We’re gearing up for a food-tastic fall! Our event planning team is honored to be a part of both the Dallas All Star Chef Classic and World Food Championships this October. The coolest news? There’s synergy between the two events. The World Food Championships recently announced that proceeds from the signature Grand Tasting event will benefit the Dallas 24 Hour Club!
As part of WFC’s new relationship with the 24 Hour Club, two World Food Champions will also participate in the 2019 Dallas All Star Chef Classic. Terry Kranz, owner of TK Culinary, created the Dallas All Star Chef Classic alongside Marsha Williamson to assist with fundraising efforts and further awareness about addiction within the restaurant community.
“24 Hour Club has given me everything I have,” shared Terry, who lived at the Dallas 24 Hour Club twice during the height of his own addiction. “Today I own a catering company, I do the best events in the world, and I’m respected. What really drives me now is to show another alcoholic that it’s possible to make it out.”
So what are you waiting for, DFW foodies? Good food, great fun, and a worthy cause await. Fire up those tastebuds and catch all the details for both events below!
SAVE THE DATE FOR THESE FABULOUS FOOD EVENTS
October 13, 2019 | Join us at the 6th Annual Dallas All Star Chef Classic benefitting Dallas 24 Hour Club! The event will be held at Sixty Five Hundred from 5:30-8 pm. Dallas’ top chefs will be on the scene to prepare delicious tastings, and guests will also enjoy live music from the Georgia Bridgwater Band along with silent + live auctions.
Reserve your spot: https://www.dallas24hourclub.org/chef
October 16-20, 2019 | We hope to see you at the World Food Championships in Dallas! Presented by Walmart, this 5-day outdoor cooking competition will take place on the Reunion Tower Lawn. Top chefs and home cooks from across the globe will battle for a Category Champion title and $10,000. In the following months, Category Champs will reconvene for a shot at the World Food Champion title and an additional $100,000!
Get your tickets: https://worldfoodchampionships.com/tickets
With fall temperatures finally dipping below seventy degrees, we’re breaking out our cozy sweaters and stocking up on Starbucks seasonal lattes around the DFW Events office! While we’re loving the cooler weather, we’re also missing the bronzy glow of the tans we all had when Mary-Frances, Sarah, and Karley jetted off to Hilton Head Island to host the “Wed at the Westin” Fam trip this August! So for the sake of today’s recap, let’s pretend we’re all laying out at a private cabana and enjoying delicious sips from the Westin’s poolside bar just like the Fam attendees did this summer!
The goal of Wed at the Westin was twofold: to introduce wedding planners and designers from across the nation to the premier venues and service offerings available at The Westin, and to highlight Hilton Head Islandas a leading destination wedding locale. Hilton Head uniquely combines a traditional “island vibe” with true southern style and it’s extremely easy to access. A two-hour direct flight from DFW Airport lands you in historic Savannah, and following a scenic 40-minute car ride from the airport, you’ll find yourself looking at the Atlantic and enjoying one of the most naturally beautiful destinations on the East Coast! As soon as Mary-Frances had the opportunity to visit the island with her family, she knew it would be the perfect place to showcase to brides, grooms, and her friends and colleagues in the industry.
Speaking of those much-loved industry friends, MF was thrilled to welcome attendees from all over the country to the unique Wed at the Westin networking experience. From the founders of Inside Weddingswho joined us from Los Angeles to a fabulous crew of Dallas-based friends, here’s a look at where everyone came from!
design by Melanie Frazier for DFW Events
GEORGIA ON MY MIND
Our guests arrived at the charming Savannah International Airport (SAV) on the morning of Sunday, August 9. Since all of the Wed at the Westin attendees are members of the wedding industry, you know what that means…most of them had produced an event the night beforehand! The perfect remedy for any lingering tiredness? Mimosas, delicious brunch, and a delightful tour of The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa property. After digging into Lowcountry bites crafted by the Westin’s culinary team and enjoying jazz music by Jeremy Davis, our attendees were treated to a surprise stop by the famous Leopold’s Ice Cream cart stationed beneath a tent overlooking The Westin Savannah’s immaculate golf course. A trolley tour of Historic Downtown Savannah followed, and from there, Palmetto Transportationshuttled the group to our host resort for the rest of the weekend: The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa!
