Southern Roots


We are so excited to share with you the opening of EDE South!
EDE South is available to provide our signature approach to planning and design services for social and corporate events throughout the southeast region. Our primary focus is on expanding upon our key relationships and resources in these locations:

  • Lexington-Louisville area
  • Nashville
  • Charleston-Savannah area
  • New Orleans

Based in Lexington, Kentucky – home of bluegrass, bourbon and thoroughbreds, our new office is led by Jen Guiler. Jen has been an instrumental part of the success and growth of EDE since she joined in 2014 and we are so pleased to support her in this next chapter. Jen is returning to her Kentucky home and looks forward to sharing her love of the area with all of you!

We have been so fortunate to create numerous remarkable events throughout the Southern states over the years. We look forward to leveraging this expanded presence in the region to provide even more reach.

The opening of EDE South is the first of several new initiatives underway at Elizabeth Duncan Events. Our Washington, DC headquarters continues to grow and thrive with additional investment planned in 2016-2017 to further enhance our services and staff for luxury and ultra-luxury social events, expand our Corporate/Non-Profit event portfolio, and cultivate new avenues and opportunities for National and International destination events. It is because of the continued support of our incredible clients and vendor partners, along with our commitment to providing exceptional service and innovative design that we have been able to pursue our ever bigger dreams. Thank you!

Please help us spread the news and, definitely, keep us in mind the next time you have an event that would benefit from a little southern charm!


EDE South

Jen Guiler
Jen@elizabethduncanevents.com
482 Hollyhill Drive
Lexington, Kentucky 40503

 (859) 285-2205

 

Photo credit: Kate Headley

Weekend Wanderlust: Snow Day

Are you planning a romantic winter proposal or snowy honeymoon? My husband and I are getting ready for a weekend away on the slopes and I’m just smitten by the romance of it all.

Take a snow day with us today and enjoy the beauty of newly fallen snow, hot toddies, sharing an open fire, and the adventures charming mountain resorts like these have to offer:

Topnotch Resort & Spa, Stowe, Vermonttopnotch

The Pitcher Inn, Warren, Vermont

pitcherinn

The Inn at Lost Creek, Telluride, Colorado

Telluride

Little Nell, Aspen, Colorado

Littlenell

Stein Erickson, Park City, Utah

SteinErickson

Post Hotel, Lake Louise, Banff, Canada
Post hotel

Four Seasons, Whistler, Canada

whistler

 

~ Hillary

Weekend Wanderlust: Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic I just returned from a wedding in the Dominican Republic – as a guest!  The backdrop was breathtaking: sunshine, warm breezes, sand between our toes and friends to share in it all. Today, weddings are often more than just a great party; they are a reunion for family and old friends, too.  Destination weddings, in particular, offer the opportunity to create memorable moments beyond the wedding day and to help everyone feel included and part of a community on the wedding day itself. Dominican Republic wedding1 Between catamaran trips, snorkeling, beach parties and even swimming with the sharks, not only did we celebrate a wonderful couple’s wedding, but we also had an amazing adventure exploring the beauty of the Dominican Republic. Thank you Erin + Brandon for bringing us together to celebrate your wedding in this idyllic location! Dominican Republic wedding2 ~Hillary

If you’re considering the Dominica Republic for your destination wedding, here are a few properties we would recommend:

For European-style luxury: Eden Roc at Cap Cana

For the convenience of all-inclusive: Iberostar Grand Bavaro Hotel

For golf and the luxury of your own villa: Tortuga Bay Punta Cana Resort & Club

For an extraordinary spa experience, Zoetry Wellness & Spa Resort.

Weekend Wanderlust

We are constantly collecting fabulous properties for our destination events here, there and everywhere you want to go. These are just a few on our list from some recent client venue searches:   For the equestrian lover, visit The Ranch at Rock Creek. Ranch at Rock Creek   For majestic fairway views, schedule your tee time at The Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach. Pebble Beach   For the perfect mix of adventure and luxury, go to The Four Seasons Jackson Hole. Four Seasons Jackson Hole   For a decadent California wine tasting retreat, stay at Auberge du Soleil. Auberge du Soleil   For old-world luxury and a unique, historical escape, look no further than The Greenbrier. Greenbrier

 

Happy travels!

