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Guest Post: Master Bridal Consultant Karen Brown Debunks DIY Myths

Master Bridal Consultant Karen Brown Debunks DIY Myths

Photos: Top, courtesy Karen For Your Memories~Centerpiece, D. Jones Photography~Rings & Cake, Nhan Nguyen Photography

Today we’re really excited to feature a guest post from Houston-based Master Bridal Consultant (that’s the Association of Bridal Consultants’ highest ranking, btw), Karen Brown of Karen For Your Memories. Thinking of acting as your own wedding coordinator, florist, designer and decorator, to try and save money or put your unique imprint on every element of your big day? Don’t dive in until you read Karen’s post, which debunks many major DIY myths. We’d love your feedback, too! Do you plan DIY all or part of your wedding? Which parts do you plan to leave to a pro? Drop your comments and let us know!

Today’s brides are bombarded with ideas for décor, favors, desserts, flowers, etc., many of which encourage the DIY concept. For some reason the DIY idea is touted as something that is supposed to be 1) fun, 2) less expensive, and 3) a reflection of the bride’s unique personality. But is this really the case?

Fun? “Do-it-yourself” can be a misleading title, which implies that the bride herself is going to take on all or part of the tasks necessary for the production of her wedding. However, in most cases, it really means relying on the participation of the wedding party for tons of tasks, along with dutiful assistance from family members, with the bride directing. But can a group of amateurs with good intentions really replace the expertise and efficiency of a professional with years of experience? AND have fun while doing so? Not likely.

Sure, it can be great fun for family members or friends to get together to address, stuff and stamp invitations, or for “the girls” to gather, chat, eat, drink and laugh while assembling bags and tying ribbons around guest favors. But what if you happen to be the “volunteer” who was recruited for some element of the event that ends up in a YouTube video that never seems to go away (dreadful décor, cake catastrophes, flower fiascos, musical malfunctions…you get the picture)? Surely it can’t be much fun  to be ridiculed internationally when you were just trying to help.

Less Expensive? Yes, professional wedding services cost money. Just like professional medical services, professional auto repair services, professional legal services—or any professional service that is based on years of specialized education, training and experience. Let’s consider the service of wedding flowers as an example. Here are just a few of the things you’ll get for the money you pay a respected professional Houston florist:

  • Personnel who order the exact flowers you want from the part of the world where they are at the peak of their season at that time of year.
  • Staff who pick up and transport the shipped flowers in special vehicles at special temperatures to preserve their freshness and beauty.
  • Staff who put the flowers through a series of processing procedures to activate the opening and enhance the longevity of the blooms.
  • Experienced designers who use complex techniques to create exactly the look you have requested, ensuring that the designs will withstand handling and last beautifully through the day.
  • Specifically controlled refrigeration to store the completed floral arrangements until set-up time.
  • A team to deliver, set up, and, after the event, remove all props and arrangements, in the allotted venue time (while you’re getting primped, dressed and enjoying unforgettable pre-ceremony moments with friends and family).

On the other hand, DIY flowers often begin with inferior product that are not handled correctly and sometimes need to be replaced before the event, are not designed in the most flattering or stable way, are not stored or delivered in the proper temperatures, cannot be properly set up in the allotted time allowed, and most likely will not hold up through the entire event. And what about all those vases and containers and votives? What will you do with them once the reception is over?

A similar scenario can be applied to any professional wedding service. You get what you pay for if you use reputable, experienced professionals. And you’re likely to save money in the long run. Remember that cost is relative. What price do you put on being able to relax and enjoy your special day instead of working and worrying?

A reflection of the bride’s unique personality? I like reading and viewing wedding information on the internet—especially the Houston Wedding Blog—as much as (or maybe more than) the next person. But your wedding is your wedding. The best way to achieve an original look is to hire professionals with the talent to take your inspiration and create something fresh and exciting, someone who makes each wedding tell a different story, not the same story in a different color.

Maybe we should redefine what we mean by DIY.  Don’t Impel Your friends and family to participate in anything but the joy of the ceremony and the celebration of the day. Do Invest Your money on quality services provided by those who do things the right way. You will save time and avoid costly mistakes along the way. Definitely Interject Yourself into all aspects of your wedding and hire professionals who can interpret and bring to beautiful life your vision while you relax and enjoy the process.


