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The Big To Do: Amy Atlas @ Williams-Sonoma 6/22 + GIVEAWAY!

The Big To Do with Amy Atlas

Photos: Courtesy Amy Atlas ~ Johnny Miller Photography

Have you read “The Sweetest Thing,” our absolutely delicious dish session with the amazing Amy Atlas? If not, you really oughtta, cookie–it’s chock full of sweet ideas for doing an unforgettable dessert table at your wedding. Here’s another thing we highly recommend you do: Take an early lunch this Friday, and GO SEE AMY ATLAS LIVE AND IN PERSON! The doyenne of dessert displays will be on hand at Williams-Sonoma Highland Village at 11 a.m. signing copies of her fabulous new book, “Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It” (Hyperion, 2012)…an exceptional bridesmaid, MOB or MOG gift for the baker or hostess-with-the-mostest in your life. Better yet, grab your mom or his or your BFF, and bring her with you to Williams-Sonoma, then hit your favorite Highland Village dining spot to ogle your new books over lunch.

We love Amy Atlas AND her awesome new book so much, we’re gonna sweeten the deal with an equally yummy BOOK GIVEAWAY! Two of y’all will each win a copy of “Sweet Designs,” just for 1.) *Liking* us on Facebook, and 2.) Emailing us with your name, fiancé’s name, wedding date (real or imagined) and wedding venue. Email must be received by midnight TOMORROW, TUES. JUNE 19. Winners will be notified Wednesday morning, and will find their books waiting for them at Williams-Sonoma on Friday, waiting to be signed by the goddess of goodies herself. How sweet is THAT?

The Big To Do: Texas-Style Entertaining with The Dining Diva, Wed. 6-13

Houston Wedding Blog ~ Texas-Style Entertaining with The Dining Diva Houston Wedding Blog ~ Texas-Style Entertaining with The Dining Diva

Trying to figure out just what you’re going to do with all those newfangled kitchen gadgets and super-chic tabletop goodies you’re sure to get gifted from your wedding registry? Here’s an idea: Learn how to whip up and serve a scrumptious Texas-style gourmet dinner! This Wednesday, famed “Dining Diva” and cookbook author Molly Fowler shows you how, at a sure-to-be-delicious cooking class, 6:30 p.m. at Central Market. Menu items include (cue the drooling) Shrimp Acapulco and Smoked Grilled Ribeye with Sauteed Mushrooms. Tasting is strongly encouraged. Couples are welcome. Space is limited, so reserve yours now. Mmm… date night is served!

Credits (Photos From Top to Bottom, Left to Right): The Dining Diva (2 images) ~ Central Market

Sweet Tooth: Little White Wedding Bites

Vintage Dessert Displays

We know a gal who swears that as a toddler she went through a phase where she’d only eat white food. Cottage cheese, rice, white bread. That sort of thing. Now that she’s all grown up, our formerly finicky friend has expanded her culinary tastes exponentially. Thank goodness, too. Because white food is blah food.

Except when it’s dessert. Wedding dessert, in particular. Picture a post-meal sweets spread, filled with exquisite goodies in different wedding-white shades from snow to cream, beckoning guests to dig in. Pretty, right? Especially when displayed on lovely, vintage-inspired tiered dessert trays and cake plates like these. Have your cake…and eat lots of other yummy desserts, too, we say!

Vintage Cake Stands

Photos: (Top, clockwise) Beau-CoupDiary of a Mad HausfrauSweetly Scrumptious, Amy Atlas Events; (Bottom, clockwise) Preston Bailey, Kaboodle, Re-Found Objects, Burlap and Blue


We’ve Got A Craving For Wedding Cookies!

Specialty sweets tables are a big deal for weddings right now. Color-coordinated candy extravaganzas, vintage candy-store displays, gourmet chocolate spreads—sweets are not just delish, they invoke childhood memories and symbolize a sweet union.

Candy not your bag? Here’s an alternative: cookies! They’re small, they’re simple, they’re darling to look at and comforting to eat. Really, who can say no to a cookie? Especially when it’s your grandmother’s chocolate-chip-pecan recipe, or crisp, buttery shortbread, or colorful dipped fortune cookies bearing messages of love, or sugar-dusted Mexican wedding cookies lookin’ like perfect little snowballs of yummy. We like cookies stacked on tiered stands or passed with shots of ice-cold milk. Heck, we like cookies pretty much any way, any time.

