Texas Weddings Winter 2022

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Plan your honeymoon escape now!

Winter 2022

Welcome to the Year of Weddings



Lush Garden Glam Barn Wedding Wonder Tuscan Dream







Billboard Bride. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lesson In Lighting. . . . . . . . . . . . Lush Garden Glam . . . . . . . . . . . Flight of Fancy . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Features . 50 130 154 164

In Every Issue Editors Letter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Editor’s Edit Laurette . . . . . . . . . Editor’s Edit Chelsea . . . . . . . . . . Editor’s Edit Cass . . . . . . . . . . . . . Editor’s Edit Kenneth . . . . . . . . .

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Real Weddings Courtney & Jonathan. . . . . . . . . . 36 Leyla & Ricardo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46



Events Visit the Venues: The Annex . . . 28


28 page




Honeymoon Travel The Westin: Stonebriar . . . . . . . . 98 Austin Marriott Downtown. . . . 124 page





editor's letter


Choosing your wedding professionals Can be very stressful! PHOTO BY IVAN GARCIA STUDIO




Plan your honeymoon escape now!


or over 38 years, Bridal Extravaganza has worked with engaged couples and wedding professionals in the Houston area to make wedding dreams come true.

Winter 2022

Welcome to the Year of Weddings



Lush Garden Glam Barn Wedding Wonder Tuscan Dream

We are excited to announce the next chapter in our evolution: a partnership with a revolutionary mobile solution to make your wedding planning easier: BrideScan. Using BrideScan, your mobile phone becomes your personal QR code reader. At the Bridal Extravaganza Show, and other selected live events in the Houston area, you can scan the professionals you have interest in. You simply use your phone as a QR code reader to fill your virtual goodie bag. Each professional will have their own personalized QR code in their booth for you to scan and immediately exchange your info with theirs. At the end of the show you will have a list of your favorite vendors - Your "FAVS" - at your fingertips. As you attend events in and around Houston, such as Visit the Venues and open houses, look for the BrideScan QR code and start scanning. Refer to BrideScan.com again and again throughout your wedding planning process.


Brid al Sh ow THE NEXT


ON THE COVER Maya Jefferson EDITOR IN CHIEF Laurette M. Veres MANAGING EDITOR Chelsea Andoe GRAPHIC DESIGN Elizabeth Craft Tiffany Wade Jimmy Patel Goran Atanasovski Cassandra Mejia Chelsea Andoe

BrideScan is FREE and does not require that you download an App. Your account and FAVS are stored in the cloud.

PRODUCTION Chelsea Andoe

We can’t wait for you to try the latest wedding planning tool. You will love BrideScan as much as you love Bridal Extravaganza and Texas Weddings Magazine.

EDITORIAL Cassandra Mejia Kenneth Castano Chelsea Andoe Kathryn Paden

Laurette Veres Editor-In-Chief



© Copyright 2022-2023 Bridal Extravaganza Show PO Box 667399 Houston TX 77266 281-340-7777 H Texas Magazine – Texas Weddings Magazine


n o o m y e n o H

y a w a e v i G

NO COST TO ENTER July 1, 2022 drawing date Win a free pair of �ckets to the next Bridal Extravaganza Show - July 23 & 24, 2022 Simply use your camera on your phone "Aim & Push" - to register to WIN! For More Info: info@houstonbe.com


AIM & PUSH -5-




Pick Your Style

The Woodlands at Hughes Landing

BRIDES SELECT FROM THE WOODLANDS’ THREE PREMIERE WEDDING LOCATIONS. Sales Contact: weddings@thewoodlandshotels.com | P: 281.364.6209


GALLERIA 713-623-4696 | BAYBROOK 281-486-4696 | SAN ANTONIO 210-468-1818 - 10 -


Every Bride

is Treated Like a Celebrity

photo by: nhan photography

Who Made The Cake! • 713.528.4719 • WhoMadeTheCake.com

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LAURETTE’S EDIT Portland Leather Goods You know that feeling, when you’re browsing through a vintage shop and find that PERFECT leather bag? The kind they just don’t seem to make anymore? That’s what the folks at Portland Leather like to call the “veg tan” effect. It’s a bit like having fashion magic at your fingertips, because the bag looks better with each wear. This size is ideal for honeymoon travel and a perfect bag to add to a registry.

Photo: Ivan Garcia Studio





Jardesca California Spritz Looking for the perfect light drink to serve at your wedding or bridal shower? Let me introduce you to Jardesca – a lighter, brighter spritz. It’s livelier than a glass of wine, but not as strong as a cocktail. It’s lower in sugar and calories too. This was created in Sonoma California as an alternative to the European aperitif. The perfect drink for brunches, patios and poolside. jardesca.com

Shopping Experience Life is about creating experiences. Consider planning a fun day for your bridesmaids. We spent about an hour at Chico’s selecting new outfits before heading out to the Seismic Experience; an interactive photo immersion. We had a blast and you will too. chicos.com - 12 -


Everywhere you Roam


My new obsession and the absolute must have for your honeymoon is ROAM. The first premium luggage that lets you select all of the colors to create your own, one-of-a-kind luggage. On their website, you can preview luggage that reflects your style and, if you like it… buy it! You can choose the colors for everything from the panels...to the handle...to the wheels...to the stitching. There are over a million possible color combinations! Every time you pack for a new destination, you’ll be reminded of your romantic beginnings. roamluggage.com


Vous Vitamin

These handheld carbonated machines are the first on the market allowing consumers to easily and quickly carbonate ANY BEVERAGE from wine and spirits to water and juices. Adding a little sparkle with Drinkmate™ is the perfect way to spritz up a cool beverage while meeting with your bridesmaids. There are a lot of fun recipes on line and Drinkmate is certainly the perfect addition to any registry.

