Cloche Designs | Meet The Flockers
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Meet The Flockers

By: Laura Nell Burton
Event Photography by: Billo Smith Photography

When I was a little girl, I decorated a Christmas tree each year in my room. I would dress it with gaudy blinking, bubbling lights, and a collection of ornaments my mother gifted me each Christmas morning representing milestones from the year gone by. Today, I cherish her ornaments most of all—they are my old, faithful friends. Gazing on them all December truly recalls the most magical days of my childhood and brings back wonderful memories of my mother, before cancer. Here’s my very first Christmas tree:

While decorating it brought me immense joy, taking it down was wretched. My mother would hound me well into the month of January until I would finally give in. One year I sat next to my forlorn Douglas fir on the curb in front of our condominium, as if it needed moral support, while we waited for the garbage truck. I remember tearfully kissing the tips of its needles and saying, “goodbye.” God bless my tender little girl heart.

To this very day, I thought I was completely alone in my anguish, until a bit of research turned up a validating article by Food & Wine entitled “The 10 Stages of Saying Goodbye to Your Christmas Tree.” P.S. Here are some tips on disposing of yours in a green way. These days, however, at my scroogey age of 42, January is different. I can’t wait to get Christmas down and head on over to Container Store’s 30% off sale. But before you load up on Elfa, I want to share a brilliant party idea to give your own beloved Christmas tree one last night in the spotlight. Here’s all the scoop…

Before Christin and I founded Cloche, I planned countless events both professionally in the Big Four world and personally. This Love Letter is a look back at my all-time favorite. I’m about to introduce you to the flockers you’re waiting to meet…

Here’s some important background…the San Antonio German Club was founded by single men in 1880 and each year presents debutantes at a lavish ball held in November opening the San Antonio social season. As rites of passage go, each debutante’s parents then host a deb party honoring their daughter, while family members and friends give smaller parties honoring their favorite debs. I myself was a debutante back in the day…here’s a look…oh, to be 24 again (ALSO—I’m still in love with that Vera Wang gown nearly 20 years later—and can you get over those lemons?!)!

My precious cousin, Allie Donnell, was a debutante a few years ago, and together with family and friends we hosted a party for her at my home. Our party for Allie was Friday night with her deb party the next evening, so planning was coordinated. Allie’s sister, Lacie Young, is an incredible graphic designer (check her out @zellapress) and created gorgeous invitations for both events. Allie’s deb party theme was “Le Cirque des Rêves” (“The Night Circus” after a 2011 fantasy novel by Erin Morgenstern). We themed Friday night “Avant de Allie” (“Before with Allie”)…”Dinner Dans Les Bois, Winter’s Night before Le Cirque” (“Dinner in the Woods”).

Enter flockers! Here I am with darling hostesses Hannah Beever and Alice Welder.

Our first order of business was to intercept 20 Christmas Trees from neighboring BFFs before the garbage man arrived. Next we raided Wal-Marts for post-Christmas sales buying tree stands and so much Santa Snow that I still have boxes of it in my garage two years later. We recycled dried out boxwood wreaths and garlands, collected deer antlers from the ranch and utilized fresh greenery from the garden to keep floral costs low. A little Santa Snow and silver floral spray paint is magic for dried out greenery!

Party attire was “Furs, Flats and Flannel.” As you plan your own flocked party, Cloche’s contributing fashion curator, Natalie Steen, has already curated fabulous @upthegetup ensembles for you and your guests. Check out her Love Letter all about it here including links to buy everything you see below!

Guests arrived greeted by Mariachi Las Coronelas and hand-passed French 75 cocktails.

El Jarro de Arturo catered the evening and rentals were provided by Illusions. Guests enjoyed s’mores “dans les bois” for dessert.

The most special moment was the surprise 80th birthday celebration for Allie’s grandfather. Jimmy, now in Heaven, was one of the greatest men I’ve ever known. He was deeply loved, especially by his wife Leighton, and will be forever be remembered for his humility, genuine interest in others, and for his love of history, genealogy, Mexican polka and Blue Bell ice cream. Read more about his remarkable life here.

From the team here at Cloche Designs, we wish you and yours an incredibly blessed 2018. Sweep up the pine needles and drag that tree to the curb because we’ve got a new year ahead of us…let’s get this party started!

“Christmas Tree. O Christmas Tree
How you glowed on Christmas Day.
Standing with you at the curb
I don’t know what to say.

We cut you down to dress you up
In popcorn, berries, twinkly lights.
Cold and sweet your piney breath
Whispered warmth on winter nights.

Christmas Tree. O Christmas Tree.
Forest beauty tall and wild.
Thank you for your Christmas gift.
You gave your life
to love a child.”
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater