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When it’s your wedding day, it can be easy to want it all—and who can blame you? You’ve likely waited for this very moment your entire life. But once you venture into the exciting (and chaotic) world of wedding planning, you’ll see how quickly expenses add up. All of the sudden, your dazzling hopes and expectations might seem out of reach. But what if you could make all of your luxurious wedding dreams come true without going into debt? Well, it’s possible! Read on to learn how.
Understand Your Financial Situation
Before you start fantasizing about planning a wedding like the $40 million dollar affair portrayed inCrazy Rich Asians, it’s important to understand where your wedding budget is coming from. For the most part, it comes down to three different sources: how much you and your significant other can set aside each month until the wedding, how much you both have in your individual savings accounts, and any contributions from family members or loved ones.
Create (and stick to) the Budget
Okay, you have a basic understanding of where your wedding planning money is coming from. Now what?
First, determine you and your future spouse’s combined current savings, as well as any potential outside contributions from family members. Add both together to get the first two components of your budget. For the third component—how much you’ll set aside each month—consider allocating 10 percent of your earnings every month to a new wedding fund.Erin Lowry, a personal finance expert, elaborates, “Establish direct deposits into a separate account for wedding expenses so it isn’t just leftovers that get saved.” The easiest way to do this: put your savings on autopilot via an app that’s great for upping your savings in a pinch. This way, you’ll grow your wedding budget without needing to fuss with your bank account all the time.
Get the Look for Less
Hooray, your budget has been established! No more dealing with numbers, right? Not so fast. You’ll have to continue adding and subtracting numbers throughout the wedding planning process to ensure that you’re staying on target. But don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it sounds—especially if you say “I do” toworking with your wedding planner to create a luxury look for less. Take flowers for example. You could shell out hundreds (or even thousands) to secure out-of-season peonies for your table arrangements, or you could save that much by sticking to flowers that are in season. Save even more by using candles in place of floral elements when designing your tablescapes!
Book the Best Venue for Your Budget
A little research into venue costs goes a long way. Barn and loft spaces might be trending as budget-friendly alternatives to typical wedding venues, but it’s entirely possible that you’ll end up spending just as much money retrofitting a space as you would on booking a more traditional venue. Keep in mind that if you decideto book or build an atypical event space, you’ll need to bring in chairs, tables, cutlery, catering equipment, restrooms, air conditioning/heat…the works.
On the other hand, some traditional wedding venues can run as high as $20,000+. So, what’s the best way to go aboutbooking a venue? Before you commit to anything, work with your wedding plannerto compare the estimated total price of a wedding that requires a custom build against the price of a venue that includes in-house rentals and facilities. Doing so just might save you thousands!
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!”
Words truly cannot express how lovely, warm, and wonderful the Hustons are, and how much fun we had planning and executing their 50th anniversary celebration at The Joule last November! Allan and Jane’s joy about celebrating this milestone occasion alongside family and friends was infectious throughout the planning process.
In order to bring their vision of an elegant yet lively event to life, Jackson Durham created beautiful floral arrangements in a palette befitting the couple’s Golden Anniversary. Each guest also received a champagne-hued single stem rose at their seat before dinner began—a luxe and lovely touch that reflected the couple’s thoughtfulness and attention to detail. Above and beyond the look of the event, though, were the memories shared by the couple’s family members throughout the evening. One of our favorite tributes took the form of a video created by the Hustons’ daughters, which featured photos, highlights from Allan and Jane’s marriage, and special interview questions that allowed the Hustons to share their perspective on what makes a marriage great (namely, respect and friendship!). The couple’s daughters and grandchildren also spoke about the relationship the two share and the impact they have made on the lives of their loved ones.
Later in the evening after all happy tears had been dried, it was time to hit the dance floor! Rotel and the Hot Tomatoes brought the fire to this party and ensured that the dance floor stayed full—the perfect entertainment choice to reflect the Hustons’ fun-loving personalities!
The Hustons’ kindness and love for one another is evident in so many ways and was easy for our team to celebrate. It was truly an honor to coordinate this very special 50th anniversary party!
For 20 years, DFW Events has been known for coordinating luxury weddings in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and across the globe. While our team remains truly passionate about every aspect of the wedding planning process (from vendor selections to the vow exchange), weddings certainly aren’t the only milestone celebrations that we coordinate. Grand openings, corporate galas and fundraisers, dignitary dinners, holiday parties, anniversaries, familiarity trips…we’re serious when we say that the “DFW” in our company name stands for Destinations, Fêtes, and Weddings. So today, we’re highlighting one particular type of event that never fails to make our hearts beat a little faster: the birthday party!
If you thought birthday parties were limited to the 10-and-under crowd, think again. We’re not just talking balloons, candles, and confetti here (although these party staples will never really go out of style). Think more along the lines of private museum tours, celebrity guest appearances, and itineraries that keep the party going all weekend long. This is the birthday party all grown up—a reimagined, sophisticated celebration worthy of your special occasion. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of our most recent fêtes as we explore the latest trends in luxury birthday party planning!
