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

 

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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24 Hours in Los Angeles with FORM Design Studio

image009Based in Los Angeles, Josh and Rafi of FORM Design Studio are at the forefront of modern, sustainable living, but still take time to appreciate the allure of the Old Hollywood glamour in their city. Don’t forget to check out our collaboration with FORM after you read about their go-to spots in LA!

 

 

 

 

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Where to Stay

  • Favorite Hotel: Château Marmont, because classic is always “in.”  The Château, as it is called, offers a taste of Hollywood at its finest.  For locals, this is a picturesque and quiet spot to meet friends for a drink, a meal, or some people watching.

 

Where to Eat and Drink

  • Casual Dining: This is a toss-up between Din Tai Fung in Arcadia and Mozza in Hollywood.
  • Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese dumpling house.  We must confess, it is a chain, but the dumplings are made in-house and by hand (you can watch from the huge window that looks into the kitchen).  There is something so clean about this food; you can taste every ingredient in each dumpling.  The simplicity is what makes it so special.  It’s now become a phenomenon, so line up early!

 

  • At another end of the culinary spectrum, there is the marvel that is Pizzeria Mozza, the brainchild of partners Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich.  This place is the distillation of the best parts of each of the owners’ talents. If you are in Los Angeles and you want to challenge the wisdom that the best pizza in America is in New York, give it a shot.  Neither of us eats dairy or wheat, but we eat pizza at Mozza.

 

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Orsa & Winston delicacies

  • Fine Dining: Our favorite upscale restaurant is a small spot that has recently wriggled its way into our hearts: Orsa & Winston.  The degustation menu is ever-changing depending on the available fresh ingredients (and in Los Angeles, the parameters are as broad as they come). The food is magnificently conceived and deftly offered and the service is impeccable. The wine pairing is “just so,” working seamlessly and symbiotically with the chef’s creations. This is a great date spot.

 

 

 

  • Favorite Bar: This is an easy one: Augustine Wine Bar.  This gem is in Sherman image005Oaks and it has become our go-to for all things celebratory.  Not only is the food spectacular (you can expect anything from a simple plate of artisanal charcuterie, to a beautifully charred octopus or a perfect duck confit), but the wine offerings are remarkable. What these guys are doing is offering really wonderful, vintage wines by the glass in a super sexy setting to a wide variety of wine enthusiasts. We have had warm, intimate evenings together there as well as raucous nights, meeting some real characters at the bar.  The staff is knowledgeable, kind (we’ve made good friends), and always ready to chat about the more esoteric experiences one can find in the bottle.

Augustine Wine Bar

 

What to See

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The Getty Center

  • Our favorite museum in LA is The Getty Center.  The never-ending parade of world class exhibits that move through The Getty are not to be missed, but the permanent collection is of extraordinary merit itself.  The grounds are breathtaking along with the structures themselves, which were designed by Richard Meier.  The museum is, purportedly, the world’s largest installation of travertine.  With its fountains, sculptures, and gardens, The Getty offers visitors more than one could absorb in a day. The restaurant there is one of the most civilized locations in all of Los Angeles, drawing much more of NY crowd than anything else and the view at sunset is something to write home about.
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Huntington Gardens

  • We would say that in the “attraction” category, there is no better place than the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena.  Being there is like slipping into Alice’s Wonderland!  If you weren’t a botanophile (we are having some debate as to whether or not that is a word) before visiting, you certainly will be afterwards.

 

Thank you for sharing your Los Angeles favorites with us, Josh and Rafi!

Where are your favorite destinations to visit in Los Angeles or other cities around the world? Discover our Jet Set Collection to inspire your next trip and use the #DestinationDempsey hashtag on social media to share your travels. 

24 Hours in Rome with Cristina Verger

Cristina VergerNew York-based destination event planner Cristina Verger is an expert at creating the most memorable events all over Italy and beyond. Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles asked Cristina to let us in on the very best places to hang our hats in her beloved birthplace, Rome!

 

 

Where to Stay

Hassler Roma 2

  • Hassler Roma: Located at the top of the Spanish Steps with phenomenal views, Hotel Hassler Roma positions you a short distance from the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Vatican, and countless other treasures.

 

Where to Eat and Drink

  • Coffee breaks: Sant’Eustachio Il Caffe has the best coffee in Rome! Located between Piazza Navona and The Pantheon, this café opened in 1938 and the beans are roasted right on the premises.

 

  • For a quick bite to eat: Refreshing, pure and modern, Yugo Fusion, is a delight to the palette as much as it is to the eye.

 

  • Fine Dining: Tucked away down a side street near the Pantheon and intimately designed, La Rosetta has earned its irrefutable reputation by perfectly preparing the freshest fish and seafood caught daily.
  • Drinks: As seen in Fellini’s classic 1960 film, La Dolce Vita, Harry’s Bar is a must for a reviving cocktail with a little celebrity spotting on the side.

What to See

  •  Borghese Gallery: This is an extremely tough one to choose because all of Rome is an open air museum. Originally built by Architect Flaminio Ponzio as a Villa Suburbana for Cardinal Scipione Borghese, you can get your fill of masterpieces by Bernini, Caravaggio, Titian, and more.

