The New Wedding Registry: Alternative Registry Options

Vendor Spotlight

Ready for a big-time understatement? It can be easy to get caught up in all the little details of the wedding planning process. Making decisions on a deadline is never easy, and when you add in the emotions and expectations associated with a wedding, those “fun” cake tastings and dress fittings can suddenly start to feel like appointments with a pressure cooker. When stress threatens to overshadow the joy of the wedding planning process, it’s helpful to remember that the purpose of all the planning is not just to pull off a fabulous event, but to begin a beautiful marriage.

On that note, today we’ll be focusing on using your registry to prepare for life together after the aisle. If the idea of roaming around Target with a price gun sounds anything BUT fun, hang with us. There are many new ways to create a modern, practical registry that fits your unique needs and goals as a couple—no price gun required. Let’s explore a few of them!

The New Wedding Wish List: Practical Alternatives to Traditional Wedding Registries

photos: Grant Daniels Photography | venue: Ocean View Club

HONEYFUND

If the two of you already have all of the pots, pans, and pretties needed to turn your house into a home, there’s no need to register for additional items just for the sake of tradition. Your guests will still want (and expect) to gift you with something as you begin your new life together, though, which is where online wedding registries like Honeyfund come into play. You can think of Honeyfund as a crowdfunding site for weddings—one that allows your guests to give cash in an intentional and thoughtful way. Contributions can be directed toward your honeymoon accommodations, unique activities and experiences, charitable donations, down payments for a future home…even a year of professional housecleaning! (Yes, please.) Love the idea, but not quite sure where you’ll be jet-setting after exchanging vows? Honeyfund also offers a variety of honeymoon packages and exclusive discounts that are sure to inspire your itinerary. Take a peek here!

THE GOOD BEGINNING

Perhaps you feel like you’ve collected all the “stuff” you’ll ever need. Or maybe you and your mate are minimalists, and have decided that fine china and crystal simply aren’t a fit for your lifestyle. Whatever the case, if you’re more motivated by altruism than accumulation, The Good Beginning might be a perfect fit for you. Founded by event planner Beth Helmstetter, who we had the pleasure of getting to know during our Marry at the Mulia familiarity trip, The Good Beginning is an online registry that helps couples donate to charitable causes throughout the world. While many charitable organizations are not set up to track multiple donations from small groups of people, The Good Beginning was created to do exactly that. Through this platform, couples can choose their preferred organizations and enjoy an interface that allows them to track gifts given in their honor. The Good Beginning even generates a list identifying who has given a gift, how much they have given, and which organization they have given to in order to make saying “thank you” as easy as possible. Explore a sample registry here!

ZOLA

This all-inclusive online site has streamlined and fine-tuned the wedding registry process with the goal of making life easier for couples. Thanks to their many partnerships, you’ll find it easy to register for staples from brands like KitchenAid and Le Creuset while also enjoying the ability to accept cash funds and honeymoon contributions. If you’ve already registered for items through another retailer, Zola also offers the ability to import registries so that all of your wishlists are collected in one place. Registries, by the way, are just the beginning. Need a wedding website? Zola provides hundreds of free templates. Looking to create save-the-dates and wedding invitations? You’ll find customizable options on Zola—some even coordinate with their website templates. The best news of all? It’s free!

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Have you discovered another fantastic online wedding registry tool? Tell us about it in the comments, and follow @dfwevents on Instagram for more wedding planning tips and inspiration!

Travel Beauty Must-Haves from My Fabulous Faces

DestinationVendor Spotlight

Destination weddings in Napa, Palmetto Bluff, Santa Fe, and Cabo. Site visits to ranches in the Texas Hill Country and private villas in Mexico. A tour of the Inside Weddings office in Los Angeles. An unforgettable FAM trip in Bali. Needless to say, 2016 has been one of our most travel-packed years yet!

As we all know, “travel” and “beauty” aren’t always words that go hand-in-hand—especially when a lengthy flight is involved. To help us pack our suitcases with as much ease as our emergency kits, we tasked Mayra Rams-Sanabria with rounding up the top products to have on hand (or rather, in bag) when en route to our next destination. Read on to discover the seven products that the founder of My Fabulous Faces never jet-sets without!

Mayra Rams-Sanabria of My Fabulous Faces

Mayra beautifying a recent DFW Events bride | photo: Carter Rose for F8 Studio

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Event Preview: The 24 All Star Chef Classic Benefiting Dallas 24 Hour Club

CelebrationCorporateVendor Spotlight

Now’s the time to save the date (and work up an appetite) for October 16, the date of The 24 All Star Chef Classic! We are thrilled to be producing the event, which will feature fabulous bites and sips from 24 of Dallas’ top chefs and culinary stars (Sean Frye, John Tesar, Richard Blankenship, John Coleman, and Mico Rodriguez just to name a few), world class entertainment from Jordan Kahn, and more!

