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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)

Lavish La Colombe d’Or Wedding by J. Cogliandro Photography

Yes, it is possible to have a grand, formal wedding in one of Houston’s most revered venues—the Grand Ballroom of La Colombe d’Or, with its circa-1715 carved oak panels and spectacular chandeliers—AND kick your heels up in true celebration style. Sonila and Matthew’s lovely, lavish spring wedding is a perfect example. Yes, it was utterly elegant, from the Monique Lhuillier invitations to the magnificent rose-and-hydrangea centerpieces. But just look at the newlyweds and their guests—those smiles, that laughter, the FUN of it all. We’re grateful to famed Houston photographer Joe Cogliandro, and the bride and groom, for sharing this beautiful wedding with us. And we’re so happy to share it with you.

Lavish La Colombe d'Or Wedding by J. Cogliandro Photography Lavish La Colombe d'Or Wedding by J. Cogliandro Photography Lavish La Colombe d'Or Wedding by J. Cogliandro Photography Lavish La Colombe d'Or Wedding by J. Cogliandro Photography Lavish La Colombe d'Or Wedding by J. Cogliandro Photography Lavish La Colombe d'Or Wedding by J. Cogliandro Photography

Photography: J. Cogliandro Photography~Bride’s Dress: Jim Hjelm from Weddings by Debbie~Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Brittany of The Perfect Face~Rings: Blue Nile~Flowers: Floral Events~Decor & Rentals: Linens by Lisa~Cakes: World Cakes & Catering~Ceremony Venue: St. Michael Catholic Church~Reception Venue: La Colombe d’Or

Sweet Red, White & Blue Wedding by DC Stanley Photography

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: We love a bride who isn’t afraid of a little color. Take Lisa, for instance, who walked down the aisle carrying a bouquet of intense red roses to wed her beloved Ben. Beautiful, right? Even more beautiful is the combination of snow white, rich red and bright aqua blue—the palette of choice at this adorable couple’s ranch reception. We especially love those cylinder centerpieces by Clear Lake Flowers, so simple, so elegant, so WOW. Kudos to fine Houston photographer David Stanley of DC Stanley Photography, whose awesome shots are featured here.

Sweet Red, White & Blue Wedding by DC Stanley Photography Sweet Red, White & Blue Wedding by DC Stanley Photography Sweet Red, White & Blue Wedding by DC Stanley Photography Sweet Red, White & Blue Wedding by DC Stanley Photography

Photography: DC Stanley Photography~Bride’s Dress: Alfred Angelo~Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Angelo~Mother of the Bride’s Dress: T Carolyn Fashions~Cake: Cakes & Culinary Creations~Flowers: Clear Lake Flowers~Reception Venue: White House Ranch~Wedding Consultant: Lisa Hendricks

 

Venues We Love: Messina Hof Winery

There was a time when a Houston gal would have to make her way to California wine country (fiancé, friends and family in tow) if she fancied a vineyard wedding. Not so anymore—not when she’s got 100 acres of wine country splendor right here in her own backyard.

We’re talking about Messina Hof—the toast of Bryan, Texas, and a wine- and food-loving couple’s dream location for the celebration of a lifetime. A little Italian, a little German, and very proudly Texan (the winery and its wines have won countless local and national honors, including “One of the USA’s Finest Winery Experiences” from “Bon Appetit” magazine), this combination working vineyard, restaurant, tasting bar and villa is a standout in a region of really amazing places to tie the knot.

Texas Vineyard Wedding

Picture this: saying your vows at sunset on a verdant private estate, beneath a flower-bedecked gazebo beside a sparkling spring-fed lake—then celebrating with sumptuous food and, of course, divine wines, overlooking 42 acres of vineyards aglow in the moonlight, whilst dancing the night away, surrounded by the people you love most.

And Messina Hof’s awesome for bachelor/bachelorette bashes, engagement parties, bridal showers and rehearsal dinners, too. What, we ask, is NOT to love? And if you haven’t yet entered out Messina Hof Private Wine Tasting for 20, well, what, we ask, is stopping you??