A Note From Our CEO

We always think that it’s important to start the New Year on a new note. Our CEO Lauren Marrus shares a few of her thoughts from Bob Greene’s opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal about the importance of making a meaningful resolution for the New Year.DSC_6428

Over the holidays I had lots of time to relax with my family and read books, magazines and lots of newspapers.  On December 29th as I was trying to come up with a meaningful resolution – beyond the usual – I found Bob Greene’s opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.  Mr. Greene discusses the value to be found in generosity of spirit and quotes frequently from a speech made by Chief Justice John Roberts at his son’s ninth grade graduation. Worth repeating here, I am quoting directly from the speech.

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Chief Justice Roberts says, “Once a week, you should write a note to someone.  Not an email.  A note on a piece of paper.  It will take you exactly 10 minutes.”

He goes on to say that if you do this, for 10 months, “40 people will feel a little more special because you did, and they will think you are very special because of what you did”.

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Many of us already practice this habit – a quick note after a dinner party; a thank you for the business meeting; and a sympathy note all too frequently.  What if we all added in a few more notes to make those around us feel just a little more special?  I, for one, wouldn’t mind feeling just a little bit special every now and then.

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Spotlight on Double G Events

Designer Maggie Brucker of Double G Events knows how to throw a perfect party! Recently, Maggie graciously indulged Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles with a delightful dose of her wit and wisdom.

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We adore your work! How were you first drawn into this beautiful business?

Thank you so much for your kind words! I actually got into this industry “by accident,” though I always knew I wanted to do something creative for my career. As I was growing up, I took theater and dance classes, voice lessons, performed in plays, painted, and more. I went to college for Interior Design thinking I would open up my own design firm some day, but I realized that it wasn’t for me after working in the industry for two years.  I then did what every other 24-year- old college graduate did when they didn’t have a job and started bartending at my friend’s restaurant. The restaurant soon started to offer off-site event catering and my friend asked me to help, thus my love for events and weddings was born!

After a few years with my friend’s catering company, I was offered a position as the Event Planner for Barteca Restaurant Group (Bartaco, Barcelona Wine Bar), where I took on the role of planning and designing all in-house and off-site events. Six years later, I decided to open my own Event Planning and Design boutique and Double G Events was launched in 2010!

 

Your events are so fresh and spirited, yet so timeless. What’s the secret to striking this perfect balance?

You hit the nail on the head! There are so many talented planners and designers out there, and I am so lucky to be friends with most of the ones based in Connecticut–they really are my soul and support group. Being a solo entrepreneur, it’s wonderful to have these gals just a phone call or text away for some “water cooler talk” or comedic relief. Sometimes you just need someone to lean on who gets your industry!

With that said, we all offer similar services and need to be able to differentiate ourselves from each other. It took me a while to figure out my unique style through lots of soul searching, paying attention to the clothes I wore, how I decorated my home, and more. I came to realize that my style is timeless with a bit of unexpected edge. I try to stay away from trends because I want my clients to be able to look at their wedding 30 years later and still love it.

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When I work with brides, the word I say over and over again is “AUTHENTIC.” I ask them questions about how they spend their weekends, what shows they like, how they decorate their home, and more. Though Pinterest is helpful for aesthetic reasons, it tells me nothing about my couples and who they are personally. My goal when designing a wedding is for their guests to walk into the space and say, “I get it! This is totally Jane and John!” and understand why certain elements were chosen.

As you can see from all of these photos, every wedding is unique because every one of my clients has their own unique style, and our job is to bring that to their event.

 

Within an event design, what element can you never get enough of? And what aspect do you think is most impactful when used with restraint?

Lighting, lighting, LIGHTING! Lighting will change a room’s ambiance in a heartbeat and I always ask my clients to put aside splurge money for this purpose. I describe lighting as the “jewelry” of the event. We work with Shindig Lighting a ton, and they are always evolving with innovative chandeliers, bistro canopies– you name it! In one of our most recent weddings together at Truelove Farms, we used hand-made hanging Moroccan Chandeliers that they personally picked out during their trip to Morocco to ship back to the USA!

 

Are you noticing any trends that were prevalent just a few years ago that your more recent clients are not requesting?