Upon arrival at The Westin Hilton Head Island, guests picked up welcome gifts – patterned Spartina 449 totes and Patagonia messenger bags stuffed with goodies curated by Carol Kavanaugh at Destinations by Outside– from one of The Westin’s five lovely venue spaces, Mitchelville Room.
The al-fresco evening welcome party featured a custom cocktail bar, a mix of salads presented in mason jars, and a sweets bar, plus a surprise “invitation only” mock wedding ceremony featuring a gospel serenade by The Voices of El Shaddai choir. After the sun set, attendees lounged on cowhide chairs set up on the Oceanfront Deck to enjoy conversation and bluegrass tunes from Lowcountry Boil Band.
WORK WELL, PLAY WELL
On the second day of the event guests enjoyed activities ranging from beachfront yoga, to appointments at the Heavenly Spa, to outdoor activities including zip lining and stand-up paddle boarding provided by Outside Hilton Head.
The evening’s fine food and wine dinner featured a “City Meets the Lowcountry” theme expertly designed by Kelli Corn Weddings & Events, and was held in The Westin’s Grand Ballroom!A candlelit table surrounded by dramatic black and white draping stood at the center of the ballroom and was filled with luxe details – gold seating-card holders in familiar Lowcountry motifs hand crafted by Kelli Corn, lavish laser cut menus created by DFW Events in-house graphic artist Melanie Frazier, stunning florals, and incredible big band music fromJeremy Davis and the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra!
DINE COASTAL CHIC
On their last full day in Hilton Head before departing on August 12, our guests enjoyed an island tour that included a dolphin cruise captained by representatives of Outside Hilton Head, lunch at the private South Carolina Yacht Club, a self-guided walking (and shopping!) tour of historic Old Town Bluffton, and a photo-op in front of the iconic Harbour Town Lighthouse. That evening attendees enjoyed southern menu items crafted by The Westin team – shrimp and grits, watermelon and feta salad, crab dip, and more – before dancing the night away as Deas Guyz delighted all in attendance with soulful jazz favorites. Oyster shell centerpieces, candles, custom leather cuffs turned napkin rings, and miniature cacti were just a few of the details that contributed to the Oceanfront Pavilion’sfabulous coastal-chic atmosphere designed once again by the talented Kelli Corn!
photos: Khoi Pham and Donna Von Bruening
Now that we’ve shared every last detail of the Wed at the Westin event, it’s time to experience each moment for yourself via this incredible highlight video by Khoi Pham!
We cannot thank The Westin Hilton Head Island and The Westin Savannah enough for partnering with us to make Wed at the Westin such an unforgettable experience for each and every attendee (ourselves included!). The staff at both resorts are clearly dedicated to not only meeting, but exceeding clients’ expectations for their wedding or event. From a planner’s point of view, this makes them a dream to work with! Last but not least, if you’re interested in seeing more behind-the-scenes shots of the event from our guests’ perspective, be sure to look up the hashtag #WedAtTheWestin on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
PS: Hilton Head Island is just the first of many up-and-coming destinations we hope to introduce to our clients and friends in the future, so stay tuned for more information about the next location on our radar!
From Perkins Chapel, to Royal Lane Baptist, to Highland Park Presbyterian and beyond, it is always a joy when our team gets the opportunity to work alongside our Dallas church coordinators! These fabulous women do so much to ensure that each and every “I do” runs smoothly from start to finish, so it was truly a privilege for our team to co-host an afternoon dedicated to “chatting outside the chapel” alongside Garden Gate!
Junior and Maria graciously treated guests to a luncheon menu catered by Terry Kranz of TK Culinary.Delicious bites and sips were enjoyed by all as conversation flowed around a table filled with richly-hued violet blooms crafted by Garden Gate.
With so many representatives of the wedding world in just one space, there was no sweeter way to conclude our luncheon than with slices of cake provided by Dallas Affaires. As a final surprise before waving goodbye, each attendee was given a beautiful floral arrangement and a candle from Junior’s gift collection, as well as a crystal wedding cake favor from Dean Driver of Consilium Lifestyle Collections!
