GETTING THE BEST

Our surveyed brides share their sources.

WHEN IT COMES DOWN to picking caterers, florists.andsuch.it’snot so much what you know, but who you know. We asked our brides to tell us who worked best for them and who didn’t, then contacted those they recommended and got the facts. We also got details from them, and from beauty professionals, on how to look your best for the big day. Here’s a guide to assembling your bridal support group:



Flowers



DALLAS’ TOP FLORAL DESIGN SHOPS can create any imaginable arrangement for your wedding day. Whether you want the traditional look of roses and lilies, or the wild, natural look of a European garden, these shops can satisfy your desires. Remember to discuss flower preferences and color schemes with your floral consultant. Consider die style, mood, and time of day of the wedding. And don’t forget any allergies you or your fiancée may have-a red-eyed, v runny-nosed bride or groom isn’t pretty.

◆ Garden Gate, 2811 Routh St., 220-1272. Housed in a charming Routh Street Victorian, The Garden Gate has received rave reviews from customers since it opened early last year. Owners Junior Villanueva and his wife, Maria, describe their shop as “funky.” Villanueva likes to incorporate fruit, candles, and other theme-inspired props in his wedding arrangements.

◆ Russell Glenn Design Studio, 2144 Partington St., 742-3001. Designer Russell Glenn spends time with each bride in order to learn more about her personality and style. As a result, the exquisite floral arrangements he creates reflects these oh-so-personal details. Glenn has a reputation for devoting many hours to the dynamics of each wedding day.

◆ Zen Floral Design, 3858 Oak Lawn Ave., 526-9736. No need to worry about seeing the same designs at your friend’s wedding a few months down the road. Thanks to nationwide resources, Zen specializes in incorporating antiques and linens into bridal bouquets and floral presentations. Respected and admired for their custom designs and innovative color schemes, Zen Floral Design is also known for never-ending customer service.

◆ Dr. Delphinium Designs, 5806 W. Lovers Ln., 522-9911. Wedding consultant Edie EkJund offers a complimentary consultation to brides in the planning stages. They specialize in lush European-style bouquets and creations from an extensive variety of freshcut flowers. Their highly individualized service can result in an intimate visual experience for your wedding.

◆ Flowers on the Lane, 6333 E. Mockingbird Ln., 826-3533.This floral shop was recommended not only by Dallas brides, but also by the other shops on our list. Despite the very fresh tropical and exotic flowers they stock, this shop is known for breathtaking conservative and traditional creations. They also have a reputation for consistency and dependability, all the better to reduce pre-wedding stress.



Caterers

WHEN CHOOSING A CATERER, START by compiling a list of desires that takes into consideration the style of your wedding. Is it casual or formal? Is there a family tradition that you want to continue? Do you want the menu to reflect your nationality? Most caterers are eager to please and will work to accommodate your wishes. Planning a wedding menu can be a long, complicated process, so make sure you choose a caterer with whom you can work.

When meeting with a caterer, ask to see photos of past events. Sample the food. Be sure to ask if they offer full service.

To eliminate some of your planning stress, find a caterer who also can offer full bar service. Most caterers can get large quantities of liquor, beer, and wine at wholesale prices. Hotels and country clubs can also extend this service.

◆ Wendy Krispin Caterer, 1025 N. Stemmons Fwy., 748-5559, Wendy Krispin opened her doors for the first time in 1991 and has hardly had a chance to close them since due to the steady stream of business. Her company can handle food, bar service, and all rentals if necessary (china, glassware, tent, etc). Krispin tries to incorporate in her food presentations flowers to match those used in the ceremony. The result? A reception that is an aesthetically stunning, palate-pleasing feast. The Dallas brides we surveyed tag her as a thorough perfectionist. Krispin’s two restaurants, the contemporary Table Five and the sophisticated Krispin, are also available for private rehearsal dinners or receptions.

