The Glenn Smith family has hosted a few incredible parties in recent years, but none could top the New Year's Eve blowout at the Hilton Americas-Houston that is sure to have guests swooning all the way to 2011.
While the decor and food were over the top (imagine the ballroom modified into three tiers of seating), the entertainment line-up scored way off the party charts.
Following the cocktail hour, guests entered the fantasy ballroom where the sizzling Starlight Experience from New York ruled with two hours of drop dead fabulous dance music.
Next up was Frankie Valli, joined by a close facsimile of the original Four Seasons, who performed all the familiar top hit golden oldies. As his set concluded, Valli led the countdown to midnight when a 72-inch-diameter mirror ball descended from the ceiling and confetti guns in all four corners of the ballroom exploded in an endless shower of Mylar confetti. In what guests thought was the party finale, Valli crooned Auld Lang Syne.
But wait, there was more. At the moment Valli hit the last note, the wall on the opposite side of the ballroom opened to reveal the Eagles on stage firing up their 90-minute set with Hotel California. It was a near-riot (well, close enough) as all 650 guests surged across the vast ballroom to vie for space on the dance floor. The camera phones and personal cameras popped like holiday firecrackers. It was a singing and dancing frenzy for the entire set.
Judy and Glenn Smith and their daughters and sons-in-law, Noelle and Davis Jahncke and Coco and Kelly Mahoney, were over the moon with the success of the party that launched at 7 p.m. and didn't shut down until 3 in the morning, after a lavish breakfast buffet. It was exactly what the family had hoped for when planning began in earnest on this party last spring.
It was no small production army that made this soirée sizzle. The Smiths tapped party planner extraordinaire Lisa Newburn of Boerne, who then brought on board floral designer David Kurio of Austin, linens maestro Harry Rice of Galveston and Nelson Robinson of Fort Worth-based Nelson Robinson/Stageworks. The Houston-based team included Jackson & Co. with Kelly Biggs as point man, John Wilbanks of Pro Sound, Glenda Haley of Haley Productions and Alexander Rogers, who was there to photograph it all.
The '40s Hollywood theme was executed in a palette of white, black and silver, the ballroom floor carpeted in white just for this evening. A black-and-white zebra carpet covered the upper tier seating area. Decor highlights included a crystal dragon suspended above the Grauman's Chinese Theater food station, a 10-foot tall ice sculpture bear at the Russian Tea Room station where caviar and smoked salmon were washed down with vodka shots, and a recreation of the Brown Derby Restaurant where prime rib was on the menu. And that's just to name a few of the intriguing dining options.
Of course, Kurio worked his expected magic with zillions of white flowers — orchids, peonies, hydrangeas and amaryllis. Guests are still talking about the twin floral peacocks that stood inside the entrance, their tails comprised completely of white orchids.
New Year's Eve merger
Following their marriage in a small chapel on the Middleton family ranch in Liberty, Macy Shaver and Mayes Middleton led the parade to Tony's for a no-holds-barred celebration that continued from one decade into the next. The champagne flowed into the wee morning hours as guests, numbering more than 250, danced to a 15-piece band, the restaurant large enough to accommodate all.
Guests grazed through a variety of food stations that included everything delicious under the sun from lobster and stone crabs to a Viennoise table laden with 20 different desserts. No typical wedding cake for this creative couple. The center of culinary attention was a colossal ice cream bombe 6-feet-tall.