Society / The Seen

The 2024 Mad Hatter’s Tea Transformed the Dallas Arboretum Into the ‘Gardens of Greece’

Inside the Always Over-the-Top Luncheon and Runway Show

BY // 05.01.24
photography Thomas Garza and Rob Wythe

I fell down the rabbit hole for the first time last year, arriving at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, the Women’s Council’s signature event, with a 10-pound boxwood poodle on my head. When I didn’t win the “Best in Show” category, I learned an important societal lesson. (Grab a pen.) Ladies who lunch do not come to play!

The 36th annual event, which benefits both the Women’s Council and A Woman’s Garden, took place on Thursday, April 18, and brought together 520 botanically-inclined supporters and socialites. This year’s sold-out fete invited guests to the “Gardens of Greece.” 

Heavy is the head that wears the crown, but you wouldn’t know it from how gracefully event chairman Allison Brodnax, who looked resplendent in a full-length gown featuring climbing roses and an elegant fascinator, pulled off the entire affair. Community fixture Barbara Bigham served as this year’s honorary chair. 

Allison Brodnax, chair of the 2024 Mad Hatter’s Luncheon 
Allison Brodnax, chair of the 2024 Mad Hatter’s Luncheon

Upon arrival at the Arboretum, guests sipped Grecian mojitos and buzzed around Ginsburg Plaza with two primary objectives: to get a cute pic and to size up the competition. 

The verdant grounds provided the idyllic backdrop as guests promenaded past a discerning panel of judges, including Kristen Gibbins, Kameron Westcott, Sabina Carr, Esé Azenabor-Grembowski, Patti Flowers, and Nathan Johnson, who evaluated *the lewks* in the following categories (respectively): 

– Greek Mythology
– Greek Life
– Olympic Games
– My Big Fat Greek Wedding
– Greek Goddesses
– Best Botanicals Using Fresh Flowers

Grill Master Haven

Swipe
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Grill Masters
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Grill Masters
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Grill Masters
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Grill Masters
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Grill Masters
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Grill Masters
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Grill Masters
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Grill Masters
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Grill Masters
  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Grill Masters
Kunthear Mam-Douglas, Elizabeth Smith, winner of the category Greek Mythology
Kunthear Mam-Douglas, Elizabeth Smith, winner of the category Greek Mythology

Theme interpretations abounded. We saw swarms of Greek goddesses, more than a few snake-haired Medusas, and everything from understated Olympian olive-leaf crowns to the smoke-activated Mount Olympus atop one woman’s head (Elizabeth Smith, who won the “Greek Mythology” category). It was a Greek feast for the eyes. (I particularly enjoyed the My Big Fat Greek Wedding entrant whose hat included a fully-baked bundt cake.)

Inside Rosine Hall, Women’s Council President Karen Sargent announced an exciting undertaking for the Council– redeveloping the 25-year-old Pecan Parterre, which will re-open in the fall after planting and accessibility improvements are completed. 

A Jan Strimple-produced fashion presentation followed, featuring models of all ages (but one body type) and fashion from NorthPark Center retailers Etro, Scanlan Theodore, Ted Baker, St. John, and Nordstrom. The rather raucous crowd particularly enjoyed the presence and participation of the two male models, Thomas and Trevor, who blushed their way up and down the catwalk to Graecian Mojito-fueled “WOOO!!!!!!!”s. 

Fashion Show spectators at the 2024 Mad Hatter's luncheon
Fashion Show spectators at the 2024 Mad Hatter’s tea and luncheon.

Each judge announced the winner of their category and affirmed one truth: at Mad Hatter’s, the glue gun remains king. 

The impending rain held off so attendees could enjoy their Greek-inspired feast (Couscous! Hummus! All the hits!) al fresco before taking home treats from Eataly, including a tiny bottle of limoncello!  The most over-the-top luncheon in Dallas, Mad Hatter’s undoubtedly emphasizes the fun in fundraising. 

Discover Weber Pellet Grill at Bering's
SHOP NOW

Featured Properties

Swipe
X
X