ENGAGED and CONFUSED?

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

Register Today!

A Peek Inside: Upcoming Open Houses

Like a neighborhood open house, a venue open house is a great way to get inside an unfamiliar place, have a look around, meet and greet nice people and enjoy a bite or two. Unlike most neighborhood open houses, however, a venue open house is meant to attract you to the potential site of what just might be the most important occasion of your life.

Fortunately for Houston brides, the city is simply swimming in spectacular wedding venues. The toughest thing for most to-be-weds is deciding which of Houston’s lovely locales to book for their big day.

Many Houston venues routinely throw open their doors and invite brides in for an exclusive look. Here are three open houses to whet your wedding-venue appetite. These all fall on the same day, same time—Aug. 9, 1-3 p.m.—so either pick the one that sounds most enticing to you, or hopscotch to all three if you dare!

Either way, we suggest you make sure to ask plenty of questions (“What table options do you offer?” “How many people can this room accommodate for cocktails?” “Can I bring in my own décor vendor?”) and bring a digital camera to snap pix. Attend with your fiancé, if at all possible, or at the very least, make sure to bring your maid of honor, mother or a close friend—a second opinion is always a good idea when choosing your wedding location.

Photo Courtesy of Sweetwater Country Club

Sweetwater Country Club
4400 Palm Royale Blvd.
Sugar Land, TX 77479
Feast your eyes on crystal chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking lush lawns and sparkling lakes at this Fort Bend County gem.

Photo Courtesy of Fontenot Grand Mansion

Fontenot Grand Mansion
5807 Spring Stuebner Road
Spring, TX 77389
Stately columns, bubbling fountains, sparkling chandeliers—all this and expert on-site wedding-planning assistance await you at the Fontenot.

Photo Courtesy of Downtown Aquarium

Downtown Aquarium
410 Bagby St
Houston, TX 77002
Imagine the thrill of a 50,000-foot cylindrical sea-life tank as the centerpiece of your reception. It’s at the Downtown Aquarium, which also features hand-painted ceilings and sumptuous surroundings.

Style Alert: Birdcage Veils

Photo: Larry Fagala
Photo: Larry Fagala

Soft, sensual, romantic. Today’s most coveted bridal hairstyles are leaning toward a more natural look, with accents of pearl, crystal, flowers or feathers for added elegance. Some of the most flattering styles include half-up-half-down, the loose French braid, the over-the-shoulder side ponytail and flowing waves lifted gently from the face with jeweled barrettes. Of course natural doesn’t mean unkempt. You’ll want your bridal hairstylist to assure your soft ‘do stays done through the day and night by applying the right flexible-hold product and securing hair accessories well.

For those of you with shorter locks, or a passion for vintage glamour, you’ll be pleased to know that ANOTHER hot trend taking hold of brides’ heads across the country is the retro-chic birdcage veil.

The birdcage veil is a short, circular veil that is typically attached to the hair with a comb or with pins. Most commonly, a birdcage veil is worn with a blusher—a section of veil that usually covers the bride’s face almost to her chin during the processional, and is pulled back to reveal the bride’s face for the ceremony.

Birdcage veils are typically made from Russian or French netting, which has an open pattern that covers but does not really conceal the bride’s face. Often adorned with feathers or silk flowers, birdcage veils also can be accented with vintage brooches or other heirloom jewelry (something old, something borrowed, etc.).

These sweet, subtle veils evoke Old Hollywood glamour, but are perfectly suited to modern hairstyles from textured bobs to gamine cuts to low, blunt ponytails. They look lovely over nape-bound updos, too.

“Grey’s Anatomy” star Katherine Heigl wore one over beautifully back-swept bangs for her wedding to musician Josh Kelley. Drew Barrymore sported a snazzy one over darling finger-waves at the “Grey Gardens” premiere (O.K., technically not an actual wedding, but brides aplenty took notice!). Reese Witherspoon’s character beamed from behind one during the wedding scene in “Sweet Home Alabama.” And you can get ’caged, too, Houston bride. For ideas, check out birdcage veil specialist  Emma’s Bridal Boutique or click on our bridal gown & accessory vendor listings and start the search for your perfect veil.

