When it comes to throwing a party, Todd Graves and his wife Gwen abide by the mantra that bigger is always better. That means this month’s Mardi Gras ball in Washington, D.C., with Todd serving as king, will be a Louisiana-themed affair to remember. “It will be a masquerade fit for a king,” says event planner Alli Sims, who is organizing many of the elaborate touches that partygoers in the nation’s capital will enjoy. “Todd loves music, so there will be a large focus there, as well as many fun surprises. It’s been months of planning, and I can’t wait to see it all come together.”
Sims has coordinated many a grand occasion for the Graves family over the last several years. “Todd and Gwen love celebrating with family and friends,” Sims says. “They enjoy a great theme and making it an authentic and unique experience.”
Check out these scenes from a few of the most memorable gatherings the Graveses have hosted:
- What’s more fun than your own backyard hay maze? That was Todd’s thought two weeks before Halloween. “The ‘big kids’ put prizes for the real kids throughout the maze, and everyone had an incredible time racing through the maze, creating an unforgettable Halloween,” Sims says.
- Spontaneity is at the heart of many Graves family parties. “Two days before the Chinese New Year, Todd and Gwen decided to put on a small event celebrating the holiday,” recalls Sims (center). “In true Graves fashion, what started as a party for eight quickly became a celebration for 75 complete with authentic fare and a Chinese lion. Thank goodness for my amazing local partners who were willing to make it happen and, of course, Amazon Prime.”
- Reminiscent of George Rodrigue’s famed “Aioli Dinner” painting, this outdoor seated dinner held in the shadow of the Graveses’ treehouse benefitted the late artist’s foundation. “The treehouse is the perfect setting for many of their events,” says Sims.
- Todd and Gwen hosted 225 people for a multi-course meal based on the Creole Gourmet Societies feasts that took place between 1890 and 1920. Heirloom Cuisine created an authentic menu that contributed to the timeless experience.