ENGAGED and CONFUSED?

Register now as a Bride or Groom
and receive our E-newsletter
and planning tools FREE!

Register Today!

Write Your Own Wedding Vows (It’s Not as Terrifying as You Think!)

This season’s weddings are all about the personal touch. And nothing is more personal than original vows, written by you, and recited to your beloved in the presence of everyone who matters most to you. (A caveat: If you’re thinking you might like to write your own vows, make sure your ceremony venue and officiant allow personal vows—some houses of worship and clergy DON’T.)

OK, so you want to write your own vows, but somehow the thought of putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) to compose those once-in-a-lifetime marriage vows strikes fear in your heart. Well, take comfort, we are here to help. First off, we want to remind you that while your wedding vows are important, they do NOT need to encompass every feeling you’ve ever had for your fiancé or serve as an airtight contract. Your vows don’t have to be poetic, they don’t have to be hilarious, they don’t have to be Serious with a capital “S”—they don’t have to be perfect.

What your vows should be are heartfelt and meaningful—especially to you and to the person you are marrying. To help get you to the essence of what you want to say, consider these questions (and jot down your answers). Same thing goes for your fiancé. In fact, it might make things easier and take a little of the pressure off to do this part side by side, if you’d like:

•    When and how did you know you were in love with your fiancé and wanted to marry him?
•    What do you love most about your fiancé?
•    What do you miss about your fiancé when you’re away from him?
•    Why do you want to marry your fiancé?
•    How do you think your life will be different after marrying?
•    What is your fantasy of how you will celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary?

You can also look at photos and video clips from your shared life—vacations, family events, happy occasions, good times with friends, etc.—for more inspiration.

Once you have the essentials in rough written form, you can think about putting together a paragraph or so that says what you want to say.

To give your vows shape and conviction, include a statement of promise:

“Now and forever, I…”
“From this day forward, I…”
“In the presence of God, our families and our friends, I promise to…”

The web is full of additional resources that offer vow samples. Some of our favorites are My Wedding Vows, Love to Know Weddings Funny Wedding Vows. You can also search You Tube for wedding vows by category (funny, laughing, song, celebrities, etc.), for live examples (including some entertaining “wedding vows gone wrong”).

Your vows are your vows, so say what’s in your heart. Nothing—no gown, no flower, no diamond, no cake—is more beautiful than the truth.

Alternative Altars

Planning an outdoor ceremony, Houston bride? An al fresco vow exchange is a great opportunity to get creative and show off your personal style with an altar that goes beyond the basic flower-twined arch or filmy canopy.

Don’t overlook interestingly textured materials like bamboo, wrought iron and driftwood, which make sturdy foundations and offer interesting contrast to softer textiles and floral. Maybe you want to add internal illumination to stretched-fabric posts, or forgo floral in favor of hanging crystals, seashells or sculpted branches. Perhaps your ceremony setting has the good fortune of a natural feature—say, a massive willow tree or sparkling lake—that can serve as a special focal point for your nuptials with little or no added decoration.

While you’re considering these altar alternatives, have a look at a handful of intriguing, unexpected, and altogether wonderful altar examples we’ve pulled together for you:

How cool is this “stage” altar, crafted by Oakland, Calif.-based Because We Can for the wedding of stationery company Hello!Lucky’s creative director?

Photos by Gia Canali with Sara Remington
Photos by Gia Canali with Sara Remington

This contemporary, elegant black wrought-iron chuppah, on the Fountain Terrace of The Four Seasons Hotel, Las Vegas, doubled as a canopy for the reception’s sweetheart table. Stylish and practical.

Wrought Iron Altar
Wrought Iron Altar
Photos by altF Photography
Photos by altF Photography

We love the glowing, ethereal “posts” on this simple but spectacular outdoor canopy. And the bright, willowy-stemmed flowers? What a magical effect.

Illuminated Altar
Illuminated Altar

There’s not much to this understated bamboo canopy—but what is there is refined and lovely, and draws attention to the wedding couple, rather than to itself. You could always add tropical foliage or accent the aisle with floral for a lusher, more feminine look.

Bamboo Altar
Bamboo Altar

And, finally, we are totally in love with this hand-hewn altar, made by the bride’s younger brother to resemble an old-time country church. Check out the “windows,” the yellow dresser, the black iron chandelier and antique candle-holders—amazing, totally original, absolutely beautiful.

Photos by Stephanie Fay
Photos by Stephanie Fay

The Majestic Metro: A Houston Wedding Venue with Historic Charm

MajMetro2

So you’re getting married. Congratulations! Now it’s time to make one of your first big wedding planning decisions: Where will you and your groom hold your reception?
Just like a perfect setting is essential to every great story, your reception venue will set the mood for the party. It’s one of the first things your guests will notice when they arrive to fete you and your guy. It’ll also provide the backdrop for your wedding photos, your first dance, and the cutting of the cake. Your reception venue may also dictate what kind of food and drinks you can serve. So you want to select a venue that embodies the sort of ambiance you want for the biggest party of your life.
MajMetro1
If you like the idea of a venue that’s both grand and intimate, check out The Majestic Metro. This one-of-a-kind wedding venue makes its home downtown in the old Ritz movie theater, which opened in 1926. With much of its original Art Deco architecture still intact, The Majestic Metro will make your wedding celebration one for the ages.
And no, The Majestic Metro’s age won’t spoil your wedding day fun. The venue has been updated to include a top-of-the-line 21st century sound and lighting system, so you can dance the night away on the Texas-sized dance floor. The Majestic Metro even has its own first-rate DJ to get your guests moving to more than 5,000 tunes by everyone from Beyonce to Alicia Keys to George Strait to the Righteous Brothers to Snoop Dogg.
MajMetrobalcony
Having a huge wedding? The Majestic Metro can accommodate up to 400 guests with banquet-style seating. And you can serve whatever kind of food you want from any caterer you choose. That’s right, Houston bride, it’s your wedding, and you can eat what you want to. Your fave barbeque? Check. The dish you were eating when your guy proposed? Ditto.
Don’t stress if you don’t have an opinion on what kind of food to serve or which caterer to use, though. The Majestic Metro is happy to recommend caterers that it has worked with previously.
That’s because The Majestic Metro’s staff knows you and your groom are the stars of the show. They’ll even feature your name and personalized message on its outdoor marquee. Now there’s some A-list treatment every Houston bride deserves!