Photo courtesy Emma’s Bridal Boutique
Photo courtesy Emma’s Bridal Boutique

Five Essential Tips for Including Kids in Your Wedding

Editorial.Fall-06.0058.Nhan
Photo: Nhan Nguyen Photography

If you’ve always envisioned your wedding as a strictly adult affair, this probably isn’t a blog post you need to bother with. BUT, if like many brides, you are considering including one, two or a bunch of children at your wedding, you’ll want to read on.

Whether or not to have children at your wedding is almost always a difficult decision fraught with potential offenses and possible (but certainly avoidable) catastrophes. If you happen to either have children in your family with whom you are very close, or have children of your own, then there’s a good chance you’ll want to include these little ones on your guest list.

Of course, it helps hugely if your wedding is scheduled to take place fairly early in the day (tantrums are much more likely to occur late, when children are kept up past regular bedtimes).

And, naturally, you’re more likely to be comfortable with kids at your wedding if you welcome the whimsical spontaneity that children often bring, and are OK with some things not going exactly as you had planned (perhaps your little nephew simply refuses to wear anything but his beloved green dinosaur T-shirt, or your best friend’s young daughter decides to belt out the ABC song during your ceremony!).

If you do decide to have wee ones at your wedding, here are five top tips for maximizing their (and your) enjoyment, and minimizing meltdowns.

1. Keep Them Occupied: Nothing breeds crankiness and chaos more than boredom. If you plan to have children at your wedding, make sure you have plenty for them to do. This may mean hiring a professional children’s entertainer to tell stories, paint faces, etc., or a childcare provider (or two) to take the kids on a “discovery stroll” or lead a scavenger hunt. If your venue has space, you may want to set up a separate “screening room” where you can play kids’ TV programs or movies on DVD.

2. Feed Them: Kids tend to be finicky eaters, and they tend to behave better when well fed. Keep their bellies full and their attention occupied by providing kid-friendly meal items served at low, easy-to-reach tables. Good choices include finger foods like chicken strips, mini burgers, cheese pizza, veggies and dip, and fresh fruit, along with juice boxes or milk boxes to drink. Try to avoid serving them sweet treats, which inevitably lead to sugar-fueled hyperactivity and the inevitable post-mania crash.

3. Give Them a Role: If possible, include invited children in your ceremony by giving them tasks. Sure, there’s usually only one ring-bearer or flower girl, but who says you can’t have three darling little girls holding tiny nosegays beside your bridesmaids, or two handsome boys handing out programs to entering guests?

4. Let Parents Prep in Peace: Try to provide childcare during the hours prior to your wedding to allow guests, especially members of your wedding party, to get themselves ready. This is especially feasible if you are getting married at a hotel or club where a room can be set aside for kids to eat, nap or play while parents get gussied up elsewhere on site.

5. Don’t Force the Issue: A wedding can be an intimidating environment for a small child. Don’t try to force a resistant child to leave his parents’ side, or to participate in activities if he doesn’t seem inclined. Most children need a little time to warm up to the situation and will naturally gravitate toward other kids who are having fun when he is comfortable and feels safe and ready.

Wedding Day Survival Kit

The happiest day of your life can also be one of the most stressful. For most Houston brides, wedding-day anxiety is not of the big-picture variety—Is he really the one? Am I ready for this?—but a result of minor glitches: a fussy bustle, chipped nail polish, a lost contact lens. One of the best ways to avoid these sorts of mishaps is by making sure you have a well-stocked wedding day survival kit at your side on your big day.
  

 

Harried bride wishing she had a survival kit  

A week or two before your wedding, print out your kit list and get everything on it; almost all of the items will be available at your local drugstore. Organize items by category, pack smaller items in labeled Ziploc bags for easier access and assemble your kit in a roomy tote bag with plenty of compartments (a diaper bag makes a great survival kit holder!).
 
