RSVP Memphis Magazine January 2020

Page 1

The Wedding Issue

Freedom Award

Courage Thru Cancer

2840 Rue Jordan Cove

125 Serenbe Cove

2014 Hallwood Drive

Germantown, TN 38138

Collierville, TN 38017

Memphis, TN 38107




A stunning one owner home in the heart of Germantown. Custom built by Magnolia Homes and features 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths, 1 half bath, media room and upstairs recreation room. Open design with soaring ceilings into the great room accentuated by exposed beams, detailed millwork and limestone mantel to capture the French country style. Professional kitchen with a butler's pantry is perfect for catering large events. A master suite on the main floor with a luxury bath. Covered patio overlooks the lavish backyard with a gunite pool, fireplace and outdoor cooking. Call to schedule a private showing!

Custom built Dickens home two blocks from Collierville Town Square in the private gated community of Washington Gates. Magnificent 4 bedrooms, 4 full baths, 1 half bath, office and bonus/exercise room. Sprawling front porch with a screened patio. French doors open from the great room into an outdoor screened patio with wood burning fireplace and ventilated grilling area. Backyard is highlighted by a heated gunite pool and hot tub. Spacious kitchen with a walk-in pantry. Master suite on the first floor with a luxury bath highlighted by a free-standing tub. Call to schedule a private showing!

Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist ©

Jason Gaia 901.338.6677

Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist ©

Jason Gaia 901.338.6677

This gorgeous home has been exquisitely renovated with the highest emphasis on quality and attention to detail enhancing its beauty while simultaneously bringing in modern amenities creating the perfect balance. High end fixtures and finishes throughout with the use of actual vintage materials whenever possible. Also features an in-law suite or bonus area for entertaining. Home is situated on a large park-like corner lot with views of the prestigious Rhodes College. You must see this home to appreciate its beauty.

Janey Outlan

Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist ©

901.487.3292 outlan@

1282 Belfair Drive

1893 Laurel Lane

717 Riverside Drive #305

Collierville, TN 38017

Germantown, TN 38139

Memphis, TN 38103




Amazing French Country Style Home that is Brand New Construction ; 5 Bed / 4 Bath ; European White Oak Floors and Amazing Bath Tile selections ; Wide open spaces for Entertaining ; Luxury Gourmet Kitchen ; Custom Closets ; Butlers Pantry with Wine Cooler; Full Irrigation System. Built by Artisan Custom Homes. Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist ©

Marty Smith 901.674.1031 msmith@

This one-owner home has been meticulously maintained and loved. Enjoy your gorgeous swimming pool with a water feature that creates a relaxing outdoor setting. The patio features convenient phantom screens. Kitchen has updated countertops, new dishwasher, gas cooktop, separate ice maker, huge walk-in pantry and a butler's pantry. Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist ©

Laura Clark 901.483.2117

The Artesian, Downtown Memphis' most secure and prestigious address! This sought after 3 BR, 3 Bath unit has center view of Harahan Bridge and the Mississippi! Current owners have taken it to incredible level! New hardwoods incl. baseboards, totally painted incl. ceilings, custom shelving, storage closet. Quartz and marble polished and sealed, solar shades. Furnishings custom designed for the condo by Restoration Hardware Modern Gallery. (price for furnishings and decor available upon request). Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist ©

Sally Isom 901.219.8882 isom@ 5865 Ridgeway Center Pkwy Ste. 105 Memphis, TN 38120 901.259.8550

3276 Goodman Rd. Southaven,MS 38672 662.548.2000

968 Civic Center Drive Ste. 103 Collierville, TN 38017 901.259.8500


CONTENTS January 2020 Features

Events Lesley and Frank Colvett

Signature Memphis • 10

Memphis Moments • 40, 45, 46 & 47

Mitch Graves CEO, West Cancer Center and Research Institute

Laetia and Matt Sandler

StreetSeen • 38

Freedom Award • 12

Tom Clifton

Celebrating a Legacy of Justice, , in America and around the world.

Artist and Gallery Owner, T. Clifton Art

Steve and Joy Gilmore

StreetSeen • 41

Courage Thru Cancer • 42

Felicia Suzanne Willett Chef & Proprietor of Felicia Suzanne’s

RSVPhillippi • 49

Benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Wedding Features

Dearly Beloved, and Others Maybe this sounds strange coming from a guy, but I love weddings.

Cover Photo Gown: Low's Bridal Earrings: Social Photo by Steve Roberts 4


January 2020

RSVP Bridal Fashion • 20 Southern Charm

RSVP Featured Weddings • 29

Showcasing the latest trends in wedding gowns and accessories for the season.

Glimpses into the unforgettable days of 10 couples.

RSVP Staff Volume XXVI • Number I

January 2020 Publisher Roy Haithcock

Chris Pugh

Account Executive Chris has been exercising his talent in the advertising world since 1999. He joined the RSVP team in 2009 and brought with him a love for laughter and creativity. Originally from New Albany, Mississippi, Chris has settled in Memphis and enjoys being active in the fashion community.

Editor Emily Adams Keplinger Copy Editor/Accounting Ruth Cassin Contributing Writers Bill Bannister Dennis Phillippi Gaye Swan Art Director Kim Coleman Photographers Baxter Buck Don Perry Steve Roberts Account Executives Chris Pugh Carter Davis

Carter Davis

Account Executive

Carter is native Memphian and a veteran of the broadcast industry, and magazine publishing. He is also a freelance voiceover talent and can be heard on WKNO 91.1FM on Sundays. Carter is an avid animal lover and likes to work with aquariums as a hobby. He enjoys his East Memphis home with his wife and 2 dogs, and 6 cats.

