The German Club Debutante Party Honoring Lilly Calvert, Carrie King, Claudia Kiolbassa and Felicia Mannix
By Shannon Turner Photography by JB Lyde of Parish Photography
THE SCENE: The San Antonio Country Club recently served as the perfect backdrop for a New York Christmas Ball themed debutante party for honorees Lilly Calvert, Carrie King, Claudia Kiolbassa and Felicia Mannix. The planning began long in advance with a trip to The Big Apple, where the honorees stayed at the Hotel Elysée and experienced the ultimate New York City inspiration. The end result was a transformation of the San Antonio Country Club so thorough that guests truly felt as though they had been transported to New York City for the holidays.
Highlights of the trip included visiting each debutante’s favorite bar, club and restaurant locations to research ideas. Items like napkins, matchbooks, coasters and more were collected for the party’s inspiration from venues like the 21 Club, the Oak Bar, the Palm Court, the Monkey Bar, the Rainbow Room, the Ole King Cole Bar, and Dylan’s Candy Bar. These New York landmarks would come to life in the cuisine and specialty cocktails to be served at the party.
The honorees’ mothers were their own event producers for the ball and enlisted several individuals and event design companies to help convert the country club venue. Danny Cuellar from Trinity Flowers & Events produced a plethora of amazingly decorated Christmas trees to give guests the feel they were in Central Park. As attendees entered the club, Laurie Ontjes with Illusions Tents, Rentals & Event Design helped create an entry of angels trumpeting towards the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. The debutantes’ mothers borrowed toys from their children, and sourced special details to help Trinity with the decor for the 21 Club, as well as decorative monkeys from Svelte Veldt Home décor store in San Antonio for The Monkey Bar. Specialty polo mallet swizzle drink stirrers represented the Polo Club. To recreate Dylan’s Candy Bar, the planners pooled resources and made several trips to Casa Dulce Dulceria.
THE VIBE: As partygoers climbed the stairs to the upstairs party with the Big Band sounds, they marveled at special portraits of each girl created by artist Rex Hausmann, inspired by his Audrey series. The Palm Court-inspired trees, designed by Cuellar, used the existing pillars and completed the effect with palms and lighting. Illusions provided tables, linens, decorative bar fronts, and helped with the creation of Wollman “Dance” Rink by converting the dance floor into a blue ice rink with a special laminate, as well as the ice sculpture of the Statue of Liberty. In the Rainbow Room, Bill Haynie at JSAV Lighting provided Times Square video mapping. The Ole King Cole Bar and its famous mural were also important iconic symbols of New York that were represented at the party. The New York food carts were a fun addition, complete with signs and umbrellas on the side of each cart.
The families loved that the San Antonio Country Club not only served as the perfect backdrop for the beautiful ball, but also that the staff, led by Wesley Dowdy and Marvin Jones, who helped to create a timeless menu that complimented the themes in every rooms. Specialty drinks included the Moscow Mule from the 21 Club, the Go Bananas from the Monkey Bar, and many memorable favorites. From the beginning of the event until the morning hours, the live band kept the pulse and energy of the party at an all-time high. Starting off the dancing with Alicia Keys’ hit song, New York, and continuing with the Lucky Strikes playing Frank Sinatra tunes in the Rainbow Room early in the evening. Simply Irresistible from Atlanta then took over, playing until 1:30, with every detail perfectly tuned to the magic of the event.