Wedding and Celebration Venue: Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE

January cover of Weddings in Houston magazine
January cover of Weddings in Houston magazine

If you’ve seen Weddings in Houston’s March issue (and if you haven’t—what are you waiting for??), you’ve no doubt been seduced by the swank, sophisticated Hotel Sorella CITYCENTRE, featured on our cover (as backdrop to a beautiful bride holding a custom floral handbag by Darryl & Co.) and in our knockout “Urban Elegance” fashion spread. Recounts Weddings in Houston publisher Radhika Day, “The hip and chic hotel was the perfect setting for our fashion shoot, especially when the city was being pounded with rain.” And the “sexy bar and the cabanas by the pool actually inspired us to add to the story—it was a lot of fun!”

So here’s the scoop: Before you get too excited about having your wedding at the spectacular Sorella, we want to let you know: The property’s on-site meeting and event space will open in fall, 2010, and be able to accommodate wedding receptions for up to 300 guests. So all you super-stylish city brides who plan to wed in 2011 and beyond, make sure you check it out when it does. Word is, it’s going to be gorgeous. The rest of you glamour gals, take note:

Even if you can’t have your whole shebang at CITYCENTRE’s crown jewel (for now Hotel Sorella can accommodate very small ceremonies in its lobby lounge followed by festivities in its open-to-the-public bar and restaurant), you sure can take advantage of its European-influenced opulence in other ways.

For instance, how about getting your bridesmaids or BFFs together for a pre-wedding overnight escape? Sorella director of sales Jodi Doughty says that with its sleek “Italian designed-furnishings, hardwoods that transition to carpet in all right places [and] two- or three-seater sectional sofas,” the hotel is the perfect place to gather “a few girlfriends in your room for a great glass of wine,” followed by a divine dinner at culinary hotspot Bistro Alex, and perhaps a chick flick, with cocktails, natch, at CITYCENTRE’s Studio Movie Grill.

Speaking of escapes…there’s nothing like a little pre-wedding getaway with your future hubby to reconnect you two, and relieve the stress of constant planning. Hotel Sorella’s 520-square-foot are just the ticket, with their insanely luxurious beds, decadent walk-in showers and awesome views.

Of course, with its CITYCENTRE location, stylish design and gracious service, Hotel Sorella is also a great place for visiting guests to stay. Doughty says visitors love being able to “look down at the CITYCENTRE development from their windows, people-watch and get in on the action.” And CITYCENTRE offers much-needed “balance for the groom’s side,” she adds, in the form of dude-friendly gathering spots like the Yard House, with its burgers, big screens and 80-plus beers.

If you haven’t yet seen Hotel Sorella, we highly recommend a visit. You’ll be able to get a great sense of the space by checking out (or checking into) a room, sipping a cocktail beside the sleek fireplace at the seductive Monnalisa bar and gazing at stars, and into your fiance’s eyes, in the open-air courtyard. And if you want to star in your own on-property bridal fashion shoot? Hey, for a fee, and with a fabulous photographer on your side, you can do that, too.

Reception Decor Inspiration: Taylor Creative Weddings

TaylorDinner
Their client list—Colin Cowie Lifestyle, Versace, Bergdorf Goodman, Serena Bass, etc.—reads like a who’s who of arbiters of style and sophistication. They’ve provided spectacular props and furniture for everything from Hollywood film shoots to high-end social affairs. And now New York’s famed Taylor Creative Props has launched Taylor Creative Weddings—a special collection of furnishings, accessories and décor, along with design consultation services, tailored (if you’ll pardon the pun) just for weddings. Perhaps even YOUR wedding, Houston bride.

TaylorSuite

Taylor Creative has a distinctly modern aesthetic, marked by architectural edge, mid-century modularity, plenty of glass and chrome, and lots of sleek, bright white. But when paired with beautiful lighting and floral, these edgy pieces soften gorgeously, and evoke an atmosphere of sophisticated femininity and romance that makes us swoon.

TaylorBar

Our favorite pieces include the Victoria Pattern Ghost Chair (especially when paired with the patterned Cube Table ), the tufted white Windsor Collection and the illuminated Plexi Bar. And how about those fabulous Glo Balls for an evening al fresco reception?

TaylorCocktails

Unfortunately, Taylor Creative does not warehouse items in Houston—BUT, they will send whatever you want via truck from New York (for the right price, of course). For the rest of us, the Taylor Creative Weddings’ site is a source of inspiration and ideas, and a GREAT resource to share with our phenomenally talented Houston wedding consultants, rental companies, florists or décor providers.