~ Hillary

We’ll Always Have Paris

As you know, Paris has a special place in my heart.  After three decades of visiting, I’m amazed that there’s always something new to discover and fall in love with.  Last Summer, we introduced the next generation to the City of Lights (and love).  We wanted to do something special to remember the occasion, so I asked French Grey Photography to capture us with some of Paris’ iconic images.  I couldn’t resist having a new headshot taken with the Eiffel Tower, too.  It was a magical trip!

French Grey Photography by Brian Wright for Elizabeth 035

French Grey Photography by Brian Wright for Elizabeth 068

French Grey Photography by Brian Wright for Elizabeth 026

French Grey Photography by Brian Wright for Elizabeth 049

Away We Go: The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier America's Resort - Destination Wedding Venues - Elizabeth Duncan Events Wedding

Yesterday, we celebrated America’s Birthday, so today I’d like to introduce you to America’s Resort – The Greenbrier.  Steeped in history, surrounded by natural beauty, and infused with Southern hospitality and luxurious elegance, this is truly a remarkable destination.

I was delighted to be invited by Lori Hicks, the social sales manager, for a site visit. Many clients and friends have told me about The Greenbrier and how their families have been going there for generations, but this was my first visit.

When you arrive at the hotel you can’t help but be in awe of the beauty and grandeur.  The façade of the resort’s main building is often compared to Tara, from Gone with the Wind.  The famous interior designer, Dorothy Draper, has combined color and pattern at every turn that is a bold mix of Florida Palm Beach with refined Southern charm. Mrs. Draper was also the author of the book, Entertaining is Fun! How to Be a Popular Hostess”. From the bright colors and floral prints to the enthusiasm of the staff, the distinctive decor and Southern hospitality are definitely central to the Greenbrier experience.

Greenbrier America's Resort Dorothy Draper design

The Greenbrier was built in 1778 and has hosted U.S. Presidents, foreign dignitaries, celebrities and generations of families. The rich history of the resort is thoroughly embraced, but all of the modern amenities, services, and any activity you could possibly want to enjoy are at your fingertips.

 

The Greenbrier is an ideal choice for a destination wedding. The options for entertaining and exploring are truly innumerable, but here is just one itinerary that I would propose:

Accommodations:

Wedding guests: Main hotel

Parents:  Estate Houses – Colonnade (Bride’s family), Top Notch (Groom’s family)

Wedding Party:  Cottages

Greenbrier Wedding Destination Wedding DC Elizabeth Duncan Events Wedding

Thursday

  • Arrival
  • Activities on own – tennis, golf, pool, hiking, off-roading, etc.
  • Croquet & Cocktails on the Croquet Lawn
  • Casual dinner on the Prime 44 Terrace. (How amazing are these striped umbrellas!)
  • Late-night Bowling Party!

Greenbrier - Prime 44 - Elizabeth Duncan Events Wedding

Friday

  • Spa appointments for the Bridal Party in the morning
  • Bridal Luncheon at the Colonnade House (the dining room table seats 22!)
  • Groom’s Party to play a round on one of the top-ranked golf courses or enjoy other outdoor activities, e.g. fishing, off-roading, clay shooting, hiking, paintball, etc.
  • Welcome Party at Kate’s Mountain with BBQ and bluegrass (I highly recommend Whiskey Rebellion)


The Greenbrier - Wedding Venue - DC Wedding Planner - Elizabeth Duncan Events 7

Saturday

  • Outdoor ceremony at any of the beautiful garden and lawn options, although the Springhouse is definitely my favorite
  • Cocktails, dinner and dancing in the Cameo Ballroom.

via greenbrier.com

Photo via greenbrier.com

Photo via greenbrier.com

Sunday

Farewell Brunch at Howard’s Creek Lodge

Departure

The Greenbrier - Destination Wedding Venue - Howard's Creek Lodge - Elizabeth Duncan Events wedding

 

What makes the Greenbier so exceptional are the numerous activities for guests and the diversity of venues for entertaining!  If you’re looking for an incredible destination wedding location, look no further.

