Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

Congrats to Our Partners on Their BIG Awards!

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Jerry-and-Alex-Wedding Photo: Serendipity Photography | Coordination & Invitations: A Day To Remember | Linens: EB Inc. Event Rentals & Design | Officiant: Weddings Performed | Confetti Cannons: Bright Star Productions

We know they rock. And some of you, who’ve had the pleasure of working with these super-talented folks on your weddings, know they rock. And now, the event industry’s premier professional organization, NACE (National Association of Catering & Events), has confirmed it.

We’re thrilled to offer up our heartiest congratulations to two amazing wedding stylists and longtime Weddings in Houston partners: Kat Creech Events and A Day To Remember!!

A Day To Remember took home two major honors at this past week’s NACE Experience conference:

  • Best Team Event under $50,00, for the wedding of Jerry and Alex, featured in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Weddings in Houston, and right HERE.
  • Best Table Presentation under $200, for “Waterfront Romance,” this gorgeous styled shoot featured in our Fall/Winter 2016 issue! 

Waterfront-Romance-Styled-Shoot Photo: D. Jones Photography | Design, Styling, & Stationery: A Day To Remember | Venue: Waters Edge | Flowers, Decor & Rentals: Flora & Eventi | Hair & Makeup: Nyoka Gregory Beauty | Cake: Susie’s Cakes & Confections | Lighting & Dance Floor: DJU Entertainment

Kat Creech Events, meanwhile, received the following prestigious awards:

Best Wedding of the Year over $100,000 and Best Team Event over $100,000, both for the spectacular wedding of Allie and Kyle, featured in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Weddings in Houston (see a trend here??).

Allie-and-Kyle-Wedding

 Photo: Ama Photography & Cinema | Planning & Coordination: Kat Creech Events | Venue: The Corinthian | Linens & Chairs: EB Inc. Event Rentals & Design | Lighting: GTX Productions | Catering: Jackson and Company | Rehearsal Dinner Location: Sambuca Catering

Make sure to check out our full coverage of these awesome events and styled shoot for more gorgeous pix, and a full list of superb Weddings in Houston clients involved in each!

And join us in wishing congrats to the Houston chapter of NACE, which also won big at this year’s conference, with honors for Chapter of the Year (over 100 members), and Program of the Year, for the NACE Houston Chapter’s awesome “Wedding Trends 2016″ industry event!!

Q&A with Celebrity Destination Wedding Planner Lisa Vorce

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Writer: Natasha Garber

LisaVorce

Photo: Caroline Tran

While a good connection might open the door, you need major talent to step through and succeed…especially in Hollywood. Just ask Los Angeles-based event expert Lisa Vorce, who, in the midst of a less-than-satisfying career as an IT consultant and programmer, began throwing parties for her husband’s talent-agent uncle. “My first party was for George Clooney’s mother,” she says. Not bad, we say. Here, the planner behind such high-profile nuptials as Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s gorgeous Italian villa “I do’s,” shares her experience and advice on her favorite of all events: the ultra-relaxing, totally indulgent, celebrity-style destination wedding.

LisaVorce_Copyright John Legend 2013_Lake Como_Aaron Delesie_0146-11x17-HI-RES

Photo: Aaron Delesie | © John Legend

Weddings in Houston: You’re known for creating some of the most beautiful destination weddings on the planet. What are some of the toughest destinations you’ve had to work in, and how did you manage to pull off flawless weddings in these spots?

Lisa Vorce: Well you’re asking someone who doesn’t like to work in the same location more than once, and someone who is happiest in the most exotic of locales, so I tend to thrive on all things challenging. In fact, the more challenging, the better for me! Vietnam and Bali are two of the most difficult locales I’ve worked in, simply because they are non-Western cultures. My favorite part of working in these amazing destinations is the “reconnaissance mission” I typically do at the beginning of our process. Through lots of exploration—I get to know local artisans, experts from the area, local foliage and flowers, menu specialties etc.—I have been met with so much kindness and talent around the world, it’s amazing!

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Photo: Jose Villa

WIH: How should a couple go about choosing their wedding locale?

LV: It’s a bit of a puzzle, and the stars need to align properly. There is a giant matrix that we use when vetting venues for my clients: distance, ease of travel, curfew, weather backups, venue capacities, accommodation capacities, food and beverage costs, etc. Some additional things couples should consider: How close is the wedding location to the airport? Do guests have to hop on a boat or rent a car? Do guests need visas or a Hep-C shot? Is there political unrest or another potentially tricky situation (e.g. Zika virus) that needs to be navigated?

Sourcing the perfect venue is a little bit like purchasing a home. It takes a lot of effort and time. Couples need to make sure they are taking into account all of the above and not just the aesthetics. Aesthetics are incredibly important, but everything else needs to be in the right place, too. And like buying a new home, couples need to prioritize their “must-haves” over their “nice-to-haves.”

