Honeymoons Fall 2020

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Fall 2020

Mini-Bridal Show:




Plan Your Honeymoon

Host a microreception!




ets k c i T le b a l i Ava W! NO





January 9-10, 2021






Features Cherry Blossoming Love ............. 111 Make Up Trial Run ........................ 146

Real Weddings Stephanie & Steven . . . . . . . . . . . Cara & Christopher. . . . . . . . . . . . Courtney & Johnathan . . . . . . . . Rebekah & Jason . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ashely & Jared . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brittany & Joseph. . . . . . . . . . . . . Audrey & Mason. . . . . . . . . . . . . . David & Sean. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Honeymoons PAGE




Franklin, TN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . San Antonio. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Antigua . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Margaritaville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Events Bridal Extravaganza. ........ 92

Trends Visit the Venues. ............. 98

In Every Issue Editors Letter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Laurette’s Edit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jimmy’s Edit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tiffany’s Edit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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e d i to r ' s l e t t e r

Weddings Are Happening Our hearts go out to all who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.


We hope to inspire you with the articles in this issue. From our Real Weddings, travel, entertaining and Visit the Venues, our venue tour. Dive into this magazine and find inspiration.

The Bridal Extravaganza Show has been supporting Houston brides and wedding vendors for 36 years. We are here for you.

Onward and upward!



Fall 2020

Wedding professionals report that weddings look a little different these days, but they are happening. This is good news. The advertisers in this issue are ready to help make your dreams a reality. I’d also like to predict 2021 and 2022 will be the year for first anniversary parties; fabulous first anniversary parties.




Mini-Bridal Show:



Plan Your Honeymoon

Host a microreception!




ets Tick ble a Avail W! NO

Brida l


Sh ow


January 9-10, 2021


EDITOR IN CHIEF Laurette M. Veres GRAPHIC DESIGN Jimmy Patel PRODUCTION MANAGER Jimmy Patel EDITORIAL Laurette M. Veres Jimmy Patel Tiffany Wade Taylor Goodridge Kathryn Paden Nora Brasher Tom Flynn

Copyright 2021 Bridal Extravaganza Show PO Box 667399 Houston TX 77266 281-340-7777 H Texas Magazine – Texas Weddings Magazine ©

Make plans to attend our next event January 9-10, 2021.







Experience the Next Step in Planning | 10

For tickets and more info visit www.visitthevenues.com

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LAURETTE’S EDIT Shoe Lover Formé is the only shoe shaper that safely stretches shoes up to a half a size. This can make every pair of shoes in your closet more comfortable and your feet healthier and happier. Formé shapers give new life to shoes you love but don’t wear because they never fit quite right. Formeconfomfort.com

Photo: Ivan Garcia Studio


Be Good



Aurora Tennis Bracelet

Bridal Party If you want more than the traditional robe and rhinestones, look to JJwedding collection’s new offerings. What a great gift to give your bridesmaids! This comfy and fashionable loungewear can be enjoyed after the wedding too. Jjwinks.com | 34

*All courtesy photos*

Carolina Herrera launched a new feminine perfume, Good Girl Eau de Parfum Suprême. Suprême reinvents the emblematic contrast of lights and shadows that made the first Good Girl scent (2016). The new flacon features an intriguing degrade from black to glitter (the shoe) and a gold heel. Chcarolinaherrera.com

Incredibly Comfortable


These sustainably made, handembroidered ballet flats are bringing ancient South Asian craftsmanship to modern luxury. Not only are Fuchsia Shoes often worn down the aisle, every sale supports local artisans in Pakistan. Co-founders Afshan and Rameez improved on the structure of traditional Pakistani flats with a more comfortable sole that molds to your feet. Each pair’s designs honor their traditional Pakistani roots, with exquisite handembroidered detailing inspired by centuries-old Mogul artwork.

Comfort over Fashion

Relax Try Almond Zum Rub if you haven’t already. Featuring deep moisturizing goat’s milk and shea butter salve, it’s perfect to rub on elbows, frizzy hairs, lips, heels, cuticles, tattoos, anywhere that’s dry, damaged, or where your body needs it moist. And wherever you rub it, you’ll always finish with a happy mending.

Designed with comfort as top priority, bridal designer Laurie Underwood of “Project Runway” Season 14 fame, has launched a chic sneaker for brides to slip into on their wedding day. The sneaker, affectionately called the Laury Bride Reception Trainer is the answer for women who want a pair of chic flats for their big day. The vegan-leather sneaker retails at $126.49 and is available at laurybride.com


Stay Organized This pink leather travel jewelry case is from Joie de Viv and is crafted from fine leather, and the perfect companion for your travels. Made from 100% real leather, the case can be carried in just about any purse or travel bag. Joiedeviv.com 35 |

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Every Bride

is Treated Like a Celebrity

photo by: nhan photography

Who Made The Cake! • 713.528.4719 • WhoMadeTheCake.com

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Logos & Snapchat Filters Create amazing memories and also allow the guests at your wedding to capture the memories with customized Snapchat Filters. These are great, guests can post and save pictures without having to put a caption.

Photo: Instagram @ypatel35

Photo: Instagram @Crealit y.Check


Cake Décor

Get personalized clothing items for yourself, friends and family. Not only will it be great for group pictures but also a great memoir for everyone.

Unsure of how to decorate your cake? Graphic designed images and/or cutouts can be a great alternative to the traditional flower petals or frosting designs commonly used.

Photo: Instagram @Crealit y.Check

Personalized Clothing

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Photo: Instagram @Crealit y.Check


Personalized items, such as monogrammed plates with the initials of the bride and groom and their wedding date, can be a great way to add a personal touch to wedding decor. Plus they could serve as wedding favors for guests to take home and remember the happy occasion.

Photo: Instagram @Crealit y.Check

Personalized Décor

Personalized Gifts Get personalized gifts for yourself, friends and family. This is a great way of thanking everyone for their support on your big day.