2015 Chef Classic photos: Holt Haynsworth

Chef Classic_Holt Haynsworth

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Vendor Spotlight: Strong Travel Services

Vendor Spotlight

We are thrilled today to shine the spotlight on our go-to resource for all things travel, Strong Travel Services! Whether we’re booking guests’ flights for a destination wedding or helping a couple plan the perfect honeymoon, we constantly refer our clients to Strong Travel due to the company’s unmatched expertise and five-star level of service.

Strong Travel is also an integral part of our company’s newest brand, Destination EnSite, which introduces top event professionals to premier properties all over the world through familiarity trips—last summer took us to Hilton Head Island for “Wed at the Westin,” and this August we’ll be heading to Indonesia to explore The Mulia Bali alongside leading event professionals from across the globe!

exterior of The Mulia Bali’s Eternity Chapel | photo courtesy of The Mulia Bali

Without further ado, meet Scott Stout, a 30-year travel industry veteran who’s given us the scoop on more than a few exciting travel opportunities…we recommend getting your passport ready before reading!

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Top Ten First Dance Songs of 2016, Featuring Jordan Kahn

Vendor Spotlight

So, you’ve finally booked the live band or DJ of your dreams for your wedding. But now it’s time to select the song that could become your song. You know—the one you play on every anniversary because it never fails to remind you of the joy-filled day that the two of you said “I do.”

photo: Stephen Karlisch  | see more of this event here

Sound familiar? If so, then ditch those song-selection jitters goodbye! We recently tasked one of our favorite entertainers, Jordan Kahn of Jordan Kahn Orchestra, with selecting the top 10 first dance songs of 2016. We love Jordan’s mantra—”Success to me has always been a full dance floor, and I believe that is a big reason why people hire me today”—and with that in mind, there’s no one we’d trust more with this job!

Just like in Grease, we told Jordan that “the rules are…there ain’t no rules” when it came to his selection process. In other words? A song didn’t necessarily have to be brand new in order to make the cut—the goal was simply to identify a few options that have yet to be overplayed on the dance floor. Without further ado, we’re thrilled to share Jordan’s picks with you today. Read on for the top 10 tunes that are sure to start your marriage on the right note. Literally!

Here’s the scenario: You’ve just gotten engaged, and you’ve been to wedding after wedding, and you’ve heard the same songs over and over again, and you want your own reception to be unique. I get it. Your first dance is also one of the first impressions your guests will have of you as a married couple. With that in mind, use these suggestions to ensure that your first dance is meaningful, memorable, and special.

  1. “All The Way” by Frank Sinatra: Want a song that has a classic big band sound, with a ton of meaning, that’s easy to dance to, but not as overplayed as “At Last?” Coming in at number one, this is your song!
  2. “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Meghan Trainor and John Legend: A great new duet about love. This song is relatively new, meaning you could be the first among your friends to use it as you and your hubby’s first dance song.
  3. “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran: This song makes people say “awww” almost instantly. It’s like Ed knows exactly what your significant other is thinking in that moment.
  4. “Just The Way You Are” by Billy Joel: One of my favorite songs. Billy Joel is a master song writer and lyricist. Pick this for a meaningful song that’s easy to dance to.
  5. “From This Moment On” by Shania Twain: Song writers of today could take a lesson from producer Mutt Lang and singer/songwriter Shania Twain. This song speaks directly to commitment and love, is accompanied by beautiful and moving music, and is easy to dance to.
  6. “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz: Similar to Ed Sheeran at spot number three, this song makes people sigh as soon as they hear the guitar intro. It may have been played a lot in 2012, but at this point, it’s had enough rest to make a lasting impact for 2016.
  7. “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons: This one is a classic, and features two distinct parts. You will get to slow dance with your significant other at first, but once the chorus hits, your entire wedding party will be singing along!
  8. “We Are In Love” by Harry Connick Jr.: For the couple who knows how to dance, and might even choreograph their first dance, this is a fantastic song about love. When paired with the right dance moves, it’s sure to leave your guests talking about your first dance for years to come.
  9. “Marry Me” by Train: This one speaks for itself. It’s romantic, it sends a clear message, and it’s easy to dance to. You can’t go wrong with this song.
  10. “Sugar” by Maroon 5: Known as the wedding song of 2015, this song might be on its way out, but is still a good choice if you’re looking to have your guests share in your first dance. It’s guaranteed to fill your dance floor so that you can transition straight into a dance party!

