Hosting Tips

Entertaining With Bonni Taylor

By Carmen Collins
sriracha honey grilled shrimp

One of the greatest perks of having creative job is getting to meet the coolest women. Case in point: Bonni Taylor, floral designer extraordinaire at Posey, entrepreneur and co-owner of The Little Posey, and as evidenced by today’s story, a home entertaining savant. When on location at a recent event, I couldn’t help but perk up when I overheard Bonni say, “I just painted my front door pink!” It was in that moment that I knew I had to pay her bungalow a visit, and when the time finally came, she didn’t disappoint. I watched as Bonni effortlessly designed her table (which featured two arrangements from The Little Posey’s monthly succulent lineup) then caught up with the #girlboss over mint mojitos and colorful crudité. After tasting Bonni’s raw corn summer salad and perfectly grilled shrimp skewers, I was left wondering: is there anything this girl can’t do?!

*photography by Kristen Kilpatrick

Your must-have entertaining tool?

A beautifully set table with lots of flowers and fun details! In the event design business, you’re always catering to others’ tastes, so I love the chance to experiment on myself. That might mean trying a bright, monochromatic table (like all yellow or hot pink); decorating with cactus, olive branches, or boxwood from my backyard; or going to the flower market, buying all my favorites, and just winging it.

What is your signature entertaining dish?

A big plate of seasonal crudité with salts. I like to have it ready when guests arrive. It’s so colorful and makes a beautiful display.

I love buying different salts when I travel, and dinner parties are a great way to share them and my travel experiences with guests. I have salt from Iceland, Ibiza, and France. They typically come beautifully packaged, and they make for great conversation pieces displayed next to the crudité plate. They’re also inexpensive and small, so salt is a go-to travel purchase for me.

The entertaining rule you rarely break:

I never use anything plastic or disposable. I like to make guests feel special, and serving off plastic plates or using disposable cutlery just doesn’t feel the same as sitting down to a pretty ceramic plate, a cloth napkin, and cutlery that has some weight. Plus, it makes me feel guilty to throw away so much trash at the end of the night!

What scares you about entertaining?

That people will be bored! I want everyone to have a great time, make new friendships, and leave full and happy. Usually providing ample cocktails and food helps with that!

I call this a backyard mojito because I use limes from my tree and mint from my garden. It’s a basic mojito, but I exclude the sugar. The rum is sweet enough!

Click here to get the recipe for Bonni’s low-calorie backyard mojito here!

What is your perfect dinner party playlist?

Lounge music with a beat. I lived in Spain’s Balearic Islands for two years and became obsessed with the music in the beach lounges of Ibiza. Many of them release their own albums each summer, and I love collecting those. My favorites are Jockey Club, Tiburon, and the Hotel Portixol albums. I also love Erykah Badu. She’s perfect for after dinner! Jamie XX or Yumi Zouma are great for cocktail hour.

In addition to designing incredible small scale floral arrangements, Bonni also designed the landscape of her own backyard by repurposing and replanting cactus, olive trees, and bougainvillea from clients and friends.

What’s the restaurant meal you’ll never forget?

Hartwood in Tulum. The restaurant is so simple and only serves what is fresh and available that day. Their cocktails are great too! The space is beautiful, smells great, and is so relaxed. Nothing is over the top and I think that’s what makes the experience so nice. You taste the local flavors in everything.

Your favorite color palette for parties:

White dishes, neutral napkins, and super bright flowers that really stand out! I love mixing citrus tones like oranges, yellows, pinks, and corals.

Get this cute cactus arrangement delivered to you, or a friend, with same day delivery through The Little Posey!

What taste are you always craving?

Radishes! I love their crisp crunch and spice – always hits the spot.

Your secret to a great dinner party?

Being relaxed. You want guests to unwind, and that’s impossible if you’re stressed out. Even if I’m running behind on a dish, forget an important ingredient, or overcook something, I try to laugh about it and move on. The point of inviting guests over is to enjoy each other’s company.

What is something you always have in your refrigerator?

Sparkling water. I drink it all day. It’s also handy because you never know who might stop by, and I always want to have something special to offer guests to drink. I add sparkling water to any juice I have on hand or mix it up with white wine or rosé for a low-alcohol drink. The possibilities are endless for cocktail options!

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

A table of creative women. It would be so nice to hear their experiences in a relaxed setting and bounce ideas off of each other. I just love the camaraderie among women – especially spanning a few generations. If I had to narrow down a few, I’d go with Georgia O’Keefe, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Austen, Beyoncé, Héloïse Letissier from Christine and the Queens, Bri Emery of designlovefest, Alice Waters, and Katie Marx of Katie Marx Flowers.

I love this salad in the summer because it is so refreshing! Feel free to add whatever seasonal veggies are available. You can certainly make this ahead of time and keep refrigerated, but I suggest adding the okra right before you serve because it can get slimy.

Click here to get the recipe for Bonni’s raw corn summer salad!

Bonni combined two dining tables in her backyard to host her dreamy summer dinner under the string lights. When the leaves are added to the tables, she can host up to 20 guests!

It gets so hot here in Texas that turning on the oven just heats up the whole house. So grilling is a summer must for me. This recipe works great with both shrimp and chicken, so feel free to choose one or offer both for dinner guests.

Click here to get the recipe for Bonni’s Sriracha honey grilled shrimp!

This refreshing summer salad is so easy to make – all you have to do is combine the ingredients and serve!

Click here to get the recipe for Bonni’s watermelon arugula goat cheese salad!

What does your standard hostess outfit include?

Comfortable shoes! I think flat shoes or wedges are key. Running around in heels is just not comfortable.

Your entertaining style in five words or less?

Relaxed, polished, al fresco, simple, fun.

This is my favorite summer treat right now! The popsicles are alcohol-free, so it can be served with a sparkling blood orange soda or strawberry soda for kids or guests who are not drinking alcohol.

Click here to get the recipe for Bonni’s French 75 popsicles!