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Photography & Video

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www.khronosphoto.com info@khronosf.com 832-984-3893

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Crystal Showcase EVENTS & DÉCOR

Crystal ShowCase Events & Décor has been proudly serving the Houston area for over a decade. We are committed to professional, personalized and precise service that will set your special event high above the rest. We are here to provide one stop shopping for your event with our unique linen rentals, eccentric décor rentals, custom floral arrangements and elegant event design. LINEN RENTALS & EVENT PLANNING

EleganceOn Any Budget www.TheCrystalShowcase.com | 42

832-736-5576 For Appointments

Attend America's Largest Bridal Show!

January 9-10, 2021 George R Brown • Houston

TICKETS $15 Online • $25 at the Door BridalExtravaganza.com photo: Ivan Garwcia Studio • gown: Ventura’s Bridal Fashions • hair and makeup: Simple Beauty Artistry • floral: Holyoak Floral Designs

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The use of a welcome sign during a wedding can make a big difference. Very popular right now are the mirror signs, acrylic signs, and wooden signs and they add some elegance to any wedding entrance.

Donut Display I love the idea of adding a donut display to a wedding dessert table. Not only can you make the display look very pleasing, but it is a great way to allow guests to choose which donut they want! minidonutfairy.com

Photography by Tiffany Wade

Giverny Wedding Photo & Film

Welcome Signs

Rose Gold Details

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Photography by Tiffany Wade


Victoria Grace Photography

Photography by Jessica Castro Weddings

Rose gold has been very popular for a while and is utilized a lot in weddings. No matter how it is used, the pink hue it provides looks very elegant and precious.

Preparation Photos

Pictures with Sisters!

There is something very moving about a photo of a bride getting ready for her wedding. Just looking at this photo gives us that feeling of anticipation and excitement!

Nothing is stronger than a sisterhood bond. Seeing these bridesmaids hold up their sorority sign makes us feel the love and support they provide the bride.

Fairytale Backdrop This backdrop is made of books that are intricately placed with pink flowers appearing as if they are growing out of them. It is perfect for a spring or fairytale theme. This is certainly a favorite! www.fauxtasticfloralcreations.com Photography by Jessica Castro Weddings

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REAL WEDDINGS By Taylor Goodridge Photography by Daria Ratliff

& Steven


Dec 7, 2019

A Perfect Texas Night

Stephanie Lawrence, a Jet Fuel Commercial Operator for Shell and Steven Novotny, a Financial Advisor met at their previous place of work. On December 23, 2018, the year before Stephanie and Steven’s wedding, they planned to have a date night to exchange Christmas gifts. While Stephanie was getting ready for a night out at Christmas dinner, Steven came over to her house with his gift and stashed away some celebratory champagne. Before dinner, Stephanie and Steven exchanged gifts. Stephanie gave Steven a watch, and when it was time to open her gift, she noticed that there was a large box. As she opened it, another box appeared followed by a few more. Thinking that this was the final gift, Stephanie became disappointed when she saw an Amazon echo box. Steven told her to open the box, and when she did, a tiny black box appeared. A “It was a special moment just the two of surprised Stephanie opened the box and saw that it was us and we went out for a nice dinner with my parents and our siblings after,” said empty. She then looked up at Steven as he stood with Stephanie, “I’ll remember it always.” the ring. He then got down on one knee and proposed.

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The wedding ceremony took place in Houston, Texas at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, and the reception held at the McGovern Centennial Gardens. Since Stephanie and Steven are native Houstonians with large families, Houston was a requirement. Both Stephanie’s grandparents and parents were married at St. Theresa’s, so it was the perfect place to do marriage preparation and have our ceremony. “The McGovern garden was so beautiful when I visited with my Mom and it is one of the most unique venues we visited in Houston,” said Stephanie.


Stephanie gifted her bridesmaids with Stan Smith sneakers. They changed into them during the reception and danced the night away. Stephanie and Steven believed they took a huge gamble when they chose an outdoor venue for the reception. “We had plan A,B, and C for all weather conditions, and it ended up being the most perfect Texas winter night. No tent was required, and we got to dance under the stars. I still thank God every day for the good weather,” said Stephanie. Stephanie and Steven spent their honeymoon in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico.


Stephanie’s Advice:

“If you find yourself being the middleman between mom, groom, planner, family etc., take yourself out of the middle and tell them to contact each other for any questions or concerns. I found myself very distracted with what everyone needed and should have relaxed a lot more leading up to the big day. It’s your day and no one else’s. Also, try to eat something! I totally missed my cake and was too nervous to really enjoy the food.”

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Photography by Scott Kelley




by Nora Brasher

How they Met Christopher and Cara met in a running club while they were both living in Fort Worth. He immediately walked up and introduced himself to her, and they hit it off.

The Proposal While on vacation in Glacier National Park, the couple went on a ten-mile hike to a beautiful lake. They walked out onto a dock, and Christopher proposed with the breathtaking backdrop. Then he pulled out a bottle of champagne that he had hiked with the whole time. | 62

The Wedding The couple decided to celebrate the occasion in Cara’s hometown of The Woodlands, outside of Houston. They held the ceremony at The Woodlands United Methodist Church followed by the reception at the posh Woodlands Country Club. The day was filled with joy, and even two “party alpacas” that guests could take pictures with!

The Honeymoon The honeymoon was put on pause due to COVID-19, but Christopher and Cara look forward to extending the celebration of their marriage with a trip to Hawaii.