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Photo: Elizabeth Messina

WIH: What’s the most important factor a couple needs to consider when planning a destination wedding?

LV: Budget and personality are really important and non-negotiable. But guest experience is really my thing. This is so important to me for my clients. Ultimately, the best weddings are those where the guests can’t stop talking about how much fun they had. Guest experience has a great deal to do with hospitality—and Texan hospitality is legendary, so I am going to assume you are experts in this matter! Just as you would welcome a guest to your home with a beautiful meal, fresh linens and engaging activities, when guests travel to your wedding, you want to provide them with hospitality all along the way.

Once your guests arrive at the location, have someone available from the wedding party or planning team who can answer their questions, greet them and hold their hand along the way. Adding helpful info to your wedding website (if you opt to do one) is incredibly handy for guests as well. For me, some of the most amazing destinations are the hardest to get to, but it’s important to balance that with the guest experience. If they are going to travel a long way, what’s the “wow” factor when they get there? Provide them with some amazing activities and adventures: Think Mayan ruins in Tulum, or maybe a cooking class in Italy. It is important that you make your guests feel safe, happy and entertained, but also give them enough down time for relaxation and exploration.

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Photo: Aaron Delesie

WIH: We like the sound of that! So tell us: What are some of the coolest local activities you’ve helped plan for destination wedding groups.

LV: Planning guest activities really depends on the location as well as the inclination of the couple. As soon as the couple determines their destination, my team goes to work to find out what’s special and fun to do at that destination. Golf and spa treatments are usually must-haves. One of my couples recently treated guests to a mobile cryogenic spa. It was very popular! Some of my favorite activities, however, have had to do with what the specific destination has to offer, from yacht parties in St. Barts, to cheese-making in Tuscany, to lace-making in Puglia…. I’ve also created activities based on couples’ family traditions. For example, we had a baseball field and custom scoreboard created for one couple. Each team had their signature baseball jerseys. It was amazing. We’ve done custom backyard and board games for other couples. It is very joyful to see the wedding couple and their guests take part in these activities!

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Photo: Jose Villa

WIH: What are your favorite ways to incorporate a couple’s tastes and background, along with local customs and flavors, into the wedding menu—whether at a destination site, or at a wedding closer to home?

LV: I start by listening to and observing the couple. Sometimes it’s fun to imbue couples’ personalities into the tiniest unexpected details. For example, in one wedding, we incorporated tumbleweed. Now, that may not sound pretty, but tumbleweed actually makes incredible natural, multi-dimensional sculptures.

A Texas bride of mine had a connection to gemology, so we incorporated a malachite pattern into the invites, menus and tabletop. Oh—and one of my favorite things to do, if I’m doing a wedding indoors, is to replace the artwork of the venue with artwork that represents the clients’ aesthetic. So in the case of the malachite wedding, huge malachite prints were delicately overlayed onto venue artwork. It’s so much fun when guests notice those extra touches.

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Photo: Elizabeth Messina

WIH: We love destination weddings, but we know that planning a wedding outside of one’s comfort zone is not without potential conflicts. How do you help your clients navigate these?

LV: For destination weddings especially, guest invites can be a big challenge. Each “constituent”—MOB, MOG, bride and groom—usually has a valid reason for adding a guest…or 10. But these numbers quickly add up. Sometimes it creates a cost issue, but it can also create a space issue, for example, if the venue holds 120 persons maximum. I usually play “wedding diplomat” in these situations, and remind everyone that at the end of the day, they all want the same thing: a beautiful wedding and an unforgettable celebration with their nearest and dearest.

As for keeping a limited guest count for your intimate, remote-location wedding…remember, Texas is a great place to do a big barbecue and party with ALL your favorite people once you return from your destination!

LisaVorce_Copyright John Legend 2013_Lake Como_Aaron Delesie_0045-11x17-HI-RES Photo: Aaron Delesie |© John Legend

Plan Your Napa Valley Wedding with Cole Drake Events: Q&A

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Cole-Drake-Events

Photo: Sylvie Gil

Northern California’s Napa and Sonoma valleys both top the destination wish lists of countless to-be-wed couples in Houston, and, indeed, all over the world. One of the region’s premier event planning firms, Cole Drake Events has a deep knowledge of the area and its wedding choices, and with her genetically determined passion for parties—her mother is an event-industry icon who plans major bashes for nonprofits and California cities—co-founder Stephanie Cole spends each working day guiding wedding couples through the hills and valleys of wine-country wedding planning. Here, she offers a bit of that renowned Cole Drake know-how to Houston to-be-weds—one of her most beloved destination demographics: “They’re always so much fun to work with!”

