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Image: Owen Carey

Pick your vessel

To begin, pick your container. Kelly was lucky to have a ready-made collection of beautiful Amari ceramics, so she based everything off their size and blue-and-white color palette. Try using your own vintage ceramics or pottery—you can show off your floral arranging skills and your collections at the same time. Or, for a less-expensive (and easier to find) solution, use glass, terra cotta or wood vessels. Kelly shops at Bedford Brown (1825 NW Vaughn St), CostPlus World Market (multiple locations, worldmarket.com) and Cargo (380 NW 13th Ave) to find unique containers from around the world. Keep your material consistent, but vary the sizes for added texture and visual interest.

Choose your flowers

When choosing the best blooms, consider three things: the season, the color palette of the surroundings, and the scale of the room and vessels. Kelly created her centerpieces in the summer at the peak of dahlia season, so she included a mix of dahlias, roses, hydrangeas and viburnum. For fall or winter centerpieces, Kelly recommends conifers, branches, foliage, berries and winter bulbs.

The setting at Stott’s party was basically a large green expanse of lawn. To counteract the unbroken neutral color—and because the Amari pieces were fairly large—Kelly created hefty, dense centerpieces, punched with saturated pink and peach flowers. “Try to find flowers that have different blooms, like roses and dahlias, but are in the same tones,” Kelly says. “Mix textures with similar colors.” Neutral greenery, including hydrangeas, geranium leaves, ferns and hostas, balance the color and add volume. Scale is key: use blooms that fit your vessels and when finished, create an arrangement that also fits the size of the room.