Of course, if your song isn’t on this list, that’s okay. Sometimes, I recommend that the bride and groom think back on any special songs they might have shared while dating. I also recommend to my couples that, regardless of the song, the key to keeping your guests engaged during the special dances is to shorten them to around two to three minutes.

Happy song hunting!

All the best,

Jordan Kahn

About Jordan Kahn: For over a decade, Jordan Kahn has been performing at high-profile luxury events all over the country. With a fully customizable Big Band Orchestra of up to 21 pieces that can seamlessly transition from dinner to dancing, matched with his experience as an event and performance expert, Jordan knows how to take your vision and execute it to the most professional, luxury standard. Would you like to experience the new standard in luxury entertainment? Would you like to bring a one-of-a-kind performance experience to your guests? Do you want your dance floor to stay full all night long? Get in touch with Jordan by visiting www.JordanKahnOrchestra.com.

Spotlight: The Birthday Party Project

CelebrationVendor Spotlight

We’re throwing confetti in the air and putting on our favorite party hats today. And we mean that literally, because the subject we’re celebrating is none other than The Birthday Party Project!

images courtesy of The Birthday Party Project

Founded in 2012 by Paige Chenault and her husband, Colin, The Birthday Party Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing joy to homeless children through the magic of birthdays. A professional event planner, Paige was inspired to give back after the birth of her daughter, Lizzie. After years of research and consideration, Paige pulled together a team of talented, caring friends to help her launch The Birthday Party Project—our own founder, Mary-Frances, is proud to be involved!

We are truly inspired by Paige’s passion for giving back. She has made it her life mission to celebrate others, so it’s an honor to turn the tables and shine the spotlight on her organization today. Here to share more about TBPP is Lara Gaither, Executive Director of The Birthday Party Project.

MEET THE PARTY GIRL
Note: This interview was originally posted in January of 2016. Even more joy has been spread since then!

Name: Lara Gaither

Title/Position: Executive Director

Years involved with The Birthday Party Project: Over 3 years

Favorite thing about what you do: 

“I have two favorites: the kids we celebrate and the birthday enthusiasts (volunteers) that make it happen. Both are some of the most inspirational, kind, fun, resourceful, passionate, giving, JOYful people I have ever met.”

Most memorable Birthday Party Project moment:

“There are too many to count. Truly! The most memorable moments are when kids really enjoy the party. The smiles, the dance parties, the magic when we light the candles, the enthusiasts singing Happy Birthday….most of the kids we celebrate have never had a birthday celebration. We believe that our mission is something worth sharing.  We know that not every child has a home, but every child has a birthday. Although we can’t end homelessness across America, we can celebrate every homeless child.”

Three things people probably don’t know about The Birthday Party Project:

“We currently have 60 piñatas in our office. We really love a good dance party. We have sung happy birthday over 1600 times!”

We can’t wait to celebrate with those of you who have already purchased your tickets for #TBPPTurns5 on January 28. Even if you’re not able to attend the event, you can click here to make a donation!

JOIN THE PARTY!

Date: January 28, 2017

Location: The Bomb Factory, 2713 Canton Street, Dallas, TX 75226

Time: 7 pm (early access) | 7:30 pm (general admission) | party ends at 11 pm

Attire: Mod-60s—think Andy Warhol meets Austin Powers!

Individual Tickets: $150 | more information here

Vendor Spotlight: BEYOND

Vendor Spotlight

Imagine an outdoor reception without café lights; a dance floor without a monogram spotlight; an oversized ballroom minus the ambiance. In these scenarios and so many others, it’s easy to see how lighting so often serves as the finishing touch and pièce de résistance when it comes to event decor!

images courtesy of BEYOND featuring DFW Events productions past and present! | photo: Stephen Karlisch

That being said, we are thrilled today to shine the (figurative) spotlight on BEYOND, a vendor that has (literally) done the very same for our clients on countless occasions! In addition to their gorgeous lighting work, BEYOND provides top-notch audio and video services that always bring out the best in the events we produce. We could go on and on about all the reasons we love working with this team, but instead, why not meet them for yourself?

MEET THE TEAM

Company: BEYOND

Years in business: 9 – BEYOND made its business debut as Lite Dallas in 2006, and kept the name for 5 years until debuting their current moniker in 2010 (the eve of their 10-year anniversary!)

