Hottest headlines of 2021
Editor's note: After a year without in-person fundraising galas, parties, and luncheons, Dallas' society scene finally came back, slowly but surely, in 2021. The two biggest events of the year, Cattle Baron's Ball and Crystal Charity Ball, made their glorious returns after COVID cancellations in 2020. This year's most-read society stories also included the sad deaths of two Dallas media personalities. But it was a story about a big wedding of "American royalty" that readers clicked on the most.
1. Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton ring up top Dallas planner, baker, DJ for glamorous wedding. Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton finally tied the knot on Saturday, July 3, and from all the details divulged on social media, this American royal wedding was B-A-N-A-N-A-S. The couple relied on some of Dallas' top wedding vendors to pull off the opulent affair, from a renowned event planner to a TV-famous cake artist and a favorite party DJ.
2. Dallas media personality and animal lover Jocelyn White dies at 68. Longtime Dallas media personality Jocelyn White, who had her own successful television show, Designing Texas, died on April 18 following a short illness; she was 68. White was an award-winning TV, radio, and print journalist and a fixture on the local charity scene, with a passion for animals.
3. Nicole Barrett, Dallas media personality and Kinky Friedman Cigars mogul, passes away at 46. Nicole Barrett — Dallas talk show host, barrier-breaking entrepreneur, social justice advocate, and friend to many local charities — passed away unexpectedly on August 10; she was 46. Charismatic and charming, passionate and principled, Barrett felt just as comfortable discussing hot-button topics with politicians as she did cracking jokes with close friends over long lunches, her friends say.
4. Cattle Baron's Ball 2021 comes blazing back as Dallas' ultimate party. Well, Dallas didn't forget how to party during the pandemic. In fact, "Double Down" proved the perfect theme for Cattle Baron's Ball 2021, which emerged from last year's COVID-cancellation to a sell-out extravaganza that packed 2,600 revelers into Gilley's Dallas on Saturday, October 23.
5. Regal gowns take the crown on Dallas' best dressed at Crystal Charity Ball 2021. The best-dressed dames in Dallas turned heads in their brilliant and breathtaking gowns at the 2021 Crystal Charity Ball on Saturday, December 4. Themed "Peace, Love, London," the fabulous fete brought out Dallas fashion queens and groovy beauties ready to walk the red carpet and rock the dance floor.
6. Dallas' most glorious gala and art auction draws a surreal $11 million. Here's a statistic that'll make you drop your Dom Perignon: Of the $104 million raised for amfAR and the Dallas Museum of Art in Two x Two Gala's 22 years, an eye-popping $11 million of it came at the 2021 event. On October 23, the black-tie dinner and contemporary art auction attracted 490 guests to the Rachofsky House for what has become one of fall's grandest galas.
7. Glamorous Dallas wedding whisks in fun Hollywood surprise — complete with swear jar. Kristin Sanders and James Hallam had a specific intention for their post-pandemic dream wedding in April 2021: provide an event where friends and family can finally get dressed up again and dance the night away to incredible music. To pull off a two-day wedding extravaganza, the Dallas couple surprised guests by bringing in a famous band from Los Angeles and re-creating a funny scene from a Hollywood movie, swear jar and all.
8. Dazzling Dallas debutante ball canceled for first time in its 35-year history. Dallas debutantes got an extra year to practice their "Texas dip," as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League in January canceled its 2021 Presentation Ball due to COVID-19 concerns. It was the first time the ball had been canceled since its inception in 1987. Originally planned for February 13, organizers had pushed the date to June 12, then decided to call it off altogether. The 2022 Presentation Ball is set for February 12.
9. $3.3 million Dallas benefit with favorite governor's daughter shatters Planned Parenthood record. In a year that continued to challenge women’s health in Texas, supporters rallied and raised a record $3.3 million for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas at the annual fundraising event September 23 at Winspear Opera House. That's a full $2 million more than the event's fundraising total in 2020.
10. Fashionable Dallasites go wild with sky-high hats at the Arboretum. It had been more than a year since Dallas' society set had been able to safely toast, twirl, and fundraise together. What better way to welcome back in-person events than an open-air afternoon at the Dallas Arboretum, celebrating one of the wildest traditions in the city? In April, the 2021 Mad Hatter's Tea invited the ladies who lunch to don their most daring chapeaux.