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We’re all you need to plan your Houston Wedding. Inspiring ideas, tips, trends + happenings in the world of Houston Weddings.


to the reader As Ann Landers said: “Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.” Love is all this and more. In a word, love is: beautiful. And there is so much beauty in this issue of Weddings in Houston magazine that we want to share with you—beauty in the “Real Wedding” stories of Houston nuptial celebrations, in the divine cakes dreamed up by our brilliant bakers, in the glorious bouquets created by our fine florists, in the spectacular design of couture wedding gowns, and in the romance of couples hopelessly in love, captured through the lenses of our renowned photographers. Along with these must-read features, our profiles on famed caterer Peter Callahan and in-demand wedding planner Harriette Rose Katz both offer wonderful glimpses into the work and passion of inspired professionals who love what they do and do what they love. We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed creating it for you—and that you will engage with us through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, and join us live and in person at our 2014 I Do! Bridal Soirees. Most importantly, we want to hear from you: Let us know what you love about our new look (and what you’d like to see more of), and share your words of bridal wisdom with future Houston brides. Our wish for you is a wedding day filled with love and a life filled with blessings. Happy reading, Houston bride!

Weddings i n H o u s t o n®

spring | summer 2014 Founder & CEO JB Day

Publisher Radhika J. Day

Vice President Vik Day

Managing Editor Natasha Garber

Account Executives brent mcniel Denise walton

Operations Manager sue conner

Production Manager Carrie Skupinsky

Lead Production Coordinator susie tommaney

Director - Special Events Katelin bouquet

Editorial Assistant Michelle Naik

Art Director Charlotte Micus

Designers Malia gattas, john gattas

Photography Larry Fagala

Styling summar salah

Contributing Writers

Founder & CEO

Publisher

Weddings Weddings in Houston

®

in Houston

®

Christina Caldwell, mauri elbel, rina chandarana John, julie lemerond, maggie marton, blake miller, jean picard, shari lynn rothstein-kramer, rachel lincoln sarnoff

Weddings in Houston LP 525 Arlington Street Houston TX 77007 713.464.4321 info@weddingsinhouston.com WeddingsInHouston.com HoustonWeddingBlog.com HoustonBridalShows.com

february: Ines Di Santo Gown Belle Mariée Bridal; Couture Mask Cathy Rascoe; Earrings Neiman Marcus; Ring Tootsies; Bouquet Arteflora; Location The Corinthian; Photography Larry Fagala; Styling Summar Salah; Hair & Makeup The Perfect Face; Model Neal Hamil Agency April: Bride: Chloe Dao Dress Chloe Dao; Heels Neiman Marcus; Earrings, Bracelets & Ring Kendra Scott; groom: Blazer, Shirt & Jeans Versione; Shoes Donald J Pliner; Set: Vespa Scooter Smith; Just Married Sign Carla David Design; Location Houston Oaks Country Club; Photography Larry Fagala; Styling Summar Salah; Hair & Makeup The Perfect Face; Model Neal Hamil Agency June: Valentino Gown Neiman Marcus; Earrings Sloan Hall; Rings Kendra Scott; Location Houston Oaks Country Club; Photography Larry Fagala; Styling Summar Salah; Hair & Makeup The Perfect Face; Model Neal Hamil Agency

Weddings in Houston Magazine is printed semi-annually and distributed with six covers. Content changes in January and July. Copyright© 2014, Weddings in Houston LP

All rights reserved. Reproduction of any part of this publication without the express written consent of the publisher is strictly prohibited. All information contained in this magazine is believed to be correct but Weddings in Houston cannot and will not be held liable for the quality or performance of goods and services provided by the advertising companies.


contents wedding planning CE RE MO N Y & RECEPTION

20 Well Rehearsed Before The Big Day, Have A Good Night. 38 Chic & Boutique Houston’s Unique And Intimate Boutique Hotels Are Tailor Made For Custom Weddings. 56 Stand On Ceremony The Rites Of Marriage Take A Personal Turn. 67 La Vie En Vert Rolling Lawns, Magnificently Appointed Rooms, Spectacular Style: Revel In The Makings Of A Perfect French-Country Wedding. 80 Small Plate, Big Bite Caterer Peter Callahan Makes Masterpieces In Miniature. 90 The Little Things Small Wedding Details Can Have Big Emotional Impact. 108 I Do! Bridal Soiree At Hotel ZaZa

116 Cocktail Culture Mix Up A Little Magic At Your Wedding Reception.

128 an affair to remember Weddings in Houston's Client-Appreciation Party.

130 Social Studies Learn How To Invite Social Media To Take Part In Your Wedding­— And Where To Draw The Line.

134 Modern Metallics Shine On, Beautiful Bride. We d d ing Serv ices

144 Wedding Etiquette Do (And Say) The Right Thing, With This Essential Advice.

150 Making Room For Mother-In-Law She’s Not Your Mom, She’s Not Exactly Your Friend…So Who Is This New Woman In Your Life?

156 A Toast To Tradition Gourmet Advisory Services’ Harriette Rose Katz Creates Weddings That Stand The Test Of Time.

in every issue

136 Pre-wedding & Rehearsal Dinner Celebrations

140 Ceremony & Reception Reference Guide

415 Wedding Resource Directory


contents

wedding style

beauty & hea lth

Jewe l ry

228 Beautiful Bride

162 Rock Rules

finer details

Follow These 4 Expert Tips For Choosing And Buying Your Perfect Diamond.

170 Bold And Beautiful We d d ing Attire

172 5 Fashion Pointers This One’s For The Grooms, Gals.

186 Mothers In Style T. Carolyn Fashions’ Terrie Martin Styles Brides’ And Grooms’ Mothers To Perfection.

196 For Her 206 Swept Off Your Feet Fall In Love With The Newest Looks In Bridal Footwear.

207 Elegant. Mysterious. Opulent. At The Corinthian, Where Columns Soar And Sophistication Reigns, The Season’s Most Coveted Gowns Are Fit For A Grand Occasion.

218 To Have And To Hold Stow Your Essentials In A Stylish Bridal Clutch.

224 For Him 226 Southern Vintage Get Lost In The Languid Romance Of Another Era.

Top Fitness And Beauty Experts Offer Their Best Advice For Getting Big-Day Gorgeous.

238 Beauty Essentials

Flowers, DEcor & Rentals

242 Unexpected Blooms Flowers Bring Fresh Elegance To Oft-Overlooked Reception And Ceremony Areas.

302 Sculpted Decadence Sugar-Flower Master And “Sweet Genius” Star Ron Ben-Israel Elevates The Art Of Cake.

305 Elegant Cakes Invitations

310 A Most Intriguing Invitation Give Guests A Window Into Your One-Of-A-Kind Wedding.

316 Cordially Yours Vintage Charm Meets Modern Sophistication In Invitation Designer Carla David’s Couture Creations.

318 Inviting Ideas

250 6 Smart Flower-Buying Tips Don’t Pick Your Petals Without Them.

258 Fabulous Flowers 268 The Gracious Table Setting A Beautiful Wedding Table Is A Labor Of Creativity…And Of Love.

279 Tables By Design Feast Your Eyes On Magnificent Tablescapes Created Exclusively For Weddings in Houston By Talented Houston Florists Supported By Fine Local Linen Companies.

Gift Reg istry

320 The Good Stuff Classic Registry Gifts Are Heirlooms In The Making—So Choose Wisely And Well.

330 Our Favorite Things Music & E ntertainment

332 Utterly Entertaining Let’s Get This Party Started— And Keep It Going Strong.

Cu l inary Services

Transportation

290 Local Flavor

340 That’s How We Roll

If It’s Fresh In The State, It Belongs On The Plate.

Arrive—And Depart—In Style On Your Wedding Day.


contents documenting the day Ph oto g rap hy

346 Snap Judgment A Lot Goes Into Finding A Photographer With Whom You “Click.”

354 20 Unforgettable Shots You’ve Got One Chance To Capture The Moment—Don’t Miss It!

360 Booth Or Dare Grab A Prop And Strike A Pose—It’s All In Good (Make That, Great!) Fun.

370 Picture Perfect Showcase And Share Your Wow Wedding Photos. Videog rap hy

just married

376 Lights! Camera! Celebration! The Modern Wedding Film Is A Major Production.

Destination wedding & H O neymoon

390 Romantic Riviera Maya The Yucatan Peninsula’s Crown Jewel Is Pure Honeymoon Paradise.

396 Honeymoon & Destination Wedding Must Haves

397 Pura Vida Enjoy An Insider’s View Of A Costa Rica Destination Wedding.

real weddings 30 Mariana Witgert & Major Bradshaw

52 Misty Rockwell & Brandon Cotter 86 Amanda May & Matthew Yarberry

104 Wendie Amos & Deji Olagoke 112 Karen Bayard & Clinton Walker 166 Nicole Dao & Matthew Ripaldi

182 Stephanie Lionberger & Gabriel Zamora 192 Kate “Ashley” Duran & Robert “Taylor” Stallings

yo ur new home

198 Crystal Holmes & Andrew Pape

404 Marriage & Money

202 Megan Gloyer & Shea Robin

It’s Never Too Early To Start A Financial Dialogue With Your Future Spouse.

408 Right At Home Planning To Invest In A Newlywed Nest? Let Our Experts Offer Guidance.

220 Alexandria Alley & Matthew Mitchell 276 Megan Radermacher & Spencer Peoples 326 Leslie Green & Bradley Wray 366 Stacy Mendenhall & James Parsons 384 Amber Calhoun & Leif Moore

400 Kim Nguyen & Khuong Vo 412 Ganesa Warren & Ian Ferguson


event planner harriette Rose katz photo fred marcus photography 18 

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ceremony & reception 20 wedding services 144

wedding planning Now that you’ve said, “Yes,” where do you turn next? Our wedding planning pages, of course. Locate a qualified ­consultant, tour top venues, find an officiant, and discover ceremony and reception trends. Get everything you need to get started in style.

photo Larry FAGALA

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ceremony & reception W E D D I N G

P L A N N I N G

well rehearsed Before the big day, have a good night.

A kickoff to the main event, the rehearsal dinner sets the tone for the most unforgettable day of your life. But this pre-wedding extravaganza is more than mere R&R following your practice session for the big day—often, it’s the first time both sides of the family come together with the couple and their wedding party for mixing, mingling and merriment.

writer Mauri Elbel ~ photo J. cogliandro photography

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ceremony & reception “The rehearsal dinner is like the final countdown to the big day,” says Houston wedding planner Sobi Qazi of Lion & Lamb Event Services. “It is a time of joy and celebration for both families. Enjoy this evening as individuals, for it will be the last moment before officially becoming one.” We checked in with a few of Houston’s top wedding planners, and those at the helm of the city’s hottest rehearsal-dinner venues, to boil down the basics—and seek sensational design, cuisine and planning ideas—for the second most important night of your life. The Lowdown

Wondering what a rehearsal dinner entails? After a general run-through of the processional and recessional,

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the rehearsal dinner presents the opportunity for a relaxed and intimate celebration with your closest guests. “Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner served as a great way for both families to meet and get to know each other,” says Qazi. However, as families have increasingly grown close prior to wedding festivities, the rehearsal dinner has become another celebration of the upcoming nuptials—an opportune time for undistracted moments spent with close family and friends. Best Time

The rehearsal dinner typically is held directly after the ceremony rehearsal, says Allison C. Haworth, banquet sales manager for Maggiano’s Little Italy. The ideal time to host the rehearsal dinner is the night before your wedding,

according to wedding planner Ashley Fuentes of planning firm Event Solutions. “Your family and wedding party will be in wedding mode, so it is the time you can guarantee that the majority of them can attend,” she says. “Because they will already be reserving the time off for your wedding, keeping the rehearsal dinner on the day before your wedding will allow them to maximize their time off from work to spend it with you.” Nevertheless, some wedding planners see couples deciding to hold the rehearsal dinner a few days prior to the wedding to ensure ample time for relaxing and recovering before the big day. Who Hosts

Traditionally, the groom’s family hosts the rehearsal dinner, but sometimes both


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ceremony & reception families split the costs, says Vinceanne Mandola, partner in popular rehearsaldinner venue Grappino di Nino. “With traditions continuously changing, we find many couples either pay for their rehearsal dinner themselves, or both sets of parents host the event together,” concurs Qazi. Toast Time

Rehearsal dinner toasts are often a point of confusion, so here are some basic rules to follow as you raise your glass: Generally speaking, the welcome toast starts with the groom’s family, and the bride’s family can respond in kind, says Jo Ann Schwartz Woodward, owner of distinctive wedding-planning firm Schwartz & Woodward. The best man is next in line, and friends and family who wish to toast, share stories

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and entertain the bride and groom, follow suit. Toasts to the bride and groom are given by the best man, maid of honor and the groom’s parents, notes Nicole Wilker, who heads up private parties at Brennan’s Houston. In recent years, the “rules” have relaxed a bit and toasts have expanded to include siblings, cousins and childhood friends. At the conclusion of the dinner, a thank-you speech typically is given by the groom’s parents, if they have hosted the event.

spouses, and in some cases out-oftown guests, are included, too.” At the end of the day, Fuentes advises that the size of the guest list be based on budget. “If you cannot include your out-of-town guests in order to stay on budget, then offer them an alternative by providing them with a list of fun things to do around town.” Local shopping, restaurants, spas and golf are all great activities guests can take advantage of, and will help them turn your wedding into a mini-vacation.

I n v i tat i o n E t i q u e t t e

The Dish

“There is no rule that says you have to invite anyone and everyone to your rehearsal dinner,” says Fuentes. “That said, there are certainly people whom you should include. Your immediate families, your wedding party and their

When it comes to what’s for dinner, Houston’s hottest venues can whip up a customized menu to suit just about any desire or craving. Maggiano’s Haworth suggests a high-end, family-style menu featuring items like


ceremony & reception crab cakes, asiago-crusted shrimp, peppercorn-crusted sirloin and lobster cannelloni, or a classic family-style menu including “Mom’s” meat lasagna, stuffed mushrooms, rigatoni and chicken parmesan, for more casual affairs. Surefire crowd-pleasers? Haworth recommends butler-passed appetizers, handcrafted cocktails and a signature sweets table. Whether you opt for fine dining or a laid-back scene, Brennan’s wows with everything from its tenderloin and jumbo lump-blue-crab cakes, to more casual alligator meat pies with red beans and rice. “We have been serving Texas Creole since the early 1950s and I must say, it has always been truly unique,” says Wilker. Couples can show off their Southern roots at Ouisie’s Table with menu

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options like shrimp-and-cheese grits, buffalo tenderloin, wild-boar dishes and chicken-fried steak, says Wafi Dinari, owner and managing partner. “I feel it is important for the rehearsal dinner location and menu to reflect the personalities of the bride and groom,” says Donnette Hansen, owner of Rainbow Lodge—an ideal rehearsal-dinner venue for nature lovers of South Texas. If “deer lease” and “opening day” are familiar phrases in your family, Hansen assures you that you and your loved ones will feel right at home in this game-connoisseurs’ mecca. A few of the Rainbow Lodge’s more casual nibbles are fried oysters with caper tartar, wild game sausages, pheasant tinga tostadas and whole roasted suckling pig, while fancier options include a set menu of items such as pan-roasted sea

bass on fresh-corn-and-poblano risotto, bison medallions, lobster lollipops, and duck with olives and preserved lemon. Sipping Pretty

Don’t overlook what’s being poured into the glasses being raised. “It all depends on what the bride and groom feel more comfortable with,” says Tatiana Escobar, catering manager for The Grove, ideally situated on the south end of Houston’s new 11.8-acre urban park, Discovery Green. “After all, it is a celebration for them. I usually recommend having a full bar, beer and wine, so that guests can select a drink of their choice.” That being said, signature cocktails are all the rage for rehearsal dinners and weddings alike. At Brennan’s, the bride and groom can come into


ceremony & reception the restaurant ahead of time to sample signature drinks like the Blushing Bride. “Usually, if a signature cocktail is offered, the couple will limit the alcohol to the cocktail and a selection of wines, and forgo the full liquor bar,” says Wilker. “Most parents like this idea as well, so everyone can be rested and fresh for the big day.” S ta r t E a r ly

When it comes to planning a rehearsal dinner, don’t wait until the last minute. “So many couples wait to plan their rehearsal dinner because they are so focused on the rest of the wedding,” Fuentes says. “You have to remember that the rehearsal dinner will most likely be on a Friday night, which means the busiest time of day on one of the busiest days of the week for

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restaurants and venues.” Reserve your rehearsal dinner location within a month after securing your wedding venue and choose a centrally located venue near your wedding ceremony and hotel accommodations to make it convenient for visiting guests. D o n ’ t D u p l i c at e

When selecting the menu for a rehearsal dinner, avoid repeating what will be served at the wedding, says Wilker. “It is important to not duplicate it or upstage it,” she notes. Some couples keep it fancy while others opt for a more relaxed rehearsal dinner since the following day is likely to be formal. Claudia G. de Velasco, owner of A Day To Remember, echoes Wilker’s words. Remember that your wedding

and rehearsal dinner are not competitors, she says. “If your wedding is going to be a formal affair, don’t feel pressured to have a black-tie event for the rehearsal dinner. On the contrary, maybe go more relaxed and casual.” The Grove offers a wide range of creative menus to suit just about every taste—from seated rehearsal dinners and stand-up cocktail receptions to buffet or family-style events. “We usually recommend not having any similar items to the wedding menu,” says Escobar. “That way each night can be memorable in its own way.” And while it’s important to keep the rehearsal-dinner food and ambiance distinct from that of the wedding, that doesn’t mean the quality of the event should be less than exceptional.


Mariana d Major

R EAL W EDDINGS

~ MARCH 2, 2013 ~

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A passion for food—as well as a passion for each other—was behind the marriage celebration of Mariana and Major. The couple’s wedding menu, crafted by the Sam Houston Hotel’s Chef Eduardo Guizar, included roasted-red-pepper-and-lemonrisotto croquettes and kalamata-olive-braised short ribs, finished off with vanilla-cinnamon cake with cream-cheese filling from Who Made The Cake. An intimate crowd of 70 guests enjoyed the exceptional meal amidst a palette of clover-green, white and aubergine, brought to life through calla lilies, dendrobium orchids, seeded eucalyptus and lots of floating candles. In the words of the groom’s heartfelt speech, all gathered had “graciously come together as witnesses and participants to help us take notice as we wake up and declare ourselves, and express profound thanks and joy for the life we share with one another and with you all.”

writer natasha garber ~ photography Khloe Madison Photography—A Steve Lee Co. W e ddi ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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R EAL W EDDINGS

names mariana witgert

major bradshaw  number of guests 70   venue the sam houston hotel   cake who made the cake   flowers & &

decor plants n’ petals  photography khloe madison photography—a

steve lee co.  consultant kat creech events   honeymoon costa rica

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ceremony & reception

flowers & decor darryl & Co. location hotel zaza

chic &

boutique

Houston’s unique and intimate boutique hotels are tailor made for custom weddings. writer Maggie Marton ~ photo D. jones photo

With their intriguing architecture, unique decor schemes and attentive service, boutique hotels provide both intimacy and sophistication—a perfect combination for a perfectly personalized wedding. Each of Houston’s finest boutique hotels offers something a little different, whether it’s a canopied terrace, a lavish high-end restaurant, an after-hours bar, or an air of opulence from a bygone era.

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ceremony & reception Hotel Icon

Constructed in 1911 as a bank building, Hotel ICON recently underwent a $10 million renovation that maintained much of the building’s historical elegance. According to the hotel’s general manager, Kristin Skille, the structure of the building retains its original features: vaulted ceilings, ornate crown moldings, pillars, and staircases that contain the original cement steps. Each of these elements, along with decorative details and vintage artwork, has been preserved and restored to its natural beauty. The lavish decor, high ceilings and expansive windows provide an elegant backdrop to a true cosmopolitan wedding celebration. Exclusive to Hotel ICON is a threelevel penthouse suite that has a rooftop terrace and bar overlooking the Houston

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skyline. This space can be used for small events or as a space dedicated to the wedding party’s preparations. “We pride ourselves on small- to mid-size receptions and affairs,” Skille says. “Up to 200 people is really our capacity, but we look at that as a benefit because by catering to those intimate numbers of people we’re able to create unique experiences.” The Sam Houston Hotel

Named for the Texas pioneer who helped shape the history and destiny of Houston, The Sam Houston Hotel was redesigned in 2013 for comfort and refined simplicity. The event space at The Sam Houston is a unique concept. Veranda by *17 is a modern, semi-outdoor venue complete with a permanently tented rooftop

structure. Ivy winds its way up the venue’s exposed brick walls, and natural light floods the space, illuminating its white decor—which, incidentally, is an ideal backdrop for lighting and floral of any color. “It is the best of both worlds,” says senior catering manager Natalie Monk, “an outside and airy feel with the advantages of a completely climatecontrolled space. There is no other venue in Houston that has a similar feel or look to this event space.” As for wedding services, “Dealing with a boutique hotel gives the bride and groom the luxury of not only customizing their food and drink options to their liking, but also allowing them to build their full event from the ground up to reflect exactly who they are,” Monk notes.


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ceremony & reception Hotel Derek

A recent multimillion-dollar renovation has made urban-chic Hotel Derek— already among the city’s most alluring properties—an even more exciting option for elegantly original Houston weddings. “If you’re tempted to skirt tradition and deliver a little thrill to guests, then Hotel Derek is your ‘I do’ destination,” notes director of catering Misty King. With 10,000 square feet of event space, a decor scheme that luxuriates in rich fabrics and Texan touches (the hotel’s name is a play on the oil derricks that are tied to Houston’s industrial history), and a fashionable Galleria-area address, Hotel Derek is swank without a hint of stuffiness, and cool, but with a good dose of comfort. Notes King, “Hotel Derek is shaped and styled to be unique, so say bye-bye to the ‘silver, gold and platinum’ wedding packages, and begin tailoring a soiree that mirrors your individual taste. And let’s not forget, a boutique hotel offers expansive services, so you can enjoy your big day without lifting a finger.” Hotel ZaZa Houston

Known for its chic and edgy vibe, Hotel ZaZa puts a one-of-a-kind spin on wedding celebrations. As director of special events Kleibert Estrada puts it, “This decadent, eclectic resort is a mix of glamour and warmth, of high style and creature comforts.” The hotel strives to combine unique details with customized cuisine, attentive service and luxurious accommodations, to create a unique and sophisticated event. Brides can choose from a variety of memorable spaces that can’t be found anywhere else. The Phantom Ballroom—a favorite for larger weddings—is adorned with large windows and rich red-and-gold fabrics. The Déjà Vu room, meanwhile, is a feminine 42 

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ceremony & reception space, with woven paneled walls, textured fabrics and zebra carpeting. And, for a relaxed spring or fall event, or al fresco ceremony, Hotel ZaZa offers a poolside space. “We are all about creating an unforgettable experience for our guests,” says Estrada. “Our highly trained, extremely flexible, challenge-loving staff of experts is ready to transform any of our many spaces to meet your own special desires.” And after the festivities wind down, couples can book one of Hotel ZaZa’s famed Magnificent Seven Suites— a range of chic, large spaces with themes to fit a couple’s distinct personality. Magnolia Hotel Houston

For a personal experience, Magnolia Hotel Houston delivers. According to Kristina Bontrager, the hotel’s social catering manager, “Our commitment to flexibility really allows our clients to completely customize their event and make it one of a kind. Whether it’s allowing vendors extra setup time, creating innovative signature drinks, or utilizing our sleek lounge furniture to create the perfect cocktail setting, we embrace our clients’ vision.” The venue has three event spaces and a variety of amenities designed to meet any couple’s needs. The Magnolia Ballroom has a separate cocktail area and can seat 200 guests. Leading into the ballroom is a grand staircase, perfect for dramatic photo ops. The Lounge is an open-concept reception space that seats 230. It includes a built-in granite bar, a billiards room and a library. The Sterling Ballroom is a smaller option, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a cocktail area. Bontrager says the hotel’s decor adds a touch of sophistication to any event. “The hotel and decor are modern in style while staying true to the 44 

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ceremony & reception hotel’s historic roots of the 1920s. ​ Picturesque areas such as our newly renovated lobby and grand staircase make perfect backdrops for unforgettable  photos.​” Four Seasons Houston

The Four Seasons, located downtown near Discovery Green, has nearly 30 years of Houston weddings in its history. The Classic Ballroom hosts 150 to 350 guests comfortably. Or, couples can take advantage of lovely weather and host up to 200 people poolside. Sophisticated, with a touch of rustic Texas, the property includes an array of architectural and design elements that add elegance to a reception. Vintage Murano-glass chandeliers, crown moldings and marble columns adorn the space. A pre-function space with

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ceremony & reception floor-to-ceiling windows overlooks the grand staircase and colorful, blooming orchids. Skylights above the grand staircase illuminate the space with bright sunshine or romantic moonlight. Gary P. Baumann, CPCE, is the hotel’s director of catering and conference planning. He says that his favorite aspect of the Four Seasons is “the way an event flows from beginning to end. We bring service and elegance to an event, but at the same time provide the edge in culinary design a client may be looking for.” The Houstonian hotel, c l u b & s pa

​ Many well-heeled Houston brides choose to evoke the casual luxury of a resort wedding at The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa. The property makes wedding guests feel like members of an exclusive club by providing access to The Houstonian Club and many of its amenities. The Arbor Grill, which opened in summer 2013, provides an outdoor dining option with an expanded sitting area and fire pit. To round out the resort-like feel, Trellis, The Spa at The Houstonian, is a short walk from the hotel. “I think our event space dresses up or down, depending on the theme and feel of a wedding,” says Lisa Hopkins, CMP, CPCE, director of catering. “We can adapt any menu to be casual or formal, and add the right touches to make it exclusively designed for the wedding.” Both the public and event spaces at the Houstonian have a luxurious residential feel. “Each of our event spaces has a special touch, be it the chandeliers, foyer fireplaces, patio or windows,” Hopkins says. “Nearly all of our rooms have windows with really pretty views of trees. Each main room has its own private pre-function, foyer space. Our entire campus is full of photo ops.”  48 

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Misty d Brandon R EAL W EDDINGS

~ MARCH 9, 2013 ~

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While they had known each other through friends for years, makeup artist Misty, of The Perfect Face, and banker Brandon, never really spoke to one another—until one fateful night when the two bumped into each other and he bought her a drink. “After, I told a mutual friend he was cute, and he proceeded to set us up.” The rest, as they say, is history. Of all the beautiful elements of her Hill Country ranch wedding—the shabby-chic glamour, the dance-floor wigs and glow sticks, the ice-cream bar, the presence of Foxy, her beloved Pomeranian—Misty’s favorite part was “getting to walk down the aisle beside my grandmother, and getting to see the look on Brandon’s face.” At that moment, she says, “I knew all the stress and all the hours put into this one day were worth it.”

writer natasha garber ~ photography Select Studios W e ddi ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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R EAL W EDDINGS

names misty rockwell

brandon cotter   planning challenge “the guest list was the hardest for me; i wanted to include so many people, but it was a texas destination &

wedding and i still wanted a quaint feel”   number of guests 220  venue vista west ranch   wedding dress enzoani from weddings by debbie   groomswear al’s formal wear   mother of the bride attire t. carolyn fashions   photography select studios   honeymoon thailand

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ceremony & reception

flowers & decor darryl & Co. location houston oaks country club

stand on

ceremony

The rites of marriage take a personal turn.

writer Rina Chandarana John ~ photo larry fagala

From the orchid on the place setting to the Swarovski crystals on the cake topper, a bride can spend hours poring over the small details that go into the biggest party of her life. With so much energy—not to mention money—spent on the reception, it’s no wonder that many brides leave the wedding ceremony to standard rituals and traditional settings. But while ritual and tradition are vital parts of the wedding celebration, your ceremony also is a wonderful opportunity for personalization and sentiment, fine detail and deep meaning. 56 

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ceremony & reception The Rite Site

Whether in the city or country, the location of your wedding plays a big role in the overall emotional tenor of your ceremony. Event planner Jenika Gonzales of Houston-based Event Solutions says one of her brides held her wedding at the family’s farm. “It was a location out of a fairytale,” Gonzales says, “complete with wildflowers, farm animals and a barn that we thought only existed on Pinterest.” The couple held their ceremony under a wooden treehouse that the bride’s late father had built for her and her sister. “That represented so many great childhood memories of him for them,” says Gonzales. “We draped the treehouse with ivory linens and added flowers to give it the perfect touch and dress it up as her ceremony

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backdrop,” says Gonzales. “One of the most rewarding moments was seeing her walk down the aisle path to the treehouse and seeing her face light up when she saw it decorated.” In Spirit

Weddings are a unique occasion for family far and near to come together to celebrate the new couple. But if a loved one such as a parent or grandparent is deceased, a memory table filled with favorite photos is a meaningful way to have them there in spirit. “At one wedding both parents of the bride were deceased,” says Jo Ann Schwartz Woodward of Houston planning firm Schwartz & Woodward. “We had a special memory table with photos and the mother’s favorite flowers.” She also has used

flowers to reserve chairs in the first row of the ceremony in memory of family members. Sobi Qazi of Lion & Lamb Event Services agrees that it is important to recognize lost loved ones at a wedding. “We have had the groom walk down the aisle with a single long-stemmed rose, either white or red, to honor his late mother or father,” placing the flower on a chair in the first row before taking his spot at the altar, she says. Fl o r a l S e n t i m e n t s

Gonzales suggests incorporating your family history into your ceremony bouquet and floral accent pieces. One of her past brides used “a boot that belonged to her late father as a vase for some gorgeous flowers on her signin table,” the planner says. “Not only


ceremony & reception did it add a nice touch to her rusticchic wedding decor, but it was also a touching way for guests to remember her father.” She adds that pinning a locket with a picture of a deceased family member onto your bouquet wrap keeps your loved one close. “We had a bride do

this who had lost her father, whom she was very close with, and she wanted him to be right beside her on the happiest day of her life.” Planner Jubilee Lau of Jubilee Lau Events in San Francisco says her brides have added family heirlooms, such as a grandmother’s brooch or necklace,

to their bouquets. “It’s a way to bring family history into the wedding, and if grandparents have passed away, it makes it feel like they are still part of the wedding,” says Lau. Schwartz Woodward suggests that couples ask their mothers what types of flowers they used in their weddings, and incorporate those blooms into the bride’s bouquet. Fa b r i c o f L o v e

While “some brides wear a family wedding dress or veil that has been passed down from generation to generation,” notes Schwartz Woodward, even a small piece of history can have major importance as part of the bride’s wedding-day attire. Pinning a small swatch of lace from a family wedding dress onto the bride’s petticoat, for instance, is a thoughtful and personal way to remember the past. “It makes for a wonderful photo and is meaningful to many brides,” Schwartz Woodward says. Lau adds that even stitching a beloved family member’s name inside her wedding gown can have profound meaning for the bride. Another of Schwartz Woodward’s favorite ideas is to monogram a handkerchief—either a family heirloom or one purchased specifically for the wedding—with the date of the mother-of-the-bride’s wedding, as well as the bride’s wedding. “It can be passed on to their children to use,” the planner says. Kids’ Stuff

Young bridal-party members always elicit smiles at the wedding ceremony, especially when they are styled for the occasion. Tracie Domino of Tampa, Fla.’s Tracie Domino Events says there’s nothing wrong with adding a little 60 

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ceremony & reception humor to your young guests’ entrance. “Dressing your ring bearer as a secretservice agent is sure to get a laugh, and the little guy will love his moment in the spotlight,” she notes. Another lovely touch is to infuse young guests’ attire with sentimental value—making the flower-girl dress or ring-bearer pillow from fabric taken from the bride’s mother’s wedding gown, for example. Picture Perfect

Photos, whether vintage, childhood or professionally shot just for the occasion, bring memories and meaning to the ceremony experience. A ceremonyentrance table or shelf display featuring framed photos mixed with flowers, candles, and vintage or thematic items, for instance, is a terrific way to pay

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homage to your past before embarking on your future. Particularly with heirloom wedding photos, “It is so much fun to see who is related to whom and to see the wedding attire,” says Schwartz Woodward. With one wedding she worked on, Lau says, “The bride grew up with lots of family and friends’ photos in her home.” To echo the bride’s childhood home and add sentiment to the ceremony, the planner picked out pictures from old family albums and created a “wall of fame.”

personalized note cards for guests to write thoughtful wishes or fill in helpful advice to the newlyweds. Wedding planner Jung Lee of Fête New York makes custom oversized guestbooks with thick paper for guests to write special notes or add photos, recipes or any other trinkets they wish to leave for the couple. Other guestbook alternatives include sign-in trees (using fingerprints or cutouts as “leaves”), rock jars, quilt squares, photo-booth books, and canvases paired with paintbrushes for guests to leave their artistic mark.

