Monogrammed makeup bags, custom totes filled with swag, embroidered apparel…when it comes to purchasing bridesmaid gifts, the luxe-and-lovely options are seemingly endless! High-quality gifts for grooms and groomsmen, on the other hand, are often a bit more difficult to come by. That’s why we’re thrilled to have discovered Neat Pineapple and FLY Barbershop, two Dallas-based brands that produce products for men of style preparing to walk the aisle.
Perhaps you’re planning a destination wedding, or maybe you have a more traditional hometown “I do” in mind. Regardless, providing your guests with a welcome gift is the perfect way to kick off your wedding weekend! On that note, we are thrilled to share three inspirational welcome gift concepts developed in partnership with The Container Store!
Whether we’re restocking our emergency kits or searching for the perfect day planner, The Container Store is a go-to resource for our team. The store’s selection of organizational bins are just as pretty as they are practical, making them the perfect “base” for our three uniquely-themed welcome gifts!
photos: John Cain Photography
Are you in need of a crash course in Wedding Invitations 101? If so, look no further than today’s blog post! Bailey began her career at DFW Events as a Weekend Warrior, and went on to work her way up in the company from production assistant to lead planner. As a production assistant, Bailey learned (and frequently practiced!) the art of assembling and mailing invitations. She’s also extremely creative and has a strong eye for design, making her the perfect “coach” to guide you through the ins and outs of selecting, stuffing, and sending your wedding invitations! Read on for her top tips and suggestions, with a few etiquette and history notes included as an added bonus!
photo: Jess Barfield Photography
Selecting Your Invitations
“Aesthetic and budget are the first two things every couple should consider when it’s time to select wedding invitations. A good rule of thumb is to allocate no more than 10 percent of your total wedding budget to purchasing your invitations and paper goods. If that percentage sounds high, keep in mind that this figure will cover the cost of your save the dates, menus, escort cards, and any additional branded items – such as custom cocktail napkins, cups, or bar signage – in addition to your formal invitations. To hone in on your aesthetic, take a look at paper samples, ask to see some of your friends’ former invitation suites, and browse Pinterest. Once both your aesthetic and your budget have been established, you’ll be ready to select your paper provider. Create a custom design, order a traditional suite from Crane and William Arthur, or browse the options listed by online retailers such as Minted and Wedding Paper Divas!”
photo: Shaun Menary Photography
“If you’re going the custom route, your next step will be to decide if you would like to incorporate a motif or a monogram into your design. These personalized embellishments can be either hand-drawn or developed digitally. Select the option that best fits your style, and have fun carrying it through as many wedding details as possible!”
Assembly and Etiquette
“A few fun facts for you:
1. Tradition dictates that you should stuff an invitation as if the person pulling it out was right handed. (Sorry, left-handers!)
2. You may have noticed that tissue paper is sometimes included with an invitation – originally, this was to keep ink from smearing, although now the practice has become a tradition that accompanies very formal invitations.
3. Ever wondered why many wedding invitations include an inner and an outer envelope? This practice actually dates back to when mail was delivered by horseback! Since the outside envelope would inevitably get dirty in transit, a fresh envelope was always included inside to ensure a beautiful presentation upon arrival. Now, it’s just tradition!
4. Traditionally, a separate card denoting the reception venue should be included with your invitation if your reception will take place in a different location than your ceremony. However, etiquette has evolved to allow the option of including this information directly on your primary wedding invitation. If you would like to provide your guests with printed directions, the best place to include this information is on your program, or on a card that’s passed out at the end of your ceremony.
5. There is an art to addressing envelopes, and I’m not just talking about calligraphy! Utilize Crane’s Blue Wedding Book when compiling your guest list so that when you present it to your calligrapher, everything is already written per etiquette. This will ensure that each and every tricky situation (such as addressing an invitation to two doctors!) is handled with ease.”
photo: Thisbe Grace Photography
“Once you’ve received each printed piece of your invitation suite, stuff your envelopes and take them to the post office to be weighed. Be sure to ask if it’s parcel – in other words, unable to be fed through machines automatically – as this will incur an additional postage fee. After you’ve finished weighing your fully-stuffed envelopes, you will know exactly how much postage you need. Either buy stamps at the post office or design your own – and don’t forget to purchase Forever stamps for your reply card!”