◆ Daryl’s by Design, 1801 N. Griffin St., 655-1444. A Dallas favorite, this full-service caterer also specializes in complete event planning to ensure and maintain continuity. They will create exquisite food that is as varied and appealing as the setting. Daryl also owns The Dallas World Aquarium, a private aquarium located in the West End, which can provide an exotic, festive site for your reception or rehearsal dinner

◆ Spice of Life Catering, 6401 Skillman St., 343-2598. Spice of Life Catering garnered many votes of confidence from our surveyed brides. This 17-year-old full service company offers wedding packages starting at $13.50 per person a la carte, as well as more extravagant presentations. They employ their own wedding consultants who can help plan your reception, engagement parties, showers, and rehearsal dinners. They also bave compiled a list of “Approved Professionals” to cover all services from photography to entertainment.

◆ The Food Company, 215 Henry St., 939-9270. A decade of impeccable service has allowed this upscale full-service caterer to gain respect and votes from our surveyed brides. Their food is well-prepared with the freshest ingredients, and presentation is always a focal point. They offer a variety of services to customize any wedding, ranging from menus to rentals, consulting to flowers.



Where to Register



YOU DON’T HAVE TO REGISTER, BUT YOU MAY regret it if you don’t. “You get very interesting household items if you do not,” Stephanie Henry Stollenwerck responded to our survey.

These stores get high marks from our Couples with connections like the city’s posh clubs. Dallas Country Club and Brook-hollow consistently get thumbs-up approval by local brides for their elegant settings. The Dallas Petroleum Club, located atop the Texas Commerce Tower, boasts a dazzling view of downtown and can hold up to 450 guests.

Holding your reception at an upscale hotel in town offers another option. The Adolphus, die Crescent, and the Fairmont rank as current favorites among Dallas brides. Those dreaming of an outdoor reception should check out the Crescent’s garden and courtyard. The Fairmont furnishes everything from a wedding consultant to a horse and carriage. For its old-world charm and detail-oriented staff, many brides love the historic Adolphus, where the staff also attends to numerous details.

A reception held at home offers a comfortable atmosphere. Big back yards create a memorable backdrop. Word of warning- don’t forget to put up tents in case of rain. Parking valets are also a must to keep neighbors happy.

Kelly Wyly Elliott wanted to incorporate home and family into her wedding. So, to create the perfect family affair, Kelly held her wedding and reception at dad Sam Wyly’s Beverly Drive manor. She also supplied the caterer with Greek recipes from the groom’s grandmother. “The result was a relaxed atmosphere,” she said.

Caroline Dulle Smith and husband Dale decided to have their reception at her family’s ranch in Fort Worth. “We wanted to use what we already had,” says the bride. “We wanted to have a formal party that didn’t feel stiff.”

Fort Worth designer Kenneth Blasingame created the formal effect by decorating the Murrin Ranch in white canopies, white flowers, and white lights. An Abilene catering service imported tenderloin and fried catfish to complement her outdoor theme.

The reception should suit your personalities, so plan it to be like the kind of parties you and your fiancé enjoy. Here are some places from which to choose:

◆ The Belo Mansion, 2101 Ron Ave., 220-0239. Built in 1900 by Colonel A.H. Belo, the Belo Mansion is one of six buildings in Dallas on the National Registry of Historic Places. The atmosphere is romantic and elegant, and die house can accommodate up to 500 people. The flexible staff can throw together a reception in as few as three weeks and places very few restrictions on preparations.

◆ Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, 8525 Garland Rd, 327-8263. On the shores of White Rock Lake, this location provides ◆ a naturally beautiful setting for weddings and receptions. Most couples choose as a party site the bottom floor of The Camp House, an 8,000-square-foot brick home with a beautiful outdoor terrace. Those interested in a more natural setting can choose from a variety of garden sites among the landscaped grounds.

◆ Hall of State, Fair Park, 421-4500. For a truly Texas reception, check out the Hall of State at Fair Park. The Great Hall features a giant depiction of the Great Seal of Texas, as well as marble floors, high ceilings, and twinkling chandeliers. This setting’s perfect for couples who want a really grand evening.

