One of your first adventures as newlyweds will be your honeymoon. This will be your opportunity to celebrate your marriage away from others, create unforgettable memories, and build intimacy with your new spouse. Traditionally, couples have opted to vacation in popular European cities like Paris, or luxurious beach resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico or Hawaii for their post-wedding vacations. But if you’re seeking an out-of-the-box honeymoon, these six unique honeymoon destinations will leave you with memories for a lifetime. Click here to read the rest of this post »
Apartment, townhouse, condo, cottage, or manse—no matter its size or scope, the place you’ll live together as a married couple is, above all else, a home. Keep this in mind when you register for your wedding, by selecting items you’ll love, for all the spaces you’ll occupy in the home you share. You can start with these top essentials for each happy place!
For many couples, this space is the focus of the gift registry— and with good reason…actually lots of reasons. First off, the kitchen is where couples, and often their friends, family and guests, spend a whole bunch of time, especially in those first months and years of entertaining as a married couple. Sure, there’s the dining room and living room, but when there’s a party, and there’s cooking going on, everyone tends to gather in the kitchen. So it’s nice to have a well-stocked, good-looking one. Plus, there are just so many kitchen items to choose from, whether you’re a gourmet chef, an avid baker, or an “I-can-barely-boil-an-egg” amateur with a willingness to learn.
- High-quality pots and pans
- Dutch oven
- Fine kitchen knives
- Stand mixer
- Baking pans
- Measuring tools
- Pastry mat
- Food processor
- Toaster oven
- Coffee- or espresso- maker
The most intimate spaces in the newlywed home often are the most overlooked on to-be-wed registries. Don’t stumble into this common registry pitfall! While you may need to replace textile items more frequently than, say, cast-iron cookware or fine bone china, you can still register for your bedroom and bathroom with an eye toward luxury and durability. Instead of gadgets and trendy pieces, focus your registry scanner on high-quality bedroom and bathroom staples (with, perhaps, a techie treat just for fun!), and make private time— each individually, or together—your favorite time of the day.
- High-quality sheet set
- Designer duvet cover
- Down comforter
- Luxury pillows
- Decorative frames
- Matching end tables or ottoman
- Wall art
- Plush cotton towels
- Fluffy bath mat
- Soap or lotion dispenser
- Bluetooth shower speaker
LAWN & GARDEN
Whether you’ve got acres of land, a small but well-tended garden, or simply a sweet town home patio, you’re likely to spend Houston’s fine-weather months (brief as they may be) enjoying the fresh air, and entertaining friends outdoors. Don’t forget to make al-fresco elements a part of your registry list! Get your guy on board, and turn your attention to grilling, chilling and savoring the sunshine, with gifts designed for outdoor fun.
- Tiki torches
- Outdoor seating
- Decorative pillows
- Pool or hot tub towels
- Fire pit
- Pet toys
- Lawn games
- Big Green Egg grill
- Yeti cooler
- Grill tools / apron
- Gardening tools
- Outdoor lighting
- Leaf blower
Whether they’re connected in an open-floor-plan layout, or separate from one another, these two spaces generally constitute the heart of your home—the place where you relax, unwind, receive guests, entertain, eat, drink and celebrate. How you design and furnish your home’s living and dining spaces will depend on your taste and style preferences: Do you want to sink back and put your feet up without worrying about delicate doo-dads? Do you love the look of a formal dinner table, laid out with perfect place settings and flickering tapers all aglow? Do you crave a cool lounge space where people can flow from table to sofa to bar, nibbling and sipping while the hum of conversation never stops? Think about the atmosphere you want to create, then dress it up with these living and dining-room essentials, which make down-time a good time, no matter your personal style.
- Wireless speaker
- Digital streaming system
- Throw blankets
- Vases, decor or art
- Set of dishes
- Set of flatware
- Set of glassware
- Table linens
- Barware (highball glasses, martini
- glasses & Champagne flutes)
- Ice bucket and tongs
In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re posting today on luuuuvvvvv…specifically, romantic love, and one awesome way to keep it hot and fun, long after the glow of new engagement fades and the excitement of the wedding transforms into warm memories. Follow these steps, and never lose that spark!
