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HWB Hearts: Texas Hill Country Wedding Goodies

It’s no secret how much we here at HWB love Hill Country weddings—like Jana & Buddy’s, Lauren & Zach’s, Juli & Kyle’s…and on and on. But did you know what a great resource Hill Country is for other wonderful wedding stuff, besides scenic venues?

Along with the allure of Austin, the area’s international influences and the recent boom in winemaking have made it a mecca for gourmands, gastronomes and folks who just plain crave true Texas flavor. Fortunately for us, this renowned region is right in our backyard. We highly recommend scouting Hill Country for welcome-basket goodies, dessert-table treats and take-home favors that will give your wedding guests a taste of Texas that is as sweet to look upon as it is delicious to devour. Our faves include Austin’s ridiculously adorablicious (yeah, we made it up) Tiny Pies and favor-sensation Gracious Bridal (they do edibles as well as non–with packaging to die for). ‘Course for down-home delish, nothing beats Fredericksburg’s Rustlin’ Robs–who, after all, can resist zippy Black-Eyed Pea Relish or perfect Pecan Pie Filling-in-a-Jar? Take to the hills, Houston bride!

Texas Hill Country Wedding Goodies ~ Houston Wedding Blog Texas Hill Country Wedding Goodies ~ Houston Wedding Blog Texas Hill Country Wedding Goodies ~ Houston Wedding Blog Texas Hill Country Wedding Goodies ~ Houston Wedding Blog Texas Hill Country Wedding Goodies ~ Houston Wedding Blog Texas Hill Country Wedding Goodies ~ Houston Wedding Blog

Photos: Gracious Bridal (top 5 images), Tiny Pies (next 4 images), Rustlin’ Robs (last 2 images)

Etsy Envy: Bridesmaid Gifts

They’re there for you every step of the way, offering opinions when asked (OK, sometimes not when asked), agreeing to wear whatever frothy frock you choose, helping you with wedding prep chores at your whim, and occasionally talking you off the ledge of wedding planning indecision. That’s just what it means to be a bridesmaid. So please, be an exemplary bride, and show those amazing girls just how much you appreciate their patience, good humor, and most of all, their love. Etsy artisans make gracious bridesmaid gifting easy and, yeah, a heck of a lot of fun. We’ve hand selected our current favorite bridesmaid gifts to help you say “thank you” in style!
Etsy Envy: Bridesmaid Gifts ~ Houston Wedding Blog
1. Shop Memento ~ 2. JuJu Baju ~ 3. Tyra Handmade Jewelry 2 ~ 4. Delicacy J ~ 5. Brilliant Bashes ~ 6. Ickady Bags ~ 7. EmenGee Designs ~ 8. Anista Designs

A Custom Illustration of Your Bridal Gown…Plus GIVEAWAY!

A Custom Illustration of Your Bridal Gown

Every now and then we come across someone, or something, really special in the bridal universe. And that’s just how we feel about Jennifer Hancock. The lifelong artist, illustrator and designer, who loved drawing princesses as a child, now makes brides feel like princesses, with her beautiful custom bridal illustrations.

Here’s how it works: You visit Hancock’s Etsy shop, The Illustrated Bride. You “ooh” and “ah” at the lovely bridal gown illustrations, thinking to yourself, “Wow, I would LOVE one of these!” You place your order—which at about $130 a pop is an amazing deal—and Jennifer e-mails you requesting photos of you in your bridal ensemble, either from your wedding day or from a bridal photo session.

She’ll ask you to make sure your photos provide “a clear view of design details such as seams, lace, and intricate beading,” along with accessories like jewelry, footwear and your veil. “The illustrations are completely customizable,” Jennifer explains. “I choose a pose based on the bride’s favorite part of her dress or accessory.” Oh—and while Jennifer’s wedding dress illustrations usually skip the facial features, in the tradition of fashion sketches, if you want more of a “portrait” look, she can add facial features at no extra cost. Turnaround is about two weeks from the time she receives your last photo to the time she ships your finished work. Shortly after that, you receive your beautiful, unique, original, keepsake 8X10 illustration, to display as you wish. Though, for her part, Jennifer says, “I enjoy the thought of an illustration hanging as a conversation piece, or in a child’s room, having been passed down through generations.” Can’t you just picture it?

Got a good friend who’s planning to wed, and access to a few of her bridal photos? Jennifer’s custom illustrations make really amazing gifts, too!

