Dinner Party Spotlight: Laura Hooper Calligraphy

Well isn’t this just a dreamy Holiday set-up?! The incredibly talented Laura Hooper of Laura Hooper Calligraphy is who we have to thank for this dose of Holiday inspiration. I found Laura through Instagram because she does the most beautiful calligraphy and I have been a long time shopper of her amazing cocktail napkins, so when she showed me this setup she did for a recent Holiday gathering, I begged to share it with FH readers. I just LOVE how she so delicately placed each dessert… and the sprigs of pine tree branches, pomegranate seeds, and fig slices make it so festive! Read on for a little interview with Laura, our newest FH Dinner Party Series Guest!

Q & A:

FH: Tell me a quick bio of how you came to start Laura Hooper Calligraphy!

Laura: I learned the art of calligraphy when I was a teenager, but then in my early 20s I officially started Laura Hooper Calligraphy. My best friend was getting married, and I offered to address her envelopes – something I had never done before – and she had over 200 of them! Shortly after that my dad bought me my first web domain and encouraged me to work at launching my own business. After a couple years of doing calligraphy work “on the side” from my office 9-5, I made the leap and went full time.

One funny anecdote to me is that in those earlier years I was named one of the Top 10 Wedding Blogs by a reputable wedding company – this was over a decade ago now and blogging barely existed then, so to be honest the standards weren’t very high to win such an award! I barely include weddings on our blog now as its more geared towards calligraphy education, with a bit of weddings sprinkled in the mix!

FH: How would you describe your company?

Laura: Our website is a mix of wedding calligraphy & stationery, calligraphy supplies and then our party products. Our blog is a mix of all three, more heavily weighted towards serving those learning about the art and business side of things. When I first started my business I had to Google everything and there wasn’t really a network or community to help you out. I love being able to share my knowledge and resources and play a small role in keeping the art of pointed-pen alive.

FH: What is your entertaining style? Traditional, Contemporary, Seasonal?  

Laura: I would definitely say my style is seasonal. I love decorating my home and creating dessert and drink spreads for the holidays. My family loves our holiday celebrations, and those gatherings are really what spurred Laura Hooper Calligraphy to first develop a line of party goods. I wanted napkins, coasters, stirs sticks, etc for my own bar cart and parties, so we decided to add those to our shop offerings so that others could easily and affordably take their entertaining up a notch. A few simple details can really go a long way!

FH: How often do you entertain and for how many guests?

Laura: Definitely not as much as I would like! Since my sister, Alyssa, and I teach calligraphy around the US and beyond, we travel a lot of weekends, and then when I’m home for a rare weekend, I want to relax and spend time in my garden with my pups, and then of course get some dates in with my husband. But, I always have family over for the holidays, and we sometimes have friends and family over for BBQs or dinners and usually it’s not more than 10 guests. I have pretty small extended family, though my parents and aunt & uncle have both relocated to Virginia since my own move from the West Coast four years ago!

FH: Do you have a go-to recipe or dish or cocktail {or do you avoid cooking at all costs}?

Laura: I don’t do too much cooking, and usually keep it pretty simple for standard dinners at home, but my husband and I both love this Brussels sprouts recipe!

We also enjoy making specialty cocktails both for the holidays as well as just random weekends at home. Here’s one we love. I like to swap out the bourbon and replace it with Prosecco and then I also take out the pear liquor and use elderflower liqueur instead. Making simple changes to suit my personal taste is so easy and fun to try out.

FH: Did something inspire you for today’s table? 

Laura: It was definitely the colors blooming in my backyard Foxhill Garden. Yes, I love my garden so much that I created its own Instagram account! I love having fresh flowers weekly in my home & studio, and we use them often in our own IG feed photos as well.

FH: What’s your favorite element in today’s tablescape?

Laura: My favorite element is the cake for sure. I used a basic white cake from the grocery store and then fixed it up with figs sliced in half to show the beautiful fall coloring as well as blooms and greens from my garden. If you don’t have a garden you can always get some basic, inexpensive stems from the grocery store, Trader Joe’s, a Farmer’s Market, etc.

FH: If you could give one party tip for readers what would it be?

Laura: Simple details can truly make your celebration stand out! You don’t have to have the most expensive food or décor elements. Using some basic grocery store components and adding touches such as specialty napkins, flowers, colorful accent foods, etc can make a big impact and truly impress your guests.

FH: Table top… Share all the deets!!

Home location: Alexandria, Virginia

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Photography by Anne Kim from Anne Kim Photo