◆ Hotel St. Germain, 2516 Maple Ave., 871-2516. Chef William Guthrie can prepare French cuisine for up to 175 guests at this 19th century, European style hotel located near the heart of downtown Dallas. The hotel boasts a lush New Orleans-style courtyard for an absolutely charming outdoor event.

◆ State Thomas Gallery, 2613 Thomas Ave., 220-2024. The State Thomas Gallery is actually a restored Victorian home that was built in 1892. Filled with contemporary art and able to accommodate 300 people, the gallery offers an artist reception option, The gallery can suggest caterers, valet services, and bands; kitchen space is also provided for the catering staff.



Cakes



BYPASS PLAIN VANILLA CAKES DECORATED with plastic brides and grooms-those days are over. The wedding cake has become a serious art form, Not only can couples choose from vanilla, chocolate, and nut-based cakes, but flavors can be enhanced with your favorite liqueur.

In addition, todays wedding cake comes with ambrosial fillings. Some of the most popular are raspberry, cappuccino, or praline mousse, or a dark caramel strewn with your favorite nuts. Local bakers suggest adding no more than two fillings-too much flavor can be overwhelming.

Favorite cake flavors among our surveyed brides were white chocolate liqueur, and caramel turtle fudge (for a groom’s cake).

Prior to selecting a baker, think about your budget and the details of your wedding. The baker will need to know how many guests will attend and if the wedding is formal or casual. If you plan on using fresh flowers to decorate the cake, they will need the name of your florist. When meeting with the prospective baker, make sure you ask to see a portfolio of previous creations. Sample the cake to make sure it not only looks good, but tastes good as well. Be sure they are using fresh ingredients.

◆ Spirited Cakes!, 3111 Monticello Ave., 526-8135. Owner Elaine Luttrell’s signature liqueur cakes have become the taste sensation of Dallas brides. Luttrell employs chefs from France, Russia, Mexico, and the United Stales to hand-sauce the warm cakes with your favorite liqueur. Their most popular flavors are rum and chocolate chips, and bourbon and pecans, but they also offer amaretto and toasted almonds, or white chocolate and liqueur, among others. Spirited Cakes! has made a tradition of creating two new flavors each year. They will decorate to your specifications, often employing fresh, silk, or iced flowers. Call to make an appointment for a complimentary 20-flavor cake tasting.

◆ Le Gateau, 3128 Harvard Ave., 528-6102. Le Gateau uses the finest ingredients in preparing their many different flavors of cake and unique fillings. You can choose from their portfolio of beautiful cakes, all of which can be altered to your specifications. Another option is to work closely with Jackie Spratt or Jace Crockett, among others, to design a custom creation.

◆ Dallas Affaires Cake Company, 2307Abrams Rd., 826-9409. After a decade in business, Dallas Affaires, whose services are available by appointment only, offers 15 cake flavors and 12 different icings. They offer an abundance of original fillings-pure fruit, six kinds of mousse, and Italian creams flavored with fruit or liqueur. This bakery also has a ben’ of designs from which to choose, including unusual gilded garnishes.

◆ Kathleen’s Art Bakery, 4446 Lovers Ln., 692-8646. According to owner Kathleen Ellington, the most distinctive feature of their wedding cakes is “their mucho grande she and lusciousness,” Cakes are embellished with rich cream cheese-and-butter icing, usually in a basket weave or leaf pattern, and con be decorated as well with fresh flowers, ivy, and ferns. For more extravagant weddings, they can even gild a cake in 24 carat gold.



Rings

DIAMONDS MAY BE FOREVER, BUT ENGAGEment ring styles have certainly changed over the yeas. In the ’80s, tor example, diamonds from estate rings were often re-cut from their original shape and sold at a higher value. Today, art deco rings with these original antique cuts are fare and coveted by young brides. The ’90s have also seen an increase in platinum sales.

