Book Review: Big Birthdays: The Party Planner Celebrates Life’s Milestones by David Tutera

All birthdays are mileposts along the road of life but some are just naturally more significant then others like sweet sixteen or turning 50. This collection outlines ways of celebrating ten landmark birthdays covering everything from “the color” and “the texture” to “the taste” as pictured by renowned event planner David Tutera who has catered to some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. Tutera brings his expertise to this lavishly photographed “how to” guide for throwing the ultimate birthday bash.

Of particular interest is the practical advice offered with each birthday, like the reminder that it doesn’t take much to over stimulate a gathering of one-year olds so plan the music, if any accordingly. Each chapter includes a page of helpful tips including strategies for coping with bad weather when planning an outdoor party, space considerations a
nd how to test flowers for freshness. For each party, Tutera begins with ferreting out a theme that suits the recipient before designing the overall look which includes everything from the invitations to the table setting, props, background music, menu and more. Attention to detail makes these parties memorable if not occasionally over-the-top with all the color and scent coordinated accents.

While Tutera maintains these ideas are both affordable and feasible to the average budget, the time it takes to create the settings might prove daunting although the effects are quite dramatic. Menu suggestions are listed but don’t look for the recipes as there aren’t many and those provided are generally for beverages or soups. Take for example, the menu listed for “John’s Thirtieth,” it lists “Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Toasted Black Sesame Seeds with Raspberry and Vodka Reduction, Grilled Lobster Tail and Filet Mignon on a bed of Sautéed Wild Mushrooms with a Yukon Gold Potato Pancake, Merlot Sorbet with a Black and White Cookie in a Dark and White Chocolate Web, Grill Cake with Rose Cookies.” The recipes provided are only for a Blazing Red Martini and instructions on how to create a chocolate garnished martini glass. If you have the extra time and energy, this book is full of inspirational ideas to trigger your own creative juices and make the next birthday party you host, an unforgettable experience.

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