Dan’s 30th Birthday Celebration at The St. Anthony Hotel
When it comes to planning life’s special celebrations, my mother always taught me that the magic is made in the details. Ensuring a memorable event isn’t necessarily about extravagance, but more about the thoughtfulness behind who is being celebrated, the experience for their guests, and the significance of the venue, the menu, the music, and the decor.
Dan turned 30 last weekend, and the gift he wanted was a celebration with his closest friends and his arts education colleagues. In thinking about his milestone, our relationship, and our guests, I narrowed down my venue choices to the two hotels that carry a lot of meaning in our marriage. I knew I wanted it to be a nice cocktail party, but considering the guest list, this soirée needed a theme.
If we were hosting a group of the most talented and accomplished high school music and dance educators in the San Antonio and Austin areas, a musicially related theme was a must. Dan and I are old souls, so anything vintage fits us. I have always been inspired by the prohibition era, but I think “Gatsby” is often overdone, so I chose “The Jazz Age” – still the 1920’s, but a different spin that, in my mind, pays homage to the creators of the era. Dan was “saying farewell to his twenties,” so I played on remembering the end of America’s (19)20’s. I designed the invitation on Paperless Post. I was really pleased with the customization options. We managed to get musical notes, peacock feathers, and the gold and green decor theme of the hotel visually represented in one e-vite.
Once the theme was settled, I knew we had to host the party at The St. Anthony Hotel in Peacock Alley. Not only were we married in front of the fireplace in Peacock Alley in 2016, but the decor is so grand and period-perfect we wouldn’t have to think about anything other than some fun 1920’s photo props and festive table confetti to perfect a swingin’ Jazz Age atmosphere that would have felt like home to even the Fitzgerald’s and the Hemingway’s.
As far as era-appropriate fashion, I went to none other than Montage Style to collaborate and put together my outfit. I found the perfect dress that was a flattering fit and had tassels on the bottom. I paired it with my grandmother Lulu’s vintage fur coat, a headband and cigarette holder from Party City, and every necklace and bracelet I had in my jewelry collection that could have possibly been layered together to glam up the ensemble. I wore my Kate Spade pumps, put on a red lip, smokey eyes and voilá! Flapper-fab. Men are always so much easier. Dan wore one of his own suits and bow ties, we found a white Michael Kors linen vest at Second Looks for under $30, he disguised one of my locket necklaces as a pocket watch, slicked back his dapper do (he gets his hair cut by our dear friend and hair stylist Damian Gonzalez – go check out his beautiful new salon LOOK!), and he was handsome as ever.
Dan’s one and only event planning duty was to curate a playlist and find a solid set of speakers. As always, he more than delivered. He made a mix on Spotify that was a collection of contemporary pop covers in the instrumentation and vocal style of the 1920’s, and original hits of the era. It started more slowly and the tempos picked up as the party progressed. We played it from his phone through a big set of Bose speakers we borrowed. We served spreads and breads that were set in front of the fireplace, and we had a beautiful bar set in the middle of the alley, reminiscent of what I would imagine to be an intimate breezeway feté in a 1920’s mansion. Dan does not care for sweets, so I staged his candles in a slice of tres leches cake from the hotel chef, but requested that a personal sized pizza be brought out for Dan’s real birthday treat. He loved it. And I loved the tres leches 😉 .
The cocktails flowed, the cameras flashed, the fedoras tipped, the tassels tossed, our cheeks blushed, the laughs bellowed and echoed, and the giddy gaiety that only a themed celebration can create was palpable. Yet another night of cherished memories at our beloved and glamorous St. Anthony was in the books.
Our sincerest and most heartfelt thanks to our friends at the hotel for setting the stage for another chapter in our Morrison storybook. Thank you to my friend and photographer Will Crawford for taking over my Canon and capturing these special moments, and also to our dear friends and guests for spiritedly indulging our (…MY) eccentricity, loving and supporting Dan, and being part of our lives. And to Dan, the love of my life – Happiest of Birthdays, and may your next decade bring even more success, happiness and love.