Podcast, Ep. 132: event planners Laura Maddox and Sara Parker


The planning and event duo Laura Maddox and Sara Parker, who started and run Magnolia Celebrates, join the show to talk about their vast experience in events. Laura and Sara talk with us about how event planning mixes with design, the home decor they are seeing used in events, and all you need to know about registries. They also chat with us about destination weddings, how lighting and mood are so important. As well as decor, and ways to keep a themed event classy.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Laura and Sara’s combined experience of working both as an Executive Assistant to a CEO and planning over 2,000 events.
  • How we can plan smaller events such as a baby shower and have it be just as beautiful and memorable as a huge one.
  • How to curate a theme and weave in personalized decor and keep it classy instead of cheesy.
  • What things we can think about to combine both beautiful decor and a comfortable guest experience.
  • If there is an alternative to flowers, and what other home decor items Laura and Sara see currently at events.
  • Registries — what you should pick and how, what you shouldn’t pick, and how we all feel about going off the registry to purchase your gift.
  • Who puts their China in the dishwasher, and why.
  • How to set the lighting and mood at an event, why this can make or break the night, and why it’s crucial to use a dimmer.

Decorating Dilemma:

Hi Ladies,

I just live for the podcast. I really can’t get enough. Thanks for the weekly treat on my commute.

My design dilemma may seem ridiculous and impossible, but I really need some help. Your creative minds will help me make this powder room sing, I just know it! I have beautiful Thibault wallpaper that I installed that I think I like but I’m having trouble pulling the whole look together in a chic, contemporary way. This powder room is overall just falling flat to me.

Here are the details and some photos. My sink cabinet is an important storage spot for me. My husband is not keen on me replacing it. Is there any way to paint it, etc to make it look much more current and fresh? Any color/sheen suggestions? Is there any way to save this or does it have to go?

My mirror choice was an attempt to be unique. I may hate it now. I’m interested in mirrors and lighting from Ballard that you would suggest.  I have a pair of SK Jacque brackets (which I love btw). Should I paint them?

The ceiling is boring white and I’d love to paint it.

Any ideas are so appreciated!!!!


We suggest making things a tad less busy by taking the dark green from the wallpaper and implementing it also on the vanity, molding and crown. Add a more modern light fixture, along with some cool abstract art and acrylic frames. If you could install a toilet paper holder on the side of your vanity, that will help declutter. Update your faucet and hardware, and take it from Taryn — you can get a pretty sweet one for $40!

Mentioned In This Episode:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. You can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

Subscribe in iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play | Spotify

Abbey Nolte

Abbey is a homegrown Georgia peach who loves a fresh take on Southern design. When she’s not working behind the scenes of the How to Decorate blog and podcast, you can find her cheering on the Appalachian State Mountaineers and spending time with her wheaten terrier, Charlie.