Real Estate / Fashion

The Ultimate Mansion Wedding

Houston and Dallas Power Families Merge in an Epic Night

BY // 03.12.17
photography Stephen Karlisch

If not for the fashion and the au courant caravan of cars lined up in valet at Dallas’ Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, one would have thought it was once again the 1920s estate of its original owner, oilman Sheppard King. For one night only, the entire restaurant and bar — the portion of the hotel that was originally a residence — was shuttered for private use.

The last time these rooms were closed to the public was in 2013, when Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld took over the entire hotel during his Paris- Dallas Métiers d’Art fashion show. But the cause for celebration this time had little to do with French fashion and more to do with love: the wedding reception of Dallas native Sterling Stensrud upon her marriage to Robert Evans from Houston, where the couple now resides.

Nearly four weeks before the wedding, a multi-tiered, 10,000-square-foot, translucent tent began to take shape on the Mansion’s sloping front lawn.

“This was the first time a tent had been erected at the Mansion,” says Julian Leaver, then the hotel’s director of catering sales and events. “No one had ever built a tent like that. The way it was designed made it feel like an extension of the Mansion. It looked like it had always been there.”

That was precisely the point. When Sara Fay Egan, a partner at Jackson Durham Events in Dallas, first met with Stensrud, it was clear the bride wanted something that had never been done before.

“I told her I loved the Mansion but that I didn’t want to have the reception in the ballroom,” Stensrud says. “And Sara Fay smiled and said, ‘Oh, I have an idea …’” What happened next was a wedding reception of epic proportions, one the Mansion had never played host to before.

Instead of treating the hotel like a traditional venue, Egan looked to the Mansion’s storied history. “We took the hotel back to the original mansion estate,” she says.

The main dining room was set up as a  living room, with sofas and chaises replacing dining tables and chairs. And the library bar was redesigned to feel, well, like a library — as it once was. Flowers were styled in a domestic manner, with elegant topiaries and small, low arrangements; even the Mansion’s patio was refurnished to resemble that of a most glorious home. Once the tent opened for dinner and dancing, the year of planning came together.

“It had a theme without having a theme,” Egan says. “The actual color of the Mansion, the rose-gold terracotta stucco, was what jump-started the color palette.”

From invitations to linens to the hue of the cake, the Mansion’s exterior color was matched exactly. The carved quatrefoil ceiling was replicated on both the invitation and the cake. Waiters dressed in white dinner jackets with jaunty rose-gold bow ties, and the night’s signature cocktail — the Ms. Vicki martini — was pink to match.

“There was a rose-gold glow throughout the night,” says Stensrud.

With nearly half of their 450 guests spending the wedding weekend at the Mansion, this was indeed the most memorable house party on record. As the wedding neared the final dance, rose gold confetti fell from the ceiling and, Stensrud says, “People were having so much fun, we thought the tent might collapse.”

Not on this golden night. Not in a million years.

Home, chic home.

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