A Custom Illustration of Your Bridal Gown

OK, here comes the fun part: One lucky Houston bride will WIN a beautiful custom bridal gown illustration from The Illustrated Bride. To enter just e-mail us your name, fiancé’s name, wedding date and Houston-area wedding venue. Entries must be received by Friday, April 6. Winner will be notified by e-mail and announced on Facebook.

Good luck!

Houston Valentine’s Day Gifts, Goodies and Getaways

Houston Valentine’s Day Gifts, Goodies and Getaways

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: Wedding in Houston vendors are the best in the business. But besides weddings, know what else they’re really good at? VALENTINE’S DAY. Gorgeous flowers, couture confections, decadent spa treatments―our partners have got you covered. Here’s just a handful of the goodies they’ve got going to help make this Valentine’s Day the most deliciously romantic you’ve ever enjoyed.

Michael’s Cookie Jar, creator of the delightful cookie tower that had so many of you oohing and aahing at the I Do! show, has too many adorable cookie gifts to count. But our fave has got to be the Valentine Gift box, with 18 bite-sized cookies to say “I love you” in six yummy flavors including espresso shortbread, gingerbread and sugar cookie, plus a personal love note at no extra charge. Order 24 hours ahead for pickup, or have your sweets shipped to your sweetie.

Also a big hit at our January show, Nothing Bundt Cakes bundtelets and bundtinis (you may remember these babies from your I Do! swag bag) are cute as anything, and insanely delicious to boot. Flavors include red velvet, chocolate chocolate-chip and white-chocolate raspberry. Pick up a Nothing Bundt Cakes decorating kit and customize a Valentine’s Day cake your honey won’t be able to resist.

Get primped for your perfect Valentine’s venture with a little beauty boost from Evia Spa. Perhaps the Spa Manicure/Spa Pedicure/60-Minute Massage trio ($165), or the fabulous Shampoo/Blow Dry/Makeup Application/Shellac Manicure combo ($110)? Want to luxuriate right alongside the LOYL? All couples services booked for Friday, Feb. 10, Saturday, Feb. 11, or Tuesday, Feb. 14 come with complimentary cocktails, bubbly, beer or wine AND gourmet chocolate-covered strawberries.

Aw, heck, why not make a weekend of it? Lakeway Resort & Spa―you may recall it as the site of Lauren and Zach’s lovely nuptials―is offering the “Sleepless in Austin” Valentine’s package, which includes resort accommodations on Saturday, Feb. 11, chilled bubbly, a five-course dinner and, of course, every gal’s favorite Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks rom-com flick. Space is limited, book now!

’Course, if you want to drop a hint for your honey, you could always let him know that a gift of red roses is still your favorite token of love. For the perfect “bouquet” send him straight to Floriography, which offers gorgeous fresh long-stemmed roses nestled in a sleek white box, “Mad Men”-style, for a modern woman with vintage flair―namely, you. Oh―and you may want to remind him that if he orders by TOMORROW, Feb. 9, he’ll get 20% off, because while you love him, and he loves you, EVERYONE loves a deal. Thanks, Floriography! And happy Valentine’s Day, Houston brides.

Houston Valentine’s Day Gifts, Goodies and Getaways Houston Valentine’s Day Gifts, Goodies and Getaways
Photos (clockwise, left to right): Photo by Morris Malakoff courtesy of Michael’s Cookie Jar, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Lakeway Resort & Spa, Floriography, Evia Spa

Chic Tech Bridesmaid Gifts

Her iPod is practically a physical appendage. She can’t get enough of her Kindle Fire. She loves her iPhone almost as much as she loves you. Sound familiar? Rare is the bridesmaid who doesn’t adore her tech devices. So how about showing your maids how much you adore them with gifts that are both tech-friendly and totally chic? We love everything from chicBuds, but right now we’re wild about their new Fauvette “birdie” speakers, which’ll bring bling to BFF’s iPod, iPhone or other MP3 listening experience—along with four hours of quality speaker sound. Also new, and so freakin’ adorable we could scream: chicBuds ARTS patterned earbud cords—a first for the earbud market (and a fabulous bridesmaids’ gift, or part of a bachelorette-weekend essentials bag). For the many monogram-lovers among you (yeah, you know who you are), may we suggest Lipstick Shades’ preppie-chic monogram device cases and sleeves? Whether your bridesmaid is partial to her laptop, Blackberry, iPhone or Kindle, these guys have got a case, cover or sleeve she’ll love—even more because it’s personalized with her initials. And offered with your profound thanks. Aww…

Chic Tech Bridesmaid Gifts ~ Houston Wedding Blog
Photos: chicBuds (top 3 images), Lipstick Shades (bottom 2 images)