Best Wishes

Many couples forgo the standard guestbook and opt for other creative ways to solicit and hold onto their guests’ best wishes. Schwartz Woodward says she often creates

Tokens of Love

Qazi likes to help the groom pick out a wedding gift for his bride-to-be. “From musical instruments, to iPads with prerecorded messages, we help couples


ceremony & reception find the perfect wedding-day surprise based on what speaks to their relationship,” she says. W e ll N a m e d

If your ceremony guest list is small, planner Jennifer Brisman of Weddings New York says programs can be personalized to include the guests’ names. “It makes them feel you were being thoughtful,” she notes. Domino suggests having a little fun with the content. “You can list the nicknames of all the bridal party members, or maybe just the groomsmen, in addition to their real names.” Religious Customs

Aspects of a couple’s parents’ wedding can also be brought in through religious customs. Schwartz Woodward

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ceremony & reception says that she has seen a couple use their grandparents’ or parents’ kiddush cup for a Jewish ceremony. “Weddings are a time of love and unity and we like to make sure that all traditions, cultures and families are represented,” agrees Qazi, who has done many “fusion” weddings. Qazi planned a Vietnamese and Hindu wedding and used cultural inspirations for the wedding invitations and the traditional attire. “We used a Buddha to represent the bride’s side and a Ganesh for the groom’s side.” She also recommends that her clients provide their guests with programs that describe the symbolism of these traditions so that the guests can understand their significance. Domino says couples often incorporate readings or Bible verses that were

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part of their sorority or fraternity rituals. And Lau adds that she has couples of different cultural backgrounds incorporate different languages into the readings. Readings and Vows

Qazi notes that adding your love story to vows or readings is a good way to personalize a ceremony. “One couple had their pastor explain the story of how they met,” she recounts. “This was a great way to add humor and joy for their guests to really feel as if they were part of the journey of their love story.” She has also had clients walk down the aisle to their recorded vows. Move to the Music

When walking down the aisle, Qazi

says her South Asian couples choose songs that reflect their stories with family, love and life. “Hindi songs explain love as a crazy emotion that is so powerful it can be overwhelming in a good way,” she explains. Although music choices may be limited in certain houses of worship, Domino suggests getting creative everywhere else. “We have a client getting married this spring walking down the aisle to ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow,’ and another bride walked down the aisle to U2’s ‘Beautiful Day.’” Lau says using your talent makes the day even more special. “We had one groom compose his own music for the bride to walk down the aisle to.” Notes Qazi: “It is moments like these that everyone will remember for years to come.”


la vievert en Rolling lawns, magnificently appointed rooms, spectacular style: Revel in the makings of a perfect French-country wedding.

location Houston Oaks Country Club photography Larry Fagala styling summar salah hair & makeup the perfect face


previous page / Valentino Dress Neiman Marcus / Earrings Sloan Hall / Rings Kendra Scott / Jimmy Choo Heels Joseph ABOVE / Etro Blazer, Etro Shirt & Gucci Trousers Neiman Marcus / Shoes Donald J Pliner / Cufflinks Kendra Scott right / David Peck Gown David Peck USA / Earrings & Ring Kendra Scott / Stuart Weitzman Heels Neiman Marcus

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ABOVE TOP / Cake & Cake Stands Susie's Cakes & Confections / Macarons Petite Sweets / Plates Kuhl-Linscomb ABOVE BOTTOM / Tablescape & Florals Darryl & Co. / Custom Pillows & Table Number Carla David Design / Suitcase Wedding Star / Place Settings Kuhl-Linscomb right / BRIDE: Dior Gown & Manolo Blahnik Heels Neiman Marcus / Ring Kendra Scott / Martin Bernstein Necklace & Earrings Sloan Hall GROOM: Etro Blazer, Etro Shirt & Gucci Trousers Neiman Marcus / Shoes Donald J Pliner / Cufflinks Kendra Scott TABLESCAPE: Florals, Chargers & Candelabra Darryl & Co. / Stationery & Paper Carla David Design / Tom Dixon Eclectic Plates Kuhl-Linscomb

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LEFT / BRIDE: Oscar De La Renta Gown Joan Pillow Bridal Salon / Necklace & Bracelet Joseph / Earrings Kendra Scott / Bouquet Darryl & Co. GROOM: Barbetti Blazer, Bernardini Shirt, Chiari Belt, Chiari Trousers & Tie Versione / RING BEARER: Outfit Janie and Jack FLOWER GIRL: Jane Wang Custom Dress Now & Forever Bridal Boutique / Banner Carla David Design ABOVE / BRIDE: Oscar De La Renta Gown Joan Pillow Bridal Salon / Necklace Joseph / Earrings Kendra Scott / Bouquet Darryl & Co. GROOM: Barbetti Blazer, Bernardini Shirt, Chiari Belt, Chiari Trousers & Tie Versione / Boutonniere Darryl & Co.

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ABOVE / BRIDE: Lazaro Gown Ivory Bridal Atelier / Earrings, Bracelet & Rings Kendra Scott GROOM: Jacket & Trousers Al's Formal Wear / Shoes Donald J Pliner LEFT / TABLESCAPE: Florals, Chargers & Candelabra Darryl & Co. / Stationery & Paper Carla David Design / Tom Dixon Eclectic Plates Kuhl-Linscomb

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BRIDE: Chloe Dao Dress Chloe Dao / Jimmy Choo Heels Neiman Marcus / Earrings, Bracelets & Ring Kendra Scott GROOM: Barbetti Blazer, Borgo Ognissanti 28 Shirt & Corduroy Mac Jeans Versione / Shoes Donald J Pliner SET: Vespa Scooter Smith / Just Married Sign Carla David Design

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ceremony & reception

small

plate, big bite

Caterer Peter Callahan makes masterpieces in miniature.

writer Natasha Garber ~ photos courtesy of peter callahan

Culinary innovator Peter Callahan never met a menu item he wasn’t able to render in perfect, miniature, delectable form. Known for his mastery of mini savory and dessert dishes, and his pioneering design of custom trays and shelves upon which to display his bite-size creations, Callahan has catered spectacular events for Martha Stewart, Vera Wang and Kate Spade, to name just a few of his fashionable clients. And with the publication of his book “Bite by Bite: 100 Stylish Little Plates You Can Make for Any Party” (Clarkson Potter, 2011), he has brought elegant itty-bitty bites to celebrations across the nation. We got Callahan to dish on a few delicious topics, 80 

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ceremony & reception including small-plate pairings, Texas meat-and-potatoes mouthfuls, and the very best in two-bite desserts. So dig in! Weddings in Houston: What are some of your most popular small plates for wedding celebrations? Peter Callahan: Mini burgers are probably the number-one item. It’s a grilled, tiny burger (to me, a burger must have char-grilled flavor), a cherry-tomato slice, a dollop of ketchup, a tiny piece of lettuce, and a small bun, the size of a quarter. Then there is our mini grilled cheese with brioche bread— we make the pans for them, as they don’t exist, and we use aged Gruyere cheese. We also do mini Patron tequila bottles where we drill the corks, drop in a straw, and then fill the bottle with margaritas—really good ones that we squeeze the limes for—then we pair it with a mini taco shell with cod, mango and avocado, and Thai chile paste for zip. The taco goes on a whole lime that is cut at the top in a “V” to hold it snugly. People flip. WIH: What kinds of small plates pair well with wine or beer? PC: I like a toasted lobster roll paired with a good IPA beer, or small short-rib burgers paired with a Manhattan cocktail, or spaghetti and meatballs paired with a Chianti. WIH: This is Houston, where meat and potatoes still reign supreme. What are some of your favorite ways of doing meat and potatoes as small bites instead of a big plated entrée? PC: Steak frites is one of the most popular items we do in small plates. We take a New York strip or rib eye and slice it in two-and-a-half-inch slices and shingle them on a plate, then pair it with a paper cone of crispy fries. It’s a big crowd pleaser. We also might pair short ribs with some celery-root-potato puree—the short ribs when boneless 82 

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ceremony & reception are as soft as butter, easy to eat and beyond delicious WIH: Is it really possible to have an ALL small-plate reception and have guests leave feeling full and satisfied? PC: Yes, you just need to have enough small plates, and enough hors d’oeuvre to fill up guests before the small plates. Here is our formula: for cocktails, 14 passed bite-size hors d’oeuvre per guest, then three plates per guest, then go into dessert “hors d’oeuvre.” Guests will need to be dancing it off, and will be very satisfied and well fed. WIH: In addition to a beautiful wedding cake, what are a few small-bite sweet treats that will wow wedding guests? PC: Mini s’mores are a big hit. Ours are a graham cracker topped with chocolate, topped with toasted marshmallow, then we set it on a marshmallow base for styling—and yes, many guests eat the decorative base. Other passed items include our “chipwich” lollipop, which is a small chocolatechip cookie filled with vanilla ice cream on a Lucite skewer set in a rectangular tray. Also mini apple crumb pies drizzled with rum-caramel sauce—and for fall, lady apples dipped in caramel with a chocolateganache center that we pipe in after coring them. WIH: What advice do you have for the recent bride who wants to feature small plates at her own party in her newlywed nest? PC: My book “Bite by Bite” contains recipes, yields and styling guidelines to make the most amazing reception, all with mini or mid-size foods, with an emphasis on comfort foods that are everyone’s favorites. You will have a reception like none other and it will be all the guests talk about! 84 

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Amanda d Matt

R EAL W EDDINGS

~ JULY 20, 2013 ~

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Five years of dating before saying “I do” didn’t diminish the big moment one bit for bride Amanda, who says seeing “my fiancé at the end of the aisle and knowing that minutes later he would be my husband” was the most joyful moment of her wedding. The celebration of her union with Matt, whom she met and fell in love with—at first sight—while both attended Stephen F. Austin State University, “was everything I have ever dreamed of and more,” the bride says. “I cried tears of joy almost the whole day.” That day included a touching ceremony and regal, candlelit reception, both at castle-like Chateau Polonez—along with plenty of fun. “The funniest moment was when my husband used his teeth to take my garter off,” Amanda says. “Needless to say, I was very surprised!”

writer natasha garber ~ photography Jonathan Ivy Photography W e ddi ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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R EAL W EDDINGS

names amanda may

&

matthew yarberry  the proposal “matt asked me to marry him on a family ski

trip to park lakes, utah—he proposed in front of the entire family and completely took me by surprise!”  number of guests 170   venue chateau polonez   mother of the bride attire t. carolyn fashions   music & photo booth dju productions   honeymoon punta cana, dominican republic

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ceremony & reception

photo lindsay elizabeth photography

little things photo u + U design

the

Small wedding details can have big emotional impact. writer Rina Chandarana John

Planning a wedding reception is a process that is full of big decisions: venue, florist, entertainment, photographer. But for all these hugely important choices, it is the small details, the personal gestures and sentimental touches, that make a wedding reception beautiful and meaningful for guests and couple alike.

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ceremony & reception

photo u + U design

photo u + U design

Book ’Em

While the wedding guestbook is an enduring tradition, that doesn’t mean your wedding guestbook has to be traditional in design. Planner Jennifer Brisman of Weddings New York suggests, in place of a standard sign-in book, “Have an urn or bowl and let guests leave little words of wisdom for the newlyweds. It is comical to see what people come up with.” Guests can also sign their names directly on the urn. Sobi Qazi of Houston-based Lion & Lamb Event Services suggests creating a red-carpet video guestbook, where guests can leave a recorded video message for the couple. “Guests feel as if they are attending a celebrity soiree,” she says, adding that she has even created a personalized backdrop that includes the couple’s monogram. A truly unique—and practical—guestbook idea is to have a wooden bench made for guests to sign with their good wishes. After the wedding, the newlyweds can preserve the bench and have it for decor in their home or garden. Love Song

Wedding consultant Jo Ann Schwartz Woodward of Houston’s Schwartz & Woodward says it’s always a delight for guests when a bride or groom puts her or his talents on display at the reception. “There was a bride singing to her groom and then he joined her to do a duet,” she says of a recent wedding. “There was not a dry eye in the room.” The planner recalls yet another wedding where the couple played their favorite instruments at the reception. “They met in band and they both played the trumpet,” she explains. “As a surprise for the parents and guests, I arranged for the couple to practice with the band and they played their trumpets at the reception.” 92 

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photo mustard seed photography


ceremony & reception Sometimes family members can surprise the couple with their own special abilities. “A mother of the bride who had never sung in public before made arrangements to take singing lessons and sang to the bride and groom for their first dance,” Schwartz Woodward recounts. “It truly was a ‘wow’ moment.” And don’t forget to have your MC, DJ or bandleader involve guests in your reception’s music selections. “I have seen bandleaders circulate during cocktails and start conversations to find out what guests’ favorite music is so that it can be added to the playlist,” says Brisman. “It makes people feel that the party was for them.” As for speeches, impromptu toasts are more heartfelt than prepared ones, according to Brisman. “The MC can

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ceremony & reception even go around and ask the guests questions, and this way they will speak from the heart.” Sweet Sentiments

Cakes are often the focal point at a reception. Qazi says cakes are a perfect way to help your guests learn more about your relationship. “We have had couples replicate a building, such as the UT Tower, where they first laid eyes on each other,” she says. “I have also seen a replica of a mechanic’s tool box as a groom’s cake, to represent the groom’s profession.” Schwartz Woodard says she had one couple with a cake topper that represented them in a hot-air balloon. Think of a hobby or passion that you both enjoy and incorporate that as part of the topper. Or if the groom proposed on the beach, a cake topper could be some beautiful shells. There also are plenty of Etsy shops featuring handmade or vintage cake toppers—nuzzling “lovebirds” are a favorite figure—that can be customized with the couple’s name or initials, and marriage date. The continuing popularity of candy buffets and dessert tables is a testament to their universal appeal. After all, who can resist a chance to indulge in favorite childhood treats or sinfully decadent grown-up goodies? Coordinator Jung Lee of planning firm Fête in New York says she likes to introduce a customized candy bar that can be color coordinated or decorated based on a couple’s wedding theme. Food for Thought

A little extra attention goes a long way when it comes to planning your wedding menu. Your cocktail hour, for instance, may feature favorite foods you have enjoyed individually or as a 96 

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ceremony & reception couple, whether they include comfortfood classics like macaroni-and-cheese or pigs-in-blankets, ethnic specialties like samosas or quesadillas, or mini versions of items inspired by your favorite restaurant menu. Brisman also reminds couples to take note of vegetarian or vegan guests and ensure that they have a special entree served to them, so that they may savor the festivities right along with everyone else. While food sets the mood, specialty drinks can help to tell the couple’s love story. “One of my most recent weddings had a love-potion station, since the bride was a pharmacist and wanted to tie in those details,” says Qazi. “We had arranged specialty drinks that had the color of the couple’s theme.” Tracie Domino of Tracie Domino Events in Tampa, Fla., advises couples

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to customize the cups their specialty drinks are served in. “Have them made with your wedding logo or your monogram,” she suggests. Wedding planner Cassandra Santor of Cassandra & Co. Weddings in Los Angeles notes that couples should make sure their favorite beverages are featured at the reception. “If you love sake, like a couple I worked with a few years back, perhaps you swap out those Champagne flutes for custom sake glasses for your toast,” she says. S w e e t ly S e at e d

In recent years, escort cards, which let guests know where they are to be seated, have gone from simple to spectacularly creative. Lee says she had one couple use a real lemon tree with the seating assignments written on little

black cards which were pinned to the individual lemons. One of Qazi’s couples attached small elephants to the escort cards to match the wedding’s decor. Proposals happen in the most unique places. “One groom had proposed in a hot-air balloon, so we had a beautiful photo of the sky with clouds enlarged and used as a backdrop,” says Schwartz Woodward. The backdrop was placed near the entrance of the reception hall and paper hot-airballoon escort cards were placed in alphabetical order on the backdrop for guests to find their names. Special memories and hobbies can be incorporated into escort cards, as well. A love for sun and sand could be reflected in seashells or starfish with cards attached by pretty ribbons.


ceremony & reception Perhaps you favor a seasonal sentiment. If your wedding takes place during winter, for instance, cards can be attached to pine cones or shimmering paper snowflakes. As for table numbers themselves, while wedding venues often provide standard versions, many wedding consultants are seeing couples opt to create their own. Tables can be named after your favorite quotes, books, scripture or

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places you’ve traveled together. You can even display little stories about yourselves that your guests may not be familiar with, or provide guests with cards asking what you two should do together as newlyweds on date nights, or where they’d suggest you take your next vacation. Domino says a fun idea is to name tables after life milestones. “Name your table after significant years in your lives and display a photo of you and

your new spouse from that year,” she notes—“even the ones with braces.” Picture Perfect

“One of the most unique things that was done was when a bride took both her grandmothers’ wedding dresses and her mother’s wedding dress and had a photographer come and photograph her in the dresses,” says Schwartz Woodward. “These pictures were featured at the wedding reception.”


ceremony & reception Ta k e H o m e Fav o r s

Jennifer Brisman suggests the photographer go around to each table to take pictures of the guests. Before the end of the night, the guests receive a print as a reception favor. “You realize the fun that you had then,” says Brisman.

Customized take-home treats are always a favorite with guests. Schwartz Woodward says one couple had a chocolate designer make white- and milk-chocolate trumpets, which were presented in monogrammed gold boxes. Incorporating hobbies into your favors is a nice way for guests to know

more about you. Schwartz Woodward says one couple gave mini wine bottles away since they owned vineyards. Comfort Zone

Thinking about the comfort and enjoyment of your guests is high on the wedding-planning priority list for planner Santor. “Seat the older guests further from the speakers, and keep your parents where they can easily see your first dance, the speeches and cake cutting,” she advises. She also suggests thinking about the weather if the wedding is outdoors during the year’s chillier months. “Inexpensive pashminas in addition to properly placed heaters can make a big impact,” she says. Get Social

Before an event is even over, some guests may have already posted updates on Twitter and Instagram. You and your groom can get in on the social-media fun by making your wedding more accessible to guests. “We have signs for guests to hashtag the couple on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social-media websites,” says Qazi. Nothing Overlooked

From the moment they arrive at your wedding reception to the moment they depart, guests should feel immersed in the beauty and joy of your life’s most precious celebration. Which means no area should be overlooked—not even the restrooms. “A couple should always think about ways to make the restroom inviting and clean,” says Lee. This may include setting counters and even the tops of toilet tanks with candles or small floral arrangements, setting out touch-up toiletries and offering baskets of individually wrapped mints. 102 

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Wendie d Deji

R EAL W EDDINGS

~ JULY 13, 2013 ~

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When they met at the after-party of a mutual friend’s wedding, there was no way that Wendie and Deji could have known they’d be celebrating their own blessed union before long. The pair’s wedding was a multi-event affair that involved both a traditional Nigerian ceremony and party, and a church ceremony and lavish 400-guest Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa reception. For the latter, the couple, with the help of planning firm Events by Doyin, chose a palette of ivory with mustard-yellow accents and hints of shimmering silver. Notes the bride, “My favorite part was the suspended cake. When Doyin Fashakin had suggested the idea, I bought it right away. Everyone was skeptical except for Abraham [Hakakian] of [florist] Plants N’ Petals, whom Doyin convinced to build the apparatus to hold the cake.” She adds, “I also got surprised before the end of the night by my dad, who had invited a celebrity from Nigeria to perform at my wedding. It was so much fun, and all I had ever dreamed of.”

writer natasha garber ~ photography Rhphotoarts W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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R EAL W EDDINGS

names wendie amos

hotel, club

&

deji olagoke  number of guests 400   venue the houstonian spa   wedding dress ivory bridal atelier   flowers, draping & &

lighting plants n’ petals  linens & dance floor flora

eventi  consultant events by doyin   videography a&a video productions   honeymoon costa rica

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&


I Do!

bridal

Soiree

at hotel zaza

On Oct. 6, 2013, Houston’s finest wedding experts transformed the Museum District’s Hotel ZaZa into a fantasy wedding wonderland. And the 300 brides in attendance (along with their more than 100 dazzled guests) couldn’t wait to get lost in the gorgeousness. The 2013 I Do! Bridal Soiree at Hotel ZaZa treated attendees to extraordinary tablescapes, magnificent cakes, exquisite invitations, brilliant photography and the season’s most spectacular gowns. When they weren’t meeting one-on-one with top wedding designers and professionals, brides enjoyed divine Hotel ZaZa cuisine, blushing Champagne cocktails, fine wine and sweet treats, and each and every bride went home with a signature I Do! Bridal Soiree swag bag filled with bridal goodies. It was an unforgettable afternoon—and one that would not have been possible without the dedication of Hotel ZaZa director of catering Kleibert Estrada and associate director of catering Lisa Hudson, along with the entire Hotel ZaZa catering and events team. Our gratitude goes to show photographer David Jones, show videographer A&A Video Productions, and MC and entertainment guru Jonny Black of Jonny Black Productions, for helping make the I Do! Bridal Soiree at Hotel ZaZa the hottest bridal-event ticket in town! location HOTEL ZAZA ~ writer Natasha Garber ~ photography D. Jones photo


Karen d Clinton R EAL W EDDINGS

~ JUNE 1 5, 2013 ~

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For a love story that began with a chance flirtation at a Galveston gas station, Karen and Clinton’s wedding certainly upped the bar. No gritty pumps or oil spots, just pure elegance and romance filled the rooms of Chateau Cocomar when the pair wed in the company of 170 guests one fine June day. The couple credits the venue’s Lorna Macias with helping to orchestrate a gracious and gorgeous affair that included a delectable Southern-influenced dinner menu from Café Natalie Catering. In a space filled with vintage glamour, including fluted glass vases, champagne silk linens and live saxophone music, guests dined, sipped, danced, and enjoyed a custom dessert bar during the later hours. Groom Clinton recounts the tears elicited from guests by Karen’s processional down the aisle—“She looked absolutely gorgeous,” he says. As for the bride, she observed a few tears of her own: “As I began to walk down the aisle, I could see he had tears in his eyes. Everyone disappeared and all I could see was him. He looked so handsome!”

writer natasha garber ~ photography Weddings by Alefiya W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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R EAL W EDDINGS

names karen bayard

&

clinton walker    the proposal at galveston’s annual

july 4th fireworks display: “i sat quiet, as i was stunned for a few moments, then whispered ‘yes’ through tears”    number of guests 170    venue chateau cocomar    bridesmaids attire david’s bridal    catering café natalie catering    photography weddings by alefiya    honeymoon turks

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&

caicos


ceremony & reception

cocktail culture

Mix up a little magic at your wedding reception.

writer Maggie Marton

Mixology—the art of creating delicious cocktails using fine spirits and fresh ingredients—is making its mark across the country. From swank hotel bars to vintage speakeasies, from fine-dining establishments to neighborhood watering holes, bartenders are reviving classic cocktails and inventing innovative concoctions that are meant to be sipped, savored and celebrated. And there’s no better occasion for

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ceremony & reception celebratory sipping than your wedding. So take a page from the mixologist’s recipe book and shake up a little something special for your guests to enjoy, with these tips and recipes from top cocktail and catering pros. S i g n at u r e M i x

There is a perfect drink to accompany any celebration—though sometimes it takes collaboration to develop it. Your venue’s bar staff can help devise a drink that will fit the look and feel of your wedding while complementing the food that you serve. At Hotel ICON, general manager Kristin Skille says that cocktail collaboration is an integral part of reception planning. “We recommend, for every special occasion, to customize the event and create a signature item. The easiest

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and most common way is to come up with a signature cocktail,” using elements of the couple’s personalities, the wedding’s theme or color scheme. Shane Bruns, director of food and beverage at the Omni Houston Galleria Hotel, which includes the Noe Grill and Black Swan nightclub, says that the signature cocktail trend encourages distinctive drink choices. “The trend to have a unique signature cocktail at your wedding is growing tremendously,” he notes. “This allows our bartenders to get creative and truly bring in the mixology aspect.” The best place to start creating your signature wedding cocktail is with your preference in beverages. “We make a featured cocktail based on the type of spirits the bride and groom share in common and flavor profiles they

prefer,” says Barbara Jacobs, chief operating officer for downtown L.A.’s popular The Edison. She also suggests including Champagne and wine choices along with spirits, all of which should pair with the couple’s food choices. However, she cautions couples to choose their spirits wisely and avoid cocktails that are too high in sugar, so that guests enjoy the festivities without getting too intoxicated. If the bride and groom prefer different spirits—say, she’s vodka and he’s gin—Rob Pate, the owner and general manager of Peche and Cherry Street restaurants in Austin, has a solution: “A ‘groom’s drink’ and a ‘bride’s drink’ make perfect sense.” He notes that people are taking cocktails a lot more seriously in general. “The standard offering of red or white wine and vodka aren’t


ceremony & reception really special, and people want to find unique ways to showcase their personality,” he says. “A great way to do this is through custom drinks.” With the continuing popularity of vintage-inspired weddings, bar offerings that reference another decade are in high demand. According to Bruns, “retro cocktails” and “new renditions of the classic recipes” are favorites for wedding festivities. Popular choices include the beloved gin or vodka martini, whiskey- and rye-based drinks such as the vermouth-tinted Manhattan or the classic old fashioned, and the refreshing gin and tonic. Couples also can customize their cocktail offerings to match the weather. For winter weddings, warm guests up with a whipped-cream-topped Irish coffee, hot buttered rum or spiked chai.

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For warm weather or outdoor events, Bruns says, “We can offer a frozen mimosa or poinsettia (a classic Champagne cocktail with orange liqueur and cranberry juice) versus the traditional presentation.” Also a great heat-beating treat: “watermelon sangria that we can top with frozen grapes.” T i m e a n d Pl a c e

Planning a daytime wedding? A lunch reception? Perhaps a day-after brunch? The key to cocktail planning is to choose an appropriate drink to complement the location or time of your celebration. For example, a martini or bourbon-based cocktail likely would be too heavy for a brunch or mid-day celebration, while an orange-juice-based beverage might seem a tad informal for a grand evening affair.

According to Jacobs, her staff has executed signature cocktails for every hour of the day. “We have done cocktails for any occasion, from breakfasts to midnight. Cocktail creations are driven by the client, the occasion, and personal choices.” Setting up a drink station and allowing guests to craft their own concoction is an appealing option. “For morning or early-afternoon functions, a Bloody Mary bar is the way to go,” suggests Bruns. “You can offer different types of Bloody Mary mix, vodkas and a plethora of condiments for the drink, including spicy green beans, asparagus, olives, cocktail onions, cherry peppers, celery, Cajun spice, sea salt, celery salt, etc.” For evening events, Bruns likes to stock bars with electronic ice cubes that


ceremony & reception light up guests’ drinks, adding an element of drama to a darker venue. For outdoor events or warm-weather events, Pate suggests lighter drinks with effervescence. “Never underestimate the cooling effect of an Aperol Spritz (a fizzy Italian cocktail made with Prosecco) or French 75 (a sweet drink made with gin, Champagne and lemon juice). Morning drinks are always better with bubbles, and for evening, you can usually go a little stronger and heavier with bourbon or tequila,” he says. Fresh is Best

As with fine cuisine, fresh, locally grown and organic ingredients are essential when it comes to cocktail creation. Hotel ICON takes its cocktail recipes seriously, utilizing fresh and locally sourced ingredients, which not only

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ceremony & reception infuse drinks with more flavor, but also pay homage to the bride and groom’s wedding city and region. “We absolutely pride ourselves on using spirits, wines, beers and other items from the region,” Skille says. “We are very true to Texas.” Because of this philosophy, they often create signature drinks utilizing brands distilled in the state. “We offer a variety of craft cocktails that incorporate an array of unique and seasonal ingredients such as blackberries, watermelon, ginger, mint, jalapeño, sage, strawberries and cucumber. Many of these ingredients are from local farms in and around Houston,” says Bruns. At his venues in Austin, Pate says his bartenders strive to use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. He notes, “We respect the ‘slow food’

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philosophy, and some of our closest friends are urban farmers in the Austin community, especially Paula and Glenn Foore, the owners of Springdale Farm. Whether it’s local honey or peaches from the downtown farmer’s market, you’ll always find seasonal produce working its way into dishes or drinks at Peche and Cherry Street.” Make It Memorable

The best way to create a custom beverage for your wedding is to communicate freely with your catering consultant from the get-go, Skille says, “It’s important for us that we engage the couple of honor into that process. There may be some things that are very unique to them. There may be something historic within their relationship that they would want to share. It helps

them put their custom fingerprint on the event.” Once you’ve worked with a craftsman bartender to devise the perfect cocktail to suit your venue, time and aesthetic, consider taking it a step further by making your cocktail choice a memorable part of your celebration. Souvenir menu cards can share your unique cocktail recipe, allowing your guests to recreate the beverage after the celebration. If your custom cocktail involves a specific element, like a swizzle stick, replace the standard disposable option with a lovely favor version for guests to take home and use again and again. online>> for more resources visit weddingsinhouston.com


ceremony & reception

Wedding

Cocktails

photo vladimir ambia

Mix up a little magic at your wedding reception.

Black Swan

Blushing Bride

Omni Hotel, Houston Muddled blackberries lend a dark and sophisticated hue to this celebratory cocktail, named for the dark and sophisticated lounge that created it.

Peche, Austin Could there be a more aptly named wedding-reception cocktail? We think not!

1.5 oz Tito’s Vodka 4 blackberries, muddled 1 oz Champagne 1 oz club soda .5 oz simple syrup 1 blackberry skewer (3-4 blackberries on skewer)

In a shaker tin, combine vodka and blackberries; muddle until blended well. Add simple syrup, Champagne and club soda. Shake and strain into a martini glass; garnish with blackberry skewer.

Hyacinth

Hotel ICON, Houston The smoothness of blanco tequila, the kick of jalapeño and a topper of locally brewed Shiner beer treat wedding guests to a true taste of Texas. 1 oz blanco tequila 1 oz lime juice 1 oz agave syrup 2 dashes jalapeño tincture Shiner Ruby Redbird Shake first three ingredients on ice and strain into a flute. Add 2 dashes of jalapeño tincture. Fill with Shiner Ruby Redbird; garnish with grapefruit flesh.

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1.5 oz Laird’s Bottled in Bond Apple Brandy .5 oz Cointreau Noir .5 oz lemon juice .5 oz orgeat syrup pomegranate bitters

photo clay grier

Shake hard and double strain into a flute; add 4 drops pomegranate bitters until she’s “blushing.”

Happy Herbie Cocktail

The Edison, Los Angeles Want to feel like a princess on your wedding day? This cocktail is named after Herb Ryman, the Disney imagineer who drew Disneyland’s original Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. 2 oz Templeton Rye .5 oz jasmine liquor .5 oz lemon juice .5 oz simple syrup 2 dashes apple bitters Shake and strain into a cocktail glass; garnish with orange zest.


an affair

to remember

Weddings in Houston’s Client Appreciation Party. location La Colombe D’or ~ writer Natasha Garber ~ photography civic photos

On Thursday, July 25, the staff of Weddings in Houston feted more than 300 of our esteemed clients, with a lavish Gatsby-inspired shindig. For our annual celebration of the fine vendors who serve Houston brides so graciously and well, we selected opulent venue La Colombe d’Or. To enhance our 1920s theme, Darryl Murchison of top Houston design firm Darryl & Co. outfitted La Colombe d’Or with towering floral arrangements topped with ostrich plumes, while cake guru Susie Edwards of Susie’s Cakes & Confections dazzled the crowd with her magnificent cakes. Our thanks goes to Steve and Dan Zimmerman, and Ed Bodde, of La Colombe d’Or, for their hospitality, excellent cuisine and cocktails. Thanks, too, to DGZ Chocolates, Jonny Black Productions and photographer Barett Henry of Civic Photos, for their contributions to our bash—and to all our valued clients for making it possible to bring the best in Houston weddings to you, our beloved brides.

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ceremony & reception

social studies

Learn how to invite social media to take part in your wedding—and where to draw the line. writer Natasha Garber ~ photo dc stanley photography

A wedding is a unique occasion for beautiful decor, unscripted emotions and spontaneous moments of joy—which makes it the perfect occasion for candid photos, videos and comments. And if, like the rest of us, you’re living in the 21st century, you know there’s no more ubiquitous mode for sharing in-the-moment content than via social media. If you’re hooked on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook

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ceremony & reception and/or Twitter—or know that a large percentage of your guests are likely to be—but unsure of how big or how small a role you want social media to play in conjunction with your big day, this social-media advice is for you. 1 . C o l l ect i d eas an d g at h er opinions .

While the sheer volume of bridal and wedding inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram can be overwhelming, these photo-focused social-media sites are a treasure trove of unique ideas for the design- and fashion-minded bride. Searching by very specific keywords and hashtags can help you locate a peep-toe pump in that exact shade of Tiffany blue you love, or a DIY ombré table-runner, or the latest collection by your most coveted bridal designer. Once you have a handful of pretty pix, share them with your friends and your wedding planner or florist, to solicit opinions and help you choose. But remember, when it comes to social media, friends are as likely to give negative opinions as positive, so take comments with a grain of salt, and don’t let yourself be talked out of something you really love. 2 . S h are t h e jo u rney towar d yo u r b i g d ay.

