Hat Judges and Categories Revealed for the 35th Annual Majestic Mad Hatter’s Luncheon – A Celebration of English Elegance

(Featured photo: Kristina Wrenn, Mad Hatter’s co-chair; Jenni Thakker, Judges Reveal Party co-chair; Allison Brodnax, Judges Reveal Party co-chair;Anne Stodghill, Mad Hatter’s co-chair.)*

Benefiting A Woman’s Garden presented by the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

The Hat Judges and Hat Categories are announced! It is time to make reservations and start planning elegant ensembles, fashions and lovely hats for the 35th Annual Majestic Mad Hatter’s Luncheon – A Celebration of English Elegance happening on Thursday, April 20, 2023 benefiting A Woman’s Garden presented by the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

Chairs Anne Stodghill and Kristina Wrenn, along with Women’s Council president, Sarah Jo Hardin, made the announcements at a festive event hosted by Allison and Brett Brodnax at their lovely Preston Hollow home. Kim Hext is honorary chair.

Anne, Kristina and Sarah Jo welcomed the standing-room-only crowd, which included many former Mad Hatter’s chairs and past presidents. Brief remarks included thanking the hosts for their generous hospitality, and also thanking Jenny Thakkar, who co-chaired this evening’s event with Allison. A round of applause was also given to this evening’s sponsors, Top Tier Rentals and Dallas MTV Valet.  At last! The room quieted as the much-anticipated announcements were made.

The Hat Judges are David Yarrow, Celebrated UK Fine Art Photographer; Ryan Ross, President, Neiman Marcus; Sachin and Babi Ahluwalia, Fashion Designers and Artisans; Cassie MacGregor, Accomplished Milliner; Barbara Bigham, Founding member of the WCDABG and Past Mad Hatter’s Chair; Emberli Pridham, Children’s Author and Philanthropist and Nathan Johnson, Creative Director, Gro Floral and Event Design.

Hat categories are: The Queen’s Choice: Most True to Theme; A True Princess Diana: Sure to be a lasting Fashion Legend; The Princess of Wales: Best Overall Ensemble; The Chelsea Flower Show: Most Creative use of Fresh Botanicals; The Hybrid: Best English Garden Hat with a Texas Twist; The Head Turner: Best in Show and The Royal Enclosure: Group that could attend Ascot Together. There will also be a People’s Choice vote throughout the reception.

Celebrating its 35th year, this fabulous party has been an ongoing fundraising event sponsored by the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Monies raised assist with the development, growth and maintenance of A Woman’s Garden, a major garden at the Dallas Arboretum.     

Guests travel from all over the United States, planning their trips to Dallas not only to take part in the Mad Hatter’s Luncheon – taking the theme as inspiration for their sophisticated, glamorous, and delightfully lavish hats – but to view the glorious springtime azalea displays and flowers that grace the Dallas Arboretum.    

The morning will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a welcome reception, a stroll in the gardens and a silent auction while the hat judges take note of the elegant interpretations of this year’s theme. After being seated for lunch, the hat competition winners will be announced. A real treat will be the remarks by renowned fashion designer, the entertaining Michael Faircloth, as he celebrates The History, Humor and Hope of the Hat.    

Sponsorships begin at $2,500. Patron Tickets start at $550, and a limited number of event tickets are available for $350. Check the website for details at MadHat2023.GiveSmart.com or contact Kristina Wrenn, kristina@kristinawrenn.com  or 917-715-0780 for more information.

About the Women’s Council: Celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2022.
Since 1982 the major goal of the Women’s Council has been the design, construction, funding and endowment of A Woman’s Garden, the only public garden in the United States conceived by women, funded by the efforts of women and dedicated to the spirit of women. The support of over 500 members of the Women’s Council make possible the continued expansion and development of A Woman’s Garden. The Women’s Council is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  www.wcdabg.org

About A Woman’s Garden: Celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2022.
A Woman’s Garden is the only public garden in the nation conceived, constructed and maintained by the funding efforts of women. Ablaze with color in every season, A Woman’s Garden is a living testament to the passion and vision of the Women’s Council founders and the boundless energy and devotion of its members whose commitment to creating a garden dedicated to the universal spirit of women across generations is realized in its inspired design. Our beautiful garden celebrates the power, creativity, resourcefulness, passion and unwavering commitment of the women who came before us and those entrusted with its care now, and into the future.     

About Mad Hatter’s: Celebrating its 35th Anniversary in 2023.
In 1989, Carole Ann Brown chaired the first Mad Hatter’s Tea to bring awareness to the Women’s Council and the Dallas Arboretum. The tea was held in the Camp House garden for 100 ladies and raised $10,000. Over the years, Mad Hatter’s has been chaired by many notable Dallas ladies such as Linda Ivy, Barbara Bigham, Connie Carreker, Barbara Daseke and Patti Flowers. Honorary Chairs have included some of the most philanthropic names in Dallas history such as Annette Simmons, Gene Jones, Caroline Rose Hunt, Tincy Miller, Sally Hoglund, Dee Wyly, Margaret Crow, Nancy Rogers, Amy Warren, Patty Dedman Nail, Sherwood Wagner and Laurie Sands Harrison.

Finally, it would not be a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party without the hats. The creativity at Mad Hatter’s over the years has been impressive. Ladies have been inspired to create millinery creations based on Royal Ascot, Run for the Roses, April in Paris, Steel Magnolias, Under the Tuscan Sun and even Garden by the Sea. We have seen the Golden Age of Hollywood, have come Out of Africa into the Garden and enjoyed a Wonderland of Fashion while having Tea with Alice. We look forward to seeing the beautiful hats at this year’s Majestic Mad Hatter’s –A Celebration of English Elegance.

*Photos by Tamytha Cameron

(Sharon Adams, Adams Communications Public Relations, is honored to represent the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Majestic Mad Hatter’s, and post this Philanthropy Lifestyles Scene.)


Principal of Philanthropy Lifestyles (formerly SocialWhirl.com), the award-winning eBuzzNewsletter and Adams Communications Public Relations, a boutique PR firm specializing in media and community relations for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Sharon is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Dallas Business Journal, Katy Trail Weekly, People Newspapers (Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People/North Dallas People), Preston Hollow Life magazine, The Park Cities News, White Rock Lake Weekly, numerous blogs and websites and more.