Debutante Ball Journeys To The Past in Historic Downtown Hotel

By Ellie Leeper
Photography By Greg Harrison and Paul Overstreet

The Scene: A chilly winter night in downtown San Antonio set the stage for “An Evening at the Winter Palace.” The historic St. Anthony Hotel was home to an extravagant debutante event to honor The German Club debs Elizabeth Marie Arnim, Charlotte Frances Cooper, Caroline Buchanan Greehey, Blake Whitlow Sealy, and Eliza Shelby Smith. Hosting the ball were the parents of the debutantes: Tommy Arnim, Susanne and Louis Cooper, Cheryl and Sid Greehey, Susan and Lon Smith, and Tammy and Lawson Walden.

The Vibe: Illusions Rentals transformed the newly renovated historic hotel interior into a White Russian winter wonderland, and Danny Cuellar of Trinity Flowers offered his holiday touch to the décor. The event featured a 16-foot ice bar with ten-foot ice carvings that replicated the landmark domes of Russia.  The ballroom was twinkling with white, icy branches, six ornate chandeliers, a snowy white dance floor, and white plush leather seating for the guests to lounge in between dances. In the Fabergé lounge, Anthony Buzzini wooed guests with some soft jazz on the grand as they sipped beverages at the surrounding bar, adorned with several three-foot Fabergé eggs. The after party took place on the tenth floor of the St. Anthony, on the romantic Starlight Terrace, while guests gazed at downtown’s skyline as they danced until dawn.

THE CAUSE: Steeped in centuries-old tradition, The German Club was formed in 1880 by a group of young men who had originally named themselves the “Ascension Club” and the name was changed in 1890 to the San Antonio German Club in honor of the popular ballroom dance of the era, “The German.” For the past 133 years, the San Antonio German Club has presented its debutantes during San Antonio’s social season. The 2013-2014 President is Clyde Johnson IV and the Chairman of the Opening German was Paul Rohlfs Jr.


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