We are thrilled today to shine the spotlight on our go-to resource for all things travel, Strong Travel Services!Whether we’re booking guests’ flights for a destination wedding or helping a couple plan the perfect honeymoon, we constantly refer our clients to Strong Travel due to the company’s unmatched expertise and five-star level of service.
Strong Travel is also an integral part of our company’s newest brand, Destination EnSite, which introduces top event professionals to premier properties all over the world through familiarity trips—last summer took us to Hilton Head Island for “Wed at the Westin,” and this August we’ll be heading to Indonesia to exploreThe Mulia Balialongside leading event professionals from across the globe!
exterior of The Mulia Bali’s Eternity Chapel | photo courtesy of The Mulia Bali
Without further ado, meet Scott Stout, a 30-year travel industry veteran who’s given us the scoop on more than a few exciting travel opportunities…we recommend getting your passport ready before reading!
So, you’ve finally booked the live band or DJ of your dreams for your wedding. But now it’s time to select the song that could become your song. You know—the one you play on every anniversary because it never fails to remind you of the joy-filled day that the two of you said “I do.”
Sound familiar? If so, then ditch those song-selection jitters goodbye! We recently tasked one of our favorite entertainers, Jordan Kahn of Jordan Kahn Orchestra,with selecting the top 10 first dance songs of 2016. We love Jordan’s mantra—”Success to me has always been a full dance floor, and I believe that is a big reason why people hire me today”—and with that in mind, there’s no one we’d trust more with this job!
Just like in Grease, we told Jordan that “the rules are…there ain’t no rules” when it came to his selection process. In other words? A song didn’t necessarily have to be brand new in order to make the cut—the goal was simply to identify a few options that have yet to be overplayed on the dance floor. Without further ado, we’re thrilled to share Jordan’s picks with you today. Read on for the top 10 tunes that are sure to start your marriage on the right note. Literally!
Here’s the scenario: You’ve just gotten engaged, and you’ve been to wedding after wedding, and you’ve heard the same songs over and over again, and you want your own reception to be unique. I get it. Your first dance is also one of the first impressions your guests will have of you as a married couple. With that in mind, use these suggestions to ensure that your first dance is meaningful, memorable, and special.
“All The Way” by Frank Sinatra: Want a song that has a classic big band sound, with a ton of meaning, that’s easy to dance to, but not as overplayed as “At Last?” Coming in at number one, this is your song!
“Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Meghan Trainor and John Legend: A great new duet about love. This song is relatively new, meaning you could be the first among your friends to use it as you and your hubby’s first dance song.
“Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran: This song makes people say “awww” almost instantly. It’s like Ed knows exactly what your significant other is thinking in that moment.
“Just The Way You Are” by Billy Joel: One of my favorite songs. Billy Joel is a master song writer and lyricist. Pick this for a meaningful song that’s easy to dance to.
“From This Moment On” by Shania Twain: Song writers of today could take a lesson from producer Mutt Lang and singer/songwriter Shania Twain. This song speaks directly to commitment and love, is accompanied by beautiful and moving music, and is easy to dance to.
“I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz: Similar to Ed Sheeran at spot number three, this song makes people sigh as soon as they hear the guitar intro. It may have been played a lot in 2012, but at this point, it’s had enough rest to make a lasting impact for 2016.
“Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons: This one is a classic, and features two distinct parts. You will get to slow dance with your significant other at first, but once the chorus hits, your entire wedding party will be singing along!
“We Are In Love” by Harry Connick Jr.: For the couple who knows how to dance, and might even choreograph their first dance, this is a fantastic song about love. When paired with the right dance moves, it’s sure to leave your guests talking about your first dance for years to come.
“Marry Me” by Train: This one speaks for itself. It’s romantic, it sends a clear message, and it’s easy to dance to. You can’t go wrong with this song.
“Sugar” by Maroon 5: Known as the wedding song of 2015, this song might be on its way out, but is still a good choice if you’re looking to have your guests share in your first dance. It’s guaranteed to fill your dance floor so that you can transition straight into a dance party!
Of course, if your song isn’t on this list, that’s okay. Sometimes, I recommend that the bride and groom think back on any special songs they might have shared while dating. I also recommend to my couples that, regardless of the song, the key to keeping your guests engaged during the special dances is to shorten them to around two to three minutes.
Happy song hunting!