 

The Greenbrier is nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains in White Sulphur Springs, WV.  The resort is accessible from DC by car (surprisingly fast 4 hours), by train (a leisurely 6 hours) or by a short flight from IAD (1.25 hours).

Thank you again, Lori, for inviting us to visit the Greenbrier. We are so excited to work with you to create beautiful and memorable weddings!

 

Images:  Unless otherwise noted, all images by EDE

London Love

Last month, I took a little holiday over the pond.  Here are just a few highlights from an amazing trip to London and Harrogate.

Birthday Dinner at my favorite London restaurant, La Petite Maison; Best Sunday Ritual – Sunday Roast at The Pig and Butcher; wedding gown shopping with @urbanflipflops at Brown’s Bride; wedding venue shopping at Fulham Palace with @urbanflipflops.

Getting to know the Islington neighborhood with @urbanflipflops; The Queen by Lego at Hamleys; design inspiration at Selfridges.

A majestic peacock in Holland Park; Baccarat chandeliers at One Marylebone, a spectacular London wedding venue; House of Dior exhibit at Harrods – beautiful and inspiring; cheese-flavored macaron at La Cave a Fromage – genius.

Home Sweet Home at Betty’s Harrogate and The Valley Gardens Harrogate; Columbia Road Flower Market; the truly stunning Renaissance St. Pancras, my London home.

And, the jewel in the crown, seeing Dame Helen Mirren in The Audience.  Truly incredible performance and a must-see if you are planning to be in London before June!!!

Honeymoon HotSpot

Four Seasons Bora Bora via Connoisseur Travel

Are you overwhelmed with planning your honeymoon?  Are you considering using a travel agent, but never worked with one before?  Here are a few myths about working with a travel agent that I asked my friend and today’s guest blogger, Sue Michailidis, luxury travel consultant with Connoisseur Travel, to debunk for us.

Myth #1

“I don’t need a travel agent.”

A travel agent brings years of experience, organization and industry contacts to your travel planning. While the internet has taken over a large piece of the leisure travel pie, do you want to trust your honeymoon to a website? Travel agencies still account for 51% of all travel sales in the US. We are knowledgeable insiders on destinations and accommodations.  And heaven forbid,  something goes wrong while traveling, you’ll have your very own travel advocate—not a call center–assisting you every step of the way.

Myth#2

“Travel agents are a waste of time.”

For planning your trip, a travel agent can save you from hours of painful research and comparison shopping. You have enough on your plate with the wedding plans! After awhile, every overwater bungalow in Bora Bora looks fabulous—but what is the right fit for you as a couple? Work with someone who is a destination specialist in the area—they have been to the resorts, and can give you insider information—stuff you can’t differentiate on websites, or on Trip Advisor.

You’ll also save time once your trip is booked. Say you want to make a change to your itinerary once it’s booked through Expedia….can you say “hold time”? Instead, send your agent a quick email or text.

Finally, your travel agent bundles your trip as a package, if any changes are made, it’s done seamlessly: flights, car rentals, resorts, transfers, etc. are all notified. Doing each booking on your own, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Myth#3

“It’s expensive to use a travel agent.”

Most agencies do not charge an upfront fee to do business, always ask first.

As for getting a better deal online—rarely is this true. In your research, if you find a better deal online, let your agent know. Oftentimes they can match whatever you find.

My agency is part of a consortium & preferred partners with exclusive resorts. We offer our clients a bunch of perks for hotel stays that you cannot get booking online: free breakfasts, room upgrades, etc.

Finally, often times online rates don’t include taxes and fees upfront. Most travel agent packages show the full price—no surprises.

Myth #4

“Travel agents try to needlessly upsell.”

