings of small lanterns offer a soft, diffused light.

For more flexible lighting, jars can be fixed with solar powered LED lids that turn them into hanging lanterns–an ideal choice for both indoor and outdoor parties. As a DIY, basic paper lanterns can be embellished with flowers and leaves to imbue a more organic quality. Press plants of your choice between the pages of heavy books and then use paste to fix them to the outside of the lanterns (you’ll need to place a coat over the pressed plants as well) and distribute them through the space. Ensuring lighting is cozy and simple will help set the mood.

Molly Beauchemin for Garden Collage

Natural Elements

Though floral arrangements often receive the bulk of attention, natural elements can offer a sophisticated, contemporary elegance to party decor, particularly when floral options are limited by season or price. Cotton stalks arranged in simple glass vases or milk bottles are a quiet balance of airiness and earthiness, and can be reused and are relatively inexpensive. For organic accents, we used fresh produce (like artichokes, citrus, and apples) to create fuller tables. Make a trip to the farmers’ market just before your party and select fruits and vegetables that will do well unrefrigerated for several hours– citrus and anything with a thick skin or low water content will do. Produce with rinds or other firm surfaces will fare better than soft produce (like peaches or berries). Then, you can enjoy your fruits and vegetables in the days after the party!

For a more rustic ambiance, bundles of moss provide depth, texture, and subtle color to centerpieces and smaller decorations like candles or terrariums. For a bolder, more graphic look, we encourage you to experiment with moss graffiti, which can be grown into personalized letters and shapes, or used to cover rocks and other surfaces.

In presenting the food, we sourced items from the host’s own collection, selecting natural materials, like wooden cutting boards and slate cheese plates, as a sustainable, affordable option. Plain cross sections of wood are an uncluttered, inexpensive option for presenting food or staging centerpieces (and can be used as trivets when the party is over). Especially in the winter months–when floral options are more limited–organic decorations provide style and cheer. Use them to your advantage!

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