History in the industry: Collectively, the BEYOND team has over 25 years of experience in the world of weddings and events.

photo: David Edmonson, Edmonson Weddings | more from this 50th fête here

ABOVE AND BEYOND

What does a typical day at the BEYOND office look like? “It’s never the same! Some days things are quiet and everyone is working at their desks (which, let’s be honest, sometimes includes video games). Other days we are creating and building the next custom lighting install for a weekend event, testing our newest video equipment, or working hard to help a client with a last minute request. Of course, some days include all of the above…in just one day!”

What are we likely to find the BEYOND team doing on the day of an event? “You’ll find us working hard and communicating with the client on-site to make sure that everything, from lighting to audio to video, is surpassing the client’s expectation!”

photo: Stephen Karlisch 

What sets BEYOND apart in the industry? “Our customer service and attention to detail.”

Why is lighting important at a wedding or an event? “No matter what type of event, lighting is a great way to transform the room; it plays a very important part of the overall décor. Pinspots, specifically when floral is involved, are a MUST. Floral is too beautiful to get missed in the room, and with a little white light the arrangements just pop!”

photo: Carter Rose, F8 Studio

What about audio and video? “The quality of audio is very important, especially for the ceremony. You never want the guests to miss the beautiful words being shared between the bride and groom. Video is a great way to capture that moment, have it for a lifetime, and – with the help of social media – share it with friends and family!”

Three things people probably don’t know about the BEYOND team: “One: BEYOND’s corporate name is You Know What, Inc. Yes, that is what your caller ID says when we call. Two: Our Instagram handle might be @beyondldtx, but our company name is just BEYOND, not BEYOND LD. The ‘LD’ does not stand for Lite Dallas or Lighting Design. Unfortunately, the URL beyond.com was simply already taken! Three: Melissa Rolls Weyer was the first employee of BEYOND. Bonus: The company began out of Ryan Kelley’s garage in Denison, Texas.”

photo: Jason Kindig Photography  | more from this 60th birthday celebration here

Now that you’ve had a chance to meet the team and see examples of their work, we think you’ll agree that BEYOND’s name is a complete reflection of their history of going above and beyond in everything they do!

Vendor Spotlight: Barbara McAfee

Vendor Spotlight

It’s time for another vendor spotlight, and today we are so thrilled to celebrate our dear friend Barbara McAfee at Ducky-Bob’s! There is no such thing as an “event disaster” thanks to Barbara. If anything threatens to go awry she is always willing to go above and beyond for our team, ensuring that our clients get hitched without a hitch! When she arrives on the scene she truly brings the magic with her—just one sprinkle of Barbara’s fairy dust and everything falls into place for a seamless event experience. Read on to learn more about the “making of the magic” and experience a day in the life of Barbara McAfee!

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photos: courtesy of Ducky-Bob’s

MEET BARBARA

Name: Barbara McAfee

Title/Position: Senior Account Manager at Ducky-Bob’s

Years in business: 17

How did you first get involved with the wedding/event industry? “I actually started as a part-time cater waiter to earn extra money. It didn’t take long before I was hooked and working in the industry full time.”

Favorite thing about what you do: “Definitely the wonderful clients I get to work with!”

Most memorable moment on the job: “There have been so many but one of the most memorable jobs ever was a few years ago. It was sponsored by a major carpet manufacturer; we set up a huge pole tent to host 400 participants simultaneously throwing pies at each other—and set a new Guinness World Record. Needless to say, the carpet was covered in pie but demonstrated how well the stain guard worked! We on the other hand were scrubbing pie off the tents for a week—priceless!”

Ducky-Bob's Event Rentals

see more Ducky-Bob’s event photos by becoming a fan on Facebook!

A DAY IN THE LIFE

What does a typical day in your life look like? “That’s the thing I love about this industry—every day is different. I could do a corporate presentation in the morning, attend an industry lunch event, and then out to the middle of a field to measure for a tent in the afternoon!”

What sets Ducky-Bob’s apart in the industry? “The depth of knowledge and experience. It doesn’t hurt that as part of the Classic family we have the largest inventory in the event industry.”

Where did the name Ducky-Bob’s actually come from? “Bob Fernberg owned a tool rental company for several years. In the mid 70’s his wife, ‘Ducky,’ suggested they branch out into event rentals and Ducky-Bob’s was born. Ducky is actually credited with being the first in Dallas to offer round table linens!”

What is the most unique request a bride has ever had for her wedding, and how did your team fulfill it? “Several years ago a bride wanted her guests to be greeted with penguins. What could Ducky Bob’s do but set up a climate controlled tent to house them?”

Three things people probably don’t know about you: “I am a certified diver, I can sew (although I don’t find the time very often), and I love, love, love snow!”