All the best,
About Jordan Kahn: For over a decade, Jordan Kahn has been performing at high-profile luxury events all over the country. With a fully customizable Big Band Orchestra of up to 21 pieces that can seamlessly transition from dinner to dancing, matched with his experience as an event and performance expert, Jordan knows how to take your vision and execute it to the most professional, luxury standard. Would you like to experience the new standard in luxury entertainment? Would you like to bring a one-of-a-kind performance experience to your guests? Do you want your dance floor to stay full all night long? Get in touch with Jordan by visiting www.JordanKahnOrchestra.com.
We are thrilled to debut our first spotlight of 2016 today! So thrilled, in fact, that we’re throwing confetti in the air and putting on our favorite party hats. And we mean that literally, because the subject we’re celebrating is none other than The Birthday Party Project!
images courtesy of The Birthday Party Project
Founded in 2012 by Paige Chenault and her husband, Colin, The Birthday Party Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing joy to homeless children through the magic of birthdays. A professional event planner, Paige was inspired to give back after the birth of her daughter, Lizzie. After years of research and consideration, Paige pulled together a team of talented, caring friends to help her launch The Birthday Party Project—our own founder, Mary-Frances, is a proud board member!
We are truly inspired by Paige’s passion for giving back. She has made it her life mission to celebrate others, so it’s an honor to turn the tables and shine the spotlight on her organization today. Here to tell us all about the TBPP’s upcoming Saturday Night Live themed anniversary fête is Lara Gaither, Executive Director of The Birthday Party Project.
We can’t wait to “party on” with those of you who have already purchased your tickets for #TBPPTurns4 on January 23. If you weren’t able to snag a ticket to the sold-out event, you can still click here to make a donation!
MEET THE PARTY GIRL
Name: Lara Gaither
Title/Position: Executive Director
Years involved with The Birthday Party Project: Over 2 years
How has The Birthday Party Project grown in the past four years?
“We have exploded in such an amazing way! To date we have thrown over 351 birthday parties in 8 different markets with over 14,500 kids in attendance. AMAZING!”
Favorite thing about what you do:
“I have two favorites: the kids we celebrate and the birthday enthusiasts (volunteers) that make it happen. Both are some of the most inspirational, kind, fun, resourceful, passionate, giving, JOYful people I have ever met.”
Most memorable Birthday Party Project moment:
“There are too many to count. Truly! The most memorable moments are when kids really enjoy the party. The smiles, the dance parties, the magic when we light the candles, the enthusiasts singing Happy Birthday….most of the kids we celebrate have never had a birthday celebration. We believe that our mission is something worth sharing. We know that not every child has a home, but every child has a birthday. Although we can’t end homelessness across America, we can celebrate every homeless child.”
Three things people probably don’t know about The Birthday Party Project:
“We currently have 60 piñatas in our office. We really love a good dance party. We have sung happy birthday over 1600 times!”
JOIN THE PARTY!
What inspired the theme of “The Birthday Party Project Turns Four” event?
“We obviously like a good party. We wanted to do something different, fun, and creative. The past two years people have come in costume…what better theme than SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE?!?”
What can guests expect at the party?
“We are taking this event to an entirely new level. We will have an SNL-themed event designed by our uber creative Party Partners (including SNL photobooths), an amazing silent and live auction, music by Jordan Kahn Band and DJ’s Jen Miller and Paul Paredes, favorite Dallas chefs doing their spin on New York Street Food, Luxe Bar by our friends at PATRON, and lots of surprises…we can not tell you everything!”
What is the number one thing you hope guests take away from the event?
“We hope people leave inspired to give back.”
LOOKING BACK: #TBPPTurns3
Those of you who attended #TBPPTurns3 know that the Grease-themed evening was a night to remember! Enjoy these photos from last year’s event snapped by The Mamones, and get those Saturday Night Live costumes ready. We can’t wait to see the fun looks you come up with!
Imagine an outdoor reception without café lights; a dance floor without a monogram spotlight; an oversized ballroom minus the ambiance. In these scenarios and so many others, it’s easy to see how lighting so often serves as the finishing touch and pièce de résistancewhen it comes to event decor!
images courtesy of BEYOND featuring DFW Events productions past and present! | photo: Stephen Karlisch
That being said, we are thrilled today to shine the (figurative) spotlight on BEYOND, a vendor that has (literally) done the very same for our clients on countless occasions! In addition to their gorgeous lighting work, BEYOND provides top-notch audio and video services that always bring out the best in the events we produce. We could go on and on about all the reasons we love working with this team, but instead, why not meet them for yourself?
