The Party Planning Guide
Parties are best when they can actually be enjoyed: Whether it’s a kids birthday, a landmark anniversary, or a wedding, there’s no reason it has to involve blood, sweat, and a fat rolodex. Here, a comprehensive list of trusted vendors for everything from vintage tableware rentals to organic-only catering to gourmet cotton candy carts. And if all else fails, a slew of skilled event planners.
The Atlanta outpost of Jackson Durham was so popular that founders Heath Alan Ray and Charles Vance decided to spread the wealth to Dallas and enlisted Todd Events alum Sara Fay Egan to run the show. While they’re a full-fledged event planning company with insane vendor connections (both domestically and abroad), designing lush floral concepts is their sweet spot.
Frosted Art Bakery1546 Edison St., Citywide | 214.760.8707
Bronwin Weber's award-winning confections are unapologetically over the top (she's a regular on The Food Network's Cake Challenge). She's masterful at intricate sugar art and fondant sculpting, which results in such awe-inducing, multi-tiered celebration cakes you'll feel kind of bad slicing into them. It's also worth noting that the bakery is Kosher.
Ellis Hill Stationery25 Highland Park Village, Highland Park | 214.520.6108
The focus at Kerri Ellis Davis and Margretta Hill Wikert's Highland Park Village shop is custom monograms, which they can apply to all the obvious stuff (invitations, linens, coasters) as well as the not-so-obvious (leather coolers, dining chairs).
Avant Garden85 Highland Park Village, Citywide | 214.559.3432
As if we needed any more proof that legendary party planner Todd Fiscus can do no wrong, his beloved Highland Park flower shop just moved to a bigger, better space. This means more room (two beautiful floors-worth) for candles, vases, cut blooms, an orchid bar, and a small but beautiful outdoor garden.
Three Branches Floral Design214.542.6846
Three Branches is operated by two sisters, so it's safe to say floral design is literally in their blood. There's purity to their bouquets and centerpieces as they often stick to monochromatic palettes and no more than a few types of blooms per arrangement.
Mi Cocina Catering214.217.3036
Much like its restaurant, Mi Cocina catering specializes in traditional, elevated, incredibly tasty Tex Mex food. Thankfully, whether you go for passed appetizers or a complete sit-down dinner, it can (and should) be accompanied by the killer margaritas.
Lucy Wrubel Spinheylucy@mac.com
Bubbly, hilarious, and well-versed in the music that gets people out of their chairs and onto the dance floor, Lucy Wrubel is a bona fide Dallas celebrity. She spins at all manner of events, from big fashion parties (she killed it at the goop shop opening party) to private events and even offers "musical wallpaper" services for restaurants and shops.
This is the kind of old-school, full-service catering business that puts the same amount of effort into a basic breakfast buffet as they do an all-out holiday dinner. But Alberto Lombardi and his wife Vivian don't just stop at food: Their staff will gladly set up, serve, and then clean up any event, big or small.
Fotomatic Photography Standjenny@fotomaticdtx.com
With custom made backgrounds and wild props, Jenny Kirkland's setup is a cross between photo booth and mini portable portrait studio. It's pretty much guaranteed to make guests happy.
The Joule Dallas214.748.1300
We've sung the Joule's praises for its nice rooms and fantastic restaurants, so it's really no surprise their catering department (they'll tweak the existing CBD Provisions menu to your liking or simply start from scratch) and event spaces are great as well. Oh, and they cater off-site parties, too.
Stamped Paper Co.469.317.7905
Unlike many other stationers, Jill Efrussy Sour doesn't make her clients choose from pre-designed templates. Instead, she starts them off with a detailed questionnaire to help figure out a 100% custom motif to best suits their sensibility.
Steve Wrubel Photography214.460.1100
Steve Wrubel—husband to DJ extraordinaire Lucy Wrubel—is by no means a minimalist. No matter the subject matter (though big celebrations are his forte) the resulting photos are sure to be full of life and color.
Kent Rathbun Catering214.619.3555
In addition to his catering business, Kent Rathbun is also the man behind some of Dallas' best restaurants (Abacus, Jasper's, and KB's are all his). While his business runs the gamut from backyard BBQs to formal dinners, he really excels at in-home catering for clients hosting formal events. Kent's menus are incredibly creative (don't skip dessert).
Fluff Pop Cotton Candy214.566.5715
While you can order Fluff Pop ahead of time, the best way to incorporate the made-for-grown-ups cotton candy into an event is to have it spun for your guests on-site. People go crazy for the flavors (guava, lychee, cotton candy).
Everything is bigger in Texas, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Dallas' foremost event planner wholeheartedly subscribes to that philosophy. Todd's events are lavish and glamorous in the best way, and there's no challenge he won't take on. Looking for a water feature with live performers? On it. 400 square foot ómbre flower wall? Consider it done. They recently joined forces with Suite 206 Luxury Event Rentals, too, who has one of the most comprehensive rental libraries we've ever seen.
Grange Hall Floral4445 Travis St., Knox/Henderson | 214.443.0600
Grange Hall's unusual arrangements definitely feel like they're in a class of their own. Keeping in theme with the otherworldly nature of their shop (one of Dallas's best), their floral arrangements look like they could be found in a cabinet of curiosities. They're excellent at incorporating unusual props like feathers, ribbons, and oddly-shaped vases.
The Left-Handed Calligrapher214.202.7594
Nicole is a great classic calligrapher. You can select from a number of different styles, and while she's based in Dallas, she takes orders from across the country. And yes, she really is left-handed.
Cassandra Fine Catering214.613.0131
These guys definitely rule when it comes to super-fancy, high-end catering (not everyone in town has served meals to both Presidents Obama and Bush). But it's about more than the food for Cassandra—clients rave about the impeccable service and reliability.
Chinatown is like a traditional wedding band on steroids. All five members have years of experience, so their renditions of all the party staples (Boogie Shoes, Shout, Rebel Yell) sound just as good as the real thing.
The T Room at Forty Five Ten4510 McKinney Ave., Knox / Henderson | 214.559.2332
Sadly, Forty Five Ten's Number 1 café shuttered, so to soften the blow they've expanded the in-shop café, T Room. It's a cozy space with cast iron chandeliers and an outdoor patio—perfect for bridal and baby showers and birthday lunches. The in-house event planner Missy, can handle the details (invites, flowers, favors), all you have to do is show up.