RSVP Memphis is published monthly by Haithcock Communications, Inc. First class subscriptions are available for $55.00 per year. Send name and address with a check to:

Haithcock Communications, Inc. 2282 Central Avenue Memphis, TN 38104 For advertising information contact:

Roy Haithcock Phone: (901) 276-7787 Visit us online at: For editorial information or to request coverage of an event, please contact RSVP Magazine one month prior to the event:

Call: 901-276-7787 Follow us on:

Kim Coleman

RSVP Memphis Magazine

Art Director

Kim oversees all visual aspects of the magazine — advertising and editorial. Her career encompasses working with both print and digital media for magazines, newspapers and e-publications. Kim and her husband are raising their two children in the Cooper-Young area where their family enjoys the artistic atmosphere and entrepreneurial spirit of Midtown.



January 2020

Copyright 2020 Haithcock Communications, Inc.

From the Editor



ut with the old — in with the new!" It’s the annual refrain for the start of a new year. As we look back at 2019, we say farewell to some favorite timehonored events, like the Memphis College of Art’s Holiday Bazaar. Crowds of art lovers and art supporters turned out to make the final bazaar one to remember — and RSVP was there to capture it all. And after 81 years of operation, the school will permanently close its doors this year in May. School officials say they are “working to determine the best disposition of the school’s iconic Rust Hall in order to ensure it maintains its prominent and important place in Overton Park.” And in 2019 we said “Goodbye” to Memphis Tigers head football coach Mike Norvell. After posting the winningest four-year record of any football coach at the university — taking his team to the conference championship three of those four years, and taking home top bragging rights at the last conference championship — Norvell is truly going to be missed. His performance both on and off the field was exemplary and he further endeared himself to our community as he was leaving with his claim that he will always consider himself to be a Memphian. What a class act all the way around! Norvell has left some mighty big shoes to fill, but we look forward to seeing what’s on the horizon for the Tigers in the coming year when Coach Ryan Silverfield takes the helm. More good things to experience include the newly re-minted Central Station in the South Main district of Downtown. Now, in addition to being an active Amtrack station, the property holds interest for locals and guests seeking a craft cocktail bar, as well as dining delights from the award-winning culinary duo of Chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman at their newest restaurant, Bishop. In the “coming soon” category, more developments downtown include One Beale (hotel, residential, restaurant, retail and office space), Union Row (a mixed-used development with construction slated to start this year), and at long last, the redevelopment of the Pinch District (housing, hotels, rentals and office space) all tucked into the area between Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The possibility of another change to the Memphis landscape has come full circle. To the delight of many, the 2020 Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival will remain in Tom Lee Park, at least for one more year. The lineup of performers will be announced in February, so be sure to check for updates on the festival’s website, One thing’s for sure, change IS constant. So prepare to explore all of these changes and more. Happy New Year!






January 2020

Emily Adams Keplinger

A boutique for the selective shopper

Signature Memphis


Mitch Graves CEO, West Cancer Center and Research Institute Hometown: Memphis Favorite Song: Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” Your Lucky Charm: My wife, Kelly Jo Your Best Quality: Willingness to help others A Nonliving Celebrity/Role Model You Would Invite



President John Kennedy

Your Favorite Memphis “Thang”: Dinner with friends at Folk’s Folly in a private room

Favorite Place


Travel: New Orleans

Best Memphis Hangout: Alex’s Tavern First Car You Owned: 1972 Cutlass Place You Go


Think: Patio table outside at the office

Favorite Southern Idiom: God love ‘em Best Advice You Ever Got: Always be humble, but remain hungry Your Most Annoying Habit: Rubbing my neck when someone is using too many words

The Highlight


Your Day: Supporting my teammates at West to allow our

practitioners to deliver outstanding care to patients of

an amazing young adult

Your Life: Watching my daughter, Caroline, mature into

Who Would Play You



in a

Movie: Damian Lewis

January 2020

Photo by Steve Roberts

Proudest Moment

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Freedom Award


2019 Freedom Award


Calvin and Belinda Anderson

Jill and Perrin Crews

Celebrating a Legacy of Justice

he 28th annual Freedom Award ceremony, presented by the National Civil Rights Museum, and was held at the Orpheum Theatre. More than 1,500 people dedicated to the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King arrived at the Halloran Center for the pre-show gala. Each had their own moment of fame as they walked down a special red carpet. Hors d’oeuvres were passed as guests enjoyed libations and mingled with dignitaries attending the event. There was a cornucopia of delicious foods provided by Big Momma’s and Granny’s Catering. Mouth-watering delights like blackened catfish and andouille potato hash with crawfish cream sauce were served up in special martini glasses, along with whiskey brown sugar ribs, crispy fried chicken, creamy mac and cheese, collard and kale greens, hot water cornbread and vegetarian paella. Since 1991, the Freedom Award has served as a symbol of the ongoing fight for human rights, both in America and around the world. Award recipients are celebrated for their tireless contributions in civil and human rights and for their dedication to creating opportunity for the disenfranchised. The many sponsors and individual patrons make the longlasting impact of this signature fundraising event possible. Freedom Award recipients include Nelson Mandela, The See all the party photos at Password: RSVP

Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, President Jimmy Carter, Colin Powell, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harry Belafonte, Mikhail Gorbachev, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Sidney Poitier, and Marlo Thomas. This year’s honorees included leading recording artist John Legend, who uses his influence and resources to promote social justice and equality. His recording “Preach” is aimed at a broken criminal justice system in dire need of reform. Also honored was Nigerian human rights, civil rights and democracy advocate Hafsat Abiola, who is President of Women of Africa. Her work is a tribute to her parents who lost their lives while leading the movement for democracy, which ended military rule in Nigeria in the 1990s. 2019 honoree Gloria Steinem, a legendary figure in the struggle for women’s rights, is also a prolific writer, lecturer and political activist. Additionally, she is a member of the Beyond Racism Initiative, a three-year effort on the part of activists in Brazil, South Africa and the USA to compare racial patterns and learn cross-nationally. This year’s award ceremony paid a special tribute to “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” which identified safe accommodations and services for African Americans who traveled during the segregated Jim Crow era.



