Planner’s Perspective: 5 Questions to Help You Select the Perfect Wedding Venue

BallroomChurchCountry ClubDestinationPrivate Residence

If you’ve been dreaming about your wedding for your entire life (or even just for the last year or so), chances are that at least a few of those dreams have included a very specific setting. But whether you’re instinctively drawn to the rustic ambiance of a ranch wedding or have a more traditional ballroom affair in mind, there are a few essential questions every couple should consider before booking a venue for the Big Day. Ask yourself these five questions to ensure that your wedding venue is a perfect fit, then prepare to ink those final contracts with confidence!

Planner's Perspective | Wedding Venues

Question One: “Indoor or outdoor?”

Consider this basic question your starting point when identifying potential wedding and reception venues. Answering it from the get-go will automatically simplify your search!

Outdoor ceremony at The Four Seasons Dallas | more from this wedding here | Karlisch Photography

Indoor ceremony at The Four Seasons Santa Fe | see more here | Cameron & Kelly Studio

Question Two: “How would you describe your style?”

When it’s time to start narrowing down your options, think about your personal style. Are you drawn to modern and contemporary looks with a preference for clean lines? Consider booking a museum for your ceremony or reception—The Modern in Fort Worth, The Nasher, and the Dallas Museum of Art are all beautiful options that don’t necessarily require a lot of extra table décor.

Reception at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth | Sarah Kate, Photographer

Reception at the Dallas Museum of Art | F8 Studio

On the other hand, if your tastes are very traditional, a church ceremony and a reception at a hotel ballroom or country club might appeal to you. The Crescent, The Ritz, Arlington Hall, Brook Hollow Country Club, and Dallas Country Club are just a few examples of venues with a very classic feel!

Highland Park Presbyterian Church | more from this wedding here | Sarah Kate, Photographer

Rosewood Mansion | DFW Events | Jess Barfield Photography

Rosewood Mansion | DFW Events | Jess Barfield Photography

Rosewood Mansion, Dallas | Jess Barfield Photography

Question Three: “What are my décor and rental needs?”

If questions one and two have helped you determine that an outdoor wedding in a setting that is not typically used as an event space—this includes a ranch, field, or even your own backyard—is for you, keep in mind that you will most likely need to bring in absolutely everything from the ground up. We’re talking tables, chairs, linens, and back-of-house catering rentals, plus a trucking service, a generator, a dance floor, and a valet company just to name a few. You will also need to secure an air-conditioned tent in case of rain or extreme temperatures on your wedding day. Don’t let that scare you, though. If you’re open to the idea of managing these additional details or have hired an event planner to help manage them for you, this can be an extremely rewarding way to build a completely unique event space!

Tented reception at a private residence | see more wedding details here | Sarah Kate, Photographer

Backyard Wedding | Photography by Jason Kindig

Backyard reception at private residence | Jason Kindig Photography

By contrast, country clubs, ballrooms, and other traditional event venues maintain a supply of house linens, house chairs, tables, and in-house catering rentals, and will also provide your catering services. While this option will probably save you some time, it won’t always save you money—especially if you’re planning to outfit the space with custom décor, which will require sourcing outside vendors.

Reception at the Dallas Country Club | Kiss Me For Eternity, Thisbe Grace & Co.

Question Four: “What are my power and sound needs?”

If you’re planning to have a live band at your ceremony or reception, ensure that your venue has the necessary power and circuits. A back-up generator will be required if your power needs exceed your venue’s capability or if you’re planning an outdoor wedding. And don’t forget to inquire about lighting! Some venues keep their lighting on dimmers, which provides a built-in transition from dinner to the dance floor, whereas other spaces might benefit from an additional lighting package.

Southern Hills | DFW Events | Stephen Karlisch Photography

Custom build-out at Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa | Karlisch Photography

Question Five: “How much time do I need for set-up?”

Load-in and strike times are of major importance for your vendors, so make sure to ask your potential venue what time set-up can begin on the day of your wedding. Dedicated event spaces will typically allow set-up to begin early in the day, but locations that primarily function as public spaces—think art galleries and restaurants—might restrict set-up to after the five o’clock hour. If you choose a venue with this kind of time constraint, be prepared to pay an additional fee to cover the cost of the extra laborers it will take to prep your event space in a shortened time frame.

Reception at The Four Seasons Dallas | more details here | Karlisch Studio

The bottom line? Spend some time thinking about the look and feel of your wedding as a whole, and then choose the venue and vendors that are best equipped to bring that vision to life!

In need of even more inspiration? Stop by our “Venues” board on Pinterest, and don’t miss our  feature “From the Ground Up: How to Create an Event Space for Your Wedding Day” in the Winter 2018 issue of Inside Weddings.

 

Classic Christmas Wedding Inspiration

Classic Winter Holiday

‘Tis the season for decking the halls and spreading Christmas cheer, and as event planners, nothing makes our spirits brighter than reflecting on the details of a festively-arrayed wedding day! In anticipation of holidays past, we’ve featured a round-up of our favorite white wedding details and we’ve also shone the spotlight on colorful winter soirees. What we haven’t celebrated yet? A classic Christmas wedding—one that’s rich in velvet textiles, potted poinsettias, gingerbread bars, magnolia garlands, and a traditional palette of red, green, and gold. Until now, that is! From altar to after party, these wedding details are wishlist-worthy for any bride dreaming of a Noel nuptial.

photos: Sarah Kate, Photographer | see more here and here

photos: Hampton Morrow Photography | more of this wedding here

photos: Edmonson Weddings | more details from this holiday wedding here

photo: John Cain Photography | more of this wedding here

9 Things You’ll Only See at Texas Weddings

DFW Details

While it’s true that we plan weddings and events all over the world, we have to admit that we’re pretty proud to call Dallas, Texas our home base! Everything really is bigger in Texas—including the kinds of parties we throw—so if you receive an invitation to a wedding in the Lone Star State, we recommend saddling up and sending in your RSVP in the affirmative as soon as possible. In addition to southern sensibilities and a healthy dose of hospitality, you’re bound to encounter a detail or two that you’d be hard-pressed to find at any other “I do.” Let’s take a look at a few of our favorites now!

photo: Caroline Jurgensen Photography

First up, an event featuring a VIB—that’s a Very Important Bovine! Bevo, the official mascot of the University of Texas, made a special guest appearance at our bride and groom’s rehearsal dinner in the Texas Hill Country. Needless to say, he received a warm welcome from the Longhorn-lovin’ crowd. Hook ’em! 

photos: Rebecca Ellison Photography

If you’re lucky enough to be on-hand for an entire Texas wedding weekend, you’re bound to be bestowed with a whole passel of local products upon arrival. This is called a welcome gift, and believe us, it’s always met with a smile. A Texas welcome gift will likely feature a box or bag emblazoned with the shape of the state, pecans (the official state nut), and chips and salsa (a Texan’s favorite snack), just to name a few.

photo: Karlisch Studio Weddings

photo: Haley Rynn Ringo Photography

Late night snack passes have been trending for a while now, and at a Texas wedding, there’s no finer fare to dish out than Whataburger! Equally appetizing after a Friday night football game or a night spent on the dance floor, a couple’s most difficult decision is typically which best-selling menu item to serve (Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits, Whataburgers, or both?). As for washing down that Whataburger, every Texas groom knows that a bartender just isn’t worth his stock unless he’s serving Shiner Bock. The renowned dark lager is produced by the oldest independent brewery in Texas and is always a hit with hometown guests.

photo: Ace Cuervo Photography

photo: Karlisch Studio Weddings

We’ve all heard of coat checks, right? Well, welcome to Texas soirees where boot checks give guests the option to leave their Luccheses behind while they hit the dance floor and unwind! 

photos: Rebecca Ellison Photography

photo: John Cain Photography

Who says there’s no horseplay allowed at a formal event? At this ranch wedding near Waco, the bride and groom provided horse treats for guests to feed to their favorite four-legged friends.

photos: Caroline Jurgensen Photography

Our couples have spirit, yes they do—and they frequently order custom cakes to prove it, too. If the bride or groom attended a university in Texas—and that goes double for The University of Texas—you just might enjoy a buttercream-covered ode to their alma mater during the dessert course.

