J. McLaughlin x Dempsey & Carroll

We absolutely adore when we get to partner with other brands to produce a stationery collaboration. A sprinkle of this, a dash of that, and suddenly you have something amazing that truly speaks to both parties involved. We were tickled pink when the team at J. McLaughlin got together with us earlier this year to begin designing our newest collaboration with them. 

With a J. McLaughin just 2 blocks away from our office, we are constantly watching what new and exciting prints and patterns they’re introducing You can imagine how difficult it was for us to narrow down the collection to only a handful of our favorites. After a few snacks from our neighbor William Poll it was decision-making time and we landed on a resort theme. 

Pops of aquamarine, coral, a flash of wicker and we were ready to go to production. With the weather in New York dropping more and more each day, our warm, breezy, balmy J. McLaughlin stationery has us dreaming of island getaways that are only a few weeks away. 

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.



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.



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.



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.


A spotlight on Bizia Greene

Dempsey & Carroll event curator Austin Ackles sat down with Bizia to discuss etiquette and her recent wedding.bizia1

AA: Most of our clients have their thank you cards printed at the same time as their wedding invitations. Occasionally, I get panicked phone calls as gifts start arriving far in advance of the wedding. When should the thank you cards be sent?

BG: Ideally thank you notes should be sent as gifts arrive but you can allow up to three months after the wedding. Give yourself a head start by ordering stationery, selecting beautiful postage and addressing envelopes in advance of your wedding date. After the whirlwind of the celebrations and honeymoon you’ll be glad to come home to part of the task complete. Make writing your notes a relaxing ritual with a well lit, comfortable space accompanied by a cup of tea or glass of bubbly. Share the task with your partner and write a few a day.

AA: With the holiday season approaching, we’ll all be attending too many wonderful parties. What should every gracious thank you note include?

BG: When thanking your host, reference something unique about the event that moved you i.e. the beautiful decor, the delicious trifle like your grandmother used to make or the new friends you made. By making it personal your host will know the event was a success and you’re sure to get an invite to the next soirée.

.AA: What thank you card have you received that left you with the most lasting impression?

BG: Thank you notes that expressed the impact of our attention to detail and effort stand out. My husband and I received a few shortly after our wedding complimenting our weekend events, decor, catering and seating arrangements to name a few. It made us feel like all the hard work we put into curating a memorable and warm celebration was recognized and appreciated.

AA: Your own wedding was just about two months ago. In terms of planning, what was your biggest worry that simply evaporated on the big day?

BG: The weather, of course! Our wedding ceremony and reception were supposed to be outside. Although we had a rain plan, most of our energy wabizia2s spent on the outdoor vision. We began the ceremony outside and midway through thunder and lightning moved in quickly. Guests rallied and began carrying their chairs indoors where we finished the ceremony. I got to arrive at my own wedding twice and was relieved to see what good sports they all were. We dined by candlelight because the power went out. In fact, everyone thought the evening was very memorable and laughed about it. In the end, guests are there to celebrate you rain or shine.



Give Better Thanks


dinner-table-636                                                                                                                                                                                                       (image: ivillage.com)

Oprah Magazine gives us some great tips for post-party thank you notes. Just in time for the dinner party season….

Kelly Williams Brown, author of Adulting, has devised a formula for handwritten notes based on the gracious missives she once saw pinned to a sorority-house bulletin board. “Start with the word you,” she says, “because everyone likes to hear about themselves. Then talk about what the person did. Save your thank you for the end. In other words, Dear Heather, You are an amazing cook. Not only was your salmon outragueously delicous, but your home is just beautiful. Arthur and I cant stop talking about how much fun we had. Thank you so much for inviting us. 

Grab the September issue of Oprah magazine for the full story. Cheers!

It’s More Than just Showing Up: On Being a Good Guest

There is more to being a gracious guest than sitting up straight at the dinner table. With the arrival of warmer temperatures there is sure to be an uptick in hosted parties and weekend getaways.  

