As event planners, we can’t help but love the Fourth of July. After all, the entire nation is gearing up for one big red, white, and blue hued celebration! Whether you’re escaping to the beach for the occasion or planning to enjoy a little BBQ in your own backyard, we hope that these details from patriotic parties of the past will help you transition from work mode to seeing fireworks explode. Let freedom ring, and let the festivities begin!
How do you end your wedding day with a bang? By lighting the night with a private fireworks show for your guests, of course! With that said, there are certain best-practices and regulations you’ll need to keep in mind if you want to (fire)work with this type of entertainment at your next event. Click here to read our Founder + CEO’s top five tips for orchestrating a fireworks display, as shared with Inside Weddings magazine!
Playing with fire not really your thing? Distribute flags instead! Bonus points if you gift your guests with fun dance floor props. We promise they’ll be into it, and you’ll get some amazing reception photos out of it, too!
Lindsey and Ryan love the Fourth of July so much that they selected the date for their wedding welcome party! Read all about it and see every last dynamic detail by clicking over to Inside Weddings for a full recap.
The death of landlines and the omnipresence of iPhones. The rise, fall, and reinvention of the boy band. The exchange of Blockbuster rentals for Netflix binge-watching. The nearly universal adoption of athleisure. From technological advancements to fashion trends, the last 20 years have produced seismic-level shifts in every sphere, and the world of wedding and event planning is no exception (event hashtags, anyone?). In celebration of DFW Events’ twentieth year in business, let’s take a look back at some of the trends and transformations that helped shape the landscape of event planning into the industry it is today…no #throwbackthursday required!
20 WAYS EVENT PLANNING HAS CHANGED IN 20 YEARS as told by Mary-Frances Hurt | Founder & CEO, DFW Events
1. YOU’RE INVITED. “Twenty years ago, it was exclusively Crane and William Arthur for invitations, and engraving and thermography were the only options for differentiating your typography. Today’s couples have the option of incorporating calligraphy, foiling, letterpress, and a variety of colors into their suites. Ecru paper with black ink is no longer a must-do—invitations have become wildly inventive and representative of each couple’s personality and style.”
Complete wedding invitation suite featuring matte gold foiling and inlaid lucite | produced by Melanie Frazier for DFW Events | photo: Katie Pinson Photography
2. SO GIFTED. “Couples registered exclusively at department stores. Now couples have the option to work with registry specialists like Consilium Lifestyle Collections, to register at stores like Anthropologie, to request honeymoon contributions, or even to sponsor charitable causes through services like The Good Beginning.”
4. SPOTLIGHT ON ENTERTAINMENT. “Bands and ceremony musicians have always been around, but musical selections have definitely changed. Some church weddings are incorporating secular music in addition to traditional liturgical selections, and receptions are featuring vendors like tap dancers and live artists to keep guests entertained throughout the evening.”
5. HAVE A SEAT. “Chairs and table linens were always rented from your venue—white, cream, silver, or gold only. Today, a variety of specialty rental companies exist that provide truly unique linens and residential-style event furnishings in the entire Pantone spectrum.”
6. DINNER IS SERVED. “Twenty years ago seated dinners were a must! Then came buffets, and then food stations. Now we’re seeing a hybrid—everyone takes a seat, the first course is served, and then guests go to serving stations. This provides the elegance of a seated dinner with greater menu variety and mobility.”
7. SECOND CHANCE FOR THE SECOND LOOK. “While second looks were really popular in the 40s and 50s—brides of that generation typically changed into a travel suit after the reception—the practice fell out of fashion in the 90s. Today the trend is in style again, with many brides wearing two or even three gowns over the course of the evening.”
8. NOW INTRODUCING. “The bride, groom, and the wedding party were announced, but there were no choreographed dances…unless you count the macarena and train dances.”
9. DRESSING DOWN. “Grooms almost exclusively wore black tuxedos with tails twenty years ago. We see a stronger preference for suits today. Grooms have a wide variety of styles and colors to choose from thanks to upscale online rental companies like The Black Tux.”
10. VENDOR SEARCH. “There was no social media or custom event hashtags…because there was no internet! Until wedding-centric magazines and blogs came along, you had to rely on a printed directory to find vendors.”
MF’s first ever Dallas wedding guide (circa 1996)! At the time, Arlington Hall could be rented for $85 from 6 p.m. to midnight.
11. CHOOSE YOUR SHOES. “In addition to matching their gowns, bridesmaids always wore matching shoes. Today we see bridal parties wearing complementary looks in a variety of styles for the wedding ceremony. The new trend is to gift your bridesmaids with matching Converse or Keds for the reception!”
photo: Haley Rynn Ringo | more from this wedding here
12. JUST DANCE. “Dance floor props and photo booths are reception staples today, but they weren’t around twenty years ago.”
13. SWEET SOMETHINGS. “In the Dallas area there used to be just three cake bakers. Today there are many more, and designs have gotten so creative. No more plastic pillars in between cake layers! Faux cakes were also unheard of when I first started planning weddings, but they’re common now—a great way to achieve visual ‘wow factor’ in a more cost-effective manner.”
Typical early 2000s cake with plastic pillars in between layers | photo via Delish
14. NEW DEVELOPMENTS. “Wedding photography was exclusively done in film; there was no digital photography. Videography equipment consisted of fifteen-pound cameras, whereas today drones are often brought in to capture a bird’s eye view of the ceremony and reception.”
15. LOVE IN BLOOM. “Floral was loose, then transitioned into tight, formal, ball-shaped bouquets and arrangements. Now we’re back to loose yet stylized floral arrangements that truly look like works of art.”
16. LIGHT THE NIGHT. “Until ten or twelve years ago, there was no pin-spotting or uplighting at events. Now it’s a mainstay at every event we produce.”
17. HITCH A RIDE. “I used tohire seven limos on the day of a wedding for the wedding party, and the bride and groom always left in a limo or a vintage car. Now we see couples exiting in bicycles, side cars, pickup trucks, and more!”
20. WHAT WE OWE TO J.LO. “Last but not least, when I got married, there were only a handful of wedding planners and they all catered to exclusive zip codes. There were not many who worked with ‘regular brides,’ which is what motivated me to start my own business. That all changed after Jennifer Lopez starred in The Wedding Planner in 2001—there was a huge jump in interest after that!”
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). Let’s explore the logistics of hosting a wedding or event at a museum!
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.
wedding at The Perot with decorative details inspired by the museum’s geological exhibit | photos: Kelly Alexander | planning: DFW Events
We’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!
Progressive dinner and 50th birthday party at The Perot Museum—see more here photos: Jason Kindig | planning: DFW Events | floral and design: David Kimmel
3 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN PLANNING A MUSEUM WEDDING
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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 detailsand 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.
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!
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 appearanceat 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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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!”
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: 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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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 beautifying a recent DFW Events bride | photo: Carter Rose for F8 Studio