Photographed by Honor Brodie

What’s the number one rule to throwing a summer party? Here, Right or Rude’s Jeannie Pearman shares her above-all-else-must-not-forget tip as well as the very memorable anecdote on how she learned that lesson. It was Sunday night. There were 40 people. Flowers. A set table. And then…

This is going to sound like “Summer Party Throwing For Dummies” but my big lesson is
always double-check the dates and it doesn’t really matter what you serve as long as it’s done with a bit of style. My worst summer dinner party was in St. Louis when I was in my twenties. My first husband and I were friends of Edwin Gould who was a huge New York Giants fan and flew around the country to see them in his plane before every rap star and hedge funder had them. Edwin was staying with us while his team was playing the Cardinals, owned by our other friend, August Busch. The friendly rivalry with the winners and losers coming to our home after the game promised a fun time for at least one of them! I forget who won — does it ever matter? (Sports fans send your hate mail to

Anyway, we had about 40 people coming to our house. I had set the table and put the flowers around
before leaving so the caterer was left to the do the rest. A perfect Sunday night dinner. Almost. When we got home and the guests starting arriving I wondered, naturally, when the caterers might drop by. Is it too late to say ‘long story short?’ When I finally got someone on the phone they said they had us down for the next night. I hung up, picked up the phone and ordered 40 pizzas. I coaxed guests, like August, into putting towels over their arms and pretending to be waiters. My friends turned out to be the best catering crew I’ve ever had. And no tipping! Everyone chipped in and had a great time. The whole evening was, may I say it? A home run. Now I always double-check dates — critical since it’s easy to double-book in the heat — and I’m less concerned with what I’m serving than whom I am serving it to.

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