During the engagement process many brides focus on boosting and maintaining their personal health. Vous Vitamin is a personalized vitamin subscription service targeting the nutrients each person needs individually. Simply go to VousVitamin. com to take a short survey (mimicking questions your doctor would ask) analyzing your diet, lifestyle and health needs, and the doctors match you to a personalized multivitamin. The vitamins are all-natural, free of additives and fillers, gluten-free, meat and dairy free, and non-GMO and GMP-certified.



Camera Ready Getting your skin ready for the big day should be a priority. Meet the brand Lord Jones – a line of CBD infused products that can really bring your skincare regiment to the next level. The team at Lord Jones elevates cannabis to the highest form. lordjones.com - 13 -


Victoria Grace Photogrpahy

Of course, it’s nice to let your dress shine for the ceremony but the reception is for letting loose and having fun! Matching personalized denim jackets are a great way to add style and flare. *Bonus* The bridal party will get to go home with a unique keepsake that they will use!

Food Truck Catering A food truck at your wedding is sure to get your guests talking far past the big day. It is also the perfect Insta-worthy photo op!

Courtesy Photo

Daria Ratliff Photography

Personalized Jean Jackets


Independent Designer If you are looking to stand out from the pack look no further than right here in Texas. Austin based designer, Brandy Hughes of Brandy Design Studio, offers a beautiful variety of unique designs. I am loving her unexpected details on classic styles. Peek-a-boo lace back? Yes please!

Lauren Parr Photography


Grand Windows

I love historic venues, there is something about a building with history that makes it oh so romantic! It is easy to go with the classics when working with historic architecture but why not switch it up a bit. I love how the bright & bold pops of color offer a breath of fresh air and a modern whimsical touch to the Victorian style surroundings at the Astin Mansion.

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Swish + Click Photography

Vintage with a Twist

I am obsessed with floor to ceiling windows! They make statement with little decorating needing to be done around them. Grand windows allow you to bring the outside in without having to worry about weather fluctuations. Natural lighting pouring in creates an incredibly intimate setting.

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Photo: Eugene Drake

Destination Weddings When you have a whole world to choose from, why not have a destination wedding? A destination wedding can be the opportunity to spend more time with your loved ones and it can be a more intimate ceremony. Photo: Jordan Nicole Photography

Customized Neons What a better way of adding a personalized touch to such a especial event. Brighten up your reception by making a statement and keeping it. You can either keep it minimal or go all out and express yourself.

Personalized Décor Personalized decor, because at heart this special event is about you and your partner. This is a special way of showing your guests little pieces of you and your spouse’s personalities. Photo: Kelsey Nicole Photography

Photo: Dark Roux

Photo: Rae Tae Photography


Send-Offs Sparklers for your guests to light up at send-off makes the perfect scenario for a beautiful picture with all of your friends and family. - 18 -

Sanitizing Stations Help your family and friends stay safe with a sanitizing station. Weddings are definitely not the same as they used be before COVID, but that does not mean you can’t have a beautiful celebration. Take precautions necesssary with this idea, and your guests can take them as favors.

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Dark Roux Photography


Victoria Grace Photogrpahy

Dreamy Lighting When planning an outdoor reception, consider the use of ambient lighting or candles for a warm dreamy visual aesthetic.

Colorful Socks

Cake Keepsake The first cutting of the cake will always be a special moment, why not make the serving tools special as well? Get them personalized and engraved to make them a special keepsake for years to come.

Laura Memory Photography

Alexander Cross Photography

If you want to add a fun splash of color to your groomsmen, crazy socks are a perfect route to go. Available in a variety of colors and patterns, you can create a cohesive styled look for everyone, or let everyone pick whatever pattern and color they want.

Dried Floral Bouquet If you’d like to stray away from the traditional bouquet arrangements, dried flowers can be a great choice as well! While more delicate than usual flowers, dried flowers can still deliver rich colors and textures that are different from traditional bouquets. If your wedding has some neutral colors, dried flowers may be the perfect pick!

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A Night in


by Laurette Veres - 28 -

Photos by Grace Rose Photography

An organic and natural palette with rich earth tones, mixed metals, candles and soft loose floral accents created a vibrant and fresh look at The Annex Wedding & Events venue. The chapel is spectacular and needs little adornment. The groom’s suite is one of the most unique we’ve seen: an actual train caboose! CONTRIBUTORS | Location: The Annex Weddings & Event Venue | Fashion: Kary King Boutique Atelier | Photography: Grace Rose Photography | Cake: For Heaven’s Cakes | Floral and Décor: Epic Events by Marilyn | Planning & Coordination: Moonstruck Events | Makeup: Katie Haby Makeup Artist | Makeup: CC La Rue

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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 ever yone to come in on a Monday to celebrate!” - Cour tney



by Laurette Veres

Wedding Location Race + Religious in New Orleans , L A “ We love New Orleans and who doesn’t love a good excuse to go to New Orleans. Accessibilit y + fun!” - 36 -




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 par ts of their wedding. Be sure to ask your vendors , mom, and 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 impor tant 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.” - 37 -



Webster: 21501 Gulf Freeway Webster, TX 77598

Katy: 500 Pin Oak Rd Katy, TX 77494

2-Piece Sectional $748 (P-585-2PC) Accent Chair $268 • Cocktail Ottoman $178

2 Piece Sectional $748 ^Available in Store Only | While Supplies Last



“Loving it ! Amazing couch with an awesome price!” - JOSEPH V.

