Christmas Weddings! Oh what a wonderful time of year to celebrate with family and friends! Laura chose Christmas time to get married to her groom, Boone, because she absolutely loves Christmas! The Wedding ceremony took place at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas followed by a Christmas Wedding Wonderland reception at The Belo Mansion and Pavilion. Covid-19 did not affect the merriment of this occasion in any way. Cheers to Laura and Boone for sticking with their original date and for the 220 guests who came out to support this beautiful couple!
Having planned more than 3,000 weddings during the past 25 years, I relish my favorite moments. The day of the wedding is always filled with excitement and anticipation. When the bride finally sits down to get her make-up and hair done it’s her moment to look in the mirror and see herself for the last time as a “Miss” soon to be a “Mrs.” I love watching the Father of the Bride and the Groom anticipate the moment they will see their favorite girl all in white. I still cry every time when the doors open, the trumpets flair and the groom is at the alter waiting for his bride-to-be. I love my job and I love making these moments happen.
Laura and Boone went to Freshman Homecoming together at Highland Park High School. They became best friends and officially started dating after college in 2015! They were engaged over Christmas in 2019 and because it’s Laura and Boone’s favorite holiday they decided to celebrate once again in December!
The decor was unbelievable. Laura’s mother, Melinda, was very involved and thought of every last detail. Thirty-four Christmas trees in varying sizes glistened throughout the night. Carolers greeted guests upon their arrival and there were even sightings of our friend, Elf on the Shelf. The cakes were a huge hit because “Ellie” and “Donut” were there in spirit! Santa joined everyone on the dance floor and handed out dance party favors as the band played “Here Comes Santa Claus.” The dance floor was packed all evening and most guests stayed until the very end. Laura tossed her bouquet from the balcony as fake snow fell outside as the couple exited the Belo. The guests, sad the night was over, waved wands with Christmas bells to bid the couple adieu as they left on a horse carriage. It was truly a dream wedding for Mr. and Mrs. Howell.
Are you looking for a Dallas or destination event planner? We would be honored to speak with you about your “I do”—drop a note to our team right here.
We fell in love with this couple from day one! From their beautiful story of finding each other through Christ to each meaningful detail they incorporated into their special day- we are so excited to share their vision that came into fruition!
Trinity Forest Golf Club with a course resembling the meadows of Great Britain, created a beautiful back-drop for the aesthetics of a polished modern clubhouse. This balance of classic and modern made for the perfect venue for Lauren and Ryan! The color palette incorporated hues of blue, grey, and white, and were tied together with the couple’s monogram. This can be seen in the lounge furniture, linens, and cake among other details!
Photographer Carter Rose beautifully captured Lauren and her father’s moment before their grand entrance, as well as Ryan’s sweet expression when he first caught glimpse of his bride. After the “I Do’s” and heart warming vows, guests enjoyed cocktail hour on the patio and found their seats with individualized golf ball escort cards.
Guests were welcomed upstairs with champagne and live jazz music as they found their seats and awaited Lauren and Ryan’s grand entrance!
As dinner wined down and toasts were made, the jazz group led guests upstairs to a roof top equipped with a custom dance floor, lights spelling out their last name to illuminate the night, and custom bars from Perch Decor that kept the festivities going. The night ended with Lauren and Ryan’s friends and family sending them off with sparklers!
It was such an honor to help bring your wedding day to life and be a part of your special day Lauren and Ryan! Wishing you two all the best as a married couple!
We have been sharing sneak peeks of Sarah and Sam’s wedding on Instagram, and today we are thrilled to be sharing more from their special day! From saying “I Do” under the chuppah of our dreams, to ending the night with sparks flying (literally!), it was hard not to feel the love in the air.
All the details: Sarah stunned in her beautiful A-line laced gown, while her bridesmaids wore white to match.
Sandone Productions maximized the outdoor space at Arlington Hall by installing not one, but two tents for their ceremony and reception! The ceremony space was decadently draped and our couple shared their vows underneath a flower-filled chuppah created by David Kimmel Designs . After guests enjoyed cocktail hour inside Arlington Hall, they were escorted to the reception tent. The space was adorned with elegant garden-styled centerpieces on guest tables, a beautiful floating arrangement running down the head table, and -our favorite part- a halo full of wisteria and greenery hanging over the dance floor!
