Planner’s Perspective: 5 Questions to Help You Select the Perfect Wedding Venue

BallroomChurchCountry ClubDestinationPrivate Residence

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!

Planner's Perspective | Wedding Venues

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!

Outdoor ceremony at The Four Seasons Dallas | more from this wedding here | Karlisch Photography

Indoor ceremony at The Four Seasons Santa Fe | see more here | Cameron & Kelly Studio

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.

Reception at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth | Sarah Kate, Photographer

Reception at the Dallas Museum of Art | F8 Studio

On the other hand, if your tastes are very traditional, a church ceremony and a reception at a hotel ballroom or country club might appeal to you. The Crescent, The Ritz, Arlington Hall, Brook Hollow Country Club, and Dallas Country Club are just a few examples of venues with a very classic feel!

Highland Park Presbyterian Church | more from this wedding here | Sarah Kate, Photographer

Rosewood Mansion | DFW Events | Jess Barfield Photography

Rosewood Mansion | DFW Events | Jess Barfield Photography

Rosewood Mansion, Dallas | Jess Barfield Photography

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!

Tented reception at a private residence | see more wedding details here | Sarah Kate, Photographer

Backyard Wedding | Photography by Jason Kindig

Backyard reception at private residence | Jason Kindig Photography

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.

Reception at the Dallas Country Club | Kiss Me For Eternity, Thisbe Grace & Co.

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.

Southern Hills | DFW Events | Stephen Karlisch Photography

Custom build-out at Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa | Karlisch Photography

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.

Reception at The Four Seasons Dallas | more details here | Karlisch Studio

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.


Lacey + Zach: Outdoor Wedding with Romantic Reception at Private Residence

OutdoorPrivate Residence Spring

Lacey and Zach’s wedding at a private residence had it all—the charm of an afternoon garden party mixed with the romance of an evening spent stargazing. Following an intimate first look, the bride and groom exchanged vows beneath a stunning chuppah comprised of bright blooms and cascading ferns. Star panels brought the “wow” factor to the tented reception and gave guests the feeling of dining beneath the stars. Rich linens, mirrored tabletops, candelabras entwined with floral, and a classic black and white dance floor provided the perfect finishing touches.

Keep scrolling for more gorgeous details from Sarah Kate!

Love the idea of hosting your wedding at home? Get inspired by this residential round-up of some of our favorite soirees!

Fort Worth Wedding with Tented Reception at a Private Residence

Festive Rehearsal Dinner at a Private Residence

Outdoor Wedding at a Private Ranch

Amanda + Justin’s Elegant Wedding at a Private Estate


Ceremony/Reception Site: Private residence
Photographer: Sarah Kate, Photographer
Bridal Gown Designer: Oscar de la Renta
Bridal Gown Retailer: The Bridal Salon at Neiman Marcus
Hair & Makeup: Kristen Shrimp; Audrey Elliot
Floral/Design: Jackson Durham
Officiants: Rabbi David Gruber; Father Tony O’Donovan
Stationery: Melanie Frazier for DFW Events (Save the Dates); Papyrus (Wedding Invitations)
Cake: Dallas Affaires Cake Co.
Caterer: Al Biernat’s
Music: Gyros String Quartet; Bulletproof Brass
Lighting: Beyond; Lighting Dallas
Videographer: Summer Satterfield, Summer Films
Rentals: POSH Couture Rentals; Stage Works; La Tavola Fine Linen
Planning: Hannah Kohler and Laura Arredondo for DFW Events

No Place Like Home: Fort Worth Wedding with Tented Reception at a Private Residence

ChurchPrivate Residence

They say that home is where the heart is, but in the case of this Fort Worth wedding, it just so happened to be where the reception was located! Exploding with interior design influences and unique personal touches, Molly and Pete’s fall “I do” was a highlight of 2016 for our team. It also makes a serious case for incorporating the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year, Greenery, into your own wedding day!

photos: Karlisch Studio

Molly and Pete exchanged vows in a meaningful, traditional ceremony at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, where Molly’s parents were also married. A tented reception was hosted afterward at the home of the bride’s family—the perfect venue choice for our bride, who is passionate about houses and interior design.