Bride’s Advice You will get lots of thoughts and opinions from otherseven if you don’t ask for them. Remember, this day is about you and your spouse. Do what makes you happy, and don’t do something just to please others. 63 |

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How He Proposed “At the time we were living in Baton Rouge and often drove to New Orleans for dates. We watched the sunset at one of our favorite parks where we walked around a little bit then Jonathan popped the question. He followed the proposal with dinner where he had both of our parents and close friends there. Our family lives in Houston, Dallas, and my sister flew in from South Carolina! It was such a surprise and so sweet for everyone to come in on a Monday to celebrate!” - Courtney



by Laurette Veres

Wedding Location Race + Religious in New Orleans, LA “We love New Orleans and who doesn’t love a good excuse to go to New Orleans? Accessibility + fun!” | 66



Cake Pure Cake NOLA


Fete Au Fete Food Truck

Photography by Leah Michelle Mills

Bride’s Advice “Being a wedding photographer, I essentially help brides plan major parts of their wedding. Be sure to ask your vendors, your mom, and your friends “what am I missing?” I was a week out and forgot to order ice and napkins. Those small things are needed, but you get so excited about the photos, clothes, flowers, etc. you can totally overlook the practical things needed to make the day work. I also overlooked the desperate need for someone to run the day. I loved getting to plan and coordinate, but having someone run the whole day and tell me where I needed to be and when was a dream. My last and most important tip is to take advantage of your photographer or videographer. You’re paying them to be there so you might as well take an hour or more to take as many pictures as YOU want. You won’t regret having more to choose from. Plan your ceremony around having a first look or enough light after to get the pictures you want.” 67 |

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Jordan Limousines Greater Houston, Galveston area and Southeast Texas’ premier provider of vintage Rolls Royce and Bentley limousines for your wedding or special event.

We treat you like royalty!

713.680.3181 | www.jordanlimos.com

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Real Weddings By: Taylor Goodridge Photography: Ryan R JOnes

Sept. 28, 2019

Rebekah & Jason

Your Dream Your Way Proposal Story: Jason proposed to me on my 22nd birthday in Austin, TX at the Devil’s Backbone. We were headed back home from his brother’s wedding, who got married the day before in Fredericksburg, TX.

Wedding Location: The Lasker Inn in Galveston, TX. “We wanted to get married in a place where we both grew up. Jason’s mom found the venue for us.” | 70


Jula in League City, TX. (provided by the venue)

Unique Details:

Rebekah and Jason met their sophomore year of high school in English class. Jason is now a General Manager at South Texas Marina, and Rebekah is a Health Licensing Specialist at an Insurance Agency. Rebekah bought her gown from Something Blue in Angleton, Texas. She found this shop by searching “Unique bridal boutiques within the Galveston/Houston area.” Rebekah and Jason had a micro wedding with about 50 people. This lovely pair decided not to take a honeymoon because the wanted to save the money to purchase their first home.

Rebekah’s Advice:

The one thing I can say is at the end of the day, just remember that the wedding is about you and your spouse. Often times we let the ideas and opinions of others alter the dreams that we have in our minds for our “dream wedding.” Have YOUR wedding the way that YOU want it, and don’t let anyone tell you any different. .

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Experience the Next Step in Planning For tickets and more info visit www.visitthevenues.com 73 |


The Proposal Jared proposed on the 4th of July in Turks and Caicos!



August 11, 2018

by Taylor Goodridge

Wedding Location After a long weekend of venue searching, Jared and Ashley found the perfect place to get married, The Bell Tower. “We saw ten venues in one weekend, and when we walked into The Bell Tower, we knew it was perfect for a fairytale wedding,” said Ashley. | 74

Gown Misora Bridal Boutique

Cake Wedding Cakes by Tammy Allen

Honeymoon Fiji and Sydney, Australia

Unique Details Their wedding was filled with Andy Hopper’s HEB Blooms Design Studio flowers, that correlated with the colors of Ashley and her bridesmaids’ dresses. Ashley and Jared’s wedding also contained a String Trio by Divisi Strings and a DJ, JJEssen. The highlight of their fairytale wedding was the party. Every guest left with their own customized barbeque sauce.

Photography by Chris Wineinger

Bride’s Advice “Hold hands with your partner as much as possible! Otherwise, it’s easy to get separated as you greet your guests, and you’ll want to make sure you’re making memories together!” 75 |

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Wedding Location The wedding took place at Union on the 8th in Georgetown, Brittany’s hometown. She was instantly drawn to the bright blue doors on the venue’s exterior and its cozy feel. The venue was also set up with a garage door connecting the inside to the outside, so guests could hear the music wherever they were! | 78

October 27, 2017

The Food The area was perfect for a food truck, which was on the couple’s wedding wish list. Since the wedding was right around Halloween, they had a candy bar which was a huge hit among guests!

The Honeymoon The couple went on an unforgettable cruise to Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan.

Photography by Victoria McFall

Bride’s Advice “To the brides, do not let anyone tell you how things need to be, and don’t let people make decisions for you. Remember this is you and your fiancé’s day and you need to do what will make you both happy. Play the music you want to play, pick the food that you want to eat, do all of it for you guys! This day is just a day to everyone else but to the couple this is a day that you look back on forever. The pictures from this day will be around your house for the rest of your lives, this is a new beginning for you both so make it perfect for you, not anyone else.”

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Photographer Ashton Byrne Photography

Videographer 2911 Films

Hair & Makeup Megan Williamson

Jewelry Punchy’s



July 22, 2017

by Kathryn Paden

Wedding Location Married in Bluff Dale, Texas, Audrey and Mason had a beautiful western inspired wedding where rustic met elegance. The N at Hardway Ranch was the perfect venue for the gathering of family and friends. | 82

The Dress Audrey wore a beautiful floral lace gown, from Allure Bridals, with a sweetheart neckline.

The Cake The couple celebrated into the night with family and friends, enjoying food and a stunning four-tier cake.

The Flowers Flowers from Granbury Flower Shop adorned the bride’s hair, lined the seats and decorated the guestbook table.

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Venue Choice The Ballroom at Bayou Place



February 22, 2020

By Laurette Veres

Proposal story “We were talking about all of the beautiful weddings we have done and about how many dreams we have made come true (as co-owners of Rexberry Luxury Weddings and Events) and Sean said, ‘David, why don’t we do for ourselves what we do for other couples?’”

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Kirk Surber Photography

Fashion “We chose a classic silhouette with a modern fit. Our favorite wedding photos are always those classic 1950s black and white photos and we wanted to pay tribute to that era.�

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The Cake “Our wedding cake was in the design of a classic black tuxedo and we carried this look throughout the space. Sweet Nation created our one-of-a-kind custom cake.”

Classic Inspiration “We wanted a beautiful, masculine, yet elegant feel for this wedding, so everything was created custom for us. Kirksey Gregg Productions took the reins and brought our vision to life. LBL Event Rentals created all of the custom linens and that unique design is now known as the Rexberry Wedding linen. Because we were both 20-somethings in the 80s, we hand-selected every song for the playlist; we wanted a mix of disco (because we met at a disco party) and all 80s dance music. The photo booth featured a classic silver sequin backdrop and used only black and white film, to give all the photos a timeless look.”

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The Grooms’ Advice “The day will fly by so fast, so think about what you will have after the day is over-your photos. Think about how things will photograph including décor, bridesmaids’ dresses, groomsmen selections, lighting etc... all of these layers, if done correctly, by someone you trust, will ensure your beautiful memories will last a lifetime.”

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Wedding photography with a personal touch & here to capture those moments forever! www.derrickcooksey.com photo@derrickcooksey.com 832-858-1174 91 |



extravaganza 9

9 10 &

january 2021

For over 35 years, the Bridal Extravaganza Show has been the first major event signifying the beginning of wedding season. America’s largest bridal planning event in the great state of Texas and beyond, it’s here that brides, bridesmaids, mothers-of-the bride, grooms, and wedding planners meet with over 400 vendors in 700 display showcases. Looking to plan the wedding of your dreams? Then making plans to attend this over-the-top bi-annual event is an absolute MUST.

Photography by Anthony Rathbun | 92


Early bird tickets are on sale now

For ticket information, log on to: www.BridalExtravaganza.com 93 |


“You’ll literally find everything you could possibly need for your dream wedding at this event,” says Laurette Veres, producer. “The Bridal Extravaganza is like your Pinterest board brought to life. The booths are like mini selfie-walls.” It’s a wonderland for today’s bride.

The wedding industry abounds with wonderful vendors offering unique options. Although on-line research is important, brides know meeting vendors face-to-face is the only way to ensure correct vendor selction. Since its inception in 1983, The Bridal Extravaganza Show has continued to evolve and keep up with the latest wedding and wedding fashion trends. The goal? To meet the needs of every type of wedding party.

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EVENTS The Bridal Extravaganza Show makes it possible for brides and grooms to plan their picture perfect and instagram-worthy wedding. And because everything is bigger and better in Texas, this extravaganza has over 400 vendors with more food, prizes, and fashion shows than any other bridal show in the country. Need a great-tasting cake to match your wedding needs? As an attendee, you have an opportunity to sample delicious wedding cakes from several vendors. Many brides get lucky and book their cake decorator that exact same day.

From fashion shows that allow brides to see numerous gown options to educational seminars that offer behind the scenes wedding options, The Bridal Extravaganza Show has something to offer the entire wedding party. All this and more creates two funfilled days of bridal bliss. The Bridal Extravaganza is taking place at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. This bridal show is the most established, elite, and resourceful event for bridal parties, not just in the state of Texas, but in the entire country. Brides and grooms will join forces with their wedding party and attend an amazing convention to plan for the moment they’ll never forget.

The next Extravaganza is January 9-10, 2021 95 |


scottkelleyphoto.com | 96


The Grand Hall At Deer Lake Lodge

Rustic elegance & country charm!

Call today to learn about our booking specials!

281-639-8077 Grandhalltexas.com 97 |


The Grand Hall

Visit the Venue Planners



Blue Poppy Events

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The Grand Hall

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Feeling Overwhelmed?

“We handle the details, you make the memories.� Event Planning & Coordination Full & Partial Planning Custom Packages | 104

281-382-3510 www.TheNestSteppEvents.com TheNextSteppevents@gmail.com

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Experience the Next Step in Planning | 108

For tickets and more info visit www.visitthevenues.com

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Ramen for the Win Have you ever walked into a ramen restaurant and wondered why you have to fork over $10-15 for a bowl of soup? I decided to cook my own and found some answers- it takes a couple days to make and the ingredients are not cheap. Nonetheless, I got hooked on making my own ramen and improving my flavors. There are a lot of nuances, tweaks and techniques involved and I find it a lot like poker, it takes a day to learn and a lifetime to master. I make a batch, then patronize the ramen restaurants to see how my home recipe compares. Although I may be a little over engaged and half whacko, it’s convenient to have some broth on hand. Once cooked individual servings can be frozen and thawed as needed for up to 6 months. Impressive, interactive dinner parties can revolve around ramen as guests build their own bowls and fumble with chopsticks. Considering the benefits, I find rewards are worth the effort. When looking East for flavor, I head west of Houston on I-10 to Ranch Market for ingredients. Besides having everything needed to complete a ramen experiment, a visit to Ranch Market is a cultural excursion. You can buy a duck (complete with head and feet), watch fish in the giant tanks get selected (then sentenced to death and executed) and buy almost anything, dried. Exit I-10 at Blalock to begin your adventure. Following is my take on an evening with ramen. 111 |

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Cherry Blossoming


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Chef Tom Flynn perfects an ancient dish as families are brought together for a micro-wedding reception. Photography: Nicholas Nguyen Styling: Karen Garcia

A gathering of less than ten was in order. With cherry blossoms as her inspiration, a pallet of pink was the likely choice for designer Karen Garcia. The cherry blossom centerpiece was contrasted with black and gold plates. She created a color coded sketch after researching Pinterest. | 114

Menu Edamame Glazed Pork Belly with Grilled Pineapple Ramen Broth Tare Sauce Toppings for Ramen


• 1 lb frozen edamame • 10 orange thai peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded • 3 cloves garlic, minced • 2 TBLS olive oil • Kosher salt Add edamame to 5 quarts of salted, boiling water. Over high heat, return to boil and cook for 5 minutes, drain. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in wok over high heat, add garlic and peppers and cook until garlic softens, about 60- 90 seconds, add cooked edamame and toss. Liberally season with salt and serve immediately. 115 |

Glazed Pork Belly with Grilled Pineapple

Pork Belly • 1 lb pork belly • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved • 5 inches Ginger root, peeled and cut into strips • 2-3 cups chicken stock • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar • ¼ cup granulated sugar

Grilled Pineapple • ½ fresh pineapple, cored and sliced into 4-6 wedges • ¼ cup dark brown sugar • 1 TBLS butter

Glaze • • • •

2 TBLS Brown sugar 2 TBLS honey 5 TBLS dark soy sauce pinch of salt and pepper

Fried Pork Belly • Prepped pork belly from above • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced • 2 inches ginger root, peeled and minced • 2 TBLS olive oil

Plating • Small wooden skewers • 2 TBLS chopped chives | 116

Pork Belly Prep Place, pork belly, ginger and garlic in medium saucepan. Cover with stock and add rice wine and sugar. Bring to boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours.

Pineapple Melt butter in cast iron skillet over medium heat. Place brown sugar in 1-gallon plastic bag, add pineapple and shake to coat. Cook all sides in butter until they begin to turn brown. Slice wedges into cubes and set aside.

Glaze Combine brown sugar, honey, soy, salt and pepper and mix well.

Put it Together Season prepped pork belly with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat, add jalapeno and minced ginger and sautĂŠ until they soften. Place pork belly in with ginger and pepper and cook until golden on both sides. Cut pork belly into 1-inch cubes, return to pan and cover with glaze. Raise heat to high and continue to sautĂŠ until glaze thickens and adheres to pork belly.

Plating Place a dollop of glaze in center of plate and add a couple of pineapple cubes. Skewer a few pork belly pieces and lean onto pineapple; garnish with chives.

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Ramen Broth • 6 lbs chicken wings • 4 medium carrots, peel on; quartered lengthwise • 20 scallions • 10 cups water • 15 cloves garlic, peeled and halved • 3 inches ginger peeled and sliced • 5 oz dried shitake mushrooms • 2 sheets dried kombu (seaweed) • 1 TBLS benito flakes, contained in tea ball or spice bag • ¼ cup soy sauce • 1 cup white wine Preheat oven to 450. Place wings in roasting pan and cook in oven until browned (45 minutes – 1 hour). Reduce oven temperature to 375, add carrots, scallions and garlic to wings, stir to coat with grease and put back in the oven for 30 more minutes. Transfer wings and veggies to a large stockpot. Deglaze the roasting pan with wine and add to pot along with all other ingredients. Place over high heat until water just begins to simmer. Turn heat to low and steep until chicken is falling off the bones, 3-5 hours. You may have to add water now and then to keep the chicken covered.

Strain broth into large bowl, cover and refrigerate over night. (hint: the left over chicken is pretty tasty in chicken salad and stir fries). When broth is chilled the fat will rise to the top and harden; scrape off the fat and discard.

Tare Sauce • ¼ cup dark soy sauce, • 2 TBLS mirin • 2 TBLS sake Mix ingredients, cover and chill overnight. This will be added to broth before serving. A little goes a long way so add a little and taste; repeat until its right. | 118

Toppings • Chopped veggies/herbs- purple cabbage, cilantro, scallions, jalapenos, basil, red radishes • Fresh sliced shitake mushrooms- 8 ounces cooked in 1 cup chicken stock and 2 TBLS soy sauce until mushrooms are saturated • Proteins- Chopped tofu, sliced chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper and pan fried in a tablespoon of olive oil until cooked through. • Eggs- medium boiled, runny yolk and whites firm enough to hold together, shelled • Udon noodles, cooked following instructions on package • Sauces- fresh lime slices, Sriracha, soy.

Serving Slowly warm up ramen broth and season to taste with Tare Sauce. Place some noodles in each bowl. Add desired toppings to noodles. Ladle hot broth into bowl, season with Sriacha, soy and lime if desired. Dig in.

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Weddings by Andrea Wedding Planning ~ Wedding Coordination ~ Decoration and Linen Rentals www.wedbyandrea.com @wedbyandrea hello@wedbyandrea.com 832-797-6353 | 120

Franklin, Sweet Franklin

Its quaint Main Street and Civil War history make Franklin one of America’s hidden gems. By Laurette M. Veres

Photo Courtsey: Visit Franklin 121 |

Do you love spending Saturdays on the couch watching Hallmark movies? Then visit

Franklin, Tennessee, a picture-perfect Americana town. So perfect several Hallmark movies have been filmed here. The local bookstore, Landmark Booksellers, inspired the novel “The Bridge” which also became a Hallmark movie. That’s the sort of town Franklin is. It’s also the site of the Battle of Franklin, so civil war references abound. Here, engaged couples create their own pieces of history and write their own stories.

Photo Courtsey: Visit Franklin

Sip: Arrington Vineyards Arrington Vineyards is the only area winery and an ideal wedding location. Sitting on 100 acres of a previous hog and cattle farm, the tasting lodge is open seven days a week; reservations not required. The signature wine experience includes wines, cheese and a commemorative wine glass. Kix Brooks (Brooks and Dunn) is a partial owner and all guests are invited to become a member of Kix’s Wine Club. Photo: Laurette Veres | 122

Photo Courtsey: Visit Franklin

Photo Courtsey: Visit Franklin

Visit: Leiper’s Fork

Photo: Laurette Veres

Just fifteen minutes from Franklin, the winding roads, rolling hills, and beautiful natural setting take your breath away. The Copper Fox, Leiper’s Creek Gallery and David Arms are some of the galleries drawing visitors to Leiper’s Fork. Williamson County’s newest distillery, Leiper’s Fork Distillery has a passion for the history and heritage of Tennessee whiskey. Group tours are available and include a whiskey tasting. Hear stories of ghosts, the Civil War and more as you experience Tennessee White Whiskey, Colonel Hunter’s Tennessee Select Bourbon and Rye White Whiskey. What a great idea for bachelorette and bachelor events.