Guests dined and later danced the night away with Georgia Bridgewater Orchestra. Some took time off the dance floor to indulge in a customized hand-rolled cigar in the lounge just steps away from the music. As if the night couldn’t get any better, surprise fireworks gifted by Sarah’s parents illuminated the sky for everyone to enjoy!
Sarah and Sam, thank you so much for trusting our team to plan your wedding. It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of your day!
What do you get when you combine industrial lights, gorgeous greenery, a Merlot-infused color palette, and one incredible Star Wars themed groom’s cake? Robbie and Nicolette’s elegant December wedding, of course—a truly memorable “I do” with a design that was equal parts unique and chic.
First things first: that dress! Nicolette stunned in a modern fitted gown that featured an illusion panel at the center of the bodice. Befitting the season, bridesmaids wore floor-length cabernet gowns and carried blooms in a similar hue. And let’s not forget about Nicolette’s scene-stealing mini maid…precious!
David Kimmel Design brought the couple’s vision to life by perfectly marrying contemporary and classic elements. The large metal chandeliers at Brake & Clutch Warehouse were draped in greenery, and floral table centerpieces alternated with sky-high groupings of industrial light fixtures. Eye-catching lighting also accented the ceremony scene! A wall of hanging Edison bulbs created a spectacular backdrop and beautifully framed the ceremony arch, which was comprised of greenery mixed with flowers in shades of burgundy and cream. It was easy for each guest to catch a view of Nicolette and Robbie’s touching vows thanks to the semi-circular arrangement of ceremony seating.
The vendor list for this wedding featured one of our favorite recent discoveries: the Buon Giorno Coffee Trike! As one of only 30 self-sustainable coffee models in the world, this pedal-powered reception activation is perfect for latte lovers looking to provide a unique experience for their guests.
Catch even more details from Nicolette and Robbie’s wedding day by watching their lovely, moving video from Elle Films below!
Last but certainly not least, we couldn’t resist sharing this sweet love note from our beautiful bride. For the record, Nicolette, we’d be down to plan the entire day all over again, too!
“I’m just sitting over here reliving our day through the video and pictures and might be the only bride to ever wish she were still planning her wedding! I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat and wanted to thank [your team] so much for everything! Our wedding has been and will remain a topic of conversation throughout our families!” -Nicolette Rogers Shafto
So, you’re working on selecting menu items for your wedding reception. You’ve already decided on passed hors d’oeuvres—crab cakes, stuffed button mushrooms, and fried mac and cheese balls just for a fun twist—and you’re thinking of serving a light garden salad and lobster bisque combo as an appetizer. But how do you deliver the main course to your guests? When it comes to the question of a seated dinner, a buffet, or a serving station is the best option for the main course, let’s just put it this way: you have yet to determine which food service option to say “I do” to at your wedding reception.
The size of your guest list, formality of your wedding, selected venue and catering company, and the time of day your wedding and reception will take place are all things to consider when choosing a food service style.
Let’s start at what is traditionally known as the most informal end of the spectrum: the buffet. Many couples who opt for a buffet lean toward this option due to their desire to see movement in the room throughout the evening, rather than a stagnant seated dinner that unfolds at a slower pace. If cost is a factor, buffets can also prove to be a more economical option as they do not require every guest to be seated at the same time.
photo: Scott Hagar Photography
THE SEATED DINNER
For those who prefer more formal dining experience, or who plan to host 200 or fewer guests, seated dinners are an appropriate selection. Most frequently selected for black and white tie receptions, seated dinners are a full-service dining experience marked by pauses between courses. Generally speaking, seated dinners are more expensive because they require a chair for every single guest, along with chargers, stemware, flatware, individual menus, table numbers, additional centerpieces, a server for the table, plus a server for beverages.
Stations are another option, and fall right in the middle of the food service spectrum on a scale ranging from informal to formal. Ideal for weddings with a large guest count, food stations are also an excellent option for those who wish to accommodate a variety of menu needs or preferences.
For example, an Indian family following a vegetarian diet can showcase the bride or groom’s heritage by serving traditional dishes while also offering more universal fare at other stations. Alternately, a couple hailing from New York and Texas can treat guests to his-and-hers stations bearing Manhattan clam chowder and cheesecake to represent his Brooklyn background, and barbecue and pecan pie as a nod to her Houston roots.
For both buffet dinners and food stations, signage helps to reinforce the theme and further acquaint guests with the couple’s background. You can accomplish this via large chalkboard menus at the head of each station or by putting individual menus on each place setting.