MEET THE TEAM
Years in business: 9 – BEYOND made its business debut as Lite Dallas in 2006, and kept the name for 5 years until debuting their current moniker in 2010 (the eve of their 10-year anniversary!)
History in the industry: Collectively, the BEYOND team has over 25 years of experience in the world of weddings and events.
What does a typical day at the BEYOND office look like? “It’s never the same! Some days things are quiet and everyone is working at their desks (which, let’s be honest, sometimes includes video games). Other days we are creating and building the next custom lighting install for a weekend event, testing our newest video equipment, or working hard to help a client with a last minute request. Of course, some days include all of the above…in just one day!”
What are we likely to find the BEYOND team doing on the day of an event? “You’ll find us working hard and communicating with the client on-site to make sure that everything, from lighting to audio to video, is surpassing the client’s expectation!”
What sets BEYOND apart in the industry? “Our customer service and attention to detail.”
Why is lighting important at a wedding or an event? “No matter what type of event, lighting is a great way to transform the room; it plays a very important part of the overall décor. Pinspots, specifically when floral is involved, are a MUST. Floral is too beautiful to get missed in the room, and with a little white light the arrangements just pop!”
What about audio and video? “The quality of audio is very important, especially for the ceremony. You never want the guests to miss the beautiful words being shared between the bride and groom. Video is a great way to capture that moment, have it for a lifetime, and – with the help of social media – share it with friends and family!”
Three things people probably don’t know about the BEYOND team: “One: BEYOND’s corporate name is You Know What, Inc. Yes, that is what your caller ID says when we call. Two: Our Instagram handle might be @beyondldtx, but our company name is just BEYOND, not BEYOND LD. The ‘LD’ does not stand for Lite Dallas or Lighting Design. Unfortunately, the URL beyond.com was simply already taken! Three: Melissa Rolls Weyer was the first employee of BEYOND. Bonus: The company began out of Ryan Kelley’s garage in Denison, Texas.”
Now that you’ve had a chance to meet the team and see examples of their work, we think you’ll agree that BEYOND’s name is a complete reflection of their history of going above and beyond in everything they do!
It’s time for another vendor spotlight, and today we are so thrilled to celebrate our dear friend Barbara McAfee at Ducky-Bob’s! There is no such thing as an “event disaster” thanks to Barbara. If anything threatens to go awry she is always willing to go above and beyond for our team, ensuring that our clients get hitched without a hitch! When she arrives on the scene she truly brings the magic with her—just one sprinkle of Barbara’s fairy dust and everything falls into place for a seamless event experience. Read on to learn more about the “making of the magic” and experience a day in the life of Barbara McAfee!
photos: courtesy of Ducky-Bob’s
Name: Barbara McAfee
Title/Position: Senior Account Manager at Ducky-Bob’s
Years in business: 17
How did you first get involved with the wedding/event industry? “I actually started as a part-time cater waiter to earn extra money. It didn’t take long before I was hooked and working in the industry full time.”
Favorite thing about what you do: “Definitely the wonderful clients I get to work with!”
Most memorable moment on the job: “There have been so many but one of the most memorable jobs ever was a few years ago. It was sponsored by a major carpet manufacturer; we set up a huge pole tent to host 400 participants simultaneously throwing pies at each other—and set a new Guinness World Record. Needless to say, the carpet was covered in pie but demonstrated how well the stain guard worked! We on the other hand were scrubbing pie off the tents for a week—priceless!”
see more Ducky-Bob’s event photos by becoming a fan on Facebook!
A DAY IN THE LIFE
What does a typical day in your life look like? “That’s the thing I love about this industry—every day is different. I could do a corporate presentation in the morning, attend an industry lunch event, and then out to the middle of a field to measure for a tent in the afternoon!”
What sets Ducky-Bob’s apart in the industry? “The depth of knowledge and experience. It doesn’t hurt that as part of the Classic family we have the largest inventory in the event industry.”
Where did the name Ducky-Bob’s actually come from? “Bob Fernberg owned a tool rental company for several years. In the mid 70’s his wife, ‘Ducky,’ suggested they branch out into event rentals and Ducky-Bob’s was born. Ducky is actually credited with being the first in Dallas to offer round table linens!”
What is the most unique request a bride has ever had for her wedding, and how did your team fulfill it? “Several years ago a bride wanted her guests to be greeted with penguins. What could Ducky Bob’s do but set up a climate controlled tent to house them?”