Thursday is open mic night at Puckett’s Leiper’s Fork. Enjoy patio or indoor seating along with pulled pork sandwiches or southern fried catfish. This is the Tennessee music scene; singers and songwriters share their talents on stage starting at 6:00pm. Your guests can experience history at the area’s civil war museums and battlefields. A must on any war of secession tour, Carnton Plantation, is seven minutes from town. The plantation served as a Confederate field hospital after the battle of Franklin. Hear the unbelievable story of a battle basically occurring in the back yard and the pivot from private home to becoming a makeshift hospital. Even today some of the hardwoods are blood stained. So many soldiers died here, it is also home to one of the largest Confederate cemeteries. The building is maintained by The Battle of Franklin Trust whose mission is to preserve, understand, and interpret the story of a people forever impacted by the American Civil War. 123 |

Photo Courtsey: Visit Franklin

Stay: The Harpeth The Harpeth broke ground in 2017 and opened in 2019; the development includes a hotel, apartments and retail and takes up an entire city block. Southern hospitality is the order of the day at what is destined to become “Franklin’s living room.” Arriving at The Harpeth is like entering a Southern home. It’s welcoming, friendly and the actual check-in space looks like a living room with couches and desks instead of counters. The concierge doesn’t have a desk, he glides over the chevron flooring and comes to you. Head straight through the lobby to a large courtyard with French doors opening to private meeting spaces on either side, fountains and plush seating. The grand staircase begs for a bridal portrait to be taken and the gas lamps provide the perfect candle-lit glow. The hotel is nestled on the banks of the Harpeth river, right in the heart of historic downtown Franklin. Rent an electric bike from Pedego in the lobby and head out on your Civil War history tour. The hotel has several dining options. A Euro-coffee bar by day, McGavock’s Coffee Bar & Provisions can be rented for rehearsal dinners. It is named for GG McGavock who lived in Carnton Plantation when it became a hospital in 1864 after the Battle of Franklin. The wood on the walls is reclaimed from a nearby tobacco barn. Honest Roasters coffee bar is a great place for a quick pick me up and the true gem is The Harpeth’s 1799 Kitchen & Cocktails. Named for the year Franklin was established, the décor is created to feel like the inside of a whiskey barrel. The menu changes seasonally and focuses on farmer’s market ingredients. The full-service bar has a heavy focus on handpicked bourbon, rye and American whiskeys. They work closely with Heath Clark of H. Clark Distilleries and sampling his Rye and Malt Whiskeys is a must. | 124

Photo Courtsey: Visit Franklin

A destination wedding at The Harpeth is full of Southern charm and hospitality. Choose from more than 5,000 square feet of flexible event space; the property features the Riverside Ballroom and Maury Boardroom, as well as a courtyard with a grand staircase and picturesque fountains. The town of Franklin offers a glimpse into true Americana. Historic Main Street offers unique, non-chain shopping, bars, restaurants, tasting rooms and more. You can easily explore all of downtown on foot, only returning to the Harpeth to drop off your bags.

Photo Courtsey: Visit Franklin

Essentials: Carnton: www.boft.org www.harpethhotel.com/ https://visitfranklin.com/see-and-do/leipers-fork Instagram: @theharpethhotel
 Twitter: HarpethHotel Facebook: HarpethHotel
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AA Luxury and Discount Travel | 126




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Racheal Payne


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Al Gawlik Photography

Straughan Photography

Did you know San Antonio was named one of the “Best Places to Get Married”? When we think destination weddings we normally think of the Caribbean or Europe. Who would’ve known our destination dreams would be right at home in Texas? Take a look at some of the finest venues and wedding locations located in San Antonio, TX.

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The St. Anthony Hotel The St. Anthony Hotel is known for its historic elegance. It’s known to have hosted presidents and royals such as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Princess Grace of Monaco. From the ambiance to decorum, the hotel is a perfect setting for formal affairs such as weddings. They provide several spaces to cater to any function. Host a brunch or luncheon at Gallery on the Park, overlooking the historic Travis Park, known to be a part of the original Alamo Mission. The Draper Room is perfect for showers or intimate affairs. For events of a grander scale, Peacock Alley serves as a great entryway into the Anacacho and Peraux Ballrooms. Apart from its event spaces, the Stw. Anthony can accommodate your out-of-town guests too. No need to worry about overnight accommodations, the St. Anthony has you covered.

@ www.marriott.com

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@ www.sabot.org/rent-the-garden/

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Rent the Garden at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. The Education and Event Center opening in 2020 allows you to feature nature’s beauty as the backdrop of your event. The indoor event space, a 3,500 square foot venue, is surrounded on three sides by 16-foot floor-to-ceiling windows. The windows overlook the garden’s grand lawn, wisteria arbor, oak trees, and the Santikos Fern Fountain, showcasing a beautiful view for guests to enjoy! From receptions of up to 350 guests to banquet seating for up to 200 guests, this space can accommodate events of all sizes. For larger events, the grand lawn can seat a sit-down dinner of 720 guests. This would be the perfect garden wedding venue.

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San Antonio Botanical Garden Education Event Center

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McNay Art Museum For a more sophisticated look, the McNay Art Museum offers an elegant scape for ceremonies, receptions, and portrait sessions. The museum provides versatile indoor and outdoor spaces that can accommodate intimate affairs of 20 guests to larger gatherings of 300 guests. The Main Collection Galleries serve as the perfect welcome area for your guests. The romantic courtyard, The Blackburn Patio, is perfect for hosting a cocktail hour. For the grand reception experience, check out the Leeper Auditorium for breathtaking hardwood floors and a vaulted ceiling. Ultimately, The McNay property has a breathtaking structure which is an exceptional location for wedding photos.

