As a former event planner for Martha Stewart in New York City, Gastonia resident August Post is known for a level of style thats off the charts but without spending a lot of money.
At his home last week, that signature style was on display as Post hosted a bridge party for friends.
The game is getting attention again, thanks to billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Theyve put up $1 million to pay for education programs that teach bridge to students, to build life skills.
On Tuesday, Post will demonstrate some of his tips for entertaining on WCNC-TVs Charlotte Today at 11 a.m.
Heres how he prepares for a bridge party or other events:
Pick your color scheme
Once he picked a party theme, his next step was to plan a color scheme. Indoors, stick with the tones you have and play them up. If the room youre entertaining in is red, that should be part of your color scheme, he said.
He generally uses three colors for a look thats layered. For this event he went with aqua, the wall color, plus two neutrals: khaki and cream. The strongest color is for accent.
Make time for setting up
At least a day before the party, he thinks about the flow of the room. He made sure there was enough space around the tables so the chairs wouldnt touch each other or the buffet.
Planning the menu
Post keeps the food light for a luncheon. He chose a chicken salad recipe (from Observer Food Editor Kathleen Purvis Pecans cookbook).
The buffet also had onion and goat cheese tartlets, along with chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds from Sams Club, for guests to nibble on throughout the afternoon.
Stemless wine glasses held one of his go-to favorites from a Neiman Marcus cookbook: parfaits with berries, Greek yogurt and granola.
His friend Katherine Sanders made sugar cookies in the shape of card suits (diamonds, spades, clubs and hearts), with aqua icing to match his color scheme.
Instead of punch, he served lavender and citrus iced tea in a silver punch bowl, with frozen sliced oranges floating in it.
Post is big on party skirts for the bar and buffet tables. His arent too thematic or seasonal, so he gets lots of use out of them.
He sewed his own and had them monogrammed with his initials at Cotswold Marketplace.
For table centerpieces, he spent $12 on white roses at Harris Teeter and put the arrangements in amber crystal flower pots. He filled urns with branches cut from his yard.
Typically theres a prize at bridge parties for the highest and lowest scorers. He gave the winner a trophy bought for $1 at a thrift store, along with a tea set wrapped in a heart-shaped box. The person with the low score got a tea cup filled with tea bags.
People remember how the host made them feel, so Post recruited two friends who are accomplished players to be bridge angels. They coached less-experienced players.
It made the whole day so much more fun because we could all play at the same pace, Post said.
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