Three things people probably don’t know about you: “I am a certified diver, I can sew (although I don’t find the time very often), and I love, love, love snow!”
From the latest looks hitting the runway during Bridal Fashion Week (hello, sheer capelets!) to the most tantalizing takes on the season’s tablescapes, we are constantly on the lookout for what’s new and next in the world of event planning. That’s partially because we could look at pictures of Romona Keveza’s Spring 2016 line all day long, but mostly because we’re dedicated to sourcing and presenting our clients with the best-of-the-best trends, vendors, and luxury-level service offerings that exist!
With that said, we couldn’t resist sharing one of our latest discoveries—Rare Gems of India, an intricate and exotic jewelry line created by Heather Asbury! Perhaps you’re on the hunt for a chic and unique gift to give your bridesmaids, or maybe you’re looking for a statement piece to wear on your wedding day. Either way, we have a feeling that you might find exactly what you’re looking for among Heather’s hand-crafted jewels. Read on to learn more about Heather’s work and to take a peek at her collection!
RARE GEMS OF INDIA photos courtesy of Heather Asbury
Who: Heather Asbury, owner of Rare Gems of India What: Supplier of rare and unique Indian jewelry imported directly and sold to private bridal clients Why: Heather says her favorite aspect of working within the wedding industry has to do with “creating beautiful designs to feature every bride; Custom designing unique monogram items to celebrate a bride’s new monogram and adorning my brides with exquisite jewels to highlight their gowns.” Yes, please!
One of Heather’s most memorable moments as a designer came when she was tasked with “taking a bride’s family crest that was to be featured on the top of her wedding invitation and crafting it into a gorgeous keepsake locket and matching cufflinks for her groom to wear on their wedding day,” she says. “We then designed customized horn bangles adorned with her wedding day displayed and diamonds.”
See more of Heather’s work by following @raregemsofindia on Instagram
Her inspiration: “Old world collectibles—beautiful customized one-of-a-kind pieces that will be heirloom keepsakes crafted in the traditional Indian way.”
Design process: “Brides will have the ability to choose from my extensive collection of beautiful pieces or custom design anything they can imagine! Custom sketches are rendered, drafting takes place, and jewels are ordered directly from India. Specialized custom orders typically take four to six weeks for completion.” As for the perfect pieces she suggests for wedding-day wear? “A stack of ornate polki cut diamond bangles; Intricate and unique chandelier earrings.”
Title/Position: Founder, FreshAndPolished.com; Co-founder, Perez Photography; Love Runs Deep Photo Booths
Years in business: “Fresh&Polished and Love Runs Deep Photo Booths were officially launched this year. Perez Photography has been going strong for almost 9 years.”
Favorite thing about what you do: “Hands down, the people I get to work with. The wedding industry is full of fun and creative people so there’s never a dull moment!”
Most memorable moment on the job: “My wife and I were in Jamaica photographing a wedding that was almost ruined by a hurricane. I’ll never forget that it stopped raining right before the bride walked down the aisle, only to come down even stronger at the reception knocking over tables and décor.”
see more of Cesar and Tanya’s work by following @perezweddings on Instagram
FRESH & POLISHED
What’s this new venture all about? “Fresh&Polished is a site focused on providing quality and informative posts on men’s style. A blog that offers recommendations based on research and personal experiences.”
Has fashion always been a passion? “Definitely, I’ve always immensely respected the creativity and talent in the fashion world.”
What inspired you to create this new website? “What inspired me was the confidence and knowledge I gained from learning the rules of dressing well. You don’t have to follow them but knowing why they work will give you the needed confidence to pull anything off.”
How do you plan to develop this blog in the future? “I’m currently working with a Dallas videographer to bring the site a lot of great how-to videos, interviews with movers and shakers, and product reviews.”
On typical Tuesdays, we’ve been known to highlight travel experiences around the DFW Events social-sphere (you’ll see what we mean by searching #TravelTuesday on any of our accounts). But this is no typical Tuesday. Since we’re shining the spotlight on our dear friend Mr. Julian Leaver today, we’re officially adopting his signature #BowTieTuesday hashtag! Keep reading for the inside scoop on what’s happening with the Rosewood brand, little-known facts about Julian’s musical background, and where his love for those signature bow ties first began.
How did you first get involved with the wedding/event industry? “I started my own business at university, Method Events, doing sorority parties!”
