Step 1: Margaritas, always

By Mackenzie Schmidt
July 26, 2017 05:20 PM

Jeremiah Brent may be an interior designer by trade but the L.A. based TV personality (and husband of Nate Berkus) is a born entertainer. Not in the show biz sense, but in the “knows how to throw a gorgeous dinner party without fail” sense. Though Brent, who recently hosted an intimate summer soiree in New York City with Cointreau for some of his close friends, will readily own up to some early fails in order to help out the rest of us.

Here, the designer-dad offers up his best dos and some epic don’ts for wannabe hosts in training:


Party Win: “Plan ahead,” says Brent. “Curate your party playlist unique to the occasion’s theme and mood. Pre-batch your favorite cocktails in a couple of pitchers so they are ready to go. That way you won’t get stuck dealing with the little things and have plenty of time to enjoy your company.”

Party Fail: “Check if your fireplace flue is open.” It may sound specific, but it only takes one smoked out party to learn this one. “Once I was hosting an important dinner party at our house — everything was perfect, candles were lit, the house smelled amazing with great food and drinks ready. We lit a fire and the flue wasn’t able to open, unbeknownst to us. We smoked out the entire house and the fire department had to come — it was a mess. Needless to say we went out for dinner.”


Party Fail: Dietary restrictions are a nightmare if you’re not prepared. “I once hosted a dinner party where I had two guests with some serious food restrictions — one was vegan and the other didn’t eat red meat . . . steak and fish were our dinner,” says Brent. “Now I always serve family style with a variety of food groups — so there is something for everyone. Always ask your guests if they have any allergies. They will usually offer up what they don’t eat.”

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Party Win: “Right now, my go-to entertaining cocktail is the Margarita. It’s so simple and easy to make with just three ingredients.” Brent’s recipe: 1 oz Cointreau, 2 oz blanco tequila and 1 oz lime juice. “Change it up with fresh cut jalapeño peppers or sliced cucumbers to add a twist to the perfect summer sip.”

Party Fail: “Don’t take anything too literally,” Brent notes. “When throwing a coastal theme dinner, don’t just put seashells on the table. Instead, think about the colors and tones of seashells, what they remind you of and go from there. Think about the ocean, the relaxation, the sun and the sounds to inspire your décor.”

Party Win: Lastly, he says, “Always keep it personal. I think that people get so worried about making it beautiful that they forget to make it personal. Start by using things around your house for your tablescape that makes a story — it sparks conversation. Guests ask where you got that from or why you’re using it. Don’t be afraid to create your own moments.”