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Buy I Do! Tix and WIN: Hotel Galvez & Spa Luxury Getaway

Photos: Hotel Galvez

It’s been the crown jewel of Galveston for more than a century, and today, the magnificent Hotel Galvez & Spa sparkles more brightly than ever. Maybe that’s why Texas brides book early to make sure they secure the Galvez for the destination wedding of their dreams, and a chance to say their sacred vows on the hotel’s historic Centennial Green, overlooking the shimmering blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Perfection.

Whatever you envision for your perfect wedding, we have the inspiration, ideas and expertise to make your wedding dreams come true–and we’re gathering them in one place, for one evening only, Thursday, Feb. 12, in downtown Houston. That’s when we unveil The I Do! Bridal Soiree, Houston’s one-of-a-kind luxury bridal experience. Top vendors and experts, stunning floral and design displays, 2015 bridal couture, gourmet food and cocktails from renowned Jackson and Company, live entertainment and $$$ swag bags for each and every bride. It’s not just a bridal show, it’s a spectacular cocktail party, created to indulge you, your friends…and yes, your groom, too (did we mention the exclusive Groom’s Lounge, with fine whiskey, prime steak and more?).

Purchase your all-inclusive I Do! Bridal Soiree tickets THIS WEEKEND and you are automatically entered to win an incredible Hotel Galvez & Spa romance + spa “Spring Fling” getaway, giveaway, including one weekend night luxury accommodations for two at the magnificent “Queen of the Gulf” plus a $200 spa credit you can use however you’d like (bridal-prep facial treatment? couple’s massage? a little bit of both?). Our winner will be announced live at the I Do! Bridal Soiree. Get your tickets now. And get ready for WOW!

JW Marriott Getaway + Spa Giveaway: Buy I Do! Tix & Win

JWM_spa
It’s been a long time coming…but honey, it is worth the wait. The brand-new JW Marriott Houston Downtown opens its doors this week, and what you’ll find inside is, well, in word…GORGEOUS. See it for yourself on Thursday, Oct. 9, when we bring you the legendary I Do! Bridal Soiree, unveiling 2015 wedding trends LIVE at downtown Houston’s hottest new property–and most alluring new wedding venue. Stunning tablescapes, breathtaking floral displays, A-list wedding experts, fresh-off-the-runway couture bridal gowns, gourmet food, sparkling cocktails, live entertainment and VIP treatment from arrival to departure…along with $$$ swag bags for each and every bride in attendance. Oh–and lest we forget, buy your tickets by 11:59 pm this Friday, Sept. 19, and you are automatically entered to win a lavish weekend-night JW Marriott Houston Downtown getaway, complete with gourmet breakfast in bed AND a divine couple’s massage at the hotel’s extraordinary Spa by JW. All your wedding planning needs and desires, all in one ultra-relaxing VIP cocktail party, plus a chance to win the romantic escape of a lifetime. Buy your tickets now, and get ready for WOW!

Q&A: Katie Frederick of Ever After Honeymoons on The Big Trip!

Q&A: Katie Frederick of Ever After Honeymoons on The Big Trip! ~ Courtesy Petit St Vincent Resort ~ Weddings In Houston Magazine  Q&A: Katie Frederick of Ever After Honeymoons on The Big Trip! ~ Courtesy Castiglion Del Bosco in Tuscany ~ Weddings In Houston Magazine Q&A: Katie Frederick of Ever After Honeymoons on The Big Trip! ~ Courtesy Katie Frederick via Connie Chung ~ Courtesy Hotel Le Toiny St Barths ~ Weddings In Houston Magazine
Photos (From Top to Bottom, Left to Right): Courtesy Petit St Vincent Resort ~ Courtesy Castiglion Del Bosco in Tuscany ~ Courtesy Katie Frederick via Connie Chung Courtesy Four Seasons Bora Bora ~ Courtesy Portrait Suites Rome ~ Courtesy Katie Frederick via Connie Chung ~ Courtesy Hotel Le Toiny St Barths

Honeymoons are to regular vacations what wedding receptions are to Saturday-night dinner parties. You wouldn’t leave the planning of your lavish 300-guest nuptial bash to your everyday dinner-party coordinator (that’d be you), would you? Likewise, it’s smart to put the planning of your once-in-a-lifetime trip into the hands of a honeymoon expert, rather than a regular ol’ travel agent—or, heaven forbid—booking online, sight unseen. Eek! Katie Frederick eats, breathes and lives honeymoon planning, every single day of her well-traveled life. Her boutique travel planning firm, Ever After Honeymoons , is sought out by well-heeled brides across the nation for its deep knowledge of divine honeymoon destinations and hidden gems, and its ability to deliver luxury and no-detail-too-small service from departure to return, and then some. We tapped into Katie’s killer honeymoon instincts, and got her to share her top picks in honeymoon locales and must-have travel goodies. Here you go, Houston brides…and happy travels!