Guest Blogger Radhika Day, Publisher of Weddings in Houston Magazine, Recaps the Houston Wish Upon a Wedding Launch

All Photos: Monkey Tree Photography

Thursday, June 30, the Houston chapter of Wish Upon a Wedding had its official launch. I am one of the board members of this fabulous organization, and so proud to be involved.

If you’re not familiar with it, Wish Upon a Wedding is the nation’s very first nonprofit charitable organization set up to produce weddings, at destinations across the United States, for couples facing a life-threatening illness. Its unique mission makes Wish Upon a Wedding the world’s first nonprofit wedding-wish-granting organization. It’s also quickly becoming the wedding industry’s charity of choice.

Attended by more than 150 Houston wedding industry professionals and brides, the launch reception, generously underwritten by the Westin Galleria and overseen by catering director Adam Rineer took place in the hotel’s Monarch Ballroom, with its beautiful views of the city. The talented Rob Smith and staff of Events in Bloom decorated the space stunningly with stylish lounge furniture. Guests enjoyed the impressive buffet and desserts prepared by the Westin chefs, along with sinfully delicious miniature wedding-cake truffles from Cakes by Gina. Both,  I personally and everyone on the board of Wish Upon A Wedding are so grateful to the wonderful Houston wedding professionals who donated their time and services to make the evening a success.

Houston chapter president Heather Hamilton-Sims of Simply Jubilee Events shared the vision and objective of Wish Upon a Wedding, and the accompanying video clips left not a dry eye in the room.

By the end of the evening attendees could not wait to volunteer their services and time as wish grantors for this most worthy cause, which provides weddings for couples in need regardless of sexual orientation. Houston brides, here is an opportunity to share your good fortune with someone a lot less fortunate who wants nothing more than to be married….just like you. As President Hamilton-Sims put it, most of us are planning weddings and events one, or maybe two or three years from now, but for these couples facing a life-threatening illness that time line does not exist.

So how can you help?

Watch this short video clip to see just what Wish Upon a Wedding has done and visit Wish Upon a Wedding. To donate your services, please sign on as a Wish Grantor. Blog about it. Talk about it. Become a Facebook fan and follow Wish Upon a Wedding on Twitter. In lieu of favors at your wedding, please consider making a donation to Wish Upon a Wedding and spread the joy. 
But most of all, just GIVE.

WUW:: Rehanna + Christian from bliss productions on Vimeo.

Houston Wedding Baker Makes Good, and Great Cakes, Too!

Boy, does Janice Jucker have an amazing attitude. The president of Houston’s venerable Three Brothers Bakery and 2009 winner of the NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) Houston Woman Business Owner of the Year award says that had she not battled incredible adversity—being battered by hurricanes AND diagnosed with breast cancer—she might not have won the award, “So everything happens for a reason!”

In addition to her heroic work saving Three Brothers after the onslaught of Ike, NAWBO honored Jucker for leading a group of vendors to provide IT services to Reliant Park, where Katrina evacuees were being housed. Those services allowed evacuees to connect with family, friends and loved ones during a time of unprecedented crisis.

So isn’t it just fitting that Jucker’s 60-year-old family bakery creates certified Kosher, certified delicious desserts and other sweet indulgences for many of life’s most important family reunions? And isn’t it lucky for us that she specializes in gorgeous, too-divine-to-decline-a-slice wedding cakes??

Speaking of cakes, Jucker, who got her start at New York’s famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, has been tracking wedding cake trends, and she’s got the inside scoop, plus great suggestions for the cake-shopping bride.

Here’s what she says…

About flavors: “Flavors seem to be moving back to comfort flavors. The top flavors chosen by our brides are a white genoise with amaretto buttercream or caramel buttercream (caramel is dairy, but it can sit out because it is cooked already), and a yellow cake with a fudge filling and buttercream icing. When we do a fondant I always try to steer our brides toward a filling with buttercream, so they get the best of both worlds.”


About colors: “We’re seeing gold again, which I love, for I feel it is so very elegant.
Coral and deep purple (eggplant) are definitely colors to highlight at weddings. Black and white are also still quite prominent, and bling is always in.”

About decoration: “Toppers are moving out. Spirals of sugar flowers are gorgeous. Nothing is more beautiful than handmade roses. I’m also developing a new affinity for magnolias–they are big and bold. I love them. Technology has allowed us to be able to take a pattern and cut it with great precision to create great patterns on cakes. We can work with some of the most intricate patterns now.”

About groom’s cakes: “My husband loves grooms cakes because he gets to design something fun. He is a master builder and can create mechanical accents as well. Two years ago he designed an 8 ½-foot oil derrick that shot 3 ½ feet of fire and chocolate oil!”
Jucker, who is healthy, happy and looking forward to many more years of baking, says her favorite part of working with wedding couples is hearing their stories. “I like to ask the brides how they met their fiancé. I love looking at their dresses to gain inspiration. You really get to know them.” She sighs, “I just love weddings.”

We couldn’t agree more. Congratulations, Janice. You’re our hero!

Coming Up: April 9-11, 2010

Remember this mouthwatering post from a few weeks back on Houston foodie fave
Campbell’s Catering? Yummy, right? Well, sure, it’s fun to read about fabulous food—but it’s a whole lot more fun to EAT it. Take advantage of Campbell’s open house this Saturday, April 10 from noon to 2 p.m. and sample this in-demand Houston catering company’s hospitality and culinary know-how firsthand. We’ve tasted Courtney Campbell & crew’s divine specialties (Duck wontons? Shrimp cocktail shooters? Gourmet BBQ-filled potato boats? OMG. TDF.) and you will NOT want to miss this opportunity.

Campbell’s Catering
14775 Memorial Drive
Houston, TX 77079
Sat. April 10

For more info call 281.589.5555 or e-mail campbellscatering@sbcglobal.net

Moving on from food to fashion, we recommend the Angel Sanchez trunk show at
Maison de Mode, this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April. 9-11. Reps of the design house will be lavishing personalized attention on attending brides as they show off beautifully made gowns from the celebrated Venezuelan bridal designer. Expect plenty of lustrous silk, romantic tulle and delightful touches such as metallic thread, handkerchief hems and impeccable embroidery. Brides who purchase their gowns at this special event get a 15% discount…and the ability to say with pride that they’re getting married in Angel Sanchez. Très chic.

Maison de Mode
2431 Rice Blvd
Houston, TX 77005
Fri.-Sun. April 9-11

For additional details call 713.527.8285 or e-mail maisondemode@hotmail.com.

Angel Sanchez
Angel Sanchez
Angel Sanchez
Angel Sanchez

Flower-Powered Wedding Cakes

If you’re a thoroughly modern Houston bride, who, nevertheless, has a soft spot for flowers, take comfort—there are cakes that mix your dueling tastes. We’ve found plenty of them, and we’re serving up a few of our favorites here, for your inspiration.

What’s not to love about this lovely peony-theme, three-tier stacked cake? We are crazy about that dreamy watercolor effect, and the romantic topping of multi-hued pink blooms. Perfection!


Smooth stacked tiers, slick grosgrain ribbon, a stylized gumpaste flower and an oh-so-au-courant purple-and-green color scheme make this cake from Austin-based Must Eat Cake, a chic choice for a stylish spring or autumn bride.


Cake artist Simon Lee, turned out this stacked square cake, which has a crisp, formal feel that’s softened by accents of black-centered poppies. Picture a cake like this at a simple, elegant outdoor reception or in an intimate, black-tie ballroom setting—beautiful, no?


And speaking of white cakes, how about these fresh-as-springtime beauties from Chicago’s famed Cake Girls? We love how sisters Mary and Brenda Maher manage to make cakes that are both classic and cutting-edge. No wonder their clients have included Bono, Ashley Simpson and, none other than renowned wedding guru, Colin Cowie. Wowie!


If any of these cakes catch your fancy, feel free to forward a link to your Houston cake-maker. There’s nothing a cake pro craves more than a bride who comes with ideas!

