What's Up, Joey? Suncoast weekend recap January 6th

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SARASOTA, Fla. - The bar has been set high for 2014. The first week of the new year got off to a beautiful start on the social scene with some new takes on some old events, and the most clever use of bacon I’ve ever seen.

Many people opted to ring in the new year at home this year with their own private parties. Stylist Dylonn Cole has done this for the past several years, opening his Laurel Park home to about 80 of his closest friends. Dylonn offered a new treat this year that’s becoming a trend in France: he served champagne with violet-infused syrup, giving it a fun floral hint. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of this type of infusion this year, so keep an eye out for those when ordering your cocktails.

New Year’s Day saw a beautiful wedding ceremony for Jenn McAlister and Denver Joe Stutler. Roger Capote designed the beach ceremony as the couple exchanged their vows in the sand. The reception was at Pattigeorge’s and offered a full bloody mary bar, and the piece everyone was talking about? A bacon bar. That’s right -- four kinds of bacon, from sweet to crispy. Nothing could steal the show from the happy couple, but that bacon bar will be talked about for weeks to come.

The first weekend of the year also meant the first gala of 2014. Saturday night was the Itzhak Perlman gala held at Michael’s on East. I have to say, having been to Michael’s many times for many events, the tables and decor never looked better. Hats off to Beneva Flowers for turning a familiar space for galas and events into something really extraordinary.

Fans of Downton Abbey saw the season premiere last night, but local fans got a chance on Friday night to dine in the show’s style. Cafe L’Europe and Wedu hosted a Downton Abbey-themed dinner where guests were taken back to the Crawley Manor in 1922. Dressed in full attire, they dined on a five-course meal inspired directly from the show. A special highlight was the ice sculpture designed by Cafe L’Europe owner Betsie Coolidge.

As always, if you spot any great photo ops while you’re out and about, send them to me at whatsupjoey@mysuncoast.com.