It’s not easy to make a 57-year-old event feel fresh and new, but Swan Ball co-chairs Jana Davis and Ellen Martin did just that with this year’s spectacular white-tie gala benefiting Cheekwood. The duo’s impeccable taste was evident in even the tiniest details of the lavish affair, resulting in an incomparably beautiful night that will be long remembered.
While many co-chairs draw inspiration from the botanical gardens and attempt to bring the outside in, Jana and Ellen focused on what life would be like in the Country Era estate with their “Coming Home to Cheekwood” theme. The grand tent on Swan Lawn didn’t feel like a tent at all but rather an extension of the mansion, complete with a library, drawing room, portrait gallery and great hall. Bookshelves filled with antique books created the backdrop for the mahogany bars during the cocktail hour, and the loggia was transformed into an orangery, complemented with orange trees and flowered vines draping over the fountain.
The co-chairs worked closely with The Social Office’s Dori Thornton Waller and The Tulip Tree to create the enchanting partyscape. Jana and Ellen wanted guests to feel so at home that they even provided some pieces from their own houses for the décor. (The chairs we used in our Nfocus Portrait Studio came from Ellen’s dining room!)
The elegant three-course dinner from Kristen Winston was the perfect precursor to the live auction. The four one-of-a-kind getaways auctioned off proved to be highly covetable items, with a two-week Tuscany vacation going for $20,000 and an over-the-top luxe visit to Naples, Florida, going for $22,500.
Following the auction, Lady Antebellum thrilled the crowd with an hour-long set that included their own chart-topping hits along with popular covers, including the Eagles’ “Take It Easy” and Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long.” Lady A’s Charles Kelley joked that it was strange playing a concert for all his golfing buddies. And although the crowd might be accustomed to seeing Charles and his bandmates on the golf course or at the grocery store, they still crushed onto the dance floor in front of the stage and posed for selfies with the band as they performed.
Following the energetic set, the tent was flooded with the cute, young crowd from the Late Party just in time for Jessie’s Girls to take the stage and keep everyone on their feet. Guests refueled between songs with Krystal burgers and doughnuts before eventually making their way back to their own homes, but this was one lavish house party guests won’t soon forget!