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Black Tie and Tales
Black Tie Monday, Apr. 10, 2017 5 years ago

Black Tie & Tales 04.13.17

From engagement parties to special announcements, here's what you might have missed on the social scene last week.

Sunday funday

Designing Daughters members were happy with the turnout April 9 for their Pre-Gala Party Fashion Market. The event, which featured several lifestyle vendors, got people excited for the organization’s May 5 “A Fashionable Gala: Shipwrecked.” 

Co-Chairwomen Anne-Marie Timm, Kelly Calamaras, Ashley Gruters, Sheena Maini and Ashley Reeves — Photo courtesy of Ashley Gruters

Hosts Ashley Gruters, Kelly Calamaras, Anne-Marie Timm, Sheena Maini and Ashley Reeves, co-chairwomen for the upcoming gala, chose Big Top Brewing Co. for the celebration, because they wanted a laid-back afternoon event that would raise money while also giving guests the chance to unwind — even with their kiddos, as children were invited to attend. Their motto is "fashion meets philanthropy," so the shopping + social event was the ideal way to generate some noise while promoting the stylish lifestyle that these women have down to a T.

Let them eat cake

Steve Johnson and Jen Rust — Photo by Cliff Roles

Nikki Sedacca and Montana Taplinger threw Jen Rust and fiancé Steve Johnson a big engagement bash on April 8 at the Sedacca home. The happy couple will have an intimate ceremony in California this summer, and because they couldn’t invite all of their Sarasota squad, Nikki and Montana planned an SRQ soirée to bring the party home. The roughly 80 guests enjoyed Jeff Sedacca’s gift of a caviar appetizer served before Café Baci baked ziti and chicken parmesan followed by Morton’s chocolate cakes and a cake designed by Montana. The bride-to-be said, “A beautiful full moon and a starry spring sky added to the enchanted evening.”

A good year for Friendship Centers

Eileen Devine, Friendship Centers President and CEO Erin McLeod and Kay Nissley — Photo courtesy of Molly Schechter

Friendship Centers welcomed 120 guests — the most ever — to its annual Donor Appreciation Party on April 3 at the Sarasota Center, and President and CEO Erin McLeod had a lot of good news to share. The Center for Aging Studies is expanding its curriculum beyond just accredited continuing education training to professionals. The Caregiving Place is expanding and enhancing its adult day programs, and both these operations are generating much-needed revenue for the Friendship Centers. Thanks to major gifts, there have been many upgrades including a new phone system and new furniture for the main building and the clinic reception area. No wonder everybody was smiling while munching on hors d’oeuvres by Paul Mattison.

Looking ahead

This gold-and-pearls brooch-pendant was created specifically for the upcoming Lunch in the Gardens: “Scents of the Riviera” by Nikki Sedacca. Photo courtesy of Molly Schechter

Lunch in the Gardens: “Scents of the Riviera” will celebrate the eponymous exhibit of the works of Marc Chagall on April 19, at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. We think it’s noteworthy because of the presenter, who will be perfumer Ashley Wilberding Balavoine of Firmenich, the world’s largest privately owned fragrance company. To further the “Scents of the Riviera” theme, there will be scent samples on each table for guests to create a one-of-a-kind fragrance to take home. The event will also feature lunch by Phil Mancini, a boutique of spectacular orchids and a single item auction – a gold-and-pearls brooch pendant. It was created for the event by Nikki Sedacca, who is a co-chairwoman along with Beverly Bartner and Renee Hamad. The lunch is 11:30 a.m. April 19, at Michael’s on the Bay at Selby Gardens. Tickets start at $125, and reservations can be made at or by calling Alex at 366-5731, Ext. 253.


Thank you, Dave and Edie … This was the main message at the annual Sarasota Opera board dinner sponsored by PNC Wealth Management on April 3 at Flemings Steak House and Wine Bar. David Chaifetz was the president of the opera board for the past three years, and he and Edie Chaifetz work — and produce! – as a team. The new board president will be announced May 15 at the opera’s Annual Meeting. Hint: initials M.B. …

Neuro Challenge Executive Director Robyn Faucy makes her special announcement at A Night Under the Stars on April 7 at Michael’s On East.
Neuro Challenge Executive Director Robyn Faucy makes her special announcement at A Night Under the Stars on April 7 at Michael’s On East.

A special announcement … Robyn Faucy, executive director of Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s, had good news to share at the organization’s “A Night Under the Stars” gala on April 7:  Neuro Challenge will host a daylong Parkinson’s expo April 14, 2018, at Robarts Arena, where attendees will learn about the latest in Parkinson's treatment options, research, management techniques and more.


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