Meet the Designer Affair Team
Dina has recently joined the very talented HGTV family. Her first show, “Dina’s Party” airs this fall. Dina could not be more excited to share her love of design and event planning with people everywhere. From setting that perfect dinner table for family and friends, to creating an entire dream wedding, there will be something for everyone!
Luke McKibben may be known as Dina’s funny sidekick assistant but behind that charming exterior is a talent thatt’ known and respected in the event planning world. Studying abroad and working for years as head maître d’ at The Brownstone, one of New Jersey’s premiere catering facilities, gave him the skills to flourish at sea as one of Carnival Cruise Lines’ entertainment directors. His quick wit and ability to maintain calm in the midst of potentially chaotic situations, make him the perfect event coordinator here at Designer Affair.
Her love of cooking was sparked at the age of ten when her Mom was on bed rest with child number 8 of 11. Running back and forth from bedroom to kitchen getting step by step instructions to make her very first pot of Pasta Fazool (Fagioli) Cookie realized that she loved the challenge of cooking. From that point on, she paid close attention to all that went on in that very busy kitchen. She learned how to stretch food (and money!) to produce great tasting everyday meals for a big family. She watched her Mom, Grandmas, Aunts and Great Aunts make their “specialties” from fresh pasta to desserts for traditional Sunday and Holiday dinners. After running her own cafe and catering major corporate events for years, Cookie now brings her talents to Designer Affair’s team as the head catering director. Believing that food is at the heart of all celebrations, her food selection, styling and presentation, are always the pièce de résistance to our amazing events. If you see a resemblance to Dina, you are correct, Cookie and Dina are sisters!
Designer Ken Morrison is a 1980 graduate of Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa. Along with a BA in Art, he received the “Sister Angelica Cummings Senior Art Award” and “The Creative Arts Division Award.” Ken’s creative talent was nurtured at an early age and continued to develop in many areas including art, dance, set design, floral design, display styling and merchandising. Most recently he added costume jewelry design to his repertoire. Ken has created his perfect niche – a place where his experience and love for so many design fields can constantly combine in new and exciting way. Ken will tell you that working with Dina, and sharing similar spiritual beliefs, along with a dedication to charity work, just makes him “Sparkle” inside and out.
Kenny was born and raised in Queens, New York, and is a self taught design and home improvement expert. He has years of experience under his tool belt, and the muscles from his heavy lifting are apparent on his artfully designed tattooed arms. Kenny is excited about helping people party with style as part of the Designer Affair team and HGTV’s “Dina’s Party.”
Keeping spirits high during stressful times is our Team Mascot, “Gracie” the two legged wonder dog.
The ever-versatile Danielle has many years of experience in the event planning industry, covering every aspect of this fascinating business. She does it all – from weddings, special event design, creative party concepts for the broadcast and publishing industries, to hands-on trade show and product launch campaigns in the corporate marketing sector. Her remarkable taste, sophistication and flair will put your mind at ease as she assists you with your special day. Working Directly under Dina’s direction, Danielle (affectionately referred to as “mini D”) shares Dina’s passion for creating that perfect “Affair to remember”.
Nikki Galella graduated from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature. Determined to implement herself in the exciting and ever-changing world of fashion and design, she continued her education in New York City at the Fashion Institution of Technology located in the heart of the garment district. Before Joining Designer Affair Nikki was special events and lifestyle marketing manager at The Hip Event. In her role she oversaw the design, production and coordination of all client events and special consumer promotional activities. As a Design Assistant & event coordinator at Designer Affair, Nikki implements her mix of vintage and modern inspired style and knowledge of event production to contribute to each original party design.
Corinne Mangino has always known her true passion was for fashion and design. Studying styling at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, she worked for several years in retail boutiques where she learned the art of visual merchandising. She went on to become an assistant to stylists working on fashion shows for People Magazine, Seventeen Magazine, and Lord and Taylor department stores. Her experience as assistant style editor at New Jersey Bride Magazine and Park Place Magazine, where she also works as a fashion and prop stylist, brings both her love of fashion and decor to and Designer Affair and “Dina’s Party.”