Every wedding day survival kit should contain the following:
 
BEAUTY
All your wedding makeup (if your makeup is being done professionally, make sure you have all of the products the makeup artist is using, in order to do touchups prior to photos; refresh makeup before you cut the cake, as this is one of your biggest photo ops)

  • Hair spray
  • Nail polish
  • Nail glue
  • Bobby pins
  • Oil blotting papers
  • Q-tips
  • Tissues
  • Mirror

 
CLOTHING

  • Safety pins
  • Sewing kit
  • Clear nail polish
  • Stain remover (brides and wedding pros swear by white chalk or Clorox wipes to erase stains on white wedding gowns)
  • Masking tape (perfect for quickly mending dropped hems)
  • Extra stockings

 
PHARMACY

  • Non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Tums or other antacid tablets
  • Any medication you might need
  • Extra contact lenses and lens solution
  • Feminine protection
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Breath mints
  • Band-Aid Blister Block

 
EVERYTHING ELSE

  • Pen and paper
  • Batteries for cameras
  • Vendor contact list (ask your coordinator to provide one—include taxi companies)
  • Cell phone (to phone taxis, track down a missing vendor or a temporarily misplaced coordinator)
  • Copy of your vows
  • Wedding license
  • Rings

 
Make sure your survival kit comes with you to your ceremony site AND your reception site (you may want to entrust your planner or maid of honor with this responsibility). And, speaking of your maid(s), you may want to pack a few extra…well, just about everything, to make sure your wedding party is as prepped, primped and in perfect wedding day form as you are.

 

 

Wedding Shoes that Wow

Think the selection of your wedding gown is just about the toughest choice you’ve ever had to make? You obviously haven’t gone wedding shoe shopping yet, Houston bride. Peep-toe or slingback? Flower or bow? High heel or ballet flat? The options are endless.

To settle on the perfect pair, consider your dress style. In general, narrower silhouettes are best paired with a show-off shoe, since it’s more likely to be on view. Ditto shorter dress styles, which look lovely with satin peep-toes, strappy sandals, sparkly wedges or even elegant ballet flats. Ballgown styles go well with platforms, slingbacks and pretty pumps.

While your shoes need not match your dress—champagne shoes are fine with a white gown; satin shoes go well with a tulle skirt—if you’re partial to embellishments, try to couple like with like (don’t mix heavily bejeweled footwear with a seed-pearl-encrusted gown, for instance).

A few more words of advice: Make sure you bring your wedding shoes (or a different pair of the same heel height) to all your gown fittings, to ensure your hem is the proper length. Also, you may want to buy two pairs of wedding shoes, particularly if you will be changing outfits between ceremony and reception. Even if you plan to party in your bridal finery, consider a comfier pair of reception shoes so you’re able to dance the night away painlessly.

And now, a few of our current favorite bridal shoe picks.

 

If your budget allows, you’ll want to have a look at these darlings from designers Christian Louboutin and Giuseppe Zanotti. Both are d’Orsay style, peep-toe, bow-accented and drop-dead gorgeous, but somehow they couldn’t be less alike. We love them both!

wih-blogpost-8-shoes-louboutin

Christian Louboutin Carnaval Nodo Satin d’Orsay Pumps


wih-blogpost-8-shoes-zanotti

Giuseppe Zanotti 80429 Wedding Shoe

Looking for something a little unconventional? Check out the Body Talk from Poetic License—a sweet satin T-strap with an adorable frill detail and sturdy, dance-friendly 3 ½ -inch heel.

wih-blogpost-8-shoes-body-talk1

Poetic License Body Talk

A pretty wedge combines (relative) comfort with modern style. We love the exceptionally affordable Shanika Wedge from Touch Ups with its rhinestone-accented buckle closures and dyeable satin upper, and the T-strap Nina Gamma evening sandal, with a cool Lucite heel and just a touch of bling.

wih-blogpost-8-shoes-shanika1

Shanika Wedge

wih-blogpost-8-shoes-nina-gamma

Nina Gamma Wedge

No matter what shoes you take a shine to, they’ll get an extra bit of wedding sparkle from Wedding Things’ Bridal Bling shoe-sole initials—perfect for trying out your new last name!

wih-blogpost-8-shoes-bridal-bling