“It fits perfectly!! It looks amazing in my living room!” - XANIA J.


“Great selection. Super comfortable. The service was overall amazing. Highly recommend.” - ANAISE S. - 38 -





Come See Why so Many Couples Say "I do" to Cotton Gin 116






(281) 375-5535 WWW.COTTONGIN116.COM

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We’re offering 20% off all wedding packages through the end of the month! Check out our Photo + Video packages. We would love to bring your wedding story to life! Contact RedRockVisuals@gmail.com for more information. www.redrockvisuals.com

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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

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Proposal Story “I love her, I’m going to marry her.” These were the first words that Ricky said when he saw Leyla for the first time. After meeting through a mutual friend and jokingly celebrating their “one-year anniversary” on their first date, Leyla and Ricky began the adventure of their life time, they just did not know it yet! After a year and a half of dating the couple became engaged. Ricky surprised Leyla with “a journey down memory lane” through various iPad videos of family and friends. As Leyla reached the final destination, Nobu, she was led to the courtyard and found Ricky there with beautiful red rose petals all around. There was a hidden photographer for the proposal, and it was even live streamed for the couple’s friends and family, a lot of which live out of the country. The proposal was complete with a surprise party, surrounded with Leyla and Ricky’s closest family and friends.



March 24th, 2018

by Kathryn Paden

Venue Despite not having any family in Dallas, both Leyla and Ricky knew they wanted to get married there. After all, it is where the couple met and where their relationship blossomed. When looking for a venue, the couple fell in love with Union Station, a historic building built in 1916. The downtown Dallas location was perfect for the couple who loved the dramatic settings, including tall ceilings and large windows, the whole place filled with character and charm. Another selling point for the couple on the venue was their exclusive caterer, Wolfgang Puck. They knew the food would be exquisite, no matter what.

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Chris Wineinger

Unique Details Ricky’s first time to see Leyla in her dress was along with everyone else, when the doors at Union Station opened up right before she walked down the aisle. The couple wanted their wedding to be two things, fun and cultural. Leyla and Ricky achieved this by having a huge dance party, along with Zaffer performers, a Lebanese tradition, stilt walkers and even carnival dancers for a Colombian tradition called “La Hora Loca”. The couple exchanged letters to each other on opposite sides of a wall about ten minutes prior to their wedding. Leyla’s letter included how she ended up in the dress she was wearing. Over a year before their wedding, Leyla had seen a gorgeous dress in a magazine while engagement ring shopping. While at her bridal appointment at the Bridal Boutique in Louisville, she showed the image of the gown to the sales woman, and to Leyla’s surprise they had the gown! After trying it on she knew it was the dress for her special day.

Wedding Standing under a beautiful floral arch, the couple got married by their longtime friend, and role model. A unique aspect to their wedding included personal vows with Ricky including how many times they had said “I love you” over a year.

Bride’s Advice Make time together a priority. Life gets busy but know that there is always comfort alongside your spouse. Budget your time for consistent date nights. During this time, try and keep away from external distractions, like phones, when you are together. Always be willing to invest time in your marriage. The wedding is fun, but marriage is more fun! - Leyla

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CLO Billboard Bride Maya says it’s okay not to be perfect Kenneth Castano Photography by Ivan Garcia by

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OUD NINE - 51 -

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aya’s story is one that everybody can relate to. Navigating through this crazy world isn’t easy; especially in recent years. After having her life shuffled around during the COVID-19 pandemic, Maya understood it was best to slow down, take things one at a time, and not pressure herself into chasing perfection. Maya and her fiancé, Mike, planned a trip to Monterey, California, after Maya expressed a desire to see whales in the wild. After meticulously planning their vacation, their plans had a wrench thrown in them in the form of the pandemic. With everything spinning out of control, Maya had to learn to not sweat the little things. “I had to tell myself that it was okay if I did not get married in the spring, and it was okay if I didn’t get to have my dream venue in the hill country of Austin…I told myself that I needed to take the time to be a bride that isn’t perfect.” By December 2020, Maya and Mike managed to book their vacation to California and found a piece of paradise near the Pacific Ocean.

Continued on pg. 58

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832.953.3400 | majesticoakstx@gmail.com | Tomball, TX 77377

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AA Luxury and Discount Travel AADISCOUNTTRAVEL@AOL.COM

702-580-0830 - 57 -

BILLBOARD BRIDE Making their way to the beach at the break of dawn, the couple stood at Lover’s Point as waves crashed behind them. As the sun rose on the coldest day of the year, Mike surprised Maya by proposing to her. To top it off, that same day they both got to see whales. Maya attended the Bridal Extravaganza and applied to appear on the billboards. As the winner, she attended a photoshoot and will appear at the next live event. The first time she ever tried on a wedding gown was at the fitting for the Billboard Bride shoot. At Ventura’s Bridal Fashions, she found a wedding wonderland. Eventually, two gowns were selected. The sultry, long sleeve, fit n’ flare gown by Demetrios has a dramatic flared tulle skirt coupled with exquisite, beaded lace. The Sweetheart, off the shoulder neckline flows into a magnificent sheer back with lace details and button closure. The second gown is an off the shoulder ball gown by Allure Bridals.

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BILLBOARD BRIDE The sheen of this gown’s Mikado fabric is topped with contrasting elegantly beaded lace appliques and off the shoulder straps. “NO ONE BELIEVED ME!” says Maya about telling her friends and family she was the new face of the Bridal Extravaganza. I don’t think they’re really going to believe me until they see my head on the magazine. I don’t think I can believe it until I see my face on the magazine!” Lead and organized by the event planners at Blue Poppy Events, Maya’s photoshoot was held at Willowynn Barn, a beautifully secluded barn owned by Amanda and Steve Slivinski. The venue features a vast, grand hall for hosting receptions and offers several unique outdoor areas as well. An added bonus comes in the form of Willie the Shot Donkey. This adorable little burro comes fit with saddlebags which can hold shots for your guests or be adorned with flowers. As the location of the venue is deep in Santa Fe, Texas,

Continued on pg. 74

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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

832-736-5576 For Appointments - 63 -

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fairytale beginning over 6 0 historic and romantic venues | over 5 0 wineries and vineyards | relaxed Hill Countr y elegance breathtaking scenery | authentic Texas dance halls | abundant and unique places for friends and family to stay

Photo ©Lori Blythe Photography

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CONTACT: Ph: 281-716-5566





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BILLBOARD BRIDE the surrounding area is tranquil and quiet. This hidden gem is a perfect getaway spot located right outside of Houston. The reception area was brought to life with florals and décor provided by Rexberry Luxury Weddings & Events. Their selections are full of rich, luscious tones and colors, and regal elements. Returning from last year’s Billboard Bride shoot to do makeup was Mayra Malik from Simple Beauty Artistry. She chose a soft natural look which did not overpower but served to enhance Maya’s natural looks. As Maya put it, “She made me feel like a prettier, more beautiful, confident version of myself, which I loved.” Another return from last year’s Billboard Bride shoot is Ivan Garcia Studios. Ivan’s newest shots of Maya are an exhibition in elegance and grace. According to Ivan, Maya is a natural, was very relaxed and takes direction very well. This is the key to a great photoshoot. On site to capture more visuals were the videographers of Weddings Unlimited. Their video entitled “Walking on the Clouds,” showcased the hard work of all the wedding pros involved while showcasing their videography expertise to brides. The shoot for this video implemented a dry ice machine and showed how a couple can literally “dance on clouds” at their reception. The cake was created by the team at

Wedding Cakes by Tammy Allen. Invitations and paper goods were provided by Jo’s Paper Kitchen. Coming into the contest, Maya had no idea she would make it this far, let alone win the whole thing. However, she has thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the experience and has done a lot of personal growth throughout the planning of her wedding. “I told myself that I needed to take that time to be a bride that isn’t perfect, because perfection is very, very, very subjective. It is not a one size fits all. I’ve been having a really fun time enjoying the wedding process now that I know it isn’t supposed to necessarily be a certain type of way, it’s going to be what it needs to be.” To apply to appear as the next Billboard Bride, stop by the Billboard Bride booth at the Houston Bridal Extravaganza Show.

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Get this


: Blue Pop py Even Venue: W ts illowynn Photogra B a rn pher: Iva n Garcia Studio Videogra pher: Wedding s-Unlimit Fashion ed : Ventura s Bridal Fashions Cake: W edding C a k es by Tamm y Allen Floral & Décor: R exberry Wedding L s & Even uxury Hair & M ts akeup: S imple Be auty Artistry Paper go ods: Jo’s Paper Kit Sponsor: chen Bridal Ex travagan za Planner:

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Luxury Boudoir Photography 281-729-3325 www.blackdiamondboudoirstudio.com - 83 -

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Houston's Luxury Bounce House Company jumpintoblisshouston.com

Photo by @davis.pictures - 88 -

Houston's Only Traveling Bridal Boutique

Let The Dress Find You ~ An Experiance of a Lifetime hello@WanderlustBridalBoutique.com


832-307-7478 | Text: 281-839-8597

9675 Eagle Drive, Ste. 108 Mont Belvieu, Tx 77523 - 89 -

Your Forever Starts Here SU GAR CREEK C O U NT RY CLU B

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MAKEUP AND HAIR DONE TO PERFECTION ON LOCATION. where dreams become reality. Specialize in Airbrush makeup, 20+ years in the Beauty Business with countless happy brides and bridal party. 10% off when you book in January 2022 – We can take care of the Bride and Bridal Party www.HuesbyHeather.com | 713-961-HUES (4837) | Huesbyheather1@gmail.com - 91 -

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Newly renovated Nautilus Ballroom • Seated banquets for 50-400 guests • Private wraparound balcony with breathtaking views of the downtown skyline • Aquarium Restaurant & Dive Lounge available for private functions • In-house event planner • Exhibit packages • Full facility buyouts available

Bridal Open House Sunday, January 23, 2022 11:30am - 2:30pm Reservations required please email NautilusWeddings@ldry.com or call 713-315-5168

410 Bagby • Houston, TX 77002 713-223-3474 • downtownaquarium.com - 94 -

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The Westin Dallas Stonebriar Golf Resort & Spa By Laurette Veres

Can’t make it to the Hamptons? Head to north Texas for a quick country club escape. The Westin Dallas Stonebriar Golf Resort & Spa recently re-opened its doors as Dallas-Fort Worth’s premier luxury and wellness destination following a full-scale $30 million revitalization. In the heart of the Frisco/Plano area, this ideal retreat is located on 400 acres, close to local attractions, and just thirty minutes from Dallas. The property is the only destination of its kind in the area, offering 302 upscale guest rooms, and over 30,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

Included in the renovation is a new, on-site golf pro shop, state-of-the-art WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio, luxury Well & Being spa, TopGolf Swing Suite, a revived outdoor pool with cabanas, a waterslide and kids splash pad, poolside restaurant & bar, Ranch Water, and a full-service restaurant Herd & Hearth.

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Great for business and leisure travelers, the resort has luxury accommodations along with plenty of event space perfect for meetings and weddings.

Stay Cool

Full Service

Definitely plan to spend the day at the pool. We suggest a private, shaded cabana where fresh fruit, libations, and snacks abound. Make this your home base as you enjoy the breakfast buffet at the pool’s newly opened eatery. Ranch Water is a new outdoor space adjacent to the pool. Affectionately named after the popular Southern beverage, Ranch Water, they offer great drinks and light poolside treats. Make new friends on the game lawn with a mini-golf hole, corn hole, horse shoes, and other lawn games to keep both kids and adults entertained. The large, resort style pool keeps you cool for hours. Kids will have a blast going down the waterslide and playing on the splash pad.

All of the amenities you’d expect are here from a brandnew spa to a state-of-the-art gym. Enjoy the Well & Being Spa for massages, facials, and more. Just down the hallway, the WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio is open 24 hours. The centrally located bar offers live music on the patio and latenight apps. Saturday night is movie night on the lawn.

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Score Playing golf here is a treat. The storied Tom Fazio-designed course is one of Frisco’s legendary courses. This 18-hole, championship golf course features gently contoured greens, native grass areas, and masterfully integrated bunkers. Individual lessons are available for players of all skill levels. Keeping the golf theme alive, the entertainment center, TopGolf, brings the fun to you at the Westin. The TopGolf Swing Suite has a massive screen, frosted glass, and air walls delivering a one-of-a-kind simulation. The TopGolf Swing Suite is perfect for after parties and corporate happy hours for up to 30 guests.

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ou’ll find many beautiful locations for group and individual portraits. Groups can golf and spa and never have to leave the property.

Be sure to contact the wedding experts on property to plan the perfect day for you. This spacious property is replete with perfect picture spots. You’ll find many beautiful locations for group and individual portraits. Groups can golf and spa and never have to leave the property. The expert professionals on staff are dedicated to getting every last detail right. They are on top of the latest trends in cuisine and decor. They’ll help you gather the vendors you need to create a memorable event for you and your family and friends. www.marriott.com - 101 -

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Wedding videography

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We look forward to helping you Buy, Sell or Rent a home!

713.882.6554 | laura.bonck@nanproperties.com| Follow us at @Laura_Bonck_Homes

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Shop the collection designed in Houston, fully customizable and in any color.

renegadebridal.com @renegadeweddingdresses

Custom design for tradition and story. Collaborate with our designer virtually or in-person.

Custom embroidery, rhinestone Custom print fabrics Sourcing specialty fabrics

newheritagebridal.com @newheritagewedding

The Nation's Gown Dyeing Expert Our styles AND those purchased elsewhere


consults to review your project specifics.

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The Grand Hall At Deer Lake Lodge

Rustic elegance & country charm!

Call today to learn about our booking specials!

281-639-8077 Grandhalltexas.com - 107 -




Call: 832.675.5008 Text: 832.675.5009 - 108 -


SD Photography All- Inclusive or Custom Packages available starting at $2000 + tax

(travel fees outside Montgomery County)

Copyright Release ALWAYS included!

Stephanie Davis 936.443.0699

SDPhotography.for.you@gmail.com - 109 -

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888-907-0327 @cherieamourinc @cherieamourinc

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with a British flair in Texas & beyond www.finishingtouch-events.com

hello@finishingtouch-events.com www.facebook.com/finishingtouchtx

832 797 2869 @finishingtouchtx

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Feeling Overwhelmed?


handle the details, you make the memories.

EVENT PLANNING & COORDINATION FULL & PARTIAL PLANNING CUSTOM PACKAGES 281.382.3510 www.TheNextSteppEvents.com TheNextSteppEvents@gmail.com

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Endless bridal bliss

True renewal doesn’t stop when you walk out our door. At Woodhouse Spa, we curate and customize each luxurious treatment to deliver the exact mood you desire, now and long a er you leave. Joyful. Calm. Rejuvenated. Connected. Find yourself here, where the best moods are made in-house. B O O K Y O U R N E X T S PA PA R T Y T O D AY

( 8 3 2 ) 8 3 5 - 5 0 5 0 | 7 0 0 B AY B R O O K M A L L , A 1 2 5 , F R I E N D S W O O D | B AY B R O O K . W O O D H O U S E S PA S . C O M

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in the state capitol Story and Images by Laurette Veres


or years I’ve heard about the bat bridge in Austin but have never seen the bats. I scratched out some time in my schedule headed to Austin with hopes of finally seeing Mexican Free-Tailed Bats take off at sunset from the Congress Avenue Bridge. A little on-line research finds the bat population has swelled since a 1980 renovation of the bridge created an ideal bat cave. The best times of the year are late March through early fall; 7:30-9:45pm. Bat watchers are vigilant, often skipping dinner as they wait for bats to fly into the evening sky. The Austin landscape (and skyline) has changed, especially near the river. Once upon a time, not long ago, there were expansive views of Town Lake and the Capital Building; these are blocked by shiny new high and mid-rises. In what was formerly a parking lot and Mexican food restaurant, you’ll now find the Austin

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Marriott Downtown. This is our home base as we enjoy Austin by day and wait for bats by night.

from 3:00-6:00pm. Here you might notice people cruising around downtown on scooters.

This new, bustling hotel has everything for a perfect Austin escape. The beautifully appointed restaurant, Corinne, features modern, American fare with a focus on local ingredients. You’ll love the familiarity of the menu and appreciate the upscale flair added to each dish. Their specialty is the Rotisserie Lemon Chicken, replete with shoestring fries, and poached egg mayo. We also enjoyed the Wagyu Burger and Ora King Salmon. The inviting wrap around patio we dined on features happy hour at the outdoor bar Monday-Friday

Scooters are everywhere in Austin. Find one you want to ride, download the app, tap your credit card and go. This is a great way to see the city, drive by the capital, head to the bat bridge, shop and more. Around the corner from the Austin Marriott is the famed Rainey Street. This little block of Austin is lined with old houses that have been turned into bungalow bars. Popular and fairlywell hidden, it is great for walks during the day and bar hopping by night. Day or night, you’ll find relaxed bar-goers strolling the area.

The rusticchic Craft Pride features 51 Texas-only beer taps, plus experts to tell you all about them. Swing in the sunshine in a hammock on Lucille’s patio. Revelers can hop from one bar to the next and safely return to the Marriott. As you are scooting around Austin, pop by the Austin Marriott’s sister property, the JW Marriott. Here you’ll find the Spa by JW. I couldn’t resist the Ultimate Aromatherapy Massage. The real stand out is the Circadia Oxygen RX Facial. One of the only spas in Austin to offer this treatment, this facial has immediate, dramatic results by using a machine that sprays moisturizes onto the skin with a stream of pressurized oxygen. This is nourishing and beneficial for all skin types. Now back to the bats. We were in Austin two nights in July and joined the crowds

right before sunset on the bridge. Everyone watched the bridge with anticipation from the bridge, from the shore around the bridge and from party boats on the river. We waited for the surreal dark cloud to ascend into the sky. We waited and waited and made friends with a couple visiting from Sweden. They’d come farther than we had. Was it the wind? Was it the looming hint of rain? We still are not certain, but on both of our evenings in July, the bats did not come out.

Links http://www.batcon.org/ourwork/ https://www.austintexas.orglistings/ann-richards-congressavenue-bridge-bats/2841 https://www.corinneatx.com https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/ausmd-austin-marriott-downtown - 125 -

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JF Studioz

Alexander Cross Photography

Décor & Rentals Floral Designs DJ & Entertainment Photography & Videography

Tropic One Studio

JF Studioz

“We’re passionate about personalizing your party!”

www.FerventDesigns.com - 128 -

(281) 786-4627 info@FerventDesigns.com

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L e s s o n in Lighting W

By Carolina Hernandez Photography by Grace Rose Photography

hat provides depth and ambiance to your wedding day? What helps set the mood?

What helps guests focus on the special elements that make your event great? The answer to all of the above is: Lighting. The right kind of lighting will illuminate the most important details of your big day. You spent hours on every detail and they should be shown in their best light. Industry website, Theknot.com explains lighting as follows: “We like to think of lighting as the jewelry of a space- just as a certain mix of accessories can make an outfit, the right lighting will make your reception unforgettable.”

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Leigh Ballinger from Houston based LitePro says, “The key is to make your event stand out, not the lighting company’s gear.” The gear should be hidden from site, allowing your décor elements to take center stage. When

considering lighting, he says the party should “glow, not explode.” The right setup is paramount to success. Focus your guests’ attention on what matters most. Whether it’s the dance floor, the expensive ice sculpture, the floral backdrop, the head table, or the beautiful centerpieces; show them in a proper light. Lighting is important during your vows as you want the focused light on both of you during this intimate moment. It’s equally important for a first dance. Light essentially guides your guests’ attention putting the focus where you want it. It’s often taken too lightly, and we are here to explain the psychology and tips as to why you should not underestimate the power of lighting. How many times have you stepped into a room and it did not feel warm and welcoming? The various lighting elements are tied to psychology. We are emotionally connected to light and respond cognitively based on what different lights are chosen. “A bright light helps to make sense of an environment … making it a more pleasant space,” according to Robert Davis, who has a doctorate in cognitive psychology. If a room doesn’t have sufficient light for us to understand what’s going on, we are less likely to enjoy the room.” Different hues affect mood, for example warm, red to yellowish light creates a relaxing atmosphere. Optimistically, lighting is a quick fix that can change the atmosphere in the room with just a simple change in illumination, focus, and mood. However, it takes someone with a keen eye that knows the psychology and emotional connection it has along with what the couple’s goal for their wedding day.

These images show the lighting that Leigh Ballinger and LitePro set up for the Visit the Venues tour.

How much will all of this cost? According to Ballinger, the size of your floral displays and how many lights you need will help determine the cost. Also, find out if your venue allows outside lighting vendors.

Ballinger’s company LitePro has the experience you need to correctly light your event. He has personally worked with five presidents. “We have so many relationships and we have the credibility. When we say we’ve got this, we’ve got this.”

Questions to consider when working with your lighting expert. ·

What room features do you want to highlight?


What elements would you like to highlight?


Are there any areas in the room you want to make a focal point?


