Aubrey Brewster’s Dos And Don’ts Of Summer Entertaining

Aubrey Brewster

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Nobody’s birthday party is more extravagant than man-about-town Aubrey Brewster’s annual spring bash. He spends months planning the over-the-top affair and an invite to sit at his table is highly coveted. While some hosts prefer a minimalist approach to party planning, Brewster is the opposite—he’s a more-is-more man, and his opulent events are ridiculously fabulous. As we head into the busy summer entertaining season, Haute Living asked the party guru for his tips on hosting the best soiree.

A custom cake at Brewster’s Purely Paradise birthday luncheon in 2017

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Do plan ahead. Make lists of the menu, bar essentials, and décor. Hosting a party should be an exciting and enjoyable time; being ill-prepared leads to stress, and if the host is unprepared, this stress will pass on to everyone involved.

Don’t charge guests to offset the costs. You are the host, not your guests. Period. Consider co-hosting if budget is an issue. If you want a Parisian birthday party, then make Paris your theme; unless you’re planning on flying your guests to Paris, don’t expect them to pay the costs. Doing so is a major faux pas.

Brewster’s birthday party theme in 2018 was inspired by the old-fashioned American South

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Do have a theme. Immerse your guests in an escape that they’ll talk about for years to come. A theme also gives your event direction, helps in menu and décor decisions, and makes planning easier.

Don’t serve alcoholic beverages without food to snack on. If you are hosting a cocktail party during dinner hours (6-9 p.m.) and not serving dinner, offer hearty bites. If your event is late in the evening, light bites and sweets are the exceptions. Allowing your guests to drink on an empty stomach is irresponsible.

A personalized place setting at Brewster’s luncheon earlier this year

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Do personalize. Small personalized details make guests feel special and having guests’ names in front of them ensures that everyone gets to know each other. Whether simple place cards or menus, party favors or glassware, a personalized touch takes your soirée to the next level.

Don’t ignore your guests. They’ve come to see you! Be visible and available.

The beautiful table at the 2017 birthday celebration

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Do send invitations via mail; not to say that electronic invites aren’t effective, and they are indeed far more affordable, however, a tangible invitation that one can hold engages guests. If done right, your invitation will create buzz and guests will feel like they are a part of something special.

Don’t send out invitations late! Your guests need time to schedule—this is especially the case when hosting an event in the summer months. Two months out is perfect. In the least, send your invitations no later than one month before your party.

A floral arrangement at the Southern-themed birthday

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Do be attentive to dietary restrictions. Nothing ruins a party like a sick guest. A simple ‘please advise of any food allergies’ at the bottom of your invitation will suffice.

Don’t use highly scented flowers. You may love freesia and tuberose, but nobody wants to be inundated with them, especially when eating. Except for the powder room; scented candles, oil diffusers, potpourri, and strongly-fragrant flowers are best left out of the party.

Specialty cocktails and birthday branding are a must!

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Do make a seating chart. When hosting a sit-down luncheon or dinner, conversation flow and guest compatibility are essential for a memorable time. Having a place card with their name ensures everyone feels welcomed and thought of.

Don’t try to do everything. If necessary, delegate small tasks to others or hire help.

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