Stamping and Sending
“After determining how much postage you need, you’ll be ready to design a custom stamp if you so desire. Our team typically recommends utilizing the motif or monogram featured on your invitation to create a cohesive through line – the custom design will help your suite stand out in your guests’ mail pile, too! Picture It Postage is a great resource to use when creating a custom stamp.”
photo via DFW Events on Instagram | invitation by DFW Events in-house designer Melanie Frazier based on our client’s logo design + rose gold and blue color palette
“When you’re ready to mail your invitations, place them in boxes and cover them with a printed sign that says, ‘Wedding Invitations – Please Hand Cancel.’ (Hand canceling will protect your calligraphy from smearing, and will also prevent those ugly markings that you’ve probably noticed on your bills from appearing on your envelopes!) Upon arrival at the post office, re-weigh your invitations. Ask once more if your invitations qualify as parcel to ensure that there are no delivery hiccups. After confirming, hand your invitations over for delivery and count down the days until your first RSVPs start rolling in!”
photo: Sarah Kate, Photographer
PS: For any additional questions concerning etiquette, we highly recommend referring to Crane’s Wedding Blue Book. This classic book has been a must-have resource in our office for years, and is sure to be of assistance time and again throughout your planning process!
There is something so special about a night at the museum—and no, we’re not talking about the Ben Stiller comedy that brought exhibits to life on the big screen. Rather, we’re thinking of artfully-imagined weddings and special events hosted at locales including the The Modern, the Dallas Museum of Art, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, and The Nasher, just to name a few.
While you may have previously enjoyed perusing a gallery or two during business hours, it’s a completely different experience to get up close and personal with dinosaur fossils while attending an after-hours wedding reception (with a glass of Chardonnay in hand, no less). Since planner Emily Wickman formerly worked as the Event Services Manager at Dallas’ Perot Museum of Nature and Science, there’s no one we would trust more to share the ins and outs of hosting a wedding or event at a museum. Read on to learn more about the logistics from her perspective!
“Museums are open to the public during the day, which means set-up for a private event typically begins later than it would at a hotel ballroom or other event space—we’re talking a 5 o’clock start time at a museum versus an early morning start at most other venues. With a carefully planned timeline and strong vendor team in place, however, rest assured that set-up can go off without a hitch!”
“If you’ve chosen to host your wedding or event at a museum, then obviously there is something about that space or a particular exhibit within the museum that initially drew you toward the idea. Although you could try to mask the fact that your guests will be enjoying cocktail hour amid ancient fossils or spectacular art, why not play it up instead? This doesn’t mean you have to go super theme-y, but you can play off the color scheme already in place or incorporate a small nod to your favorite exhibit. In short, celebrating what’s unique and interesting about your event space is the way to go at a museum.”
“I’d be willing to bet that the majority of your wedding or event guests don’t have the opportunity to privately tour a museum (with a cocktail in hand!) on a regular basis. Although different rules apply at different museums, for the most part there is always a workable way to incorporate drinks, live music, dancing, and other must-have elements into your event. Depending on the museum you select, you might consider hosting a progressive event that spans multiple levels—it’s a great way to expose guests to as many exhibits as possible, which makes for a truly one-of-a-kind experience!”
TOP THREE THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
- “Read your contract, then read it again! Every hotel and event venue maintains a certain set of rules that are listed in the fine print, but museums tend to have more specific regulations in place to protect their exhibits. If you’re passionate about serving red wine or saying goodbye to your guests via a sparkler exit, for instance, then a museum wedding might not be for you.”
- “Verify what the museum is able to provide in terms of furniture and rentals. In addition to checking out the look of the house tables and chairs, it’s important to ensure that the museum has enough of each available for your event.”
- “Exhibits come and go. While the museum you selected might currently be housing works by your favorite artist, it could only be a temporary exhibit. Be sure to check the museum’s exhibition schedule against your wedding date!”
At the beginning of a brand new year, we can choose to focus on one of two things: everything that has already passed, or all of the new things to come. Then again…maybe we can do a little bit of both!
The year 2015—which we dubbed the “Year of Relationships”—was filled with fabulous fêtes (our Chat Outside the Chapel luncheon and this colorful 50th birthday celebration come to mind), featured weddings (like Meghan + Ryan’s multi-cultural “I do,” or Olivia + JW’s beachside reception in Playa del Carmen, both featured by Inside Weddings), and new destinations (from Hilton Head Island to Harbour Island in the Bahamas). We put together countless wedding welcome baskets, packed our bags to coordinate destination events from Aspen, Colorado to the Texas Hill Country (and beyond), and had the privilege of spotlighting some of the valued vendors who have partnered with us to produce countless events. It was a busy, beautiful year, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Now that we’ve recapped a few of the highlights of 2015, let’s dig into all things 2016! We’re filled with anticipation for the weddings and events to come this year, and all of the fresh takes on design, decor, and entertainment that are sure to follow. Here to share a few of the top trends on our radar is none other than Mary-Frances Hurt, our fearless + fabulous founder and CEO!