Start by posting a photo of your engagement ring, and perhaps sharing a short recap of your proposal story; but definitely leave out private details like carat weight and the cost of your ring, which are nobody’s business but your own and your fiancé’s. You can also post photos from your courtship, your engagement party, and, when the time is right, change your relationship status from “in a relationship” to “engaged”—and sit back and enjoy while the well wishes come in. 132 

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metallics

elements

m o de r n Gold Metal Evening Clutch lightinthebox.com

Shine on, beautiful bride.

Romona Keveza Collection Spring 2014 romonakeveza.com for the retailer nearest you.

Stephanie Owen Flowering Vine Necklace elizabethcolejewelry.com

Photo:

George Chinsee

18K ROSE GOLD & ROSE-CUT DIAMOND BRACELET toddreed.com

Essie “Snakeskin” Nail Polish beauty.com

SHOE REPUBLIC “SHARRIN” SANDAL shoerepublicla.com

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“KEIRA” LETTERPRESS & GOLD-FOIL-STAMP INVITATION smockpaper.com •  W ed d ing s inh ous to n.com

METALLIC DECO CAKE BY SUSIE’S CAKES & CONFECTIONS, HOUSTON susiescakes.com


ceremony & reception While social media is a great tool for sharing images and thoughts before and during the wedding, such a special occasion demands a formal invite. Send your printed wedding invitations by mail rather than creating a Facebook event for the big day—this is not a Tupperware party or birthday bash, it’s the most important event of your lifetime. You can, if you wish, include a link to your wedding’s Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest page on your save-the-date card, but don’t include URLs, hashtags or other social-mediarelated information on your actual invitation.

turn them off for the duration of the festivities, many modern couples are opting to designate a unique ID for their weddings and invite guests to use it—especially for the reception. If you’re in the latter camp, you can give yourselves and your guests easier access to cell-snapped wedding photos by creating a hashtag for your wedding, and posting it at the guestbook or escort-card table, perhaps in an elegant frame or on a cute vintage chalkboard. Make sure the hashtag is unique and practical (“#Jess&Rob2014,” “#DelacorteIDo,” “#EricaAndMarkWedding,” etc.), and use it to locate candid photos during and after the wedding.

4 . C reate a h as h ta g .

5 . S et t h e

While some brides prefer that guests leave their cell phones at home, or

socia l - me d ia r u l es .

3 . P u t it on paper .

Whether you choose to make social

media a major part of your event, or you prefer that guests keep their posting, pinning and tweeting for another day, the choice is yours. Just as you disseminate details about your wedding registry by word of mouth, you can designate several attendees to spread the word about your socialmedia preferences from the get-go. Ask designated individuals to advise guests, upon entering the ceremony space, to kindly turn off their cell phones for the duration of the ceremony, in order to honor the sacred importance of the occasion. If you are not averse to their sharing of wedding photos, images and wishes during the reception, you can let them know that social-media documentation of the wedding is welcome, and that you look forward to getting tagged while getting hitched.

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Your Guide to Pre-wedding d Rehearsal Dinner

Celebrations

photo LARRY FAGALA flowers & decor events in bloom


The Bird & The Bear Bistro

Brennan's Houston

• 2810 Westheimer • Houston • 713.528.2473 TheBirdandTheBearBistro.com

• 3300 Smith St • Houston • 713.522.9711 BrennansHouston.com

The Bird & The Bear Bistro is a contemporary escape in River Oaks. With an onsite coordinator, florist and pastry chef we make your planning effortless and your day spectacular! We can accommodate celebrations for 10 to 200 guests.

Events at a Time

2

Private Bar Service

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment Y

Max. Guests

200

Outdoor Site

For over 40 years Brennan’s Houston has been the destination for brides who are searching for Southern hospitality. We have several different sized rooms to accommodate any size celebration and a dedicated culinary staff to make your taste buds sing. “The grandest restaurant in the city.” – Alison Cook, chron.com.

Y Min. Price $35

Events at a Time

3

Private Bar Service

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment Y

Max. Guests

Y

200

Min. Price $60

Y

Cadillac Bar

Downtown Aquarium

• 1802 Shepherd • Houston • 713.862.2020 CadillacBar.com

• 410 Bagby • Houston • 713.315.5168 DowntownAquarium.com The Ballroom can be divided into one or two special events and can easily accommodate 50-400 guests. The Downtown Aquarium is the perfect venue for any occasion. Come visit us today. You won't want to be anywhere else for your celebrated occasion.

Cadillac Bar is the perfect venue to celebrate your rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, wedding reception, quinceañera or bar/bat mitzvah. With two private rooms, accommodating 30 to 400 guests, the possibilities are endless! Our event planner is available to help coordinate all the details for your unforgettable day.

Events at a Time

2

Private Bar Service

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment Y

Max. Guests

400

Outdoor Site

Y Min. Price $12

Events at a Time

5

Private Bar Service

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment Y

Max. Guests

Y

400

Outdoor Site

Y

Y

Min. Price $30

Energy Ballroom at the Holiday Inn

Grappino di Nino

• 1112 Eldridge Pkwy • Houston • 281.679.6900 facebook.com/holidayinneldridge

• 2817 West Dallas • Houston • 713.522.5120 Ninos-Vincents.com

The Energy Ballroom is a boutique event venue nestled inside the scenic Energy Corridor District of West Houston. Whether you want to use our awardwinning restaurant to cater your rehearsal dinner, or another local eatery, our staff is committed to providing you with exemplary service.

Events at a Time

4

Private Bar Service

Y

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment

N

120

Outdoor Site

N

Max. Guests

Experience the warm feeling of Tuscany as you walk through our charming piazza. The beautifully landscaped courtyards, spacious banquet rooms and a rustic wineroom will create unforgettable memories. We have an Italian bar offering grappas, wines, antipasti & desserts.

Min. Price $24

Events at a Time

2

Private Bar Service

Y

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment

N

150

Outdoor Site

Y

Max. Guests

Min. Price $40

The Grove

Hotel ICON Houston

• 1611 Lamar St • Houston • 713.337.7321 TheGroveHouston.com

• 220 Main St • Houston • • 713.224.4266 • HotelICON.com • The stunning Hotel ICON, located in the historic district of downtown, is an inspired composition of timeless elegance & Texas hospitality with a touch of the whimsical. Be one of the first couples to celebrate in our newly renovated event facilities. Hotel ICON offers the perfect ambiance for groups of 8 to 150. Invite your family & friends to join in your celebration and see why Hotel ICON Houston is the ICON of Romance!

The Grove offers three private rooms and one outdoor space for events where you'll find a stunning view of Discovery Green and the downtown skyline. Our catering manager and beverage director will help you craft an extraordinary menu with stylish and precise service from our gracious staff for a memorable event.

Events at a Time

3

Private Bar Service

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment Y

Max. Guests •

Outdoor Site

Y

120

Outdoor Site

Y Min. Price $45

Events at a Time

4

Private Bar Service

Y

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment

N

150

Outdoor Site

N

Max. Guests

Y

Min. Price $55

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Hotel ZaZa Houston Museum District

The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa

• 5701 Main St • Houston • 713.526.1991 HotelZaZa.com

• 111 N. Post Oak Ln • Houston • 713.680.2626 Houstonian.com Located in the heart of Houston, The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa is a beautiful wooded retreat nestled amidst 18 acres of towering pines and serene oaks. Special wedding venues include unique ballrooms for larger groups, to the more intimate elegance of the Manor House or Hearth Room at Olivette.

Hotel ZaZa is Houston’s premier luxury boutique hotel, located in the heart of the Museum District, adjacent to Hermann Park, the Museum of Fine Arts and Contemporary Arts Museum. Boasting spectacular city views, Hotel ZaZa offers several unique event venues, ranging in capacity, décor and personality.

Events at a Time

18

Private Bar Service

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment Y

Max. Guests

510

Outdoor Site

Y

Min. Price $120

Events at a Time

6

Private Bar Service

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment Y

Max. Guests

Y

600

Call For Price

Y

La Colombe d’Or

La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa

• 3410 Montrose Blvd • Houston • 713.524.7999 LaColombedOr.com

• 600 La Torretta Blvd • Montgomery • • 936.448.3031 • LaTorrettaLakeResort.com • From casual poolside barbecues to intimate formal affairs, La Torretta provides an array of celebration venues. La Torretta’s new Lakeside Restaurant & Bar is the ideal venue for rehearsal dinners. Lakeside Restaurant & Bar offers a traditional steak dinner with a twist of sophistication, and with its private event room and lakeside deck overlooking the most beautiful sunsets in Texas you have the perfect recipe to celebrate the occasion.

Celebrate your wedding in the grandeur of one of Houston’s historical gems & the “World’s Smallest Luxury Hotel” epitomizing Southern French hospitality & exuding gracious comfort, elegance and warmth.

Events at a Time

3

Private Bar Service

Y

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment

N

250

Outdoor Site

N

Max. Guests

Min. Price $75

Events at a Time

2

Private Bar Service

Y

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment

N

250

Outdoor Site

Y

Max. Guests

Min. Price $45

Maggiano’s Little Italy

Magnolia Hotel Houston

• 2019 Post Oak Blvd • Houston • 713.961.3565 Maggianos.com

• 1100 Texas Ave • Houston • 281.657.2600 MagnoliaHotels.com

Located in the heart of the Galleria area, Maggiano’s Little Italy and its award winning cuisine make every occasion magical. Whether you’re hosting a bridal shower, rehearsal dinner or wedding reception, your personal banquet coordinator will help you plan the perfect event. Four spacious rooms adorned with rich oak paneling and crystal chandeliers can accommodate an intimate party of 20 up to a grand event of 200. Events at a Time

4

Private Bar Service

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment Y

Max. Guests

200

Outdoor Site

Experience a sophisticated yet chic location for your rehearsal dinner! Guests will enjoy a stylish setting, delectable food, and the warm hospitality of Magnolia Hotel Houston. Bring everyone together for a grand welcome reception or an intimate family affair and kick off the perfect beginning to your wedding events!

Y Min. Price $24

Y

Events at a Time

2

Private Bar Service

Y

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment

N

230

Outdoor Site

N

Max. Guests

Min. Price $28

The Majestic Metro

Masraff’s

• 911 Preston Ave • Houston • 713.224.7226 MajesticMetro.com

• 1753 Post Oak Blvd • Houston • 713.355.1975 Masraffs.com

Make your wedding the social event of the year. Experience the grandeur of one of Houston’s most outstanding historic buildings in the heart of exciting Downtown Houston. Perfect for large and small rehearsal dinners and wedding receptions.

Events at a Time

1

Private Bar Service

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment Y

Max. Guests

400

138 

Outdoor Site

Y

Outdoor Site

Masraff’s is “the” contemporary high energy restaurant Houstonians have been waiting for. Raised fireplace, dichromatic lighting, bar/lounge, wine cellar, the Gallery and the main dining room with open kitchen concept bring the energy level up and tantalize your palate. Private dining is available for 2 to 150. Enjoy outdoor dining on the “Atrium” or “The Patio” on the Boulevard.

Y Call For Price

6

Private Bar Service

N

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment

N

150

Outdoor Site

Y

Max. Guests

N •

•  Wed d ing s inh ous to n.com

Events at a Time

Call For Price


Ouisie’s Table

The Overlook

• 3939 San Felipe • Houston • 713.528.2264 OuisiesTable.com

• 20114 Pinehurst Drive • Atascocita • 281.812.0193 TheOverlookEvents.com The Overlook is a beautiful facility full of American Craftsman style charm, and set on a 22 acre green space filled with walking trails, ponds and woods. The Overlook is a gem unlike any other location you’ll find in the greater Houston area. If you are looking for the perfect setting for a wedding ceremony, reception or special event, The Overlook is just the place.

Ouisie’s Table is a place where fond memories are formed and life’s events are celebrated. Whatever your needs, Ouisie’s Table offers several venues and settings from which to choose. Each of our spaces has its own unique feel and character and lends itself to entertaining in a special way.

Events at a Time

3

Private Bar Service

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment Y

Max. Guests

300

Outdoor Site

Y Min. Price $40

4

Private Bar Service

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment Y

Max. Guests

Y

Events at a Time

400

Min. Price $15

Y

Royal Oaks Country Club

Sambuca - Crystal Ballroom at the Rice

• 2910 Royal Oaks Club Dr • Houston • 281.899.3200 RoyalOaksCC.com

• 909 Texas Ave • Houston • 713.227.7423 SambucaCatering.com The Crystal Ballroom with its exquisite crystal chandeliers, heroic murals & wrap-around terrace seats 400 guests with a dance floor. Food & beverage is provided by Sambuca Restaurant. The Empire Room has a 20' bar, private terrace, sound system, 18th century fireplace and exquisite crystal chandeliers.

The luxury and exclusivity of Royal Oaks Country Club makes it the perfect place to celebrate large weddings and receptions, intimate gatherings and chic events on the terrace. With the finest cuisine prepared especially for you and your guests and uncompromising personal service, each event at Royal Oaks Country Club is planned to perfection.

Events at a Time

2

Private Bar Service

Y

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment

N

300

Outdoor Site

Y

Max. Guests

Min. Price $33

Events at a Time

4

Private Bar Service

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment Y

Max. Guests

400

Outdoor Site

Y Call For Price

Y

The San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center

Veranda by *17 at The Sam Houston Hotel

• 5222 Seawall Blvd • Galveston • 800.445.0090 SanLuisResort.com

• 1117 Prairie St • Houston • 832.200.8807 VerandaBy17.com A permanent tented roof and central air conditioning have transformed the Veranda into a semi-outdoor oasis in the heart of downtown Houston. Featuring cuisine from award-winning *17 restaurant, the Veranda at The Sam Houston Hotel is an ideal venue for weddings, corporate functions, social events and more for up to 215 guests.

Galveston’s San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center ensures every nuptial detail from a grand seated affair to an intimate celebration for two. Acres of plush seaside amenities provide views and vision for a magical experience from world-class menus and service to premier day spa and salon treatments.

Events at a Time

10

Private Bar Service

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment Y

Max. Guests

1500

Outdoor Site

Y Min. Price $25

Events at a Time

4

Private Bar Service

Y

Private Rooms

Y

Entertainment

N

215

Outdoor Site

N

Max. Guests

Y

Min. Price $50

Your Cup of Tea

A quaint and traditional English Tea Room in the heart of Houston for up to 25 guests. We host bridal showers, bridal luncheons, bridesmaids teas and rehearsal dinners. We also offer full service catering and trays at the location of your choice.

Events at a Time Private Rooms Max. Guests

1

Private Bar Service

Y

Entertainment Y

www.WeddingsInHouston.com

Y

Magazine | Website | 25 Outdoor N phon e | Site i - Pa d

for more details, visit

• 2620 Fondren Rd • Houston • 713.334.4832 UrCupofTea.com

Outdoor Site

Y

Min. Price $30

Blog | Newsletter | Bridal Soiree | I•

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ceremony & reception

Reference Guide

This directory will provide you with information on Houston’s finest facilities for ceremonies and receptions. All information is ­subject to change without notice. Some features may be available on a limited, seasonal

Handicap Accessible

300

1

$50.00

√ √

√ 95

Ashelynn Manor 25276 Nichols Sawmill Rd. • Magnolia

281.252.3355

275

2

Call

√ √

√ 43

Ashton Gardens 21919 Inverness Forest Blvd.

281.362.0011

300

2

$50.00

√ 125

The Bell Tower on 34th Street 901 W. 34th St.

713.868.2355

400

2

$50.00

√ 93

The Bird & The Bear Bistro 2810 Westheimer

713.528.2473

200

2

$35.00

√ 64

Boardwalk FantaSea Yacht Charters #8 Kemah Boardwalk, Suite G • Kemah

281.538.9600

130

1

$99.00

√ 64

Brady’s Landing 8505 Cypress St.

713.928.9921

500

5

$26.00

√ 46

Brennan’s Houston 3300 Smith St.

713.522.9711

200

2

$60.00

Briscoe Manor 5801 FM 723 • Richmond

281.238.4700

400

1

$80.00

√ 27

Butler’s Courtyard 122 Michigan Ave. • League City

281.557.5551

300

1

Call

√ 131

Cadillac Bar 1802 Shepherd

713.862.2020

400

2

$12.00

√ 132

Chateau Cocomar 14525 Champions Dr.

713.538.9400

1050

1

Call

Chateau Polonez 12612 Malcomson

281.655.5656

352

1

$60.00

The Club at Carlton Woods One Carlton Woods Dr. • The Woodlands

281.863.5844

300

1

$85.00

The Corinthian 202 Fannin St. at Franklin

713.523.5780

1900

1

$75.00

Crowne Plaza Houston - Brookhollow 12801 Northwest Freeway

832.214.2797

600

4

$20.00

The Crystal Ballroom at the Rice 909 Texas Ave.

713.227.7423

400

3

Call

Cullen’s 11500 Space Center Blvd.

281.991.2000

1000

7

Demers Banquet Hall 8225 Cantrell St.

713.772.0726

350

DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Downtown 400 Dallas St.

713.351.5766

Downtown Aquarium 410 Bagby

713.315.5168

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√ √ √

Page Number

Outdoor Area Available

Ceremony Site Available

Kosher Menu Available

Outside Catering Permitted

Off-Site Catering Available

Maximum Capacity

281.395.5070

Simultaneous Events

Phone

Agave Estates 1138 FM 1463 • Katy

Venue / Address

140 

Minimum Price Per Person

or by-request-only basis. To interactively compare facilities visit WeddingsinHouston.com.

84

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50-51

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IFC-1 48

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$30.00

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1

$17.00

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√ 46

400

3

$48.00

√ 94

400

5

$30.00

118


√ 96

281.826.0505

600

2

Call

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Energy Ballroom at the Holiday Inn 1112 Eldridge Pkwy.

281.679.6900

120

4

√ √

√ 122

Four Seasons Hotel Houston 1300 Lamar St.

713.652.6223

350

3 $100.00 √

√ 23

The Gallery 6303 Beverly Hill St.

713.255.2889

300

1

√ √

√ 115

Grappino di Nino 2817 West Dallas

713.522.5120

150

2

$40.00

√ 123

The Grove 1611 Lamar St.

713.337.7321

250

3

$35.00

83

Haras Hacienda, Catering, Restaurant & Hotel 26427 Peden Rd. • Magnolia

281.259.4861

1000

3

$45.00

√ √

34-35

Heather’s Glen 200 East Phillips St. • Conroe

936.441.6611

300

1

Call

78-79

HESS Club 5430 Westheimer

713.627.2283

350

2

$35.00

√ √

√ 107

Hilton Houston NASA Clear Lake 3000 Nasa Pkwy.

281.333.9300

300

2

$50.00

Hilton Houston North 12400 Greenspoint Dr.

281.875.4574

1000

5

$24.00

Hilton Houston Post Oak 2001 Post Oak Blvd.

713.961.9300

1000

3

Call

Hilton Houston Westchase 9999 Westheimer Rd.

713.735.5923

400

3

Hotel Derek 2525 West Loop South

713.961.3000

350

Hotel Galvez & Spa 2024 Seawall Blvd. • Galveston

409.765.7721

Hotel Granduca 1080 Uptown Park Blvd. Hotel ICON Houston 220 Main St. Hotel ZaZa Houston Museum District 5701 Main St.

$24.00

Call

√ √ √

Page Number

√ √

Ceremony Site Available

Handicap Accessible

Outdoor Area Available

Outside Catering Permitted

Call

Kosher Menu Available

Off-Site Catering Available

1

Minimum Price Per Person

Maximum Capacity 400

Simultaneous Events

Phone 713.890.8815

Enchanted Cypress Ballroom 12603 Louetta Rd. • Cypress

Venue / Address The Downtown Club at Houston Center 1100 Caroline St.

28

√ 135 89

$60.00

√ √

√ 66

6

$65.00

√ √

√ 55

350

3

$30.00

713.418.1000

132

5

713.224.4266

200

2

713.526.1991

500

18 $120.00

The Houston Club One Shell Plaza, 910 Louisiana St, 49th Floor

713.632.1554

150

Houston Marriott North 255 North Sam Houston Parkway East

281.875.4000

Houston Museum of African American Culture 4807 Caroline St. Houston Oaks Country Club 22602 Hegar Rd. • Hockley

√ √

√ 36

√ 117

$75.00

84

4-5

1 $100.00

√ √

98

530

3

$35.00

√ 40

713.526.1015

200

2

Call

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936.372.4305

450

1 $125.00

Call

√ 25

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142 

600

6

Call

281.334.0501

200

1

$10.00

La Colombe d’Or 3410 Montrose Blvd.

713.524.7999

700

3

$75.00

La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa 600 La Torretta Blvd. • Montgomery

936.448.3031

1200

2

$40.00

Las Velas 5714 Fairdale Ln.

713.977.5773

300

1

Call

Madera Estates 3201 North Frazier • Conroe

936.441.9337

350

Magnolia Hotel Houston 1100 Texas Ave.

281.657.2600

The Majestic Metro 911 Preston Minute Maid Park - Houston Astros 501 Crawford St. Moffitt Oaks 20125 Cedar Ln. • Tomball

Page Number

713.680.2626

Kemah Gardens 1019 Lewis Dr. • Kemah

$50.00

Ceremony Site Available

4

Handicap Accessible

300

Outdoor Area Available

Kosher Menu Available

Outside Catering Permitted

Off-Site Catering Available

Minimum Price Per Person

Maximum Capacity

Simultaneous Events

Phone 713.464.4811

The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa 111 North Post Oak Ln.

Venue / Address Houston Racquet Club 10709 Memorial Dr.

√ 91

√ √

√ √

√ 122

√ 41

√ 3

√ 121

1

Call

√ 127

230

2

$16.00

713.224.7226

400

1

Call

713.259.8800

1200

7

Call

713.907.5971

300

1

$40.00

Noah’s 21402 Merchant’s Way • Katy

832.451.7201

400

2

$11.00

Northgate Country Club 17110 Northgate Forest Dr.

281.444.5302

320

1

Northwest Forest 12715 Telge Rd. • Cypress

281.256.3548

500

5

Call

Old Glory Ranch 3633 River Rd. • Wimberley

512.847.3646

600

1

Call

Omni Houston Hotel 4 Riverway

713.871.8181

750

3

$75.00

Ouisie’s Table 3939 San Felipe

713.528.2264

300

3

$40.00

The Overlook 20114 Pinehurst Dr. • Atascocita

281.812.0193

700

4

$15.00

The Parador 2021 Binz

713.529.3050

550

1

Pecan Grove Plantation Country Club 3000 Plantation Dr. • Richmond

281-342-9940

230

Pine Forest Country Club 18003 Clay Rd.

281.463.0900

Rainbow Lodge 2011 Ella Blvd.

16-17

81

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√ 65

√ 24

√ 97

√ 44

$32.00

√ 62

√ √

√ 119

√ 42

√ √

√ 11

√ √

√ 39

√ 103

Call

√ 22

1

$30.00

√ 99

300

2

$32.00

√ 47

713.861.8666

250

2

$35.00

Raveneaux Country Club 9415 Cypresswood Dr. • Spring

281.320.6009

300

2

$34.00

√ √

√ 101

Rosemary’s Garden 14639 Bellaire Blvd.

281.568.9151

500

4

$25.00

√ √

√ 57

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√ √ √ 94


Outdoor Area Available

Handicap Accessible

√ 77

713.850.2800

600

4

$50.00

√ √

√ 15

The San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center 5222 Seawall Blvd. • Galveston

800.445.0090

1500

10 $30.00

Sans Souci Ballroom 26511 Tomball Pkwy. • Tomball

281.803.3333

1000

1

Call

Shepard Hill Estates 11134 Shepard Hill Rd. • Willis

713.703.2756

300

1

Call

Shirley Acres 217 Woerner Rd.

281.444.2582

500

1

$50.00

South Shore Harbour Country Club 4300 South Shore Blvd. • League City

281.334.0521

250

1

$40.00

The Southern Villa 14331 Alice Rd. • Tomball

281.255.8526

225

1

$25.00

Star Fleet Yachts 280 Grove Rd. • Kemah

281.334.4692

150

4

$59.00

Sugar Creek Country Club 420 Sugar Creek Blvd. • Sugar Land

281.494.9131

400

1

Sweetwater Country Club 4400 Palm Royale Blvd. • Sugar Land

281.980.4100

300

The Tremont House 2300 Ships Mechanic Row • Galveston

409.763.0300

Veranda by *17 at The Sam Houston Hotel 1117 Prairie St. The Villagio 10901 Braes Bend Dr. Walden on Lake Houston Golf & Country Club 18100 Walden Forest Dr. • Humble

√ √

Page Number

Kosher Menu Available √

Ceremony Site Available

Outside Catering Permitted

$33.00

Off-Site Catering Available

2

Minimum Price Per Person

Maximum Capacity 300

Simultaneous Events

Phone 281.899.3200

The Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston 2222 West Loop South

Venue / Address Royal Oaks Country Club 2910 Royal Oaks Club Dr.

√ 60

√ √

√ 49

√ √

√ 61

√ √

√ 100

√ 44

√ √

√ 132

$25.00

√ √

√ 26

1

$39.00

√ √

√ 99

300

5

$30.00

√ 37

832.200.8807

215

1

$50.00

√ 9

281.352.0903

500

1

$59.00

√ √

√ 120

832.445.2104

250

1

$30.00

√ √

√ 99

Waterpoint Premier Lakeside Venue 15264 Highway 105 West • Montgomery

936.597.7700

300

1

Call

√ 133

The Westin Galleria 5060 W. Alabama

713.960.8100

1000

3

Call

√ 33

The Westin Oaks 5011 Westheimer

713.960.8100

600

2

Call

√ 33

Weston Lakes Country Club 32611 FM 1093 • Fulshear

281.346.1967

200

1

$18.00

√ √

√ 102

Willow Fork Country Club 21055 Westheimer Pkwy. • Katy

281.579.6262

250

1

$25.00

√ 99

The Woodlands Country Club 100 Grand Fairway Dr • The Woodlands

281.863.1411

350

1

$75.00

The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center 2301 North Millbend Dr. • The Woodlands

866.342.4039

800

8

$79.00

√ 29

The Wynden 1025 South Post Oak Ln.

281.768.6070

400

1

$75.00

√ 63

Your Cup of Tea 2620 Fondren Rd.

713.334.4832

25

1

$30.00

√ √ 96

√ √

58

85

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wedding services W E D D I N G

P L A N N I N G

wedding etiquette Do (and say) the right thing, with this essential advice.

Q: We just got engaged, and our parents haven’t met yet. Mine live in Houston, where the wedding will take place, and my fiancé’s parents live in Dallas.Who is supposed to contact whom? A: Traditionally the groom’s parents make the first contact, but few people these days hold to the tradition. It doesn’t really matter which set of parents contacts the other. The important thing is that one or the other gets the

writer Jean Picard ~ photo adam nyholt photographer

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location the corinthian


wedding services introductions out of the way so they can all share their joy over the engagement and say nice things about each other’s children! This can be done by handwritten note but is more often done by telephone or email. When distance or tight schedules are not an issue, an in-person meeting should be arranged as soon as possible. Q: Is it okay to put an earlier start time on the invitation so that everyone will be there on time? A: That may sound like a sensible solution to an age-old problem, but it is not. Most people know to arrive at the ceremony site several minutes before the time on the invitation, so treat your guests like grownups and put the actual ceremony time on the invitation. If you put 5:00 on the invitation and start the ceremony at 5:30, many guests will be waiting around for 40 to 60 minutes. Let’s not punish good behavior! Don’t delay the ceremony for the benefit of a few latecomers, either (rewarding bad behavior). We all know people who would arrive late no matter how long you waited for them. Q: I’ve been to so many weddings where all the guests are taking pictures and making videos. In my matron of honor’s wedding video, you can see half the audience taking pictures instead of paying attention to the ceremony. How can I keep that from happening at my wedding? A: It is rather sad to look at an audience shot and see nothing but a sea of cameras and smart phones held high, rather than the happy, attentive faces of friends and family. Some professional photos have been ruined by flash from the amateurs. If you have a wedding website or newsletter, tell guests: We have hired an excellent team of professionals to capture our wedding. We ask all of 146 

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wedding services you, our dearest friends and family, to leave all the photography and videography to the pros while you simply enjoy the ceremony and reception. We will be sharing our photo gallery with you as soon as it becomes available. You may have the same message printed on the ceremony program or, at the ceremony, have someone make the announcement before the processional, adding a reminder to turn off ringers. If, on the other hand, you welcome a big social-media splash, you might consider creating an Instagram hashtag for your wedding and posting it in a framed notice at your reception guestbook table (leaving the ceremony to the pros only). This way, you, and other guests who are active on Instagram, can easily locate and share candid photos of your special celebration. Q: What sort of information should be included in a save-the-date? A: Often a simple save-the-date card with the basic info—first and last names of the bride and groom, wedding date, city and state where wedding will take place, and the line “invitation to follow”—will suffice. But if many guests will be traveling to the wedding city or if the wedding will be held out of the country, a good deal more information is called for and can be supplied with the save-the-date or on a wedding website or in a wedding newsletter to follow. Guests will appreciate airline information, hotel information, car rental and ground transportation information, itinerary, destination information and packing suggestions (degree of formality of the wedding and other scheduled activities). Q: A receiving line seems so stuffy and old-fashioned to me, and it’s going to take forever with 200 guests. Can’t we just go from table to table during the reception?

A: If you were having fewer than 100 people, it would be quite easy to go from table to table and greet everyone individually. With 200 guests, you would have a lot of tables to visit, leaving little time for anything else, and chances are you would miss a lot of people. While it’s true that

the traditional receiving line—bride, groom, both sets of parents, best man, maid of honor and bridesmaids—can take a very long time for a large group (and does seem a bit stuffy and oldfashioned), there are options. Instead, just the two of you can “receive” at the church as guests file

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wedding services out, at the cocktail hour as guests arrive, or at the reception as guests go in to dinner. If neither of you is very good at keeping conversations brief, have someone standing by to move things along. At the rate of four couples per minute, it will take 50 minutes to greet 200 guests. Whichever you choose, don’t create a bottleneck—some guests will want to bypass the line—and don’t leave guests waiting around. For example, if you wish to greet guests as they go in to dinner, don’t have just one narrow entrance, and give guests at the front of the line something to do when they go in. Let the dancing begin! Q: I’m not that fond of cake. Do we have to have a wedding cake? A: While it is traditional to have a wedding cake, there is no ironclad rule

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wedding services that says you must; but most guests will expect it and, indeed, look forward to it. With today’s wedding cakes being both delicious and beautiful, and available in every flavor imaginable, with limitless design possibilities, why not at least set up a consultation and tasting with a recommended bakery? Your wedding is your first opportunity as a married couple to extend hospitality to your family and friends. Just as you will give consideration to their tastes and expectations when you invite them to your home, you will want to do so for the wedding. Q: I know that if the inner envelope of the invitation does not include the children’s names, that means they aren’t invited. But how sure can I be that everyone on my invitation list knows that? A: You can’t be sure, which is why you must take more obvious measures if you don’t want children at your wedding. Of course, printing “no children” or “adults only” on an invitation is simply not done. Perhaps a tactfully worded line about “space limitations” on an enclosure, such as the map/ direction card, would suffice. Or you might compose a separate note that will be enclosed only in invitations being sent to those with children. Try to head off problems as responses come in. If the parents’ response to the invitation indicates that they plan to bring the children, a phone call is in order. You can say, “I’m sorry, Mrs. Jones, but there seems to be a misunderstanding. You’ve indicated that all four of you will be attending, but due to space limitations we’re only able to invite our adult friends. I do hope this won’t inconvenience you and Mr. Jones too much. Can I put both of you down as attending guests?” To leave no base uncovered, also

have your close friends and relatives spread the word. If anyone inquires beyond your “due to space limitations,” stand firm and avoid getting bogged down in lengthy discussions; that will only get you into trouble! Perhaps just add, “As much as we would love to have the children there, it’s simply

impossible. I’m sorry.” You cannot back down and make any exceptions or there will definitely be hurt feelings on the part of other parents. online>> for more resources visit weddingsinhouston.com

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wedding services

making room for

mother-in-law

She’s not your mom, she’s not exactly your friend…so who is this new woman in your life? writer Dr. Deanna Brann ~ photo select studios

Wedding season is almost here and wedding preparations are in full frenzy. Brides have so much to think about and plan—invitations, dresses, showers, cake, flowers, ceremony location, reception details, and on and on. The list seems endless. Even so, one vital element for making the day flawless often gets forgotten: figuring out how to “manage” your future mother-in-law.

