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Swan Ball, grande dame of Nashville galas, offers stunning gowns, views

Jun 21, 2023

At age 61, Nashville's grande dame of balls and galas shows no signs of aging. As fresh and exciting as the one before, Swan Ball 2023 captivated guests from the moment the invitation arrived in the homes of those on the list and invited them to enter the beauty of Cheekwood Estate and Gardens. Expectations, as always, were high, and Swan Ball 2023 Chairs Elizabeth Dingess and Ashley Rosen ensured that guests were not disappointed.

As guests entered the main foyer of Cheekwood mansion Saturday night, a stunning floral garland of wisteria, tulips and roses woven in greenery set the stage for the evening ahead. Once inside, guests were offered champagne and passed appetizers as they made their way into the formal dining room to view and, of course, purchase their favorite pieces of the eye-catching jewels of Swan Ball 2023 jeweler Verdura Belperron.

Related:Swan Ball Auction Party attendees bet on a good time at event benefiting Cheekwood

As guests made their way into the loggia and out to the cocktail lounge, the designs of Nashville-based event planning and design team Page and Windrow took center stage. Dingess and Rosen had envisioned an elegant garden party, and Page and Windrow executed that vision flawlessly. Box arbors, decorative ironwork, and stunning balustrades and stone architecture found throughout the grounds of Cheekwood were featured at every turn.

Inside the dining tent, visitors immediately noticed raised platforms on both sides, decorated with iron trellises covered in greenery and wisteria, a nod to the Wisteria Garden on the east end of the mansion. Dining tables were set with linens in floral patterns, satin embroidery and velvet browns to complement the centerpieces in lavenders with growing potted pieces created by local floral designer Alex Vaughn of FLWR. Here I make a personal observation: One of the flowers used in the centerpiece was a carnation of the most beautiful shade of lavender I have ever seen. As I remarked to a friend, they don't sell those at Kroger!

The ceiling of the tent was covered in a thin black fabric with miniature lights and hanging iron chandeliers, alluding to an evening under the stars. At center stage stood the gates of Cheekwood, yes, a curtain created for the evening, which once opened revealed the backdrop of the mansion. How many ways can you say stunning?

After a welcome from Cheekwood President and CEO Jane MacLeod, where she thanked guests for being part of the evening to ensure Cheekwood continues to thrive; presented gifts to the chairs and recognized Swan Ball Award recipient Tooty Bradford, guests dined on a tastebud-tantalizing meal from Kristen Winston Catering. To start, watermelon, arugula, and feta salad with tomato, cucumber, pistachio, white balsamic dressing and mint paired with La Chiara Gavi di Gavi. On the dinner plate was a perfectly prepared filet of beef topped with bearnaise butter served with a sweet corn souffle with fresh corn relish, asparagus, carrots, and cremini mushrooms, paired with Austin Paso Robles Cabernet. And for dessert, a milk chocolate semifreddo with salty cookie crumb, orange anglaise, and candied orange peel. Lipman Brothers/R.S. Lipman Company was responsible for the wine pairings.

Look back:Swan Ball 2022, a benefit for Cheekwood, is a night to remember

Arts:British artist Bruce Munro returns to Cheekwood with 'LIGHT'

After dinner, Tony Award winner Idina Menzel enthralled guests as she performed a repertoire of Broadway hits and other favorites. Menzel was followed by Big Swing and the Ballroom Dancers, which brought guests to the dance floor until the early morning hours.

The evening was yet another example of why Swan Ball is and will remain the grande dame of Nashville's balls and galas. To the chairs, event designers and the numerous volunteers, Nashville thanks you for an evening of elegant tradition, and ensuring that Cheekwood Estate and Gardens will remain that shining jewel overlooking the ever-changing landscape of our city.

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