In 18 years of doing my business, I have seen things greatly change. When I started my company, there were only three wedding planners in Dallas and the majority of my clients got married at the local church and went on to the country club for the reception. Brides used house chairs, tables, and linens—no one would have thought about bringing in a band from out of town! As for groom’s cakes? They were chocolate with strawberries and chocolate curls. So, let’s start there. In 2016, groom’s cakes or stations will continue to include anything from 3-D models depicting the groom’s college stadium to his favorite doughnuts.
One of the biggest things I hear is, “I want my event to be different.” If you’ve ever said this, then what you’re basically asking for is event branding! While this was originally accomplished through a monogram or consistent color scheme, in 2016, we’ll see more brides and grooms branding every aspect of their events with custom logos and hashtags that encourage guests to interact on social media throughout the event. A few examples:
“FEMMES WHO FETE” EVENT
This London-meets-Dallas themed party for members of the wedding industry concluded with a surprise performance and cocktails on a rooftop in Downtown Dallas!
CAPITAL FOR KIDS
We’ve been producing corporate celebrations for Capital for Kids for 11 years, and are constantly re-inventing the look and feel of this event while still incorporating the organization’s core brand.
FOURTH OF JULY PARTY
Weddings are a great opportunity for a couple to show off their own personal brand or style. In this case, the bride absolutely loved the Fourth of July, so she chose to have her wedding over the holiday weekend at her family’s vineyard in Paso Robles. From floor to ceiling, the decor at her welcome party was 100% Americana!
Next, let’s talk food and beverage. Over the years I have seen the formal sit-down dinner move toward a more interactive “foodie” experience. Food stations paired with crafted cocktails have been huge as of late. Think tacos with mini margaritas, homemade pretzels with a craft beer from Texas, a frozen treat from Steel City Popsicles served in a glass of Prosecco, or a branded to-go box of Chinese food paired with ANYTHING.
The late-night snack pass (also known as an “afterglow”) has become a staple. Gone are the days of sending guests home with a picture frame or candle as a favor. The current trend is giving away food at the end of the night. We’ve brought in everything from Whataburger Taquitos, to In-and-Out burgers, to doughnut holes served with chocolate milk or Starbucks.
Mixology has become just as important as food, and we expect this to continue in 2016. Bartenders have become a source of entertainment, and establishing a dress code for your mixologist has become the norm. On occasion, we’ve hired models just to pour drinks.
Speaking of entertainment, Fusion performances are the must-have musical element of the moment. From four-piece bands, to orchestras, to DJs, the combinations are endless—and endlessly entertaining. This is a whole new dimension of entertainment that I’m looking forward to seeing more of in 2016!
There you have it—a few of the top trends that are on our radar right now! We can’t wait to see how you incorporate these and other trends into your decor, entertainment, and even the look and feel of your wedding invitations!
There is something about a winter wedding that is absolutely magical; filled with a special “something” that can’t quite be defined. Part of the magic can be attributed to the proximity of the holidays and the lights, music, and warm memories the season holds. Another dash is due to the icy chill in the air—the one that inspires brides to set up custom coffee and cocoa bars at their receptions, set out baskets full of Pashmina scarves during cocktail hour, and wrap themselves in the most beautiful furs as they wave goodbye to guests amid the glow of festive sparklers. But the most enchanting element of all? The selection of a color palette that matches the landscape we all dream of waking up to each Christmas morning—white, white, and more white, as far as the eye can see.
Contrast is not the name of this particular decorative game. Rather, drama unfolds from the repetition of a single shade in various textures and surfaces throughout the event. The result? Brilliant altars, aisles, and tablescapes that are understated and indescribably luxe, all at the same time. And so, we’re offering you this simple phrase: While others may be longing for “snow, snow, snow” a la White Christmas come December, you’ll find us dreaming of a “winter white” wedding this (and every) holiday season. Take a few cues from the alabaster hues of these DFW Events favorites, and your own “I do” is sure to be the crème of the crop.
From a boutonniere for him, to dainty lace shoes for her, and elegant invitation suites bearing the name of each, ivory is perfectly suited to every last detail of your wedding day. Longing for just the tiniest pop of color? Consider incorporating gold calligraphy on your invitations or a burst of rose on your envelope liners.
A soft cascade of roses is the perfect complement for the bride’s strapless lace gown, while wrapping tree trunks in twinkling lights lends a magical, “Secret Garden” -esque atmosphere to a ceremony at The Crescent.
For a more structured look, consider wrapping a solitary selection of blooms—like these white lilies—in a thick layer of ribbon. Finish the bouquet with a line of pearl-tipped pins or an heirloom brooch.
