Rebecca Gardner Dishes On How To Throw The Most Memorable Hamptons Soirée

by Christie Grimm · July 2, 2021

    No one throws a party like Rebecca Gardner

    For years the professional bonne vivante has been dazzling and delighting guests with her penchant for playful soirées, whimsical tablescapes, delicious menus and unexpected accessories.

    Looking to shake up your next Hamptons shindig? Her brand Houses & Parties just launched the most brilliant collection,  For Bridgehampton Revisited, that's guaranteed to make your party planning a breeze.

    Curious how the society doyenne tackles entertaining out East?

    What do you love most about entertaining in the Hamptons?
    The weather is so beautiful. As a Southerner, I marvel at the idea of good hair in the summer. Oh, and the farm stands with their beautiful produce and colorful zinnias. Start here.  

    What does your dream Hamptons soirée look like?
    Forget a seated dinner under a Cape Dutch Gambrel Gable. Take it to the ocean for a barefoot buffet. I'd have a huge bonfire with those crazy logs that burn in vivid colors. Servers in colorful cotton aprons offer guests Palomas and Margs while a playlist blares from someone's stylish Wagoneer.  

    A strong somebody drags huge logs to the campfire for perching. After supper, a jovial guitarist leads a campfire sing-along. Guests are likely hesitant until the hostess begins with an enthusiastic 'I'm on Fire.' Everyone stays so late they have to switch to beer which is iced in galvanized bins - church keys tied to the side. I'd like a long string of texts the next morning with complaints about sore calves and quads from sand dancing. 

    How would your guests dress?
    Ruffles and bare feet, please.

    What's on the menu?
    How about a long run of rectangular tables with cold salads? Some ideas:
    Cold Shrimp in Dill (Bon Appetit)
    Sweet Corn, Peaches, Mozzarella and Basil (Southern Living)
    French Potato Salad (Ina Garten) 

    Note: Avoid mayonnaise which is very upsetting sitting still on a buffet. 

    Once guests perch, servers pass picnic baskets with crusty baguettes and jars of local butter. Groupings of individual charcoal grills are scattered around with coolers icing hot dogs, buns and condiments. I like these coolers. This offers the best of both worlds, real food and fake food. 

    Smores, huge slices of watermelon and fireworks for dessert. If the song list includes Hall & Oates, pack a stack of beach towels for ocean frolicking.  

    Activity of choice?
    Drinking, eating, laughing and singing (loudly).

    What are easy ways to elevate a last minute backyard BBQ?
    Only Francis Mallmann should elevate a BBQ. Let it be a little tacky and a lot of fun. Your goal as host is to entertain, not impress. 

    What's an unexpected way to liven up a July 4th bash?
    Choose between a series of festive party hats: Fireworks CrownHot Dog HeadbandRed Igloo Cooler Hat.

    Which drink do you think is always the biggest crowd pleaser?
    Hibiscus Margaritas
    - Cold beer

    What's your go-to campfire song?
    The Weenie Man. Songbooks available here. DM me and I'll sing it for you. 

    Ketchup or mustard?
    This depends on so many variables.

    Favorite ice cream flavor?
    The best ice cream in the entire world is Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla. 

    Have any particular party pet peeves?
    If you say that you're coming, come. 

    What's your advice if it rains on your parade?
    Hire Houses & Parties to "do" your party and you won't worry about a thing. 

    [Photos courtesy Houses & Parties]