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City Chic Tent Wedding by Miabella Photography

Cosmopolitan bride Ashley Thomas was the picture of sophistication at her City Centre wedding to pro ballplayer Sean Danielson. And planner Ashley Fuentes of Event Solutions made sure the event was, too. The pair chose City Centre for its all-in-one accessibility—ideal for a multi-day celebration where more than half of the 300 guests hailed from out of town. When wedding events weren’t taking place, guests could walk to restaurants, shops, movies and more. For the big event itself, the couple’s vendor team transformed The Plaza at City Centre with a seriously amazing tent. “As I walked out of the hotel and towards the tent in the plaza, onlookers and passersby erupted in cheer,” Ashley recounts. “It was truly unlike anything I have ever seen before.” At the couple’s high-energy celebration, set inside Norris Conference Center, celebrants helped themselves to drinks from an 8-foot-long ice bar and danced all night under cascades of crystals. An elegantly adult affair, the wedding wasn’t without its softer side. A kids’ reception in the ballroom next door had karaoke, movies, kids’ finger foods and a baby Capuchin monkey, all overseen by certified babysitters. And in lieu favors, the couple gave each guest an opportunity to select one of three charities to be the beneficiary of a generous donation. Glowing, glittering, thoughtful, unforgettable—Ashley and Sean’s wedding is a true beauty. Thanks to Miabella Photography for the very pretty pictures, and congratulations to the happy couple!

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Photos: Miabella Photography ~ Bride’s Dresses: Justin Alexander, Camille La Vie ~ Cakes: Who Made The Cake ~ Coordinator: Ashley Fuentes of Event Solutions ~ Decor & Rentals: H&H Tents and Events, Darryl & Co. ~ Flowers: CM Floral Designs ~ Ice Bar: Ice Designs ~ Ceremony Venue: The Plaza at City Centre ~ Reception Venue: Norris Conference Center

Stylish Montrose Engagement Shoot by Civic Photos

For their engagement session, Houston couple Myra Salinas and Blake Beck chose the University of St. Thomas in Houston’s hip Montrose neighborhood. And they chose Barett Delyon Henry of Civic Photos to shoot their timeless and evocative photos. Shoot locations included the Freed-Montrose library and the historic Link-Lee Mansion—along with normally nondescript sites like a university parking garage, which the to-be-weds transformed with their exceptional style and expressive affection for one another. Henry says he was struck by how fashionable the pair were—“Some of their wardrobe didn’t even make it into the session, but they were quite prepared”—and how expressive. “They really jumped into letting their emotions out,” he says. And we jumped at the chance to showcase this emotional visual document of two people deeply in love. Our thanks to Civic Photos, and our happiest wishes to Myra and Blake.

Stylish Montrose Engagement Shoot by Civic Photos ~ Houston Wedding Blog Stylish Montrose Engagement Shoot by Civic Photos Stylish Montrose Engagement Shoot by Civic Photos Stylish Montrose Engagement Shoot by Civic Photos Stylish Montrose Engagement Shoot by Civic Photos Stylish Montrose Engagement Shoot by Civic Photos Stylish Montrose Engagement Shoot by Civic Photos Stylish Montrose Engagement Shoot by Civic Photos Stylish Montrose Engagement Shoot by Civic Photos Stylish Montrose Engagement Shoot by Civic Photos Stylish Montrose Engagement Shoot by Civic Photos Stylish Montrose Engagement Shoot by Civic Photos

Photos: Civic Photos

Q&A: Tamara Menges on Photo Shoot Styling Like the Pros

Tamara Menges Stylized Photoshoot ~ Photo: Archetype Studios
Photo: Archetype Studio

Such a treat to have brilliant photo stylist and event designer Tamara Menges on the blog today! Menges, by her own account, sees “beauty in everything, whether it be a piece of fabric or a particular chair, or a rusty old can.” And we can’t help but see beauty in her. We asked her to reveal the methods behind her magic—and explain why professional styling is a MUST if you’re aiming for an unforgettable bridal, engagement or boudoir shoot!

Houston Wedding Blog: What, exactly, does professional photo styling entail?

Tamara Menges: Professional styling is a unique approach to a photography session. It’s basically the use of props to tell a story that is then captured by the photographer. To me, it’s imperative that I convey an actual “story,” and I use that word A LOT when I’m designing and conceptualizing a project. It has to make sense, obviously, but it also has to speak to the client.

HWB: How do you figure out a couple’s “story”—what do you need to know about them?

TM: I ask a lot of questions: what they do for fun, how they met, where he popped the question, etc. Their styling should reflect who they are as a couple, and it should be yet another part of the story that is being told through the photography. I work one-on-one with them, then, after the consultation, I brainstorm with my team, put an inspiration board together and submit those ideas to the couple or bride. Of course, some like to be surprised!