As you’ve probably gathered by this point, the theme of our luncheon was centered around engaging in conversation that goes a bit deeper than the “hustle and bustle” a wedding day allows. Today, we’re building on that theme by sharing the answers to a few questions we posed to each guest. Take a peek at their responses below – we have a feeling you’ll enjoy getting to know our Dallas church coordinators on a more personal level just as much as we did!
What is your favorite memory from a wedding you’ve coordinated?
“The ring bearer was upset and the decision had been made that he wasn’t going to walk down the aisle. Whoever was supposed to be watching him wasn’t, and he got loose and ran down the center aisle during the solo. The problem was that he only had a shirt on…no pants! All four grandparents grabbed him and walked him out down the side aisle. Could have made a fortune on ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos,’ or if it had happened recently, on YouTube!”
What’s a fun fact, hobby, or something about yourself that people might not already know?
“We were married at Park Cities Baptist 33 years ago and both of our sons married at PCBC. The church holds many wonderful memories for our family.”
What is your favorite memory from a wedding you’ve coordinated?
“It was a seven o’clock wedding on a Saturday evening and the tux shop was closed when the father of the bride realized his bow tie didn’t match what the others were wearing. I called my husband (we live five minutes from the church) and told him I needed his black bow tie. Five minutes later, he called and in the middle of Mockingbird Lane and Hillcrest, he handed off the bow tie!”
The number one item every bride needs in her wedding day emergency kit is… “Duct tape.”
What is your favorite memory from a wedding you’ve coordinated?
“In all my years here, the only wedding that beat my own daughter’s (which was last October) was the tiny chapel wedding of two 80-year-olds. As the Pastor who officiated said: ‘They were overwhelming with sweetness.'”
What’s a fun fact, hobby, or something about yourself that people might not already know?
“I met my husband when we were freshmen at SMU. On our first date, he toasted to our first child (no kidding) – he said the minute he met me, he knew I was the one. We were married the year after we graduated and have been married 35 years.”
photo by Andrea Polito Photography | Don’t miss thisgorgeous PHPC “I do” from the DFW Events archives!
What is your favorite memory from a wedding you’ve coordinated?
“A couple who claimed German roots wanted a German tradition for the wedding. Apparently, the first act of a newly-married German couple is to do work together to prove they can make it in life as a couple. This couple decided to use the old German custom at weddings of sawing a log in half. After the ceremony, everyone gathered outside the front doors of the church to watch the event. The log was pre-sawed but only about a third of the way through. The wood must have been very hard because they took FOREVER and used a lot of elbow grease to complete the task – but they did it – ending up with sawdust all over them and their formal attire.”
The number one item every bride needs in her wedding day emergency kit is… “Breath mints.”
photo by Andrea Polito Photography | See more here!
Aren’t they just the coolest? Many of these women have been in the wedding world since Mary-Frances founded DFW Events 18 years ago, so needless to say, our entire team left the luncheon feeling inspired by the words of wisdom and fantastic stories everyone had to share! Biggest thanks to all of the vendors who made this event so lovely for our very special guests. Our “Chat Outside The Chapel” event would not have been possible without you!
Event host, floral design, and decor rentals: Garden Gate
In need of a little island time? Consider today’s post a mini vacation—we’re recapping Mary-Frances’ recent research trip to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina!
A little background for you: Mary-Frances and The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa have partnered to host a familiarity trip for members of the wedding industry. The event will take place August 9-12 and will be attended by expert designers and planners from New York City, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, and everywhere in between.
Just wait until you see the invitation inside! Design by Melanie Frazier for DFW Events | Calligraphy by Tara Jones
While we can’t reveal all of the exciting details surrounding the Fam just yet, we can give you a little sneak peek into Mary-Frances’ top takeaways from her initial visit and share a few Instagram-worthy moments as well!