Can the lights be dimmed and controlled as needed? - 131 -

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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 - 134 -

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photo: Ivan Garcia Studio • gown: Ventura’s Bridal Fashions • hair and makeup: Simple Beauty Artistry

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Lush Garden Glam By Chelsea Andoe

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s a little girl, I watched The Secret Garden on repeat dreaming of passing through the glass and into the magical gardens. This styled shoot marries those whimsical childhood secret garden dreams with an element of modern glamour. The sumptuous green back drop and clean lines of 15 Acres Wedding Venue in Hockley, TX lent itself to the theme perfectly. Delicate ivory and cream garden roses intertwined with lush greenery and was woven into every detail to create the whimsical scene. An abundance of candles filled the room and flickered to reveal the subtle touches of gold throughout.

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Contributors | Venue: 15 Acres | Photographer: Swish + Click Photography | Gowns: Brandy Design Studio | Planner/Coordinator: Moonstruck Events | Floral & Décor: Epic Events by Marilyn | Hair & Makeup: Simple Beauty Artistry | Stationary: Katie & Co. | Jewelry: Christina Greene Jewelry | Mobile Bar: The Vintage Brew

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Pairing wines with each course creates bonding moments for all

ncy By T

om Fly nn

Flight of

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Weddings call for family gatherings. Inspired by a Sonoma weekend, we created a tasting menu and paired wines with each course. With a little online research and some help from the guys at Houston’s Downtown Spec’s, we selected wines, and the wines created interesting chatter on how they accented the food. - 166 -

There is nothing wrong with that big bottle of red, but if you want to try something a little different, our recipes and pairing here give some inspiration.

Cantaloupe Soup with Honeydew Skewer 1

Menu Cantaloupe Soup with Honeydew Skewer Roasted Grape Bruschetta Tuna Tartar on Wonton Chips Duck Confit Salad

ripe cantaloupe, seeded, peeled and cubed

Roasted Duck Breast over Brussels Sprouts

2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice 1 tbls fresh lime juice ¼ tsp cinnamon 4-5 sprigs of mint

Short Rib Tacos

Place cantaloupe and 1/2 cup orange juice in blender and spin until smooth, add in remaining orange juice, lime juice and cinnamon. mix well. Add mint and refrigerated for 2-3 hours.

Garnish: ½ cup sugar ½ cup water 8-10 mint leaves mint sprigs cantaloupe, ¼ inch cubes

honeydew, ¼ inch cubes Make a simple syrup by combining sugar and water in small pot and boil until sugar dissolves. Pour into a jar to cool. Wrap mint leaves in cheese cloth and tie off with butchers twine. Drop mint packet into simple syrup and refrigerate overnight. Place melon cubes on toothpick or skewer.

Plating: Pour chilled soup in cordial or shot glass and place on plate. Add melon skewer and spoon minted syrup over the melon skewer. Garnish with mint sprigs.

Roasted Grape Bruschetta Hattingley Valley Classic Reserve Sparkling Wine & Chateau Trocard Monrepos 4 cups red grapes 1 tbls olive oil 1 tsp kosher salt 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme ¼ tsp pepper 1 tbls balsamic vinegar ½ cup soft goat cheese 24 slices baguette, lightly toasted ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted honey

Preheat oven to 325. Spray a large glass baking pan with cooking spray. Place grapes in large bowl, add oil, salt, thyme and pepper and toss to coat grapes. Pour into baking pan and place in oven, stirring occasionally. Roast until grapes begin to wrinkle, about 50 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic. Spread goat cheese on baguette slices, top with grapes, sprinkle with walnuts and drizzle with honey.

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Tuna tartar ¾ ¼

lbs fresh tuna steaks

¼ ½ 1½ 1½ 1½ 1 ¼

cup fresh squeezed limejuice

cup olive oil

zest of 1 lime

tsp wasabi powder tsp hot pepper sauce tsp soy sauce tsp kosher salt tsp fresh cracked pepper

cup minced scallions (white and

green parts

1 1

large jalapeno, minced large ripe avocado cut into small



Tuna Tartar on Wonton Chips Paired with Starbouough Sauvingnon Blanc Wontons 12-16 wonton wrappers cut into triangles 1 tsp kosher salt 1 tbls extra virgin olive oil ½ tsp fresh cracked peppers - 168 -

Preheat oven to 375. Arrange wrappers on baking sheet (not touching) brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until brown, 7-9 minutes, and transfer to wire rack to cool.

tsp toasted sesame seeds

Dice tuna into ¼ inch cubes and place in glass bowl. In separate bow mix olive oil, lime zest, limejuice, wasabi, soy, pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Pour over tuna, add scallions and jalapeno. Mix well. Fold in avocado and sesame seeds and chill at least one hour. Spoon tuna tartar onto wontons and serve.

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Duck Confit Salad Paired with Xarmant Txakoli Duck Confit 4 skinless Duck legs 3 tablespoons salt ¼ teaspoon fresh grounD pepper 4–5 cups Duck fat 4 clovesgarlic, minceD 6 sprigs thyme Massage garlic into duck legs sprinkle with pepper and salt. Place in a resealable bag and refrigerate for 24 hours. Select a heavy saucepan just big enough to hold legs in a single layer. Heat fat until it simmers very slowly. Remove legs from bag and gently wipe excess salt. Place legs, garlic and thyme in pan and cook until the meat is tender and easily pulls from bone, about 2 to 3 hours. Remove from pan, let cool and pull meat from bones. Save the duck fat! Some of it is needed in other parts of this meal.

