Archive for the ‘Ceremony’ Category

Make the Most of Your Wedding Budget

Monday, November 9th, 2009

We had so much great advice we just couldn’t squeeze into our upcoming Weddings in Houston magazine story on maximizing the impact of your wedding budget, we decided a blog post was in order. Let’s face it: These are tough times. Now more than ever, Houston’s style-savvy brides are searching for ways to get the most bang—whether in decor, fashion, food, etc.—for their wedding budget buck.

Lucky for us, hometown wedding coordinator extraordinaire Karen Brown of Karen For Your Memories has these 7 essential tips for getting the most for your wedding money, however much you plan to spend. Don’t event THINK about planning your big day without reading this first!

1.    Cut back on the number of people invited. This gives you a chance to spend more on food, décor, entertainment, or whatever will make you happy.
2.    Order invitations from a reputable dealer…but create your own save-the-dates and programs.
3.    If you are searching for a location that is different, but generally less expensive, check out small art galleries. Just be sure that the art on display during your wedding/reception is something you want to be included in your décor. Another lower cost venue is a garden club where you have beautiful grounds to work with. Just make sure there is an indoor area for backup, in case of bad weather.
4.    Find magazine photos of things that you love and work with your consultant to try and adapt them to your wedding and budget. I had one bride who fell in love with a hand-painted aisle runner of black-and-white paisley. We started searching wallpaper stores and found a similar pattern that could be used, but for less cost. One double roll provided the runner all the way down the aisle. We taped it directly to the wooden floor with tape the color of her green accents.
5.    Add dummy layers to the bottom of your cake. We try to arrange to have the cake moved into the back before being cut and served to the guests, so sometimes all but one layer of the cake is a dummy, and sheet cakes are already cut and plated in the back and ready to be served. You still have a beautiful display cake that is a great focal point, but you spend less money. The guests won’t know unless you tell them!
6.    Never sacrifice memories for other areas that seem to be important to you at the moment.  Photography and videography are probably the most valuable things you will take with you from your wedding—besides your new mate, that is.
7.    Always go for quality, not quantity.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Thanks, Karen!

Make it Personal: Marry Monograms

Monday, November 2nd, 2009
Marry Monograms Rose

Marry Monograms Rose

We go to a LOT of weddings. And the ones that we love most, the ones that linger longest in our memories, are those weddings where the wedding couple’s personal touch is on everything from flowers to food to favors.

One of the most elegant ways to personalize your wedding, Houston bride, is with a sophisticated monogram logo bearing the initials or names of you and your new spouse. Monogram logos can be used to put your imprint on wedding items including:

–save-the-date cards and invitations
–aisles
–dance floors
–cakes
–wine bottles
–water bottles
–favors

Marry Monograms Wine

Marry Monograms Wine

For versatile, memorable monogram logos, we adore Marry Monograms. For a very reasonable price, MM will create a downloadable JPEG-format logo that you can provide to your invitation designer, cake baker, favor-maker, dance-floor provider—pretty much any vendor whose product can be imprinted. Monogram style categories—MM has more than 200 standard designs available, and can do custom work as well—include Classic, Contemporary, Simple and Romantic, and many logo styles can include your wedding date or wedding locale.

Marry Monograms Dance

Marry Monograms Dance

HWB tip: In the market for fun bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts or bachelor/bachelorette party favors? Use your MM monogram to customize clutches for the ladies and caps or T’s for the gents!

How to Pick Your Wedding Date

Monday, October 19th, 2009

He’s popped the question, you’ve said, “Yes,” the ring sparkles oh-so-fetchingly on your finger, all is well in the land of true love. Now all you need to do is pick a wedding date, Houston bride-to-be. And with 365 days to choose from in any given year, that should be easy, right? Not exactly.

Even if you’re not one of those sentimental or superstitious sorts who has to have all the stars precisely aligned on her wedding date, many days are simply not feasible for reasons of his or your work or school schedule. Factor in other potential schedule conflicts, plus factors like weather and venue availability, and that yearlong calendar looks a whole lot shorter.

Here are some common-sense guidelines to follow in picking the best date for your big day.

Season

This is Houston, which means seasons can play a big part in the type of wedding you have, and also in its cost. Because of extreme temperatures and humidity, and a general desire among Houstonians to NOT subject out-of-towners to our fair city’s summer swelter, July and August typically are not top choices for Houston weddings. On the other hand, you just may be able to negotiate a great deal on your event venue if you choose an off-season date.

Fall, on the other hand, tends to be a lovely season for weddings in Houston, with its milder temps and plethora of great activities for visiting guests to enjoy. But fall also overlaps with storm season. We’re all well aware of September, 2008’s, Hurricane Ike, which blasted across Houston leaving destruction—and devastated brides-to-be—in its wake. Sure, Ike is an extreme example, but even milder storms can affect wedding plans, including guest travel, tenting and, of course, anything scheduled to take place outdoors. If you do opt for an autumn wedding, make sure you have contingency plans in place, especially for events with outdoor elements.

Spring is an ideal season for a Houston wedding when it comes to weather, floral choices, etc.—but the popularity of the season comes with the challenge of venue and vendor availability, so start planning early. And avoid the week before April 15! As for winter, it’s a favorite for nuptials here in Houston and offers a great opportunity to plan a “winter wonderland” wedding. But if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want to choose your florals wisely—many blooms are not in season in winter months, and imported exotic flowers can be exorbitant.