TOP TAKEAWAYS: The Westin’s Well-Being Movement photos: @maryfranceshurt and @dfwevents on Instagram
Mary-Frances valued learning about the Westin brand’s six pillars of well-being during her stay on Hilton Head Island. This global initiative was designed to inspire guests to discover new approaches to well-being—here’s how that played out during Mary-Frances’ visit to the Lowcountry!
Sleep Well: “Two words: Heavenly Bed. As much as I looked forward to all of my activities and meetings, it was hard to convince myself to leave the comfort of my room each morning!”
Eat Well: “As a yoga-lover who’s passionate about health and wellness, I was so impressed by the SuperFoodsRx™ offerings on The Westin’s menu. They strike a balance of great food that you feel good about eating—think egg white omelets, whole-wheat blueberry pancakes, a delicious juice bar, and more. The cookies and milk my family received in our room upon arrival weren’t bad, either!”
Move Well: “Bike rides on the beach and kayaking with my daughter courtesy of Outside Hilton Head were definite trip highlights.”
Feel Well: “Who couldn’t feel well at the beach? Aside from the ocean breezes, I loved the Pluff Mud Love mask I received in my welcome bag and the signature White Tea scent lingering in the lobby. So relaxing!”
Work Well: “My Wi-Fi extended all the way to the beach—perfect for checking emails with a view.”
Play Well: “While my kids loved playing ping pong in the resort courtyard, I had the time of my life on shark fishing expedition!”
We are so excited to introduce our friends and industry partners to the natural beauty of Hilton Head Island next month, and to celebrate the exciting things unfolding at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa as well! Want to stay up-to-date with the latest news? Say “I do” to following #WedAtTheWestin on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
Engaged gals, raise your hand! (Preferably that shiny left one.) If you still haven’t said “I do” to a wedding gown, we’ve got the perfect opportunity lined up for you! It involves shopping, bubbly, brunch, and giving back. What could be better?
Here’s the scoop: On May 16, our friends at BvB Dallas—the powder-puff playing young-professionals organization formerly known as Blondes vs. Brunettes Dallas—are hosting a fashion show and auction featuring gorgeous gowns donated by Stanley Korshak! All of the designer dresses (we’re talking runway favorites Romona Keveza, Angel Sanchez, Carolina Herrera, and more) are sample sizes from the 2014 season. In addition to snagging current confections for a fraction of a couture price tag, we love that brides-to-be attending this event can turn the purchase of their dream gown into an opportunity to give back in a big way—all of the proceeds from the BvB Dallas Bridal Blitz will be donated to fund Alzheimer’s research and care.
Because we asked very nicely, BvB Dallas gave us an exclusive look at three of the styles up for grabs. Take a peek below and note how the looks line up with the most recent trends spotted on the Spring 2016 runway, then see more by following +BvBDallas on Cyber-Dust! Additional styles will be debuted on the app leading up to the event next weekend.
LOOK 1: TRADITIONAL WITH A TWIST
Featuring a full A-line skirt adorned with sumptuous detailing, this frock combines a traditional silhouette with striking embellishments. The high illusion neckline and barely-there sleeves were a continued favorite for designers during Bridal Fashion Week.
Will a clean, classic fit-and-flare silhouette with serious curve appeal ever go out of style? For at least the next decade or so, our vote is “no.” We’re drawn to the simplicity of this look and the flattering sweetheart neckline.
Planning to attend? Put this information on your calendar and get ready to shop with a purpose. We’ll see you there!
What: BvB Dallas Bridal Blitz, a fashion show and auction featuring designer gowns donated by Stanley Korshak When: Saturday, May 16 beginning at 9 a.m. for “First Look” attendees. The general public will be admitted at 10 a.m., and the gown auction will begin around 2:45 p.m. Where: 6500 Cedar Springs (We love this venue! See why here.) Why: BvB is dedicated to tackling Alzheimer’s! Fact: Their past seven powder-puff games have raised a combined total of $1.8 million for Alzheimer’s research. Details: To partake in bubbly, bites, and a little early-bird shopping, be sure to purchase a “First Look” ticket! This VIP access pass allows you to enter the event at 9 a.m., an hour earlier than the general public, and you’ll also receive a goodie bag, spa robe, and reserved seating for the fashion show. Purchase tickets by clicking here.