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Photo: Briana Marie Photography

Weddings in Houston: How important are Texas-based couples to the region’s wedding scene—and why do you think Napa-Sonoma is such a strong draw for Texas to-be-weds?

Stephanie Cole: Every year it seems to be that about half our wedding business comes from Texas. Napa-Sonoma has it all in my opinion: picturesque scenery, world-renowned cuisine, marvelous mixology programs, amazing wines and perfect weather (meaning no humidity, y’all). It’s easy to see why it’s such a strong draw as a destination wedding location!

WIH: What’s the best way for a Houston couple to get a feel for the region before planning their wine-country destination wedding?

SC: The best way to get a feel for the region is to come out here…come on, I’ll twist your arm to come taste wine, eat amazing food and enjoy the beautiful weather! Once a couple has made the decision to get married in wine country, the most important thing to do is find and book a local wedding planner. They can listen to what you want in the area and offer suggestions for wedding venues. They can eliminate a lot of research for you, and, if they’re good, they’ll know all of the right people to contact to check availability.

Some couples only want Napa County—I mean, I am a Napa local, so I get it. But Sonoma County has a ton of hidden gems too. Healdsburg and Sonoma are postcard-worthy towns that are underrated due to Napa’s huge name recognition.

In Napa County, Yountville, Rutherford, St. Helena and Calistoga are my favorite towns, and can all be considered wine country chic.

Cole-Drake-Events

Photo: Aaron Delesie

WIH: What local activities or attractions should be part of a fabulous wine-country destination-wedding weekend?

SC: Wine tasting (duh) cannot be missed. One of my favorite activities for a wedding group is to have them blend their own wine! There are several wineries that offer this unique option, where guests are teamed up—we randomly pick teams by numbering off—and given specific assignments. The team creates their own wine blend together (imagine beaker, goggles and lab coat), while individually each member is responsible for other tasks (label creation, marketing strategy, financials, etc.).

After corking the wine and presenting to the judges, an overall winner is decided. It’s a great way to break the ice with people that may not have a chance to meet and mingle otherwise.

Croquet brunch at Meadowood Resort is another fantastic option. Guests dressed in all white—with fabulous sunglasses to hide the effects of the killer wedding the night before—can learn from Meadowood’s resident croquet master the skills and rules of the game before letting loose! Coupled with a brunch buffet, including a Bloody Mary bar and/or a mimosa bar, it’s one of the best ways to end your weekend celebration.

Cole-Drake-Events

Photo: Sylvie Gil

WIH: On the culinary side, what can couples expect from local dining options?

SC: Napa County certainly boasts world-renowned cuisine. We have the Restaurant at Meadowood (with three Michelin stars), the French Laundry in Yountville (with three Michelin stars), and countless one-Michelin-star-rated restaurants. Fun fact: Yountville itself claims the most Michelin stars per capita of anywhere in North America.

Cole-Drake-Events

Photo: Jose Villa

WIH: How can a Houston couple bring wine, and wine culture, into their Napa-Sonoma destination wedding?

SC: If a couple is in love with wine, food and wine pairings or tasting menus are the best ways to showcase it. We work with some of the best sommeliers and chefs in the area and can have them pair wines with cuisine for wedding couples and their guests.

For the wedding, small touches of wine country are definitely noticed. Utilization of barrels (don’t worry, we have a lot of them), personalized signs printed on cork, and finished wood farm tables with fashionable wine country chairs scream wine country chic.

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Photo: Sylvie Gil

WIH: What advice do you have for couples who are considering a Northern California wine-country destination wedding…but may be hesitant about bucking the tradition of a big Texas nuptial bash?

SC: For my Texas clients, it generally takes them one trip to wine country as a couple (often during their courtship, or as the site of the proposal) to fall in love with the place. After they get engaged and think about their future wedding, they immediately think again of this beautiful place.

The most common concern is distance—but that’s where a planner makes it so easy. A wedding planner who is based in Napa or Sonoma knows the area, knows the key partners and knows what to expect. Your planner can offer suggestions to you (think about her as your matchmaker for your wedding dreams) and can even help you save money (and avert disasters). Simply put, planners are trained to eliminate the stress and to make your wedding vision come to fruition.

Finally, more often than not, we hear our clients lamenting that if they were to have a wedding in Texas, it would be a 300-to-400-person affair, which can be overwhelming. Here in wine country, our Texas-based wedding groups usually range in the 120-to-150-guest mark.

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Photo: Sylvie Gil

WIH: We know that Texas couples are awesome…so tell us, why do you love Lone-Star-state lovebirds so much?

Year after year, Texas couples are seriously some of my favorite couples, and often become personal friends after the wedding. They always have a vision of what they want for their destination wedding, but they also have an open mind for new ideas and cost-saving suggestions. Plus, they are the sweetest and most thoughtful couples I have ever met!

