• Saturday , 24 February 2018

Go Back to Old Hollywood Glam Decadence with Cescaphe Event Group and Diner En Blanc at Water Works

Story by Cassie Hepler, photos by Cassie Hepler and David Houck

There’s one common theme about New Year’s Eve in any city. You can usually expect some sort of douchebag-filled party full of ‘bros who think grabbing girls body parts is socially acceptable somehow and want to rumble by the end of the night.
Thankfully, we stumbled upon this gem thanks to an amazing Philadelphia artist, Inna Race, who invited us and peaked our interest instantly. Granted, there were just a couple of other events that sounded pretty awesome in the city too but Old Hollywood style with complimentary valet parking and coat check? We were sold! Plus we recognized one of the co-hosts, Diner en Blanc party planners Natanya DiBona and Kayli Moran, who we covered earlier this year with their exclusive and elusive all-white party. This time they teamed up with our wedding wizard friends the Cescaphe Event Group, to show off their architecturally gorgeous and newest venue, the historic Water Works.
We rang in the New Year with a cinematic journey through the Golden Age of Hollywood while stepping back to a time when MGM was king, stars were truly stars and elegance reigned supreme. It was impossible to not feel fabulous, daa’ling, with Water Works as our back drop while recreating the glamorous world of the silver screen. Guests sipped on a French 75 in Casablanca, drink a Stinger to salute The Philadelphia Story and raised a glass to Greta Garbo and the stars of the silent era. Three rooms of different themes featured live entertainment, premium open bars (with real French champagne all night!) and gourmet food stations that really did rival the swankiest meals served at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s esteemed Polo Lounge.
Some guests in period costume channeled the elegance of Grace Kelly, the sass of Katherine Hepburn, the sex appeal of Marilyn Monroe, the style of Cary Grant and the charm of Humphrey Bogart while ushering in 2016. And some just dressed to the nines and that was fine too all while taking in the panoramic waterfront views of Philadelphia, including Boat House Row, Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Center City Skyline.


The flyer that caught our eye – and hearts – was pretty much spot on for the theme of the night and a perfect location to execute it!


After walking inside, the first thing we noticed was dueling directors chairs, complete with Clapperboard that says to use the #waterworksnye16 hashtag, a perfect social media photo setup.


Unlike most parties, people starting pouring in at 9 p.m. sharp and checking in quickly from the cold outside after hitting up coat check.


The amazing and impressive cake celebrating the 75 year anniversary of The Philadelphia Story.


We scoped out the impressive buffet before it got too packed. We caught these guys off guard while stocking up on oysters, clams and caviar. Seating was first come, first serve so this lady was glad she wore flats. There were some hightop tables to stand and nibble but seats were hot commodities (if you go next year, score a table first, eat and make some new friends who will inevitably join you).


A beautiful ice sculpture with a twinkling Boathouse Row background helps display all the crab and lobster tails your heart desires.


Did we mention there was lobster? And jumbo shrimp as well as a nice sushi display on the other side of the buffet getting eaten up quickly.


This dapper fella knows to eat first to start the night right. This hot buffet included beef, gnocchi, meat and cheeses.


Three tables through the hallway to the Moroccan themed bar were already packed with friends, lovers and everyone was enjoying the food.


A black and white film plays on the wall while guests get liquored up for the night.


Frank Sinatra’s tunes lured us over near the piano tucked in the corner of the Moroccan themed bar. It was a few people deep at this point so we had to be quick!


And back to the main ballroom for more classic, retro music. The band kept things swinging and got a few guests grooving with some impressive moves. Later in the night, a DJ took over and turned up music from all eras, which made people swarm and sweat. We would have loved them to return after midnight!


A whole other buffet was stationed in the tent outside with bisques and more. This gentleman was waiting patiently for guests to start pouring in.


Some seating allowed people to relax before the excitement began later in the night in the outdoor tent.


Located directly below this sparkling candelabra was some pretty sweet sushi.


On to the party pics! Remax’s newest real estate agent Jay Doran gets groovy with some friends.


A beautiful mask and shawl on this lady!


We caught a couple of smokers outside in the smoking section and grabbed them for a pic.

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There were so many rich and delicious foods available, it was impossible not to try them all. Bultered hors d’oeuvres were also passed around to keep guests from getting too tipsy.