[DFW Events 2015 holiday card | All photos by David and Luke Edmonson, Edmonson Weddings]
Remember that MTV show, Making the Band? Today’s blog post is just like that, except that instead of focusing on how to form a singing group, we’re taking you behind the scenes of the 2015 DFW Events holiday card! The truth is that our photo shoot would not have happened without the help, creativity, and direction of our friends. So without further ado, we’ll turn this post over to Mary-Frances and the industry pros that joined forces to bring her whimsical vision to life!
Mary-Frances Hurt, Founder and CEO of DFW Events
“‘Sometimes it’s the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.’ As soon as I heard this quote, I knew it perfectly represented this photo shoot and the creative artists that helped bring my whimsical vision to life. On the day of the shoot I went to the costume shop and picked up some things just for fun, and David Edmonson brought a few props just for fun, but it was up to everyone’s imagination to make it all come together. That’s exactly why this quote pairs so well with our concept and the message inside the holiday card —to have a whimsical 2015, to dream big, and to let your creativity and imagination guide you toward accomplishments you didn’t even know you were capable of.” David and Luke Edmonson, Photographers “No matter how ‘out of the box’ someone’s dream is, the team of DFW Events and Stage Works knows how to make your dream come true! Our favorite memory from this shoot was the concept session and brainstorming with Gail, MF, and Nelson. Their ability to translate ideas into reality is a kindred spirit of ours!” Maitee Miles, Hair and Makeup “If Alice in Wonderland was a wedding coordinator, this is what a day in her life would look like! With that as my inspiration, I wanted to showcase smooth control and clean lines with animated color—pastel eye shadow, dark winged liner, big lashes, and rosy cheeks and lips. I kept the hair as close as possible to the natural preference of each individual girl in order to let her personality shine through. Keeping polish with a little flair of color and animation helped transform the look from formal to whimsical.” John Cain Sargent, Creative Direction “My favorite memory from this shoot was driving with Mary-Frances to Fort Worth to scout Nelson’s space and develop the concept. Before any of the production, hearing MF, David and Luke, and Nelson all discuss what could possibly happen was pretty inspiring. The dreaming was endless. Then came applying those ideas to actual possibilities. You’d be amazed by what Nelson can build. It was all about answering the question, ‘What can we create?’—how often do we get to work like that?”
Special thanks to John Cain Photography, Edmonson Weddings, Maitee Miles, Stage Works, Fauxcades, Beyond, and Frosted Art for turning this vision into reality!
London calling. British invasion. Groovy, baby. No matter which words you use to describe our ladies luncheon and tea, Femmes Who Fête, we hope everyone agrees that the London-meets-Dallas affair was a smashing success!
Our team is constantly inspired by the creativity and support exhibited by the Dallas wedding community, and empowered by the ever-growing number of women who have taken (and completely rocked) leadership roles in each facet of the industry. We’re also always on the lookout for reasons to throw a party—especially one that involves a rooftop performance by the Jordan Kahn Music Company—which is why we jumped on the chance to fete the womenpreneurs of the wedding world!
The purpose of Femmes Who Fête was just that: to celebrate women who have dedicated their lives to celebrating others (and to wear a fascinator while doing so because really, #WhatWouldKateDo?). From the fabulous menu catered by Food Glorious Food, to the informative discussion panel, and the Austin Powers (ahem. . .DJ and emcee Andy Austin) led dance party on the rooftop of The Venue at 400 N. Ervay, we hope that each and every one of you left this inaugural event feeling inspired, refreshed, and just one inch closer to becoming Kate Middleton.
And finally, a tip of the hat to our fabulous sponsors—this event would not have been possible without you, dahlings! A special thanks to Sarah Kane at DFW Events as well, who worked tirelessly to ensure that every last detail of the day went off without a hitch!
Can you believe it? The New Year has come and gone, and somehow, tomorrow is the last day of January! As we reflect on the events, travels, and projects that filled 2014, we are filled with gratitude. From new relationships formed during Engage and The Inner Circle Experience, to celebrating with long-time friends at our “Evening of Brilliance” dinner with Simon T. Bailey, countless moments of connectivity made 2014 unforgettable.