I won’t lie, but I am SO happy the burlap and Mason jar trend is OVER! As a designer, there is only so much you can do with burlap, and it made every wedding look exactly the same.

 

Are they asking for anything that’s new and surprising you?

We’ve definitely noticed a trend towards having a less formal affair. Instead of plated 4-course meals, clients are interested in having interactive food stations or passing appetizers throughout the reception so that guests can easily mingle and dance as they please. We’ve also been seeing a trend towards brunch weddings (my favorite meal of the week) instead of traditional dinner weddings.

Our clients are always looking for venues that have that “wow” factor, i.e, industrial factories or airplane hangars. Those are super fun to design!

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You do a lot of work at the Connecticut shore. Is there a dream venue you’ve been longing to design for but just haven’t had the opportunity yet?

Our dream venues are always backyard tented weddings—they are so personal to us and our clients. It’s a blank slate to bring in anything that the clients want without worrying about whether the décor we bring in will clash with the surroundings.

 

You receive heaps of praise from delighted clients. When they write you the thank you note, what are the two or three things that you keep hearing for which you are most proud?

I am most proud when clients praise my amazing team. I am personally not one to be in the spotlight – it actually makes me a bit uncomfortable – which is why I think I like this job so much. The bride is the show and I can stay behind the curtain.

When a client praises my team, I smile from ear to ear because they are an extension of me and my work. It makes me feel like I’m doing a great job in teaching them what our brand stands for, and watching them grow makes me feel like a proud Momma!

Here are a few of the best compliments I’ve heard lately:

“We spoke with other planners and you were the friendliest!”

 “I’m not that worried about which venue we choose because I’ve seen your work and know you’re going to make it amazing!”

 “We did not pay you enough for what you did!”

 

When it’s time for you to relax and recharge, what’s your idea of a perfectly relaxing evening?

I travel to Colorado a ton; we are currently opening up a studio in Denver and there’s nothing like the mountain views. When I’m in Connecticut, I love going to farmers’ markets and estate sales, hosting dinners for friends, trying out new restaurants (food in the way to my heart), and taking my dog hiking in the woods.

And your ideal weekend escape?

There are so many options, but there’s nothing better than retreating to a cabin in the woods without cell service or email so that I can completely unplug at the end of a busy season!

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Photo Credits:
Trulove Farms Wedding
Location: Trulove Farms, Morris, CT
Planning + Design: Double G Events, Planning + Design
Photography: Athena Bludè Photography
Florals: Fleurescent
Tent: Abbey Tent + Party Rentals
Rentals/Linen: Peak Event Services
Vintage Rentals: Gather + Lounge
Lighting: Shindig Lighting
J House Greenwich Wedding
Location: J House Greenwich, Greenwich, CT
Planning + Design: Double G Events, Planning + Design
Photography: Sarma + Co.
Florals: Fleurescent
Rentals/Linen: Peak Event Services
Lighting: Shindig Lighting
Candlewood Lake Wedding
Location: Candlewood Lake Club, New Fairfield, CT
Planning + Design: Double G Events, Planning + Design
Photography: Andrew Henderson Photography
Florals: Fleurescent
Rentals/Linen: Peak Event Services
Lounsbury House Wedding
Location: Lounsbury House, Ridgefield, CT
Planning + Design: Double G Events, Planning + Design
Photography: Monika Photography
Florals: Truffles + James
Rentals/Linen: Party Rental Ltd. // Gather + Lounge

 

A Look Back at Our 2017 Partnerships

As we look back at 2017, our partners highlight some of the year’s greatest accomplishments. We were thrilled to work with a number of incredible teams in the past year – some for the second or third time, and some for the first. Each project with our partners has been a wonderful extension of the Dempsey & Carroll brand into new and exciting sectors and we are thrilled to have had the privilege of working alongside these incredible brands. 

 

FORM Design Studio

In our latest collaboration with our friends Josh and Rafi from FORM, we looked back at our first collection as well as some new, fresh designs from Josh and Rafi’s archives to introduce new styles to the line. We’re always thrilled when we see an email in our inboxes from Josh or Rafi, or better yet, when they come into town and stop by our offices. Working with them on this latest collaboration was, as always, truly fantastic.

Shop the collection here.

