Culture

In-Demand Dallas Event Planners Share Their Hopes for a Post-Pandemic Party Season — Remember Parties?

The New Social Order

BY // 05.20.21

Gatherings may still be small, but they’re reason enough to throw on a pair of current season Tom Ford floral trousers or a La Vie Style House caftan with matching turban. So, the time seemed right to reach out to friends in the Dallas party-planning ecosystem and ask: How did you weather the past year? What do you envision for the rest of 2021? And how about some tips for hosting a paparazzi-worthy gathering, now that the social world is emerging from its long hibernation. As we suspected, conga lines may be a thing of the past. But Dallas’ most in-demand event planners think we just might encounter a tipsy game of hopscotch in the near future.

 

dallas event planners
Todd Fiscus with Ceron (photo by Steve Wrubel)

Todd Fiscus

Don’t let Todd Fiscus’ boyishly handsome face fool you. This seasoned party planner and founder of Todd Events has well over 20 years of experience in the big leagues, with clients ranging from Tom Ford to Audi, the Dallas Cowboys, and plenty of pretty pop stars. Sprinkle in weddings for offspring of Texas’ mightiest oil and gas dynasties and business barons, and you get our drift: Fiscus knows how to throw a lavish shindig.

How you pivoted when lockdown began in 2020.

We staged houses and therefore started designing interiors. It’s been fantastic, actually, and I have always loved it. Nice to add to our list of services. And I hope to continue.

Dress code: More casual, or do guests want to throw on an entrance-making gown? Get dressed! It’s time to put the casual
clothing away.

SHOP

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Now that many are vaccinated, what type of events are people asking you to plan?
Everything. And they’re coming in hot. Lots of parties and lots of traveling. Buckle up — it’s going to be something!

Conga lines might be on pause for a while. Any alternatives.
Hopscotch? At this point, just getting to be with people is nice. I’m having Footloose flashbacks and actually hear people saying, “I just want to dance!”

168 4×6 006_F073_05-25-19_Schlegel_House.JPG (Photo by John Cain)
Todd Fiscus, one of the most sought-after Dallas event planners,  planted lantana weeks ahead of Krystal Schlegel’s wedding to ensure hundreds of monarch butterflies would also be in attendance that day. (Photo by John Cain)

Socially distanced tablescapes you’ve designed that pleased you.
None. I hate them. Coasters atop passed beverages and hors d’oeuvres under glass are kind of cool; maybe those will stay. I think blowing out candles on a cake and then serving said cake will be over for a looooong time.

Best flowers for a fabulous spring/summer soirée.
Gobs of Japanese ranunculus in peachy tones, French tulips, dogwood, and lilacs for spring. Acidgreen zinnias and palms for summer. Bright and happy!

Signature 2021 cocktail.
The Vaccine. It’s champagne served ice cold with a splash of grapefruit juice, over a sugar cube with a torched grapefruit skin. With a squeeze vial of tequila. Because I love tequila and champagne.

Mad Libs time: When I feel like lowering my [DESIGNER NAME] party-ready mask to drink a [COCKTAIL], expect me to [ACTION].
When I feel like lowering my Thom Browne party-ready mask to drink a Vaccine, expect me to hit the floor harder than John Travolta.

 

dallas event planners
Missy Peck, Dallas’ newest powerhouse event planner, photographed by Steve Wrubel

Missy Peck

Girl about town Missy Peck started her boutique party-planning service, missyRSVP, in May 2019. Then she threw one of the most talked-about events of that year: a celebration of the Prabal Gurung + Miron Crosby collaboration held on the great
lawn of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. Guests were greeted with shots of tequila and a fashion show, with a catwalk flanked by rodeo queens on horseback, carrying custom flags. A truly Texas affair.

Dress code: Casual, or not?
I think people are ready to dress up. I, for one, am buying a few special pieces at The Conservatory — especially a bright-orange Marina Moscone dress I’ve had my eye on.

