'We spent £200k on our twins' 16th!'
Tell and Sell Stories were thrilled to work with Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow again, this time to publish their story about how they spent more than £200k on their twins' sweet 16th!
The gay dads spoke out in Closer magazine about how their twins deserved to be spoilt.
In 1999, after a landmark ruling, the two dads hired two American women - surrogate mum Rosalind and egg donor Tracie - and the twins were born in California
Now, the teens live with Barrie (“Daddy”) and Tony (“Dad”) in their house hidden behind gates at the end of a lane in the Essex countryside. Within their land is a stable block and a pool, which the guests can make use of as the night draws on.
Barrie says: “We were always going to have a huge do for Saffron and Aspen. For them, turning 16 is a big deal, plus it’s an excuse for us to treat them - not that they aren’t spoilt enough already!
“After the twins chose an LA nightclub themed party, Saffron completely took over - even though it’s for her brother too. She has dictated to me what she wants and what she doesn’t want throughout the whole process, and worked alongside her very own party planner.
“Aspen gave up after the first week and simply said: ‘Let Saffron make the decisions. Whatever I say she doesn’t like, so what’s the point!’
“One thing Saffron insisted on was flying to New York to pick out her dress, to make sure no one else was wearing the same one. We went a few weeks ago and hired a personal shopper at Bloomingdales to help choose her outfit.”
As their 150 guests arrive, they walk down the red carpet to a backdrop where a photographer takes their photo. Then the hoards of teens flow into the marquee area set up over the pool, where a New York DJ flown in exclusively for the event plays.
Barrie says: “Aspen only wanted a few mates round for an evening but Saffron wanted bigger and better! She was also really specific about the guest list. Political correctness went out the window and she flatly said no to several people who asked to come. She even stepped in to approve the list of boys coming and asked the party planner for an updated list daily.
“I encouraged her to have a band or celebs at the party, but she told me she didn’t want anyone upstaging her night! That’s my girl.”
Wearing his brand new £1000 Louis Vuitton high-tops, Aspen has a laugh with his friends as they enjoy a few alcopops and help themselves to the hog roast, while Saffron works the room, beaming and posing for photos.
Barrie and Tony are banned from being outside for the majority of the party, so as not to cramp the twins’ style. They stay indoors with the other adults, including Rosalind – the twins’ surrogate mother who they have flown over from California.
Barrie and Tony’s third child, Orlando, joins in the celebrations while their second set of twins, Dallas and Jasper, are tucked up in bed.
Though the two dads are inside and can’t see what’s going on, Barrie isn’t worried.
He says: “I’m not worried about what the kids get up to but we did lay down rules. No drugs, no excessive booze and no sex – I don’t think that’s unreasonable! We have a bar with soft drinks but some of the guests have brought their own alcohol.
We’ve hired four security guards to keep an eye out for any unruly behaviour and to keep the uninvited out.”
As the night unfolds, Barrie and Tony make an appearance. But it’s for good reason.
A black £110,000 Porsche 911 rolls around the corner and pulls up, making the guests gasp with jealously. On it, the personalised number plate reads A5PEN 1.
“Happy Birthday Aspen!” Barrie and Tony say, as everyone cheers.
Then their teenage son climbs in behind the wheel with a smile as wide as the windscreen.
Barrie explains: “Aspen is itching to learn how to drive and will be able to take his test soon in the US, so we decided to buy him a new car to practice driving on our land.”
Then the two dads hand him a small box, which he opens to reveal a £45,000 Rolex, with diamonds and rubies on the face.
“Thank you,” Aspen says, chuffed.
For once, Saffron is perhaps the more understated twin in what she receives, but she’s not done too badly – receiving a Louis Vuitton handbag and shoes, £1,000 worth of designer make-up and jewellery amongst other things… Not forgetting £45,000 in cash to do with what she likes.
Tony says: “I can’t believe the twins are turning 16 already. It only seems like yesterday Barrie and I were cradling them in our arms as babies!
“Saffron is a little worried about what’s around the corner, especially with her GCSE exams coming up. She hasn’t yet decided what she wants to do. Aspen is excited to leave school and start earning some money. He’s really looking forward to starting his apprenticeship in the family’s cosmetic business in the US.”
With it dark outside and the music still playing, the guests prepare for a dip in the pool and hot tub. Everyone is having fun and it seems the money has been well spent. The tens of thousands spent have gone on equipment, the DJ, flying guests in from America and hotel stays.
So how do Barrie and Tony plan to top the twins’ party for their next birthday?
“When they turn 21 we’ll have another big bash. Forget the LA theme though, we’ll just fly out to America and do it for real!”