In keeping with the reception location, personal details were incorporated at every turn. A dining room table, which was presented to the bride’s parents by their grandparents as a wedding gift, was transformed into an entry table and accented by vintage frames, family photographs, and heirloom silver and crystal.

As a surprise to Pete, Molly also worked with our team to create a one-of-a-kind putting green and scotch bar. The wood-paneled backdrop of the scotch bar put the client’s collection of decanters on display, and guests of “Pete’s Patio” were also provided with customized golf balls, score cards, and koozies embellished with the groom’s initials.

For the primary reception tent our design-minded bride selected a grey palette with the goal of creating a comfortable, warm atmosphere that truly felt like an extension of the home. Lighting designed by BEYOND was used strategically to emphasize trees in the yard, the vibrant yellow floral arrangements created by Jackson Durham, and the anemone-covered bride’s cake.

An existing Crepe Myrtle tree, which the tent was constructed around, also became a focal point thanks to lighting—throughout the evening guests gathered in a lounge area under the tree to rest and enjoy the scene, or enjoyed dancing beneath the twinkle-lit branches!

It was an honor for our team to coordinate this lovely wedding day and to be trusted with the task of bringing so many thoughtful, intentional design details to life on behalf of this sweet couple. Cheers to a beautiful beginning, Molly and Pete!


Church: Broadway Baptist Church
Reception: Private Residence
Tent: Sandone Productions
Caterer: F2M Hospitality
Officant: Bryan Dunagan
Photographer: Stephen Karlisch, Karlisch Studio
Videographer: Elle Films
Floral/Décor: Jackson Durham Events
Tent Finish-Out/Custom Décor: Stage Works USA
Rentals: Posh Couture Rentals
Band: Jordan Kahn Music Company
Lighting: BEYOND
Bride’s Cake: Crème de la Crème
Photo Booth: My Event is the Bomb
Coordination: Laura Arredondo for DFW Events

Festive Rehearsal Dinner at Private Residence

Private Residence Celebration

If you’re currently engaged, then we’re guessing that you’ve put tons of thought (and countless hours on Pinterest) into sorting through the details of your wedding day. While the ceremony and reception are well deserving of your time and attention, the rehearsal dinner also merits a fair share of your daydreams!

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

We have a soft spot in our hearts for this particular pre-wedding event. Why? Because while the Big Day often seems to pass in a flash, the rehearsal dinner is an opportunity to slow down and really take in the magnitude of the moment. Since the guest list is most frequently composed of family members, the wedding party, and perhaps a small group of close friends, the overall atmosphere of a rehearsal dinner is intimate and relaxed. Glasses are raised, emotions are beautifully expressed, and deep breaths are taken before it’s time to hit the aisle.

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

Natalie and Nelson’s rehearsal dinner was no exception. Hosted in a tent set up outside of the family’s home, the setting was perfectly personal and beautiful to boot! Featuring colorful floral centerpieces by The Garden Gate and confetti-covered place cards with calligraphy by the bride, each and every detail was as festive as could be. But don’t just take our word for it—let these lovely images from Jason Kindig inspire you to dream a little longer about your own rehearsal dinner!

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

Dallas Rehearsal Dinner by DFW Events, photo by Jason Kindig

Congrats, you two! It was a joy being a part of your celebration!


