Kym Russell wanted her 40th birthday party to be the best party she’d ever had. “If I could do anything in the whole world, I would take all of my friends to Paris for my birthday,” she says. Rather than putting everyone on a plane, she worked with event planner Lenette Kujawa of Aflair Events to bring Paris to Springfield. “I wanted it to feel like we were actually in Paris, at a nice restaurant, having a party,” Russell says. Kujawa and Russell chose to have the party at the Savoy Ballroom because of its beautiful architecture and courtyard. Limousines, town cars and a party bus traveled around 417-land to pick up guests dressed in chic evening attire, and girls dressed as peasants greeted them with a rose upon arrival. Kujawa researched French food and, with the help of French chef Roland Parny and Touch Restaurant, guests enjoyed a seven-course French-inspired meal. Those in attendance danced to live music by two bands, The Justin Ward Quartet and Montage. Anne and Andy Walls of Dance With Me, two mimes and accordion player Sheilah McDowell kept guests entertained. For a one-of-a-kind touch, artist Hing Wah Hatch drew portraits of guests during the event.

The Décor
Brad Dittmer, formerly of Downhome Productions, set the mood with lighting. Linens from A to Z Rental and Chiavari chairs from Aflair Events and Savoy Ballroom helped add an elegant look to the space. Since pink is Russell’s favorite color, Kujawa used it as a dominant shade in the event’s color scheme. Kujawa worked with Steve Waddell of Wickman’s Garden Village and Artistry in Bloom for all floral arrangements, and she borrowed decorative props from Ms. Gilmore’s Carriage House to help complete the French theme. A focal point of the décor was an Eiffel Tower piece dressed with fresh flowers.

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Savoy Ballroom

The Guest List
40 of Kym Russell’s family members and closest friends

The Invitation
Copy written by Judith Garson of The Marlin Company; printed through PaperWorld