Inside the Belvedere: A Little Party Never Hurt Nobody
Say hello to guest blogger Dana Alonzi! Dana celebrated turning 40 in the most fabulous way by having a 1920’s themed party at the 13th Floor on October 31, 2015. Check out her story below.
I have always wanted to attend a 1920’s themed party and, in fact, minus women not having rights in the 1920’s, this is the decade I would have loved to live in the most. I don’t believe I’m alone in that given the response I received when I sent out invitations to this party. The months leading up to the party were filled with more excitement by my guests than I could have ever anticipated. Both the women and the men were equally as excited about their outfits and everyone wanted to surprise me with a reveal at the party.
I have, in the recent past, seen photos from friends spending their New Year’s Eve at 1920’s themed parties in hotels and the photos always feel like a bad casino night at the local high school. I was determined to try my best to keep my party from feeling like that. Therefore, the venue had to be the perfect setting. What brought me to the Belvedere was the history of the Owl Bar and I initially was interested in the Owl Bar for my party. When I contacted Belvedere & Co. for availability on my date, I was quickly educated about the 13th Floor and I was immediately interested. The moment I drove up to the Belvedere I imagined what an entrance to a 1920’s party it would be. The elevator doors up to the 13th floor look like something out of Jay Gatsby’s mansion. Then I got to the 13th Floor and immediately saw my party unfolding. The mood in that space is magical and it is the perfect mix of modern and retro.
In an effort to have a party everyone would remember, instead of spending money on a DJ, I decided to hire a dance instructor to teach swing dance to my guests and DJ the party myself. While I was searching for an instructor, I got the idea to take lessons in the months leading up to the party and kick off the night with a swing dance to show my guests “how it’s done” (I mean, I was the birthday girl after all). Once the cheering from my guests started, I felt like I was on my own episode of Dancing with the Stars. To say I surprised them would be an understatement.
All the while, I had no idea that an even bigger surprise was waiting for me. I had no inclination that an hour before the party a 1933 Packard Limo would be picking me up at my hotel and taking me to the party. I have a reputation for loving to surprise others but never being able to be surprised.
My wife Stacy’s mission was to break this cycle. She nailed it! It was my favorite part of the night. When I walked out of the hotel expecting to see an Uber car and found the Packard instead, I screamed, literally. I will never forget driving around Baltimore, specifically through the Inner Harbor, in that car. Everyone we drove by stopped – no matter their age, their race, in work clothes, at a bus stop – it didn’t matter – everyone stopped to wave or dance or smile or stare. Arriving at the Belvedere in that car was about the grandest entrance I could have ever imagined.
The entire night felt like a dream. It was everything I wanted it to be and more! My guests were fully committed to the theme as was the staff working at the party that night. Many of my guests have made photos of that night their profile pictures on social media with corresponding hashtags about how much fun they had. The food, the drinks, the view, the car, the music, the dancing, – all would’ve made Jay Gatsby himself, proud and made turning 40 not so bad.
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