Venue: Private Residence

Caterer: TK Culinary, Terry Kranz

Photographer: Jason Kindig

Musician: Nick DiGennaro

Florist: Garden Gate, Junior Villanueva

Cake: Jackie Spratt Cakes

Rentals: Ducky-Bob’s

Napkins: BBJ Linen

Valet: Gold Crown

Flooring/Back-up Tent: Sandone Productions

Audio/Visual: Absolute Entertainment

Coordination: Laura Arredondo and Sarah Kane for DFW Events

Hawaii Five-O 50th Birthday Party

Private Residence BirthdayCelebration

We love celebrating birthdays around here, especially ones like this! Tracy’s “Hawaii Five-O” themed 50th birthday party was an absolute blast to be a part of! We have so much fun working with this family…you might remember Richard’s Red, Red Wine themed 50th birthday party we helped with a few years ago. Unreal, right?! Well, get ready to enjoy another unbelievable party, this time for Richard’s beautiful wife, Tracy!  Happy 50th, Tracy…you make 50 look fabulous!

Photos: Jason Kindig Photography


Venue: Private Residence

Photographer: Jason Kindig

Caterer: Food Glorious Food

Design/Decor/Construction: Stage Works USA

Lighting: Beyond

Florist: The Garden Gate

DJ/Bartenders: Andy Austin

Entertainment: Rick Dowdy, B3 Entertainment

Food Trucks: Trailercakes and The Bomb Fried Pies

Valet: Jack Boles Parking

Coordination: Mary-Frances Hurt for DFW Events


Elizabeth Carlock Weds Kevin Phillips

ChurchPrivate Residence Spring

Ever since the Carlock family moved into their historic, Highland Park home, Elizabeth dreamed of having her wedding there someday. On May 7, 2011, her eighth-grade dream became a reality when she married her college sweetheart. Elizabeth and Kevin met their freshman year at SMU and after a proposal in July 2010, the two started planning their magnificent wedding day. The wedding ceremony was held at Park Cities Presbyterian Church. Immediately following, guests were invited to stroll across the street to the Carlock family home for a wonderful reception. The front yard tent was created to reflect a traditional, southern ballroom, the beautiful home was open to guests and the back yard transformed to a chic, modern party. Thank you Larry Sengbush for sharing these beautiful pictures! Because of the size of their wedding party, and the reception plans, Kevin and Elizabeth decided to see each other prior to the ceremony. Once ready, Elizabeth joined Kevin in the Chapel at PCPC where they shared a private moment. This is a GREAT idea for brides who would like to eliminate post-ceremony pictures, as we scheduled to finish all photos prior to the wedding ceremony.

The gorgeous wedding party! Elizabeth and Kevin were surrounded by so many friends and family that love and support them. To be exact, there were 15 bridesmaids, two junior bridesmaids, 10 house party members, 15 groomsmen, 12 ushers, along with two ring bearers, two flower girls and two officiants.

The wedding program…the artwork was created by the fabulous Susie-Melissa Cherry.

Kevin and his handsome attendants ready to walk down the aisle…the groom’s party attire came from Culwell & Son.

The stunning bridesmaids…both the house party and bridesmaid gowns were custom creations from Jenny Yoo through Bridal Collections by Stella. Every single one of the girls looked absolutely beautiful!

Miss Elizabeth Carlock about to walk down the aisle to become Mrs. Kevin Phillips, escorted by her father, Mr. Byron Carlock.

The wedding ceremony…the altar and personal flowers were provided from Bill Horton designs. As guests were seated, the Chancel Choir of PCPC offered a compilation of hymns. During the ceremony, there were two different soloists who sang special songs…between the vocals, the organ and strings, the music was fantastic! The officiants were the Senior Pastor of PCPC, Reverend Mark Davis, as well as, SMU’s RUF director, Chad Scruggs.

Following the wedding ceremony, the couple led their wedding party and guests down Wycliffe Avenue directly to the Carlock home, adjacent to the church! The Highland Park police department generously directed traffic and closed down this stretch of the rode until all guests were safely in the reception!

The reception entrance led to the formal, traditional tent in the Carlock’s front yard. Guests were greeted by the James Davis Orchestra and wonderful canapes provided by Cassandra Fine Catering.