January 2020

Leslie Garvin and Ann Marie Donaldson

Story by Bill Bannister Photos by Don Perry

Cassandra and Wilbert Taylor

Brenda and Greg Duckett

Walter and Shirley Banks

Kristin Callicotte and Jamar Williams

Amanda Henneghan, John Harrison and Helena Orgeron

Penney and David Williams

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Kelly Ginn Photography

Taylor Square Photography

Taylor Square Photography

Kelly Ginn Photography

Taylor Square Photography

Freedom Award


Anthony and Marvia Coleman

Alissa Campbell Shaw and Mary Kanowitz

Deirdre and Edward Thompson

Joseph Kyles and Beverly Alexander

Lloyd and Marilyn Robinson with Dana Robinson and Naomi Jacobs



January 2020

Mark and Natalie Massongill

Sarah and Rob Brown

Amit and Kim Kanda

Nick Candiotto and Brie Carere

Nicole Davis, Lyah Thomas and Julie Hiltonsmith

Freedom Award


Sherrie Lesure and Shelia Walton

Eddie Golden and Kristin Smith

Callie Kearney and Marvia Coleman

Elliott Sams Jr and Bathsheba Sams

Alex Spencer and Jennifer Jacobs



January 2020

Tanya and Mark Hart

Teresa Ward and Susan Maynor

Katy Abraham and Michael Whaley

Julie and Amgad Bebawy

Realan Lewis and Jonathan Moffett

Terri Walker and Suzie Bowen

Visit our New Location! 3670 S. Houston Levee Rd. Suite 102 Collierville, TN 38017 (901) 308-1557

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Freedom Award


Christopher Hogan and Arlena Davis

Patricia Rogers

Shawana and Adrian Webster

Antwain Garrett and Alexis Sutton

Sherica and Al Taylor

Andre Coles and Leslie Ellis Oldacre with Yvette and Charles Foster



January 2020

Brittney Jackson and Dustin Fulton

Crystal Williams and Pierre Stinson

Dr. Johnell and Jason Goins

Dacquiri Baptiste and Brett Batterson

Dual and Mary Matthews with Linda and Love Collins



















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Celebrating 30 plus years in business in the heart of the Evergreen Historic District in Midtown Memphis, Cafe Society features innovative preparations of fresh seafood, beef and a grill menu along with an extensive wine list for your dining pleasure.

OFFERING Party Rooms accommodating 14 & 35 Restaurant Buy Out Option Bar Menu, Cocktail List, Local Beers on Tap Patio Dining Catering Monthly Wine tastings Cafe Society is perfect locale for weddings, rehearsal dinners, wedding receptions, and company parties. 212 NORTH EVERGREEN • MEMPHIS, TN 38112 • 901.722.2177 CAFESOCIETYMEMPHIS.COM • INFO@CAFESOCIETYMEMPHIS.COM


Kitty Kyle


arah Elizabeth Veazey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Veazey, and Scott Finney, son of Mr. and Mrs. William L. Finney, were married on Saturday June 15, 2019 at Idlewild Presbyterian Church. The groom’s parents hosted a rehearsal dinner the preceding evening at Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous. The wedding reception was held at the Memphis Zoo’s Teton Trek, which was bedecked with beautiful floral arrangements by L & Jay Productions. Kipp Cakes created the bride and groom’s wedding cakes. Over 400 guests enjoyed Southern, Mexican, and Asian food catered by Paradox Catering and danced the night away to the sounds of the Soul Shockers. Christen Jones Photography captured every moment of the weekend, and included a photo booth for the guests. The couple departed the reception in a 1959 Ford Sykliner convertible provided by Rockabilly Rides. Family and friends hosted a Sunday morning brunch at Mellow Mushroom Germantown. Betsy McKay of Salt Style and Events guided the planning process over the months leading up to the wedding. The newlyweds spent their honeymoon in Charleston, SC and now reside in High Point Terrace in Memphis.


Sneed& McGinty

nna Claire Sneed and Damian Joseph McGinty were married on June 1, 2019, at St. Peter Church. Anna Claire is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Scott Sneed of Memphis, and Damian is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Damian McGinty of Derry, Northern Ireland. The couple’s wedding and reception combined their backgrounds – the South, Hollywood and Ireland – to celebrate the beginning of their journey together as newlyweds. Wedding day preparations began at The Peabody. Following a traditional marriage ceremony featuring Celtic music, a reception was held at Chickasaw Country Club with the couple’s families and friends from around the world in attendance. A light-up dance floor, a cascading entry arch of peonies, roses and greenery designed by Garden District, a large neon sign bearing the McGinty name, and a festive balloon drop highlighted the reception. The Flour Garden helped to surprise Damian with a groom’s cake replica of Old Trafford Stadium, home to Damian’s favorite soccer team. Guests danced to the music of the SoulSations, and Anna Claire and Damian even took the stage with them to perform a favorite song, Sweet Caroline. The couple left the reception in a flurry of bubbles and rose petals.