 

 

The Maryn 

As longtime fans of Michelle Adams, we were delighted when she reached out about her new venture, The Maryn, and the opportunity to create a line of stationery for the store. This seaside-inspired collection featuring work by Caitlin McGauley was a great way for us to explore translating watercolor designs to our medium.

Shop the collection here.

 

 

India Hicks

We have been following India Hicks for years now, and when we heard we would be able to join her and her team in creating a stationery line for her Curated Collections we almost couldn’t contain our excitement. The island and England inspired line was truly incredible – a sea of gorgeous assets, perfect for an exquisite line of stationery!

Shop the collection here.

 

 

The Met

Just a few blocks up from us, with one of the most unbelievable library of assets we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with – it was a dream come true for us to introduce our first stationery collection in partnership with The Met. Five gorgeous SKUs, featuring a range of works from the museum translated to Dempsey & Carroll paper. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Shop the collection here.

 

 

J. McLaughlin

In our second collaboration with our good friends at J. McLaughlin, we were drawn to their resort patterns and prints. How could we resist?! When they brought their designs adorned with gorgeous corals, beautiful, bright aquamarines, with a touch of wicker we knew we had to put them on paper. This print-forward collection has us smiling each time we go to write a note, or jot down a quick to-do.

Shop the collection here.

 

 

Hill House Home

If you’ve ever met Nell and Katherine from the Hill House Home team, you’ll know as well as we do, a good night’s sleep is their passion. Their product speaks for itself, and the wealth of information the two of them have gathered about the science and art of a perfect night’s sleep is beyond impressive. But more impressive than the quotes from authors from Oscar Wilde to Hemingway on sleep that they’ve collected in their studies, is how devoted they are to helping their clients create a dream bed and bedroom. With that in mind, we were thrilled to help them continue to make the bedroom a sanctuary with our collaboration on bedside tablets and coasters.

Shop the collection here.

 

 

Spotlight on: Christos Dovas

Celebrated designer Christos Dovas is your first stop for a celebration in unforgettable style. Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles sat down with him to discuss how Greek origins formed a great New York talent.

 

QUESTION: You’ve been involved in garment design and construction since an early age. Can you tell us about those beginnings?

CHRISTOS DOVAS: I believe I was born artistic – The fact that I grew up with a father who was a shoe designer was a coincidence of destiny. I first learned to design from picking up the leather scraps from the floor, and making small wearable pieces. As a child, I watched my father buy raw materials and deal with market professionals – This taught me about business. watching my father work at the bench itself taught me how to pull the grow and straighten the fabric. I would say I was most fortunate to see my dad working original designs from the 50’s 60’s 70’s in leather skins, fabric and laces.

QUESTION: When we think of your work, what images would you like first to pop into our heads?  Light? Air? The sea? How has your Greek heritage informed you design?

CHRISTOS DOVAS:  I am a dreamer. I want my designs to conjure up the imagery of books, sculpture and paintings– secret stories all through the medium of my pencils and threads. It sounds funny but I get inspired while in New York; blending my past work experience and the city’s active lifestyle results in contemporary, artful pieces. My creations are influenced by pure poetry, clarity and symbolism. I love to design, create, and ultimately make women feel beautiful.

QUESTION: What thrills you most about Greece? And what do you find most exciting about New York?

CHRISTOS DOVAS: In Greece, it is exciting to be surrounded by time. History and Art have left marks with the Ancient Greek artifacts that inspire me daily. In contrast, New York’s contemporary presence is alive with a melting pot of different cultures.

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QUESTION: You’re an amazing colorist! When you use color, it feels at once bold and yet gently nuanced. Are there colors have you not been using that you are becoming more and more interested in?

CHRISTOS DOVAS: Since childhood, I have loved to draw with my pencils in black and white, along with watercolor and wax. I love gentle, smooth, soft pastels in combination with strong, dark, powerful hues. There are many different ways that color and fabric can be combined to create unique creation. The personality of someone is definitely the most important factor to consider when applying color onto fabric.

 

QUESTION: What’s it like to work with you and your studio? Can you tell us a little about the experience of commissioning your work?

CHRISTOS DOVAS: I am an old fashioned designer, which means that I like to show personal interest in the commission of a dress. Once we agree on the design, I begin to drape the fabric and bring to the drawings to life. Lots of hand-stitching is involved in the execution, and many fittings will happen to perfect a bespoke design.