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wedding services This relationship, after all, may feel a bit awkward at first. Your fiancé’s mother is not your mother, and she’s also not really your friend, yet she’s about to become a big part of the rest of your life. As if that wasn’t stressful enough, you have no doubt heard all sorts of stories about what an absolute nightmare mothers-in-law can be. It doesn’t exactly tempt you to embrace this near stranger with wild abandon, does it? To make things even more challenging, no two mothers-in-law are alike. Each one comes with her own personality, demeanor and style, based on her life experiences, personal history, and yes, her own personal emotional baggage. To make both your wedding and your future life with your mother-in-law go as smoothly as possible, it helps to know more about the cards you’ve

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wedding services been dealt. With that in mind, below are descriptions of four basic types of mother-in-law. Figuring out which category she’s in will go a long way toward helping you see the best way to handle any situation that arises with her—wedding or otherwise—so you can avoid tension or conflict before it occurs.

Figuring out what you are comfortable calling your future mother-in-law may not seem like a big deal to you, but it’s a really big deal to her. Once you’ve made the decision, talk with her about your choice so she can get used to it. Let her wear it for a while. Give her a piece of the action. Let

her be part of the preparations, as well as the wedding itself. You can assign her major duties or small tasks, but be sure to give her something to do that she can feel good about, so that she won’t feel pushed aside or ignored. Ask her for input. Remember, this is her child’s wedding too. You don’t

C o m f o r ta b l e C a r l a :

She has created a new identity for herself beyond that of “mother.” She is clear that her new role in her son’s life is secondary to his wife’s role. M o t h e r i n g M a r g a r e t:

She struggles with letting go of her “mom” role. She wants everything to be the way it’s always been, even though circumstances are now different. She not only wants to continue to mother her son, but she also views her daughter-in-law as a “daughter,” which means she wants to mother her as well. O f f -t h e - W a l l W a n d a :

She comes across as mean, insensitive and self-centered. Everything is about her and what she feels, wants and needs. Her behavior is often extreme. U n c e r ta i n S a r a :

She has let go of her son, but she is uncertain about her new role as a mother to an adult child and to a daughter-in-law. Sometimes she tries too hard, and sometimes she just misses the mark. Although these types can overlap a bit, chances are that one of them best describes your future mother-in-law. Keeping your mother-in-law’s “type” in mind, now consider the following tips for starting out on the right foot and setting the tone for how your relationship will go: Decide what you will call her. W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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wedding services have to let her make the most critical decisions, but asking her for her opinion now and then is a gracious gesture that will make her feel valued. Let her join in the fun. If you’re having a “nail” day or other excursion that includes your mother and bridesmaids, consider asking your future mother-inlaw to come along. You don’t have to ask her every time, but extending a few invitations assures her that you want her to be a part of your new life with her son. Share with her. Keep her updated on the wedding plans and share some of the funny stories with her. Many mothers of the groom feel as though the wedding is happening around them, with them being merely passive observers instead of key players. Help her to have some special memories that she

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wedding services can share with her friends, too. Above all, remember to speak and act with kindness and compassion. It never hurts to be gracious, and your efforts will go a long way toward ensuring that everyone lives happily ever after. Deanna Brann, Ph.D., is a leading expert in the field of mother-in-law/ daughter-in-law relationships. She is the author of “Reluctantly Related: Secrets To Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law” and “Mothers-in-Law and Daughtersin-Law Say the Darndest Things.” www.drdeannabrann.com online>> for more resources visit weddingsinhouston.com

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a toast to

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tradition


wedding services

photo fred marcus photography

Gourmet Advisory Services’ Harriette Rose Katz creates weddings that stand the test of time. writer natasha garber

photo anastasios mentis photography

Weddings in Houston: How did you get your start in event coordination and design? Harriette Rose Katz: My journey in event coordination and design was a wonderful and natural progression. I started my career working in the interior-design industry and became

For more than a quarter century, Harriette Rose Katz has been the woman behind many of the country’s finest and most flawlessly executed weddings. Her NewYork-based event-planning firm, Gourmet Advisory Services, is known for its highly personalized service and impeccable attention to detail, making it the go-to consultancy for upscale, opulent weddings and milestone events along the entire Eastern seaboard—and well beyond. With her passion for gracious entertaining and her talent for grand presentation, Katz is a fixture on New York’s society-event scene, and has been featured on TLC, Discovery Channel and in leading news, bridal and style publications across the nation. Here, she offers words of wisdom on crafting a wedding celebration that is modern in the moment, personalized to perfection, and, most importantly, elegant for all time. the manager of a magnificent furniture showroom. I created beautiful events to bring prospective clients into the space, and people around town began talking about the parties I had done. I instantly became known for my events and soon Gourmet Advisory Services was born.

WIH: How important is venue choice for weddings? HRK: The venue is important, but when it comes to selecting a venue, many couples don’t realize how many other key decisions are tied into it. Many of my clients dream of an outdoor wedding, but don’t take into consideration W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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wedding services

photo fred marcus photography

photo lovka photography

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the possibility of bad weather. You have to protect yourself and your guests in case Mother Nature takes over plan A. You MUST have a plan B. As for indoor weddings, if a couple decides on a venue that already has a caterer, it’s crucial that the couple love the food and the service. What’s the point of a gorgeous wedding when the food and service are not up to the couple’s standards? You must also consider guest count. If the venue is big enough for 300 people and you only have 150, you must create a smaller environment within that space. If you don’t have the budget for this, choose a different venue. Additionally, you should think about how much of the wedding will take place in the venue. Will it just be the party or the party and ceremony? WIH: Brides today are totally immersed in wedding ideas, inspiration and trends. How do you and your Gourmet Advisory Services partners help your brides start narrowing down their wedding vision? HRK: I love to sit down with newly engaged couples and hear their story. I always ask how they met, about their families, what they like to do together, and what makes them unique. This is a great introduction to begin the wedding vision. WIH: What are some of the best ways to ensure that a wedding remains classic—even when the couple is reminiscing over photos 20 or 30 years from now? HRK: All of the weddings I have planned are timeless. Having done them for over 30 years, I have realized the formula to making a wedding classic and elegant. I incorporate trends to a limit, without making the whole wedding trendy. White weddings always seem to be exquisite and timeless. Some couples choose to have a lot of


wedding services color, and when they see their pictures years later, they feel differently about their choice. WIH: Any favorite recent wedding trends? HRK: I usually set the trends! No, I’m totally joking. With trends, I’m noticing brides want more romance in their vision. They are requesting neutral colors, chandeliers and candles, which set the tone for a more romantic atmosphere. Brides are even using instrumental versions of today’s music in the processional to add a more personal touch to the day. One of my favorite culinary trends is offering comfort foods at weddings, like mini burgers, grilled cheese or fries—but I like to refine it. For example, doing truffle fries, or using Gruyere cheese in a gooey grilled cheese sandwich and serving it with a shot of tomato soup. Lastly, tables do not need to be for 10 guests. You can mix round with rectangular tables and you can even add in some banquettes. This trend has definitely evolved through the years.  WIH: What are a few meaningful ways to bring a personal touch to the wedding? HRK: For some of our weddings, we love to add a grand piano at cocktail hour and fill the piano top with photographs in silver frames. Couples often include photos of their parents’ wedding day and of their family throughout the years. We’ve also had a lot of brides wrap their bouquets with their grandmother’s handkerchief, or, at Jewish weddings, incorporate the grandfather’s tallit into the chuppah. Another great way to bring a personal touch to a wedding is to incorporate a part of the couple’s culture.  For instance, one of our grooms was of Moroccan heritage and so we did a fun

Moroccan-themed rehearsal dinner. WIH: What do you love most about weddings and working with wedding couples? HRK: One of the most gratifying moments for me is when the bride

and her parents first see the venue set up on her wedding day, and see their vision come to life. The emotion and look on their faces is the biggest gift of all, and this is why I do what I do.

photo gruber photographers

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photo LARRY FAGALA location the corinthian


Jewelry 162 wedding attire 172 beauty & health 228

wedding style

Look beautiful, feel beautiful, be beautiful. Our wedding style section features ­jewelry, gowns, groom’s attire, accessories, health and fitness tips, beauty trends and more.

photo select studios

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jewelry

W E D D I N G

S T Y L E

ROCK RULES

Follow these 4 expert tips for choosing and buying your perfect diamond.

An engagement ring does more than sit pretty on a bride’s left hand. It tells the story of you and your beloved, and the bond you have with one another. Diamond rings can have just as much personality and be as varied as each couple themselves, which is why it is so important to take the time to find the perfect stone to express your perfect love story. Before you set out on your diamond hunt, take to heart these words of wisdom from top rock experts.

writer Julie Lemerond ~ photo larry fagala

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jewelry 1 . P i c k a t r u e pr o .

Before you even start looking at rings, the very first thing you should do is find a jeweler you can trust. Awardwinning jeweler Alfredo Molina, CEO and owner of Molina Fine Jewelers in Phoenix, and Black, Starr & Frost in Newport Beach, Calif., prides himself and his dedicated staff on providing a one-of-a-kind experience for each individual client who walks through his door. That kind of personalized service, he says, is the sign of a consummate professional. When searching for a jeweler, “Do your homework,” he recommends. “There are no laws at the state or federal level that protect the consumer. Anybody can become a jeweler.” And just like the purveyors who sell them, “All diamonds are not created equal,” he adds. A quality jeweler has ties to the community, a history of good business practices and a reputation of trust. Look for a jeweler who has certification from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)—a well-respected national organization that trains gemologists to the highest standards of the industry. And keep in mind that finding a jeweler with a longstanding history also means that you can continue to build a relationship over the years, as you continue to add to your jewelry collection in the future.

of advertising, marketing and digital media for Zadok Jewelers in Houston. When it comes to sparkle, he says, “Cut is king. Color and clarity will not make your stone sparkle more; cut is what will do that.” Katelyn Cristoforetti, lead “perfection stylist” for diamond firm Hearts On Fire, couldn’t agree more. “Cut is the ‘C’ that really makes your diamond sparkle, and the diamond industry states that if a diamond’s clarity, color and carat weight all remain constant, then cut will affect the value of the diamond by as much as 50 percent or more,” she says. While cut is the biggest player in the 4 C’s, color, clarity and carat weight also do have some bearing on a ring’s brilliance. Color and clarity are graded on a scale and can vary greatly from stone to stone, and as mentioned above, can be enhanced or dulled by the cut of the stone. It’s not just the shape of the cut, but the quality of that cut, that brings out the hidden features of the diamond. “Even between two diamonds that are the same shape, the quality and symmetry of the actual cut will dictate the brilliance and radiance of the diamonds,” says Zadok.

There are seemingly endless cut shapes for diamonds these days, which means it pays to pay attention to what you like—on celebrities’ fingers, in magazines and on sites like Pinterest and Instagram. The most popular cut—which also happens to be the most timeless—is the classic round. Yet there are a myriad of other choices as well: cushion, square/princess, emerald, Asscher, oval, heart and pear, to name several (see “Diamond Glossary” sidebar for descriptions). No matter what shape you select, remember: “You want to get the best sparkle with the diamond you choose,” says Cristoforetti. “Having the diamond cut perfectly, you know you are getting the performance you want, meaning the sparkle factor.” 3. Don’t settle for just any setting.

Finding your ideal stone is one thing— and has much to do with simple science and skill. Choosing a setting for your gorgeous sparkler is another enterprise entirely—one that depends on personal taste, style, personality and desire. Zadok advises brides: “Go with what you think expresses your sense

2 . L e ar n t h e 4 C ’ s — e s p e c i ally t h e f i r s t o n e .

There are four main components that sum up what to look for when purchasing a diamond, commonly referred to as the “4 C’s”: cut, color, clarity and carat weight. The cut of a diamond is by far the most important of the four, says Gilad Zadok, executive vice president 164 

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photo select studios


jewelry of style,” as each bride’s personality and taste may differ. He recommends looking for something that will be “beautiful and desirable for many years to come. Picture looking for a ring that your future daughter will want to wear someday.” Molina breaks it down even further. “There are so many things to take into consideration when purchasing a diamond ring, but remember that this is going to be something that will be worn the rest of your life,” he says. He urges couples to be practical when selecting the setting for the gem that eyes will be drawn to on a daily basis. “Jewelry should be selected by the physical attributes of the wearer,” he says. “On long fingers, elongated or oval cut stones are very becoming, whereas on shorter fingers, a round stone is more becoming,” he explains. But even more important, says Molina, is the feeling you get when looking at and wearing the ring. “My grandfather used to always say the number one thing to ask yourself, is ‘Does it speak to me?’” 4 . A v o i d c o n fl i c t.

Any diamond bought in the United States these days should be from a conflict-free source. “Several years ago, leading diamond manufacturers joined with the UN in adopting an international agreement known as the Kimberley Process (KP) to prevent all traffic in conflict diamonds. The KP requires certificates of origin to be attached to all rough diamonds from conflict-free countries,” says Cristoforetti. Molina and Zadok agree, saying that conflict diamonds are a thing of the past, as long as you are purchasing within U.S. borders.

Knowing the provenance of your diamond, and knowing that you have invested your heart and mind in the diamond-buying experience, can ensure not just satisfaction in your purchase, but a true sense of joy. You’ll take joy, too, in knowing that you have

found a jeweler who will be with you through life’s milestones and celebrations. “Jewelry is the most emotionally charged gift that a man can buy a woman,” Molina says. “We are proud to be a part of that process, that part of a family’s history.”

Diamond Glossary Asscher cut:

A popular, square, eight-sided cut shape.

Bezel:

The upper, faceted part of the diamond.

Carat:

The weight of a diamond.

Clarity:

The presence or absence of inclusions and/or blemishes to the stone.

Gemological Institute of America certifications use a scale of D through Z to describe the color of a diamond. Within each letter grade can be variations as well.

Color:

Crown:

The top of the diamond after it is cut.

The point at the bottom of a cut diamond.

Culet:

Cushion cut:

Also called pillow cut, because it is shaped like a square pillow.

The way a rough diamond is finished. This is the most important factor in how brilliantly a diamond reflects light.

Cut:

Emerald cut: Facet:

This type of cut has long rectangular facets.

One of many flat surfaces on a cut diamond.

The effect of light hitting the stone, creating a dramatic reflection in a rainbow of colors. Fire:

Girdle:

The widest part of the diamond.

Marquise cut:

A fancy cut shape; it is elongated with points at each end.

Tightly placed small diamonds, pieced together so that the metal on the ring is hidden.

Pavé:

Pavilion: Pear cut:

The space from the girdle down to the culet of the diamond. This shape is round at one end and tapered at the other.

Square or princess cut: A

brilliant cut that can be square or rectangular in shape.

The size of the facet at the crown; larger tables may seem brighter but may lack fire.

Table:

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Nikki d Matthew REAL WEDDINGS

~ MAY 4, 2013 ~

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“Because Nikki's parents and younger brother lost their lives at sea trying to escape from Vietnam, I wanted to propose over water,” Boston-born groom Matthew recounts. In the city of his birth, he rented a gazebo over Boston Harbor and created a circle of white candles, roses and lilies. “I led Nikki to the gazebo, where she said, ‘We cannot go in there, it's set up for someone.’ I brought her to the center of the circle and told her I wanted her parents and brother to be with us. I then proposed, she said, ‘Yes,’ and we received an ovation from the crowd of onlookers. It was perfect!” Their wedding, too, was the picture of perfection, starting on Friday with a traditional Vietnamese tea ceremony, and commencing with a grand reception on Saturday for more than 300 guests gathered at the Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston. “The entire night was perfect,” Matthew says, “and seeing Nikki smile all night, having the time of her life, is a vision I will never forget.”

writer natasha garber ~ photography John Ly Photography W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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REAL WEDDINGS

names nicole dao

matthew ripaldi  number of guests 320   venue royal sonesta hotel houston   wedding dress mia bridal couture   tuxedos al’s formal wear   cake who made the cake   lighting bright star productions   photography john ly photography &

 videography a&a video productions  consultant schwartz & woodward  honeymoon maui

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Bold

p and

b ea u ti f u l

BLUE NILE 14K ROSE GOLD, MORGANITE & DIAMOND EARRINGS bluenile.com

Hearts On Fire “Elation” Pendant heartsonfire.com

TIFFANY GATSBY COLLECTION LUCIDA DIAMOND & PEARL EARRINGS tiffany.com

TIFFANY GATSBY COLLECTION DIAMOND & FRESHWATER PEARL BROOCH/HEADPIECE tiffany.com Hearts On Fire “BELOVED” BRACELET heartsonfire.com

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HEARTS ON FIRE “HOOPLA” DIAMOND EARRINGS heartsonfire.com

CORA INTERNATIONAL WHITE & COLOR DIAMOND CUFF corainternational.com

PAOLO COSTAGLI YELLOW SAPPHIRE & DIAMOND RING paolocostagli.com

PAOLO COSTAGLI PINK TOPAZ & DIAMOND RING paolocostagli.com

CORA INTERNATIONAL DIAMOND DROP EARRINGS corainternational.com

TODD REED 18K ROSE GOLD & FANCY DIAMOND EARRINGS toddreed.com

TIFFANY GATSBY COLLECTION DIAMOND, SEED PEARL & PLATINUM TASSEL PENDANT tiffany.com

RAHAMINOV “KIFANI ROSE” EARRINGS rahaminov.com

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wedding attire W E D D I N G

S T Y L E

5 fashion pointers This one’s for the grooms, gals.

It may be your ultimate moment in the spotlight—but hold on there, bridey: It’s your future hubby’s time to shine, too. Whether he’s a dedicated follower of fashion, or strictly a jeans-and-T dude, on his wedding day he’s going to want to raise the style bar. And you can help make sure he does, by sharing with him these sharp fashion tips for 2014 grooms.

writer Natasha Garber ~ photo larry fagala

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wedding attire 1 . A t u x i s n o t a m u s t.

Unless, of course, you’re planning a black-tie affair, in which case a black tuxedo is de rigueur. For all other types of weddings, from ballroom-elegant to backyard-retro-chic, a stylish suit isn’t just less formal than a tux, it can be downright trendsetting.

For classic cool, nothing beats a three-piece suit, whether in a solid color, pinstripe or even a subtle plaid. Ditch the jacket after the formalities are done, and you’ll be the picture of contemporary style in your fitted vest and matching trousers. Looking for a vintage vibe? If you’re

tying the knot during the cooler months, a natty herringbone suit or tweed jacket and wool trousers are a nod to the past without being too “themed.” For warm-weather weddings, consider a seersucker suit and bow tie, or a soft linen suit in tan or pale gray, paired with suspenders. Doing your “I do’s” destination style? Skip the jacket altogether and walk down the aisle (and party the night away) in a finely made, but not overly tailored, shirt and loose pants in a comfortable, natural fabric—say, cotton, linen or silk. Throw on a linen blazer to beat the chill and add a touch of preppy formality. 2 . S i gn a l t h a t i t ’ s a p a r t y … w i t h a pat t e r n .

There is absolutely no rule that says you must wear a solid-color shirt—or even a solid-color suit—for your wedding. Nothing says, “Let’s get this party started,” like stripes, checks, plaid, paisley or even a hip print of tiny motifs. Some possibilities: pairing a crisp black suit with a black-and-white check shirt, a dark-gray suit with aubergine stripes, or a light-brown or tan suit with a pink-and-brown plaid. For the ultimate in killer cool, mix your patterns, pairing perhaps a chalkstripe suit with a super-fine check shirt, or a herringbone suit with a striped shirt. Determined to stick to a sound, solid shirt on your seriously major day, but still looking for a way to add a bit of pop to your getup? Move on to #3, mister. 3. Tie one on.

The single most noticeable—and versatile—accessory in your wedding-day ensemble is sure to be the one you wear around your neck. A necktie completes all but the most informal groomswear looks, and offers you a 174 

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wedding attire way to express your fashion sensibility (and if you lack that, just think of it as a way to say something interesting about yourself). No tie look is more dapper for 2014 grooms than the sleek, simple, skinny tie. And yes, black is still the color of choice for this hip tie style, and works well for grooms and groomsmen alike, especially when paired with a crisp white shirt. For a dash of panache, you can forgo basic black and coordinate your skinny tie with one of your standout wedding colors—think: mint, pink, bronze, gray, red, ochre (that’s a dusky, mustard yellow, fellows). For a more buttoned-down affair, try a classic necktie paired with a coordinating pocket square. Again, you can echo a highlight color from your wedding palette, or coordinate with your

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bride’s bouquet or belt, or stir things up with bold stripes or funky polka dots. If you and your groomsmen will be donning tuxedos for your formal wedding, you’ll need to complete your look with either a self-tie bow tie that coordinates with your lapels, or, for a slightly more modern look, a black four-inhand tie (a formal long-tie style). Oh—and speaking of bow ties, they’re not just for tuxes anymore. Rustic-chic, retro-hip and just plain tasteful grooms everywhere are knotting up natty bows in just about any color, print and pattern imaginable. One of our favorite bow-tie purveyors is Mo’s Bows (www.mosbowsmemphis.com), the brainchild of child entrepreneur Moziah Bridges, who launched his Memphis-based company at the age of nine (he’s 11 now), when he couldn’t

find “cool and fun” bow ties to complement his excellent fashion sense. Awesome, right? 4 . B r i ng t h e “ s o m e t h i ng b l u e .”

While black and charcoal are, without a doubt, the two most popular hues for grooms’ suits, blue is quickly catching up as a color of choice for 2014 husbands-to-be. And we’re not just talking navy. Royal blue, ultra-deep midnight blue and gray-toned Spanish blue are just a few of the blue hues that are hot for this year’s grooms—just leave the baby blue for throwback theme parties, where it belongs, OK? 5 . G e t c r e at i v e w i t h accessories.

While the aforementioned necktie is


wedding attire the spotlight accessory of your wedding getup, there are plenty more places you can, and should, add a little extra something that speaks to the celebratory and momentous status of the day. There’s no reason why your bride should be the only one bearing flora on your big day. Nothing’s more stylish on a groom’s lapel than a unique boutonniere. For a romantic look, ask your florist to create a boutonniere with a single orchid or rose. For a more masculine take, or to bring in a cool Texas touch, try succulents, wheat, wildflowers, and/or a bit of burlap or raffia. Wearing a formal French-cuff shirt? Let your cufflinks express your unique personality and style. Artisan sites like Etsy (www.etsy.com) offer countless cufflinks, including styles made from

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wedding attire sports-car engine parts, shotgun shells and railway tokens. You can also find, or customize, cufflinks with wedding messages (“just” and “married,” wedding date and initials, etc.), cufflinks with vintage maps, and cufflinks in the shape of “Star Wars’” Millennium Falcon—to name just a few more options. Other accessory ideas include patterned cummerbunds, classic suspenders and colorful socks. Of course, your wedding also is a great occasion to get fancy with your footwear—which may, in fact, mean going the opposite of fancy with the shoes you choose. Converse high-tops, vintage kicks and cowboy boots are just a few fine options. Whichever you choose to add to your ensemble, just remember: You’re only going to do this once, so do her a favor, and do it in impressive style. online>> for more resources visit weddingsinhouston.com

photo daniel c. photography

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Steph d Gabe

REAL WEDDINGS

~ JUNE 8, 2013 ~

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“We are a plate of Texas BBQ served with empanadas and cuñapes,” Stephanie says. Raised in Spring to Bolivianborn parents, groom Gabe and his Houston-born-and-raised bride met over margaritas and chips. While their romance was “love at first sight,” she says, Gabe’s proposal was all about careful planning and subterfuge: On a marathon-training run, Gabe “dropped” his iPhone, which then displayed a fake screen that read, “Hard Drive Failure—Contact Apple.” When he swiped the screen, the phone lit up with the words, “What do you really want for Christmas?” which he showed to Stephanie, and then proposed. The pair spoke their vows before 300 friends and family members, then proceeded to party the night away amidst French-garden splendor at La Colombe d’Or. Adds the bride: “We had to be pulled off the dance floor so our Rolls-Royce wouldn’t leave us!”

writer natasha garber ~ photography Adam Nyholt Photographer W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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REAL WEDDINGS

names stephanie lionberger

gabriel zamora  number of guests 300   venue la colombe d’or   wedding dress rivini from &

ivory bridal atelier  alterations laura’s couture & alterations   bride’s makeup makeup texas   photography adam nyholt photographer   rehearsal dinner grappino di nino   registry williams-sonoma, bering’s   honeymoon thailand & cambodia

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wedding attire mothers

in style

T. Carolyn Fashions’ Terrie Martin styles brides’ and grooms’ mothers to perfection. writer Terrie Martin ~ photo t. carolyn Fashions

In much the same way that brides are opting for weddings that are more personalized and reflective of their taste and style, mothers, too, are looking for dresses that are representative of their own attitudes and sensibilities. Long gone are the days of the dowdy or overdone MOB dress. Today’s mom is looking for something youthful and chic—an outfit that truly expresses who she really is, and how meaningful this special day is in her life. The wide variety of venues, wedding themes and color schemes has ushered in a wildly diverse selection of dresses for mothers. For a mother just starting out on her wedding-day-shopping journey, the selection can be downright overwhelming. The key to knowing where to begin is in defining what type of wedding the bride has planned. Once this has been determined, there are basic guidelines that will help the bride’s or groom’s mother narrow down her selections. Shabby Chic

This is the newest wedding look on the scene and by far the most perplexing for mothers. Shabby chic has a more relaxed and organic feel and is open to many interpretations. This look ranges from classic vintage to modern and unpretentious. If the bride is going the modern route, think contemporary cocktail attire. Examples of this would be dresses that have one shoulder or an asymmetrical neckline, ruched-bodice dresses and 186 

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dresses with big chunky crystals. If she’s planning a vintage-inspired wedding, consider a knee-length A-line dress, beaded flapper style or something in classic taffeta or lace.

Rustic Elegant

These weddings typically have an outdoor element. Lighter-weight fabrics and less constructed silhouettes are ideal.


wedding attire Lace and chiffon are feminine, romantic and very much in keeping with the feel of rustic-elegant weddings. Handkerchief hemlines, highlow hemlines and diagonal layers are great design elements to look for. Consider cowboy boots for the finishing touch. White sequined boots are available for brides, while colors are available for maids and mothers.

more comfortable in neutrals, choose a metallic that reflects the peacock-feather’s shimmer, and add an accessory in hot pink or deep purple. At the end of the day, you only get points for looking fantastic walking down the aisle—and you only do that if you’re comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing.

most overlooked detail for mothers. Mothers will often buy jewelry for the bride and even the bridesmaids, and then, when it comes to their own outfit, try to fall back on something they already have at home. The right accessories are critical to completing your overall wedding-day look. The perfect necklace will elon-

D e s t i n at i o n

Assess the formality of the location, then factor in the expected temperature when trying to select a dress. For example, a winter wedding in Aspen will be very different from a spring wedding in Paris or a beach wedding in Hawaii. For hot climates, chiffons, crepes and lightweight lace are great options. Cooler climates will allow for heavier fabrics and the possibility of a fashionable jacket or wrap. Beach and garden weddings are the perfect opportunities to experiment with florals, patterns and generally more relaxed and fun looks. And never underestimate the importance of finding a dress that is “travel friendly”—one that packs well, doesn’t wrinkle and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance once you’ve arrived. Themed

If the bride has opted for a special theme, select what you like best from that theme and go with it. Never wear anything you don’t feel and look beautiful in just for the sake of matching. For example, if she’s planning a peacock-theme wedding, and you look terrific in blues and greens, consider shades ranging from teal to turquoise, crystal jewelry in rich jewel-tone colors, or perhaps shoes with peacock feathers. If, on the other hand, you’re

photo d. jones photo

Formal

If your daughter or son is planning a true formal wedding affair, a full-length gown is a must. Gowns are exciting this year because of all of the beautiful fabrics and exquisite detailing that are making their way from runway to retail. Three-dimensional flowers, Soutache ribbon and texturing of all kinds are very popular. Silhouettes themselves range from sleek and sophisticated to full and opulent. Accessories

Last but certainly not least are the accessories. Accessories are often the

gate the neck and torso and illuminate the face while you walk down the aisle. The perfect earring will bring out bone structure, actually giving a lift to the face. Jewelry is to the face what a picture frame is to a work of art. The properly chosen frame will complement the picture and draw the eye in, providing the finishing touch. Remember, as a mother of the bride or groom, this is your moment to shine. After all, you are walking down the aisle too. The goal is to feel as beautiful in your dress as you did when you walked down the aisle in your wedding dress. W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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mother of the bride

all from

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T . Carolyn Fashions, Houston


Ashley d Taylor

REAL WEDDINGS

~ NOVEMBER 3, 2012 ~

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When Taylor brought Ashley to the spot where they’d had their first date, she thought it was a pretty sweet coincidence that the first two tunes on the jukebox were “our songs,” she says. “But by the end of the series”— which, unbeknownst to Ashley, her future hubby had arranged ahead of time—“I knew what was going on, and he asked me to be his wife!” Ashley had always dreamed of a “romantic, traditional church wedding, followed by a luxe, modern, nightclub-type reception,” and her Petroleum Club of Houston wedding, with its sleek white backdrop, deep-blue uplighting and glittering silver accents was a dream-come-true. “My vision was for the wedding to look like it took place inside of a disco ball. We covered every surface with sequins, glitter, Lucite and candles. Then the Petroleum Club’s windows and the city lights of Houston took care of the rest.”

writer natasha garber ~ photography Ashley K Photography W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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REAL WEDDINGS

names kate “ashley” duran

&

robert “taylor” stallings    number of guests

250    venue petroleum club of houston    rehearsal dinner brennan’s houston    invitations katie

co.    wedding dress weddings by debbie    cake who made the cake    lighting bright star productions    consultant schwartz

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&

&

woodward    videography 31films   honeymoon los cabos, mexico


Turquoise & Gold Stone Necklace capwell.co

PAOLO COSTAGLI SMOKY TOPAZ & RUBY FLORENTINE RING paolocostagli.com

for her� PEARLIZED BEAD & CRYSTAL STRETCH BRACELET anntaylor.com

Debra Moreland gilted pearl chandeliers bhldn.com

LANVIN Gunmetal-tone Glass Crystal Ring net-a-porter.com

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STEPHANIE OWEN VINTAGE STONE NECKLACE elizabethcolejewelry.com

Eden Wedding Garter by Florrie Mitton libertyinlove.co.uk

Turquoise & Crystal Button Studs capwell.co

YNGAREN Bottle Set ikea.com

Golden Ivy on Alice Headband by Stephanie Browne libertyinlove.co.uk


Crystal d Andy

REAL WEDDINGS

~ SEPT EMBER 8, 2012 ~

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While Crystal declined office-mate Andy’s hopeful invitation to join his co-ed softball team, he was persistent, and offered to take her to the batting cages. “A couple of swings and a few dates later, I was becoming a great little softball player and he was becoming an even better future husband,” she says. Just over a year later, the couple tied the knot in opulent style, with a church ceremony dedicated to the bride’s recently deceased grandfather, followed by a lavish country club reception decorated in shades of taupe, blush and champagne, and filled with crystals, pearls and fragrant flowers. For all its elegant formality, the pair’s wedding wasn’t without its whimsy, including the reception appearance of the wedding party—who entered wearing blinking light-up glasses. All in all, “Our wedding was more beautiful than any wedding that I could have imagined,” says Crystal. “It was absolutely magical.”

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REAL WEDDINGS

names crystal holmes

andrew pape    number of guests 265    venue river oaks country club    invitations bering’s    wedding dress justina mccaffrey from now & forever &

bridal boutique    wedding consultant lary’s florist and designs    makeup & hair the perfect face    groomswear al’s formal wear    mother of the bride attire t. carolyn fashions    cake susie’s cakes & confections    flowers & decor lary’s florist and designs    photography sarah ainsworth photography    videography 31films    rehearsal dinner ouisie’s table    registry bering’s, williams-sonoma    honeymoon moorea

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&

bora bora


Megan d Shea

REAL WEDDINGS

~ MARCH 2, 2013 ~

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They met in 2011 at a Woodlands watering hole, and when they wed, a year and a half later, The Woodlands again was the site of their celebration. But first, there was Shea’s impressively public proposal: “We went to meet our friends at a restaurant to have a drink; when we got there he took me over by the fireplace outside the restaurant and proposed. Behind me (totally unknown to me) was my entire family, his whole family and ALL of our friends!” Those family members and friends were all on hand for the couple’s Woodlands Resort & Conference Center wedding, which featured billowy draping, pink and amber lighting, robust floral arrangements and, as a sweet surprise, a candy buffet welcoming guests to create their own tasty favors.

writer natasha garber ~ photography Mustard Seed Photography W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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REAL WEDDINGS

names megan gloyer

shea robin  planning challenge last-minute details  number of guests 355   venue woodlands resort & conference center   wedding dress paloma blanca from brickhouse bridal   flowers & &

decor plants n’ petals  consultant event solutions   honeymoon jamaica

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elements

swept

o f f y o u r f eet Fall in love with the newest looks in bridal footwear.

