IWithout the fashion and bold caravan of cars lined up in valet parking at Dallas’ Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, one would have thought it was once again the 1920s estate of its original owner, oilman Sheppard King. For just one night, the entire restaurant and bar – the part of the hotel that was originally a residence – was closed to private use.
The last time these spaces were closed to the public was in 2013, when Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld took over the entire hotel during his Paris-Dallas Métiers d’Art fashion show. But the reason to celebrate this time had little to do with French fashion and more to do with love: the wedding reception of the native Dallaserin Sterling Stensrud after marrying Robert Evans from Houston, where the couple now resides.
Almost four weeks before the wedding, a multi-level, 10,000-square-foot translucent tent took shape on the mansion’s sloping lawn.
“This was the first time a tent had been pitched in the villa,” says Julian Leaver, then director of catering sales and events for the hotel. “Nobody had ever built a tent like this. The way it was designed made it feel like an extension of the mansion. It looked like it had always been there. “
That was exactly the point. When Sara Fay Egan, a partner at Jackson Durham Events in Dallas, first met Stensrud, it was clear that the bride wanted something that had never been done before.
“I told her that I loved the villa, but that I didn’t want the reception in the ballroom,” says Stensrud. “And Sara Fay smiled and said, ‘Oh, I have an idea …'” Next, there was a wedding reception of epic proportions that the villa had never hosted before.
Rather than treating the hotel like a traditional event venue, Egan looked at the history of the mansion. “We brought the hotel back to the original mansion,” she says.
The main dining room was set up as a living room, with sofas and loungers replacing dining tables and chairs. And the library bar has been redesigned to feel like a library – the way it used to be. The flowers were designed in a domestic manner with elegant topiaries and small, low arrangements. Even the terrace of the mansion has been redecorated to resemble that of a splendid home. Once the tent was open for dinner and dancing, the year of planning came together.
“It had a topic without a topic,” says Egan. “The actual color of the mansion, the rose gold terracotta stucco, was the trigger for the color palette.”
From invitations to bed linen to the color of the cake, the exterior colors of the mansion were perfectly coordinated. The carved quatrefoil was recreated on both the invitation and the cake. The waiters wore white tuxedo jackets with dashing rose gold bow ties, and the night’s cocktail – Mrs Vicki Martini’s – was pink to match.
“There was a rose gold glow all night,” says Stensrud.
Indeed, with nearly half of the 450 guests attending the Mansion for the wedding weekend, this was the most memorable house party ever recorded. As the wedding neared the final dance, rose gold confetti fell from the ceiling and Stensrud says, “People were having so much fun that we thought the tent might collapse.”
Not on that golden night. Not in a million years.