Photos by Taylor Square Photography

Photos by Christen Jones Photography


or their wedding on September 21, Cameron Elliot Cofield and Jonathan Lucas Reed (Luke), decided on their home away from home - Carbondale, CO, a small town where both of their families have second homes, as the site of their nuptials. With stunning views of Mount Sopris, the River Valley Ranch was the ideal venue. The ceremony was held on the adjacent lawn of the historic Thompson Barn, with a beautiful arbor. The couple carried out a watercolor theme throughout the weekend, including custom-designed, water-colored wedding programs. Dinner and toasts took place on the lawn in front of the Thompson Barn in a large, clear topped-tent, perfect for their 170 guests. The decor was fit for fall with varying shades of greenery, pops of dark berry, and chocolate, caramel, peach and ivory-hued blooms. To end the night, the party moved inside the Barn, where the couple cut their cake, danced their first dance and celebrated with family and friends to the music of Tunisia. D’Elissious Cakes of Aspen created a BBQ groom’s cake. When the last song ended, the couple kissed and made their Grand Exit through the path created by their family and friends and took off in a shiny, white Jeep.


Photos by Kate Osborne Photography


athleen (Katie) Pickler, daughter of David and Beth Pickler, and Daniel Callahan, son of Kevin and Pam Callahan were married on the historic Orpheum Theatre stage on August 10. Playbills were distributed as guests entered the beautifully decorated theatre. Katie’s classic ballgown and cathedral veil were accompanied by special family heirlooms. Guests were treated to music and champagne after the beautiful ceremony performed by Katie’s cousin. “The Party” held at the Halloran Centre, was elegantly decorated with amazing flowers, chandeliers, chiffon draped walls and ceilings, and wonderful food displays. After the romantic first dance, the couple cut a bride’s cake as well as a groom’s cake. Featured entertainment included a pianist, soloist, violinist, acoustic guitarist and band. Katie quickly changed into her sparkly pink Haley Paige second dress and the couple rejoined their party with a second line band leading guests into the auditorium where the 5-tier wedding cake was revealed. Guests were treated to a movie the couple had filmed featuring Cinderella, A League of Their Own, and The Notebook, where Katie and Daniel played the main characters. The couple celebrated with 500 friends and family and departed in a 1956 Rolls Royce.


Photos by The Hatches Wedding Photography

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Hearn&Sexton arah Catherine Hearn, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Richard Hearn and James Edward Sexton, III, son of Mr. James Edward Sexton, II and Mrs. Kris Courtney Ferrari were joined in marriage on July 27, 2019 at the Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, officiated by the Reverend Barton Kimbro. The evening before the ceremony, a beautiful rehearsal dinner was given by the groom’s father at the Memphis Hunt & Polo Club, which was also the site of the reception that followed the ceremony. Stunning floral arrangements by Deedra Stone Designs created a fairytale setting for the weekend. Walls lined with flowers led the way from the club to the dance floor, and quickly became a favorite spot for picture taking. The bride wore an ivory silk gown by designer Romona Keveza. The groom’s cake, which featured lights and a digital display, was a nod to James’sDJ days while he was a student at Ole Miss. After celebrating to the cool sounds of Memphis Soul Revue, the couple enjoyed a whirlwind trip to the Napa Valley, Lanai & Maui, Hawaii before starting their new life together as second-year law students at the University of Memphis Law School.



bigail Jones Webb and Patrick Alex Sala were joined in marriage on April 27, 2019 in an intimate outdoor ceremony at the beautiful home of dear friends, Katie and Rick Powell in Memphis, Tennessee. Following the ceremony, a small cocktail reception was held at the Powells' home, which was decorated with exquisite floral arrangements by the Garden District and a string quartet played a mix of classical and pop music. The couple then traveled in an antique Rolls-Royce, with motorcycle escort, to a larger reception at the University Club of Memphis. The club was also decorated beautifully with floral arrangements by Southern Bloom and delicious food and drink was plentiful. A lively crowd of family and friends enjoyed the sounds of Dr. Zarr’s Amazing Funk Monster band. The couple departed with a sparkler exit to their honeymoon in Napa Valley, California, and Lanai and Maui, Hawaii.


Photos by Mary Kate Steele Photography

Photos by Taylor Square Photography


nna Catherine Rainey (Catie), daughter of Audrey and John Rainey, and Brook Louis Dunn, son of Beth Dunn and Brien Dunn, were married October 4, 2019 in an afternoon ceremony in the Four Seasons Garden at Heartwood Hall in Rossville, TN. The wedding was officiated by Father Ken Zelten. Immediately following the ceremony, guests enjoyed a candlelight cocktail hour while wedding planner Kelly Inman and floral designer John Mark Sharp transformed the barn at Heartwood Hall into a wonderland replete with greenery draped valances, twinkling lights and arrangements filled with ferns, white hydrangeas, roses and eucalyptus. Southern-style food, locally brewed beers and a caricaturist added to the southern flair. The bride wore a pearl studded lace gown and her mother’s cathedral length veil. The Dantones provided their special brand of dance music for the couple and their families and friends to dance the night away. The newlyweds reside in East Memphis with their two rescue dogs, Hazel and Shay.


Photos by Shehewe Photography

McQuiston Arehart & ary Grace McQuiston and Matthew Montgomery Arehart were married on October 6, 2018 at Church of the Holy Communion, where Mary Grace and Matthew first met in high school youth group. Following the ceremony, the newlyweds celebrated with family and friends at their reception at Old Dominick Distillery. Flowers were furnished by Kace Cooper Floral Designs and Draper’s Catering provided a wedding feast. The couple and their guests danced the night away on Old Dominick’s rooftop patio to lively music provided by The Soul Shockers. Following a wonderful weekend of celebrations, the bride and groom left for their honeymoon in Italy.