Tamara Menges Stylized Photoshoot ~ Photos: Callie & Co. Photography
Tamara Menges Stylized Photoshoot ~ Photos: Callie & Co. Photography
Photos: Callie & Co. Photography

HWB: Tell us about a couple of your favorite recent shoots.

TM:  My absolute favorite engagement session was with a couple who are both very strong Christians and wanted to use their Bibles in some of their images. For them, I designed an entire setting based around their faith. I found an old church pew from the 1800s, I made multiple burlap pillows with their favorite lines of scripture, a large cross out of re-claimed fence posts, and a pitcher and bowl to symbolize washing of the feet, along with many other elements that tied into their beliefs. I named this shoot “A Faithful Engagement.” It turned out perfectly!

Another favorite was really outside the box. It was a gothic shoot that we titled “’Til Death Do Us Part.” My inspiration was crows. I knew I wanted it to be unexpected. I kept the color palette clean, with black, white and gold—red and dark purple were too expected! Perfectly enough, Natalie Harris Bridal and Evening had a design of a white gown with images of trees on the fabric! I went for an elegant gothic approach, not a scary one.

Tamara Menges Stylized Photoshoot ~ Photos: Sarah e. Evans Photography
Photo: Sarah e. Evans Photography

HWB: Sounds gorgeous! OK, so how much can we expect to pay for your services—and why are they worth the investment?

TM: Given the amount of research, thought, and hands-on work that I put into each shoot, my pricing starts $300. [HWB ed note: bargain alert!] This includes the above, along with props needed to complete the concept. Photo styling is a good investment simply because it expresses and captures their personality and story in a unique way. Most people don’t realize how much thought is put into a styled shoot, but that is why they turn out so interesting. I have a bit of an outside-the-box approach to styling shoots, so I often push my clients a little further than what may seem typical, and the end results are images that they are excited about for years to come!

For more pix from Tamara Menges Designs’ “A Faithful Engagement” shoot, click here! To get in touch with Tamara herself, find her here!

Charming Gallery Wedding by Kelly Hornberger Photography

It was supposed to be a beautiful outdoor sunset ceremony. But, like so many other al fresco Houston events before it, Amanda and Celestino’s nuptials fell victim to an onslaught of wet weather. No matter, though. This couple, caught up in the romance of their special day, would not be daunted. They simply made a last-minute decision to move their ceremony indoors, where, the bride says, she ended up having “absolutely the most amazing, gorgeous wedding I could have ever hoped for—every quirk and mishap that happened that day just made it even more special.” Now we ask you, Houston brides, is that a perfect wedding day outlook, or what? There’s so much we love about this charming wedding, with its DIY touches, its sweet, simple florals and hints of vibrant pink, its string lights and sparklers and sunny joy, no matter what the clouds outside had to say. Cheers to Kelly Hornberger Photography for the pitch-perfect pix, and our warmest wishes to Amanda and Celestino.

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Photos: Kelly Hornberger Photography ~ Bride’s Dress: Winnie Couture ~ DJ: JPL Entertainment ~ Flowers: Olive Tree Florist ~ Venue: The Gallery

Purple and Platinum Chinese-Jewish-Longhorn Wedding by Stacy Cross Photography

While embracing your future spouse’s faith is a deeply personal decision, for groom Garrett Hartman, it was an easy one. “Garrett has recently been converted to my Longhorn religion!” effuses bride Leslie Ng. “He is great about going with me to games … and ever so willing to go get snacks and drinks so I don’t ever have to miss a single play. It’s a match made in Heaven!” In Heaven, maybe, but with a little help from Garrett’s aunt, who sat her single nephew next to Leslie at an event, starting the Houston couple on the path to “I do!” In addition to Leslie’s Longhorn devotion, the couple’s cultural and spiritual backgrounds—he’s Jewish, she’s Chinese—infused their joyful Briscoe Manor wedding throughout, from the groom’s traditional glass-stomping (“That poor light bulb didn’t stand a chance,” Leslie laughs), to the bride’s chair-ride during the hora dance (“scary, but fun,” she recounts) to the amuse bouche of potato latke with Peking duck slices topped with hoisin, crème fraiche and apple chutney (“a little Chinese and a little Jewish—we called it ‘Chewish’”). Leslie’s favorite wedding moment? “During our first dance, Garrett (a horrible singer) sang to me in my ear and went over highlights of our ceremony, telling me how he loved my dress, how lucky and blessed he felt at that moment,” she recounts. “It made me cry—it was the best three and a half minutes of my life.” Big thanks to Stacy Cross Photography for images of this uniquely personal and super stylish wedding. And happiest wishes to Leslie and Garrett!

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Photos: Stacy Cross Photography ~ Bride’s Dress: Mori Lee ~ Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade
Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Blush & Co. ~ Cakes: More Than Cakes ~ Catering: Behind the Bash
Flowers: Fresh Blooms of Houston ~ Ceremony & Reception Venue: Briscoe Manor