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The Bougainvilleas Real Wedding + Open House This Thursday

Rana and Navid’s proposal is probably one of the cutest we’ve heard yet. “Two weeks prior to Navid’s graduation, his sister texted me about planning a surprise party for him after the ceremony,” says Rana. Little did she know that she was the one in for a surprise. Rana got into planning mode and started to coordinate with Navid’s family and friends to let them know about the “surprise” party. Come graduation day, everything went according to her plan. “As soon as we walked in, we immediately started taking photos,” says Rana. She explains that she and Navid were the first to pose for photos in front a graduation “Congrats!” sign. Little did she know that while she and her honey stood in front of the sign, it was being switched out for a sign that said, “Will you marry me?” As Rana recounts, “Navid’s sister took the photo and walked over to make sure I approved of the it. As soon as I noticed the sign in the back of the picture, Navid got down on one knee. It was the greatest surprise ever,” adds Rana. If you think that sounds sweet, just wait ‘til you see the lovely photos from their fabulous Persian wedding celebration at The Bougainvilleas! We totally swooned over these photos by Aventography, and are sure you will, too. Here’s something else: You can see this gorgeous venue live and in person when The Bougainvilleas opens it doors to couples and their entourages on Thursday, Sept. 8 from 6-9 p.m. for a fabulous summer Open House!

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Photos: Aventography | Venue: The Bougainvilleas | Pronovias Bridal Gown & Sister-of-the-Bride Attire: Weddings by Debbie | Marquee Letters: House of Letters

Guest Post: Taylor Golden on Photo Sessions Before and Beyond the Big Day

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Photo: Taylor Golden Photography

Planning a wedding is a process that typically starts anywhere from three to 18 months before the big day. There’s a lot that goes into the main event itself, but there are plenty of other wedding-related elements that you should consider when thinking about your wedding photography. After all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion—don’t you owe it to yourselves to capture all of the magic and beauty surrounding it?

The Engagement Session

Your “wedding” photography typically starts with your engagement session. I advise my couples to complete their engagement session at least six months before the wedding, to give them time to use and enjoy the images to the fullest—for instance, as part of their save-the-date announcements.

The engagement session also is a great time to get to know your photographer better, and get used to their style of shooting so that the wedding day flows more smoothly, and you comfortable throughout the day.

You’ll typically print one or two large portraits from your wedding. Using engagement photos to balance out these wedding photos ensures that the photographic artwork you display in your home captures you and your spouse in a range of locations, poses and outfits.

And speaking of that range…when it comes your engagement shoot, I say the more diversity the better! Something I like to do for my couples is shoot their session in another city. It’s particularly great when we can incorporate a city that is meaningful to them personally, such as where they got engaged, where they love to vacation, etc.

The Bridal Session

The bridal session gives you a chance to get beautiful bridal portraits, regardless of how hectic, chaotic…or stormy…your wedding day may be. It is, in essence, a fall back to ensure that you get everything you want in photos of you, and possibly your groom, on your wedding day. There are two ways to do this session.

1. Before the wedding with the bride alone. This is typically more traditional and the purpose is to get a beautiful portrait of the bride to display at the reception. You’ll want to do this about three months before the wedding.

2. After the wedding, with both the bride and groom. This is my favorite option because it allows us to get creative and do something really unique. This can be done the day after the wedding or a year after the wedding—there is really no time restraint. However I recommend doing it no later than three months after, as life tends to get in the way. This session may also be done in another city to create diversity in your images. Say you always wanted pictures of you and your husband, horseback on a beach…this is your chance, and will result in beautiful imagery for your home, and allow you to wear the dress of your dreams for your wedding, after your wedding, when you don’t have to worry about getting it a little…roughed up.

Happy wedding wishes, Houston couples!

Multi-international-award-winning photographer Taylor Golden counts politicians, professional athletes and celebrities among her clientele. Newly returned to Houston after a long Midwest hiatus, Golden is HOT on the wedding scene. Find out more about Taylor Golden Photography & check out her gorgeous pix right here.

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Photo: Taylor Golden Photography