Brandis and Ronald’s 1940s-inspired wedding captivated us from the first moment we laid eyes on it. The bride, who planned this intimate 80-guest affair herself, put so much heart into every detail. Of course, she did get a lot of help from Etsy artisans, including FrenchKnotCouture, who created the custom bolero Brandis wore over her Maggie Sottero gown. Brandis, who told us, “I did not want real flowers that would perish and leave me with no memory,” instead had Etsy artist Croska create a bouquet of crystal brooches, pearls, satin and sheer fabric flowers in shades of white, off-white and cream, which she plans to preserve in a shadow box. While Brandis, who happened to be completing nursing school while planning her wedding (!!), created many of the wedding’s most alluring elements herself–including those magnificent table number cards and menu cards–she does caution other busy brides not go overboard on the DIY. “I recommend creating DIY items that you can keep as a keepsake.” Amen to that. Congratulations to Brandis and Ronald. And big thanks to Civic Photos, whose evocative images capture this wedding in all its swing-era splendor.

1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos 1940s Vintage Wedding by Civic Photos

Photos: Civic Photos~Bride’s Dress: Maggie Sottero from Panache Bridal~Bride’s Shoes: Paris Hilton~Bridesmaids Dresses: Watters + Watters~Reception Flowers: Bride DIY~Decor: Hobby Lobby and Save-On-Crafts~Cake: Designer’s Cakes~Ceremony & Reception Venue: Trevisio Restaurant

Vintage Wedding Tips from a Retro Pro

Honeydew Events Houston Honeydew Events Mai Dang

You know it, we know it, every bride worth her 1930s peacock-feather fascinator knows it: Vintage-inspired weddings are all the rage. And we’re as mad about them as anyone else. Those nostalgic touches and historic throwbacks aren’t just romantic and evocative—they also make a wedding feel as if it’s part of the tradition of weddings, rather than simply a traditional wedding. Know what we mean?

Here’s someone who definitely does: Mai Dang. The owner of Houston’s Honeydew Events is an expert in vintage allure (along with cutting-edge contemporary style weddings…but that’s for another post). We picked Dang’s brain for her advice on incorporating vintage-style details into your big day in a truly personal way. So before you start tossing antique doilies and sepia-toned photos into your wedding all willy-nilly, make sure you check out her top tips:

Take inspiration from family heirlooms. “Honeydew Events makes sure to design according to a particular couple’s inspirational pieces and traditions,” Dang says. “If the bride is inspired by a vintage brooch from her great grandmother, we would decorate with faded jewel tones. If inspiration stems from the grandmother’s dress, we would design around cool tones with larger print laces and flowers that share the same patterns.” And, of course, actual heirlooms can be incorporated in countless ways, “such as on the bouquet stems, in the bride’s hair, or on her shoes.”

Appeal to all senses. “For vintage table design and décor, we recommend accenting warm colors with soft candlelight or lanterns. It’s best to stay away from any colored up-lighting in the room, such as blues, plum, and pinks,” Dang says. For floral, “We suggest using warm vases and less color-dyed hybrids of flowers.” And when it comes to furniture, “Look for rich-colored soft leather sofas or armchairs with high backs for the lounge area. Also include antique coffee tables with a lot of hand-carved design. An old, traditional leather-bound scrapbook or vintage novel with ivory pages would work well as a guestbook.”

Don’t forget the little things. “Keep it rich in texture. We suggest using small pieces of material, such as worn thread spools, that have the names of your guests embroidered on them, as place cards. Even personalized smoking pipes or cigars can add a little something extra. As for wedding favors, consider giving your guests dried flowers in a small picture frame or antique hair accessories.”

Do your research. “The Internet is a world of infinite knowledge,” says Dang, noting that brides can find tons of websites that provide details on the specific furnishings, fads and fashions of just about any historic era. She also recommends visiting museums that feature historic photos, paintings and jewelry, as well as “the good, old-fashioned library.” Well, what a vintage notion!

Photos (clockwise, left to right): Wedding Dresses Info (vintage gown)~Daisy Pink Cupcake (vintage brooch bouquet)~Honeydew Events (vintage Rolls-Royce, Mai Dang)

Inspiration Board: In Love With Lilac

Not quite purple, a little blue, touched with pale gray. Lilac is like demure lavender’s chic, cosmopolitan cousin. Which is probably why we love this shade so much for 2011 & 2012 weddings. Paired with white or cream, it’s a dream for springtime bridal palettes. Add a stripe of black here and there, and you’ve got a winter wedding color scheme to die for. We also love how lilac lends itself both to contemporary and vintage-style weddings with equal elegance. Plus just the word lilac makes us think of the spring bloom’s infinitely alluring scent. Subtle and sophisticated, and never, ever dull–what’s not to love about lilac?

Inspiration Board: In Love With Lilac Inspiration Board: In Love With Lilac Inspiration Board: In Love With Lilac

Photos (clockwise, left to right): Iced (cake)~She Hearts Art (invitation)~From the Waist Up (tie)~Girl Dress Line (flower girl dress)~Urban Decay (eye shadow)~The Wedding Bouquets (rose bouquet)~JennyRose25 (tea cup candle)~Pour La Victoire (“Estee” sandal)~Amsale (“Nicca” gown)

Welcome, Weddings in Houston 2.0!