Photos by Kate Brent Photography



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Bursi&Heffernan atalie Marie Bursi and Michael Clayton Heffernan were wed at Holy Rosary Catholic Church on October 12, 2019. Natalie and Clay’s big day was one where everything fell into place in front of and behind the scenes, with no trace of those pesky wedding day tizzies. The mood and the energy was set from beginning to end with the couple’s laidback attitudes and strong love for one another that began their freshman year of college (although they had known each other since 7th grade!). This day was long-awaited by both family and friends and they celebrated to honor that love accordingly. From the entire wedding party dancing early in the Pink Palace foyer, to the late-night Krystal burgers for over 200 guests who stayed to witness the newlyweds’ exit from the reception in a vintage automobile from Rockabilly Rides, the entire day was perfect. Mallory Lester and Jordan Scarleski of Ashley Lang Events served as wedding planners and videography was by Sami Sue Studios. The Memphis Soul Revue entertained and Draper’s Catering provided the wedding fare.



achel Lewis Hammond and William Van Berg Parks, both native Memphians, were married on March 2, 2019 at Second Presbyterian Church. A reception followed at Chickasaw Country Club, where a beautiful floral arch graced the entrance of the club, and floral arrangements flowed throughout each room. Splashes of gold and cream décor created a timeless look. Because Will is a pilot, the groom’s cake soared with a miniature airplane flying around a replica of the University of Tennessee’s Neyland stadium. A light-up dance floor, floral chandelier and dreamy draping set the scene as guests enjoyed entertainment from the ten-piece Second Line band, The Infinity Show Band, with the newlyweds tossing Mardi Gras props to their friends and family. Tenderloin, shrimp and grits, sushi, oysters, shrimp, lobster macaroni and cheese, chicken tenders, fries, and sliders were served. Cotton candy on glow sticks and late-night pizza were passed. The bride and groom left the reception in a pink 1956 Chrysler Imperial.


Photos by Thankfully Taken

Photos by Christen Jones Photography


Beautiful and lasting memories are as simple as More pictures than would ever fit in a magazine are online and available on our website. If you’re looking for a photo that one of our photographers took at a major social event featured in our magazine, that photo may be readily available online. Just go to our site, click on the event and remember the password: rsvp.

Specializing in




Tom Clifton


Artist and Gallery Owner

tarting out in Morgan City, Louisiana, Tom Clifton came to Tennessee for college. He initially enrolled at Freed-Hardeman College, then transferred to Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) in 1982. “At the time, I was studying early childhood development, thinking I wanted to be a psychologist,” recalled Clifton. “I took a part-time job at H&N Gallery and after working there for a year, I realized that working with art was what I really loved to do. In 1984 the owners decided they wanted to sell the business. That opened the door for me to buy the shop. I remained at their former East Memphis location, but changed the name to T. Joseph Clifton Gallery. I was there about five years, then moved to Humphreys Center and ultimately to Summer Avenue, where I stayed for 14 years.” Through the years, what started as primarily a frame shop serving individuals evolved to include the decorator trade and corporate clients. “Initially I wasn’t carrying originals, but focused on the limited edition works of collected artists, as well as Memphis in May posters,” explained Clifton. “I also spent some time dabbling at painting myself, and in time, began selling some of my own original art.” That “dabbling” led to Clifton, who takes great pride in being a self-taught artist, developing his own personal style of mezzo fresco art. His work is now in corporate and private collections. Another change occurred in 2009 when Clifton moved to Broad Avenue and became partners with long-time friend and supporter Pat Brown. “The area had not yet been developed,” said Clifton. “A MEMFix pop-up called ‘A New Face for an Old Broad’ brought the area to life, showcasing what it could be like for potential investors, business owners and the public. It was the impetus that launched the redevelopment of Broad



January 2020

Avenue and created its identity as an Arts District.” Clifton and Brown were informally recognized as the pioneers leading the charge. And while helping chart the future for the area, they were also strategically revamping their gallery’s own identity. “While continuing with our framing business, we decided to expand into more of a gallery and began selling original artwork,” said Clifton “To have an exclusive with the artists we found that, primarily, we had to go outside of Memphis. However, we did want some local representation and have featured jewelry artist Dorothy Northern and painter Jeannine Paul. We became aware that there was a huge deficit for art glass and felt we could fill that niche. Now our gallery has become recognized as THE South’s premiere art glass gallery. We carry works by 60 artists and half are glass artists, including Brian Russell who works with cast crystal and forged iron and James Hayes, from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, whose works rival Chihuly.” T. Clifton Art is indeed the regional epicenter for everything from blown glass to fused glass to poured glass. Some objects are functional and other pieces are purely decorative. “Our evolution has been so rewarding,” exclaimed Clifton. “Half of our revenue still comes from framing and we are now serving a second generation of clients from families who started with us in the beginning.” For more information about T. Clifton Art, stop by their shop at 2571 Broad or visit their website Story by Emily Adams Keplinger Photo by Steve Roberts

Memphis Moment •


Chefs’ Celebrity Gala 30th Anniversary Celebration


he Chefs’ Celebrity Gala took place at the Holiday Inn - University of Memphis with approximately 500 guests in attendance. The event raised awareness and funds for the Memphis Child Advocacy Center (CAC). The evening began with a reception for the celebrity servers who donned aprons while they previewed the gourmet meal they soon served to guests. “Our servers were local business and philanthropic leaders, many who have volunteered for years,” said Beryl Wight, Communications & Grants Manager. “Our 30th Anniversary Server Star Chart had the names of each server and the number of years they have participated, including our most senior servers; Jim Prentiss, Jr. (29 years),Sandy McGee (26 years), Bill Pickens (24 years), and Betsy Shaw (24 years).”One of the highlights of the evening was the announcement that the CAC’s newest facility had been named “The Williams House” in honor of Nancy Williams, who served as the nonprofit’s executive director for 20 years.