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Stuart Weitzman “Sweepstakes” Pump stuartweitzman.com

René Caovilla Crystal Beaded Sandal neimanmarcus.com

Audrey Brooke Crystal Platform Sandal dsw.com

Gaetano Perrone Suede & Snakeskin Sandal gaetanoperrone.com

Freya Rose “Jane” Wedding Shoe freyarose.com

Monique Lhuillier “Adriana” Lace PeepToe Pump moniquelhuillier.com

Kate Spade New York “Salina” Bow Pump katespade.com

Bruno Magli “Gelmer” Swarovski-CrystalEmbellished Mesh & Suede Pumps net-a-porter.com

Manolo Blahnik “Swan” Embellished Satin Pump neimanmarcus.com

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elegant.

m y s t e r i o u s . o p u l e n t. At The Corinthian, where columns soar and sophistication reigns, the season’s most coveted gowns are fit for a grand occasion.

location the corinthian photography Larry Fagala styling summar salah hair & makeup the perfect face


previous page / Ines Di Santo Gown Belle Mariée Bridal / Couture Mask Cathy Rascoe / Earrings Neiman Marcus / Virgins, Saints & Angels Ring Tootsies / Bouquet Arteflora ABOVE / Hayley Paige Gown & Erica Koesler Headpiece Now & Forever Bridal Boutique / Jimmy Choo Heels Tootsies / Earrings Zadok Jewelers / Bouquet Arteflora / Chair Boxwood Interiors right / Inbal Dror Gown Joan Pillow Bridal Salon / Couture Mask Cathy Rascoe / Jardin Bracelet Tootsies / Necklace BHLDN

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above / Anne Barge “Angelique” Gown Ivory Bridal Atelier / Twigs & Honey Headpiece BHLDN / Bracelet & Earrings Zadok Jewelers / René Caovilla Heels Tootsies / Chaise Boxwood Interiors / Pillows Alyson Jon Interiors right / bride in chair: Carolina Herrera Gown Joan Pillow Bridal Salon / Couture Mask Cathy Rascoe / Earrings & Valentino Heels Neiman Marcus / Necklace & Ring Tootsies / Lace Gloves Custom / Chair & Pillow Alyson Jon Interiors right / bride standing: Reem Acra Gown Ivory Bridal Atelier / Couture Mask Cathy Rascoe / Earrings & Judith Leiber Clutch Neiman Marcus

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ABOVE / Watters Gown Brickhouse Bridal / Elizabeth Bower Headpiece Now & Forever Bridal Boutique / Earrings Neiman Marcus / Alexis Bittar Ring Tootsies right / KittyChen Couture Gown & Lace Headpiece The Princess Bridal / Kenneth Jay Lane Earrings & Jardin Bracelet Tootsies

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Left / Hayley Paige Gown Winnie Couture Flagship Bridal Salon / Moyna Couture Shrug BHLDN / Couture Headpiece Cathy Rascoe / Earrings & Ring Zadok Jewelers ABOVE / Lazaro Gown & Edward Berger Veil Weddings by Debbie / Earrings Neiman Marcus / Rings Zadok Jewelers / Lace Gloves Custom / Bench Boxwood Interiors / Backdrop Events in Bloom

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ABOVE / David Peck Gown David Peck USA / Necklace & Valentino Heels Neiman Marcus / Virgins, Saints & Angels Ring Tootsies right / Austin Scarlett Gown Mia Bridal Couture / Couture Headpiece Cathy Rascoe / Earrings & Necklace Neiman Marcus / Bracelet Tootsies

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elements

to hold

t o h a v e a nd

Stow your essentials in a stylish bridal clutch.

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“Rosita” Puff Clutch clarakasavina.com

Tasha “Crystal Pond” Clutch nordstrom.com

“Lisa” Clutch clarakasavina.com

“It Girl” Glitter Party Box henribendel.com

Dolce & Gabbana “Miss Dea” Fruit-&-Floral-Print Clutch net-a-porter.com

Blush Satin Evening Clutch with Rhinestone Flower lightinthebox.com

Valentino Silk-Satin Bow Clutch net-a-porter.com

“Lorraine” Minaudiere Clutch clarakasavina.com

“Bubbly” Pandora Clutch charlotteolympia.com

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Alex d Matt

REAL WEDDINGS

~ JULY 6, 2013 ~

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Alex and Matt have the elusive algorithms of Match.com to thank for their romantic destiny. The pair, both newly located to Houston when they met through the online dating site, hit it off on their first date and have been together ever since. While the two originally envisioned a rustic beach wedding, they realized a July date worked best for their schedules, “so we quickly switched gears and began planning a more formal indoor (translation: air-conditioned) affair,” the bride explains. Their Hotel ZaZa wedding combined rustic touches including wood head tables and custom chalkboards with the venue’s iconic avant-garde style, and ended with a club-like afterparty in the hotel’s transformed cocktail space. “We originally were concerned our guests would be tired after the reception, but there were almost 100 people with us during the last song at 2 a.m.,” the happy bride recounts.

writer natasha garber ~ photography J. Cogliandro Photography W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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REAL WEDDINGS

names

alexandria

alley

&

of guests 250    venue hotel

matthew

mitchell    number

zaza    wedding dress rivini

from ivory bridal atelier  flowers & decor events in bloom    photography j. cogliandro photography    videography dakine films    registry kuhl-linscomb, williams-sonoma, macy’s   rehearsal dinner cadillac bar    honeymoon nevis, west indies

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1. MIDWEST SUPPLIES HOMEBREWING RECIPE KIT midwestsupplies.com  2. GOLD-TONE CARBON-FIBER-INLAY TUNGSTEN RING berricle.com 3. Pelcor Briefcase pelcorusa.com  4. White Wing Shave Kit berings.com, kuhl-linscomb.com  5.  fitbit wireless activity monitor fitbit.com  6.  GOLD-TONE AND STAINLESS-STEEL RECTANGULAR CUFFLINKS berricle.com  7.  TONINO LAMBORGHINI MONTECARLO CIGAR HUMIDOR forzieri.com  8.  VINCE CAMUTO MEN’S FRAGRANCE vincecamuto.com  9.  GIORGIO FEDON 1919 BRIDGE/POKER PLAYING-CARDS CASE forzieri.com 224 

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vintage

elements

southern

Get lost in the languid romance of another era.

Les nereides “ECLATANTE DISCRETION” ROUND-STONE, FLOWER & STRASS EARRINGS forzieri.com

Romantic Battenburg Lace ParasoL greatlookz.com

KOTUR “MARGO” CLUTCH bloomingdales.com

DONNA MORGAN “PRANCING IN POSIES” DRESS modcloth.com

TIFFANY GATSBY COLLECTION CONCH-PEARL & DIAMOND EARRINGS tiffany.com Halo & Co. “English Violet” Crystal Hair Comb nordstrom.com

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Crabtree & Evelyn Wisteria Eau de Toilette crabtree-evelyn.com

Multicolor SOUTH-SEA-PEARL & Diamond NecklacE paolocostagli.com

romantic BOUQUET BY TODD EVENTS, HOUSTON toddevents.com Photo: Roderick Peña

annabelle NYC SEAGOLD WRAP, niceties gown, baltic sash bhldn.com

pink & white lace cake by susie’s cakes & confections, houston susiescakes.com

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beauty &health W E D D I N G

S T Y L E

beautiful bride Top fitness and beauty experts offer their best advice for getting big-day gorgeous.

Though you may have been planning your wedding for months now, it is time to focus on yourself as you head into the final stretch before the big event. In as little as three to four weeks you will be able to get fit, get beautified and even bounce back from a little nip and tuck, with help from the pros. 4 W e e ks B e fo r e Yo u r W e d d i n g

About a month before the big day you want to plan out your schedule to fit in workouts. By this time you should have already picked out your dream wedding dress and had it fitted, so the goal isn’t to slim down for the big day, but to tone up.

photo Larry fagala

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hair the perfect face


beauty &health The perfect workout for this task is The Bar Method, which should be done three to four times a week. The Bar Method is designed to tone and sculpt muscles, enhance posture and reshape your body. Method creator Burr Leonard shares a quick tip on how this look is achieved: “The Bar Method alternates between exercises that demand intense bursts of energy, and deep stretches. This format produces both high caloric burn and firmer muscle mass. It also

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gives you an overall slimmer, more youthful appearance by working on your posture.” 3 to 8 Weeks Before Yo u r W e d d i n g

Studies have shown that not only brides-to-be are seeking physical enhancements before the wedding— so are the mothers of the bride and groom. If you, your mom or his mom is considering minor plastic surgery

to enhance your features, now is the time to do it. San-Diego-based, boardcertified plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Chaffoo suggests two quick procedures that require minimal recovery time. 1. Breast augmentation: Whether you have been considering a breast enhancement for years or you just want to fill out your dress, this procedure is quick and easy, with minimal down time. It takes about two hours in surgery, one week until you’re back to


beauty &health normal activities and three weeks until you can exercise normally. “Most of our brides have their augmentation completed six weeks before their last dress fitting,” adds respected Houston cosmetic surgeon Dr. Carlos Murillo, of Murillo Plastic Surgery. “This will allow time for your dress to fit just right, and for you to rock that honeymoon swimsuit.” 2. CoolSculpting: As a non-surgical alternative to liposuction, CoolSculpting helps you get a thinner and trimmer midsection. “On average, a single CoolSculpting treatment creates a 25-percent reduction in fat in the treated area,” Chaffoo explains. To conduct the procedure, the surgeon uses a specialized device that cools fat cells to a point at which they become damaged and die, and this is why your more toned appearance will become visible as soon as three weeks after treatment. 2 Weeks Before Yo u r W e d d i n g

A couple weeks before the wedding day is the best time for any Botox treatments. For whatever area you want treated, Botox will need at least a week for swelling to go down. “The most common area of injection is between the eyebrows where adults frequently develop a furrow. This area responds extremely well to Botox. ‘Crows’ feet’ and forehead lines also respond well,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Baxt of Baxt Cosmedical. “Many of our brides like to treat their bridesmaids to a Botox bridal party,” adds Dr. Murillo. “You can meet us at the office or we can come to you. There is no down time to your wrinklefree face. Once we place our topical anesthetic, we place the Botox quickly 232 

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beauty &health and efficiently. The full effects of the Botox are seen at seven days and last for six months.” 1 Week Before Yo u r W e d d i n g

During the weeks before your wedding you will have been exercising,

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beautifying, and planning last-minute details for your overall wedding look. But while you do, it is important to remember that looking good on the outside is achieved by feeling good on the inside. Cosmetic treatments can aid in a beauty regimen, but to get a glowing appearance, you must

nourish your body with plenty of healthy foods. Certified nutritionist Franci Cohen has created a “WeddingPrep” food guide that lays out which nutrients to include in your diet to ensure optimal vitality and beauty on your wedding day. 1. Carrots for a natural glow: We all know that eating obscene amounts of carrots can give the skin that orange hue, but a slightly above-average intake can do wonders for your health as well as your beauty regimen. Carrots are high in beta-carotene (a derivative of vitamin A, which plays a huge role in the renewal, protection and fortification of cells). Ingesting this nutrient from sources such as carrots will most definitely beautify your skin from within. More than three decades of research support the claim that those who get ample amounts of vitamin A from betacarotene have lower incidences of skin cancers, and have long-term glowing, beautiful and nurtured skin. 2. Almond milk for smooth skin: Almond milk is a nutrient-dense food that offers an abundance of essential nutrients and trace minerals such as manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B-2, vitamin E, tryptophan and copper. The vitamin E in almond milk protects the skin from free-radical damage, leaving only plumped, young, beautiful skin. And almond milk plays a role in the body’s regulation of oil, which can prevent acne and other skin conditions. Almond milk is also an excellent hydrator for the skin. 3. Blueberries for clear skin: Blueberries are high in antioxidants, which fight those nasty free radicals that we keep mentioning. They protect the skin from premature aging, and help maintain a healthy and clear complexion. As they counteract the aging process, they help skin steer clear of the age spots,


beauty &health wrinkles, acne and other blemishes that accompany the aging process. 4. Flaxseeds to reduce wrinkles and dry skin: The oil from tiny little flaxseeds can do wonders for skin tone. Flaxseed oils are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are very beneficial to the skin. They are loaded with vitamin

B, potassium, magnesium, fiber and zinc. This is the perfect elixir to treat various skin disorders associated with dryness, such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis. Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential for the repair of skin cells, leading to the reduction and prevention of wrinkles.

3 D ay s B e f o r e Yo u r W e d d i n g

The big day is almost here and you are looking fabulous. Now it is time to try out another important look for the wedding: your hair. This could honestly be your toughest choice because there are so many different wedding-hair trends. How, exactly, do you know which is the right look for you? Danny Jelaca of the Danny Jelaca Salon in Miami Beach advises that the hair should complement the dress design, and he has picked his top looks for several popular gown styles. Sweetheart neckline: For a strapless dress, it is best to let your hair fall down with loose bouncy curls. To bring some of the weight off your face, take a small strand from each side and pin it back around the head. Low-cut back: This look is stunning in itself, so you don’t want to have your hair hanging down. A great, modern bridal hairstyle is a low side ponytail with loose waves. Start with clean hair and, using a large-barrel curling iron, make big waves. Pin loosely onto either side, securing any loose strands in place. Decorate with tiny white flowers or a tiny braid. Lace bodice: Since lace defines elegance and femininity, your hairstyle should match. A great style is a medium-high messy bun. “A bun just above the middle of the scalp is elegant, flirty and extremely stylish,” Jelaca says. You should start with wavy hair and pull it back into a ponytail. The waves will help the hair twirl around the base of the pony and be secured into the bun. For a sleek look, tease the front and smooth it back, and for a more relaxed look, pull some pieces down around the front of your face. online>> for more resources visit weddingsinhouston.com

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Beauty Essentialsďż˝

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1. Bobbi Brown Old Hollywood Eye Palette bobbibrowncosmetics.com 2. Yves Saint Laurent RoUGe Pur Couture Lipstick saksfifthavenue.com 3. SMASHBOX FADE TO BLACK WATERPROOF SHADOW LINER smashbox.com 4. Kate Somerville Dilo oil katesomerville.com 5. BCBGMAXAZRIA FRAGRANCE bcbgmaxazria.com


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10 6. OPI nail lacquer in Suzi’s Hungary AGAIN! ulta.com  7. MARC JACOBS BEAUTY SHAMELESS BOLD BLUSH sephora.com  8.  mybody safety blanket gentle hydrating lotion lovemybody.com  9. TOUCHBACK BROW MARKER touchbackbrow.com  10.  NARS CHELSEA GIRLS LIP LACQUER nordstrom.com  11.  Amala Purifying Mattifier amalabeauty.com

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photo steve wrubel photographer flowers & decor todd events


flowers, decor & rentals 242

culinary services 290 invitations 310 gift registry 320

music & entertainment 332

transportation 340

finer details On your big day, it’s the little things that count most. From food to flowers, lighting to entertainment, we bring you all the essentials, plus special touches, design trends and exclusive finds.

coffee service bering’s

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flowers, decor &rentals F I N E R

D E T A I L S

unexpected blooms Flowers bring fresh elegance to oft-overlooked reception and ceremony areas.

Your life is in full bloom: You’ve found the right person to spend the rest of your life with, and now you’re planning the party of a lifetime to celebrate your precious bond. Flowers, almost certainly, will be a big part of that event. To create a cohesive celebration environment that immerses your guests in the beauty and sentiment of your special day, take your blooms beyond standard altar arrangements, centerpieces and bouquets, into hidden corners and private spaces, unadorned surfaces and overlooked places.

writer Christina Caldwell ~ photo larry fagala

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linens eb inc mini bell jar WEDDINGSTAR flowers & decor aj’s urban petals


flowers, decor &rentals Quirky floral “gestures” can really add to your guests’ memories of the ceremony, says David Tutera, floral designer to the stars and star, himself, of WEtv’s popular “My Fair Wedding with David Tutera.” “Unexpected flowers add a touch of magic and whimsy to your wedding.

When your guests come across these hidden buds, there is a moment of surprise when they first realize what they’ve found,” Tutera says. “It keeps the decor interesting and invites your guests to explore your wedding further and see what other hidden gems they can find.”

Little Treasures

It’s all about the details. When you’re really looking to add a “wow” factor to your celebration, you should look everywhere but the expected places, says Sheli Hart, event designer for Houston’s Flora & Eventi. “Adding flowers to the ceiling or existing lighting fixtures, or surrounding the stage for DJ or band, or even around or under a dance floor, can really be a unique touch,” Hart says. Though the trend is just beginning to take off in Houston, “creating a raised dance floor out of Plexiglas with a full display of flowers and lighting underneath is a real showstopper,” she adds. Succulents might not be traditional flowers, but they can add volume, texture and luxury to your typical bundle of blooms. Their rich, thick, fleshy leaves have a distinctly modern, architectural feel, so give your event a bit of edge by incorporating aloe into your altar, cacti into your centerpieces or jade plants on the bar, suggests Stacy Mendenhall, owner of Lary’s Florist and Designs in Friendswood. “Personalize, personalize, personalize,” adds designer Teresa Vencil of Houston’s Haute Flowers & Finds. “For example, if you decide that all your bridesmaids are going to wear cowboy boots with their dresses, and your favorite grandpa, who has passed away, loved wearing his favorite pair of boots, create a centerpiece for the ceremony entry table that includes his boots, filled with a beautiful floral arrangement, to greet your guests.” Ceremony Sights

The current trend of rustic, vintageinspired ceremonies has seen a spike in the popularity of wildflowers and other natural greenery, Tutera says. For outdoor weddings, some of those flowers 244 

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flowers, decor &rentals can even be pulled from surrounding areas the day of your ceremony if your wedding planner is feeling ambitious. “It adds an organic touch while still feeling special and upscale,” he says. You can also punch up your ceremony by decorating reception seat backs or simply scattering small, random bouquets with your favorite florals throughout the pews. Your guests will naturally pick them up and bring them to the reception, carrying over a piece of the ceremony, Tutera says. “I also love to frame the altar or space where you and your groom will stand to take your vows,” Tutera says. “It evokes an intimate and romantic feeling for the whole ceremony.” If you want your ceremony to have a professional, out-of-a-magazine look, there are certain blooms that are really popping for 2014. “Some of the musthave flowers are garden roses, peonies and clematises,” says Mendenhall. “Wedding-flower trends for 2014 will be loose and airy, with the addition of foliage, botanicals and succulents.” Try adding small bunches of full, ruffly flowers to the ends of pews or chair rows, perhaps accented with silky ribbons, or rustic raffia for a country-chic touch. If your ceremony site has a contemporary feel, place succulents in tall hammered-tin canisters or white ceramic pots at the end of every third or fourth row. Or, for a cost-effective and effortlessly romantic touch, create a simple “runner” out of fresh rose petals.

your ideal floral fantasy—especially if it involves exotic or particularly pricey blooms (peonies, for instance, an eternal wedding favorite)—can seem overwhelming. But there are ways around the heavy cost of fresh-cut blooms. Shonda Cheris, event designer for Washington-based

event-planning company Livewire 99, advises brides to take the local, seasonal approach to get the most bang for their floral bucks. “A bride should request in-season flowers, and if she must have a particular flower, but it is expensive during the time of year she wants it, consider

Fresh Blooms on Budget

It’s a difficult fact that every bride has to come to terms with when she’s planning her impending nuptials: Flowers are expensive! When you’ve grown accustomed to seeing $15 bouquets of roses at the grocery store, the cost of W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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flowers, decor &rentals

flowers & decor flora & eventi photo D. Jones photo

photo kelli durham photography

photo Daniel C. Photography

changing the wedding date,” Cheris says. “Seriously, it will be worth it to have the wedding you desire.” Lower-cost blooms such as chrysanthemums and common roses, as well as lush greenery, can be used to create a look of abundance, particularly in large-scale floral design—think chuppahs, mandaps and altar canopies—and especially in areas that are far away from the guest’s eye. Save pricier blooms for close-up floral features such as centerpieces. Flowers made by hand from delicate tissue paper also can give the ceremony a sophisticated yet homey feel without venturing into the realm of arts and crafts, notes Darryl & Co.’s Jerri Powell. But really, the best thing a bride can do when working within the confines of the budget is to keep an open mind, Hart says. Discussing and trusting your budget to a professional will ensure you get the flowers you want, perhaps with cash to spare. “Focus on the things that are really important to you. Be open minded to non-floral and floral centerpiece options,” Hart says. “Trust your florist to lead you in a direction that is truly going to give you the most bang for your buck. Be open minded to the sizes of your floral arrangements and let us design something that suits your style, as well as the size of the venue.” Also, Hart adds, “A lot of florists can be flexible with the cost of labor, depending on the scope of the design.” She notes that the cost savings can equate to the same amount a bride might spend if she were to source loose stems and attempt to arrange them herself. “I would highly recommend a bride not take on the added responsibilities of arranging flowers herself or with her bridesmaids the day before the wedding. This creates a lot of added stress and the possibilities of things not working out as planned are likely. Flowers are delicate and floral design is a true art form.”

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flowers, decor &rentals

6 smart

flower-buying tips

Don’t pick your petals without them.

writer Christina Caldwell ~ photo daniel C. photography

Heading into your first consultation with a floral designer is enough to make your head spin. Between distinguishing your freesia from your phalaenopsis, to figuring out whether to go high, low or somewhere in the middle with your centerpieces, purchasing your wedding-day petals can be a lot more complicated than it sounds.

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flowers, decor &rentals Fortunately, we wrangled five fabulous floral and design experts who know the wedding floral scene from stem to stamen, and asked them for their best flower-buying tips. 1 . G o w i t h a p ro.

To ensure superior floral quality, it’s essential to hire a reputable florist with exclusive access to the finest growers and distributers worldwide. “The costs of arranging flowers yourself versus hiring a professional really balance out,” adds David Tutera, New York-based celebrity florist and the face of weTV’s “My Fair Wedding with David Tutera.” “Though you’ll have to pay for labor when hiring a professional, they likely will have access to wholesale costs for the flowers, which will be cheaper than what you’ll be

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able to buy yourself.” Truthfully, on your wedding day, the last thing you’ll want to do is fret about your flowers. You don’t need that stress, nor will you have the time to create fresh, professional-looking floral arrangements in the last few days—or even hours—leading up to your wedding. Aside from event decor, a floral expert knows how to construct a bouquet and boutonnieres, “which is not easy,” Tutera says. “And most importantly, they are knowledgeable about how and when to use blooms that will continue looking fresh throughout your wedding.” 2 . Ta k e t o t h e f i e l d s .

Rustic, homegrown ceremonies have become popular, and with them has grown the popularity of tousled,

natural-looking flowers. If you’re getting married in a town with plentiful wildflowers, there’s no harm in going to pick your own blooms, especially for accent flowers, or to feature in vintage vignettes—say, on your guestbook table alongside framed family photos. They’re free (or close to it) and bring a local feel to your celebration. “Instead of doing tall or high round arrangements, do small clusters of arrangements that have a few [local] flowers in them,” says Shondra Cheris, event designer with Washington-based Livewire 99. While small, DIY wildflower touches are charming, it’s best to leave complex arrangements such as your bridal bouquet to a professional. To keep your overall floral look unified, ask your florist to incorporate a few local or wild blooms.


flowers, decor &rentals 3. Buy in bulk.

This doesn’t mean making a trip to a big-box store. Rather, if you have an overall theme or design scheme in mind for your ceremony and reception, and you’re willing to limit the variety of flowers you use, “purchasing larger amounts of fewer types of flowers can save you money,” Tutera notes. 4 . S p lu r g e h e r e , sav e t h e r e .

When working with a budget, it’s important to determine what floral elements are essential to your wedding experience. Again, your bouquet is one place to allocate ample funds. “The bride should never be conservative on her bouquet,” says Jerri Powell, director of sales for Houstonbased Darryl & Co. “This, after all, is a precious gift from her groom and of immeasurable value.” While bridesmaid bouquets are a great way to show your girls your gratitude, and add a pop of color to your altar, they can be scaled back considerably in comparison to the bridal bouquet, says Sheli Hart, event designer for Houston’s Flora & Eventi. Flowers for the bridesmaids and rest of the bridal party “should suit the theme, but can definitely be a more cost-effective option,” she says. Large floral statements, too, are another floral area you should fund amply—but smartly. Notes Todd Fiscus of Todd Events, with offices in Dallas and Houston, “One of my favorite design elements, is to create two amazing, huge—as in smart-car-sized—florals, on pedestals, and then surround them with tables with candles and gardenia details. The room will feel fresh as opposed to all tables getting the same thing.” 254 

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flowers, decor &rentals 5 . G e t sav v y a b o u t seasonals.

Being stubborn in your floral selections will ultimately lead to a hefty bill. If you want winter flowers in summer, or summer flowers in winter, prepare to take on the cost of importing blooms from exotic locales, where the seasons are reversed—and understand that flowers that have to travel far may not be at the peak of freshness on your wedding day. Instead, it’s usually a good idea to use at least a significant portion of seasonal blooms in your personal flowers, as well as ceremony and reception arrangements, says Stacy Mendenhall, owner of Lary’s Florist and Designs in Friendswood. For example, though you might want spring tulips in your winter ceremony, you can add season-appropriate greenery and juniper boughs for a playful floral duality.

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“Find out what is going to be in season and plan around that,” Tutera says. “There are many flower varieties that work all year long, such as roses and hydrangeas. These can be mixed and matched in corresponding colors with what will be in season around the time of your big day, to build lush and textured arrangements. But the seasonal varieties should take center stage to highlight their timely beauty.” 6. T h i n k b e yo n d t h e b lo o m .

Thanks to the rise of the Pinterestsphere, creative ideas for alternatives to traditional exotic floral varieties— many of which create the same warm, romantic feel of from-the-garden varieties—are becoming more widespread and innovative.

For large-scale floral decor—think chuppah, mandap or altar—carnations, hydrangeas, basic roses and even intricately folded paper flowers can be used to create volume and abundance, especially in areas that are farther from the guest’s eye. Meanwhile, the shimmer of metallics (mercury-glass vases, gold candlesticks, silver julep cups) and the sparkle of glass and crystal (votive holders, beaded strands, brooches and gems) provide the perfect contrast to offset natural, dewy petals and leaves, and give arrangements a special-occasion feel. And lastly, experts recommend incorporating fruit, succulents, greenery and, of course, plenty of candles, to add texture, contrast, vintage elegance or modern edge to your wedding flowers.


Fabulous

FLOWERS

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gracious table

Setting a beautiful wedding table is a labor of creativity…and of love.

writer Blake Miller ~ photo holly hoyt photography

There’s a lot that goes into creating an inviting and accommodating wedding table—and that’s as it should be. After all, the reception table is where guests will spend a majority of their time at your celebration—eating, drinking, talking, laughing, reminiscing and marveling at the visual impression of those linens,

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flowers, decor &rentals those flowers, that crystal, that candlelight. And while there are no rules for designing the perfect table, decor experts agree that texture and variation are tops in tables for 2014. Home Chic Home

Rather than mere showcases for fancy stuff, today’s wedding receptions are environments that express the couple’s personalities and tastes. So it’s no surprise that wedding planners suggest looking around the house for inspiration. “When it comes to dressing tabletops today, weddings are being accessorized by home furnishings,” explains wedding planner Joyce Scardina Becker with Events of Distinction in San Francisco and Los Angeles. “Whatever is happening in the interior-design world is seen in wedding tablescapes.” If your own home decor feels somewhat less than special-occasion “special,” take cues from leading interior designers like Oprah favorite Nate Berkus, whose sleek, transitional lines— mixing and matching antique crystal wine glasses with modern chargers— work well as wedding tabletop decor. W h at ’ s O l d i s N e w

The popularity of TV’s “Downton Abbey” has only reinforced the vintage aesthetic that is still going strong for 2014. “Vintage-inspired weddings and Old-World traditional looks are growing in popularity, adding twists on luxurious elegance,” says Jill Vidal of top Houston rental firm EB Inc (formerly Elegant Beginnings). “One of our biggest trends right now is vintage rentals,” adds Penne Hamblin with Houston’s well-stocked Any Occasion Party Rental. “We are constantly looking for unique items that remind you of raiding your grandmother’s attic, 270 

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flowers, decor &rentals to give a warm, vintage feel to an event.” Hamblin suggests scouring resale shops, antique stores and even eBay for mismatched china place settings and glassware. “Not only do a lot of brides love the look, it’s a whole lot of fun to go treasure hunting for these items!” Mix it Up

While harmony and cohesion are key to a reception room, there’s no guideline that says tabletops need to be precise duplicates of one another. Instead, opt for a different yet complementary aesthetic for each table’s decor. Nothing is more alluring to the guest’s eye than imbuing each table with its own personality, versus the cookie-cutter effect of having each rose in the exact same place in every single centerpiece. Consider varying the table

shapes from circular to rectangular to square, and incorporating different linens and interchangeable place settings that could easily work well at each table. And while Scardina Becker loves this eclectic look, she cautions: “The key here is to know how to accessorize and know when to edit.” Pa l e t t e P l e a s e r s

Choosing a tabletop color palette can be one of the most difficult—and, ultimately, enjoyable—tasks in a bride’s planning process. “We are seeing a lot of big, bold pops of color mixed with simple floral statements,” says wedding-planner Kristin Banta of Kristin Banta Events in Los Angeles. “This trend is great for the couple on a budget, as the impact

from the pop of color balances the restrained florals. Bold color statements can come from the chargers, chairs, glasses and linens.” Also, brides are learning that their wedding’s color palette can extend beyond one or two colors. “Color palettes have grown from two or three colors to four, five and even six!” says wedding- and event-planner Anne Markey of Favor Me Events in Charlotte, N.C. “Like I always say: It doesn’t need to match. It just needs to ‘go.’” Meanwhile, at Houston event-decor firm The Perfect Touch, owner Vik Chadha says 2014 brides are tending toward ivory, cream and classic neutral tones, and getting their “wow” factor from bling: “Sequin linens are really in. They have a lot of sparkle, which brings that classic, Gatsby look.” Confused about which hues to use? A good place to start is by having a look at color wheels or paint swatches for inspiration, and discovering what shades complement each other, and which are best for contrast. Grace in Place

While centerpieces will always have a home on the wedding table, today’s brides are looking to their place settings—chargers, china, glassware, flatware and accessories—to make the biggest tabletop statement. “I am loving the use of statement glasses to accent the rest of your tabletop decor,” says Banta. “Bringing in a signature glass helps to make each place setting pop, and is a great way to add personality and dimension to your tabletop.” Markey seconds the idea: “More and more brides are opting to get their ‘bang’ from the linens, chargers, place settings and candles, and not go overboard with gigantic floral arrangements.” 272 

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flowers & decor aj’s urban petals linens & rentals eb inc photo larry fagala

Looking for something beyond mere clear? Consider mercury glass or rosecolored wine glasses to punch up your pretty table. G e t S ta c k e d

Layers of material and texture add interest and dimension to any tabletop aesthetic. “One of my favorite tabletop trends is the use of stacked chargers, and china of different patterns and textures, to create a decadent experience at each place setting,” says Banta. “There should be some consistency to the patterns and colors selected; however, feel free to get creative and adventurous as, except for the top plate, only the outer plate rims will be seen.” Like with your home, mixing and matching patterns and textures is one of the easiest ways to bring dimension to the tabletop. “If your desire

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is to have tabletop florals play only a small role, drama does not have to be sacrificed,” Banta notes. “A luxurious, textured linen can often offer greater impact than your florals. A beautiful tabletop is not just about what your guests are seeing, but it’s also about what your guests can feel.” Adds Markey: “Brides are not afraid of textures in fabrics, as well as mixing patterns, linens and even furniture—such as pairing farm tables with ‘Ghost’ chairs.” Bare it All

For the bride who loves a minimal look, or who wants a more rustic aesthetic, Cheryl Rebsch of Any Occasion Party Rental suggests skipping the linens altogether. “Tables with no linens are so pretty, and a nice change from all of the fabric in one room,” she says. “We have dark-stained-wood rustic

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tables with matching chairs, benches and even a bar. These work great in a rustic theme room. Some brides incorporate deer horns and burlap with this look to make it more Texas-rustic.” Keep Themes Subtle

Sure, “Great Gatsby” fever has been high since the movie exploded last summer. And while it’s certainly fun to draw inspiration from the story’s 1920s aesthetic—or other visually notable eras such as Victorian era, 1940s or 1950s— steer away from explicitly “themed” weddings as a whole, says Markey. “I think it is important to remember that this is a wedding, not a birthday party,” she explains. “When a couple looks back at photos of their wedding in 10 years, they should not cringe because they got suckered into the hype surrounding a blockbuster that year.”


Megan d Spencer REAL WEDDINGS

~ MARCH 16, 2013 ~

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The months and weeks before a wedding are “such a wonderfully special time in not only the lives of the bride and groom, but in both families’ lives as well,” notes recent Houston bride Megan. “It’s hard to make sure everyone is happy and feels involved. I think we did a good job of this.” It’s an important point—one demonstrated by the love and gratitude Megan and groom Spencer showered upon the 250 guests who gathered to celebrate the couple’s nuptials. In addition to the main event—a magnificent black-white-champagne-and-silver affair at Hotel ZaZa coordinated by the hotel’s amazing Lisa Hudson, where guests signed custom wine boxes and bottles instead of a traditional guestbook, supped on steak and lobster, and partied ’til the wee hours—friends and family enjoyed a tailgate-BBQ rehearsal dinner at the bride’s family’s home and a night at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It was, in the bride’s words, “more than we ever could have hoped for.”

writer natasha garber ~ photography Nhan Photography W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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names megan radermacher

&

spencer peoples    the proposal in maui celebrating the groom’s

30th birthday, during an after-dinner stroll: “spencer had written a letter for me, and when we stopped to enjoy the peacefulness of the ocean, he gave me the letter, and proceeded to ask me to marry him—it was amazing”    number of guests 250  venue hotel zaza   flowers & decor plants n’ petals    photography nhan photography    honeymoon fiji

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Tables

by design

Feast your eyes on magnificent tablescapes

created exclusively for Weddings in Houston by talented Houston florists supported by fine local linen companies. All images ŠWeddings in Houston

flowers & decor darryl & co. location the corinthian photo larry fagala


flowers & decor Events in Bloom

location The Corinthian

photography Larry Fagala

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mini bell jars Wedding Star

location The Corinthian

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flowers & decor dream bouquet

linens Linens by Lisa

location The Corinthian

photography Larry Fagala

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linens Linens by Lisa

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plates Sloan Hall

location The Corinthian

photography Larry Fagala

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flowers & decor The Perfect Touch

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photography Larry Fagala

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culinary services F I N E R

D E T A I L S

local flavor

If it’s fresh in the state, it belongs on the plate.

The best way to give your guests a taste of the great state of Texas…is to give your guests many tastes of the great state of Texas. That’s because Texas, with its rich cultural history and unique geographic location, offers a delicious array of flavors, ingredients and emblematic dishes just waiting to be savored on your special day.

writer Maggie Marton ~ photo select studios

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culinary services Oh—and if you are hesitating to add elements of Texas to your reception meal at the risk of seeming cliché or literal, don’t worry, the beautiful part of adding local flavor is that little touches go a long way. As Margery Reinheardt, CPCE, director of catering for the Hilton Houston Post Oak advises, “Remember that it only takes a suggestion of Texas to add native charm to a wedding event. In Houston, everything from Gulf Coast to

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Tex Mex to multicultural cosmopolitan fare, and rodeo glitz and glam, make the grade.” Ta s t e o f T r a d i t i o n

“Every wedding has a place for tacos,” says Reinhardt. “Late-night breakfast tacos, fresh snapper or shrimp mini taco hors d’oeuvre, or filled candied taco shells with dark-chocolate ganache, cinnamon, almonds, Texas berries and orange spiked cream for

dessert, are a delicious reminder of our humble heritage.” According to Wafi Dinari, co-owner and managing partner of popular Houston eateries Ouisie’s Table and The Bird and The Bear Bistro, Texas flavors draw from many different traditions. Synthesizing those flavors creates a unique, stylish Texas menu. “Things like barbecue, biscuits, good Southern desserts and Tex Mex are traditions of Texas,” he notes. Dinari suggests menus


culinary services that feature shrimp-and-cheese grits, chicken-fried steak with the works, a bacon-wrapped meatloaf, or a crab Cobb salad. A traditional menu might incorporate game such as venison, bison, quail, elk and wild boar. Fresh and Spicy

“Texas flair to me is about freshness and flavor. Think: spicy,” says Lisa Hopkins, CMP, CPCE, director of catering for The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa. She suggests integrating coastal flavors inspired by the Gulf. “Brides can share a little bit of the Gulf Coast by offering seafood like snapper, then adding a pepita crust with tomatillo and guacamole. Or, for the land lovers, what about a roasted-peach-and-pecanstuffed Marble Farms pork chop with ginger-maple jus?”

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culinary services At the Rainbow Lodge—a favorite of hunters, game lovers and foodies alike—owner Donnette Hansen, too, loves to offer a range of fresh and spicy flavors, including spicy Gulf shrimp with red chilies, fire-roasted oysters, and corn-and-crawfish fritters, all of which are delicious Texas-inspired menu selections. Get Local

The best way to ensure the freshness and quality of ingredients in your Texas-inspired celebration menu is to source food locally. Hansen says, “We source locally no matter what, and that first menu meeting is a perfect time to mention your favorite ingredients and your budget. Consider whole roasted suckling pig with bourbon-and-southTexas-citrus glaze, grilled venison or

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culinary services buffalo tenderloin with jalapeño bread pudding and cilantro chimichurri, pheasant tinga tacos or tostadas, grilled quail, and duck bites.” Nicole Wilker, who manages private dining at Brennan’s Houston, says that Houston brides have an advantage because there is an abundance and variety of regional food available. She suggests a menu that starts with “something that has a little kick, followed by grass-fed beef or freshly caught Gulf

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fish with a side of grits. And, to finish, what is more grand than a Texas pecan pie or pecan pralines?” Wilker sources ingredients like antelope from southwest Texas, and local berries from Froberg’s Farm in Alvin, Texas, and works with a local farmer to source a variety of potatoes from russets to fingerlings. Seasonal Flair

And speaking of seasonal availability— you’ll find more and more independent

catering firms and hotel catering departments able to discuss it in detail, and provide you with good advice on getting your money’s worth. At the Hilton Houston Post Oak, Reinheardt says, “Locally produced cheeses are available year round, but produce is subject to the month the wedding will take place.” And she reminds brides that local, seasonal options do tend to be more expensive. “With limited production


culinary services from these artisans, most of the suppliers do not have the mass quantities of those items produced for national distribution, which means the size of the event may dictate what is readily available. Even small events, though, should expect to pay more for these products.” She suggests local, seasonal seafood options available from the Texas coast, like fresh oysters, shrimp and live crawfish. “Texas redfish is now commercially farmed and is a practical and delicious fish for banquet events as entrees and appetizers. Jalapeñobacon-wrapped quail with maple glaze is a great small-plate item, as are fresh quail eggs: Try them deviled as appetizers, on top of eggs Benedict for brunch, or as a source of flavor over many entrees—they

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just add a level of sophistication to your menu.” For a personal touch, Reinheardt suggests reminding guests of the dinner’s Texas origins by providing beautifully printed souvenir menus. M o d e r n Fa r e

Whether it’s high-quality steaks, traditional barbecue or regional favorites from around the state, taking those dishes and putting a contemporary spin on them is what raises the bar for wedding fare. And don’t forget the libations. Every wedding needs a specialty cocktail, especially if the beverage selection is limited to beer and wine. Adding one good, icy vodka cocktail is a great idea, even with more modest budgets. “Bourbons, rums, vodkas and gins,

blended whiskeys, and tequilas, can be found brewing all around our state,” Reinhardt adds. Mixing in these spirits adds the perfect finishing touch to a locally inspired menu. While you’re creating the perfect Texas-touched dining experience, Hansen cautions against overdoing thematic elements, especially when it comes to integrating the food with the decor. “Don’t get too caught up in the boots-and-hats theme; it has been way overdone and it seems to be more of a costume party than a memorable food and drink experience.” Instead, she suggests that couples bring a few of their personal favorite things from their ranch or house and let them work their way onto the tabletop, for a Texas dining experience that tastes, and feels, deliciously like home.


d e e t c p n l e u d c a S dec Sugar-flower master and “Sweet Genius” star Ron Ben-Israel elevates the art of cake. writer natasha garber photos ron ben-isrAEl cakes

Martha Stewart’s a huge fan—and why shouldn’t she be? After all, cake-maker Ron Ben-Israel combines just about all of the iconic tastemaker’s faves: flowers, food, craftsmanship, artistry, celebration. While Stewart may have discovered Ben-Israel and put the pastry chef’s name on the party map, the owner of New York’s Ron Ben-Israel Cakes and star of the Food Network’s wacky and wonderful chef competition “Sweet Genius” has drawn a devoted following of wedding clients who are as dazzled by his feats of cake design as they are delighted by the delicious cake flavors cooked up by his namesake Soho bakery. In this exclusive Weddings in Houston feature, the famed cake guru talks butter, silicone and metal—and offers his theory of the wedding cake’s enduring role. Weddings in Houston: When did you begin your love affair with cake? Ron Ben-Israel: I was always fascinated with desserts, and started absorbing ideas and experimenting in my mother’s kitchen at an early age. As I pursued a career as a professional dancer, there were times that I needed extra income. I naturally gravitated toward working in commercial kitchens, and learned my craft on the job. WIH: What makes a Ron Ben-Israel cake a Ron Ben-Israel cake? RBI: I started selling my cakes in the late ’90s, not knowing that they’d become my calling and career. Since most of the feedback was positive, I got encouraged to pursue further training and got the confidence to present my work at culinary competitions, in design environments, to the press and at bridal shows. I didn’t come from a background that included the traditional wedding cakes, made with shortening and a lot of plastic decorations. Early on in my cake journey I established that all our cakes would be made with pure butter, and that every decoration on the cake would be handmade and edible. To me, it’s all about customizing the cake to fit a specific event, and creating a memorable culinary and visual experience. WIH: What, in your opinion, is the purpose of the wedding cake? RBI: The wedding cake serves as a focal point at the wedding reception. It’s a tribute to the bride and groom, and cutting the first slice is the only “job” they’ll have to perform throughout the event. It symbolizes the union between the couple, and the sharing of all that is sweet and plentiful with their guests. WIH: What’s the hottest trend you’re seeing for 2014 wedding cakes? RBI: We are returning to extreme heights and to lots of color.

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WIH: What are some of the most challenging wedding cakes you’ve created? RBI: Very soon after I started providing wedding cakes, I was faced with the challenge of building larger and taller cakes to accommodate my clients—not an easy task without using artificial elements such as plastic columns. Consequently, a lot of my designs include elevations composed entirely of sugar flowers. I was also not in favor of the ornate festoons applied in frosting over the cake surface in the same manner, regardless of the individuality of the bride. Therefore, I developed techniques to replicate the bride’s gown in icing that make the cake one of a kind. I also got inspired by the magnificent locations couples choose for their weddings, and started representing decorative elements from those environments, often in edible gold and silver. WIH: What are your favorite decorating techniques and materials? RBI: To this day, I’m very fond of making sugar flowers, and devote parts of the week to that task. I also make all the silicone molds that my crew uses to decorate our cakes, and contribute a lot of the finishing touches to our cakes. WIH: How do you ensure that your cakes taste as amazing as they look? RBI: The way to get consistently good baking results is with knowledge of the baking process, and a lot of experience. But the tools are also very important, and over time I was able to invest in specialized refrigeration systems that preserve the moistness of the cakes. We have an endless array of cakes and fillings to choose from, and come up with new ideas each season. WIH: What is your advice to couples for infusing their cakes with personal meaning? RBI: I always ask the couples to bring everything to do with their wedding to the meeting with me. I can get inspired by their choice of flowers, linens, environment, menu, the invitations, the couple’s outfits, the location, the time of the year, etc. WIH: What’s your favorite part of making cakes? RBI: Making people happy—and showing off, a little bit.

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invitations F I N E R

D E T A I L S

a most intriguing invitation Give guests a window into your one-of-a-kind wedding.

Setting the tone and style of your nuptials starts with your wedding stationery—after all, that save-the-date and invitation are the first two wedding-related items your guests will ever see. The details that go into your invitation suite, from paper type to printing technique to color palette to embellishment, all work together to give guests a glimpse of the type of event that awaits them. To ensure you select the right wedding stationery for this very important job, here are 10 tips from top stationery pros.

writer Blake Miller ~ photo LAVANDULA DESIGN

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invitations 1 . T r um p T r a d i t i o n

Your mom might argue that an all-white invitation with black cursive script and zero motifs of any kind is the only way to go, but keep this in mind: If a traditional look doesn’t suit you, there are plenty of other equally elegant routes. “Choose the design that’s right for you,” says Sabrina Moyle, founder of Hello Lucky design studio in San Francisco. “Don’t get too caught up in worrying about tradition. Instead, choose an invitation that fits your style, whether it’s colorful or classic.” 2 . P e r us e P r i c e

News flash: Stationery costs money. As with wedding gowns, avoid weddinginvitation “sticker shock” by researching various styles you love before getting your heart set on one that’s out of your

price range. Christiana Turner with Houston’s Isabella Invitations [formerly Elegant Custom Invitations] suggests determining your estimated number of guests as well as your bottom-line budget. “Also, don’t forget to consider the cost of postage and any additional stationery you may need, such as thank-you notes, programs and menu cards, when making calculations.” 3 . Emb r a c e P a p e r

While it may feel as though every interaction, transmission and request is conducted digitally these days, “Remember that your wedding is a great opportunity to slow down, reflect and celebrate,” explains Moyle. Wedding invitations should be presented on paper and delivered via post. Anything else is too casual for a formal event.

4 . D o n ’ t P r o c r a st i n a t e

“A very common mistake in the invitation process is not allowing enough time to choose, purchase and print the stationery,” says Turner. “Wedding invitations should be mailed six to eight weeks in advance, and production often takes up to six weeks for custom invitations, and five to seven business days for catalog invitations.” Invitation designers caution that many brides tend to count eight weeks back from their wedding date, and then add another month and a half to arrive at a date when they need to order their invitations. These brides may find themselves suffering unnecessary headaches when there is a mistake that causes them to fall behind in sending their invitations out. To avoid this situation, designers advise clients that once their venue is booked, invitations should be the next thing to check off on their list. To be safe, most designers tell their clients to order their invitations no less than six months ahead of the wedding date. 5 . B e w a r e B a r g a i ns

The old saying, “You get what you pay for,” often rings true when it comes to wedding stationery. “Just because it seems like a bargain, doesn’t mean it is the right choice,” says Debra Hall of Olive Paper in Charlotte, N.C. “Be sure you’re happy with the overall quality before you commit.” Keep in mind things such as paper weight, a higher quality of which can easily make your wedding invitation appear and feel much more luxurious. 6. Go With a Pro

As with just about everything bridal related, there are certain protocols and conventions required when issuing a formal invitation. To make sure you 312 

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invitations adhere to what’s expected, it’s best to use a professional to design and create your wedding invitations. Since this likely will be your first time issuing such an important invitation, you won’t be familiar with wedding-invitation conventions or protocols. Professionals, on the other hand, maintain extensive knowledge of these conventions for a living, and know how to steer brides in the right direction. Invitation designers will be able to point out details as significant as the wording of the invitation, along with processes as seemingly insignificant as the stuffing of the envelope—yes, there is a right and a wrong way to insert all those pieces. 7. C o unt C o r r e c t l y

What happens when you run out of invitations because you spilled coffee on a few, or a half dozen went missing in the mail? You’re out of luck when you don’t have any backups, which is why Turner suggests that when placing your order, you should make sure to account for late additions to the wedding, lost invites and keepsakes. “It’s generally suggested that you order 10 to 15 percent more invites than you think you need,” she advises, adding that you can avoid ordering too many invitations by organizing your guest list by couple and family rather than individual guest. Adds Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York in New York City: “Remember, one invitation typically invites two people. So if you’re having a party for 300 guests, you do not need to order 300 invites. Divide your number in half and then add an extra 25 for cushion.” Ordering too few invitations, meanwhile, can result in unnecessary stress and higher expenses to get additional small quantities. In most cases, it W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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invitations costs more to order invitations in smaller quantities than it does to order them in bulk. And it is almost inevitable that you will have last-minute guest additions, lost invitations or forgotten guests. 8 . Av o i d O o p s i e s

Treat your wedding invitations as you would the resume you’re sending to your dream employer. There is nothing worse than a grammatical, spelling

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invitations or punctuation error on something as important as your wedding invitation. “Proofread, proofread, proofread!” says Turner. “Ask your family members and friends to proof your wedding invitation a gazillion times, and even when they have given you the thumbs up, look over it one more time.” 9 . Es c h e w t h e Env e l o p e

Sometimes more is just better. And in the case of a wedding invitation, sometimes more than an envelope is what’s demanded of the occasion. “We’re going for a sense of excitement and intrigue so that when guests open it there is a ‘wow’ factor,” says Johnson of her highend wedding pieces. “Brides are going for creative ways to package it all together—belly bands, laser-cut sleeves, pockets, boxes—all of these add style and function to the presentation of your invitation.” 1 0 . P o st P e r f e c t l y

Those “Love” postage stamps are awfully cute, but don’t assume your invites require the standard postage amount. “This one seems like a nobrainer,” says Turner, who adds that too often couples assume they’re applying sufficient postage to their invites only to have them returned by the post office weeks later, often too late to do anything about. To avoid this catastrophe, Turner suggests compiling “one complete invitation, including any enclosures, and taking it down to your local post office to have it weighed before placing postage on the envelope. You should also ask the post office about any upcoming postage increases as you may need to buy the ‘Forever’ stamp, which is good no matter how many U.S. Postal Service increases are made.” W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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photo cara leonard photography

e images photo Love Lif

Vintage charm meets modern sophistication in invitation designer Carla David’s couture creations.

You could call Carla David a Renaissance woman. After all, the Savage, Md.-based artist doesn’t just design exquisite wedding and event invitations, she also travels extensively, bakes deliciously, and plays both French horn and piano. A native of the picturesque Monterey Bay region of California, it’s no surprise David’s invitation designs are infused with a freshness and vitality reminiscent of the Pacific Coast’s natural palette and cool breezes. But David’s work also echoes her time spent living in England, where she absorbed British history and the country’s vintage charms. It is this combination of influences that defines David’s wedding-invitation aesthetics. She’s also just really cool. Check out our chat with her—then check out her lovely work at www.carladavid.com.

Weddings in Houston: When did you realize you had a passion for creating wedding invitations? Carla David: My relationship with paper began in the most formative manner. At the age of 10, with my best friend, I designed stationery to sell to my neighbors to earn money for summer camp. This sparked a love for design that has become my life’s passion and career. WIH: Is there a signature Carla David style, and, if so, how would you describe it? CD: Simple. Clean. Authentic. WIH: What’s your favorite printing method? CD: We not only create authentic and treasured luxury letterpress invitations, we use all sorts of printing techniques

writer natasha garber

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invitations and materials to create art pieces. Each process is unique to our clients and tailored to their event style. WIH: What 2013-2014 design or style trends are most exciting to you? CD: I love the hand-drawn watercolor maps, icons and patterns that we have been using for our 2014 weddings. I also love using glitter papers and pops of metallic embellishment. I’m into unique color combos like mint and gold, or different shades of pink with a splash of apple green and hints of silver. Another great trend is seating charts instead of escort cards. When you make the chart as a poster mounted on PVC board, it can be designed to be part of the entrance decor, and kept as a keepsake after the wedding. WIH: What are a few ways to add intrigue and elegance to the invitation from the moment a guest receives it? CD: The special touch on the outside of the envelope, whether it’s the custom postage stamp, hand-addressed name, the shape of the envelope flap, the size of the actual envelope, the belly band around all the pieces of the invitation, the texture of the paper, the printing process or the embellishment. Even the envelope liner can totally be the “wow” factor of the whole opening experience. I’m all about tactile elements and appealing to all the senses. WIH: For a bride with budget considerations who still wants a couture look to her invitations, where should she splurge with her invitation suite...and where might she save? CD: Save on postage and use a reply postcard (if you are not having a black-tie wedding) instead of reply and envelope. The postcard can still have an awesome design and coordinate with the invitation suite. Another option is to include a website card and post all the information online. We love an envelope addressed with handwritten calligraphy, however you can save money and do a computer-generated address, and match the font to your invitation. And, most of all, starting with a designer from the beginning can save you time and money in the long run. WIH: Does a couple’s save-the-date have to match their invitation? CD: It’s not necessary; however, having some element, such as the font or shape of the card, matching the envelope, is just another detail that extends the “brand” of the wedding into all the elements, so that from start to end everything fits together. The save-the-date is a great way to step outside the box of formality and have fun. WIH: What do you love most about what you do? CD: I love the collaboration, and getting to know my brides, and I love the “wow” moment when they receive their finished invitation suite.

photo larry fagala

photo Love Life images

photo cara leonard photography

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gift registry F I N E R

D E T A I L S

the good stuff

Classic registry gifts are heirlooms in the making— so choose wisely and well.

The world of bridal registries is seeing a renaissance in traditional items and luxury goods—and that’s a good thing. While trendy ergonomic lemon squeezers and countertop espresso machines can be fabulously fun additions to today’s newlywed nests, it’s the fine china, the good crystal, the luxury linens, that are likely to be with you through the years, and become heirloom pieces to be passed down to and enjoyed by future generations. With that in mind—and with the price points most fine tableware and home goods carry— here is what to keep in mind when registering for classic wedding gifts.

writer Blake Miller ~ photo d. Jones photo

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table setting kuhl-linscomb


gift registry E v e r y d ay E l e g a n c e

Your mom insists you need at least 12 full place settings of china, silverware and crystal, not to mention a luxurious silk-blend tablecloth for the diningroom table you have yet to purchase. But today’s modern couple may not necessarily need or want to register for

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all of the traditional items their moms and dads stocked up on decades ago. Instead, register for what you really love, and keep practicality in mind. “Couples should understand that many of the popular or traditional guidelines do not necessarily reflect the genuine needs of today’s couple,”

explains Isabelle von Boch of famed European tableware-maker Villeroy & Boch. “Why register for an extravagant set of china and keep it hidden away in the cupboard, unused? Beautiful, quality china doesn’t have to be fragile. It should be strong, and safe for the dishwasher and microwave.” Transitional clothing—pieces that work well both day and night—are staples in a fashionista’s closet. The same principle holds true for creating a fashionable yet practical tabletop at home. Keeping versatility in mind while registering for luxury items—especially when it comes to tableware and flatware—is a must. Choose pieces that work well not only for special occasions, holidays and upscale dinner parties, but also for everyday use. “Don’t register for a lifestyle in which the everyday is treated as inferior,” explains von Boch. “Register for a pattern that may be dressed up or down and works easily with other designs.” Consider investment pieces that you will use every day or more often than on major holidays, she suggests, “and your investment will be worthwhile.” She adds, “In terms of place settings, multi-functional little plates are great gems to bring the ‘wow’ factor to any party or for everyday living.” And remember, “Couples do not have to buy a traditional, five-pieceplace-setting china collection,” advises von Boch. “Register for china that is available in open stock instead.” Open stock china simply means this: Couples may register for individual pieces—dinner and bread plates, for example—rather than the traditional, complete place setting. The result is a collection of high-end china that suits a couple’s entertaining needs and contemporary lifestyle.


T h e C a s e f o r C r y s ta l

It may seem like an indulgent item on your registry, but, in fact, crystal is something couples should keep on their short lists. “Whether a couple chooses traditional, vintage-inspired, or stemless tumblers, crystal is meant to be enjoyed and can be used for any occasion,” von Boch notes. “Buying a new home, the arrival of a new baby, a hard-earned promotion at work, and, of course, wedding anniversaries, are just a few of life’s milestones that couples will have to look forward to after the wedding day,” explains Michelle Richards, director of public relations and special events for Waterford Wedgwood. “Whether it’s as simple as a toast with your treasured Champagne saucers or as decadent as a sparkling Waterford chandelier in your dining room, crystal is fast becoming the universal symbol of chic elegance and sophistication.” B ewa r e H ot T r e n ds

That Greek-key or chevron-patterned china is stunning, yes. But in 20 years will it still be chic? While registries certainly are a time to choose items that reflect your style and personality, it’s wise to indulge your eclectic tastes with items you can change out over time—bed linens, towels and decor items, for example—and select china with an eye on enduring style. “Classic china is always a good bet,” says Julie Shuford of Bering’s. A couple of her favorite patterns? “Herend’s ‘Golden Edge’”—a scalloped-edge pattern with delicate 24K-gold trim—“is beautiful and classic.” She also likes Juliska’s “Berry & Thread,” an easy-to-care-for, handcrafted stoneware line with a lower price point. If settling on one china style seems


gift registry a daunting task, don’t. There’s no hardand-fast rule that says couples have to register for one single pattern or style. “Registering for three different patterns of fine china is not extravagant if you will be using them all on a regular basis,” says von Boch. “Couples can pick different design patterns from differing collections to elevate their dining experience every time they sit down at the table.” His Opinion

As a bride you might find it easy to steer your beloved into registering for crystal Champagne flutes, gold-plated dessert saucers and fine silverware. But just because he seems disinclined to place any obstacles in the path of your enthusiasm doesn’t mean you should leave him out of the fun.

Before adding items to your registry, include your fiancé in your plans. “It is important that while a bridal registry is, well, a bridal registry, your fiancé should play a hand, if he is so inclined,” says Shuford. Have him weigh in on areas where his interests lie, such as the grill or bar. For example, crystal rocks glasses or tumblers, a martini-shaker set or whiskey decanter are great additions to any well-stocked bar. He may also want to be involved in decisions on items that affect his daily comfort, such as luxury bed linens and towels. Price Range

When registering for classic tabletop and luxury items, consider including pieces for as low as $40 and up. “This gives room for guests to purchase

something at all ranges,” says Shuford. Adds Elizabeth Swift, gift-registry specialist with iconic Houston retailer Kuhl-Linscomb, “It is important to cover high and low price points on your registry and several items in each category. Your guests want to feel like they have plenty to choose from for the varying events they will be attending leading up to and including the wedding. This is the one time in your life you will have lots of help purchasing items from your wish list, so select those big-ticket items for your registry as long as you cover the other end of the spectrum as well.” You never know who may want to splurge a little or go in with a group of people to get you an amazing gift. If the only items you care to add to your registry are pricier than most guests will likely purchase, one way to skirt the issue of price point is to register for gift cards. “Gift cards on your registry are a wonderful option for guests, as they can be purchased in any amount,” Shuford notes. While Shuford recommends keeping price point in mind while registering for luxury goods, she offers this caveat: “When considering higher price-point registry items, we suggest moving forward with what you like. It is far better to register for what you like as a couple—even if it means only ending up with six place settings when you would like 12—and collect the pattern or pieces over the years, than to settle for something. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your wedding registry doesn’t have to be either.” For more

ideas and to view

­hundreds of Houston

wedding professionals visit weddingsinhouston.com

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Leslie d Brad

REAL WEDDINGS

~ JUNE 29, 2013 ~

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“Brad and I met in Austin [at UT], and always knew we wanted to get married in the surrounding wine region so we could also have events in Austin for the weekend,” explains bride Leslie. “Once we saw the chapel at Old Glory Ranch, we knew the venue was perfect—and the staff was superb.” The pair’s rustic-elegant wedding, held at the picturesque Wimberley site, featured a vintage-inspired abundance of flora, including roses, lavender, hydrangea, craspedia and dusty miller, in shades of cream, spring green, pale pink and peach, pale purple and yellow. For the couple and their 165 guests, the wedding was “laid back, with comfortable elegance—absolutely perfect,” the bride notes. She adds, “The setting at Old Glory Ranch is gorgeous, from the big wood doors to the hanging chandeliers in the trees outside. The flowers were gorgeous, with succulents adding amazing depth and personality. The food, music, cake, and the flow of evening, ending with sparklers, could not have been improved.”

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REAL WEDDINGS

names leslie green

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bradley wray    number of guests 165    venue old glory

ranch    mouthwatering menu mini beef wellingtons, panko-crusted crab cakes, mini quesadillas, mini pizzas, habanero gulf shrimp on ice, petite salmon fillet, sundried-tomato-and-pesto-parmesan risotto    wedding dress jenny packham from joan pillow bridal salon    registry williams-sonoma    honeymoon south africa

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1.  Peugeot Olivier Roellinger Pepper Mill williams-sonoma.com 2.  LE CREUSET OVAL FRENCH OVEN williams-sonoma.com 3. THYMES GOLDLEAF DUSTING POWDER thymes.com 4. Jute/BENTWOOD Picnic Basket williams-sonoma.com 5. Shaken Not Stirred Martini Set henribendel.com

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6. Alexa Canisters & Box zgallerie.com 7. Martha Stewart Collection Red Orleans Dinnerware macys.com 8. Classic Toile Elegant Gardenia Pagoda Box Candle sedafrance.com 9. Tall Terrarium worldmarket.com 10. Meriden Pitcher simonpearce.com 11. Charter Club Sculpted Faux-Fur Throw macys.com 12. BREVILLE Citrus Press 800CPXL brevilleusa.com 13. Meridian Wine Chiller zgallerie.com W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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music &entertainment F I N E R

D E T A I L S

utterly entertaining Let’s get this party started— and keep it going strong.

A wedding is a celebration of two lives coming together to form one rockin’ relationship that will stand the test of time. But while the vows might be powerfully heartfelt, sometimes wedding entertainment can lack the passion of the moment—and leave guests feeling a little…unloved. Remember, your wedding is a celebration not just of your marriage bond, but also of the gratitude and affection you feel for the people who have come—some from very far away—to witness and revel in your sacred union. Give them something special, something to enjoy in the moment and remember with joy for years to come, with entertainment that delights the ear and excites the heart.

writer Christina Caldwell ~ photo select studios

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music &entertainment C o c k ta i l M e l o d i e s

After the ceremony, the cocktail hour is your guests’ first impression of what is to come the rest of the night. As you’re swept away to take photos, and taking a breather with your new spouse before the craziness starts up again, your guests—many of whom will be strangers to one another—likely will be gathering in a room without you. It’s up to you to break the ice, even if you’re not there in person. Great cocktail-hour entertainment can do that, says Allyson Levine, vice president of sales at powerhouse entertainment firm Bob Gail Special Events, with offices in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The company provides or produces entertainment for hundreds of weddings, corporate events and milestone celebrations each year. While the cocktail hour might be about, well, cocktails (Levine suggests livening up the party with a signature drink that represents you as a couple, or two signature drinks that represent the bride and groom individually), those libations aren’t nearly as fun without entertainment to accompany them. Starting with sweet, soft tunes and moving into more jaunty numbers when you’re ready to make your grand entrance, it’s important to make sure the cocktail-hour music flows smoothly, says Scott Graham, a wellknown Houston musician-composer who has played more than 2,600 special events in his career, including countless cocktail hours. “The cocktail-hour music can be a nice variety of more upbeat and lively music, like standards and today’s current hits,” Graham says. Ultimately, the cocktail hour is about loosening up the crowd for the festivities to come. 334 

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music &entertainment Reception Revelry

Television-reality-show “bridezillas” often try to plan every tiny detail of their wedding and reception—making pretty much everyone around them miserable (including, frequently, themselves). The best way to make sure you actually enjoy your own wedding is to leave the entertainment to the experts, especially when it comes to music. “The best way to plan is not to plan,” says Brian Pincus, vice president of Bob Gail Special Events. “Our bands have enormous repertoires and are highly skilled at keeping their finger on the pulse of what is happening in front of them. They evaluate what song is appropriate from one moment to the next as the evening naturally evolves.” You might have an idea of what song you want played for your

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music &entertainment father-daughter dance, or which song will accompany your first dance as a married couple. So do make sure to communicate your desires for these important numbers to your entertainment provider. For the remainder of the entertainment, though, “It’s all about blending the classics with modern twists,” says Jonny Black, owner of Houston’s popular Jonny Black Productions. Where rap was a popular genre for “dance party” weddings of yore, Black notes, more Top 40 and indie rock selections are being seen for 2014. “A few years ago, the bride was maybe a little more urban,” Black says. “The music is definitely changing [for 2014] to more of a Top 40, hipster culture.” For any entertainment company, adds Walter Suhr, bandleader for Houston-based Latin-music ensemble Mango

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music &entertainment Punch, it pays to have great energy, and to really “click” with the wedding client. “The most important element to a bride is to have a fun party, and they hire us because they like the personality of the band,” he notes. Mango Punch’s Latin flair might not mesh well with a vintage-chic wedding,

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and Scott Graham’s piano stylings might not work for a large, dance-heavy bash. It’s all about matching the right music to the right event and the right entertainer to the right bride and groom, Graham says. “Before my events, I schedule a meeting with the bride and groom

or event planner to get some ideas about what music they would like to hear and what they are expecting their guests would enjoy,” Graham explains. “Then I gather the music and prepare personalized songbooks, pulling sheet music from my library so that I am equipped with a large variety of music for all my events.” “When traditions such as the bouquet toss and the cutting of the cake are planned to coincide with the natural breaks of the band, the music will flow with more energy,” Suhr says.  “I have been able to really engage the guests on the dance floor when the wedding coordinator plans her timeline taking our sets into account. Plus, it also allows me to be master of ceremonies for the bouquet toss, the toasts [and more].”


music &entertainment Go With the Flow

A new and exciting trend that has popped up recently is the incorporation of photo booths, games and other non-traditional activities to keep guests excited and engaged with the fête. “These elements can be fun, as long as they are planned in a way that does not step on the evening’s flow,” Levine says. That means not taking the focus away from the dance floor, but rather adding the elements as extra fun to an already lively event. The evening’s flow greatly depends on the band’s mood, and as a wedding performer, Graham really feeds off his audience. While some bands might be turned off by requests, he welcomes them and hopes they turn his selections into a game of their own. “I feel that live music is evolving more and more at weddings. The music can change from upbeat and fun to classic and romantic in an instant, and live music adds extra emotion and expression for everyone to enjoy,” Graham says. “People often prefer live piano music for a more elegant atmosphere, or simply to provide a nice ambiance. For me personally, I enjoy it when people are playing ‘name that tune’ along with the music or putting in their requests for specific songs.” At the end of the night, brides and grooms are going to be spent. A mix of excitement, release from pre-wedding stress, and long hours of dancing, can lead to exhaustion. So when your guests still want to party the night away, it’s time to give them a subtle hint. The right entertainment can do that, including high-tech elements and music selections. “We have been incorporating LED walls into the staging of our events, which provide infinite opportunities to tie in aesthetics and unique

technology,” Pincus says. Not only are LED walls a modern way to bring soft, clean-looking light to the event, but they can be amped up for electrifying dance numbers and toned down as the hours tick into the early morning. Black suggests candlelight and soft room lighting for early in the

reception, but as the evening progresses and guests imbibe a few drinks, colored lighting, strobes and “lights that pop” can be incorporated into the mood. When the bride and groom begin to tire, the wall’s effects can signal the perfect ending to a most entertaining evening.