Weddings in Houston Logo

It’s here! It’s finally here! We’re so excited to announce today’s launch of the new Weddings in Houston web site. As we promised, everything you love about the old site–Houston’s top wedding vendors, 360-degree virtual tours of Houston’s finest wedding venues, inspiring Houston Real Weddings, Houston’s hottest bridal and wedding events, in-depth articles and advice on just about any wedding topic you can imagine–remains. It’s all just a whole lot fresher, more convenient and easier to use.

Plus, we’ve added some awesome extras, including social media buttons that allow you to share info with friends at a click. Just booked your wedding at one of our featured hotels? Click the handy Facebook button on the property’s Weddings in Houston vendor page and update your friends. Found a fabulous centerpiece idea in one of our articles? Instantly e-mail it to your Houston wedding planner or floral designer. And about those articles–now you can search for them by topic. Just type a keyword or two into our article search, and you’re off and running.

You’ll also find more of the good stuff–more Houston wedding vendor categories, more photo galleries, more videos. We’re a whole lot faster, too.

See what we mean? It’s your beloved Weddings in Houston, only better.



The Best I Do! We’ve Ever Done, Thanks to You

I Do! Bridal Soiree 2011 I Do! Bridal Soiree Tablescapes

Susie’s Cakes & Confections (left); iCatching Events (right)

More than 1,000 attendees. Over 80 vendors. Five full hours of FAB-U-LOUS. We’ll be doing complete show coverage a little further down the road, with photos, video, the whole shebang. But for now, we wanted to take a sec to shine the spotlight on some of your (and our) favorite highlights of this past Sunday’s absolutely spectacular I Do! Bridal Soiree @ The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa.

First off, how about those tablescapes? Sparkle, shimmer & bling are the thing for 2011 wedding reception tables, as radiantly evidenced by our vendors’ magnificent wedding table displays, which featured tons of crystals, blow-glass orbs and jewel accents. And how about that high overhead? We’re talking beautiful suspended floral displays and centerpieces (which, incidentally, are great for letting guests talk to each other across the table without sight obstructions). We saw you practically swooning at the masses of roses (the one bloom that never goes out style), and the brilliant palettes of red, pink and oh-so-popular purple.

Kenneth Pool gown I Do! Bridal Soiree 2011

Mia Bridal Couture (left); Kuhl-Linscomb (right)

When you weren’t chatting with vendors, we spotted you sipping refreshing Pimms cocktails and nibbling sinfully delicious (and simply adorable) French macaroons. And how about those awesome sliders and savory-sweet chicken biscuits? So yummy! It’s no wonder The Houstonian’s fabulously talented catering department recommends serving diminutive comfort snacks like these as a late-night treat at your reception.

As for that fashion show…gorgeous, right? We’ll soon have a rundown of the runway’s most coveted looks, but for now, two words: convertible gown. As in, one amazing dress that goes from ceremony-elegant to celebration-sexy. As in, pretty much perfect.

Whether these highlights remind you of Sunday’s splendor…or make you wish you’d attended, we hope they’ll make you smile. Be sure to subscribe to the Houston Wedding Blog and the Weddings in Houston Wedding Buzz for complete I Do! coverage along with advice on how to incorporate the divine design ideas featured at the soiree into your own very, very special day.

Order I Do! Bridal Soiree Tickets By Midnight, Enter to Win Luxury Getaway for 2!

Brickhouse Bridal Gown Wedding Tabletop Designs By Jessie

Photos By Nhan Nguyen Photography

We know how busy you get, being a bride-to-be. The meetings, the tastings, the fittings, the hours of research and contemplation and tough decision-making.

So we know you’re gonna love this. Not only have we got the absolute crème de la crème of Houston wedding vendors and experts all gathered in one convenient location, where you can meet with them, one on one, while sipping fine wine and nibbling gourmet treats.

Not only do we have Houston’s ONLY couture bridal runway show (Amsale, Kenneth Pool, Christos, Badgley Mischka, etc., etc…I mean, come ON).

But we’re also giving away an amazing weekend-night getaway for two at the legendary Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa—which just happens to also be the home of this Sunday’s I Do! Bridal Soiree.

Convenient, top-of-the-line, one-stop shopping AND a chance to escape from it all with your hubby-to-be and just be in love, luxuriously, for a full 24 hours, on the weekend of your choice? Oh, yeah.