Patty Anderson with Frank and Grace Uhlhorn

Story and Photos by Emily Adams Keplinger Virginia Stallworth with Nancy and Robert Williams

Rob Park and Barbara Patronis

Shila and Naser Fazlullah

Randy and Michelle Patton



January 2020

Sherry Williams and Lori Patton

Ginger Skillen, Kelly Chewning and Heather Aydt

Phillip and Jennifer Jones

Lauran Stimac, Judge Valerie Smith and Dave Wittman

Robyn and Geoff Diaz

Glenda Owen and Annette Askew



Felicia Suzanne Willett Chef & Proprietor


orn and raised in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Chef Felicia Suzanne Willett’s earliest memories of cooking start at age 7. “It seems I’ve been cooking almost my whole life,” explained Willett. “I learned from my mother and my grandmother, then my father and stepdad. My mother and stepdad traveled a lot. They were big foodies and exposed me to good food and entertaining.”

Willett first came to Memphis when she transferred to Memphis State University after finishing two years at Arkansas State. She completed a bachelor’s degree in home economics with a minor in marketing. “When I was in college, Memphis did not have the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality yet.” recalled Willett. “I took courses in nutrition, as well as cost accounting, and I had to complete two internships as part of my program. One internship was with Parkwood Hospital and the other was with Memphis Country Club. At the hospital, I dealt with nutrition, proper portions and caloric balance. Everything was cooked inhouse and we did a good bit of catering, too. I worked in every department of the country club, including groundskeeping, housekeeping, bartending and the kitchen. And actually, one of my biggest take-ways from that internship was learning organizational skills from the housekeeping crews. It really added to my management training.” After completing her undergraduate degree, Willett moved to Charleston, South Carolina to attend the Johnson & Wales Culinary Academy. Because she already had her bachelor’s degree, she was able to complete the program in one year. “To complete my associate’s degree in Culinary Arts, I had to do an externship,” said Willett. “I moved to New Orleans to work with Emeril Lagasse. I ended up staying there for eight years. I started at the bottom and worked my way up to become his assistant, helping him develop recipes and his cookbooks. I became a support person for his restaurant, handling charity events and helping

with his television appearances and cookbook tours.” Traveling 10 months out of the year took its toll and Willett longed to be closer to home. She also wanted to try to make her dream of opening a restaurant a reality. Willett said she chose Memphis for its proximity to Jonesboro — that and the fact that Craighead County is a dry county and she felt she felt she would need the alcohol part of the business to help pay the bills. “I moved to Memphis and didn’t know anyone,” recalled Willett. “I picked a location Downtown because of its history and its architecture. I didn’t want ‘shiny & new’ in a strip mall out east, but rather a place with authentic character and a real sense of community. Nick Vergos and Thomas Boggs became my mentors. Suhair Lauck from The Little Tea Shop and Mac Edwards from McEwen’s also took me under their wings and helped develop my network. I really relied on the kindness of strangers who became dear advocates and advisors. I opened my namesake restaurant, Felicia Suzanne’s, at 80 Monroe in March 2002 and have been there ever since. My menu is very New Orleans-inspired, as are my Martini Friday lunches, which are modeled after the long, leisurely lunches made famous by Galatoire’s.” Willett said her culinary interests continue outside of her restaurant. “I enjoy trying new recipes and adding my own twist to them,” said Willett. “Usually I invite my neighbors over to taste-test new dishes or cocktails.” Story by Emily Adams Keplinger Photo by Steve Roberts

January 2020



Courage Thru Cancer


Courage Thru Cancer


Fifth Anniversary

s guests entered the downstairs hallway of the Memphis Hilton for the 2019 Courage Thru Cancer (CTC) Celebration, they were greeted with saki and complimentary sushi from Sekisui. Nigiri, sashimi, crunchy cones and sushi rolls offered a tasty start to the evening. Cocktail tables were interspersed among the tables of silent auction items, giving everyone a chance to bid and mingle. Up for bid were items for Health & Beauty, Entertainment, Sports, Art, Fashion and Dining. Alex Grisanti offered a cooking class for 8. There were certificates for a stay at The Peabody, as well as a lake house in Heber Springs. Sports enthusiasts had a variety of golfing packages available. There was also a certificate for time in a batting cage, an option on a suite for a Grizzlies game, tickets to a Predators hockey game in Nashville, and a one-of-a-kind basketball autographed by the entire 2019-2020 University of Memphis team. Gerry Finney and Friends provided musical entertainment as guests moved into the ballroom for a seated dinner. The meal included a “build your own wedge salad,” a dual entree of salmon with orange marmalade and braised short ribs with red wine demi-glaze served with vegetables and, for dessert,

Courtney and Jon Neal

Kate and Rusty Horton

See all the party photos at Password: RSVP

a triple chocolate mousse. Jon Thompson, founder of Courage Thru Cancer, welcomed guests and reminded them of the evening’s mission. “Courage Thru Cancer was created for one purpose: To support anyone who’s life has been touched by cancer,” explained Thompson. “This year’s Courage Thru Cancer Celebration benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Our 2019 honorees are Kim Culbreath, Tracy Gallagher, Michelle Campbell, Julie Clary, Ed Inman, Loren Roberts, Kevin Kane, and Melissa Corzine, our Dana Burkett Memorial Courage Award honoree. The theme for the evening was Hope in Connections, and was dedicated to the memory of Virginia Steele. She was remembered as someone who told others to live their lives knowing that a higher power was in control of their disease, that all they could control was their attitude.” Kevin Nienhuis from ALSAC came to the stage to thank everyone present on behalf of the children of St. Jude and reminded the crowd that the evening was about hope. After the meal and the presentations, headline entertainment by local artist Rob Caudill was followed by the band Walrus, co-founded by CTC 2015 honoree Patrick Crump.



