A creator of experiences

Translating a love story through design
Gwendolyn Thomas, fjounder and lead dsigner at Dolyn Designs, a wedding and event décor business. Courtesy photo.

Gwendolyn Thomas is the founder and lead designer at Dolyn Designs – a West Michigan-based wedding and event décor business. Thomas uses her creativity and passion to create wedding and event experiences that inspire and delight. We talk tablescapes, taming expectations and the kind of experience you can expect from Dolyn Designs. 

Table setting, centerpiece and linens, designed and decorated by Gwendolyn Thomas. Photo by Kendra Lynece.

Grand Rapids Magazine: How would you describe the work you do? Gwendolyn Thomas: I believe what I do isn’t just designing and decorating weddings. Dolyn Designs’ goal is to create an experience for couples and their guests. We love to tell each couple’s love story through our designs. While we do other events, weddings have a special place in my heart! I love celebrating love. My couples trust us to translate their love story into an incredible experience. We have a team who helps to bring these visions to life, by ensuring a flawless execution. I have been building my business for the past six years. During this time, we have built a reputation for producing elegant events for our clients. Dolyn Designs offers a boutique experience, which ensures each client gets personal attention.  

GRM: What’s your favorite element when creating wedding tablescapes? GT: Table linens! The right table linens are crucial to bring out your design. One of my biggest pet peeves is wrinkled linens. Understanding your color palette is also a very important element of your table design. I love lots of candles; candles always give a romantic feel to your design. Large-scale centerpieces are another favorite of mine. I think they make a statement in the room. I must admit, I have to pull myself back when I have a bride or a couple who is looking for a more low-key design.

 GRM: Any advice for couples who can’t decide how they want their wedding to look? GT: My first piece of advice is to decide on your budget. Many times, I encounter couples who don’t know what their budget is or are confused about how much wedding designs cost. We live in a world of social media, and expectations may be a bit off when determining your budget. Trying to connect fairytale ideals with realistic budgets is getting harder than ever. This is even more important with rising wedding costs. Having an ideal for your budget will allow your wedding designer to help with design ideas that fit your budget.

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Ever since Pasha Shipp could talk, she's been dreaming up colorful stories. Fantasy creatures, mysterious kingdoms, enchanted forests, you name it. As she reached adulthood, she decided to take the magic out of her head and put it down on paper. Pasha has been writing for Grand Rapids Magazine since November 2015, and has loved every minute of it. She has a master's degree in Communication and a bachelor's degree in Film Studies from Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University respectively. When she isn't daydreaming and writing stories for the magazine, she's exploring the many hidden treasures of Grand Rapids with her fiancé.