If you haven’t heard of Lauren Saylor from A Fabulous Fete or follow her on Instagram, we recommend you do so immediately. After perfecting the art of calligraphy, starting an Etsy shop and sharing beautiful content on her blog, Lauren quit her full-time cubical job to take on her business full-time. We’re a huge fan of her work (you need to check out her absolutely stunning calligraphy) and her beautiful styling that gives off this laid-back California-cool vibe—an extension of her life in Orange County, California. Always one for beautiful floral arrangement and a good cocktail or glass of wine, we knew we had to chat with her about her effortless summer entertaining style and any tips she could share with us! Read on to get the scoop on her favorite cocktail, advice for entertaining in small spaces and her dream outfit for hosting parties.
How often do you entertain and what are your favorite types of gatherings to host?
I love hosting girls’ nights! Girls care about all the small details you put into entertaining, guys usually just care about what’s in the cooler. Plus, you can make it as pink as you want (flowers, drinks, dessert…) and no one says a word.
What’s your favorite thing about Summer entertaining?
Getting to be outside. I love the outdoors and enjoying a great view while entertaining. Summer temperatures obviously make that easier.
What 5 things do you always have on hand in case of unexpected guests or visitors?
Wine! Pellegrino (you can mix it or make anything with it), toilet paper (just kidding…kind of), all types of glasses for wine, water and cocktails, and citrus fruit—I feel like this can work on anything in a pinch like a salad dressing, on an entree or in a cocktail.
Do you have a go-to cocktail?
Margaritas, especially in the summer, because they’re so refreshing. This is my favorite margarita recipe.
Your go-to hostess outfit?
Definitely a breezy dress—I never want to worry about adjusting anything while hosting. I typically drool over Zimmerman dresses and then search out something similar in my budget.
What’s your best tip for making your guests feel welcome and relaxed?
Be ready when they get there. If you’re running around like a maniac trying to finish things up, it really sets a bad tone from the beginning. Also, Champagne.
Do you have a link to any certain playlist that you like to play at parties?
Yes! I love my “Summer” playlist here for upbeat music:
…and then I have one called “Relax” for casual get-togethers:
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to someone hosting their first party or dinner?
Let people pitch in. If someone offers to make a small appetizer or an easy dessert, let them. I used to choose crazy recipes that took two days to make and never let anyone bring anything because I wanted control. It was SO stressful. I think people enjoy contributing as well and it makes them feel like the party is more relaxed.
Do you have any advice for people who entertain in small spaces?
Ditch the furniture and get cozy on some floor pillows. Maybe not for a party that calls for cocktail dresses, but your average weekend get-togethers. I usually throw a ton of them around outdoors and inside and plenty of people prefer getting comfortable there. It saves space because you can move or opt out of larger tables and chairs.
Any entertaining tips for people on a budget?
Splurge on one special recipe and/or drink and keep the rest very simple. I love to have a nice bottle of sparkling wine or Champagne and an appetizer that took some time and has quality ingredients, then for the rest I keep snacks simple like veggies and hummus. People almost always bring wine to a party, so you can keep the alcohol to a minimum or only serve one signature drink.
Do you have any favorite entertaining items/pieces?
- A collection of marble and wood serving boards, large and small for different apps/snacks.
- My bar cart—it’s held snacks, signature cocktails, wine buckets, art, flowers and just glasses for people to grab. I use it for a lot of different reasons other than cocktails.
- I always have a ton of light blankets especially if we’re outdoors for when it cools down at night.
What was your biggest entertaining fail?
Nothing huge comes to mind, but one of my first parties was when my husband (boyfriend then) moved in together. We had like two couches and lots of open space. I was on a serious budget to make it look decent for our party, so I went and bought 837 candles. I literally decorated the house with candles—it was weird. The next day I had to scrape about a pound of wax off of every surface of our house. I still love candles and they are a must have when I entertain, but I stick to like three to five that are strategically (and safely) placed. No more fire hazards here.