Post-vaccination, what type of events are you planning?
I’m working on a destination birthday, several retailer events in Highland Park Village, and a French-themed outdoor family event for a special friend moving to Dallas.

A tipsy round of Twister might not be the best ice-breaker for now. Alternatives?
If anything, I learned over the last year how important it is to keep events personalized. A game of trivia at the dinner table about everyone in attendance is always a hit.

Socially distanced party pointers.
Before any of this happened, Todd Fiscus and I worked on a dinner at Mirador where we made a 40-foot table with small and large rectangle tables. We alternated each, so no one was sitting directly next to each other but you could still have conversations with everyone. I’ve thought about bringing it back but haven’t had a 40-person dinner event yet.

266 LS 1
Details from a Love Shack Fancy event by missyRSVP Events.

Favorite flowers for spring/summer.
Nothing too stuffy. I’m feeling organic arrangements with bright colors. I found some double-petal tulips recently that in bloom resemble the It girl of the flower world, peonies. They were divine!

Signature 2021 cocktail.
Casa Dragones tequila with Topo Chico and fresh lime. Most call it a ranch water or “the usual”; I call it COVID water.

Mad Libs time: When I feel like lowering my [DESIGNER NAME] party-ready mask to drink a [COCKTAIL], expect me to [ACTION].
When I feel like slipping on my Miron Crosby Marisa boots and lowering my Hermès mask to drink a cold dirty martini, expect me to come up with some fun haikus with Lucy Wrubel.

Special party touches in the months ahead.
I invested in multiple sets of pretty linens during lockdown for the small garden-party Saturdays we had with our small pod of friends and family. There are some amazing sources out there now. Cult-favorite Leontine Linens is always perfect, but also newcomers Fenwick Fields. Of course, all embroidered by my sister’s company, The Monogram Club.

 

dallas event planners
Dallas event planner Nathan Johnson, photographed by Steve Wrubel

Nathan Johnson

Dashing party planner Nathan Johnson started GRO Designs with his wife, Krisi, 15 years ago. As the company name implies, it continues to GRO. They view each venue as a blank canvas on which to create a living work of art — which they’ve accomplished for David Yurman, Roberto Cavalli, and Michael Jordan.

What lockdown changed.
Our pivot was more internal. The most important thing we committed to during lockdown was not chasing business outside of our brand and expertise. Instead, we invested back into our team and vendors that we love working with.

Special events you’ve planned that were especially meaningful.
We designed and planned a wedding for a documentary released on Netflix called 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story that was incredibly special to be part of. The film tells a wonderful story of hope and perseverance and was released near the end of the pandemic. It’s the perfect shot of optimism we all need to move forward and start celebrating life again.

Dress code.
I think people, more than ever, want to dress up and leave the pajama party in 2020.

Socially distanced design.
The larger-style circular tables that are often seen in lavish Dubai weddings are going to be a great addition to the Texas wedding scene. They’re not only eight feet across and COVID friendly, but they’re absolutely next-level tables for a lavish affair.

Flowers for spring/summer.
Can you ever argue with the peony? June and July are the height of peony season, and they’re the perfect touch for any soirée.

Signature 2021 cocktail.
I can’t take the credit for this one, as it was created by Dan Saltzstein and named by Michael Y. Park:

The Witty Comeback
2 oz rye whiskey
1/2 oz ginger simple syrup
1/2 oz Averna Amaro
1/2 oz lemon juice
Shake with ice and serve in a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with flamed orange peel, if you’re feeling fancy.

Mad Libs time: When I feel like lowering my [DESIGNER NAME] party-ready mask to drink a [COCKTAIL], expect me to [ACTION].
When I feel like lowering my Hermès party-ready mask to drink a huge glass of Philippe Melka wine, expect me to high-five you. Yes, I’m bringing it back.

How to make a small dinner or cocktail party feel special.
Great dinners always have on-point decor and food but, most importantly, amazing conversations. One of the easiest and most effective ways is to write down serious and cheeky questions, fold them creatively, and put them in your most bougie shoebox to pass around the table. Note: A few cocktails get the best results.

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