Fun fact: Unbeknownst to the groom, our bride—a proud graduate of Texas Christian University—requested that the inside of his University of Texas themed groom’s cake be dyed purple as a sneaky tribute to her Horned Frogs! | photos: John Cain Photography

photo: Edmonson Weddings

photo: Rebecca Ellison Photography

That’s not to say that other local icons are off the (dessert) table, though. One of our couples took the concept of an “ice cream cake” to a whole new level by commissioning a replica of a Blue Bell Ice Cream container. Based in Brenham, Texas, the creamery has been in business since 1907—and Texans have had a sweet spot for it ever since.

photo: Joseph Mark Photography

Finally, when it comes to transportation, not just any stretch limo will do. But a bus emblazoned with the Dallas Cowboys star? That’s a touchdown, y’all!

photo: Gary Donihoo, F8 Studio

What are some of your other favorite Texas wedding traditions? Comment below and we’ll keep adding to our list!

Creative Ways to Propose to Your Bridesmaids + Maid of Honor

DFW Details

In all likelihood your bridesmaids were the first to hear the news of your proposal, so why not surprise them with a little proposal of your own? Putting extra time and care into the way you ask your best friends to be your bridesmaids is such an incredible way to honor the women who will stand by your side as you exchange the title of fiancé for that of wife. From thoughtful gifts to meaningful moments, here are three creative ways to pop the question to your ‘maids!

IT’S A SIGN

photos: Sally Wang, Murphy & Grace

First up, an adorable proposal put together by DFW Events bride-to-be Canon that took place in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square! “My mom set up a brunch and told the girls it was a surprise luncheon for me. As it turns out, they were the ones getting surprised!” shares Canon. “My mom had them pose for a photo so they wouldn’t turn around. When they turned around, my future mother-in-law and I were holding up a sign made by Paper Planet! We had a mini photoshoot followed by a mother-daughter brunch at Bird Café filled with french toast, chicken and waffles, and mimosas.”

Another fun detail: Since one of Canon’s bridesmaids was out of state at the time of the proposal, Canon had a paper cut-out made so that she was still represented at the event. “We were able to FaceTime her in for the surprise,” says Canon. “It was a day filled with love and laughter!”

SO GIFTED

photos: Red October Photography

Every girl loves to be pampered, and we’re betting your future ‘maids are no exception! Artisanal gifting companies like Marigold & Grey make it easy (and so much fun) to present thoughtful, beautifully-curated gifts to anyone you’d like to bestow with an extra dose of love and appreciation. We love the selection of bridesmaid-specific boxes offered by Marigold & Grey, and are thrilled to be sharing a sneak peek of the newest version of their “Thank You For Being my Bridesmaid” gift today on the blog! Save the date for the debut on April 25—here’s where you’ll find the product listed when it’s available for purchase.

New “Thank You For Being My Bridesmaid” Gift Box | Marigold & Grey

“Will You Be My Bridesmaid” Gift Box | Marigold & Grey | Shop here

photos: Laura Metzler and Lisa Ziesing

I FLIP FOR YOU

photos: Matthew Visinsky and Scott Fischer for TCU Athletics

After receiving a resounding “YES” response from all of her bridesmaids, Canon had one last proposal up her sleeve—this time the target was her future matron of honor, Ashton! Since Canon and Ashton grew up together doing competitive cheer at Spirit of Texas, it made sense to incorporate cheerleading into the plan of action. Needless to say, we flip for the way Canon’s proposal turned out!

“TCU was playing OSU at TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium, and the cheer team had a performance planned for the end of the first quarter,” says Canon. “The backs of our signs spelled out GO FROGS, and the plan was to flip the signs around at the end of the routine. During practice we told Ashton that the back of the signs had a marketing message on them so she wouldn’t be suspicious. We planned for Ashton and myself to be doing flips so that she would be upside down while the team set the signs up! When she landed the signs were all ready and our mascot, Super Frog, ran up and gave us a big hug!”

Any other creative gift collections or ideas you’d care to share? We’d love for you to comment below, and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’re looking for assistance in planning YOUR unique proposal + unforgettable wedding day!

Sweet 16 Celebration Inspired by House of Blues

BirthdayCelebration

When the birthday girl has a passion for music and performing, there’s only one way to celebrate her Sweet 16—by transforming eM the Venue into her very own concert hall à la House of Blues!

Bryn's Sweet 16 Party at eM the Venue in Dallas, Texas.

Bryn's Sweet 16 Party at eM the Venue in Dallas, Texas.

Bryn's Sweet 16 Party at eM the Venue in Dallas, Texas.

photos: Jason Kindig Photography

Neon lighting and decor created a vibrant backdrop for Bryn’s birthday party while custom pillows, signage, cups, napkins, and wristbands embellished with the party’s emblem brought the “House of Bryn” to life. And let’s not forget the live entertainment, flash tattoos, and loads of eats and sweets party-goers enjoyed throughout the evening!

