ROAD TO ROMANCE

ROAD TO ROMANCE

Elle Moody And Jimmy Gray Wed

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Matt Lankes

 

Life’s various paths to love are fascinating. During the holiday season of 2017, Elle Moody was making a familiar holiday trek back from New York City to her hometown of Austin to spend the holidays with her family. On this particular year, she arrived just in time for her mother’s annual Christmas party. Elle was thrilled to be home catching up with friends at the party when her mother, Shannon, approached her. She whispered in Elle’s ear, “There is a cute boy in the kitchen. Go introduce yourself.”

That cute boy turned out to be Jimmy Gray. Also, a native Austinite, Jimmy had every intention of staying home the night of the party, yet his friends convinced him to join them in various holiday festivities that included what turned out to be one life-changing party stop. Elle introduced herself to Jimmy, and they immediately hit it off, initially bonding over their tales of growing up in Austin, as well as their mutual love of family. Elle enjoyed Jimmy’s compassion and sense of humor, while Jimmy appreciated Elle’s laid-back nature and loyalty to her friends.

The new romance continued for the rest of the holiday season until Elle had to return to New York. Jimmy promised to stay in touch, which resulted in a long-distance relationship where the two frequently made treks between Austin and New York. After a few years of dating long-distance, Jimmy moved to New York City for Elle, where the romance grew, and Jimmy knew the time was right to pop the question.

Elle thought they were en route to an intimate dinner for two when Jimmy invited his unsuspecting bride-to-be to join him in the backyard. Then, as singer Bonnie Raitt’s Thank You played in the background, Jimmy got down on one knee and asked Elle to marry him. After enthusiastically saying yes, they were joined by a group of friends for a surprise party. After the party ended, they continued the fun dancing the night away in New York City into the wee hours of the following morning.

The bride and groom-to-be selected the ranch of a close family friend as their wedding venue surrounded by those who meant most to the couple. The couple created a day filled with special touches that reflected the simple, beautiful nature of their love. The ceremony was held outdoors under an oak tree, which the bride had played under as a child. The tree featured sunflowers hanging from branches for additional ambiance. The bride, stunning in a classic, long-sleeved dress with a pearl-encrusted veil designed by Suzanne Neville, walked down the aisle as On the Nature of Daylight by Max Richter was played on a violin. The couple was married by their best friend and officiant, Jay Krishnan, whose moving speech about their love brought tears to the 175 friends and family members in attendance.

The reception was held under a tent with beautiful floral decor hanging from the ceiling that continued the relaxed wedding theme. The couple created a fun experience for their guests, who found their seats via various photos of the couple’s beloved Labradoodle, Eddie. The crowd was served dinner that featured handmade interior Mexican cuisine perfectly paired with the mezcal and specialty margaritas created especially for the occasion.

After dinner and initial dances, the rest of their loved ones joined the newly married couple on the dance floor to the tunes of DJ Mel. C-Boys in Austin was the destination for the after-party where the bride changed into a pink sequin dress designed by Jonathan Simkhai, and the fun continued well into the night, capping off a fun road to romance.

Elle, daughter of Ross Moody and Shannon Moody of Austin, is a graduate of Rice University and earned her master’s degree from New York University. She spent 10 years working in New York at a global cultural communications agency and is now the Senior Vice President of The Moody Foundation. Jimmy, son of Jim and Patty Gray, also of Austin, is a graduate of Auburn University and a Corporate Account Executive at Hubspot. The couple and their dog, Eddie, recently returned to Austin from New York for the bride’s new professional role.

BLANTON MUSEUM OF ART’S AL FRESCO GALA WOWS

Museum Unveils New Grounds At Dazzling 60th Anniversary Gala

By Rob Giardinelli     Photography by Sloan Breeden Photography

 

Judy Tate

Simone Wicha, Ross Moody and Elle Moody

THE PURPOSE: It was a stunning spring night at the Blanton Museum of Art where 350 of Texas’ (and the country’s) most notable art patrons and sociables gathered for an unforgettable night of art, fun, and fundraising. The Blanton Museum of Art’s 60th anniversary gala highlighted its storied history with an epic gala and it’s perfectly named theme, A New Landscape, that celebrated the completed transformation of the museum’s New Grounds Initiative that was over a decade in the making.

Carrie Healy and Clayton Maebius

The scene at the Blanton Museum Of Art 2023 gala

THE STYLE: The artful, black-tie crowd was dazzled from the second they walked up to the newly transformed grounds, where patrons were mesmerized by the white petal installation. The refraction of the early evening sun against a permanent installation of three-story tall white petals highlighted the installation. It created a magical glow around the entire space where many could be seen taking images and videos of these exquisite new grounds…and the art that adorns it. The installation, located on the Moody Patio of the Blanton Museum, allows the public to view and take in this space for free.

Suzanne Deal Booth and LeMel Humes

Anthony Grant and Jack Shear

Revelers then explored the grounds both inside and outside the museum for a lively cocktail hour, where after partygoers enjoyed a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne, and mingled as they toasted and celebrated the significant and historical artistic milestone of one of the state’s most beloved and world-class art institutions. Additionally, guests could be seen taking photos on a gorgeous step and repeat to commemorate the night.

Chris Hyams, Emma Hyams and Mazie Hyams

Linda van Bavel and Sarah Butler

Patrons then headed to the beautifully erected tent on the exterior museum grounds for the evening’s main program. The open aired tent allowed for the picture-perfect weather to envelop the space as guests had stunning views of the Texas State Capitol to the south and Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, located on the grounds of the Blanton Museum, to the north. As guests dined on a delectable, multi-course meal, they were treated to words from organization leaders, board members, and prominent supporters of the organization.