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transportation F I N E R

D E T A I L S

that’s how we roll Arrive—and depart—in style on your wedding day.

While the destination itself is certain to be spectacular, getting there should be half the fun. And it can be, with the right kind of special-occasion transportation. Depending on your venue and wedding-design theme, a luxury vehicle may be in order, or a vintage truck—or perhaps a fully loaded party bus, ready to haul the whole happy crew to the site of your big bash. Here are our top five tips for enjoying the wedding-day ride of your life.

writer Natasha Garber ~ photo steve lee weddings

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transportation 1 . B o o k e a r l y.

Specialty-vehicle rental agencies have limited fleets, and do tend to book up, especially during the spring and fall wedding seasons. Reserving your vehicle(s) six to nine months prior to your big day is a good idea, and will save you from having to settle for a ride you might not love with all your heart. 2. Don’t forget the p r e - w e dd i n g p a r t i e s .

“Nothing compares to riding around town in one of our luxurious limousines, SUV limousines or limousine party buses,” says Karen Zuri of leading Houston specialty-vehicle firm, Sam’s Limousine. Increasingly popular for “celebrating in Houston on your last night out as a single person,” she says, Sam’s party vehicles are equipped with everything from club-quality sound and light systems to plasma TVs to dance poles. Sam’s can even book your group into the hottest spots in Houston, Zuri adds. “Don’t waste time waiting in line. Let us know in advance the clubs

you would like to visit and leave the driving to us.” 3. Do unto others…

While you’re not obligated to provide transportation for your bridal party or guests, it’s an awfully nice thing to do if you can afford it—especially if you’re planning on hosting many out-of-town guests. Consider hiring a limousine, trolley or small shuttle vehicle as a thank-you to your hardworking bridesmaids and groomsmen—they’ll appreciate it immensely, especially at the end of a long, fun-filled night. And for larger guest groups, vehicle-rental agencies including Sam’s Limousine offer shuttle buses for as few as 25 people, luxury coaches for 55 people, and just about everything in between. 4 . T h i n k b e yo n d the town car.

While a classic livery sedan is the vehicle of choice for many an upscale Houston bride, options abound—so look into yours. Zuri says many of

her 2014 brides are opting for sleek Mercedes S-Class sedans, classic RollsRoyce models and the very latest 2014 MKT Lincoln stretch limousines, all driven by “chauffeurs who are accustomed to providing elite services and transportation that you will always remember.” Other local vehicle agencies offer vintage sports cars, luxurious Bentleys and festive red San-Franciscostyle trolleys. 5 . G e t a g e ta w ay p i c (or lots)!

Like every other element of your wedding, your specialty vehicle is, well… special. Don’t miss your chance to preserve a perfect memory of your departure in your beautiful weddingday ride. Make sure your photographer knows when you plan to make your getaway, and where your vehicle will be waiting, so that he or she can get the perfect shots of you ducking into your vehicle, waving farewell to your beloved friends and family, and sharing a newlywed smooch in the back seat.

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documenting the day Memories may fade, but the best wedding images last a lifetime, and then some. Choose a photographer or videographer, find a style that suits your personality, then smile.

photo nhan photography

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photography D O C U M E N T I N G

T H E

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snap judgment

A lot goes into finding a photographer with whom you “click.”

For about six hours, you, your groom and your guests will be immersed in a real-life fairytale. But what happens when the event is over? How will you be able to remember not only the way the room looked, but the details that went into that beautiful environment, and how your loved ones looked celebrating in it? The answer is by hiring the right photographer.

writer Shari Lynn Rothstein-Kramer ~ photo joseph west photography

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photography In t h e K n o w

The first step in finding the ideal photographer for your wedding is to consult a list of trusted sources, so that you know what your options are. Weddings in Houston magazine and www.weddingsinhouston.com both offer a list of reputable, talented and highly professional local photographers, along with information about their businesses and photography styles, as well as gallery samples. Once you’ve narrowed down a handful of potential candidates, take your search straight to first-hand sources: “There’s no better way to find a vendor than by asking someone who’s just been there,” says David Stanley of DC Stanley Photography. “First-hand is the way to go.”

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Adds Houston photographer Adam Nyholt: “Ask your friends, your wedding planner or an industry insider. Your best recommendations will come from referrals from a trusted source.” Photographer Alefiya Akbarally of Weddings by Alefiya believes that finding your photographer through a trusted and reputable source is imperative. “The best references come from wedding planners,” she explains. “They are professional, impartial and work with a number of people.” Photographer Steve Lee of Steve Lee Weddings suggests that a good place to start is at your venue of choice. “Talk to the catering manager to see whom he or she recommends.” Many venues actually have preferred-vendor lists and will be more than happy to share their best and brightest photographers.

A sk A w a y

You’ve done your homework and gotten some great references—congratulations, you’re making great progress! Now it’s time to get up close and personal. Be it by phone or in person, ask questions of your potential photographer—lots of questions. Remember, you’ll be spending more time with this person on your wedding day than almost anyone else. By having a conversation, you’ll begin to get a feel for the photographer’s personality, which, photographers agree, must click with yours. “If you wouldn’t want to have a drink in a bar with your photographer, then you probably shouldn’t hire him or her,” explains Joe Cogliandro of J. Cogliandro Photography. “Like draws to like.” Which brings us to the technical side of things. It may be great to “get


photography along,” but what is the photographer’s work like? Do you like his style? Are her images artistic or straightforward? Does she shoot in a photojournalistic style? What are the albums like? What format does he shoot in? Does he have backup equipment? And that’s just the beginning. As Nyholt explains, “The bride must connect with the photographer’s work. I know it sounds cheesy, but the images she looks at must make her feel something.” Photographer Lindsay Elizabeth of Lindsay Elizabeth Photography adds, “Ask how your potential photographer works. Is she discreet while getting fabulous images or is she in your face? You should also follow up with friends, by asking, ‘Do you love your images? Did you have a good working experience with your photographer? Did you see your images in a timely manner?’” In v e s t m e n t A d v i c e

With so many photographers available, there are bound to be as many prices— referred to by many photographers as the client’s “investment,” which it certainly is—so what’s the right price? And for that price, what should be included? Some photographers offer services individually, from the number of coverage hours, to the addition of a second shooter, to engagement sessions and albums; others have packages from which brides may choose. “We offer services ‘a la carte,’” says Lee. “But our minimum is me and an associate shooting. We build from there.” “An engagement session, eight hours of wedding coverage, some kind of print, a shared copyright (which allows both bride and photographer to utilize images), and a disc of print-ready images, are what I believe a bride needs,” says Stanley. “I am a little above the average in pricing,” says photographer David 350 

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photography Jones of D. Jones Photo. “But I customize everything for my brides. There’s no such thing as a standard package. Every bride has her own wants and needs.” Generally speaking, for high-quality professional photography, a Houston bride can expect to pay anything from a low of $3,000 to a high of $18,000, with the average bride spending approximately $5,000 to $6,000 on her photography package. So remember, proper pricing is the pricing with which you are comfortable, and which works with your budget. Show Time

By the time your big day rolls around, you and your photographer should be familiar with each other; you should be comfortable talking to him and being in his presence. “It’s about growing your

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relationship,” says Cogliandro. “Clear and open communication is 90 percent of what makes brides comfortable with me. From the beginning of the process, emails, texts and then follow-up phone conversations are necessary.” But be cautioned: Though “my brides must let me know their likes and dislikes,” notes Akbarally, “micromanagement won’t help creativity.” A bridal photography session, where the bride is in full wedding-day hair, makeup and gown, is a great way to get comfortable with each other. Jones, who’s been in the photography business for 21 years, says that a couple of hours spent together doing this kind of “dress rehearsal” is very helpful. He adds that engagement sessions, where the couple is photographed together, also serve as “getting-to-know-you”

time for the bride and groom, and their photographer. According to Lee, time is the greatest gift a bride can give to her photographer on her wedding day. “Allow time for portraits that celebrate the two of you. One hour can easily shrink to 30 minutes, 30 can become 10, and so on. We need— minimally—an hour or so to capture the love, romance and raw emotion.” Information is power. And any time you hire a vendor, you’re placing your faith in their ethics and abilities. Take your time and do your due diligence. Visit multiple photographers, discuss with your significant other what you do and do not like, review your research, trust your gut—and then go for it. Do this, and you’ll wind up with a worthy photographer who’ll shoot images you’ll cherish for a lifetime.


photography

20 unforgettable You’ve got one chance to capture the moment—don’t miss it!

shots

writer Shari Lynn Rothstein-Kramer ~ photo select studios

With so many things happening all at once on your wedding day, how can you be expected to remember every essential moment? You can’t—but that is why you hire an experienced photographer. As a professional, that photographer is trained to anticipate and capture all of the nuances of your very special day. And you can help your

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photography photographer out by making sure he knows these are the must-get shots he, well, must get. F i r s t L o o k . One of the most memorable moments of an already momentous occasion, this emotionpacked photo is one no bride and groom should be without. H a i r & Mak e u p. Behind the scenes is always fun. Let your photographer click away while you and your bridal party prep for the big day. D r e ss D e t a i ls . There will be plenty of pictures of you in your gown, but be sure to capture the fine metallic embroidery on the bodice, the pearls woven into the train or the magnificent lace overlay of your skirt. B r i d e ’ s S h o e s . Girls love their shoes! Be sure to document your fancy footwear for posterity.

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S h o e E m b e ll i sh m e n t s . More

shoe photos? Absolutely. If your bridal peep-toes have custom Swarovski-crystal flowers or sumptuous satin bows, aren’t those precisely the kinds of details you want to document? B r i d e & Da d . This is the time to catch the emotional side of Dad—after all, his little girl is getting married. Find time for a quiet moment with him, and let your photographer linger discreetly nearby, snapping a few precious shots. G r o o m & M o m . He’ll always be her little boy, so this is one pleasure she should not be denied. B r i d e / G r o o m w i t h Pa r e n t s .

A portrait of you with your parents and your significant other with his is an image that will endure for years to come. B r i d e / G r o o m w i t h S i bl i n g s .

Whether you’re close, or not as

tight-knit as you’d like to be, a portrait with siblings will mean a lot to Mom. B r i d e /G r o o m w i t h E x t e n d e d F a m i l y. This photo should be executed for the bride’s and groom’s families separately, followed by the happy couple with each family. “I think group shots of the entire family are vital,” says Joe Cogliandro of J. Cogliandro Photography. “It’s capturing everyone together for historical purposes. Since you may never have all of these people together in the same place again, take advantage.” B r i d al Pa r t y. These are your closest friends and family members, so of course you want photos with them. Leave time for at least one traditional and one unique shot (think: offbeat locations, making funny faces, the groomsmen carrying the bride, etc.).


photography B r i d e ’ s P r o c e ss i o nal . Depend-

ing on the type of wedding and where it is held, this shot may be a bit tricky. “In Texas, many churches do not allow photography during the ceremony,” explains David Jones of D. Jones Photography. “We can get in to shoot for about 20 minutes afterwards, so we

have learned to be efficient and follow their rules.” Flower

Girl/Ring

Bearer.

Images such as these are always sweet because young kids grow up so fast— and tend to be so spontaneous and adorable on the wedding day. F i r s t K i ss . Sharing the moment

after being pronounced husband and wife happens only once. A photo that takes you back to that feeling is priceless. C u lt u r al K e y s t o n e s . “De­pend­ ing on the culture or religion, there might be an exchange of rings, the toss of a bouquet or garter, the covering of the bride’s head with a sari, the slipping on of a necklace, or the lighting of an oil lamp,” explains photographer Alefiya Akbarally of Weddings by Alefiya. A l t a r E x i t. “Getting the bride and groom coming back down the aisle together is a very important shot,” photographer Adam Nyholt says. The elation and happiness of the moment are always evident in the couple’s expressions. F i r s t Dan c e . During this heartfelt, unpracticed performance, “I can capture truly candid and sweet moments between the bride and groom,” says Steve Lee of Steve Lee Weddings. “At this time, they tend to really show their emotions.” F at h e r / Da u g h t e r & M o t h e r /

This shot provides yet another glimpse at profound emotion, and is a lovely moment of connection between generations. Th e Cak e . Typically photographers go for photos of the cutting of the cake. That’s great, but don’t overlook the cake itself. Many are intricate pieces of art and should be remembered as such, with shots of both the entire cake, and its many fine details. R e c e p t i o n S i g na g e . A great way to open or close an album, attention-grabbing signage sets the tone for a book of beautiful photos. S o n Dan c e .

online>> for more resources visit weddingsinhouston.com

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photography

booth or dare Grab a prop and strike a pose—it’s all in good (make that, great!) fun. writer Natasha Garber ~ photo smilebooth

What happens in the booth definitely doesn’t stay in the booth—and that’s exactly how it should be. After all, photo booths are meant to bring wedding guests together to get a little crazy and make a lot of memories. And those memories, in the form of photo strips, videos, even animated flipbooks? They are fast becoming the most popular take-home favor in the wedding universe. Thinking of making off-the-cuff, prop-filled, let-your-hair-down photos or video

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photography part of your reception revelry? Think inside the booth, with help from Houston’s top photo booth pros. Smilebooth

Ashley Rose Wedding Sales Coordinator What’s Special: “We don’t just rent equipment, we offer a complete highend experience for modern brides, with everything from custom print layouts to hand-tailored backdrops, all at a price point that still leaves room for that perfect dress,” Rose says. Booth Basics: Smilebooth offers a number of different booth options, including a traditional travel booth, an animated GIF booth, and a greenscreen option “for the adventurous at heart,” according to Rose. And all of Smilebooth’s packages come equipped

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with the ability to share photos instantly from tablets using the company’s custom software. So Social: It’s no surprise that Smilebooth’s most popular features are custom print designs and socialmedia sharing. As Rose explains, “A lot of couples choose to use photo booth prints in lieu of traditional wedding favors, so we make sure that the custom design and layout are as awesome as the rest of their day. It would be a shame if guests couldn’t show off their photos, so we have that covered too.” With personalized sharing, guests can text, email or post to Facebook and Twitter all of their favorite booth images with pre-populated messages. “Even better,” notes Rose, “couples can choose a distinct hashtag to be

included, so that they can easily find images that guests have shared.” M u g S h ot B ox

John Graves General Manager What’s Special: “What sets our company apart is that we are constantly looking at new ways to embrace technology,” Graves says. “With the introduction of live video services, we can leave the bride and groom with unique views of their wedding from the guests’ perspective.” Booth Basics: For large groups, MugShot Box offers the Open Air “booth”— a freestanding booth structure that features color and black-and-white still photos, as well as video clips in which guests can leave a short message for the bride and groom. Not only is the video feature hugely popular, but


photography the versatility of the open-air concept “allows us to break out of the restrictions of a traditional booth and accommodate couples as well as groups of varying sizes.” Want to put your guests in the spotlight? Consider MugShot Box’s Red Carpet booth. “As the name suggests, we treat your guests to a night of Hollywood fun,” Graves says. “Out comes the red carpet and the custom step-andrepeat background. There is a live photographer and assistant who will help your guests with the right pose and the right props. We can also provide a live video capture with an interviewer, for a real Hollywood feel.” Energy Boost: One of the best things about photo booths, Graves says, is that they “give your guests something to do in the ‘down times’ during the

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photography reception. Typically photo booths are up and running when the guests arrive at the reception, and close to the door so that the guests can see the booth”—a tempting diversion during slow moments, and as the evening progresses into ever-livelier celebration. i H e a r t F l i p b o o ks

Magalie Albert Owner What’s Special: Rather than a regular photo booth, the iHeart Flipbooks setup is a “mobile flipbook studio,” according to Albert. The resulting take-home product is a small book consisting of a series of images in different positions that create the illusion of flowing movement when the pages are flipped quickly by the viewer’s thumb. Neat, huh?

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Booth Basics: The iHeart Flipbooks team arrives at your reception space and sets up a 10-by-10-foot booth, lickety-split. Then, once the party action starts, guests wander over and take their turns, in groups large or small, dancing, blowing kisses, making faces, holding up signs or props, and just basically being themselves while the video camera rolls. “After the video is reviewed and everyone agrees that it’s priceless, we print the video, put it through our cutter, and bind the flipbook on the spot—voila, it’s like magic!” Albert says. Smooth Flow: With iHeart Flipbooks, Albert’s main aim—besides making sure guests have an amazing time, and newlyweds get a delightfully animated document of their special day—is customizing the action to the event.

Along with positioning her studio so that it doesn’t take focus away from the wedding couple or the entertainment stage, and adjusting the booth’s music volume (yes, there are tunes to accompany the fun) to not compete with the reception’s dance music, “I have the couple give me the schedule, the first dance, etc., so that we can close the booth during important parts of the wedding,” she says. “Otherwise, we make the booth available throughout the entire evening.” While guests might enjoy a cocktail-reception icebreaker in the studio, “the end of the night is usually the craziest—it’s a whole other atmosphere. People start doing really funny stuff, letting loose— even older guests in their 60s and 70s. The value and memories linger long after the event.”


Stacy d James

REAL WEDDINGS

~ OCTOBER 1 2 , 2013 ~

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“When we first met, the instant our eyes met, we both knew there was something between us,” says Stacy about that fortuitous moment a mutual friend of theirs introduced her to James. And while the couple’s connection may have been instantaneous, the organization of their wedding required considerable work—and a great leap of faith. Notes Stacy—who just happens to be Stacy Mendenhall, owner of esteemed Houston event-design firm Lary’s Florist and Designs—“Being a wedding planner, it’s a challenge trying not to overthink everything, and trusting other people to pull off the perfect wedding.” But that’s just what she did, and the result, with its pink and ivory roses, flickering candlelight and wonderfully romantic ambiance, was, as it should be, pure magic.

writer natasha garber ~ photography Adam Nyholt Photographer W e ddi ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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REAL WEDDINGS

names stacy mendenhall

james parsons  number of guests 250   venue bell tower on 34th   wedding dresses pronovias & maggie sottero; both from weddings by debbie   makeup & hair the perfect face   groomswear al’s formal &

wear  cake who made the cake   flowers & decor lary’s florist and designs; a memorable event   officiant weddings performed   entertainment jonny black productions   photography adam nyholt photographer   videography bell tower films   rehearsal dinner cadillac bar   honeymoon british virgin islands 368 

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photography

picture Perfect Showcase and share your WOW wedding photos.

writer Natasha Garber ~ photo joseph west photography

Creating a wedding album to treasure forever—and to be cherished for generations to come—starts before the first photo is even shot, with good planning. While fine wedding photographers, including Houston’s Steve Lee of Steve Lee Weddings and Khloe Madison Photography, make photos available to wedding clients soon after the wedding through online galleries, proofing sites and social media, there is nothing like a beautifully crafted physical album to preserve your most cherished photos, and endure as a family keepsake for generations to come. 370 

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photography For Lee’s clients, the “classic leather book” is the album of choice. As for photo layout, “Our design has always been simple, storybook-style designs. I look at the book design like a storyboard for a film. I want to convey the story of the wedding with my design.” Photographer Matt Trevino notes, “My top-selling albums are the 20-page 12-by-12-inch and 10-by-15-inch flushmount wedding albums”—which feature thick, solid pages, with photos printed completely flat across the page. “They are bound with premium leather and you have your choice of embossed or printed text on the front cover.” Trevino personally designs the album, using his client’s photo selections, and employing “a contemporary layout that isn’t cluttered and is very easy on your eyes. My brides love these albums because they instantly become family heirlooms.” Many photographers also offer gallery wraps, where an image is printed directly to a canvas and wrapped around a wood frame—an ideal choice for mantel-ready wedding portraits and engagement-shoot favorites. Other customizable choices, and albums created using unusual materials such as acrylic, glass, metal and interesting fabrics, can be found at ­ www.etsy.com, or sourced by your photographer at your request. A good wedding photographer will go beyond the big picture, to capture small nuances of color, sentiment and beauty—and you’ll want to mix these detail shots in with larger-focus photos. Another way to bring texture and drama to your wedding album is by mixing color shots with blackand-white images. Generally speaking, black-and-white is excellent for action shots—your descent of a staircase with your train trailing behind you, your 372 

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photography tearful embrace of your father when he sees you in your gown for the first time, your bouquet toss, an intimate kiss with your groom in the middle of a crowded dance floor. Vibrant color, meanwhile, is best for capturing flowers, lighting, cake decoration and room shots. Lastly, don’t go overboard with album design. Classic shots, well laid out, with sufficient white space in between, will trump razzle-dazzle graphics and gimmicky album design anytime—and ensure that your wedding album will fill you with as much joy years in the future as it does when you open it for the very first time. online>> for more resources visit weddingsinhouston.com

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videography D O C U M E N T I N G

T H E

D A Y

lights! camera! celebration! The modern wedding film is a major production.

The more things change, the more they stay the same? Not so in the wonderful world of wedding videography. When it comes to capturing your wedding on film, the more things change, the more Hollywoodlike they become.

writer Julie Lemerond ~ photo ama photography & cinema

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videography Not even a generation ago, wedding videos were saved on clunky tapes, and filled with several hours of clumsy footage that was boring for almost every viewer but, perhaps, the bride and groom. Today’s wedding videos, on the other hand, can have the cinematic quality, along with the interesting

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storyline, of a feature film. And sharing your wedding film with family and friends can now be accomplished with just the click of a button. Sit back and enjoy our showing of cool ideas, hot trends and smart planning practices in wedding cinema— then get ready to play your starring role.

Studio Style

Along with advances in technology for videographers comes increased demand for professional quality and creativity in production—both of which are welcome changes, according to Aisha Khan, owner of Ama Photography & Cinema in Houston. “Smaller equipment has allowed the documentation of weddings to be more interactive, and the video quality of DSLR’s (digital single-lens reflex cameras) is allowing wedding videographers to take on the hats of cinematographers on the wedding day. It is now possible to create films worthy of watching in movie theaters, and with the right planning, creativity, skills and equipment, it is possible to create inspiring cinematic works out of real life,” she says. Alex Douglas, owner of Houston’s Sculpting With Time Productions, couldn’t agree more. “Now, in the wake of the DSLR camera revolution, all of the necessary tools to create a sophisticated and refined film have become more accessible. This movement has allowed us personally, as filmmakers, the ability to bring a level of production that’s never been seen in wedding films before.” Adrian Pereyra, owner of Houston’s Elect Film Productions, combines handheld-camera work with Hollywoodstyle equipment including cranes and dolly sliders, to produce footage he describes as “vintage and eclectic, with a bit of elegance.” Perhaps most exciting of all? “We are also now exploring the use of remote-controlled drones to get aerial shots of the reception and ceremony,” he adds. To make sure you know exactly what kinds of equipment your videographer plans to use, and how he or she plans to charge for services, “Ask as many


videography questions as possible,” Pereyra advises. And make sure your videographer is flexible enough to accommodate what you need for your big day. “Although I have set packages, I am not opposed to customizing my package for a bride to make sure she is happy.” Love Story

Love-story videos are quickly gaining popularity as a sweet and romantic showcase of a couple’s meeting, courtship and falling-head-over-heels tale. The love-story video is usually shown at some point during the reception, but can even be posted as a wedding “trailer” on the couple’s wedding website or social-media sites, for guests to enjoy before the big day. Khan specializes in working with couples to create their perfect love-story

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video. “We start our love-story process by getting to know the couple,” she says. Once the concept has been decided, Khan works with the couple to determine locations and wardrobe. She will often suggest that special jewelry— bracelets, earrings, watches, etc., that you may have given to each other in the past—are the perfect accessory not just to your wardrobe, but to your entire love story. Chelsea and Jay Everly, of Everly Films in Phoenix, travel nationwide to help couples put together video clips highlighting their lives. In Jay’s experience, love stories work best when the couple is placed in sentimental locations that have meaning to them, while telling their story. “We recently had a couple who spent a lot of their time on Venice Beach, and

we filmed them in various locations there that had significance—where he asked her to be his girlfriend, different spots they went to while dating, the spot where he proposed, etc. When you put the couple in places that have memories for them, it’s easier for them to speak freely about their relationship and their love.” As for adding a favorite song or two to score your romantic film, remember that due to copyright restrictions, your perfect song may not be legal to use for your wedding video, so be sure to check with your videographer before you pick your tunes. First Look

The first-look video is a newer concept in wedding-day videography. Some couples choose to see each other


videography before the ceremony, in a much more intimate setting than in front of all of the guests, while others choose to enjoy being surrounded by all of their family and friends, in keeping with the tradition of the first glance as the bride walks down the aisle. For those couples who opt for the former, a video of that moment when you first lock eyes with one another is something to cherish. Douglas describes the emotion he captures during this unique time. “This moment between you two really translates beautifully to the big screen, as there is always such raw and powerful emotion being evoked.” Khan mentions that the first-look video has become her favorite to capture. “It allows the couple to express the many emotions of seeing their

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videography partner for the first time in an intimate

Hip Clips

of the wedding. Douglas helps couples

setting without the ‘all eyes on you’

Once your videographer has edited

create customized wedding websites

type of pressure that comes from stand-

your wedding film(s), you’ll almost

that can be used to share any videos

ing at the altar.”

certainly want to start sharing it as soon

created before and on the day of the

as possible. Which, with today’s social

wedding. He agrees that Facebook is

media technology, is a breeze.

the top spot for sharing links to the

But beware, and plan wisely, if you’ve got your heart set on a firstlook film, she cautions. Due to wed-

Everly mentions that Facebook “is

videos. “Add the link to your film on

ding-day stressors and timing, the first

still the powerhouse for sharing videos

your Facebook page, and hundreds of

look can often become something

as well as images,” but he notes that

people will be able to watch it within

that is either rushed or altogether

Instagram is a close second. “Now that

seconds…then watch the ‘likes’ and the

scrapped from the day. “I’ve had too

Instagram supports video, you can use

comments immediately pour in.”

many couples plan out and schedule a

it to create a sneak peek for friends

Douglas also recommends bringing

first-look shoot on their wedding day

and family. Using a 15-second clip from

a “live and in person” element to video

only to realize the day of the wed-

your video is a great teaser—and then

viewing. “Another fun idea we encour-

ding that their hair and makeup have

they can link to your website to see the

age our couples to do is to throw a

taken an hour longer than expected.

full video.”

watch party for the premiere of their

Unfortunately, couples end up forced

Speaking of websites, creating one

highlight and feature films. Make some

to sacrifice items off their wedding

before your wedding offers a perfect

popcorn and bust out the Champagne.

timeline and the first look is always

way for guests to check in on any

Your VIPs are going to be excited to all

the first to go.”

details you wish to disclose in advance

watch the films together the first time!”

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Amber d Leif

REAL WEDDINGS

~ AUGUST 1 1, 2013 ~

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Ankle surgery is no fun—especially for a college athlete. But here’s the thing: If Amber hadn’t been sidelined in a cast during spring workouts for the TSU volleyball team, she might never have met Leif, a fellow volleyball player who was assigned the task of helping her during her difficult recovery. And that would have been very unfortunate, considering that the pair fell in love as a result of those training sessions. Their August wedding, with its coraland-tan palette, and tons of country charm—think: mason jars, fishing hooks, bird cages—was the picture of Texan perfection. But Amber’s favorite part of the whole event was, without a doubt, her deeply personal ceremony: “My dad was the one who married us. That was very special for us—it’s something that will be with us forever.”

writer natasha garber ~ photography MD Turner Photography W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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REAL WEDDINGS

names amber calhoun

leif moore  the proposal easter sunday, 2013, while hiding eggs for a family easter-egg hunt: “when we walked back &

to the house, leif made me stop and turn around with my back to the front door and handed me an easter basket with a huge egg and a sign that said, ‘and i thought i loved you then…’ and then got down on his knee and proposed”  number of guests 250   wedding dress david’s bridal   photography md turner photography   honeymoon riviera maya, mexico

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photo AMA Ama PHotography photography & cinema 388 

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destination wedding & honeymoon 390 your new home 404

just married

Newlywed life is full of passion and excitement, and many important decisions. Make them wisely with our post-wedding resources as your guide.

photo j. cogliandro photography

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destination wedding &honeymoon J U S T

M A R R I E D

romantic riviera maya The Yucatan Peninsula’s crown jewel is pure honeymoon paradise.