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QUESTION: Can you give us a tip? What design elements should be avoided for practicality reasons?

CHRISTOS DOVAS: My philosophy revolves around beauty and timeless elegance. I would rather stay with simplicity instead of opting for a design with lots of lines and shapes.

 

QUESTION: When you’re seeking inspiration and renewal, where do you head?

CHRISTOS DOVAS: I often seek inspiration through books, art history, paintings, and sculptures. I always like to head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art here in New York and I love reading biographies of artists and designers.

 

QUESTION: Before we go, will you please share a sweet story about one of your favorite clients?

CHRISTOS DOVAS:  Every moment is a special occasion, though weddings take the cake. When designing a wedding dress, the mother is always the biggest advisor to the bride.  When it comes to details, there are usually different ideas and opinions to be had, especially when choose sleeve embellishments. A bride-to-be chose one ribbon with embroidery as the finish detail, and the mother chose another ribbon with bugles and crystals. There were a lot of hard decisions to make on their end in terms of which ones to choose. The final creation was beautifully stitched with attention to detail to make both the bride and mother happy with the design!

Learn more about Christos Dovas at http://www.ChristosDovas.com 
Credits:
Photography: Manuel Vasquez and Stephen Shadrach
Model: Jackie Swerz
Make Up artist: Alison Cornely,
Hair: Abby Ballin
Portrait credits: Francois Legagneur

 

 

 

Spotlight on Tessler Events

Eyal Tessler of New York City-based Tessler Events knows exactly what makes an important day a most memorable one. Recently, Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles asked him to reveal some of the secrets of his successes.

 

AA: What should fill our heads when we think of Tessler Events?

ET: When thinking of “Tessler Events” I would like people to think of us as more than just event or party planners. I want you to think about us as your partners in creating memories for life and making dreams come true. We don’t just look at the end result because we like to think of ourselves as your event architects; we take you through the journey of the planning so you can enjoy and learn every step of the way.

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AA: Is there a venue in New York that you long to design for but have not yet had the chance?

ET: One of my dreams is to do a midsummer night alfresco dinner in Central Park.

 

AA: You’re capable of beautifully expressing a variety of aesthetics and I’ve seen you do very clean and modern spaces that are still very lush and opulent in mood. Your work seems so new, but where in your journeys do you find inspiration?

ET: I love just walking around the city and getting ideas and inspiration from theater, movies, fashion, architecture, art and more.  It’s not always about the big things — the right small element that can sometimes deliver the biggest impact.

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AA: To you, what makes or breaks a dinner party?

ET: I think a dinner party should be a reflection on the hosts, together with the art of entertaining. It’s all about putting together the right group with the right menu in the right atmosphere and with the right seating scheme. If you don’t have all of these elements, you can unwittingly create a recipe for disaster.

 

AA: How large can a dinner party be until place cards are necessary?

ET: I think any size dinner party can have place cards. Part of the art of entertaining is making sure the right people sit next to each other to fuel conversation and, sometimes, new relationships.

 

AA: And how large can a dinner be before escort cards are needed?

ET: I think any dinner party with more than two tables should have escort cards so it’s easy for your guests to find their seat.

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AA: Do you care to share any pet peeves about tablescapes? What are you fussy about and most relaxed about?

ET: I don’t like tabletops that are too crowded and fussy because a table setting should be comfortable and welcoming. I don’t think you need five different glasses for each place setting at all times; you can always reset silverware and glassware. A big no-no for me is to have a centerpiece that prevents conversation between people across the table. I think for small dinner parties, sometimes less is more.

 

AA: When the day is done, how do you like to wind down?

ET: I like to exercise, listen to music and just separate the work day from the private life. Disconnecting is a very hard task as a business owner, but I try my best!

 

AA: And when you’re traveling for pure pleasure, what kind of adventure are you hoping to find?

ET: My happy place is the ocean, so the best adventures for me include a beautiful beach with lots of time to relax and recharge.

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Spotlight on Virginia Edelson

Based in beautiful Aspen, Colorado, Virginia Edelson of Bluebird Productions creates unforgettable events for the experience of a lifetime. Ever conscious of her impact on our environment, Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles asked Virginia how she achieves so much while keeping the region so gloriously gorgeous!