Bryn's Sweet 16 Party at eM the Venue in Dallas, Texas.

Bryn's Sweet 16 Party at eM the Venue in Dallas, Texas.

Bryn's Sweet 16 Party at eM the Venue in Dallas, Texas.

Needless to say, we had the best time rockin’ and rollin’ at the House of Bryn. Here’s a closer look at all the details that made this party sing! 

Bryn's Sweet 16 Party at eM the Venue in Dallas, Texas.

Bryn's Sweet 16 Party at eM the Venue in Dallas, Texas.

Bryn's Sweet 16 Party at eM the Venue in Dallas, Texas.

Bryn's Sweet 16 Party at eM the Venue in Dallas, Texas.

Bryn's Sweet 16 Party at eM the Venue in Dallas, Texas.

Bryn's Sweet 16 Party at eM the Venue in Dallas, Texas.

Bryn's Sweet 16 Party at eM the Venue in Dallas, Texas.

Bryn's Sweet 16 Party at eM the Venue in Dallas, Texas.

Vendors:

Venue and Lighting: eM the Venue
Floral, Design, and Invitations: Dr. Delphinium
Band: Taylor Pace Orchestra
DJ: Andy Austin
Caterer: Farm to Market Catering, Savor Gastropub
Photos: Jason Kindig
Hair and Makeup: Maitee Miles
Ice Cream Treats: Frost 321
Cake: Pink Apron Pastry
Piano Rental: Piano Gallery Dallas
Cups and Napkins: Paper Place
Coordination: Mary-Frances Hurt and Tayler Simoneau for DFW Events

Wedding Details Inspired by Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year

Trending

Happy New Year, friends! Tis the season for fresh starts and new beginnings, two ideas perfectly encompassed by Pantone’s 2017 color of the year: Greenery!

Wedding Details Inspired by Pantone Greenery

Here’s what Pantone has to say about the symbolism behind the selection: “Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”

The perfect prescription for couples counting down the days until they say “I do,” don’t you agree? Pantone goes on to describe the verdant hue as “nature’s neutral,” and we love that this particular shade of green can be paired with everything from metallics, to bright pops of coral and turquoise, to 2016’s gorgeous color of the year combo, Rose Quartz and Serenity.

Convinced that Greenery should play a part in your color palette? Get inspired by these real weddings coordinated by our DFW Events planning team, each of which incorporates fresh tones to fabulous effect!

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photos: Jenny McCann Photography | floral: Park Cities Petals

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photos: Sarah Kate, Photographer | floral: Jackson Durham Events

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photos: Stephen Karlisch, Karlisch Studio | floral: Jackson Durham Events

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photos: Sarah Kate, Photographer | floral: Bella Flora of Dallas | see more on Style Me Pretty here

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photos: Sarah Kate, Photographer | floral: Jackson Durham Events | see more here and here

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photo: Cameron and Kelly Studio | floral: Floriography | see more on Wedding Chicks here

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photos: Sarah Kate, Photographer | floral: Jackson Durham Events

Travel Beauty Must-Haves from My Fabulous Faces

DestinationVendor Spotlight

Destination weddings in Napa, Palmetto Bluff, Santa Fe, and Cabo. Site visits to ranches in the Texas Hill Country and private villas in Mexico. A tour of the Inside Weddings office in Los Angeles. An unforgettable FAM trip in Bali. Needless to say, 2016 has been one of our most travel-packed years yet!

As we all know, “travel” and “beauty” aren’t always words that go hand-in-hand—especially when a lengthy flight is involved. To help us pack our suitcases with as much ease as our emergency kits, we tasked Mayra Rams-Sanabria with rounding up the top products to have on hand (or rather, in bag) when en route to our next destination. Read on to discover the seven products that the founder of My Fabulous Faces never jet-sets without!

Mayra Rams-Sanabria of My Fabulous Faces

Mayra beautifying a recent DFW Events bride | photo: Carter Rose for F8 Studio

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Trending: Bespoke Gift Ideas for the Groom + Groomsmen

DFW Details

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.

Marry at the Mulia_The Black Tux

Welcome Gift Inspiration for Metropolitan, Traditional, and Destination Weddings

DFW Details

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 

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Planner’s Perspective: Selecting, Stuffing, and Sending Your Wedding Invitations

DFW Details

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!