As gratifying and filled with deep daily love as marriage is, it can also give way to a kind of complacency, and a flagging of the sense of passion and discovery you and your spouse felt in your newlywed moments. Love Dance Houston, a unique dance studio and date-night destination, is all about fostering the spark of romance, through Click here to read the rest of this post »
Stephanie McKenzie, founder of The Relationship Firm, has been a life coach of sorts since she was a teenager. “The first person I provided life coaching to was my godmother. She was getting divorced, and I was absolutely livid. I was 13 and I kept reminding her of the tenets of marriage,” Mckenzie says.
Photo: Courtesy of The Relationship Firm
She won’t go as far as to say that divorce is never an option, but she will tell you, straight up, that it’s a very last option. As a certified life coach, who offers counseling for couples in any stage of the game, she believes that couples who are willing to fight for their marriage will always have a chance of making it. To her, that fight starts when a to-be-wed says, “Yes.”
We talked with Stephanie about what engaged couples can learn from marriage counseling, and the importance of talking about the things that might make you squirm, and we learned a bit about the coach herself. Take a look!
Houston Wedding Blog: How did you get into this industry?
Stephanie McKenzie: It was a really well planned accident. This was not what I was doing with my life, but I had done it my whole life unofficially. I was working in marketing and started working with a dating site. I thought it would be great to offer relationship education. So I went and got certified and started building a brand via social media.
HWB: What has shaped your opinion on marriage?
SM: My parents are divorced and have been since I was about two years old. Yet, I was never engaged in the conflict—they remained friends. As I got older and developed more of a spiritual understanding, I realized how beautiful it can be when two people come together and want to share their life. It requires an understanding of something greater than ourselves, no matter what you call it. Marriage really is a divine union and can be amazing if you do it right.
Photo: Civic Photos
HWB: What are the most common problems—or potential problems—you see when you work with engaged couples?
SM: I see them being very idealistic about what marriage is, thinking that they have arrived and achieved, once they say, “I do.” The wedding is just one day. It is supposed to be a celebration, but couples shouldn’t let it get bigger than the marriage, to the point where they are spending plenty of cash, but are bankrupting their marriage with the stress and the tension. Anyone can get married, but I am talking about staying married.
A lot of the time couples just haven’t talked about anything, or they haven’t talked things through to the point of resolution. And I don’t just mean talking about having kids or where they are going to live, but also money, sex, and deal-breakers, which we call “no-no’s.”
HWB: What are your no-no’s?
SM: No-no’s are always determined by the couple, but if someone asked me for my deal-breakers, they would be physical and emotional abuse. I hate divorce, but sometimes when you can’t get what you need from a partner, and are being degraded and berated, something has to change. I would also add consistent disrespect by thought, word or deed. At some point everyone does something that is disrespectful, but maybe they didn’t think it through. After you tell someone what you expect and come to a resolution, and they continue to show these behaviors, then that’s a huge problem.
HWB: What advice do you have for couples for not letting the wedding get bigger than the marriage?
SM: Elope… I’m kidding. I recommend that they craft a ritual to stay grounded. Make every Thursday night massage night, or every Saturday morning go on a walk or a run, and don’t talk about the wedding.
Also, take away the expectation of perfection. It should be a beautiful day, and not a stressful day where mistakes are not welcome. You are both fallible, and if you are going to have a life together, mistakes are going to happen.
Photo: Serendipty Photography
HWB: What are some of the biggest points of contention you recommend couples talk through before their wedding?
SM: Learning how to handle conflict in a healthy way is huge. People often have the mistaken notion that when there’s conflict, it is terminal. We can grow to love and have a greater understanding for our spouse if we handle conflict correctly. Not dealing with conflict can be like dripping water on a rock. It just keeps dripping until it erodes the rock. You might call it the Grand Canyon.
Also, for many couples, sex comes as an assumption, but it is something you should discuss. It is very easy once you’re married for life to take over. Your friendship and your physical intimacy with your spouse are so important. Your union with your spouse should be your priority; don’t let your marriage be a casualty of your life.
HWB: OK, so we’ve talked about sex and conflict? What about the other taboo: money?