Travel agents try to find the best value for your vacation. This isn’t necessarily the lowest cost option.

Sometimes this means suggesting an ocean view room on your Hawaiian honeymoon, rather than booking a  “resort view” room ( a view of the parking lot). Or recommending a non-stop flight  the day after your wedding, as opposed to a flight with multiple or long layovers. Believe me, you’ll be wiped out! Travel agents want your business and referrals—their goal is for you to have a trip that exceeds your expectations.

Myth#5

Who needs service on their honeymoon, when I can book it all online?

Your honeymoon is truly a trip of a lifetime. Work with a professional to customize a unique experience for the two of you. In addition to all the basic services they provide, agents can arrange car service, personalized activities, romantic excursions, special dinners. You can rest easy trusting your trip is in the hands of an experienced professional.

Sue Michailidis is a luxury travel consultant with Connoisseur Travel. She specializes in South Pacific Honeymoons. She lived in Maui for 5 years, traveling throughout the South Pacific: Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii and beyond. She now resides in Washington DC with her family and sells travel destinations worldwide.  If you would like to talk to Sue about planning your honeymoon or next vacation, you can email her at

sue.michailidis@ctltd.com

Seattle Highlights

I have recently returned from a week in Seattle and a successful corporate event for one of my clients.  It had been 12 years since I last visited Seattle, and while a lot has changed, it still felt like the charming, small city I remembered.  I added the weekend so I could check out some of the sights around town.  Here are just a few snapshots of some of the highlights.

I wish I could take credit for planning this, but the weekly sailing regatta just happened to pass by my client’s celebration dinner at Aqua.

Followed by a truly spectacular sunset.

The off-site excursion planned for my client to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was informative and inspiring.  I particularly liked this display of charitable intentions and ideas to inspire change.  Visitors fill out their own blank cards and hang them on this “tree” and are then encouraged to take someone else’s with them to take some kind of action.  The selection ranges from “I support…” to “How have contraceptives changed your life?”

The recently opened exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s work at Seattle Center is one of the best art exhibits I have ever seen.  Not to be missed if you are in town!

Seattle is definitely a town for foodies as well.  We enjoyed fabulous meals the whole week.  From local favorites like Walrus and the Carpenter to downtown hot spots like Lola and Wild Ginger, the flavors reflect the seasonal, local produce, bountiful local seafood, and various Asian influences.  Of course, wandering through the famous Pike Place Market is enough to inspire anyone.

Destination Costa Rica

Last week, my best friend and I flew down to Costa Rica for a few days to celebrate her birthday.  It was a spontaneous trip, so I went knowing very little about the country and what to expect.  I was overwhelmed by the abundant natural beauty, friendliness of the people and dramatic vistas from every turn.  The Costa Ricans have a saying “Pura Vida.”  Roughly translated, it means “pure life,” but I was told it also encompasses the idea of living full of life.  It’s a motto that resonates deeply with me.  They’ve made a drink by the same name and after a few of these, anyone would start to fantasize about moving to Costa Rica permanently.

Many of you may know that Costa Rica is considered a top honeymoon destination because it offers both serene, beautiful beaches (that many brides envision for their honeymoon) and fun activities (for the grooms).  Costa Rica has big brand resorts smaller, boutique resorts, as well as luxury vacation villas.  There are indulgent spa treatments and adrenaline-spiking outdoor adventures.  The wildlife is exotic and unique.  There really is something for everyone here!

I wanted to share just a few photos from my trip.   The sunsets alone are enough to get me back on a plane. Scroll down to see how Costa Rica inspired me to think about a destination wedding on the beach in Costa Rica.

Photos by me and D Peacock

My idea of a fabulous wedding in Costa Rica: a romantic, barefoot ceremony, bright vivid colors incorporating the driftwood and tropical flowers that abound in the area and, of course, dining and dancing under the stars.

Credits: Style Me Pretty (1-3), Martha Stewart Weddings, Design Sponge, Treasured Petal, Style Me Pretty (7-8), Sweetest Occasion