Lauren Conrad Talks Party-Planning Book, Why She Dedicated It to Her Dad (Q&A)

Lauren Conrad Book cover - P 2016
Courtesy of Harper Collins

New York Times best-selling author Lauren Conrad already taught her fans and followers how to achieve effortless style (Lauren Conrad Style) and beauty (Lauren Conrad Beauty), and now she's tackling the art of entertaining and hosting with Lauren Conrad Celebrate.

The entrepreneurial businesswoman, who became a household name as a reality star on MTV's Laguna Beach and The Hills, is presently the editor-in-chief of her self-titled lifestyle blog, the founder of two fashion lines (LC Lauren Conrad for Kohl's and Paper Crown), the co-founder of online store The Little Market (a women-led business that sells fair trade and ethically made products) and now has nine books to her name with the March 29 release of Celebrate.

In her interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Conrad discusses all-things event planning, how the concept for the new book came about and why she dedicated it to her dad.

How did the concept and idea for Celebrate come about?

I started working on the concept about a year-and-a-half ago and then spent this last year writing and shooting it with Leslie Bruce. ... I felt like I spent the last couple years planning a lot of parties — between planning a wedding and everything that comes along with that, and also becoming an adult and having a little bit of higher standards when it comes to events or entertaining — and learned so much and I think my reaction when I go through something like that is always to share it with people, whether it's through the website or through books.

You feature your Santa Ynez wedding. What was your favorite part of the planning process for your wedding?

I think it was towards the end when I started seeing it all come together. Up until that point, it's all Pinterest boards and magazine tears. So I think the day of is such a grand event — seeing tents go up and large arrangements being carried in — and the minute when your guests start to arrive, it's just the craziest feeling that you've spent a year planning something and it's all coming together.

Would you say your wedding was the most memorable event that you've planned?

I think so. At the end of the night, I was standing there with one of my girlfriends and everybody was starting to leave and I said to her, "I think this is my favorite wedding I've ever been to," and she said, "Oh my gosh, I hope so!"

It's a good thing it was yours!

I know! I wasn't really thinking about it when I said it and she was like, "Yeah, it would be kind of a bummer if it wasn't."

What was the most challenging element of planning the wedding?

I think the hardest part about planning something as big as a wedding is just letting go. Everything's been planned, you can't be nitpicky, not everything is going to go according to plan and it's a shame to stress over little things when you've put so much of yourself into an event. So, I think the biggest challenge is just having a glass of champagne and enjoying yourself.

Celebrate walks the reader through 12 events. Are any of the celebrations featured in the book annual gatherings that you host at your home?

We always do one annual event and that's a Fourth of July barbecue and the closest thing to that is the clam bake. Last year we did it in the same weekend because, typically, we have people staying with us over the weekend. We'll probably do it again this year because it's really fun. The annual event would be a clam bake and it was our favorite one to shoot because it was the easiest event to do, because it's really all about the meal. It's really easy to do a clam bake. And we actually have the recipe in the book for our clam bake.

How did your Fourth of July party become an annual tradition?

I think it's been going for almost eight years now. And it's funny, too, because the first one that I hosted, I had just gotten a place in Laguna and it was in the middle of renovations and it became apparent towards the end that they were not going to be done in time for the party. I was in my early twenties, so all I cared about was the party, so I had all of the construction and energy focused on downstairs. I said, "just complete downstairs: the kitchen and living room. Don't even worry about upstairs." While I was throwing this party, the downstairs was completed, but the upstairs didn't have floors. Nobody went up there, so nobody had any idea! 

Is there a party that you haven't yet planned that you're looking forward to hosting at some point in the future?

I really love themed parties. My husband (William Tell) is actually born in the same week as me, so now we combine our birthdays. We combine our parties now, and he's the dude in that I would throw a theme — I used to do '20s or masquerade — and now we just do the same theme every year which is hoedown ... We do that every year, which is really fun. But, I've always wanted to do a prom-themed birthday. You get a cover band and everybody goes to a second-hand store and gets the most obnoxious prom dress that they can find. It would be so fun! High school prom and everyone gets a corsage. I can't wait — I'm going to do it!

You dedicate your book to your dad. How did he play a role in your love for party planning and entertaining?

We always had people in our home. Whenever the Lakers would play, we'd have everyone over and we'd have pitchers of margaritas and he would just cook up a big meal and he always made it look so easy. I spent a lot of time growing up with him in the kitchen. Dinners were really important to him. We sat down as a family every night and had dinner. He cooked every night and he didn't read from a recipe book; he just whipped something up and then he would always make one example plate for me and then I would plate the rest of everybody else's meals to make it look like that. Dinner was sort of this very nice ritual we had. As I grew up, I realized how rare that was and how lucky we were to have that.

Was he the primary cook in your home?

Yes. He likes to cook. I'm like him in that way where at the end of the day, it's kind of nice to come home and make a nice meal. 

What do you hope that readers who may not be event planning-inclined take away from reading this book?

A couple of things. One, when you break it down and really put together a plan, putting together and planning an event isn't all that intimidating. Like a lot of things, when you look at it as a whole, you're like, "Oh my gosh, that's too much. I can't do that." I think if you give yourself enough time, it is really doable and there's lots of different ways to do it. Another thing is rules are meant to be broken a lot of the time, so make your events your own, but do so in a way where you're treating your guests as you'd like to be treated. I think that the thing is the same theme that I had in my Style guide where everybody asks, "What am I going to wear?" and it's kind of bringing it back to what it's about: it's playing dress up. Here, it's about throwing a party. It's supposed to be a fun thing. So if you can simplify it and take the stress out of it, you can go back to actually enjoying the party. 

Rapid Fire Questions

Favorite flower Garden roses

Favorite wine Chardonnay

Favorite dessert Just cake. Good cake. Like a mascarpone frosting on a fresh cake with berries mixed in.

Favorite color scheme Blush

Indoor or outdoor entertaining Outdoor

Go-to decoration Flowers

Go-to dress Maxi

Go-to hairstyle Loose waves