  1. For a party, don’t forget to R.S.V.P. as this can create frustration for the host or hostess. Most invitations include an email address, so there is no longer an excuse to not respond.
  2. Never ask who else is on the guest list because it sounds like you are only trying to assess whether or not the party will be a hit. Once you’ve committed to an event, be sure to attend! The party will be as fun as the positive attitude you have when you arrive.
  3. Never discuss an invitation received even in close circles, remember you don’t know who was invited.
  4. If your invitation doesn’t include the wording “and guests” or “additional guests welcome” assume they aren’t. If you have a conflict such as a guest in town decline noting why. If appropriate, your host will tell you to bring them along.
  5. Be sure to bring a thoughtful gift for your host or hostess. A gift doesn’t need to be elaborate and luxurious for it to matter; it can be small and simple like flowers or a fine bottle of wine.
  6. At a dinner party, engage those seated next to and across from you at the dinner table. It’s a smart idea to avoid conversations about religion and politics unless you know for sure that everyone is on the same page.
  7. Ask questions regarding someone else’s experiences and don’t be shy to share your own—it all comes down to being open, genuine, and receptive. Nothing makes a host or hostess smile more than seeing their guests happily mingling with one another. 

    Image courtesy of: http://www.homefashionsu.com

  8. Help your host or hostess in the kitchen and when clearing the table – don’t ask. In the event your hostess has employed help for the evening do not interfere with her management of the evening.  Your help will always be appreciated!
  9. There’s no need to poke around your host or hostess’ home! Feel free to ask your host or hostess if you can’t find something you need. A good host or hostess wants to make sure that you feel comfortable in their home.
  10. If you are staying at a host or hostess’ home overnight, be sure to clean up after yourself. It will make a huge difference for your host or hostess if you wash your own dishes, make your bed, and tidy up any small messes. When you leave, be sure to strip your bed sheets and bundle up your used towels. It’s thoughtful to ask your host or hostess where you can place used towels and sheets to make the clean up a smooth and easy process.
  11. Write a kind thank you note to your host or hostess.  In my notes, I like to capture a special moment I shared while staying with a friend or family member. It shows your host or hostess that you cherished the time you spent with them.


Madeleine Garone,


The Art of Gracious (and Fabulous!) Hosting

Make their visit one that they’ll remember! When I host guests, I like to make them feel welcome—that my home has become their home away from home. As an avid traveler, I enjoy staying with friends; I can admit that one of the most gratifying feelings I experienced was feeling a warm sense of welcome in their homes.

entertaining invite1. Enjoy yourself! If you are having a good time, chances are that your guests are, too. Nothing is more disconcerting than when a hostess spends an entire evening in the kitchen either preparing food or cleaning up. Take the time a week in advance to set a schedule that works for you, or feel free to hire assistance in the kitchen and bartenders.

2. A clean home is a must. Guests will feel more comfortable in your home if it’s clean and free of clutter. Be sure to also stock up on important necessities like toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues. Make these items accessible to your guests so they don’t feel uncomfortable asking.

3. If you are hosting a party at your home, be sure to send out an invitation that sets the tone of the gathering. When my Aunt Sally, an avid hostess, entertains at her home, she always likes to include details that indicate the dress code in her invitations. Her method to communicating dress code: “If it’s casual and laidback, put on your jeans. If it’s a glitzy invitation, put on something fabulous.”

4. It’s a kind gesture to give your guests an extra set of keys so that they can come and go as they please. When I stayed with my friends Pierre and Sebastian in France, they gave me a set of keys so that I could explore the beauty of Paris while they were at work. They also gave me several recommendations of their favorite cafes and parks so I could savor the leisurely Parisian experience. Be sure to let your guests know favorite haunts so they can experience the flavor of your city or town!

5. Nothing says you’re a good host more than leaving a few creature comforts in your guests’ bedrooms. It is thoughtful to place magazines and books in your guests’ bedrooms so that they can read during their downtime. Lotions, candles, and an extra blanket to snuggle up in will perfect the guest room’s ambiance!

It’s always a generous act to present gifts to your guests. A simple gift tells your guests that you are thrilled that they are staying with you and that you appreciate their good company.

6. Who doesn’t love a clean bathroom? To make your guests feel comfortable, provide them a fresh stack of bath towels as well as a toothbrush and extra toothpaste (in case they forgot theirs by accident!). Comfort is key, so make sure you set up everything they will need during their stay in advance.

8. After your guests leave, it’s thoughtful to express how much you enjoyed spending time with them in your home. Send a handwritten note.

Madeleine Garone,

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