Meet the Team
Founder and CEO
Mary-Frances Hurt started her career as an all-in-one “wedding planner, assistant, and clean-up crew,” but the SMU graduate’s reputation for ahead-of-the-curve creative excellence soon grew her small business into the premier planning company it is today. “We are a boutique planning firm that is intentional about listening,” says Mary-Frances. “Our events are completely customized to match the client’s heartbeat and bring their unique vision to life.” Having earned the respect of high-profile clients, industry veterans, and vendors alike, Mary-Frances continues to enjoy the challenge of producing larger-than-life events across the United States and beyond. When she’s not busy coordinating a five-star function, free spirited Mary-Frances—who’s better known as MF—enjoys being with her children, traveling, doing as much yoga as possible, and directing her brainpower toward the global future of DFW Events.
Partner and Director of Event Planning
Alison Baker arrived at the DFW Events office in 2003 with an SMU marketing degree, a firm handshake, and a request to begin working and training with Mary-Frances immediately—and the two have been yin and yang creative collaborators ever since. An aficionado of traditional weddings and distinctly “Dallas” celebrations, Alison has orchestrated exceptional events for many of the company’s most noteworthy clients. Her poise, integrity, and genuine love for people have helped DFW Events develop into the personal, relationship driven business it’s known as today. Outside of the office, you’ll likely find Austin born Alison trying out new recipes in the kitchen, fly-fishing near Jackson Hole, scouring restaurant menus, watching Longhorn football, and spending time with her husband and daughter. “I’m just as passionate about my job now as when I first began,” Alison says. “I know this is my calling.”
Planning a fundraising event for her sorority’s philanthropy was all it took to convince University of North Texas graduate Laura Arredondo to switch from a pre-med track to that of a premier event planner. After graduating with a degree in Hospitality Services, Laura began interning for Ashton Gardens and went on to spend three years at the wedding venue as a full time employee. “Working with multiple brides at the same time made me an adept multi-tasker,” says Laura. “I have an eye for detail and organization—nothing is going to get lost in the shuffle.” Laura appreciates the customs associated with multi-cultural weddings, and always looks forward to a destination fête. In her free time, she enjoys going on dates with her husband, spending time with her dogs, and reading every thriller and mystery novel she can find.
VIEW FROM THE TOP: “We did a wedding at Ashton Gardens, and right in front of our client I asked Laura if she wanted a job,” recalls Mary-Frances. “She was conducting a meeting with such professionalism and eloquence—I knew right away she would be a perfect fit for our company.”
After spending twenty-five years overseeing the business interests of high net worth celebrities, professionals, and families, “logistical queen” Gail Peisach moved from Los Angeles to Dallas and began working with DFW Events—first on behalf of a client, and later as the company’s business manager. “The DFW Events office is dynamic and creative,” says Gail, who enjoys traveling with her husband when she’s not managing the company’s business. “Everyone who comes to us is celebrating a special occasion, so the energy here is very positive.” In addition to managing the financial interests of DFW Events, Gail is known as the “voice” of the company, as she is the first person potential clients connect with over the phone. Her years of experience and passion for excellent service never fail to put clients at ease with the business end of event planning.
VIEW FROM THE TOP: “As the first person potential clients connect with over the phone, and the last person they speak with concerning final billing, Gail is the bookend of our company,” says Alison. “She also empowers each member of our team and equips them with the tools they need to be successful.”
Graphic Arts Director
In-house graphic designer Melanie Frazier came to DFW Events after spending seven years designing national retail windows for Neiman Marcus. The former owner of a custom invitation business, Melanie now applies her creative talents to developing the overall brand of each celebration produced by DFW Events. When she’s not creating a magazine ad, designing a wedding invitation, or perfecting a custom logo, you’ll most likely find this mother of two enjoying time with her family or rearranging her home, just for fun. “My work with DFW Events allows me to hone in on the unique perspective of a client and contribute to the look of an event as a whole,” Melanie says. “Anything a client wants, we can brand.”
VIEW FROM THE TOP: “Melanie creates a one stop shopping experience for our clients. She has given us the ability to do in-house branding, invitations, paper products, and more,” Mary-Frances says. “She’s been a game changer for our company and is one of the best hires we’ve made.”
Social Media and Marketing Coordinator
Karley Kiker graduated from Pepperdine University with a degree in Creative Writing, and she’s been producing dynamic, voice-driven content for web and print ever since. After spending time on the Hollywood scene conducting the occasional red carpet interview for Us Weekly magazine, she returned to her roots in Dallas and became a staff writer and society columnist at D Magazine Partners. “After I got engaged, I wrote a column for D Weddings magazine. What began as a short term assignment turned into a career-defining love affair with weddings and events,” says Karley, who is the author of wedding planning book Hitched in a Hurry: The ultimate how-to for a speedy “I do.” When she isn’t blogging, tweeting, or styling an Instagram post for DFW Events, you’ll likely find Karley painting or traveling with her husband.
VIEW FROM THE TOP: “In searching for a creative talent to be the bridge between DFW Events and the social media and print world, Karley’s enthusiasm and talents impressed us, and we felt that she would be the perfect addition to our team,” says Alison. “Her impact on our national presence has been immeasurable.”
After graduating from the University of Kansas in 2013, Abby Simoneau moved to Dallas and accepted a position as the personal assistant to DFW Events Founder and CEO Mary-Frances Hurt. She has since expanded her role within the company to assist with event production and execution, a position that’s a perfect fit for her outgoing personality and love of organization. “No two days are the same when I’m at the office,” says Abby. “I love being involved with so many facets of the planning process, from scheduling meetings, to booking travel, to putting together a wedding welcome gift.” In her downtime, you’ll likely find Abby spending time with friends and her twin sister, Tayler, enjoying the outdoors, or taking her golden retriever to the dog park.
VIEW FROM THE TOP: “My life was forever changed when Abby started working for me two years ago. I was in need of someone who could help me keep my family life and my career in balance, and Abby has done exactly that and more,” says Mary-Frances. “She creates a calming environment everywhere she goes, has the ability to change hats from personal assistant to event production assistant, and empowers me to be a rockstar at home and at the office.”
Although Brooke Nappier is a native of South Carolina, she graduated from Texas A&M (whoop!) and accumulated four years of experience in the non-profit sector before joining the DFW Events team. While working on a leadership program for women in the Middle East, Brooke assisted talented, motivated individuals in developing plans that would create a lasting impact on their countries—not surprisingly, the experience left an indelible mark on Brooke as well. “It was inspiring to see the change these women brought about with far less resources and support than we have in our country,” she says. “Working on that program gave me the perspective needed to overcome challenges in my job, and has made me grateful for the chance to do what I love every day!” Brooke would welcome the opportunity to plan a wedding in her favorite city, Charleston, and loves an organic bouquet accented by garland and greenery. In her free time she enjoys date nights with her husband, curling up with a cup of coffee and a good book, and spending time with her two pups, Ronald and Hugh.
VIEW FROM THE TOP: “While searching for the perfect addition to our coordination team, we identified the need for someone with a can-do attitude and calm demeanor. Brooke completely embodies both of these qualities, and has a gracious confidence that brings such a positive energy to every wedding and event she helps produce. I appreciate that she is willing to take on any project that comes her way, and while she’s our newest team member, it feels as though she’s been a part of DFW Events for years!”