Just pre-order your I Do! tickets NO LATER THAN END OF DAY TODAY and you’re automatically entered in our giveaway contest. That’s a win (you’ve locked in your ticket so you won’t be left out when they inevitably sell out by Sunday), win (you’re attending Houston’s finest, most inspiring, and ONLY luxury bridal show), and quite possible WIN (our Houstonian getaway giveaway…we’ll announce the winner tomorrow!). #IDoHoustonian

UPDATE: A Day to Remember 10th Anniversary Party @ Villa Rinata-Correct RSVP Address

We don’t mean to interrupt your well-deserved Labor Day lounging around, but you may want to take a sec to mark your calendar. This Thursday, Sept. 9, wedding-planning firm extraordinaire A Day To Remember –you know them for their glorious cakes, gorgeous flowers and impeccable event planning–celebrates its 10th anniversary in high style…and you’re invited!

Festivities start at 6 p.m. at the truly spectacular Villa Rinata, and last until the last guest leaves (now that’s OUR kinda party!). Houston brides and their entourages fortunate enough to attend will find themselves surrounded by fine food and drink, awesome entertainment, great door prizes and swag, swag, swag.

As you can imagine, space is limited. So if you’re a bride-to-be who’s looking for amazing wedding ideas, while simultaneously taking a break from the hard work of wedding planning, make sure to RSVP, PDQ!

Before You Say I Do… Definitely Do This!

Among the many wonderful things the New Year brings, our annual Before You Say… “I Do!” bridal soiree is one of the best. On Sunday, Jan. 24, Before You Say… “I Do!” comes to The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa, and you won’t want to miss it. From 1 to 6 p.m., more than 70 of the city’s most in-demand wedding experts and vendors—florists, decorators, photographers, cake creators and much more—will take over the magnificent Houstonian for a day of wedding fantasies made real.

Bring you mother, sister, maid of honor, fiancé…or the whole crew, and enjoy cocktails, gourmet nibbles, spectacular tablescapes, gorgeous cakes, a stunning bridal fashion show, door prizes and special treats. And while you’re at it, take advantage of the chance to chat one-on-one with some of the best wedding talents in the business.

Tickets for this once-a-year luxury showcase of the best in Houston weddings are only $20—that’s less than the price of a single manicure!—for a full FIVE HOURS of wedding ideas, inspiration and goodies galore. And guess what? They sell out. Every year.

We’ll definitely be there. Make sure you are, too!

Roula’s Real Wedding

Real Wedding: Roula Christie to Tasos Kostas
Real Wedding: Roula Christie to Tasos Kostas

If you’ve perused our fabulous new February issue—and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for, Houston bride?—you’ve likely checked out our story on the Oct. 24 wedding of 104.1 KRBE’s Roula Christie to Tasos Kostas. We are thrilled to feature Houston radio star Roula’s magnificent reception at the Omni Houston Hotel (and may we offer our mea culpa—we referred to Roula as co-host of the Roula & Ryan show, when, in fact, she’s one of the few women in radio to have her own show: You go, girl!). And we’re even more thrilled to have had a chance to speak with Roula recently about how planning and having a wedding—and BOY, what a wedding—has impacted her life as Radio Roula.

First off, let’s just get this out there in the open: Roula loves her job. No, we mean she REALLY loves it. Why? “I think it’s that people always surprise you,” she tells us. “It’s different in TV—you don’t know anything about the personality of the anchor. They’re just there to deliver the news. But for radio, especially for our show, we are the actual people on the air. You get emotionally attached.” With that kind of audience connection, it’s no surprise that when Roula got engaged to Tasos, she talked about it, LOTS, and her listeners weighed in.

But there were limits to Roula’s revelations. “I shared as much as I could…but I didn’t want to give away the farm before the wedding happened.” Plus, she admits, “I was a little worried about people who might try to crash the wedding—not that they’d mean any harm, but that was NOT the day I wanted to be a radio personality.” So how did keeping details under wraps work out for the ever honest and outspoken Roula? “It was SUPER hard to do!”

In the end, Roula and Tasos had the wedding of their dreams, and the couple are loving their newlywed life. Roula credits her hubby big time for accommodating her morning-radio schedule, and the 4 a.m. alarm that goes with it—yikes! “Poor thing,” she says. “I try to say, ‘Go back to sleep,’ but…” Luckily, the happy Houston bride notes, “He’s totally 100 percent fine with it. And that’s why we work as a couple.”

With wedding planning behind her and married bliss ahead, Roula’s got a few things to say (shocking, huh?) to Houston brides-to-be: “Don’t let planning become your job. Don’t make it your life, or you’re going to be disappointed when it’s over.” As for weddings themselves, Roula’s a huge fan of showing off Houston’s best to guests (another shocker, right?). Her own event, for instance, featured Shipley’s Do-Nuts, delivered fresh to visiting guests’ hotel rooms on the morning of the wedding, and welcome bags that paid homage to her favorite Houston attractions. Whatever you choose to highlight at your own wedding, make it personal, Roula says. “Show them those fun little things you and your groom love to do—give them some insight to who you are as a couple.”

Words to wed by, Roula. Thanks, and congratulations to you and Tasos!