Favorite thing about what you do: “Having the chance to meet so many new and interesting people and to play a little part in one of the biggest moments in their lives.”
Most memorable moment on the job: “Booking a 450 person buyout of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek with a massive tent on our back lawn. We don’t see those every day and they are certainly something to look forward to!”
see more photos from events at Rosewood properties by following @RWDallasWeddings on Instagram
A DAY IN THE LIFE
What does a typical day in the life of Julian Leaver look like? “Every day working for Rosewood is exciting and different. Generally I start at one of the hotels and work through the inquiries that came in from the night before. Then I try to have lunch with a wedding planner or vendor, followed by more back and forth between the two hotels, doing site visits, having meetings, and assisting in managing the large catering staff at both properties. This is usually followed by a cocktail party, fashion show, or gala for the various charities I support here in Dallas!”
We have to know: How and when did your Bow Tie Tuesday tradition first begin? “It began in the first grade! I wore bow ties and penny loafers. My mom actually gave me my original bow tie framed this year as a memento for winning Caterer of the Year through NACE.”
And what about your famous hashtag, #TheDapperDiplomat? “The Dapper Diplomat started thanks to Modern Luxury Brides Magazine. In the Fall/Winter issue they did a great story about me and coined the term, so I have adopted it and there are several things in the works to ensure you see more of it in the near future!”
What do you most appreciate about the Rosewood brand? “Rosewood is the brand to watch in the luxury market currently. We are growing by leaps and bounds, expanding our reach across the globe, and working locally to synergize our two properties and enhance the service level for both our clients and vendors! It is an exciting place to work at a very exciting time!”
Three things people probably don’t know about you: “1. I am an Eagle Scout. 2. I’ve lived in both Israel and China. 3. I played the Cello for 13 years.”
We are thrilled to introduce a brand new, reoccurring feature to the DFW Events blog: Vendor Spotlights, a category dedicated to highlighting the incredible people we partner with to make our clients’ dreams come true.
For our debut spotlight we managed to snag a few minutes with Maitee Miles, a Dallas-based, world-traveling hair and make up artist who creates iconic looks for our brides on a regular basis (and just so happens to be an iconic beauty herself). As January is the season of fresh starts, we asked Maitee to help us tackle one of our biggest beauty goals for 2015: revamping our skin care routine. Read on for Maitee’s go-to DIY treatment, career highlights, and the secret to maintaining a flawless complexion while on the road!
Title/position: Owner, Maitee Miles Hair and Make Up Artistry
Years in business: 28
How did you get involved in the wedding and event industry? “A close friend of mine ‘gave me’ as a gift to a co-worker who was getting married. It was the first wedding I had ever done. I was instantly hooked.”
Favorite thing about what you do: “Easy—making people feel better about themselves without having to totally change the way they look.”
Most memorable moment on the job: “I recently did a wedding where the mom had terminal cancer. I went and did the bride and her mom’s hair and make up in her hospital room. Hearing her mother say ‘I almost look like myself’ will be something I will carry with me forever.”
see more behind-the-scenes beauty photos by following Maitee on Instagram: @maiteemiles
What are your top tips for women looking to revitalize their skin care in 2015? “Cleanse, exfoliate, treat. Always! Get to know your skin and what works for you and don’t shy away from all the new and innovative lasers and treatments that dermatologists have to offer!”
Two bad beauty habits to lose this year: “STOP TANNING! STOP SMOKING!”
Two new healthy habits to pick up: “Juicing and exercising!”
How can we keep our skin beautiful when we are on the road/traveling? “Carry travel sizes of your favorite products, especially under three ounces so you can keep them in your carry-on. Staying hydrated is the single most important thing when you are traveling!”
Are there any DIY remedies you recommend? “To firm my skin and minimize pores quickly I will wash and steam my face, mix egg whites and honey to make a mask, let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry. It leaves my skin both firm and hydrated.”
Final thoughts: “There are a plethora of new non-invasive treatments that many dermatologists/aestheticians offer now. Many of them offer both immediate and long-lasting results. If you start treating things early it will make a huge difference in how you age!”
We are incredibly thankful to have the opportunity to work with so many dynamic vendors. To celebrate all of the wonderful moments we’ve brought to life together, we’ll be celebrating our event partners by putting them in the spotlight! Look for fun Q&As and behind-the-scenes event details…coming this January!
Mary-Frances with Nardos Imam, Mackenzie Brittingham Sumrall, and Nelson Robinson. Photo:John Cain Photography