Pastel and Gold Wedding by Serendipity Photography

There’s nothing like the Red River Rivalry…or a true love story that comes from it. Anne and Jacob met during the TX-OU Weekend—a very important longtime tradition where the Texas Longhorns go up against rivals the Oklahoma Sooners in a football showdown at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Anne and her girlfriends were at Hotel ZaZa Dallas taking part in the typical rivalry weekend activities, which included trying to capture a photo with one of the live gold statues. Ah, and here comes Jacob…a chivalrous knight in shining armor offering to be their impromptu photographer. In that moment, Anne and Jacob each found the one. Let’s fast-forward and set the scene a few years later: Anne and Jacob are now living together. One exceptionally normal day at home, Anne is doing a little laundry…when she hears Jacob having a very interesting conversation on the phone with his father (Jacob had no clue Anne was home listening). So, doing what any girl would do in this situation…Anne comes around the corner to see what he’s up to and offers a simple, “Hi,” totally taking Jacob by surprise! Anne remembers, “He stopped dead in his tracks, looking guilty, quickly told his dad he would call him back and stuffed a box into his bag.” Oh, Jacob. However, Jacob was so excited to make Anne his wife that he just couldn’t wait any longer and popped the question right there. Anne was absolutely floored…and of course said yes! The two had an incredible Houston wedding celebration, which began with a delicious rehearsal dinner at Brennan’s, and commenced with a beautiful church ceremony followed by a reception at, of course, Hotel ZaZa! Anne and Jacob truly cherish Hotel ZaZa, and are in total agreement that the chic Museum District property is “practically our second home.” Their pastel and gold wedding was simply to die for. The celebration was made perfectly complete with a decadent and detailed four-tiered cake (and a Superman-theme groom’s cake!) by Who Made The Cake, and some seriously breathtaking floral designs and crystal decor by Plants N’ Petals (do you see these centerpieces right now?!). Anne wore a stunning Lazaro mermaid gown from Ivory Bridal Atelier down the aisle and, let’s face it, she looked gorgeous! Thank you to Serendipity Photography for capturing the night so perfectly. We wish this couple all the best and more!

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Photos: Serendipity Photography | Rehearsal Dinner: Brennan’s Houston | Reception: Hotel ZaZa | Cake: Who Made the Cake! | Flowers & Décor: Plants n’ Petals | Bridal Gown: Lazaro from Ivory Bridal Atelier | Videographer: 31 Films

Navy and Coral Wedding by Steve Lee Photography

Although Carrie and Christopher both grew up in Houston, they didn’t actually meet until college in San Antonio. But they totally knew—even as freshmen—that they were soulmates. June 26, 2014, was easily the best day of Christopher’s life…but June 25, not so much. Christopher had the ultimate proposal planned for the love of his life with a getaway weekend to Bachelor Gulch, Colorado. However, he had a few challenges to face along before then: airport delays, car rental delays, traffic delays in the mountains (that’s a lot of waiting, y’all!) Even horseback riding, Christopher’s last hope, was changed to a van ride…thanks to trailhead construction! On top of all of this, Christopher ended up in the hospital! Spoiler alert: He still proposes. What a hero, right? They got back to their hotel room that night and all Christopher could think about was the next day, June 26. The day was effortless—well, besides the effort of proposing! The two enjoyed hiking, private yoga, spa treatments and fine dining. On their way to the restaurant, Christopher asked Carrie to take a little detour…He led her down a quaint path around the hotel, which ended with a bridge leading to a vista covered with rose petals in the shape of a heart. Okay, swoon. Christopher recalls, “I dropped to one knee and popped the question, all while my photographer, Nate, hid in the bushes taking photos like a ninja paparazzi.” Perfect plan, Christopher. Perfect plan. Kat Creech Events put together a fantastic courtyard wedding for Carrie and Christopher! Every little detail was accounted for. After having s’mores on their Colorado proposal adventure, the couple had an inspired s’mores station on their dessert table at the reception to accompany their shimmering cake made by Who Made the Cake! As always, Steve Lee Photography provided some absolutely beautiful photos of the big day. Carrie and Christopher, we wish you both a lifetime of happiness.

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Photos: Steve Lee Photography | Wedding Planner: Kat Creech Events | Cake: Who Made the Cake! | Decor & Rentals: EB Inc. Event Rentals & Design | Lighting, Sound & Special Effects: GTX + DJU Productions | Bridal Gown: Rivini from Ivory Bridal Atelier | Rings: Zadok Jewelers

Blush & Cream Houston Wedding by J. Cogliandro Photography

This Houston wedding story is going to give you all the feels, so be prepared! Lindsey and Drew met in February of 2012 at the Philadelphia airport’s international check-in. They were on their way to a 10-day adventure in Israel with a group organization, and by the end of the trip they had each separately told their friends that they found their person. Lindsey had no clue Drew had said the same thing to his friends that she had, until the night of their rehearsal dinner, when Drew’s best man recalled in his speech, “Drew came home and said he’d met the girl he was going to marry.” Goosebumps. Drew absolutely insisted on proposing in a way that would mean the world to Lindsey. He had been working with Lindsey’s boss to get her to Philadelphia airport’s international check-in for a fake business trip…and he proposed right there where they’d first met many years ago. “The area was empty except for one older security staff member, who told us we had restored his faith in humanity,” the bride recounts. After spending the entire day in Philadelphia to celebrate as a newly engaged couple, Lindsey and Drew were returned home to a surprise celebration with their families! The pair then started to plan their Houston wedding. With 230 of their friends and loved ones in attendance, Lindsey and Drew said, “I do.” However, they took the traditional wedding series of events into their own hands. One of their favorite memories was their “first look” at Discovery Green, after which they stopped with their entire wedding party to have a pre-ceremony drink while taking pictures with J. Cogliandro Photography. (We seriously love this idea!) It’s safe to say that Lindsey and Drew have restored our faith in humanity, too. We couldn’t be happier for this sweet couple!

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Photos: J. Cogliandro Photography | Invitations & Stationery: Bering’s | Bridal Gown: Reem Acra “Eve” Gown from Ivory Bridal Atelier | Registry: Kuhl-Linscomb & Bering’s