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Photo: Sylvie Gil

Wedding Menus with a Houston, Texas-Twist by Lola Catering + Events

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Houston’s culinary scene is a fusion of gulf coast fare, mixed with Southern classics and south-of-the-border cuisine. So, it’s no wonder why the city’s couples crave a medley of flavors when carefully selecting their wedding menu. The team at Lola Catering + Events, one of the city’s most creative boutique catering companies, are experts at building personalized menus incorporating the favorite foods of each bride or groom.

We talked with Lisa Somera, owner of Lola Catering + Events, about some of their favorite Houston-style wedding menu items. Keep reading to get a taste!

2017-05-02_0009 2017-05-02_0007 Photos: Courtesy of Lola Catering + Events

Somera and team have loved spicing things up lately for couples who have a taste for Tex-Mex. Recent favorites have included chipotle nachos, pepper salsas made from scratch, vegan baby bell peppers stuffed with Tex-Mex quinoa, as well as a traditional take on fajitas and a tiny take on brisket, carnitas and chicken tacos.

2017-05-02_0006 2017-05-02_0012 2017-05-02_0008 Photos: Courtesy of Lola Catering + Events

Flavorful seafood with a kick has also been popular for Lola’s recent couples. Some standout items have been the grilled honey chipotle shrimp and the shrimp crostini — a deep fried polenta crostini topped with a butterflied jumbo shrimp, stuffed with herbed crab meat, topped with a portobello slice and melted mozzarella, then drizzled with sweet jalapeño jam. YUM.

2017-05-02_0005 2017-05-02_0010  Photos: Courtesy of Lola Catering + Events

And for couples who want their wedding menu to be a fun yet refined rendition of a Texas cookout, Somera recommends the passable poblano mac n’ cheese bites along with balsamic braised short ribs, over roasted garlic mashed potatoes within an edible sea salt tasting spoon.

2017-05-02_0004 2017-05-02_0011 Photos: Courtesy of Lola Catering + Events

Hungry for more? Get your wedding menu cookin’ with Lola Catering + Events today. We’re certain you’ll love your wedding menu with a Texas twist down to the very last bite!

5 Creative Ways to Use Cigars at Your Wedding

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

We talk a lot here on the Houston Wedding Blog about how to celebrate girls and guests, but today is mainly about the guys. If you or your boo love the aroma and sophistication of fine Cuban seed tobacco, or you simply want to treat guests to the luxury of hand-rolled cigars (perhaps paired with single-malt scotch and a live jazz combo?), Houston’s Lucho Cigars is gonna give you reason to celebrate.

From the bachelor weekend to the wedding after-party, we’ve rounded up five ways to creatively use Lucho’s smooth, firm, flavorful, hand-rolled cigars at your wedding celebrations. Read on and savor!

2017-04-20_0004  Photo: Civic Photos | Cigars: Lucho Cigars

1. The Bachelor Bash — Welcome your groomsmen to a weekend of hijinks with a tobacco treat that’ll make each dude feel like a VIP. To make the gift a little more personal, you can pick out a cigar to fit each of your guys’ taste, from Lucho’s 20 different cigar types, ranging in intensity, color, size and shape. Cigar aficionados also can schedule cigar-smoking, cigar-selection and humidor-care workshops, for a unique and educational bachelor party experience at the line’s Uptown Park store.

2. The Post-“I do” Photo Op — Cigars in hand (or mouth) create a celebratory feeling in both your wedding photos and at the event itself. Your pre-reception cocktail hour is the perfect time to take a puff and celebrate that you just made the most amazing commitment of your life! That cigar may also help relieve any lingering jitters you felt while standing in front of tens or even hundreds of people.

2017-04-20_0002  Photo: Civic Photos | Cigars: Lucho Cigars

3. An Interactive Cigar-Rolling Station — For those who aren’t tearing up the dance floor, or just need to take a break, a cigar-rolling station offers a memorable and relaxing source of entertainment. Lucho’s team of master rollers will create fresh handmade cigars before guests’ eyes using their finest tobacco leaves, high-end wrappers and 20-plus years of experience.

4. Customized Labels — For a manlier take on the monogram, couples can request to have personalized labels created for any and all cigars in their wedding. Labels can include a couple’s logo, new initials or even a photo! Think of this as the groom’s way to add his touch to the wedding theme and brand.

2017-04-20_0006  Photo: Civic Photos | Lables: Lucho Cigars

5. A Flavorful Favor — Bid adieu to your wedding guests with a flavorful cigar favor bag that they can use to celebrate your wedding after the official party has ended. Add in a tasteful ribbon or dash of your wedding colors to wrap up the night with a perfect pairing of masculinity and elegance.

Want a handmade cigar of your own to celebrate your perfect day? Contact Lucho Cigars and get on their books. Be sure to let them know you heard about them from their fans at the Houston Wedding Blog!