Elizabeth and her mother, Laura, definitely had a vision for a true, southern wedding. The front tent was exquisite with beautiful linens, floral and buffets displays showing off their lavish menu…Tom Addis, the Garden Gate and Jill Fortney were the perfect team!

Because their party was overflowed from the front lawn throughout the house and into the back gardens, we created menu cards for every table that let guests know the variety of foods available throughout the reception…

Elizabeth and Kevin shared “L.O.V.E.” as their first dance…

The father/daughter dance was a sweet surprise to the family and friends…Elizabeth’s talented brothers joined James Davis Orchestra on stage to sing “Brown-Eyed Girl”…so special!

Elizabeth and Kevin cut their cake in the family dining room….Frosted Art created a STUNNING bride’s cake that was absolutely picture perfect!

And now for the back tent…. while the front tent definitely eluded to the southern, traditional style, the back tent was more of a modern, sleek look!! Between the furniture, lighting, tenting and acrylic dance floor that covered the pool… it was incredible!

Elizabeth and Kevin were introduced into the back tent, as well….only after Elizabeth changed into her second wedding gown! Their second, first dance was spun by the fabulous Lucy Wrubel!

Elizabeth and Kevin departed the next morning for a two-week honeymoon in France….

We wish you all the best and THANK YOU for allowing DFW Events to be part of your wedding day! Cheers to the happy couple!


Ceremony: Park Cities Presbyterian Church
Reception: The Carlock Residence
Caterer: Cassandra Fine Catering
Designer/Lighting/Linens: Tom Addis Productions
Ceremony Florist: Bill Horton
Reception Florist: The Garden Gate
Tents: Sandone Productions
Band: James Davis Orchestra
DJ: Lucy Wrubel
Cake: Frosted Art
Photographer: Larry Sengbush
Videographer: Sixth Seal Productions
Rentals: Posh Couture Rentals
Transportation: Romantic Remembrances
Makeup: Fairy Godmother Bridal, Mo Bowers
Tuxedos: Culwell & Son
Bridesmaids Dresses: Bridal Collections by Stella
Coordination: DFW Events

On the Road: A Flat Top Ranch Wedding

DestinationPrivate Residence

In May of 2010, DFW Events packed up and headed to Flat Top Ranch, the family ranch of groom Charlie Beecherl, to coordinate the wedding uniting him and his bride, Mackenzie Short! Flat Top Ranch is located in Glen Rose, Texas right next door to Rough Creek Lodge. It was an absolutely beautiful day – perfect sunshine with a bit of wind – and the most gorgeous setting for this FUN wedding! Mackenzie and Charlie met at TCU – their wedding party was so much fun and it was a blast for DFW Events to be a part of. The ceremony took place at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church and the reception brought guests to Flat Top for a perfect night of dinner and dancing! Enjoy these pictures courtesy of Brandi Koch with Dakota Photography.

Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Beecherl, back at the ranch! Check out Mackenzie’s boots—perfect for this ranch wedding and adorned with her new monogram!

After a long night of dancing we sent the newlyweds off with a sparkler exit, and they set out for their honeymoon in Mexico! Congrats, Mackenzie and Charlie—we had such a blast being a part of your wedding and hope that you enjoyed every bit of your day! We wish you the very best!


Church: St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church
Reception: Flat Top Ranch
Tent: Marquis Rentals, 830-456-4500
Caterer: Perini Ranch Steakhouse
Florist: Le Fleurt, 214-232-6474
Specialty Lighting / Linens: Marquis Rentals, 830-456-4500
Band: Larry T-Byrd Gordon
Photographer: Dakota Photography
Cakes: Rebekah’s Custom Bakerie
Hair/Makeup: Maitee Miles
Transportation: DFW Town Cars, 214-956-1880‎
Valet: Rent-A-Frog
Coordination: DFW Events