Jasmine and Lamarr Houston, Kenyon Adams, Suzanne McFayden & Christian Palominos

Jill Wilkinson and Holly Borham

The festivities continued with a “petals up” auction, that offered a clever spin to the traditional paddles up auction, while serving as a nod to the new installation which raised over $250,000. The evening was capped off with a toast by Blanton Museum Director Simone Wicha, who perfectly summed up the night by saying “I’m really proud of what we are doing together. The journey of the Blanton, from its layered history to today, to where we are going is all built on people…artists and visitors, teachers and students, alumni and residents, alumni and local residents, university partners and business leaders all who keep the museum vibrant and flowing.”

Lara and Bill Perkins

Rob Giardinelli, Kelli Blanton and Lance Avery Morgan

THE PURPOSE: The event raised over $1.3 million for the Blanton Museum of Art. Proceeds raised from the event will help fund exhibitions as well as education and public programs.

CONSERVING FOR THE FUTURE

CONSERVING FOR THE FUTURE

Pease Park Conservancy Hosts Second Annual Gala, Past Present Pease

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Matt Lanke

THE SETTING: The Austin Central Library was the recent setting for an evening of fun and fundraising for one of Austin’s most beloved public spaces. The Pease Park Conservancy hosted its second annual event, Past, Present and Pease, which drew 350 of Austin’s most notable sociables, philanthropists and nature lovers for an evening of fun…and fundraising.

THE STYLE: The winter-chic crowd brought indoors the spirit of being outside for the event, with many donning their favorite cold-weather attire including sweaters, sport coats, overcoats, and jackets that were as warm and inviting as the attendees themselves. The evening began with a fun and lively cocktail hour, where the conversation flowed as freely, as the spirits as old friends reacquainted and new friends were made. The patrons then turned their attention to the main stage for the evening’s program which included words from Pease Park CEO Heath Riddles and Outdoor Voices CEO Ty Haney, among others, highlighting the impressive work of the Pease Park Conservancy. The organization is in the midst of revitalizing Pease Park, one of Austin’s most beloved public spaces, with a new vision for it to be brought to life.

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Morgan Gaddis and Jennifer Skloss, raised over $200,000 for the Pease Park Conservancy. The funds from this event will go directly towards the revitalization of Kingsbury Commons, which will transform how Austinites enjoy the public space in the heart of the city.

 

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CURTAIN CALL

CURTAIN CALL

ZACH Theatre’s Annual Red, Hot & Soul Gala

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Charles Quinn Photography 

 

THE SETTING: The grounds of the Zachary Scott Theatre in Austin played center stage for one of Austin’s most anticipated annual events, ZACH’s Red, Hot and Soul gala. Amid the backdrop of a picture perfect late spring evening, over 420 of Austin’s most notable patrons of the arts enjoyed a memorable evening of fabulous performances and fun.

THE STYLE: The black-tie crowd began the evening in the grand lobby and Serra Sky Lounge of the Topfer Theatre for cocktails. The Naughty, But Nice theme of the event was evident in the attire as partygoers sported nice monochromatic black or white ensembles with pops of red to showcase a dash of naughty. The festivities then moved to the Bobbi Pavilion for the evenings program where guests were treated to a multi-course meal as they applauded a series of performances from current and upcoming ZACH works. Then, the spirited live auction that featured items including a private villa in Acapulco and Ski Week at the St. Regis in Aspen went into full action mode. Capping off the evening was a Happiest Ever After after-party where guests ventured onto the Topfer Theatre stage where the crowd danced the night away and toasted a successful evening of fun and revelry.

THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Jeremy Guiberteau and Dan Jackson, and Bobbi Topfer serving as honorary chair, raised over $730,000 for Zachary Scott Theatre’s educational programs, which service over 55,000 students and children annually.

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ART IS A GIFT

ART IS A GIFT

Blanton Museum Of Art Gala Receives Major Gift From The Moody Foundation

By Rob Giardinelli   Photography by Tyler Schmitt and Julie Skarratt
Photography

THE SETTING: The Blanton Museum of Art in Austin was the recent setting of their 2019 biennial gala. Over 250 of the top patrons of the arts throughout Texas were on hand for an evening of fun that also announced a major donation that will further transform of one of Austin’s most venerable cultural institutions into an international arts destination.

THE STYLE: The festivities began in the foyer of the Blanton Museum for 
cocktails. While some mingled over cocktail chatter, others headed to see a sneak peek of the Blanton’s latest exhibit Words/Matter: Latin American Art and Language at the Blanton. After cocktails the partygoers headed to a tent erected on the Blanton Courtyard for the main program. As guests dined on a multi-course meal courtesy of Chef Elmer Prambs of the Four Seasons, they heard words from top supporters of the Blanton, which included Austin Mayor Steve Adler. The best was saved for last as the Moody Foundation announced a $20 million gift to transform and reimagine the Blanton grounds bringing the crowd to their feet and capping off a spectacular evening that those fortunate enough to attend will always remember.

THE PURPOSE: The gala, hosted by Gregory Fenves, Simone Wicha and Janet Allen raised almost $800,000 for the Blanton Museum of Art beyond the Moody Foundation gift. Proceeds from the 2019 gala will go toward providing essential funding to the museum’s programs.

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