Duck Stock 2 Duck carcasses, cut in pieces 2 large, unpeeleD carrots, sliceD 3 celery ribs, sliceD 3 meDium white onions, sliceD 7 cloves garlic, peeleD 4 quarts colD water 6 sprigs parsley 20 black peppercorns, crackeD 3 bay leaves Preheat oven to 425°F. Place duck carcasses and fresh veggies on baking sheets and roast for 45 minutes. Place carcasses in stock pot, add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, skimming foam as it rises to the surface. Continue until foam stops appearing. Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Strain stock through cheesecloth or a strainer into glass bowl or pitcher. Chill and remove fat (it will rise to the top and harden).

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tsp Dijon mustarD tbls sherry vinegar tbsp extra virgin olive oil tbls finally choppeD shallot Duck confit legs, meat pulleD off of

bones (recipe in cookbook)


ripe reD pears, anjou or bartlett,

coreD anD sliceD

8 ¼ ½

cups mixeD greens cup shreDDeD italian cheese cup pine nuts, toasteD

Dressing In a large mixing bowl whisk mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add 4 tbls olive oil and whisk until emulsified. Stir in shallot. Heat 1 tbls olive oil over moderately high heat, add duck meat and cook until crisp, stirring frequently. Add greens and cheese to dressing, season with salt and pepper and toss until greens are coated. Place on plate, garnish with pears and toasted nuts, top with duck confit.

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Roasted Duck Breast over Brussels Sprouts Paired with Rioja Ontanon Reserva Roast Duck Breast 4

boneless duck breasts, skinon,

slightly scored salt and pepper to taste

Season duck with salt and pepper. Cover or seal in a plastic bag for 24 hours (optional). Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat a large ovenproof skillet until hot. Place duck in the skillet, skin side down. Cook until skin is golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and sear other side brie y. Transfer to a baking pan and cook in the oven 6 to 8 minutes. Remove duck from the pan and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes.

Brussels Sprouts 30 brussels sprouts 6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed


cloves garlic, chopped

coarse sea salt, to taste fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Remove loose leaves from sprouts, trim stems and cut in half. Place in bowl, drizzle with olive oil and shake to evenly coat. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until it begins to turn brown. Place Brussels sprouts flat side down in pan. Season with salt, cover and cook until sprouts brown on bottom. Flip sprouts, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 6–8

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Cherry Sauce 6 ½ ¾ 1½ ⅓ ⅓ ¼

oz dried cherries cup bourbon cup finely diced shallot cups chicken stock cup tawny port cup duck fat cup honey

salt and pepper

Combine bourbon and cherries in sautee’ pan. C Cook over medium heat, heat until bourbon begins to bubble. Use a long lighter to ignite booze and let

it burn until the flame burns out. Remove from heat and set aside. Heat duck fat in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Sautee’ shallot in fat for 30 seconds. Add bourbon/ cherry mixture, stock, port and honey. Turn heat to high and reduce to a glaze. Whisk in 6 tbls cold butter, one tbls at a time. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Serving Place Brussels sprouts on plate. Slice duck breast and add to plate. Top duck breast with cherry sauce.

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Mango pico de gallo 2 roma tomatoes, chopped ½ white onion, chopped 1 jalapeno pepper, diced ⅓ cup chopped cilantro ⅓ cup chopped mango juice from ½ of lime Mix ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Chill for one hour.

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Short Rib Tacos Paired with Stewart Cabernet Sauvignon Braised Short Ribs 8 (1-pound) bone-in short ribs salt and black pepper, to taste 9 tablespoons butter, divided 3 onions, chopped 14 cups cabernet sauvignon 12 cups chicken stock 12 cloves garlic, chopped 3 stalks celery 10 sprigs fresh parsley 2 small carrots Preheat oven to 350°F. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large Dutch oven or braising pot. Brown ribs on all sides and remove from the pot. Add onions to butter and sauté until translucent. Add wine, then bring to a boil and reduce liquid to 3 cups. Return the ribs to the pot and coat in wine sauce. Add stock and remaining herbs and veggies to wine and ribs and heat until slightly bubbling. Cover and cook in the oven for 21⁄2 - 3 hours, until meat is tender but not falling o the bone. Remove the ribs and strain drippings into a saucepan. Remove the fat and reduce drippings to 2 cups over high heat. en, whisk in 3 tablespoons of butter. Place the ribs on a plate and cover with sauce.

1 1 1

package tortillias can vegetarian refried beans jar salsa verde

mango pico de gallo butter or duck fat queso fresco, crumbled mexican blend shredded cheese

Heat butter or duck fat on a griddle over medium heat. Add tortillias in batches and brown on both sides. Fill tortillas with braised short rib and 1 tbsp salsa verde and queso fresco. Serve with dollop of Pico and beans topped with Mexican cheese.

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n o o m y e n o H

y a w a e v i G

NO COST TO ENTER July 1, 2022 drawing date Win a free pair of �ckets to the next Bridal Extravaganza Show - July 23 & 24, 2022 Simply use your camera on your phone "Aim & Push" - to register to WIN! For More Info: info@houstonbe.com

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CONSIDER COLUMBUS Small Town Charm. Big City Amenities.

A short drive from Houston, Austin and San Antonio, Columbus is the perfect place to begin your happily ever after. Columbus is home to more than ten outstanding venues. Whether you’re looking for a rustic dance hall full of charm, a working ranch with modern amenities, a church hall with plenty of room to roam, or a winery with dramatic views of the Texas sunset, we have the perfect backdrop for your wedding, reception, or special event. From caterers to centerpieces, registries to rehearsal dinner restaurants, and hotels to hairdos, you’ll find everything for your dream wedding right here in our charming small town.

columbustexas.org/weddings • 979-732-8385

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