@ www.mcnayart.org/rentals/category/weddings-at-the-mcnay

Griffin Photography

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Marriage Island You can’t mention San Antonio without mentioning the River Walk. How cool would it be to get married gliding along this world-renowned waterway? Marriage Island is an island located in the heart of the downtown part of the River Walk. The first catholic mass was conducted at this very spot and has hosted hundreds of ceremonies each year. Adorned with lush landscaping and a 100-year old cypress tree, this small heart-shaped peninsula is the perfect outdoor ceremony location. The island is located right in front of Hotel Contessa which offers ballroom and venue space to complete your destination wedding on the River Walk.

@ www.sanantonio.gov/ParksAndRec @ www.thehotelcontessa.com/san_antonio_wedding

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Sungold Photography

San Antonio caterers to every bride... even our rustic and boho brides! The Western Sky is the perfect location for your rustic or boho chic wedding. The venue features a large ballroom space with high ceilings, stained floors, and vintage chandeliers. The property offers two outdoor ceremony locations. The White Chapel features the Tejas River as a backdrop. The Windmill Chapel gives a more rustic theme with a tall arch and high beams. Next door, Tejas Rodeo is a unique venue more suited for wedding rehearsal parties.

@ www.westernskyevents.com

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swingle + co.

Al Gawlik Photography

Straughan Photography

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Western Sky at Tejas Rodeo

Straughan Photography


Maverick Texas Brasserie Looking for a rehearsal dinner location? The Maverick is the answer to your search for the ultimate private dining experience. The restaurant has a classy flair with unforgettable menu selections. Apart from its open kitchen, each room has a different theme and style. This space includes a banquet seating area, a chef’s table, and a patio area. Beverages include a curated wine list with wines from France and California. The Maverick’s hallmark is a handmade copper bar that features handcrafted classic cocktails and a large selection of Texas beer on tap. The menu includes rotisserie meats, fire-kissed steaks, shared plates and housemade french-inspired desserts and pastries. The Maverick can cater to any wedding event from your welcome brunch to your reception!

@ mavericktexas.com

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Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa The Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa is the premier Texas Hill Country resort. This AAA Four Diamond resort and spa rests upon 300-acres of a family-owned ranch. The resort includes a spa, waterpark, and golf course, perfect to keep your guests busy in between wedding events. From the Rogers-Wisman Pavilion to their three elegant grand ballrooms, the resort can accomodate any indoor and outdoor event. Their exclusive “Heart of Hill Country” wedding package conveniently incorporates all the necessities needed for your wedding experience. From the ceremony to the reception, and all the small details in between, this rustic resort has your wedding plans covered! The package provides a selection of “wedding enhancement” add-ons for couples. Some of these enhancements include signature cocktails and meal selections for your ceremony and reception, up-lighting, gold or silver charger plates, custom menus, and more! The couple is pampered with complimentary massages, breakfast in bed, and a round of golf. Talk about all-inclusive!

@ www.hyattregency.com

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Olympia Hills With its intricate landscape, the Olympia Hills is a wedding location perfect for outdoor ceremonies. The beautiful golf course sits on 160+ acres of hill country land. Your outdoor ceremony is surrounded by large oak trees, lush grass, and seasonal flowers. The ceremony package includes coordination of rehearsal and ceremony, white padded ceremony chairs, a rustic wedding arch, and an olympian limo cart and golf carts for the wedding procession. Their ceremony site and reception hall can accommodate up to 200 guests. They offer affordable reception packages that include venue rental, catering, bar services, linens, and decor. Their overall goal is to minimize your stress!

@ www.olympiahillsgolf.com

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Don’t forget the many amazing attractions when visiting San Antonio! These venues and locations are only minutes from the River Walk, Alamo, and other exciting landmarks. SOURCES: “BEST PLACES TO GET MARRIED” WALLET HUB VISIT SAN ANTONIO VISITSANANTONIO.COM

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Always Us Studios •

Authentic and dynamic emotion photographs that will preserve your wedding memories for a lifetime. 832-646-5929 info@alwaysus-studios.com www.alwaysus-studios.com | 136

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Antigua Dreamin’

Over at the beach are premium views of the cerulean sea and world-class sun bathing. No need to rush in the morning to find a spot; there are plenty of lounge chairs.

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Spacious suites with ocean views range from 750 square feet up to 1600 with room for the whole family

Antigua is 108 square miles of paradise nestled in the West Indies of the Caribbean. It is a small but mighty island boasting 54 miles of coastline and 365 beaches, one for every day of the year!


Marisa Byers


he luxurious and tranquil Carlisle Bay Resort is on the island’s southern shore. The all-inclusive beach and spa resort has bright, white sandy beaches and calm turquoise waters. Spacious suites with ocean views range from 750 square feet up to 1600 with room for the whole family. Each suite is decorated in soothing tones and has a double soaker tub, rainfall shower, a laydown chaise lounge on the patio and breathtaking ocean views. The well run Kid’s Club is situated on the far end of the resort so adults can enjoy the tranquil setting.

Over at the beach are premium views of the cerulean sea and world-class sun bathing. No need to rush in the morning to find a spot; there are plenty of lounge chairs. They even have flotation beds if you want to relax on the water. Outdoor activities include kayaking, paddle boarding, yoga (sunrise and sunset), snorkeling, windsurfing, sailing, tennis, and guided hikes through the rainforest. Inside is a library, movies and state-of-the-art gym. The world-renowned Cara Organic Beauty Spa pampers with hot stone massages, facials,

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deep tissue massages, Reiki, reflexology, and much more. Their ultimate philosophy and focus is health, well-being, and “feeling fantastic,” which they accomplish ten fold. They also offer manicure and pedicure services to help you feel refreshed for the evening ahead. You feel welcomed, safe, and at home in the resort. The staff sets the bar high when it comes to customer service and retention and their hard work pays off. Many of the guests return to Carlisle Bay so often they are dubbed “regulars.” When asked what brings them back year after year they emphatically reply, THE STAFF. Not only does the staff cater to your every need, but the little details like the bowl of plumeria petals placed outside your suite to wash the sand off your feet and

how they know every guest’s name are details not to be overlooked. The cuisine is beyond delicious. With four distinct and unique restaurants, there is something to suit everyone’s palette. The restaurants also draw guests from neighboring resorts because of their stellar reputations. They focus on fresh, local produce and ingredients to provide maximum flavor.