January 2020

Moira and Joe House

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger Photos by Don Perry

Billie Jean Graham and Babbie Lovett

Lyndsay and Matt Gronostaj

Ashley and Wes Lunsford

Ted Davis and Sheila Noone

Shannon Record, Kristy Pelt and Heather Edgeworth

Michelle and Bob Musolf


Julie and Brian Clary

Steve and Holly Charnes

Dawn and Ed Inman

Amy and Benji Pollan

Kristy and Chris Pelt

Harrison, Nicho1as and Hunter Neal

Courage Thru Cancer

Reg and Jennifer Steele

Madison Smith and Kristina Hunsucker

Kim Watts, Sonja Dowdy and Melissa Corzine

Kevin and Hayden Kane

Steve Conley, Paula Davis and Lori Millar

January 2020




Memphis Moment

Botanical Bars Ciders, Brews and Boos


emphis Botanic Garden was a treasure trove of fall delights for the final Botanical Bars of the year. Guests strolled the garden, enjoying live music from Short in the Sleeve. Stunning displays featuring pumpkins and autumn florals provided a scenic backdrop. Candlelit tables were grouped conveniently, with charming centerpieces that echoed the fall theme. Special beverages included a delicious cocktail from Long Road Cider Company, paired with a hearty chili and sliders from Fratelli’s Café. Diamond Bear Brewing offered two seasonal beers and a selection of year-round favorites. The old-fashioned cider press provided fresh apple juice used in a hot toddy from Old Dominick Distillery. Attendees enjoyed choosing a favorite from samples of salty caramel, apple pie and butter pecan moonshine from Ole Smoky. Small bites from 9 Dough 1 and Wade and Company and sweet treats from Frost Bake Shop provided tasty accompaniments to the beverages. Story and Photos by Gaye Swan Shelby Ramsey and Amber Crenshaw

Maria Trif and Christine Bertz

Amanda and Bill Bannister

Penny Washburn, Diana Washburn, Charles Washburn and Shannon Washburn

Ashley and Scott Rosen

Anna Jacobs and Marc Henderson

Kimberly Derrick, Jason Smith and John Smith

Mary and Tracy Bublitz

Ann Prascher and Katy Langston

Johnny Smith and Tasha Holland with Elizabeth and Robert MacDonald

Hurley and Connie Shepherd

Grayson Smith and Jay Klahr

January 2020



Memphis Moment


Junior League of Memphis Polo Party


he excitement was palpable for Junior League Sustainers and their guests as the ponies took the field at the Memphis Polo Club. The assembled crowd dressed in “Derby worthy” attire, with most women donning elegant hats. Wine and cocktails were served along with hors d’oeuvres and a variety of bitesized desserts. The festive socializing also included the traditional Divot Stomp as the crowds took to the field to enjoy a stretch and help the game by repairing the divots that the ponies created on the polo field. The polo event offered a fun-filled afternoon, as well as a unique fundraising opportunity. The event was chaired this year by Yevette Hughes, and served as a benefit for the Junior League’s G.R.O.W. (Giving, Readiness, Opportunity and Wellness,) program. G.R.O.W. focuses on improving literacy, education, health and wellness, personal growth and development, family unit support and community empowerment in Binghamton and Berclair.

Sharon Wilson, Elizabeth Martin, Sarah Laucirica and Katherine Godoy

Story and Photos by Emily Adams Keplinger Madelyn Gray, Yevette Hughes and Pat Pope

Christy Cornell and Steve Knott


Samantha and Mark Towne

Gay and Pierre Landaiche

Elizabeth and John Duke

Alan and Lauren Parks with Patty Mae

Savannah White with John Rutledge and Katie Harris

Ainsley Ayres with Herbo and Alina Humphreys

Grace and Frank Uhlhorn with Stacey Sears

Rachell Brown and Erica Coopwood

Amy Farris and Marilyn Seaton


January 2020


Memphis Moment

Community Leadership Breakfast Bodine School Welcomes Guests


Evie Faherty, Loie Watkins, Miles Sully and Olivia Ware

uests to Bodine School’s 23rd annual Community Leadership Breakfast were welcomed at the door by a delightful group of well-mannered students eager to show off their school. Studentled tours included the Dyslexia Simulation Lab, always a highlight of the event. “While it is impossible to reproduce exactly the experience of dyslexia, activities in the lab are designed to mimic the frustration a student with dyslexia experiences in the classroom,” explained Gretchen Klobucar, Director of Institutional Advancement. A tasty breakfast buffet included pastries and muffins, fruit and cheese, nuggets from Chik-fil-A, coffee and hot chocolate. This community engagement event is held each year during Dyslexia Awareness Month, and is designed to raise awareness, as well as provide insight into the wonderful programming available to young learners with dyslexia at Bodine. Story and Photos by Gaye Swan