The newest trend is doing a hybrid of food stations and seated dinners—ideal for the couple who wants the formality of assigned guest seating without limiting mobility throughout the evening. Just like at a traditional seated reception, each guest is directed to his or her assigned dinner seat via a place card. Following a welcome toast or prayer, wines are poured at the table and the first course is served by attendants. Afterward, guests are then dismissed to various food stations at their own pace. Another mix-and-match option is the family-style seated dinner, in which entrees are plated and guests help themselves to sides served on large platters. Although everyone has a seat at the table like at a traditional seated dinner, this casual style of dinner service is the furthest thing from stuffy—perfect for a ranch wedding or more casual reception environment.
Information for this article was provided by Chime.
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!
Our team recently wrapped an AMAZING site visit with Rocker B Ranch! We love this property for weddings, milestone anniversary parties, family reunions, corporate events, and more. Join us for a quick virtual tour and you’ll see why.
Where are our baseball lovers? You plus this field equals the baseball/softball/kickball filled corporate retreat or birthday bash of the decade. After hitting the fields, cool off in the coolest pool around. Don’t forget to take a turn down Rocker B’s 50-foot water slide!
Hello, bachelor party paradise! The “Dugout” is equipped with classic arcade games, ping pong, TVs, and authentic MLB memorabilia just to name a few. Accommodations at Rocker B reflect a gorgeous rustic-contemporary aesthetic and boast top-of-the-line amenities. Your guests won’t want for anything during their stay thanks to an on-site workout facility, massage room, hot tub, and more!
Rocker B can even accommodate large-scale entertainment productions. Check out this footage from the 2018 Backroads Music Fest for proof!
Take a closer look at the fall wedding reception our team coordinated at Rocker B below. Love what you see? Contact our team to learn more about planning your “I do” at one of our favorite new ranch venues in Texas!
It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year! To celebrate that fact, we’re thrilled to be sharing images from the classic winter “I do” that closed out last year’s wedding season for our team. Hattie and Joel exchanged vows just a few days after Christmas on December 30, 2017, and chose to showcase their proximity to the holiday via a variety of festive details. Let’s get started on unwrapping them, shall we?
A traditional palette of rich reds, gorgeous greens, and glittering gold was carried throughout the ceremony at First Christian Church in Plano, where a spectacular stained-glass window served as a backdrop. Our beautiful bride, Hattie, was a dream in her wedding gown which featured layer upon layer of voluminous white tulle. From the gown’s lace bodice, to the intricately beaded belt cinching her waist, to the stunning diamond and gold drop earrings that accented her bridal attire, every detail was perfection! Joel’s black-tie ensemble, which featured a boutonnière wrapped in a plaid ribbon with a sprig of evergreen, gave a classic nod to the season as well.
Sumptuous Christmas details also abounded at the Southfork Ranch reception. Candles, garland, and white settees from Perch Decor accented by lush red and green velvet throw pillows helped transform the iconic venue into a winter wonderland. Tables were adorned with vibrant red roses, berries, lavish greenery, and tartan cloth napkins while lanterns and rustic antler chandeliers provided ambiance from above.
Since Hattie and many of her bridesmaids are professional dancers, of course a fabulous choreographed dance routine was incorporated into the evening—it was such a hit with groom and guests alike. What better way to say Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
SEE THE VIDEO
GET INSPIRED BY MORE WINTER WEDDINGS + HOLIDAY POSTS!
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!”
Congratulations! You’ve finally done it. You’ve dreamed about starting your own business, and now, after months—or even years—of all that planning and prep work, you’re finally ready to let the world know that you exist. What better way to do that than by planning a fabulous grand opening celebration?
The first big ticket items to consider when planning a successful grand opening are the date and time of your event. If you live in Texas, hosting an outdoor event in the middle of July is not a good idea. The same goes for Maine during the winter. Weekdays work best for groundbreaking or ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Unless your business is located in a shopping center, you won’t get the attendance rate on a weekend that you would during business hours on a weekday. As far as time of day goes, mornings or lunchtime will usually be the most convenient for your attendees.
But wait! Before you start sending out those invitations, it’s important to make sure that no other major events are taking place on the day that you selected. Take a look at the social calendars produced by city magazines and blogs in your area. Visit your local chamber of commerce and visitors bureau to double-check that no other events are being held. You’ve put so much effort into making it this far; the last thing you want is to compete for attendance on the day of your grand opening.
