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Scottish Themed PartyHow do you say “thank you” to all your friends for making you feel at home so quickly in a town you moved to just a few years ago? If you’re Stuart and Suzanne Amos, you offer them a bit of the home you originally came from. In Stuart’s case, that would be Scotland. (Stuart’s family is Scottish, but he grew up right across the border in northern England.)

“When I lived in England with Stuart, I got a chance to get a real feeling for his heritage. It’s very dear to my heart, and to bring and re-create that in Baltimore is very special,” says Suzanne, a native Southern Californian who moved here with her husband in 1999.

What the couple re-creates is the traditional Scottish New Year’s party, known as hogmanae … albeit, a couple of weeks early.

Scottish Themed PartyAll guests are requested to wear Scottish attire to the party. “Some say they’ve never shopped for a kilt before,” says Suzanne. “They talk about it all year, about how they’re going to put their outfit together. … Sometimes they find they have Scottish heritage they didn’t know they had until they start looking into it.”

Scottish Themed PartyWhen these 120 would-be Scots walk up the driveway of the Amos’  Monkton home, they are serenaded by two Scottish bagpipers and officially announced as they enter the door. There, they are greeted by Stuart in his full Marshall clan regalia.

Scottish Themed PartyTo add a little more Scottish atmosphere, televisions in the house show continuous videos of Scottish landscapes. And the dining room buffet table is laid out with a full traditional Scottish feast.

Aside from offering a wide range of ‘bouse’ (Scottish for booze), the Amoses set up an ice luge for vodka and scotch out on the deck.

The evening’s entertainment includes a concert performance by several Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians. Another perennial favorite is friend Ken Sparks, a former chairman of the Federal City Council in D.C. Each year, he sits down at the piano and hosts a sing-a-long.

Come midnight, a hogmanae ritual: a guest leaves the house and re-enters carrying a piece of silver and a piece of coal. “It’s known as the first footer,” says Stuart. “The guest presents the hosts with the silver and coal, representing warmth, health and wealth in the new year.

“It’s just different,” Stuart concedes. “It’s a little out in left field … a Scottish field.”  —Sloane Brown

the party line

occasion: Stuart and Suzanne Amos’ annual holiday party.
theme: Traditional Scottish “hogmanae.”
venue: The Amoses’ home in Monkton.
decorations: Guests are greeted by Scottish bagpipers. The house is trimmed in tartan.
guest list: 120 friends, family members and business associates.
special touch: Guests are requested to wear Scottish attire.

fare

> Scotch eggs (hard-boiled eggs encased in sausage and deep-fried)
> Scottish smoked salmon
> Quail eggs
> Shepherd’s pie
> “Mushy peas” (peas soaked in bicarbonate of soda overnight) 
> Haggis
> Shortbread
> An ice luge for shots of vodka and scotch

Family rooms

Designer Jay Jenkins hosts a night to remember at the BMA.

Party at BMA“I wanted it to feel like a big living room,” says Jay Jenkins, describing the look and feel of the Fox Court at the Baltimore Museum of Art on the night of Oct. 14. The event was a grand party to celebrate the debut of his interior design firm, Jenkins/Baer (Jenkins is now owner of the firm formerly known as Alexander Baer Associates).

But not just a living room. “Given what we do, I wanted to create the feel of rooms in a house: a living room, a dining room, a barroom,” says Jenkins.

Party at BMAAfter dropping their cars with the valet, guests proceeded through the “rooms” created in the atrium court and into a grand salon created within the majestic Fox Court. Underfoot, white carpets defined conversation areas set with overscaled white sofas, low-slung coffee tables and white upholstered benches and ottomans. On the tables, 4-foot-tall urns held mounds of baby’s breath, and floating overhead were oversized black-and-white photos of the firm’s design projects and all the members of the firm. “It’s as much their evening as it is mine,” says Jenkins.

Planning for the event started a year before. “I knew from the start that I wanted to have it at the BMA,” says Jenkins. “It’s just the most beautiful space you can have.”

So it was a pleasant shock to most guests that the familiar space had been so utterly transformed. Says Jenkins: “I didn’t want it to feel typical, and I knew I didn’t want anything staid and sit-down.”

The evening’s 500 guests could choose from the menu prepared by Linwood’s— most of the items being bite-sized “mini”-versions of fun classics such as Philly cheesesteaks, cheeseburgers and crabcakes. “We had to bridge a wide range of guests in terms of ages, so I wanted something for everyone,” says Jenkins.

“The evening was truly meant to be a celebration of many milestones for the firm and in my life,” says Jenkins. “It’s like my graduation, bar mitzvah, wedding, all rolled into one.

“I wanted to create a signature evening, and to show people something they’d never seen,” he says. And how did he know he’d succeeded? “Strolling around and seeing everybody smiling— that’s when I knew.”  —Brian Michael Lawrence

Party at BMA

the party line

occasion: The official debut of Jenkins/Baer Associates (formerly Alexander Baer Associates).
theme: “We wanted to create the feel of a big living room.”
venue: The Baltimore Museum of Art’s Fox and Schaefer courts.
decorations: Large black-and-white photographs suspended overhead; all-white furniture conversation areas; 4-foot-tall urns holding mounds of baby’s breath; glowing white candle clusters.
guest list: Current and past clients of the firm, business associates, personal friends and family.
special touch: DJ Lovegrove spun lounge music during dinner, then cranked up the beats to get people onto the dance floor.

selected fare

> Mini Philly cheesesteaks
> Mini cheeseburgers
> Mini crabcakes
> Mini lobster rolls
> Mini BLTs
> Mini croque-monsieurs
> Mini-desserts: crème brûlées, lemon tarts, mocha cakes, eclairs
> Three specialty cocktails: Crème Brûlées, Limoncellos, Cosmopolitans

plan

event coordinator: Anne Berman, 410-243-4500
catering: Linwood’s, 410-581-4920
flowers: Jake Boone, 410-917-2129
photography: Arthur Remanjon, 410-366-2500
music: LG ‘Lovegrove’ Concannon, 410-905-1021

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