SM: Regarding finances, my cardinal rule to couples is to figure out what works, and don’t tell anybody outside of your relationship. People have visceral reactions to how other people handle their money. At the end of the day if you want to have a joint account, great. If you want separate accounts, that’s great too. Just don’t tell anybody. Everyone is going to have an opinion and it will make you doubt the decision you made with your spouse—the only other person who has skin in the game.
Photo: Adam Nyholt
HWB: What is the benefit about discussing all of this before the wedding?
SM: I always liken it to weight loss. You can lose 10 pounds or you can lose 100 pounds. What’s easier? If we are coming in and taking the bull by the horns from the beginning, it’s easier to be beholden to the values that brought the couple together, not the values that are breaking them.
I am working with a couple that I also worked with during their premarital coaching session, and the same issues are cropping up. I do feel that they will be more successful because at a certain point they knew that they had to call me, or another unbiased party who could help. It takes a humble person to say that. I feel like those couples who say, “We need help with this and want to be our best selves and our best love,”—those are the couples that last.
Visit The Relationship Firm here, and contact Stephanie McKenzie to schedule your pre-marriage coaching session. You’ll be glad you did!
If you happened to pop over to Bering’s on Friday or Saturday, June 18-19, you no doubt caught a glimpse of the future of fine china and crystal. For two gleaming, glittering, gorgeous days, Houston’s emporium of elegance hosted Lord Wedgwood, of the famed British china dynasty, accompanied by Waterford Wedgwood international spokesperson and arbiter of entertaining excellence Jorge Perez. Big thanks to Bering’s for pairing with Rolls-Royce to bring this terrific twosome to Houston!
For those of you who weren’t able to attend, we snagged an exclusive chat with Perez and Lord Wedgwood, who dished on serving platters, teapots and such, and told us why today’s tabletop registry is all about breaking free of the “china prison” (Perez’s cute term for grandma’s hands-off china hutch). Here’s what we learned:
Lord Wedgwood: Registering for your wedding is not just saying something looks pretty. Yes, it looks pretty, but you should also be able to say, “Wow, we can use it for this and this and this.” Wedgwood has been at this game for 250-plus years, and the reason we’re still in business is based on the legacy of a number of things. One of them is quality. And quality absolutely illustrates that this is something that can be used multiple ways for time immemorial.
Jorge Perez: There is nothing like a Houston bride. These are world-class brides. They’ve had great parenting, and this region of the country is one that still entertains with style. It’s in their blood. We also know that with brides today, they have so much going on in their lives. Registering is a point in time when a bride stops and takes time to think about the future. We may not be the sexy part of wedding planning, like the cake or the venue. But we are about life after the wedding. We’re here to inspire a bride to think about why she might need a teacup. It’s not just for tea. A tea cup can be used for tapas, spicy sauces, holding flowers or serving soup in. We’re here to give brides permission to use these things in many different ways, so you can use that china that your parents or grandparents left in the hutch too long. Get it out of that “china prison!”
Lord Wedgwood: Entertaining is all about creating atmosphere and ambiance. In so many instances, that is so critical to the whole experience. Even the food can be relatively mediocre, as long as you’ve created the right ambiance with lighting, flowers and the right kind of accessories. It just requires a little bit of thought. And if you have put that thought into your registry, then you’re able to draw from the things that are there.
Jorge Perez: And that ambiance we’re talking about really begins at curbside. That’s where your guests should start feeling this incredible evening coming on. And that table, make sure it’s real for you. Don’t set your table for a photo shoot, set it for the purpose of evening. And remember, there are no rules. We just want you to enjoy yourself. Do, though, try to keep the centerpieces low, and the candles and flowers fragrance-free. Also, one of the things we love to advise at Waterford Wedgwood is always do something unexpected. Guests might not remember the meal, but they will remember the experience. So turn that Waterford glass upside down and use it for a votive. Pour the soup out of a coffeepot into a cup and saucer. Your guests will remember that forever. It’s really all about doing simple things in a fabulous way.
Jorge Perez will return to the Houston Wedding Blog to offer his top registry tips in just a few weeks. Trust us, you won’t want to make your list till you check this post…twice. We’ll announce it on Facebook and Twitter when we post, so stay tuned!
For a full gallery of event photos, visit Bering’s bridal blog