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You might even run into one of Antigua’s famous residents, like Oprah, Giorgio Armani, Eric Clapton, or Richard Branson!

There are casual bistros and fine dining options, something for everyone. The concierge knows the local favorites and can arrange transportation if you want to dine outside of the resort.

There are also many activities off the resort. Guests can enjoy zip lining through the jungle, hiking up Mount Obama, visiting the many beaches, shopping in the markets or watching a game of cricket, Antigua’s major sport. Another popular excursion is sailing. Antigua hosts two reputable sailing competitions, where hundreds of yachts from around the world compete for top honors. You might even run into one of Antigua’s famous residents, like Oprah, Giorgio Armani, Eric Clapton, or Richard Branson! Four days is NOT enough time to truly revel in the island’s warmth and hospitality. I look forward to returning to Antigua and establishing myself among the regulars. Hey, I have 361 more beaches to explore! Plan your honeymoon at Carlisle Bay Resort. www.carlisle-bay.com

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713-416-8956 Fauxtasticfloralcreations.com Fauxtasticfloralcreations@gmail.com | 142


One Particular Harbor Parrottheads have a new perch!

Photos and story by Laurette Veres


ou might recall the big resor t on L ake C onroe . O ver the years it has had several names: Del L ago, L a Torretta, L a Torretta del L ago and L a Torretta L ake Resor t . Per haps your high school prom was held here . My college sororit y formal was , and my husband’s office holiday par t y. No matter what you called it , the resor t on that one par ticular har bor on L ake C onroeis back , newly renovated and celebrit y themed. Jimmy Buffet ’s brand of fun has taken over, introducing the Margaritaville L ake Resor t . From the minute you enter the proper t y, you feel the relaxation of the islands . A line of sur f boards mar k s the entrance, a larger than life f lip f lop fills the lobby and 143 palm trees have been added to the landscape . E xpansive lobby windows open up to the lake . You’ll find the accommodations ex tremely well appointed. C oral , blue and white create the color pallet with pops of yellow, orange and green for a beachy effec t . Ever y sur face is bright , shiny and clean. Faucet handles are shaped like whale’s tales . Most rooms have balconies with great water views of the one 143 |


par ticular har bor. The ar t wor k is Caribbean themed and the bedding, oh the bedding. So comfor table! Each room is a suite with a door bet ween the living area and the sleeping area. Per fec t when some of your sailors hit the hay ear lier than others . There is also a village of lake cottages , color ful buildings along the water. They could have been picked up from Key West and dropped off here . Designed for families , they ’ve got a full-size refrigerator, sink

and microwave, living area and t wo sleeping areas . The crown jewel of the proper t y is the expansive lakeside waterpar k which is included with your stay. The waterpar k is a dream. Whether you are looking for changes in latitude or just a respite from cit y life, the waterpar k is a great getaway. There are several pools , splash pad , laz y river, and the It ’s 5 o’clock somewhere swim up bar. Most splash pads

are reser ved for kids , but this exciting pad has a giant bucket that D UMPS water ever y couple of minutes . Young and old alike wait to be drenched here . Write your own version of Margaritaville . Relax in the room with the blender as you enjoy the views , hang by the pools or join in the ac tivities . There are morning stretch classes , water aerobics , scavenger hunts water balloon tosses (second place, baby!), hula hoop competitions , and family karaoke at Parakeets K ids C lub. Parrot Island Mini golf is included and it ’s a great 18hole course complete with water features , f lamingos , and parrots . You should also make time for the spa with its large hammam t ype steam room and special putting green area. Boat rentals and 18-hole golf course are on the proper t y. The ballroom look s over the lake and is truly the per fec t location for a waterside wedding. L andshar k Bar &

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Grill sits right on the beach. Sand has been impor ted to enhance the island vibe . Views are spec tacular ; almost ever y seating area look s over the water. One of my favorite places is the deck . Watching the sunset here takes you to the Caribbean, truly. The fish and chips are beer battered and wor th the calories . Looking for the cheeseburger in paradise? The ex tensive burger menu includes the B BQ Burger, Mushroom swiss

burger, Hawaiian luau burger and the K ing of somewhere hot burger is topped with spic y pepper jam Tabanero hot sauce, cheese and jalapenos . It seems a little odd , but Houstonians now sail nor th to the tropics and the tranquilit y of that one par ticular har borat Margaritaville L ake resor t . https://www. margaritavilleresor ts . com/margaritaville-lakeresor t-lake-conroe 145 |


Make-up Trial Run: A Must Do

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by Laurette Veres Food by Tom Flynn Photography by Tiffany Wade


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hether you’ve had your makeup applied professionally or not , it ’s imperative to have a trial run with the make-up ar tist who will be at your wedding. The purpose of the trial according to makeup ar tist Marisa Byers is “to make sure you and your make-up ar tist are on the same page, that you share the same aesthetic.” When bride-to-be Dee asked me if she could meet her makeup ar tist at my house, I thought it was the per fect time to host a casual lunch to toast the bride.

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Make-Up Artist Resource Guide: E xquisite Reflections http://exquisitereflections .info

Simple Beauty Artistry http://www.simplebeaut yar tistr y.com

Donyale the Makeup Artist http://www.donyalemua.com

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Attend America's Largest Bridal Show!

January 9-10, 2021 George R Brown • Houston

TICKETS $15 Online • $25 at the Door BridalExtravaganza.com | 150

photo: Ivan Garwcia Studio • gown: Ventura’s Bridal Fashions • hair and makeup: Simple Beauty Artistry • floral: Holyoak Floral Designs

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