 

 

  •  Seasonal Flowers – We recommend consulting with your floral designer to select flowers and greenery that is seasonal and sustainable. The environmental impact is less (transportation, fuel, keeping cool, etc) and the design feels more appropriate. Bonus points for using a floral designer who works with farmers to source flowers that limit the use of pesticides and herbicides!

 

  • Potted Plants – We suggest incorporating potted plants and trees into the design when appropriate. These potted components of a design can then be gifted, put into homes, planted or repotted and used in a different capacity. We adore cut blooms and can’t imagine a wedding without them… but mixing cut and arranged with potted is a lovely approach to lessen the impact on the land.

 

  • Compost florals (and food) at the event – We recommend composting any green products after an event. It may not be the glamorous part of an event to discuss,  but it certainly has a large impact on our landfills.  

 

  • Group Transportation – When venue appropriate, we recommend providing transportation for all of your guests to and from a wedding. This will cut down on the fossil fuels burned by many many cars.

 

  • Local Food – Not only does local food just taste better, it’s better for the environment and supports the local community.

 

 

Destination Dempsey: Fourth of July 2017

We’ve had a lot of fun in the office sharing stories about how we enjoyed our July 4th holiday weekends. From overseas, to right here in New York, Dempsey & Carroll knows how to make the most out of any destination!

Where are your favorite destinations to visit for holiday weekends? Discover our Jet Set Collection to inspire your next trip and use the #DestinationDempsey hashtag on social media to share your travels!

 

My holiday was spent right here in sleepy New York City hanging out in the parks and strolling the river fronts. I live on the Lower East Side so it’s a quick jaunt down to the Seaport to hop on the new ferry to Rockaway Beach. The breezes were delightful and only a few oyster catchers were our nearest neighbors. – Austin

 

One of the most mesmerizing experience was to sail the Mediterranean Sea while watching the sunset along the cost of Barcelona—a must do for anyone visiting this breathtaking part of Spain.  I also think that strolling through Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is eye opening and very enjoyable for art lovers. While walking through the Gothic Quarter, you might find yourself eating at a food blogger’s all-time favorite spot ‘Flax & Kale’ or shopping at Love Vintage.  I learned that regardless of what you have planned for your day, Barcelona is a city full of gorgeous little surprises. ​- Umara

Storm King Mountain

Over the holiday weekend my family and I drove to see the beautiful scenery along the Hudson River. We ended our site seeing adventure looking towards Storm King Mountain– It was one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. I felt like I had traveled to a completely different world. I always love exploring New York State and photographing my journeys! – Ariel

 

I enjoyed a stellar weekend with my family on Cape Cod.  We were primarily in a town called Brewster, but also took a day trip to Provincetown.  There was plenty of swimming, fishing, grilling, and sparklers to celebrate the 4th of July holiday! – Megan

 

It’s always nice to spend a few days in London. The weather was unseasonably warm for my visit, which was a delightful treat! I visited a few of my favorite parks – Green Park in St. James (such a cute area) and Regent’s Park. Queen Mary’s rose garden was in bloom, which was a really rare to see. We did a ton of eating, too! Nopi in Soho was great for lunch and we had some wonderful dinners at The Wolseley, Luca, and Barrafina. The new Barrafina location in Soho is a lot bigger than the Drury Lane location, so it was pretty easy to get a seat – plus it’s really fun to eat snacks and have a few cocktails at the counter as you wait for a seat to pop up. Selfridges also had a great Wimbledon themed bar on their roof while we were in town. It was a nice way to break up the day – a Pimm’s Cup and Andy Murray on a roof in Mayfair – not bad! – Carolyn

 

There’s nothing like heading out of the city for a holiday weekend to enjoy the beautiful Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York. I grew up in the area, so it’s always a treat to hike in the High Peaks with my family and friends and then kick back with craft beer from Ausable Brewing Company after a long day on the trails. There’s also a charming Farmers Market every Sunday at Marcy Airfield in Keene Valley, where you can find purchase fruits and vegetables, freshly baked bread, and a variety of local goods. The drive to Keene Valley on Route 9N has the most breathtaking views as you head to The Garden, which is main trailhead for the Johns Brook area. – Emma