Hosts With the Mosts

Secrets From Top Home Party Throwers

Four local hosts famous for their hospitality share the secrets to their fabulous fetes.

By Giulia Heyward January 25, 2019 Published in the February 2019 issue of Sarasota Magazine

A pizza-themed party with Jim and Charlie Ann Syprett

The Theme's the Thing

Sarasota County Bar Association Diversity Committee chair Charlie Ann Syprett loves to throw elaborately themed home parties with her husband, Jim Syprett.

What’s your dream party?

“Definitely something at home. Our home is Old Florida; it’s comfortable and welcoming. The guest list is critical; there’s nothing better than having the right amount of people that you love and enjoy spending time with.”

Food and drink?

“Jim and I love the outdoors, so any kind of casual food that accompanies that: grilled fish, lobster, crab cakes and then, for the carnivores, which I am not, hamburgers and steak. Once a year, for my husband’s birthday party, we do typical Southern fare like mashed potatoes or mac ’n’ cheese. Everything your cardiologist wouldn’t recommend.”

What kind of music would you play?

“Hits from the ’50s or ’60s. I love Frank Sinatra mixed with Michael Bublé.”


“I love themed parties. We did a mermaid party for my last birthday with wall-to-wall mermaids. My flamingo party almost pushed my husband over the edge because I put 200 pink flamingos all over the yard, around the pool and hanging from the chandeliers.”

What’s your mantra as a host?

“I just like having fun. Everything is so divisive right now, so no political conversation!”

Margaret Wise is famous for her gumbo and signature drinks

Make Time to Celebrate

A popular fixture on the Sarasota arts and philanthropy scene, Margaret Wise is known for her fabulous backyard parties.

What is your favorite go-to recipe?

“It depends on the season. I’m from the South, so I love Louisiana, or Cajun-inspired, cuisine. For Christmas, I always do a gumbo.”

Your dream party?

“I just hosted a party that was Downton Abbey-inspired. We had music, dressed up for dinner; it was also incredibly festive. I believe that every chance you get, you should celebrate.” 

The best decor?

“I love candles and flowers. I’m pretty old-fashioned, and I like to use different flowers depending on the season.”

Food and drink?

“I like to do a signature drink. For Christmas, I did one with pomegranate. It also depends on the party itself; some dinners are sit-down while others are buffet-style where everybody mingles.”

What’s your mantra as a host?

“Always make your guests comfortable and entertained.”

Roger Capote entertains with elegance

Image: Evan Sigmund

It's All About the Experience

Roger Capote is the chief advancement officer at CAN Community Health, who’s known for elegant get-togethers for his closest friends.

Your dream party?

“Very intimate and extremely well-decorated. A close group of friends is ideal.”

Where would you host it?

“Ideally at the beach, or under a big canopy of lights on a winter evening with a firepit and a long table. Definitely something romantic and elegant. I am all about the experience.”

What would you serve for food or drink?

“I love a four-course menu, with each course complemented with a particular drink or wine.”


“It depends on the party. I’m not gonna lie, I’m obsessed with the hipster cocktail party playlist on Pandora. But for a dinner party, in my ideal world, I would have a violinist who can play modern music and the classics.”

And decor?

“People who know me well know it has to be over the top, but to a certain extent. You don’t want centerpieces that are blocking the table.”

What’s your mantra as a host?

“I know I just said over the top, but ‘Keep it simple, stupid.’ You can do the simple route and wow them with elegance and simplicity or over-wow them with too many components.”

Friends make the party, say Doug and Erin Christy

People Make the Party

Real estate attorney Erin Christy and her husband, Doug, are known for their fun home-centered parties.

Your dream party to host?

“A dinner party in my back yard that brings together people from different walks of life. I’d love to put together a five-course dinner with friends from school, the Junior League and work.”

What would you serve for food and drink?

“I’d make sure to have plenty of sparkling wine, because it works across all different tastes. And I have all the top-end ingredients for a good Old Fashioned.”


“I put thought into my playlists. If there’s going to be a great deal of conversation at the dinner table, then you don’t want anything with a lot of lyrics that would compromise that.”

What’s your mantra as a host?

“The company makes the party. Don’t worry too much about the food or the drinks. Let go of the details and let the show go on.” 

Filed under
Show Comments