The Trend: Personalized Parties
Personalizing a party begins with selecting a theme that reflects your individual interests, passions, and experiences. We’ve custom-tailored birthdays based on inspirations ranging from classic cars, to a classic television series, to the ambience of a European club, which has resulted in a portfolio of parties that look completely different from one another in the best way possible!
Up next after selecting a theme? Custom branding everything (and we do mean everything). From bar fronts to cocktail napkins, embellishing as many details as possible with a custom personal logo is an excellent way to establish a consistent through-line and create a completely unique atmosphere. Brynn’s House of Blues themed Sweet 16 was a perfect example of birthday branding done right!
This just in: 40th, 50th, and 60th birthday parties are no longer synonymous with black-on-black decor and “Over the Hill” signs. Elegant jewel-toned dinners, festive fuchsia soirees, and multi-colored metropolitan bashes are the new indicators of a life well-lived (and sensationally celebrated).
Why celebrate one milestone birthday when you can raise a toast to two of them? Take a cue from Ike and Eric, best friends who joined forces to host a blow-out 60th birthday celebration at 6500 that featured a putting green, 3D Mapping show, models, international cuisine, and more!
Birthdays have a way of reminding us that life moves quickly, but our clients have discovered a surefire way to slow time down—by hosting a laidback-yet-luxurious birthday celebration on a ranch in Texas! If sipping margaritas, enjoying roasted corn drenched in butter, line-dancing the night away, and ending the evening with a Hill Country sunset alongside friends and family won’t stop and make you smell the wildflowers, then really…what will?
When you think of surprise parties, you might think of guests crowding together in a darkened room until the time comes to jump out and surprise the unsuspecting birthday girl or boy. Today’s version of the surprise party, however, has just as much to do with surprising and delighting guests as it does with catching the host unaware! Teresa’s recent 50th birthday party at The Perot Museum perfectly encompassed both concepts. Teresa’s husband contacted our team in order to surprise his wife with an unexpected celebration, and in turn, we surprised the couple’s guests by transporting them from Houston to Dallas by private jet to enjoy an intimate progressive dinner on a grand scale.
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.
Our team is thrilled to be producing the grand opening of Legacy West, a 3.2 billion dollar development that combines the crème de la crème of shopping, dining, and lifestyle brands in one incredible location! On that note, we recommend blocking off June 2-4 on your calendar now. Otherwise you might miss out on a celebration that includes performances by Emerald City, Party on the Moon, and Jordan Kahn, tastings from Plano’s most exciting new restaurants, specialty swag bags and amazingly-cool giveaway offers, and—seriously, we’re not just saying this—so much more.
Emerald City Band, Legacy West fountains, Tesla | photos courtesy of Legacy West
Stop by in-store events hosted by retailers including Pocketsand Fabletics, sip margaritas on the Mesero patio, take a spin in a Tesla, nosh on couture Sprinkles cupcakes, enter for a chance to win a Texas-themed trucker jacket from Levi’s, and raise a champagne toast at the Renaissance Hotel. Oh, and did we mention the sneak peek tours of forthcoming foodie paradise Legacy Hall that will be taking place? You’ll want to pencil that in, too!
Needless to say, there will be countless opportunities to discover why Mayor LaRosiliere recently dubbed Legacy West the “Center of the Universe!”
A few more details per the release:
The concert line-up will include the Jordan Kahn Music Company performing Friday, June 2 starting at 7:30 p.m., followed by Emerald City Band on Saturday, June 3 at 2 p.m. and Party on the Moon Band at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, June 4, Taylor Pace Band will take the main stage at 2 p.m.
Many Legacy West restaurants will offer food and drink tastings throughout the weekend including Bistro 31, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Earls Kitchen + Bar, Fogo de Chao, Haywire, Mesero, Shake Shack, Starbucks Reserve, Taverna, True Food Kitchen, and Toulouse. Legacy Hall, a 55,000-square-foot food hall, will offer tours to the public for the first time and will also have several of its food stall operators on site sampling their menu items. Sprinkles will serve an exclusive Legacy West Chocolate Caramel cupcake and True Food Kitchen will offer a special cocktail called the Plano Paloma, only available June 2-4.
Legacy West retailers including Bonobos, Coach, Fabletics, Filson, Johnny Was, Peter Millar, Pockets Menswear, Suitsupply, Tesla, Tommy Bahama, TUMI, and West Elm will host special in-store events, parties and exclusive discounts and promotions. Also participating, The Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel and Visit Plano.
Click here to peruse all of the parties and promotions taking place throughout the weekend, and don’t miss what D Magazine and Paper City had to say about the grand opening. In the meantime, enjoy this sampling of the entertainment taking place throughout the weekend!
JORDAN KAHN MUSIC COMPANY Friday, June 2 | 7:30 PM
We had the best time working with Lisa Spraggins to plan her husband’s classic car themed 50th birthday party, so imagine our excitement when we got the chance to team up again—this time to plan Lisa’s own 50th fête! If you thought 50th birthday parties meant black-on-black decor and “Over the Hill” signs, think again. Lisa wanted her soirée to reflect her favorite things, so incorporating plenty of fuchsia design elements and serving up French-inspired cuisine were absolute musts. The result? A hip, club-like atmosphere that was as vibrant and fun as the birthday girl herself!
