Paris in St. Paul!

Last Saturday, Hannah and I got all dolled up and headed off to Paris...in St. Paul! 

I was invited as an honoree representative of my company to attend the annual Ordway Gala, and this year's theme was Springtime In Paris. As springtime in Paris is actually one of my favorite things ever, I was ALL about it. 

We met up at my place, popped a bottle of bubbles, and got ready together...

OMG YOU GUYS I WORE A COLOR! Details to follow...

After enjoying our Prosecco and dressing to the nines, we headed off to the Honorees' Reception, held in the gorgeous US Bank Rehearsal Hall. We were treated to an open bar, a giant spread of amazing French appetizers, and a virtuosic performance of Eugène Ysaÿe's Sonata #2, "Obsession," by the St Paul Chamber Orchestra's Francisco Fullana. I, being me, immediately fell deeply in love with him and turned beet-red and giggled every time he came near for the rest of the program. Oops :)

Of course, I had the prettiest date ever!! In keeping with our love of spontaneity and adventures, Hannah was totally willing to rent a gown and come hang with me for the evening...what a gem of a BFW!

After our VIP program ended, we headed out to the second-story Atrium to enjoy live French music and more champagne, and to browse the silent auction items! I couldn't get over the transformation of the space from our usual evenings at the opera. So charming and so quintessentially "springtime in Paris!"

Before we go too far, a quick note on that gown...

It's Badgley Mischka, and I rented it from my go-to obsession, Rent The Runway, after being...let's say "politely advised" to not wear "another black gown to this one," HA! The deep cobalt blue was WAY out of my comfort zone initially, but it paired perfectly with current-season J.Crew earrings, an old J.Crew necklace repurposed as a bracelet, and of course, the Ordway's carpet...every girl's best fashion accessory, naturally! (Please ignore my turquoise rubber bracelet...that was for the VIP bar selection, of course!)

The gown was an absolute dream to wear...I actually tried it on the Thursday before the event and didn't take it off for several hours, oops! Fortunately for me, it comes in a plethora of other colors on RTR's site, so I have a feeling it's about to be a go-to for black-tie events. 

Champagne and chardonnay in hand, we explored the event...from the adorable hand-drawn "cityscapes" featuring the names of sponsors...

...to the INSANE Wall of Wine raffle! $25 got a participant a raffle entry to win the entire rack of wine. Hannah and I were hopeful, but unfortunately didn't come out on top. Next year!

We rested our feet...

...took plenty of selfies... (With my other crush of the evening, the super-hot haberdashery model behind me who complimented me on my blue dress, naturally)...

...and ran into friends!! I was tickled to see Mike's mom, Martha, there representing the Minnesota History Theatre. 

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One of the centerpieces of the evening was the three-story tall Eiffel Tower watercolor, which also prominently featured on the tickets, programs and advertising for the evening. We couldn't resist an official photo!

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But we quickly figured out that the best viewing spot for our very own Tour Eiffel was halfway up the Grand Staircase (yes, it's actually called that, ha). 

The official program for the evening moved us into the Ordway's gorgeous new Concert Hall, an acoustically-perfect space that's home to the Schubert Club and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. As my company was the premier sponsor of the night, we got top billing:

After a few speeches, we were treated to performances by the Ordway, Schubert Club, and Minnesota Opera. The Ordway did Gershwin (love), the Schubert Club brought in one of their scholarship recipients who played Erik Satie's "Gymnopedie no1" and a Ravel sonatina, and the Opera rolled out the red carpet and imported Parisian mezzo-soprane Marie Lenormand to perform my all-time favorite, "La Vie En Rose," along with cabaret classic "Je Cherche un Millionaire." TOO FUN. The fund-a-need portion of the night, including live auction, was wildly successful as well. 

After the program wrapped up, we grabbed one more glass of champagne, along with the entire dessert buffet...

Then we tried to get a "nice photo" by the chandeliers and Eiffel Tower. Turns out coworker AJ's idea of "nice photo" differs drastically from Hannah's/mine...candids below for your enjoyment! 

We have a winner! Followed by a photobomb c/o AJ's sister, Kathryn...HA.

So we took a girl pic...

...and a coworker pic...

...followed by the sweetest, most awkward, most incredibly homogeneous dance party in the history of wealthy donors' events ever. Hannah's Snapchat, below, really says it all...the woman in the photo is, I'm pretty sure, an Ordway. As in, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. 

We hopped in Snap Yourself!'s photo booth for a few hilarious moments, involving a lot of confusion around the clicker and wrestling with a beret that didn't want to stay on my updo...

And before I knew it, it was time to head home, take off painful heels, and flop straight into bed (yes, in my gown, oops) to relive a night in Paris without ever having to leave my backyard. 

The loveliest evening with the most wonderful people! If every night could involve champagne and ball gowns, I'd be a happy camper. Alors, I guess I have to cherche un millionaire of my own... ;)