What is your favorite AK product and why?
My favorite AK item has to be my navy alligator Sadie Clutch. It is the perfect color and just the right size clutch to fit your essentials for an evening out. And it was named after my first daughter :)
I also love my AK iPad Cover in magenta python...and my orange alligator Initial Keychain always makes it easy to find my keys (and they make great gifts).
On my wish list would be an AK tote - either the Mercury or the Knox
(...hope my husband is reading this)
What can you not live without and what are your latest obsessions?
My family: my husband Ty, my daughters Sadie (6) and Olivia (3) and my Westie, Kirby
None of it really matters without them.
My faith...the foundation of everything I do
My Keurig Coffee Maker
I can make coffee in 15 seconds and get out the door for carpool.
Sad but true; it is my lifeline and allows me to be efficient and connected.
Great friendships are essential in my life.
Traveling to Cabo
It's my happy place and where I disconnect from my busy life and re-connect with the people I love.
Help me maintain my sanity.
Lululemon workout clothes
There are no other and they're not just for working out...some would say they are a uniform.
my TKEE flip flops
I own 6 pair!
Ponytails and Bobby Pins
They are literally in every nook and cranny of my life.
I buy them by the box and love the teal blue and dark grey.
and last but not least...Music
If I am alone, I am singing (usually at the top of my lungs) and if I have the opportunity to get on stage with a microphone, I will (we might be on to the real reason I got into party planning).
Tell us about your company, Belle of the Ball...
I started Belle of the Ball in 2001. I was working as the marketing manager of a law firm and let's just say my "boss" inspired me to start thinking about working for myself. I had always been passionate about party planning and event planning and took a leap of faith that I could take that passion and start my own business. I spent about three years working on my own and now have six amazing consultants and two interns that work with me and make it so much more fun and gratifying.
In addition to weddings, you have a new party planning arm. Can you tell us about this?
We have always loved planning weddings and 75% of our business continues to be weddings; however, we had many past clients asking us to plan everything from corporate parties to first birthdays to Debutante Balls. It was a way for all of us to branch out and diversify what we were already doing. I've always said if you can plan a wedding, you can plan any party. There are so many details and moving parts to a wedding and it has been a seamless transition into planning private parties.
What is the most fun party you have ever planned and why?
I would have to say my husband's 40th Birthday in Cabo, Mexico! It combined my two greatest passions with all the people we love in my very favorite place. All of the details were a surprise to him and I tried to incorporate everything he loves! The party started with water drummers playing some of his favorite Beatles songs and ended with an amazing fireworks show and dance party on the beach. I would also say I have LOVED planning my daughters' birthday parties. We have had everything from a "Cirque du Sadie" party and a Family Picnic on our front lawn to a Pinkalicious Tea Party.
What is the key to a great party?
The love is in the details! And I think parties are really just an opportunity to show your love to your guests and celebrate with them in an unforgettable way. The details are what people remember long after the party is over. I love it most when the personality and passions of the client are reflected in the details of their wedding or event.
Any insider secrets?
I don't know that I have any "secrets" per say, but I am big on the first impression of a party and the party favor or last impression at the end. And I love when there is a common thread throughout that ties it all together. So it's everything from having a memorable form of entertainment as guests enter your party to passing a signature drink that is personal to the client, to personalizing items throughout the party (cocktail napkins, custom signage, custom gobo lighting).
I also have a personal rule of changing something or introducing something new every hour. That could be a change in lighting, passing a new food item or introducing an unexpected form of entertainment into the party. I love to surprise the guests!
What are your beauty essentials?
Natura Bissé face products (too many to list)
Revitalash (only reason I have any lashes at all)
Darphin Body Oil
Van Cleef & Arpels Orchidee Vanille Perfume
My make-up from Facade
What charity or cause are you passionate about and why?
The Gladney Center for Adoption
We adopted our two daughters from the Gladney Center in Fort Worth, TX.
They are an amazing agency that really focuses on matching birth moms and adoptive parents. I love that the birth moms are involved in the selection process and I had the opportunity to get to know both of my daughters' birth moms and was in touch with them for a period of time after. If it weren't for Gladney, I wouldn't have become a mom and I am forever grateful to them and to the selflessness and courage of my daughters' birth moms. My husband and I continue to be involved with Gladney and welcome any opportunities to give back and stay involved.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Warm chocolate chip cookies (especially the ones from Tiny Boxwood's)
with an ice-cold glass of milk.
I also have a box of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies in my freezer at all times.
What can be found on your nightstand?
Photos of my husband and children
My iPad for reading -
I absolutely love to read and love the instant gratification of downloading books. My favorite books are memoirs and the last great one I read was "A House in the Sky" by Amanda Lindhout.
A journal where I write funny things that my girls do and say so I won't forget.
What would be your dream party planning scenario?
When I first got into this business, I was inspired and fascinated by Mindy Weiss who is the most well-known celebrity party and wedding planner. I followed her website and her events and went to hear her speak early on in my career and I was blown away by her creativity and imagination (not to mention her client's budgets...or lack of). So I've always thought it would be incredibly fun to work on a celebrity wedding in an exotic or unique location. Maybe Jennifer and Justin will call :)
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
The birth and adoption of my two beautiful girls. My husband and I had a very long and painful road to becoming parents and the days they were both born will always be two of my most joyful and vivid moments.
I'm also very proud of the fact that I have created a business that has made it possible for other women to work from home and have a family while doing something they are passionate about.
Who is Christine Hoffer and why do we love her?
Christine is one of the most genuine and sincerely gracious people I have ever met. If you go to one of her parties, you get it! She thinks about how she can provide the most enjoyable experience down to every single last little detail all while making it look completely effortless. To be honest, I was not sure if she really did it all because she flows through a party she has masterminded with such ease and grace while complimenting the festive mood instead of portraying the neurotic control freak image marching around with a clipboard. No detail is left out and little entertaining surprises are abound, making her events some of the most memorable I have ever attended.
Christine started her career in advertising and public relations 20 years ago, planning and executing countless corporate and private events for clients. But in 2001, she decided to pour her creativity, passion and precision for special event planning into founding Belle of the Ball, Houston's very first premier wedding planning boutique firm. Over the last 11 years, Belle of the Ball has taken its over 50 years of combined event planning experience and evolved from a wedding planning firm to one that also plans and executes debutante balls, private parties, children's parties and corporate events.
It is Christine's creative attention to details, endless drive for perfection and undying spirit for every event that get her rave reviews from her clients every time. She juggles motherhood, work and devout loyalty to her family and friends with such ease and authentic beauty which is why we are inspired by her, love her and hope you do too! If you have an event coming up, do yourself a favor and hire her...not only will you have a marvelous party, but you will also enjoy the process immensely while getting a new fabulous friend for life!