When it came to choosing a venue, The Joule proved to be the perfect setting for several reasons. “It’s such a great, chic hotel and the rooftop terrace with the private elevator entrance was perfect for the type of party I wanted,” says Lisa. “So many of my friends said that the walk-up had my name written all over it, which I loved!”
Bordered silk drapes washed in bright pink lights marked the party entrance, where guests were greeted by a champagne tower and given the opportunity to sign their names in Lisa’s guest book. In addition to including a book about the “City of Light” on the sign-in table, nods to Lisa’s favorite city, Paris, were incorporated via the menu—pomme frites, chocolate and vanilla bean macarons dusted in gold flakes, and a St. Germain infused signature cocktail dubbed the “French Blonde” were all on offer.
And speaking of drinks…they were served at the coolest custom bars! Glowing white facades were embellished with Lisa’s couture monogram from Paradise Design Co., and the design was also printed on cocktail napkins accented by gold foil. White banquettes overflowing with sequined pillows, a chic runway leading to the dance floor, cocktail tables covered in pink paisley linens, and floral arrangements composed of hydrangeas, roses, and orchid blooms completed the event environment. “Cesar at Bella Flora did an amazing job designing our event décor,” shares Lisa. “He got exactly who I was and understood everything I love about an event space.”
In keeping with the party’s club-like look and feel, DJ Andy Austin kept the dance floor full by spinning hits from behind a sleek white booth. A prop-filled photo booth provided an added dose of entertainment when a break from the dance floor was in order, and a surprise balloon drop proved to be the pièce de résistance that ended the evening in style!
Cheers to not one, but TWO incredible birthday celebrations for the sweetest family! We can’t wait for party number three with the Spraggins!
Looking for more birthday party inspiration? Check out these fantastic fêtes!
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!
Mackenzie Moore and Dan Skipper met at The University of Arkansas through a mutual friend, and right from the beginning sports played a role in their love story. Although it took three attempts to schedule a date following their first meeting at a sports bar on campus, finally Mackenzie said “yes” to the Arkansas offensive lineman’s invitation to spend time together one-on-one.
Fast forward to August 26, 2016. After a long day at work, Mackenzie was looking forward to exchanging her work attire for pajamas and going straight to bed. Dan, however, had other ideas in mind. “As I was laying there I got a call from Dan being very persistent that we go to dinner somewhere fun. When I told him I was in my pajamas I am pretty sure I could hear his heart drop,” says Mackenzie. Finally, she gave in to the idea of going out for a “fun dinner” and changed into a casual ensemble…momentarily, at least. “As I was walking out of my bedroom I had this crazy feeling that I was getting engaged, so I ran back into my room and threw on some jeans and a cuter shirt,” Mackenzie shares.
Her instinct proved to be right on target. Dan arrived at her home clean-shaven and dressed to impress—no Arkansas football sweats in sight. “I knew right then and there that it was happening,” says Mackenzie, who had been anticipating a pre football season proposal. “We got in the car and we drove to the football stadium, where we had our first date. We went to the very top of the stadium and were walking around looking down at the football field on one side and the beautiful Fayetteville landscape on the other.” As they were standing there and taking in the scenery, Dan grabbed Mackenzie’s hand, got down on one knee, and shared sweet sentiments that Mackenzie admittedly doesn’t fully remember due to the excitement of the moment. What she does remember clearly, however? “It all ended with ‘Will you marry me?’, and of course I said yes…at least I think I did!” she shares.
Press features soon followed as news of Mackenzie and Dan’s engagement spread. “Our story was first featured on air during the game at TCU. I was actually trying on wedding dresses when I got the call from Dan telling me that they were going to talk about our engagement on TV that night,” says Mackenzie. “Little did I know that it was going to be right after he blocked a field goal to force the game to overtime, in a game the Razorbacks eventually won.” Watch the video below to see Dan’s game-changing play and hear more details about his proposal!
video footage courtesy of ESPN
The next feature on ESPN came as a surprise during a home game against Texas State. “It was such an honor that they talked about such a special time in our lives on ESPN, even if Dan did look like a 43-year-old lumberjack,” Mackenzie jokes. Click below to watch the clip!
As you can probably tell, this couple is SO fun-loving and their wedding day is going to be completely reflective of that. While dancing and delicious food will be staples of the event, Mackenzie and Dan are also looking forward to customizing their day with details and surprises that speak to their “fun and crazy” personalities. Needless to say, we are counting down the days until these two say “I do” in March!
With Capital for Kids 2016 right around the corner, we thought it was only fitting to take a look back at last November’s eleventh annual fundraising event! As always, it was such an honor for us to coordinate this purpose-driven celebration for Capital for Kids, an incredible organization we’ve been working with for nine years.