Flowers are a central element of bringing a party together. They lighten the mood, visually and psychologically, and are especially important when pulling together a Spring Fling.

I spoke with florist Shelley Montoya, of Here Come the Blooms in Los Alimitos, California, on BloomNation. BloomNation is a little like Etsy for florists. You search local florists' designs--no cookie cutter arrangements here--and they send you a picture of the actual arrangement before it's sent. (Editor's note: I'm having flashbacks to an arrangement some girlfriends and I sent to a grieving friend a few years ago. It was *nothing* like what was pictured on the chain florist's website, with neon pink scraggly blooms jutting out at weird angles. But at least it made her laugh. Anyway. Check out BloomNation. It's a cool service.)

Here's what Shelley had to say about picking flowers for parties:

What's the most important thing to remember when designing arrangements for entertaining?The space you are arranging for. You don't want the arrangement too big and overpowering or so small that it doesn't make an impact. Another important aspect is combining colors. For some, it comes naturally, or as I like to say, it is a gift. For others, it's a bit of a challenge. If you are in doubt, purchase a color wheel.

How should my floral situation differ if I am having a stand-up buffet versus a sit-down dinner?A sit-down dinner can handle something long and low or a smattering of bud vases and still have an elegant feel. A stand-up buffet dinner usually has smaller tables so something small with not a lot of greenery is best - think monochromatic roses arranged small and compact.

What sorts of trends are you seeing in floral for spring and summer?Definitely the boho or field-to-vase look is not going away anytime soon! I love the look and feel of something so unstructured--just like you picked a bunch of flowers from a garden and placed them in a vessel. Also, flowers overhead, such as floral chandeliers, are a big hit whether you're entertaining indoors or out.What's the biggest bang for my buck in flowers these days?Contrary to popular belief, carnations are a great buy. They’re often underrated and underestimated but they last forever and look gorgeous alone or paired with other blooms.How might one incorporate seasonal foods into tablescapes?I love to incorporate seasonal foods into arrangements. For summer, think citrus fruits with beautiful yellow and orange blooms. Another way is to create a pretty garland with silver dollar eucalyptus and to add some figs or plums. Just remember, fruit shortens the life span of flowers, so it's best for these types of arrangements to be hand-crafted the day of your party.