We loved this setup on the bar in the tent, so simple yet quite an accent piece.


And you can’t miss the huge Hollywood sign behind the bar in the tent. When one bar was packed, we would try another and vice versa.


Sara Ann Kelly from Sak PR debuts her new guy for this fabulous affair.


Dancing darlings right here. These two could cut a rug like no one else!


We saw the woman in the restroom in the beginning of the night getting body painted and were so curious. It all made sense when these two stepped out with multiple sign options for selfies or posed portraits. They were silent film stars who really didn’t talk all night long.


Our new friend was found dancing at every turn, and looked great doing it. This guy has mad skills with a plate in his hand.


A couple cozied up in the corner and we couldn’t resist capturing their cuteness.

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A gentleman taking a photo in the booths of his friends seems to have switched screens to a more festive photo.


We loved the long, flowing gown on this lovely lady – and their choice of champagne.


Kory Aversa from Aversa PR and Natanya DiBona from Diner En Blanc pause for a photo while talking party planning shop.


The guy on the left here had some serious moves! We approved!


Some of the gang themselves who created such a fabulous affair! Lil Steph as Marilyn is also a burlesque performer and hand stitched this dress herself.


Party favors started appearing and you could feel the energy getting excited – and the main ballroom getting packed.


A gorgeous dress on a even more gorgeous lady in front of The Philadelphia Story sign. It doesn’t get more classy than that.


Cute little sequined numbers were the hit of the night!


We loved the little hat on this little lady.


People of all ages came out to celebrate the new year at Water Works. This smart couple found a booth nook and stayed put. Well played!


We loved the long and vampy style of these ladies.


And her husband said hey what about me? That’s my wife!


We caught some partygoers before they went to get some refills.


And look who came before the balloons dropped! Fox 29’s Mike Jerrick and Alex Holley pose with the silent film stars.


FOX29’s Mike Jerrik is pulled into a photo with these two lovebirds right afterwards.


Jay Doran and his lovely lady cut a rug all night long, until 2 a.m.


We were enjoying petting this fur shawl and this gentleman enjoyed posing with it.


Happy new year to this couple who were dancing on the dance floor.


We were grateful for this lively crew that allowed us to park our butts for a bit and even took a photo for us, of us.


Gotta get that #NYE selfie before the clock strikes midnight.


Birds cover the ceiling with shades of purple as the balloons wait to drop from their net.


The bar is packed with people filling up on champagne for the toast soon to come!


Because you needed to see this full outfit of Marlene Dietrich in all its fabulousness.


And the same to Marilyn Monroe with her custom handmade dress.


We love a dapper mad with a seriously spiffy cane and coat tails.


Our lovely friend Inna Race in green finally catches up with Explore-Philly Publisher Cassie Hepler toward the end of the night full of new year cheer and posts an amazing video to watch!


By this time, the ballroom is packed like sardines. We found an excellent space against the wall to shoot and watch it all happen.


Soon confetti is falling from the sky and everyone is going wild.


Cell phones are out and people are trying to capture the best balloon drop. That’s all well and good for singles but couples need to get smootching, like the one on the right.

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Or neck smootches work too!



Balloons drop during the countdown and the crowd goes wild.


More revelry!


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The beautiful floor carnage! Heels were popping them for fun and people were throwing them back in the air to balloon surf.


And now it’s time to dance and celebrate! This guy was a dancing machine all night long. We loved him!


Just in case you needed another drink or two for after midnight.


And the desserts! So many desserts! We waited for the crepes because they are super delicious.


Finger food dessert options.


Or dip your favorite sweets and fruits in white or dark chocolate. We were addicted to the marshmallows and strawberries.


One last view of the beautiful Boathouse Row before wrapping up the night. Most people cleared out shortly after midnight either calling it a night or hitting another party before time ran out.


We loved this lion who greeted us for our last glass of champagne for the night. It may be year of the monkey, but it was certainly an MGM kind of night.


As we gathered our coats from the coat check and waited for our cars to arrive, we were greeted with coffee, tea and take-home popcorn which we later devoured before bedtime. As delicious as the rest of the food, we went to bed feeling like a star while dreaming of Hollywood. Happy New Year!



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