Event Expert Tony Schubert

We’re having post-holiday depression, so the season we’re now throwing ourselves into is awards season; this Sunday’s being the Golden Globes (a personal favorite of ours). If you’re like us, you’re inviting friends (who don’t care as much as you do) over to celebrate with hors d’oeuvres, champagne and entrees. We chatted with event expert Tony Schubert – the CEO/Founder of Event Eleven and one of Hollywood’s most successful event planners – to take us through ways to please our GG guests this Sunday. Schubert’s planned parties for everything from the Oscar’s to the Grammy’s to the Emmy’s, so who better to hit up for dinner party tips?

Five tips for throwing a Golden Globes party in your own home:

1. Send out a fun invite through Paperless Post. Kelly Wearstler has new designs that we often use.

2. Keep the décor chic and sophisticated, but most importantly, keep it yours. Your guests want to experience you and be entertained by you. Try and remove any and all chotchkies from the area you are entertaining in. Keep it clean and clutter-less. Only keep the items that make sense to the evening, like glass vases for flowers, small bowls for small bites, and candles to make the rooms sexy.

3. Open up the seating area to face the TV and if you can, add small ottomans or oversized pillows for people to lounge. Always make sure you have enough seating for your guests.

4. Print ballots to hand out for guests and come up with fun gifts for winners.

5. Food and drink can be daunting – choose one specialty cocktail that’s easy to make and name it for your favorite nominated TV show or film. Keep the food light and not too heavy. Buy a few light cheeses and charcuterie with almonds and other easy-to-eat bites for when guests arrive. There’s no rule on what food to have or prepare; just make sure you have variety and don’t forget about your vegetarian and vegan friends!

What do you always put out when hosting your own dinner party?

Candles! You can never go wrong with setting the scene with candles everywhere. Keep away from scented candles if you are serving food.

What do you always bring when attending one?

I usually bring a nice 2008 Brunello or Barolo.

Do you see events as curated experiences? Do you consider yourself the curator of each event you take on?

Each and every event has a slew of challenges and interesting nuances. But the curation really comes with the design of each and every one of Event Eleven’s projects – handpicking fabrics, candles, florals, furniture, and everything right down to the way we set our coffee tables in a room. Those details set us apart from the others.

What event elements are most important to you? 

Lighting is the most important aspect of all our produced events. It sets the tone for the entire evening. It can make or break the look, the design, the furniture, and most of all what the guests look like. After lighting, I’d say good space design and décor. It’s incredibly important to make sure you have everything in all the right places. It sets the flow and how guests move through the space.

The ultimate party-planning faux pas… 

Here are a few of my favorites!

Don’t under budget! People always think things cost less than they do and it’s our job to guide you to what you need and what you don’t.

Don’t follow event trends. Most likely, the trends are already passé.

Don’t use 100 watt light bulbs for your fixtures. Always choose lower watt bulbs to make a dimly lit scene. There is nothing worse than walking into a bright room.

Serving food late. If you invite your guests for a dinner at 8pm, then serve dinner no later than 8:45pm.

Running out of alcohol. Make sure you are always well-stocked. The last thing you want is to send someone to the store, or worse, leave yourself!

The first step towards a successful event…

There are many variables with a question like this, but if you are planning a party at home or producing an event for an awards show, you have to be aware of what your guests see and how they feel when they first walk through the door. Give them a wow factor they will talk about forever.

What one person/organization would you love to organize an event for, that you haven’t yet worked with?

I’ve always wanted to design the Met Ball for Anna Wintour. One day, I will.

Why is it important to see events as experiences?

I am tasked with many requests during a production, but the most asked is, “How do we entertain guests more than just feeding them food and drinks?”  We have to create experiences that will keep guests inside the building for more than a few hours, and that’s where the experiences come into play. Aside from keeping guests’ attention, we need to make sure they walk away with a sense and feeling that they have never seen or witnessed before and that’s what I try to do each and every time.

If you could throw a party with any five people, living or dead, who would be there? What would the theme of the night be?

I’ve always put an eclectic room together for our events, but my ideal room would have the following names on the list – Steve Jobs, Ed Ruscha, Mick Jagger, Richard Saul Wurman, and Jay Z.  I think what makes for the best conversation is a great mix of music and art. Sprinkle in the creative great minds, and the room comes alive!