Lisa Grant and Jorja Brown

Rayne Dodge and Ernie Joyner

Leslea Grochau and John Murphy

McCall Weathersby and Parker Rhett

Okley Campbell and Mary Anne Gibson

Peggy Bodine and John Bramlett

Lucy Unglesby and Laura Houseal

Jackie Gillespie and Gretchen Klobucar

Ryan Goodwin and Hudson Bishop

Bruce Meisterman and Caleb Cunningham

Addie Jarvis and Jeanie Mercer

January 2020





his is one of my favorite issues of RSVP every By Dennis Phillippi year, because I love weddings. Maybe that sounds strange coming from a guy, but over the last three and a half decades of being married to my wife, we have gone to dozens and dozens of weddings and we always enjoy them. We sit there holding hands, touching our wedding rings together, and revel in all the joy of people uniting in wedded bliss. Granted in some cases the bliss didn’t even last until the end of the reception, but the ceremonies were always very sweet. Our own wedding was a very small affair. For over a year I had been badgering my wife to marry me, since the night we met in fact, and suddenly out of the blue, just before we were scheduled to go to my family reunion she relented. I say relented as if I asked yet another time and she finally said yes. But what happened was she suggested, out of nowhere, that we get married on the Sunday before we were going to leave for the reunion. After months and months of me asking, she did the real proposing. It went something like this; Her, “Hey why don’t we get married the Sunday before your reunion?” Me, “Uh…okay.” It was all very romantic. I’m pretty sure it happened during a Cardinals game. Not like on the scoreboard at a game we were attending, we were just watching a baseball game on TV. I don’t remember her even looking away from the game. Maybe she was inspired by a Kiss Cam or something. Like I said, it was all very romantic. The wedding itself, on my wife’s suggestion, was held in the living room of her parents’ modest house. There were maybe 30 people packed into a room the size of a spacious prison cell, baking under the hot lights of my soon-to-be brother-inlaw’s video camera. I had a Best Man, she had a Matron of Honor, and we had never met the minister and have never seen him again. Watching the tape, the entire ceremony didn’t crack seven minutes. It was as fast and efficient as buying a pair of socks. The reception also took place at her parents’ house, her Southern Baptist parents. There was punch. There was no dancing. Not because of religious reasons, there simply wasn’t room. That, and we couldn’t have afforded a band if we wanted one. Over the years we attended much, much larger weddings, but none as sweet.

I know a lot of guys who would happily donate money to not go to a wedding, but I’m not one of them. I already spent more than I wanted to on your stupid china place setting, I better get a show. Not that we mind a little spectacle. If you’re going to go with pomp, I say throw in as much circumstance as you can muster. It’s fun to see a huge wedding party — some bride who insisted on having eight bridesmaids, forcing her new husband to hustle up eight guys that could all afford to rent a tuxedo. No guy has eight friends he likes enough to have in his wedding. I’m not sure if I even had eight male friends when we got married. Now lately, because of the social media, we’re constantly seeing stories of women, and I’m sorry but it does genuinely seem to always be women, that are outed online for trying to insist that members of the wedding party shell out enormous amounts of money to get exactly


the things that the wedding planner envisioned, even if that means $1,500 shoes. I haven’t spent $1,500 on shoes in my entire lifetime. There are stories all the time about people who have tried to group fund their extravagant weddings. It’s enough that you’re making me show up, but you also want me to kick in a few bucks so you can have a champagne fountain? That is a hard pass. There have been reports of some couples who successfully raised the greenbacks to have their wedding, then decided to pocket the dough and skip the big wedding altogether. I know a lot of guys who would happily donate money to not go to a wedding, but I’m not one of them. I already spent more than I wanted to on your stupid china place setting, I better get a show. And like I said, we like the show. We like watching the wedding party file up front in their rented clothes, the groom standing there not knowing what to do with his hands. Then the big entrance where we all stand and crane our necks to watch the bride walk shakily down the aisle beside her father, shooting glances at the courtside seats as she makes her way to the altar. My wife and I enjoy the exchanging of vows, always waiting to see if someone has been stupid enough to leave in the “obey” part, which has happened at least a half dozen times. We have waited for that one time when someone actually does have an objection to this union and does not forever hold their peace, but it hasn’t happened yet. I really want to be there for the moment when some former lover stands up drunkenly and tries to put the brakes on the whole event. Oddly, the only part of weddings I don’t particularly enjoy are the receptions. Once the attention has been drawn away from the bride and groom, who are busy posing for pictures they will hardly ever look at again, we realize we’re in a large room with a lot of people we mostly don’t know. At any given wedding we might know a handful of the attendees, but we certainly don’t know the extended families of the recently wed couple, and I’m not the kind of guy that’s going to strike up a conversation with the groom’s great aunt. She probably has no idea what the score is in whatever game I’m missing by being at this hootenanny, which is all I’m thinking about. Instead my wife always insists we stay until they cut the cake. I don’t know why. She doesn’t even like cake.

January 2020




RSVPast McAdams & Canale



iss Helen Valarie McAdams and Drew Justin Canale were married in a morning ceremony on May 9, 1956, at Immaculate Conception Church, with Monsignor Merlin F. Kearney officiating. The wedding party included the bride’s sister, Mrs. William Frank Dozier as Matron of Honor, and Best Man, Dr. Lloyd Crawford, along with Flower Girl Mary Abbey Tagg, the groom’s niece. After the wedding, a champagne breakfast for family and close friends of the couple was held at The University Club. The newlyweds honeymooned in Miami, Florida and Havana, Cuba. The Canales settled in to their home on South Belvedere and raised three sons, Drew, William and Shane. PHOTO COURTESY OF MRS. HELEN CANALE AND DREW J. CANALE If you have a past photo you would like to share with RSVP readers, please contact Emily Adams Keplinger at 276-7787 ext. 105 or e-mail the photo and caption to All photos will be returned promptly.



January 2020