The minty shade of these velvet-like leaves are the only element present to break up the white-on-white palette of the bride’s bouquet, a fact we couldn’t love more. A dainty lace handkerchief provides the finishing touch.
THE MINI MAIDS
Your littlest ‘maids (and biggest fans) will adore being dressed in the same shade you’re wearing down the aisle. Don’t forget to order a matching bunch of posies for them to carry—a sweet flower crown with trailing white ribbons is a lovely touch, too.
An aisle of white rose petals lined by wintry branches dripping in crystals gives the rooftop of The Joule Hotel a “winter wonderland” ambiance, while creamy blooms accent pews and altar space alike at a traditional ceremony at TCU’s Robert Carr Chapel.
photos: Tracy Autem | floral: Garden Gate
Cascading orchids, translucent vases, floating candles, mirrored surfaces, crystal accents, and cakes all tied up in bows—these are the things that winter weddings are made of. Incorporate one or more elements for instant elegance.
Depending on your destination, there may not be the slightest chance of snow at your winter wedding. No matter—white Flutter Fetti provides the same effect (minus the chill). Join hands, exchange a kiss, and make a wish as the flurries fly.
Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday of ours for so many reasons. It’s a day of celebration that’s linked to family, fellowship, food, and an occasional break for football. It’s marked by tables overflowing with the best home-crafted recipes and tasty dishes that have been passed down through generations. It’s gratitude, and warmth, and all the best feelings of the holiday season pressed into one. And yet it’s also sandwiched right between the jack-o-lanterns of Halloween and the glimmering garlands of Christmas, meaning that in a decorative sense, Thanksgiving can be easy to overlook.
And so this post is for those of us who may or may not still be snacking on the occasional piece of leftover Halloween candy while pinning every Christmas-themed craft in sight, but have yet to land on a decorative concept for our Thanksgiving tablescape. (Not that we’re speaking from experience or anything…ahem.)
While it might be tempting to skip straight to the twinkling lights and ornaments of December, we think it’s worth the extra effort this Thanksgiving to lay a table that’s completely and totally inspired by everything beautiful about fall. Rustic florals and earthy linens. Heirloom pumpkins and flickering candles. Pashmina blankets and calligraphy’d place cards. We could go on, but instead we thought we’d share a few mood boards inspired by some of our favorite fall events!
Pumpkin spice and everything nice – that’s what fall tablescapes are made of! Take a cue from this clever mix of warm autumn shades and cool blue tones when setting your Thanksgiving table…or staging a gorgeous outdoor seating area near the fire pit. This look pairs nicely with a warm mug of apple cider and a Pashmina wrap.
ROSE & RUST
Shades of red make for a regal presentation no matter the season. For fall, we love pairing the rich palette with earthy shades of chocolate and chestnut. Antlers add to the rustic appeal. A pecan pie wouldn’t hurt, either.
The perfect complement to the cheerful grins on the faces of your family and friends? Festive arrangements of wildflowers that manage to look homespun and haute couture, all at one time.
SOFT & SWEET
Establish a serene mood at your Thanksgiving get-together by incorporating the softest shades of crème and blush. Add a hint of lantern light and a glimmer of gold, and your tablescape will easily transition from fall to winter post-celebration.
THE CHICEST ANTIQUES
Heirloom blooms, pale pumpkins, rustic wooden slabs, and warm autumn leaves. Surrounded by scenery this beautiful, your guests won’t have any difficulty finding reasons to give thanks this holiday season.
As wedding planners, we’ve seen our fair share of gorgeous bridal cakes. From sky-high tiers accented by crystals to buttercream bows that match the look of a gown, we love the creativity brides are known for incorporating into the sweetest part of the wedding day. Happily, the same now goes for groom’s cakes!
Whether it’s presented in sheet cake form or decked out in fondant, there’s no doubt that the traditional chocolate groom’s cake will never fail to be delicious. That being said, we love when couples choose to highlight the groom via a custom confection that reflects his personality and interests. Take a few cues from these DFW Events couples and don’t be afraid to have a little fun with the form and flavor of your groom’s cake. Last but not least, prepare for your dessert table to be one of the most Instagrammed aspects of your reception!
Mark’s Maserati cake (complete with miniature shopping bags) was a nod to the car he owned when he picked up his bride, Kim, for their first date!
Nascar lovers, we’re betting there will be a race to the dessert table if you take a little inspiration from Josh’s cake!
DEGREES OF DELICIOUSNESS
How about showing your school spirit with a cake that references your alma mater? Whether you’re a fan of the Longhorns or the Razorbacks, we think you’ll find both of these cakes in good taste. (Pun intended.)