In December we soft-launched our new website, a platform we’re looking forward to continuing to develop in 2015. We also introduced a new side of our DFW acronym: Destinations, Fêtes, Weddings. While our boots and our roots are firmly established in Dallas/Fort Worth, we’re beyond excited that our expanded “DFW” allows us to better communicate with local, national, and international clients alike about who we are and what kind of events we produce, from Dallas to Denver to Dubai!
No matter where in the world we’re working, it’s a joy and a privilege when our clients entrust us with the task of bringing their dreams to life—something we couldn’t do without each and every one of our vendors and event partners. That’s exactly why we’ve dubbed 2015 “The Year of Relationships” at DFW Events. It’s our goal to be intentional about reaching out and showing our caterers, design mavens, rental gurus, photographers, florists, and clients just exactly how much they mean to us in 2015 and beyond—a theme we were thrilled to begin celebrating at last night’s launch party for Volume II of the Dallas Wedding Collective book!
Many congratulations to John and each and every member of the Collective. We feel incredibly blessed to be part of the wedding industry in Dallas, and can’t wait to pour back into the artists and creatives that inspire us on a daily basis. From our team to yours, cheers to 2015 and The Year of Relationships! We have a feeling it’s going to be one of the best yet.
From a golf club in Oklahoma to the pink beaches of the Bahamas, we love packing our bags to coordinate events in unique locales. Thanks to a 2014 familiarity trip in Aspen, we’re excited to add a new venue to our list of must-recommend destinations: The Little Nell, one of only two five-star and five-diamond properties in Colorado.
You know that saying about “shouting love from the mountaintops?” We think it must have originated in Aspen, because adventure-loving couples who choose to say “I do” at The Little Nell can literally do just that. Owned by Aspen Skiing Company, The Little Nell has exclusive rights to hosting events on the top of Aspen Mountain, and the sky-high ceremony site is just a 14-minute gondola ride away from the luxury hotel grounds.
Location, Location. The Little Nell is nestled right in the heart of downtown Aspen, meaning it’s perfectly positioned for guests who’d like to extend their stay and relax after attending a weekend of wedding events.
Culinary Excellence. Locally-sourced ingredients, restaurant-style production, detailed plating and presentation…perhaps the Aspen altitude is the reason The Little Nell’s chefs have risen so far above the standard chicken-or-steak wedding fare. “Something our couples always hear after the wedding is how incredible the food was,” says event sales manager Melina Glavas. “The fact that we really can present an extraordinary culinary experience for 200 people is very memorable for many guests.” During her FAM trip, Mary-Frances enjoyed a summer dinner menu that included a chilled asparagus soup, spring vegetable salad, smoked Idaho trout, and New York strip steak. Feeling hungry, or is it just us?
World Class Wine. Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy was listed as one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 for a reason. “The wine program is fun and young, and it doesn’t have to be expensive!” says Melina, although the property boasts a two million dollar cellar. Expect un-fussy wine tours set to the beat of rap music and an extensive collection of flavor profiles from around the world—The Little Nell sources more wine than any other property in Colorado.
Mobile Bubbly Bar. Where else in the world can you ski-in to sips of Veuve Clicquot than at The Little Nell’s portable Champagne bar? Aptly named The Oasis, we have a feeling that this mobile bubbly bar will guarantee fun no matter how successful (or unsuccessful) the ski run.
“The Little Nell is a true jewel in Aspen. Visiting this property was one of the highlights of 2014!” —Mary-Frances
Our deepest thanks to Melina Glavas and Pete Hayda for giving us the opportunity to experience the The Little Nell in person—we can’t wait to come back for a stunning destination wedding or event! If you’d like more information about all things TLN, take a peek at the video below. So cool to see The Oasis bubbly bar in action!
Whether we’re packing our bags for a destination wedding (The Bahamas!), an industry event (Engage Bachelor Gulch!) or a FAM trip (The Little Nell!), it seems like we are constantly on the road. Consider this category your passport to traveling with DFW in 2015 and beyond!