Trendspotting: Rare Gems of India by Heather Asbury

Vendor Spotlight

From the latest looks hitting the runway during Bridal Fashion Week (hello, sheer capelets!) to the most tantalizing takes on the season’s tablescapes, we are constantly on the lookout for what’s new and next in the world of event planning. That’s partially because we could look at pictures of Romona Keveza’s Spring 2016 line all day long, but mostly because we’re dedicated to sourcing and presenting our clients with the best-of-the-best trends, vendors, and luxury-level service offerings that exist!

Heather Asbury - chandeliers

With that said, we couldn’t resist sharing one of our latest discoveries—Rare Gems of India, an intricate and exotic jewelry line created by Heather Asbury! Perhaps you’re on the hunt for a chic and unique gift to give your bridesmaids, or maybe you’re looking for a statement piece to wear on your wedding day. Either way, we have a feeling that you might find exactly what you’re looking for among Heather’s hand-crafted jewels. Read on to learn more about Heather’s work and to take a peek at her collection!

RARE GEMS OF INDIA
photos courtesy of Heather Asbury

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THE DESIGNER

Who: Heather Asbury, owner of Rare Gems of India
What: Supplier of rare and unique Indian jewelry imported directly and sold to private bridal clients
Why: Heather says her favorite aspect of working within the wedding industry has to do with “creating beautiful designs to feature every bride; Custom designing unique monogram items to celebrate a bride’s new monogram and adorning my brides with exquisite jewels to highlight their gowns.” Yes, please!

image-4 copyTHE GEMS

One of Heather’s most memorable moments as a designer came when she was tasked with “taking a bride’s family crest that was to be featured on the top of her wedding invitation and crafting it into a gorgeous keepsake locket and matching cufflinks for her groom to wear on their wedding day,” she says. “We then designed customized horn bangles adorned with her wedding day displayed and diamonds.”

collage 2See more of Heather’s work by following @raregemsofindia on Instagram

Her inspiration: “Old world collectibles—beautiful customized one-of-a-kind pieces that will be heirloom keepsakes crafted in the traditional Indian way.”

Design process: “Brides will have the ability to choose from my extensive collection of beautiful pieces or custom design anything they can imagine! Custom sketches are rendered, drafting takes place, and jewels are ordered directly from India. Specialized custom orders typically take four to six weeks for completion.” As for the perfect pieces she suggests for wedding-day wear? “A stack of ornate polki cut diamond bangles; Intricate and unique chandelier earrings.”

Heather Asbury Rare Gems of India

Irresistible gifts: “Beautiful bangles, monogram lockets, unique rings, or monogram dogtags!”

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Vendor Spotlight: Cesar Perez

Vendor Spotlight

You already know (and love!) Cesar Perez for his work as one half of the dynamic + artistic husband-and-wife duo known as Perez Photography. What you may not be as familiar with? His new blog, Fresh&Polished! We snagged a few minutes with Cesar to discuss how his blog—a curated collection of tips (“What Everyone Ought to Know about Goodyear Welt Construction”), tutorials (“How to Tie a Bowtie”), and reviews of dapper duds (“Spotlight: Dallas Suitsupply”) geared toward fashion-conscious men—fits in with the rest of his creative ventures.

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photos: courtesy of Cesar Perez, Perez Photography

MEET CESAR

Name: Cesar Perez

Title/Position: Founder, FreshAndPolished.com; Co-founder, Perez Photography; Love Runs Deep Photo Booths

Years in business: “Fresh&Polished and Love Runs Deep Photo Booths were officially launched this year. Perez Photography has been going strong for almost 9 years.”

Favorite thing about what you do: “Hands down, the people I get to work with. The wedding industry is full of fun and creative people so there’s never a dull moment!”

Most memorable moment on the job: “My wife and I were in Jamaica photographing a wedding that was almost ruined by a hurricane. I’ll never forget that it stopped raining right before the bride walked down the aisle, only to come down even stronger at the reception knocking over tables and décor.”

Perez Weddings

see more of Cesar and Tanya’s work by following @perezweddings on Instagram

FRESH & POLISHED

What’s this new venture all about? “Fresh&Polished is a site focused on providing quality and informative posts on men’s style. A blog that offers recommendations based on research and personal experiences.”

Has fashion always been a passion? “Definitely, I’ve always immensely respected the creativity and talent in the fashion world.”

What inspired you to create this new website? “What inspired me was the confidence and knowledge I gained from learning the rules of dressing well. You don’t have to follow them but knowing why they work will give you the needed confidence to pull anything off.”

How do you plan to develop this blog in the future? “I’m currently working with a Dallas videographer to bring the site a lot of great how-to videos, interviews with movers and shakers, and product reviews.”

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