Now that you’ve set the date for your grand opening celebration, it’s time to consider what you’re going to serve your guests. Will you hire a caterer, or are you providing the food and drinks? Mornings can be a lot easier to plan—especially if you’re handling the food yourself. Light pastries, coffee, and orange juice work perfectly. If you decide to host your event around lunchtime, a buffet is ideal. No need to worry about a plated, sit-down lunch.
Hosting your grand opening in the morning or at lunch also means that you don’t have to worry about buying alcohol. Generally, alcohol is only served at events that take place later in the afternoon or evening—in this case, a bit of champagne and a signature cocktail are all you need to toast the opening.
Live music is a nice touch for a grand opening, but it’s not mandatory. No matter what type of musicians you select, it’s key to have them play soft background music that allows for easy conversation. Think complementary, not overpowering.
Three Things to Remember When Planning a Successful Grand Opening:
1. First things first: business technicalities! Identify the zoning regulations for your area and the steps you need to take to secure a special event permit. If you plan to bring in outside food, be sure that all vendors have received the necessary permitting from the health department. Tackle these tasks as early in the planning process as possible to ensure that you and your team are worry-free on the day of your grand opening!
2. Inviting dignitaries, celebrities, or government officials can lend a certain amount of credibility to your business. If you have particular VIP attendees in mind, submit a request to their office as soon as possible, and be sure to follow up.
3. The last item may seem obvious, but it can easily be forgotten amid the plethora of other details. If you’re host a ribbon-cutting ceremony, remember to buy your ribbon and a pair of oversized scissors!
Grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for La Moderna Pasta Factory in Cleburne, Texas attended by Governor Greg Abbott
Marketing is a key component of any successful event. It would be such a shame to put so much time, effort, and money into producing the most glorious grand opening anyone has ever seen, only to be faced with lackluster attendance on the day of your event. To avoid that scenario, send grand opening invitations one month in advance of your event. You can send out traditional invitations, but e-vites are even better. They’re easy to create, cost-effective to send, and they allow you to get an instant headcount while also keeping track of any last-minute cancellations.
Now, let’s talk branding! You want people in your area to become familiar with your brand, but even more importantly, you want them to interact with it, get excited about it, and then tell their friends about how amazing it is! For the grand opening of Interabang Books, we accomplished this by hosting different segments that engaged guests in a memorable way. A “make your own bookmark” station, a storytime reading for children, an author meet-and-greet, and other activities strongly promoted what they are all about: books and community!
Scenes from the Interabang Books grand opening
As a major shopping center, we took a different approach when working with the Legacy West team to produce their grand opening. Nationally-recognized bands, street entertainers, artists, free yoga sessions, giveaways, and other activations served to extend shoppers’ stay while making their time at the event more memorable and enjoyable.
Scenes from the Legacy West grand opening weekend of events
An entire weekend was devoted to the grand opening of La Moderna Pasta Factory in Cleburne, Texas! Guests first toasted the occasion at the kick-off cocktail party, which was followed by an inauguration ceremony featuring factory tours, mariachi music, and a ribbon cutting attended by Governor Greg Abbott. From signature cocktails, to logo-embellished menus, to lounge furniture and floral arrangements complementing the colors of La Moderna’s logo and packaging, branded touches abounded at every turn.
For smaller-scale celebrations, something as simple as a takeaway item or free sample embellished with your logo can go a long way. Hot day? Why not give each of your guests a customized water bottle or fan? Bounce-back coupons are another easy way to get people to remember your brand and return for another visit.
Last but not least, alert the local media about your upcoming event and make sure the details of your grand opening are on all of the event calendars for your city. Consider hiring a photographer or videographer to document your grand opening. On the day of the event, encourage guests to post on social media by creating signs with your event hashtag, setting up a step and repeat featuring your logo, or hosting a unique activity that is just begging to be Instagrammed. You can even hold social media giveaway contests, like Levi’s did for the grand opening of Legacy West!
You’ve done the hard part of opening up a new business. Now, it’s time to focus on getting others as excited about your company and brand as you are. Use these tips to start laying the foundation for your event, and if you would like assistance in planning and orchestrating your grand opening in Dallas, Fort Worth, or beyond, we would love for you to get in touch with our team!
Legacy West Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting photos: Taylor Kiker for DFW Events