For those who can’t make up their minds, some stores sell rings with two-toned bands of platinum and gold. The moral: shop around. Unique rings are definitely out there. Creative brides suggested Famous Creations, located at Belt Line and Preston roads-the perfect solution for those who want to design their own rings. Those looking for something equally unique might also consider scouring estate jewelers for rings with a past.

Another trend in engagement ring sales: second wives get bigger diamonds. Said retailer Dennis Boulle, “Life’s not fair.”

An oft-repeated rule of thumb is that the ring should cost two months’ salary. If you are ready to make that kind of investment, the following jewelers get high marks from local brides.

◆ William Noble Rare Jewels, 100 Highland Park Village, 526-3890. Bill Noble claims to have the largest selection of diamond solitaires in Texas. Located in the Highland Park Village for 13 years, he specializes in new rings as well as estate pieces.

◆ Neiman Marcus, Precious Jewelry Department, 1618 Main St., 741-6911. Neiman Marcus goes the extra mile to accommodate their customers, thanks to salespeople such as Humberto Arrieta, who has been there for 26 years. Neiman’s also offers complete customer service-from cleaning and repairing to exchanging if there are any problems.

◆ Tiffany & Co., The Galleria, 458-2800. Tiffany’s prides itself on providing traditional cuts and timeless styles. They do, however, have a few new styles with wider bands and bezel sets. New favorites include the E’toile style and Tiffany’s Adas line of jewelry, inspired by the clock on the flagship New York store.

◆ Bachendorf’s, 13350 Dallas Parkway at Galleria, 392-9900; Prestonwood Town Center, 980-4667; southeast corner of Preston Road and Park Boulevard, Piano, 596-2090. The owners of Bachendorf’s personally select their diamonds, all of which are crafted in the United States. They carry Ambar’s cutting-edge invisible sets as well as some of Scott Kay’s WinWord designs.

◆ De Boulle, 5550-A Preston Rd., 522-2400. At De Boulle, craftsmanship and design distinguish the rings. Diamonds can be bought anywhere, but Cartier- and Harry Winston-trained designers such as Daniel Bayless and Jean Mayeur cannot.

◆ Sterling Jewelry, 5801 Northwest Hwy., 363-4551. In search of a simple gold band? Dallas brides suggest a stop at Sterling Jewelry for the city’s best low prices and selection.



Hair and Make-up

MOST WOMEN ENVISION FLAWLESS SKIN AND perfect hair as part of their wedding-day look. With all eyes on you, this is one day nothing can be left to chance. Here are tips to help you look your best.

◆ Be natural. Don’t hire a professional if you are perfectly happy with the way you do your own hair and make-up.

◆ Practice makes perfect. If you do your hair and make-up yourself, practice the style beforehand. If you choose to hire a professional, have at least one practice session before your portrait. “This ensures that the bride will look the way she wants to look,” says Lenore Caulton-Downey, make-up stylist at Neiman Marcus’ Chanel counter.

If you change veil styles after your first consultation with your hair stylist, make another appointment. “Nine times out of ten, there’s something that needs to be changed to balance out the shape,” says hair and make-up stylist Rudy Dias of the Stanley Korshak salon.

◆ Hair care. On the day of the wedding, go to the church with your hair washed. If you have decided to wear it up, try not to wash it. Newly washed hair is not easy to handle. Allow at least 30 minutes for rolling, spraying, setting, and primping.

◆ Do yourself first. The bride’s make-up should be done before the rest of the wedding party. Caulton-Downey highly recommends this practice, saying, “If the bride is the last person, she doesn’t feel like she’s the pretty one.”

◆ Touch up your wedding party. Touch up bridesmaids after you and your mother have been made over. Have the wedding party come with their foundation and basic makeup done. The make-up artist can provide blush and lips. This ensures the whole wedding party looks uniform. “There’s a certain harmony I think is important,” says Dallas stylist Sally Votteler, “but I don’t use the same color on each girl, I use colors that tone in with their complexion.”

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