With a mere two and a half hours separating Houston’s newlyweds from pearly white beaches and bright turquoise seas, Riviera Maya is a nearby Caribbean gem boasting a backdrop every bit as beautiful as those first moments of marriage. Just beyond the crowds of Cancun exists this 86-mile paradise located on the Yucatan Peninsula’s northeast coast—an idyllic haven beckoning honeymooners seeking romance with promises of stunning scenery, authentic experiences, ancient ruins, lush jungles and underwater treasures. Couples will find year-round warm and sunny skies in Riviera Maya, as well as plenty of posh resorts featuring secluded beaches, fabulous restaurants and the friendliest service south of the border. We’ve scoured the shorelines to find four of the top resorts at which to indulge your new life as husband and wife.

writer Mauri Elbel

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photo grand velas riviera maya

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destination wedding &honeymoon Rosewood Mayakoba www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/mayakoba-riviera-maya For couples seeking the ultimate escape, Rosewood Mayakoba meets every desire, with a flawless marriage of private luxury and refined beauty. Just north of Playa del Carmen and south of Cancun, Rosewood Mayakoba lies on a milelong sandy strip lapped by cerulean waves. But it’s the resort’s 130 suites, each featuring private plunge pools, garden showers, rooftop sun decks and individual docks, which speak the language of honeymooners. The resort’s modern design aesthetic gets its inspiration from Mayan traditions—each suite is built from indigenous materials with nature’s surrounding harmony at the forefront of design. While the resort isn’t large, its options are diverse. Book an expansive and secluded island suite, select a beachfront studio suite that sits just steps away from powdery sand, or opt to hover above emerald waters: “My favorite suite at the resort is the deluxe overwater lagoon suite,” says Erin Pescarmona, Rosewood Mayakoba’s leisure sales manager. “Rosewood Mayakoba is the only resort in the western hemisphere to offer ‘over water’ accommodations. These are very

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private—the perfect honeymoon retreat.” Arrange for romantic dinners on the beach or in the privacy of your room, or find some of the best dining options in the area at one of the resort’s three restaurants. If you are craving Mediterranean, head to Rosewood Mayakoba’s signature restaurant, Casa del Lago; meanwhile, Punta Bonita presents beachside dining at its finest, and Agave Azul offers refreshing tequila-inspired libations and sushi. Coaxing your spouse out of your sensual suite will be easier if the purpose is an appointment at Sense, A Rosewood Spa. This retreat-within-a-retreat lies on its own secluded island hidden by a tropical jungle and linked to the resort via a bridge. And if you’re in the mood for culture or adventure, you can always explore the nearby Mayan ruins, scuba dive the Caribbean sea’s translucent waters, or stroll with your soulmate on the beach.


destination wedding &honeymoon Grand Velas Riviera Maya www.rivieramaya.grandvelas.com photos grand velas riviera maya

It is Grand Velas Riviera Maya’s dramatic scenery—86 acres of lush tropical jungle, protected mangroves and natural freshwater cenotes (the famed underground rivers and caverns of the Yucatan), along with 1,000 feet of snow-white beach juxtaposed by sky-blue waters—that makes this luxury all-inclusive resort stand out in the vast sea of local lodging options. All of its spacious suites—each more than 1,000 square feet—are offered in three separate ambiances: premium oceanfront grand-class suites with terrace plunge pools; ocean-view ambassador suites; and placid grand suites embraced by the flora and fauna of the Yucatan Peninsula’s jungle, where you can watch native monkeys from the balcony. “Grand Velas Riviera Maya was designed so that every single suite in the ambassador and grand-class sections—the two oceanfront sections—can see the beach and ocean from their room,” says Becca Tash of KWE Partners, which represents Mexico’s Velas Resorts. What better way to enjoy each other than in the privacy of your own suite with a view of the ocean? Grab a complimentary bottle of the hotel’s own artisanal tequila, which will be waiting for you upon your arrival, before venturing out onto the balcony and taking a dip in your private plunge

pool. When you’re not swimming in the ocean or in your own private pool, dive into one of the resort’s spacious infinity pools, or savor a treatment at the 89,000-square-foot Grand Velas Riviera Maya Spa—recently named the best spa in the world by luxury-travel network Virtuoso. But if all the relaxing has you and your sweetheart itching for action, expend some energy with complimentary personal-training sessions, sunrise yoga and water sports, or have Grand Velas tour specialists arrange your choice of excursions, which include horseback riding, snorkeling and scuba diving. Hungry yet? Head to Piaf Restaurant for the most romantic dinner on the property, where extravagant touches like stunning Swarovski crystal curtains and mood lighting accompany savory dishes like oysters in Champagne-sabayón, and roasted sea bass in black butter. Craving a drink before or after dinner? Sky Bar, located in the adults-only section of Grand Velas Riviera Maya, offers a chic lounge setting and nightly entertainment. W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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destination wedding &honeymoon Viceroy Riviera Maya www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/rivieramaya Tucked in the tiny village of Playa Xcalacoco amidst powdery sands and crystalline seas, exists a 41-villa Mexican jewel. Viceroy Riviera Maya lends itself to the ultimate romantic getaway with its strict no-children-under-16 policy, allowing for exceptional intimacy, quiet and relaxation. With private, freestanding, spacious villa accommodations, each equipped with private patios and personal plunge pools, newlyweds might find it difficult to ever leave their intimate Caribbean comforts (think: high-ceiling, thatched-roof palapa meets 500-thread-count Egyptian-cotton sheets). Not to worry— couples can order room service or arrange romantic dinners on their private terrace. But if you can tear yourself away from the villa, don’t miss out on spectacular beaches, every water sport imaginable, and world-class fishing at your fingertips. “There is a hot dining scene with innovative cuisine and high standards, bustling nightlife into the wee hours in Playa del Carmen, and there is an unsurpassed range of activities, from swimming

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in cenotes, to water and animal parks, to significant Mayan ruins,” says Ed Placidi of Viceroy Riviera Maya. At Viceroy, honeymooners can opt for an al fresco dinner under the stars while listening to the Caribbean’s ebb and flow, or arrange a romantic dinner on the sand, complete with a bonfire, lanterns or candles. While the resort isn’t all-inclusive, there is an all-inclusive meal plan that is very popular. Work out in the resort’s fitness center, relax at the seaside lagoon pool, or take long walks along the miles of beach. Viceroy’s concierge will happily arrange any excursion desired, from shopping in Playa del Carmen to visiting the famous seaside ruins of Tulum. Indulge in massages and wellness treatments at the Wayak Spa, where, Placidi notes, two of Viceroy Riviera Maya’s most popular treatments are the Mayan-inspired Kamnikte blessing ceremony for newlyweds, and Xaman Ek, a couples’ fertility treatment. Or you can start a seaside spark with a side-by-side massage for two at the end of the resort’s private pier.


destination wedding &honeymoon Esencia www.hotelesencia.com photo esencia

Lying on one of Riviera Maya’s most awe-inspiring beaches, Esencia’s 50-acre private estate is a pampering seaside refuge located an ideal 15 minutes south of Playa Del Carmen and 30 minutes north of Tulum. The intimate 29-room setting makes this oceanside estate, originally the vacation home of an Italian Duchess, stand out in the realm of Riviera Maya resorts. “Couples looking to indulge in sun and sand, fantastic food, and serene spa treatments will find Esencia provides the perfect setting for a romantic and unforgettable honeymoon,” says Laura Suttles, public relations manager for the property. A must-try indulgence for honeymooners is the Esencia de Amor ritual at Aroma spa—a couples’ exfoliation and massage followed by a private jacuzzi enjoyed with Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. But there also are myriad ways to while away time when you’re not lying down. Take a cooking class with the resort’s Chef Bernardo, enjoy a wine pairing with dinner, or have a private romantic dinner arranged for you and your love on the beach. Get a taste of local culture by participating in

a Mayan temazcal ritual or sampling indigenous Yucatan cuisine. Strolling along the two-mile, semi-private beach at sunset is the perfect way to experience the beauty of Riviera Maya. But ordering room service and taking a relaxing soak under the stars in your own private plunge pool, adorned with candles, flowers and Champagne, as you toast to the beginning of forever, is a romantic alternative. And while you won’t ever want to leave, coming back to Esencia again and again may ease the pain of departing: “The service is second to none, and will leave you wanting to return year after year,” says Suttles. “Perfect for anniversary trips.”

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must haves

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1. LAVANILA VANILLA SUMMER FRAGRANCE SET lavanila.com 2. Henri Bendel Flower Power Scarf henribendel.com  3. Kate Somerville 360 Daily Tan Maximizer katesomerville.com 4. CINDA B JEWELRY CASE cindab.com  5. Jimmy Choo Reno Passport Cover net-a-porter.com  6. Jean Paul Gaultier Two-piece Butterfly String Bikini and Cover-Up saksfifthavenue.com  7. PELCOR SUNSHINE TOTE pelcorusa.com  8. DARYLYNN SUNGLASSES darylynn.com 396 

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destination wedding &honeymoon

pura

vida

enjoy An Insider’s View of a Costa Rica Destination Wedding. writer Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff ~ photo Sergio Pucci

Where does a Costa Rican wedding planner choose to hold her own wedding? The beautiful beach region of Nosara, just a hop, skip and a jump from Houston. Heather Barbieri didn’t set out to plan weddings in Costa Rica. In fact, the Atlantabased art major hadn’t even visited the country. But she knew she had talent, when friends and family continuously called on her to plan their events. And she had a goal: to live near the water. The two came together when she met her husband Robert, an entrepreneur from Hilton Head, S.C. W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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destination wedding &honeymoon “When I met Robert, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, where I wanted to live,” Barbieri says. “I was in the process of selling my house. I knew I wanted to live near the ocean.” Soon after, Heather and Robert took their first vacation together to Nosara, Costa Rica, where he had started the Blue Zone Standup Paddle & Surf Camp and was developing a resort. And that was when Heather fell in love—both with Robert, and with Costa Rica. She wholeheartedly embraced the country’s “pura vida” spirit—the phrase means “pure life” and is used to mean “thank you” or “everything is great”— and began living part time in the region. Six years later, Heather co-owns Nosara Weddings and Events, the area’s premier destination-event-planning company, and lives in Costa Rica full time. Along with her partner, she has planned more than 40 weddings in Nosara and neighboring regions in the last two years alone. Most recently, Heather put her talents to work planning one very special wedding: her own. The event took place last summer at La Luna, a restaurant in the Guillones Beach neighborhood. Because Costa Rican law limits beachfront expansion, La Luna is one of the few event spaces in the area that is actually on the beach. Being on the beach was important to Robert and Heather, who were engaged there, too. “The running joke when I first went to Nosara was that Robert told me he would marry me on the day they pave the roads,” she explains, “because they were always saying they were going to pave the roads, and they never did. It basically meant when hell freezes over. But one day we had been riding ATVs on the beach and we stopped to relax and he said, ‘Did you hear they’re going to pave the roads?’ And he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, right there on the beach. Actually they did start paving the roads this year, but he didn’t know it at the time!”

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Because Robert has two children from a previous marriage, the couple decided to create a special ceremony that was just for the four of them—similar to what Heather might plan for a renewal of vows or elopement ceremony. But Heather did run into one big challenge: timing. “I don’t recommend that brides plan their weddings from mid-July to mid-September, as that is the rainy season,” she notes. “The best time is December through March.” But because of the girls’ school schedule, July was the optimal time for their family. Unfortunately, as rains tend to begin in the afternoon, a wedding at the magical sunset hour was unpredictable. To compensate, the ceremony was held in late morning, and then when the sunset looked promising the entire wedding party got back in their formal clothes to catch the extraordinary photo op. And it was worth it. “Nosara has the most epic sunsets,” Heather says. “The whole town stops for them. Surfers get out of the water. Everyone walks down to the beach, it’s the most crowded time of the day. People watch the sunset like it’s the first time they’ve ever seen it. It’s so amazing that something so simple can be so important to an entire community. You’d think they would take it for granted, having grown up with that. But it’s a really sacred time—for everyone.” Sacred. Beautiful. Epic. That’s a destination-wedding experience in Nosara, Costa Rica.

Getting There Many major airlines have direct, three-hour flights from Houston to the main airports of Costa Rica—San Jose and Liberia. From Liberia you can catch a “puddle jumper” through Nature Air (www.natureair.com) or Sansa (www.flysansa.com) directly to Nosara, or rent a car for the five-hour drive (which can take longer, depending on the

photo Nosara Weddings & Events


destination wedding &honeymoon state of the roads). Another option is to fly from Houston to the Liberia Airport; through your hotel concierge or booking agent, you can arrange for shuttle pick-up at the airport, which will cost about $160 for the two-hour drive. The online Visit Nosara Travel Resource (www.visitnosara.com) can help you get the lay of the land.

Planning Your Event Nosara Weddings and Events (www.nosaraweddingsevents. com) also contracts privately for hair and makeup, and can connect you with event locations such as La Luna. Costa Rica Weddings (www.crwed.com) is a source for excellent photographers.

Where To Stay Harmony Hotel Nosara (www.harmonynosara.com) is the most luxurious and beautiful resort in the area, with numerous daily yoga classes, direct beach access, incredible organic food and a gently eco-friendly focus. The smaller, less expensive Living Hotel (www.livinghotelnosara.com) is a low-frills but still charming and spotless option. Surfing Nosara Surf School & Vacation Rentals (www.surfingnosara.com) has a wide selection of private homes for rent in the area, most of which are American owned.

What To Do With 21 runs, the zip-line tour operated by Miss Sky Canopy Tours (www.missskycanopytour.com) is the longest tour in the world—with majestic mountains and waterfalls galore, it’s absolutely breathtaking. Get up close and personal with an ATV waterfall tour through Monkey Quads (www.monkeyquads.com), which can also provide a fun way to get around town. Blue Zone Standup Paddle & Surf Camp (www.bluezonesup.com) is a must-do for experienced and novice water lovers. Take a beachside ride with Playa Ponies (www.playaponies.com) and detour through the forest to catch a glimpse of wild horses and howler monkeys, or go for a formal tour of the Nosara Wildlife Rescue (www.nosarawildlife.com) and adopt a howler monkey for just five dollars a month. With plentiful marlin, mahimahi and yellowfin tuna just off the coast, deep sea fishermen are sure to catch the big one with Fishing Nosara (www.fishingnosara.com). Yoga enthusiasts will find every type of class—from aerial to restorative—at the Nosara Yoga Institute (www.nosarayoga.com). Finally, relax and unwind with a spa visit to the Harmony Hotel, or book an expert session with Tica Massage (www.ticamassage.com).

Costa Rica Destination Wedding Myths—And Truths Before Heather Barbieri began working as an event planner in Nosara, Costa Rica, there were some misconceptions she had to clear up:

Language Barriers Make Destination Weddings Difficult. “Everybody speaks English!” she says.“A lot of times people are intimidated by the idea of having a destination wedding in another country because they don’t know the language. But Costa Rica is a place where you can come without knowing a lick of Spanish. The majority of people will be able to communicate with you in your language, even if you can’t communicate with them in theirs.” Crime Is A Concern. “I feel so safe in Costa Rica,” she says. “There’s absolutely no violence. You only have to be concerned with petty theft. If you leave your shorts drying on the back of your car in your driveway, those shorts might just walk away. But people aren’t going to steal your computer. In fact, even if somebody did take something from your house they would never break a window to get in—that’s considered disrespectful.” Destination Weddings Are Too Expensive. “The value of the dollar is very strong in Costa Rica. Plus, brides spend thousands of dollars on things like flowers in the states, but because in Costa Rica there’s so much of that naturally around you, you don’t need much. Compared to what you’d spend on decor in the states, I’d say brides here spend about a third as much.” Planning A Wedding In Another Country Is Too Stressful. “I think there is something about having a destination wedding that makes you relax and enjoy it. In the states you really feel the pressure—everybody’s chirping in your ear, you’re always on the go. The Nosara bride isn’t like the brides you find in Atlanta: ‘The flowers are supposed to be magenta and they’re dusty rose!’ Those things don’t matter to the Nosara bride. She’s easygoing, laid back, in touch with nature, healthy—even if you’re not like that, the experience of having your wedding here will bring that out in you.”

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Kim d Vo

REAL WEDDINGS

~ NOVEMBER 2 5, 2012 ~

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As co-owners of Houston’s elegant Now & Forever Bridal Boutique, Vo and Kim have made a life of brides and weddings. So when it came time for the former high-school sweethearts’ own wedding, they knew they wanted something special—and exceptionally intimate. Their Hawaiian destination wedding at Historic Ka'upulehu’s Four Seasons Resort Hualalai brought together 23 of their closest friends and family members for a moving beachfront celebration, where the bride, dressed in a custom Hayley Paige gown—the designer herself attended the wedding—carried a bouquet of all-white peonies. “Peonies were not in season nor available on any Hawaiian island during the month of November,” Kim recalls. “The florist traveled to a different country just to select and pick up peonies for our wedding—it was all a secret until the wedding day!” Adds the smitten groom, “We're each lucky to be in love with and married to our best friend. This is our first love, and it is our last.”

writer natasha garber ~ photography Kelli Elizabeth Photography W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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REAL WEDDINGS

names kim nguyen

&

khuong vo    number of guests 23    venue four

seasons resort hualalai, kona, hawaii    reception highlight “the polynesian spectacular, especially when all the gentlemen were onstage shaking their assets to entertain the ladies”    wedding dress two custom gowns by hayley paige from now & forever bridal boutique

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your new home J U S T

M A R R I E D

marriage & money

It’s never too early to start a financial dialogue with your future spouse.

My bride and I have been married for 27 years, but neither of us will forget those first months of marriage, when we found ourselves in a number of heated disagreements about how to spend (or not spend) our money. To avoid some of the conflicts we struggled through, consider reading this article out loud to the love of your life so that the two of you can begin a money dialogue that will hopefully last throughout your lives. And keep in mind the word “dialogue” is important here, since a dialogue happens between two people sharing thoughts about a topic and coming up with an answer together, rather than one person trying to change the opinion of another.

writer Randall Neighbour ~ photo larry fagala

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your new home When and how do we want to retire? During our engagement, my wife-tobe asked me about retirement. We were in our mid-20s, and I never gave retirement a thought before that conversation. One thing we agreed on immediately was that we wanted a comfortable retirement where we didn’t have to worry about money. This is an important conversation to have with your soon-to-be spouse. Together, decide how and where you want to enjoy your golden years and how much it will cost in today’s dollars per year to help achieve it. Then start saving money and investing, and don’t take on more risk than you can tolerate. Remember, the sooner you begin saving for retirement, the longer your money is working for you. To have enough for a comfortable retirement, you may have to delay buying those custom drapes for the living room or buying that new car, but it’s worth

it. No one in their 60s ever says, “I wish I had saved less when I was first married!” How can we create a budget and live within it? For a number of years, my wife and I have carefully monitored how much we spend on eating out, electronics, clothing and stuff for the house. It’s easy to spend $2,000 (or far more) each year on these things, and much of that is money that should be set aside for big-ticket items that are usually put on a credit card or financed at a bank. In other words, it’s money that shouldn’t be spent today, but saved for retirement. Is living on a budget worth it? Absolutely! Two years ago we celebrated our anniversary with an over-the-top luxurious week in Paris. This year, we bought a new car and paid cash for it. Living within a budget for a number of years has rewarded us with a paid-off

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mortgage, nice cars in the garage, and regular vacations. Creating a budget and both of us working hard to live within it is the reason why we have a solid retirement pathway and we can enjoy life today without taxing our future with unnecessary debt. How should we prioritize generosity to keep money in its rightful place? Shortly after marriage, my wife and I decided to be generous with our income even if it meant temporarily sacrificing some personal comfort. For 27 years, we’ve given away a percentage of our income to worthy charities, specific needs in our community, and to an orphanage in Malawi. This might sound odd, but by prioritizing charitable giving in our budget (not giving what’s left over, because there’s rarely extra money left over) we have found that we are the masters of our money. In other words, money—having it or not having it—does not rule us nor our level of happiness. Making a conscious decision to be generous, by budgeting generosity each month, has not been easy when we want something we have to delay purchasing, but it’s worth it. The more generous we are, the less we care about what we can buy, and, in turn, we rarely argue about money. Randall Neighbour is a Registered Representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. He can be reached at 713.552.7918; randall.neighbour@lfg. com. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/ dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. CRN-764155-111113


your new home

right at

home

Planning to invest in a newlywed nest? Let our experts offer guidance. writer natasha garber ~ photo adam nyholt photographer

If you’re among the majority of newly married Houston couples who plan to purchase a home during their first year of marriage, you’re in luck. Not only do Houston and its surrounding areas offer exceptional options in neighborhood, home type and price, but Weddings in Houston just happens to have a line on some of the finest real estate and home-financing pros in town.

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your new home Before you enter the housing market, take a moment to take in this expert advice from Waukita Ray-Swales, owner of Veranda Realty Group/Keller Williams Realty; Michelle Ray of Michelle Ray Properties, a broker associate of Keller Williams Realty; and Mutual of Omaha branch manager Sean Bohn, who works with home buyers to offer a comprehensive portfolio of residential financing solutions, including conventional loans, refinances and jumbo loans. Weddings in Houston: How should a soon-to-be-married or newlywed couple determine if they are financially ready to buy a house? Michelle Ray: The first step is financial pre-approval for a mortgage and determining the approval amount right for your budget.   WIH: What’s involved in that process? Sean Bohn: It’s a good idea to start the pre-approval process once you are contemplating purchasing a new home. A good lender will be able to provide helpful guidance that will give you peace of mind during your home purchase process. The lender will ask for basic credit history, income documentation and asset documentation to determine if you are qualified. With the Houston housing market growing stronger, most realtors are requiring a pre-approval letter to accompany an offer made on a home. The pre-approval process will help a couple determine how much they can afford to spend on a home. Generally, up to 36 percent of the borrower’s gross monthly income is allowed as total monthly debt. This includes the principal, interest, real estate taxes and homeowner insurance associated with the mortgage, as well as any other installment or revolving debt appearing on the couple’s credit report or elsewhere. 410 

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WIH: How can a couple get in the best possible financial shape to purchase a home? Waukita Ray-Swales: Pay off all revolving debt, such as credit card debt, revolving credit lines for appliances, furnishings, etc. Create—and live strictly by—a sensible and realistic budget, and save as much money as possible. If there are credit score issues, consult with a credit counseling service to resolve any roadblocks that could prevent you from qualifying for a loan.  All of the above require some major sacrifices, but home ownership is ultimately well worth the pain of “living well below one’s means.” WIH: What are some of your favorite Houston neighborhoods for young couples looking to buy a starter home, townhome or condo? WRS: I am partial to neighborhoods “inside the loop” when I counsel soonto-be-married or newlywed couples, because of their accessibility and proximity to the major freeways, shopping districts, arts districts and sports arenas. Some of my favorites are: Houston Heights Area—This neighborhood is a designated historic district with a small-town feel and an abundance of renovated bungalows, as well as newly constructed townhomes in the outlying neighborhoods. With a great hike and bike trail that runs all the way through Memorial Park and Downtown, it was recently voted one of the “Top 10” walking neighborhoods in America, and has an abundance of eateries, pubs, coffee houses and shopping establishments along the way. The median sale price is approximately $400,000, but properties range from under $200,000 to over $2.5 million. Washington Corridor/Rice Military/ Camp Logan—Rice Military is at the

heart of Houston’s Inner Loop, and is also five to 10 minutes away from Downtown, Memorial Park and the Museum District. It is still an area of transition, which keeps the prices affordable for first-time buyers. Many renovated bungalows are scattered throughout the area, but in recent years there has been a surge in townhome construction. Entry-level homes in this neighborhood start around $300,000, and the close proximity to the popular Washington Avenue Corridor is a huge draw to young professionals. Montrose—Montrose is one of the older, more “culturally hip” Houston neighborhoods, like the emerging Midtown section nearby. It is located just west of Downtown, with an abundance of renovated bungalows, recently built townhomes, high-rises and lofts, so it appeals to a large number of young professionals, as well as empty-nesters. Like the Houston Heights, it has a smalltown atmosphere and a great location, and homes are still very affordable, starting in the mid-$200,000s to the $800,000s. Upper Kirby—This neighborhood is truly located in the heart of Houston, with an eclectic combination of cottages, townhomes, duplexes and small businesses. Because of the many restaurants, bars, coffee houses, galleries, antique stores and unique retail shops, it has become affectionately known as Houston’s “bohemia.” Like the Montrose area, entry-level homes will range from $250,000 to $400,000. EaDo (East of Downtown)—Located just north of Interstate 45 and between the George R. Brown Convention Center and the East End District, EaDo is a vibrant Houston neighborhood near Houston’s three largest business districts: Downtown Houston, the Texas Medical Center and the Houston Ship


your new home Channel. Dubbed the “Art & Soul of Houston,” EaDo is a fast-growing neighborhood nestled within one of the more exciting sections of the city, with easy access to major freeways, major thoroughfares and METRO Transit. Houston’s major business districts are all a short distance away, making this neighborhood an easy commute, while still remaining comfortably close to many of Houston’s entertainment options. Homes in this neighborhood begin in the $200,000s and consist mostly of townhomes or zero-lot-line single-family homes. WIH: What’s the biggest challenge couples face when moving in together—and what can they do to ease it? MR: We offer “LoveNest” consultations from a staging perspective that help couples determine their style as a couple. The biggest challenge usually is combining their furniture—that and determining closet space. As for closet space, it’s important to make sure you have enough. Regarding furniture, the questions couples face include: Will he keep all his furniture? Will they get rid of it and just keep hers? Will they sell it and buy new things? There’s also the issue of style. He might want contemporary, she might want traditional, for instance. I recommend using a staging company like the one I maintain as a subsidiary of Michelle Ray Properties. An accredited staging professional can consult with the couple on how to combine their decorating styles, how to create a personal space, and how to organize items and declutter. You want a place for everything. And you want the house to flow in terms of color and decor. If you don’t have an eye for it, it becomes a mishmash. That’s where a professional comes in. W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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Ganesa d Ian

REAL WEDDINGS

~ OCTOBER 21, 2012 ~

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A chance airport flirtation that turns into true love—is there anything more romantic? Ganesa and Ian met at a restaurant at New York’s JFK International Airport in 2009, he en route home to Chicago, she to Houston, their moments together extended into hours by a lightning storm that delayed all flights out of New York. After months of long-distance dating, Ian requested a job transfer to Texas to be with his beloved, where he proposed to Ganesa at her birthday party in Hotel ZaZa’s “Soho Loft” suite. Their wedding, also at ZaZa—“my favorite hotel…I’m a bling-chandelier girl!” Ganesa says—brought together 120 guests, including the couple’s tux-attired toy poodle Teddy, for an evening of emotional vows, fine food and dancing, which, the happy bride says, “went off perfectly.”

writer natasha garber ~ photography DC Stanley Photography W ed di ngs i nho us t o n. c o m   • 

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REAL WEDDINGS

names ganesa warren

ian ferguson    number of guests 120   venue hotel zaza    flowers & decor dream bouquet    officiant weddings performed   photography dc stanley photography    videography a&a video productions &

  registry macy’s    rehearsal dinner ouisie’s table    honeymoon tahiti

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Wedding

Resource Directory

Accesso ries AB Bling 180 Cathy Rascoe 185 Stefanie Somers 178 alteratio ns MW Couture 223 Banks & Fina nc i a l P l a nni ng Lincoln Financial Advisors 411 Mutual of Omaha Bank 411 Beauty & H e a lth Buttercream Beauty Services 234 Capriotti Cosmetic & Laser Surgery 235 Cleopatra’s Secret 232 Deer Lake Lodge & Spa 233 Designer Smiles 231 FaceForward Weddings 236 Hilda & Co. Airbrush Make-Up 234 Hilda Kershman Makeup Artist 230 LMF Style 234 The Look by Jennifer 232 Makeup by Keri Ann 232 Makeup Texas 236 Murillo Plastic Surgery 237 Southern & Adorn’ 236 Bridal Sh ows I Do! Bridal Soiree Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston Bind-In I Do! Bridal Soiree - The Corinthian Bind-In Ceremo ny & R ec e pti o n Agave Estates 95 Ashelynn Manor 43 Ashton Gardens 125 The Bell Tower on 34th Street 93 The Bird & The Bear Bistro 64 Boardwalk FantaSea Yacht Charters 64 Brady’s Landing 46 Brennan’s Houston 84 Briscoe Manor 27 Butler’s Courtyard 131 Cadillac Bar 132 Chateau Cocomar - Cover Fold Chateau Polonez 50-51 The Club at Carlton Woods 13 The Corinthian IFC-1 Crowne Plaza Houston - Brookhollow 48 Crystal Ballroom at the Rice 59 Cullen’s 42 Demers Banquet Hall 46 DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Downtown 94

Downtown Aquarium 118 The Downtown Club at Houston Center 96 Enchanted Cypress Ballroom 45 Energy Ballroom at the Holiday Inn 122 Four Seasons Hotel Houston 23 The Gallery 115 Grappino di Nino 123 The Grove 83 Haras Hacienda, Catering, Restaurant & Hotel 34-35 Heather’s Glen 78-79 HESS Club 107 Hilton Houston NASA Clear Lake 28 Hilton Houston North 135 Hilton Houston Post Oak 89 Hilton Houston Westchase 66 Hotel Derek 55 Hotel Galvez & Spa 36 Hotel Granduca 117 Hotel ICON Houston 84 Hotel ZaZa Houston Museum District 4-5 The Houston Club 98 Houston Marriott North 40 Houston Museum of African American Culture 124 Houston Oaks Country Club 25 Houston Racquet Club 91 The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa 16-17 Kemah Gardens 122 La Colombe d’Or 41 La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa 3 Las Velas 121 Madera Estates 127 Magnolia Hotel Houston 81 The Majestic Metro 65 Minute Maid Park - Houston Astros Baseball Club 24 Moffitt Oaks 97 Noah’s 44 Northgate Country Club 62 Northwest Forest 119 Old Glory Ranch 42 Omni Houston Hotel 11 Ouisie’s Table 39 The Overlook 103 The Parador 22 Pecan Grove Plantation Country Club 99 Pine Forest Country Club 47 Rainbow Lodge 94 Raveneaux Country Club 101 Rosemary’s Garden 57 Royal Oaks Country Club 77 Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston 15

The San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center 60 Sans Souci Ballroom 49 Shepard Hill Estates 61 Shirley Acres 58 South Shore Harbour Country Club 100 The Southern Villa 44 Star Fleet Yachts 132 Sugar Creek Country Club 26 Sweetwater Country Club 99 The Tremont House 37 Veranda by *17 at The Sam Houston Hotel 9 The Villagio 120 Walden on Lake Houston Golf & Country Club 99 Waterpoint Premier Lakeside Venue 133 The Westin Galleria 33 The Westin Oaks 33 Weston Lakes Country Club 102 Willow Fork Country Club 99 The Woodlands Country Club 85 The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center 29 The Wynden 63 Your Cup of Tea 96 Cu lin a ry S erv ices Café Natalie 299 Capitol Beverage Service 296 DGZ Chocolates 294 Dream Cakes 300 Gigi’s Cupcakes 292 Jackson and Company IFC-1 Nothing Bundt Cakes 294 SatinSlices 297 Stylish Cakes by Marcela 296 Sugar Bunch Creations 298 Supreme Kakes 301 Susie’s Cakes & Confections 293 Who Made the Cake! 295 D est in at ion W edd ing & H on ey m oon AAA Travel 395 Hotel Galvez & Spa 36 Kemah Gardens 122 La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa 3 Old Glory Ranch 42 Pompano Beach Club 403 The San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center 60 Shepard Hill Estates 61 The Tremont House 37

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Flowers, Deco r & R e nta ls A Memorable Event 275 AJ’s Urban Petals 256 Any Occasion Party Rental 254 Arteflora 244 Darryl & Co. - Bind-In Dream Bouquet 247 EB Inc 255 Events in Bloom 245 Flora & Eventi 273 Haute Flowers & Finds 252 Keisha’s Kreations 257 Lary’s Florist and Designs 253 Linens by Lisa 269 Party Time Rentals Inc 271 The Perfect Touch 270 Plants N’ Petals 248-249 Something Special in Flowers 272 Todd Events 7-8 Gif t Reg istry Bering’s 322 Celebrity China & Cookware 324 Kuhl-Linscomb 323 Macy’s 329 Williams-Sonoma 325 Invitatio ns Bering’s 312 Bluebonnet Press 313 Isabella Invitations 315 JCJ Design Studio 314 Katie & Co. 315 Lavandula Design 314 Love Ashley 313 Jewelry Zadok Jewelers 169 Lig hting & Sou nd Bright Star Productions 251 M us ic & Enterta i nm e nt The Composed Bride 339 DJ Dave Productions 337 DJU Productions 335 Harpist - Amy Waltz 338 iHeart Flipbooks 339 Jonny Black Productions 334 Mango Punch! 336 Mugshotbox 337 Photobooths of Houston 338 Scott Graham - Pianist & Composer 334 Smilebooth 336 Photo g raph y 1 Cinema Productions Photo & Video 358 A Lifetime of Memories Photography 373

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Adam Nyholt Photographer 361 Awake Photography 363 Civic Photos 359 Color Tyme Photography 364 D. Jones Photo 351 DC Stanley Photography 365 Depshots Photography 362 J. Cogliandro Photography 353 John Ly Photography 371 Joseph West Photography 372 Joshua Tyi Weddings 352 K & E Photography Studios 374 Kreative Angle Photography 374 Lindsay Elizabeth Photography 356 Matthew Trevino Photography 363 MD Turner Photography 375 Motley Mélange 350 Nhan Photography 349 Sarah Ainsworth Photography 357 SB Image Studios 369 Select Studios 348 Steve Lee Fine Art Photography 355 Weddings by Alefiya 375 P h oto Boot h DJU Productions 335 iHeart Flipbooks 339 Jonny Black Productions 334 Mugshotbox 337 Photobooths of Houston 338 Smilebooth 336 P r e-W ed d in g C eleb rat ion s The Bird & The Bear Bistro 137 Brennan’s Houston 137 Cadillac Bar 137 Downtown Aquarium 137 Energy Ballroom at the Holiday Inn 137 Grappino di Nino 137 The Grove 137 Hotel ICON Houston 137 Hotel ZaZa Houston Museum District 138 The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa 138 La Colombe d’Or 138 La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa 138 Maggiano’s Little Italy 138 Magnolia Hotel Houston 138 The Majestic Metro 138 Masraff’s 138 Ouisie’s Table 140 The Overlook 140 Royal Oaks Country Club 140 Sambuca - Crystal Ballroom at the Rice 140 The San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center 140 Veranda by *17 at The Sam Houston Hotel 140 Your Cup of Tea 140

T ra n s p ortat ion Sam’s Limousine & Transportation 343 V id eog raph y 31Films 380 A&A Video 378 Ama Photography & Cinema 379 Blink Films & Images 382 Elect Films 381 J&D Productions 387 Nostalgic Videography 382 Sculpting With Time Productions 383 W ebs it es HoustonBridalShows.com HoustonWeddingBlog.com WeddingsInHouston.com W ed d in g At t ire Al’s Formal Wear 178 Belle Mariée Bridal 195 Belle Revé Bridal Couture 176 Brickhouse Bridal 175 David Peck 190-191 Houston Bridal Gallery 205 Ivory Bridal Atelier 181 Joan Pillow Bridal Salon 177 Mia Bridal Couture 179 Now & Forever Bridal Boutique 201 Oleg Cassini - David’s Bridal 225 The Princess Bridal 174 T. Carolyn Fashions 178 Weddings by Debbie 219 Winnie Couture Flagship Bridal Salon 189 W ed d in g M in ist ers Weddings Performed 146 W ed d in g S erv ic es A Day To Remember 146 Event Solutions 149 Events by Doyin 152 Events by Sarah 148 Glitter + Whiskey Events 154 Gray & Associates Events 151 Kat Creech Events 148 Lion & Lamb Event Services 155 One Sweet Day Wedding & Event Design 154 Party Pretty 153 Perfect Carma Events 155 Schwartz & Woodward 147 Stewart Weddings 152 SwaLaRue Events 154 You r N ew H om e Michelle Ray Properties 407 Veranda Realty Group 409


Weddings in Houston Magazine - Jan. 2014  

WeddingsinHouston.com