Against the classic backdrop of a historic mansion, a member of the local “glitterati” designs a porch party rife with personalized touches and sparkling signature details. Photography by Izzy Hudgins
“I love sparkle,” Andrea Gray Harper says, explaining why she chose New Year’s Eve for her creative inspiration. “And right now I’m obsessed with gold.”
To take an evening of carousing to a new level of easy elegance, Andrea brought her sequins and swank to Brockington Hall, an Italianate villa-style venue in the heart of the Historic District.
“It’s a glamorous old building with a wide porch—because Savannahians love to party outside,” she explains, praising the “unusual, graphic ironwork” that provided a perfect backdrop to her effervescent dinner party on the veranda.
To achieve her shimmering vision, Andrea called in reinforcements: Wendy Patrick of Thrive Café and Catering to pack the menu with local flavors, bartender Jacob Sanford to concoct a signature cocktail, and graphic designer Samantha Sanford of Lavender and Honey designs to create “graphic and glittery” stationery, including personalized Champagne labels.
“Look at the people around you and see who can help you,” she urges. “There are a lot of really creative people in Savannah.”
A brilliant setting: Andrea made a tablecloth out of black sequined fabric and designed a sparkly gold table runner. She hung a gold piñata to represent the midnight “ball drop,” then brought out her family’s vintage china, cutting circular menu cards that fit in the base of each plate.
It’s a wrap: “Something as simple as paper can make an ordinary object extraordinary,” advises Andrea, who used striped paper to turn ordinary cylindrical vases into a bold centerpiece filled with roses, scabiosa pods, gilded magnolias and fluffy, white peacock feathers.
Culinary accents: Savannahians eat the peas-and-rice dish Hoppin’ John for good luck at the New Year, so Wendy’s menu boasted a locally sourced version. And, instead of coating the traditional blini with caviar, Wendy served the New Year’s delicacy on local grit cakes.
Sip ’n’ see: “I always stop by Party City to pick up ‘to-go’ cups that match the palette of each event,” says Andrea, who found gold cups for this event. “‘Travelers’ are a beloved Savannah tradition, and I just like when an event makes sense from start to finish.”
Festive, not fussy: To help her female guests shine for the occasion, Andrea invited Jules DeJesus Fritz and Emily Warren of Dollface by Jules to host a pre-party beauty bash, freshening faces with red lips and metallic accents.
Jacob’s Seelbach Champagne Cocktail
1 oz. bourbon
1/2 oz. Cointreau triple sec
7 dashes Angostura bitters
7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Lemon twists for garnish
With a mixing glass, bar spoon and strainer, stir liquors briefly over ice, strain into a chilled flute, top with Champagne and garnish.
New Year’s Brought to You By…
Event designer and stylist: Andrea Gray Harper, Gray Harper Event Maker
Location: Brockington Hall
Rentals: Savannah Special Events and Gray Harper Event Maker
Catering: Thrive Café and Catering
Stoneground grits: Freeman’s Mill in Statesboro
Paté: Ashley Farm Chicken in Murrayville
Quail eggs: Suzanne Bailey, Sandy Creek Farm in Brooklet
Local shellfish: Russo’s Seafood
Asiago popcorn topping: Flatcreek Lodge in Swainsboro
Macarons: Maison de Macarons
Paper goods and graphic design: Samantha Sanford, Lavender & Honey Designs
Hair and make-up: Emily Warren and Jules De Jesus Fritz, Dollface by Jules
Bowtie: French Knot Studios
Bartender: Jacob Sanford
Guests: Michael Campanaro, Melody and Christopher Munn, Samantha and Jacob Sanford, Victoria Williams