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Thank you for sharing your Rome favorites, Cristina!

Where are your favorite destinations to visit in Rome or other cities around the world? Discover our Jet Set Collection to inspire your next trip and use the #DestinationDempsey hashtag on social media to share your travels. 

24 Hours in Paris with Loli Events

Both French born, Lauren Fremont and Coralie Prats of Loli Events make gracious living their business. Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles asked them to share their favorite haunts in our beloved Paris for you to keep in mind for your next trip to the City of Lights!

Where to Stay

Pavillon de la Reine

Where to Eat and Drink

  • Les petits cafés: My love for coffee shops is endless, and thankfully Paris is full of them! My favorite is the Saint Regis Café on Ile Saint Louis because of its authentic style and location–the servers are super fun and the coffee is really good too!
  • Fine Dining: Le Meurice Alain Ducasse is located inside the Palace Hotel Le Meurice and it is truly stunning. Walking into this restaurant is already an experience in itself!
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The grand dining room at Le Meurice Alain Ducasse

  • Cocktails: Le Moonshiner is a speakeasy on Rue Sedaine and it is the best place in Paris to drink a good whiskey cocktail! The hidden entrance and retro decor make for a memorable night out.

Le Moonshiner

What to See

  • La Seine Banks: It is always interesting to wander along The River Seine, especially around the two islands, Ile de la Cité and Ile Saint Louis, and along Saint Germain. You will find all kinds of people; joggers, old people with their dogs, lovers, artists, and workers on their way to the office.  During sunsets, the buildings turn into gold and the sky softens with gorgeous shades of pink–I will never get enough of it!

Sylvie-Gil-La Seine

  • The Square Georges-Cain: This is my favorite place in my beloved neighborhood, Le Marais. It is a lovely park in front of a beautiful building and it’s very well maintained–It’s my little heaven on Earth! The location on a quiet street makes it the ideal place to relax outside in the nice weather. The Square George Cain

 

  • Paris doors: How can we not talk about these huge and colorful street doors? I have so many blue doors photos on my phone–they are all different and all majestic!
  • Old little streets & Passages: Paris used to be so differentPassage des Princes back in the day! I’m always very nostalgic when I find a little street and picture the whole city before Haussmann’s renovation in the 19th century. Thankfully, we still have the beautiful Passages like two favorites: Galerie Vivienne and Passage des Princes!
  • Museums: Musée Jacquemart-André is a beautiful hotel particulier in Paris that offers a large collection of private paintings and antique furniture. The grand townhouse is divided into five major parts and it is a wonderful place to explore.

Musée Jacquemart-André

Merci to Lauren and Coralie for letting us in on a few of their Paris favorites!

Where are your favorite destinations to visit in Paris or other cities around the world? Discover our Jet Set Collection to inspire your next trip and use the #DestinationDempsey hashtag on social media to share your travels. 

Spotlight on Erica Beckman

Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles asked Erica Beckman of Clean Plate Pictures to tell us about her absolute favorite spots for engagement and wedding photos in and around New York City. 

  1. DUMBO/Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO are classic shooting locations, and for good reason. The bridge itself is iconic, and it’s absolutely stunning at sunrise. The DUMBO neighborhood has an amazing variety of environments in a a small, walkable area. With gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline, tons of cool graffiti, and lots of cobblestone streets and alleyways, it’s ideal for getting lots of different locations. Even after shooting there for years, I always find something new!

 

  1. Vinegar Hill

Vinegar Hill is right next to DUMBO, so I usually shoot in both locations together. Vinegar Hill is such a colorful neighborhood; it’s filled with brightly painted doors and store fronts and lots of industrial brick and wood textures. It also has tons of my two favorite things: graffiti and vines!

 

  1. Fort Tryon Park

Fort Tryon Park is another hidden gem. Most people immediately think of Central Park when they want a green location in the city, but Fort Tryon is just as gorgeous – and usually a lot less crowded! The gardens there are stunning, especially in the spring, and there are amazing stone structures and steps (plus, it’s got incredible views of Hudson)!

 

  1. Rockwood Hall – Tarrytown, NY

If you’re willing to venture out of the city limits, Tarrytown is just a short train ride away and home to Rockwood Hall Park. The grounds of the former Rockefeller Estate overlook the Hudson River. The ruins of the old mansion are a great spot, and the park is full of these weeping trees that are dreamy to photograph.

 

  1. A Special Location

I love when clients suggest a new location to me. Photographing a location that’s special and unique for them makes the photos that much better, and it’s always a pleasure to find new places! Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City was suggested to me by a couple and I was so pleased to see how cool it was – full of awesome structures and with a gorgeous view of the city. Another couple invited me to their country home upstate where we got to shoot in this dreamy, woodsy atmosphere– we even found this amazing covered bridge in the area. I encourage everyone out there to think about spots that are special to you!

Erica BeckmanErica Beckman makes the experience of being photographed easygoing and fun, so couples look and feel happy and relaxed. She started Clean Plate Pictures 8 years ago with the goal of capturing the heart and soul of a celebration, recording the big events as well as unexpected candid moments. Today Erica runs her busy wedding photography business from her studio in the Hudson Valley, photographing weddings all over the Tri-State area.