Houston Wedding Blog: Where in the world should we GO?

Katie Frederick: There really are so many incredible places to visit! I encourage couples to talk about what their perfect day on their honeymoon would be.  What would you like to see and do? What are your favorite things to do together?  Then I can recommend the best destinations that offer what you are looking for.

Also make sure to check the weather in the destinations you are interested in. Then spend some time really talking about what each of you want for your honeymoon. A lot of brides will say, “I wants a beach honeymoon but he will be bored.” A good compromise is to spend the first half of your honeymoon on the beach and then go to a city.

If you really can’t decide between two destinations, you can visit one for your honeymoon and then save the other destination for an upcoming anniversary trip. Gives you something to look forward to!

HWB: When do we need to book?

KF: I recommend couples book their flights and hotels around six months ahead of time. At this point a lot of hotels have early booking discounts, flights are priced well, and it gives you time to consider your options. If you wait until the last minute, you will most likely have a lot of last-minute wedding things to get done, and the hotels and flights you want could be sold out. I always recommend waiting to book tours, activities and excursions until you are on your honeymoon.

Another tip: Make sure to book all travel with your names exactly as they appear on your passports.  Don’t book your travel with your married last name unless you are changing your name prior to traveling.

HWB: What should we pack?

KF: Pack light, and pack things you can mix and match with each other. Think ahead of time about what you plan to do, but don’t pack for every possible situation. Make sure to buy mini bottles of beauty products (www.3floz.com has a great selection!). I love light tunics and swim cover-ups, and they take up very little space. Be sure to leave a little room in your bag in case you want to buy a few things during your honeymoon.

HWB: Any cool or cute-as-heck honeymoon travel goodies we absolutely MUST know about?

Here are some of my favorites!

Q&A: Katie Frederick of Ever After Honeymoons on The Big Trip! ~  Anthropologie ~ Llewellyn Turquoise Jeweled Caftan from Calypso St. Barth ~ Weddings In Houston Magazine Q&A: Katie Frederick of Ever After Honeymoons on The Big Trip! ~  Travel Books from Luxe City Guides ~ “Brendle” Sandal from ALDO ~ Python Passport Cover from Mr Hanz ~ Weddings In Houston Magazine
Photos (From Top to Bottom, Left to Right): Tied-Front Dress from Anthropologie ~ Llewellyn Turquoise Jeweled Caftan from Calypso St. Barth ~ Travel Books from Luxe City Guides ~ “Brendle” Sandal from ALDO ~ Python Passport Cover from Mr Hanz

HWB: Fabulous! Now we’re booked, packed and ready for romance. Any parting advice before we take off?

Don’t plan too much ahead of time. Usually the time before a wedding is really hectic and scheduled. Your honeymoon is the time to sleep in, decide what you feel like doing that day, and just enjoy each other’s company.

Follow Katie’s happy travels, and start planning your own, on Twitter @EA_Honeymoons and Facebook.com/everafterhoneymoons!

Honeymoon Idea: A European Tour That Lets You Sleep In!

The Champ de Mars & The Eiffel Tower

So you’re thinking about Europe for your honeymoon, but are wondering, “Should we go it alone? Isn’t it better to do a tour? But what about all those early-morning sightseeing departures? We want to sleep in, lounge around in bed with croissants and café au lait, canoodle a little—this is our honeymoon, after all!”
The Colloseum

We feel you. And so does Richard Price. “Who’s that,” you ask? Why, he’s the founder of Executive Tours International, and the mind behind Crack of Noon Tours, which give travelers an opportunity to enjoy BOTH leisurely mornings AND amazing tours of France and/or Italy, with a focus on fine food and wine.

The Town of Gordes

The Crack of Noon France tour, Sept. 22-Oct. 3, includes stops in Paris, Aix-en-Provence and the legendary French Riviera, with plenty of lavish meals (wine is included in the tour price!), romantic walks and classic photo ops.  The Crack of Noon Italy tour, Oct. 6-Oct. 18, visits Rome, Florence, Venice and more, and includes extraordinary dinners, outdoor picnics, stops at local wine shops and a visit to a Modena maker of prized balsamic vinegar. While breakfast is included in both tours, scheduled activities don’t begin before “the civilized hour of noon,” and tend to concentrate enjoyment in the afternoon, evening and night.

Venice gondolas

Here’s an idea: Link both tours, or select one as part of a honeymoon that perhaps includes a longer stay in Paris (the start point of the France tour) or in Venice (the end point of the Italy tour). Either way, you’ll get to indulge in the best of Western Europe–when you’re good and ready, that is.

Registration deadline for both tours is June 30, so if you’re into it, get on it now!