Society / Featured Parties

14 Texans Make Coveted America’s Best Party Hosts List

Reese Witherspoon and Oprah Suddenly Have Some Lone Star State Company

BY // 03.30.18

When Houston Chronicle Best Dressed Hall of Fame honoree Sheridan Williams was contacted about her nomination to the Salonnière 100, she was reluctant to join the party. As a member of both the Memorial Hermann Foundation Board and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors, Williams reserves her energies for important causes close to home.

She didn’t realize that the Salonnière 100 was a salute to the nation’s leading hosts and hostesses, membership in the select fraternity determined not only by their style and grace in entertaining but also by their commitment to generously entertaining on behalf of worthy causes.

The engaging Carla McDonald of Austin heads the Salonnière website which is dedicated to the art of entertaining. For the past three years, her team has annually canvassed more than 1,000 social authorities to determine who reigns in the sphere of party-giving, or as the website notes, those who enjoy “an exceptional ability to leverage the power of parties to enhance the lives of others.”

Those queried included journalists, philanthropists, non-profit fundraisers, event planners and more.

Once Williams began inquiring about the website and its illustrious 100, she soon learned that being included was indeed an honor. She accepted bringing the total of Texans on the list to 14 (including two men who share honors with their wives).

From Dallas, the top party hosts named were “It Couple” Brooke and Blake Davenport, international philanthropists Nancy and Richard Rogers and making the list again are noted art collector Cindy Rachofsky and lifestyle expert and author Kimberly Schlegel Whitman. Newcomers to the title in Houston are Paige Fertitta and Williams, both of whom regularly open their River Oaks mansions for charitable fundraising events. Houstonians maintaining their presence among the 100 are interior designer Lucinda LoyaBecca Cason Thrash, who has raised millions in charitable dollars, and grande dame Lynn Wyatt. In Austin, Monica Peraza and Nina Seely are tagged as top hostesses.

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As you can see, no lightweights in this group. And perusing the full 100, you get the picture that this is a very prestigious group that includes Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber, Reese Witherspoon, Bunny Williams, Julia Reed, Heidi Klum, Oprah Winfrey, and native Dallasite, designer Lela Rose for New York. The full list is posted here.

As McDonald’s subtitle to The Salonnière notes, “I feel a party coming on.”

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