If you’re from the Lone Star State, chances are you can relate to the desire to show a little (okay, a lot) of Texas pride via your groom’s cake!
“FORE” THE LOVE OF CAKE
And if you’re a groom who’s into golf, like Marcus, we think you’ll agree that the idea of subbing a traditional cake for a dessert stand filled with edible golf balls is nothing short of a hole in one.
From cityscapes, to fraternities, to furry friends, and favorite films, a groom’s cake is the perfect way to show off whatever’s nearest and dearest to his heart!
Recognize this guy? We love how these film buffs gave a nod to the classic southern film Steel Magnolias via the groom’s armadillo cake!
And there you have it! Ten completely creative groom’s cake ideas. If your sweet tooth’s not quite satisfied, check out our tutorial on how to freeze the top tier of your bridal cake and be sure to stop by our Groom’s Cakes and Wedding Cakes boards on Pinterest!
If you’re anything like many of our Dallas-based brides, then you have a heart that’s set on incorporating traditions of the “something old, new, borrowed, and blue” variety into your wedding day. We’re betting that those Southern sensibilities have you considering another time-honored tradition, too: saving the top tier of your bridal cake for your first wedding anniversary.
While the sentiment is undoubtedly sweet, the actual taste of year-old cake often leaves something to be desired. That being said, it’s time for full disclosure: There’s no way this side of time travel to fully retain the freshness of your reception confection for 365 days. There is, however, a best-practice method of preserving your cake for maximum enjoyment on your first anniversary. Click below for step-by-step instructions from Sarah, then go ahead and break out an advance bottle of celebratory Champagne. Cheers to old traditions worth keeping and new memories in the making!
A very special thanks to Frosted Art in Dallas, Texas for providing our gorgeous demonstration cake topper!
Worst-case scenarios can take many shapes in the Wedding World. Red wine spilled on the bride’s gown, a bridesmaid’s wilting updo, a loose hem on the groom’s slacks…you get the idea! Nobody likes to deal with emergency situations, and that’s especially true for brides-to-be. However, it’s important to think through potential drama-inducing moments before they arrive. Why? Because a solid plan brings peace of mind—a key ingredient every couple needs as they begin their journey toward happily ever after! So, for better or for worse, here are the 12 essential items every bride needs in case of wedding day emergency!
1. Oil Blotting Sheets. Because it’s your day to shine, not your forehead’s! After you’ve finished getting ready, ask your Maid of Honor to slip a packet into her clutch for quick touch ups during your after-ceremony photos.
2. Bandages. An emergency kit basic that’s not to be overlooked. Purchase themed bandages (hello, Frozen) to impart extra anti-crying power to little ones.
3. Pain Reliever. Those heels looks AMAZING. But they might not feel so hot after four or five hours of wear. Have some Tylenol or Advil on standby to ensure that you’re ready to hit the dance floor all reception long.
4. Bobby Pins. With reinforcements on hand, you and your girls won’t be stressed about taking outdoor photos…even if your curls are being exposed to an ocean breeze.
5. Chalk. This schoolroom staple will help you whisk away spilled liquids in a flash.
6. Double-Sided Tape. From tightening up a bouquet, to fixing a ribbon on a program, to holding your strapless dress firmly in place, the applications for this emergency kit essential are (almost) limitless.
7. Mini Sewing Kit. Put a stop to button pop! And loose hems, for that matter.
8. Deodorant. So that you can put your hands in the air like you just don’t care with the utmost confidence!
9. Static Guard. Spray it on your veil, spray it on your gown, ask your event planner to spray it on those pesky tablecloths that won’t stop sticking…
10. Lint Roller. Tell those groomsmen, “Go, and brush your shoulders off!” This goes double if a pet will be participating in the wedding day in any way.
11. Tissue or Hanky. Not sure how to carry this dry-eye essential? Consider wrapping a classic lace handkerchief around your bouquet for a wedding day detail that’s both traditional and sentimental.
12. Peppermints. For that moment when you finally hear the words, “You may now kiss the bride.” But remember, peppermints only—unconscious bubble gum smacking has been known to occur.
Last but not least, remember that it’s important to plan ahead, but it’s NOT a good idea to obsess over what may or may not go wrong on your wedding day. Even if your curls start to droop or a bobby pin springs loose, at the end of the day you’ll still be exchanging the title of “fiancé” for that of “wife.” There’s not a minor slip-up under the sun that can take that joy away from you!
photo credit: Eugene Grace Photography
What other items would you suggest that brides include in their wedding day emergency kits? Did anything go wrong on your own wedding day, and if so, how did you overcome it?