Unique Wedding Reception Menu Ideas from Campbell’s Catering

There’s nothing wrong with a nicely presented plate of meat and potatoes—for a fancy dinner out with your fiancé, that is. When it comes to your wedding reception, however, wouldn’t you like to serve up something with a little more pizzazz? Something that will get guests talking, moving, perhaps even salivating in anticipation a little? Something that says, “This here is a celebration, folks. Let’s have some fun!”

Courtney Campbell of Campbell’s Catering sure thinks so. And she and her culinary crew are catering to wedding couples who share her passion for food that looks elegant and exciting, and delivers fabulous flavor and fun in equal measure.

Sound good to you, Houston bride? Here are a couple of Campbell’s specialties, which are, she notes, “elegant and unique without breaking the bank”—what a concept!

“We have encouraged many of our recent brides whose receptions are taking place at 8:30 p.m. or later to go with some very upscale and unique passed hors d’oeuvre, such as our duck wontons served with a spicy mango chutney, our Italian chicken lollipops, and our Spanish shrimp cocktail shooters garnished with guacamole and blue corn chips.” Uh, yum. “These are all very hearty and elegant at the same time.”

To add a dynamic and delicious interactive element to the festivities, Campbell suggests her signature Gourmet Potato Boat Bar, featuring dressed-up potato skins filled with fun “theme” goodies. Our faves?

The New Yorker, topped with sliced Italian sausage, and sautéed peppers and onions, and topped with fresh mozzarella.

The Califonia Fresh, loaded with fresh sprouts, homemade guacamole and shredded Monterey jack cheese.

The Mojo, topped with rum-sautéed shrimp and zingy Cuban mojo sauce.

The BBQ, filled with barbecued pulled pork and topped with barbecue sauce and sliced scallions.

Campbell says the Gourmet Potato Boat Bar, with 25 themes to choose from, is especially “great for weddings that have two different nationalities being combined,” and a nice icebreaker for rehearsal dinners where guests are reconnecting or meeting for the first time.

And now if you’ll excuse us, we have to go dab the drool from our chin.

Three Brothers Bakery: Where Wedding Cake Dreams Come True

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we totally understand if you’ve got just one dessert on your mind right now, Houston bride—all that chocolate you’ll be eating on February 14, of course!

But we don’t blame you if you’re fantasizing about gorgeous towering cakes and debating fondant and buttercream. After all, what Houston bride (or wedding guest, for that matter) doesn’t love a great wedding cake?

We haven’t met any.

We have, however, met quite a few Houston brides—and wedding guests—who can’t get enough of the wedding cakes and other goodies at Three Brothers Bakery.

We can see why: For five generations, this family-run bakery has been whipping up some of Houston’s finest baked goods for bar and bat mitzvahs, family and corporate events, and oh yes, weddings. Though Three Brothers suffered some pretty serious damage during Hurricane Ike, they’ve rebuilt and are better than ever, giving brides a touch of personal attention you won’t find at many other places. Give them a picture of your wedding dress, your china pattern, or even the ballroom where you’re getting married, and Three Brothers will design your cake to match. Check out some of the cakes in the slideshow below:

Tell Three Brothers all about your fiancé’s most serious obsessions—oil, Houston Rockets basketball, Vegas—and they’ll create a groom’s cake so over-the-top that you might not want to eat it.

But you should! Every cake at Three Brothers is made-from-scratch and, oh, are they tasty! And if you or your guests keep kosher or need a dairy cake, this is the place to go.

The cakes aren’t the only reason we love Three Brothers, though. We also love this hometown bakery’s charitable ways. After Hurricane Katrina, Three Brothers’ owner Janice Jucker worked to get telecommunications equipment donated so that evacuees could track down their friends and family. And Jucker—herself a breast cancer survivor—is a big supporter of the Susan G Komen Foundation’s Houston affiliate. The bakery even sells pink ribbon cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.

So when Jucker—who runs the bakery with her husband Robert and his Aunt Estelle—was named Woman Business Owner of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners in October, we weren’t the slightest bit surprised. But we were very happy to see someone who’s helped give so much to Houston brides get a little something in return. You go, girl!