Holidays/Special Events

Sure, it might seem like a totally neat-o idea to get married on Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve. But think about it—if your anniversary were NOT on Valentine’s Day, you’d get TWO romance-fests a year rather than a mere one. And do you really want to run the risk of having your wedding guests treat your celebration like an all-you-can drink blowout? Probably not. Guests also may have their own family commitments during major holidays, while flights often are hard to come by and airfares are at a premium, making it difficult for some to attend. When it comes to picking your wedding date it’s best to avoid major holidays, and the weeks immediately before or after. (Though a holiday theme wedding can be fun any weekend of the year!)

Also important to avoid are special events or annual events. Planning a June wedding? Better find out if anyone on your guest list is planning to graduate that month. A winter wedding? Not on Super Bowl weekend, especially if you, your fiancé or anyone whose attendance you can’t live without is a major football fan (and imagine the Super Bowl/anniversary conflicts for years to come!). Got a pregnant bridesmaid or other important guest? Make sure your wedding doesn’t fall on her due date or in the three months (at least) after she delivers.

Day of the Week

Saturday is the most popular day for weddings—except for Jewish weddings, which are often scheduled for Sundays to avoid taking place on the Jewish Sabbath, and some Indian weddings as well. If you, like the majority of brides, are planning to have a Saturday wedding, make sure you start your planning early, especially if you are determined to have your reception at one of Houston’s most popular wedding sites. These venues often book up a year or two in advance, especially for prime-season Saturdays. Allowing yourself ample flexibility in selecting a venue will go far toward helping you find the right site on the right date for your marriage to Mr. Right.

Around Town: Uptown Water Wall Park Has New Permit Reqs & Fees, Same Romantic Vibe

Monday, October 5th, 2009
Uptown Water Wall

Uptown Water Wall

Not so long ago, a happy Houston couple and their photographer had only to find a relatively quiet hour of the day to get great engagement or wedding photos at the Water Wall. Not so any more.

Sure, you can still pose for fabulous wedding pix and even get married or renew your vows in front of the famed Philip-Johnson-designed sculptural fountain, between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week. But you’ll have to email Uptown Water Wall Park or call 713.552.2800 to reserve the space (you can do so up to 10 months in advance) AND get a mandatory permit. You’ll also have to pay a fairly hefty fee (how hefty depends on the number of people in your group and how much you plan to impact the park).

Here’s the 411 on fees:

For Engagement/Wedding Photos: $250, whether your photos are being shot by a professional, or by an amateur photographer with a “professional-looking camera,” says park administrator Jane Serbin.

For Weddings/Vow Renewals/Events: $300 for a standing-only, two-hour-max ceremony or event with fewer than 20 people. To have chairs, tables or “anything that touches the grass,” Serbin says, it’s a $1,000 fee + $3,000 deposit—but you do get four hours instead of two. Bonus. For larger groups or more complex weddings (yes, you can have food, alcohol, music, etc., but you’ll need permits for those, too), fees can range as high as $10,000 + $30,000 deposit. Contact the park for details.

If it makes you feel better, fees go toward maintenance of the popular public park.
And if storm clouds should threaten to put a damper on your party, Serbin says you can get your fee back as long as you contact the park office up to one minute before the start time indicated on your permit. Whew.

So does the romance and mystique of the Water Wall merit the price? That’s for you and your beloved to decide, dear Houston bride.

South Asian Weddings: Baraat at the Omni Houston Hotel Galleria, Aug. 2

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009
Photo: J. Cogliandro

Photo: J. Cogliandro

Much more than your run-of-the-mill bridal fashion show, the Aug. 2 “Baraat at the Omni Houston Hotel Galleria” was a spectacular showcase of the best in South Asian wedding style, décor and food trends, set in the hotel’s gorgeous new Regency Ballroom.

The show’s 300 attendees enjoyed champagne, South Asian and American menu specialties and sweets (all gratis—the whole bash was free to the public), while they perused offerings from 19 expert vendors, including decorators, floral designers, jewelers and photographers.

As if that wasn’t enough to entice South Asian brides and their families, guests got to indulge in treatments courtesy of the Omni’s own Mokara Spa. Hourly door prizes and special offers from featured vendors sweetened the deal that much more.

For Omni director of food and beverage Zee Qureshi, the event was an opportunity to demonstrate his, and his staff’s, inimitable expertise in South Asian cuisine and customs. He points out that the property offers both halal meat and divine vegetarian entrees—all part of “an extensive South Asian menu that caters to every region of South Asia.”

Omni director of catering Georgia Graugnard adds that the hotel specializes in South Asian wedding rituals including the traditional mehndi, sangeet, baraat and pheras ceremonies. Plus, with an outstanding array of reception space, including the opulent Regency Ballroom (product of the hotel’s recent $35 million renovation), which can accommodate 750 guests, the Omni has room to accommodate the large guest groups typical of South Asian weddings. On top of that, “We offer special rates for out-of-town guests and a lovely suite for the bride and groom,” she says. “Our goal for every wedding is to create a lifetime of memories.”

Getting an early start on wedding planning, or know a South Asian bride who might be? Good news: The Omni’s inaugural South Asian wedding show was such a smash success, the hotel plans to make it an annual event. Call 713.871.8181 or click here for more information.

Photo: J. Cogliandro

Photo: J. Cogliandro