Before You Say I Do… Definitely Do This!

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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!

Reception Decor Inspiration: Taylor Creative Weddings

TaylorDinner
Their client list—Colin Cowie Lifestyle, Versace, Bergdorf Goodman, Serena Bass, etc.—reads like a who’s who of arbiters of style and sophistication. They’ve provided spectacular props and furniture for everything from Hollywood film shoots to high-end social affairs. And now New York’s famed Taylor Creative Props has launched Taylor Creative Weddings—a special collection of furnishings, accessories and décor, along with design consultation services, tailored (if you’ll pardon the pun) just for weddings. Perhaps even YOUR wedding, Houston bride.

TaylorSuite

Taylor Creative has a distinctly modern aesthetic, marked by architectural edge, mid-century modularity, plenty of glass and chrome, and lots of sleek, bright white. But when paired with beautiful lighting and floral, these edgy pieces soften gorgeously, and evoke an atmosphere of sophisticated femininity and romance that makes us swoon.

TaylorBar

Our favorite pieces include the Victoria Pattern Ghost Chair (especially when paired with the patterned Cube Table ), the tufted white Windsor Collection and the illuminated Plexi Bar. And how about those fabulous Glo Balls for an evening al fresco reception?

TaylorCocktails

Unfortunately, Taylor Creative does not warehouse items in Houston—BUT, they will send whatever you want via truck from New York (for the right price, of course). For the rest of us, the Taylor Creative Weddings’ site is a source of inspiration and ideas, and a GREAT resource to share with our phenomenally talented Houston wedding consultants, rental companies, florists or décor providers.

Top Picks in Wedding Cake Toppers

Simple, elegant, white-on-white wedding cakes are making a major comeback, especially for the coming spring wedding season…which is great news for cake toppers. If you’re leaning toward understated elegance, have a look at some of our top choices in toppers—a fine finishing touch for your perfect cake.

CrystalInitial
Crystal Initial

There’s something about the way crystals catch the light just so… Add sparkle to your cake with this sterling-silver-plated, Swarovski-crystal encrusted cursive initial topper, available in every letter of the alphabet.

Let's Dance
Let's Dance

If you and your groom are part of dancing craze that’s sweeping the country, let this cake topper express your passion. The silhouette shapes are contemporary and cool, the polished silver look is sleek, the overall effect is energetic and fun!

Brushed Silver Monogram
Brushed Silver Monogram

Clean, simple styling and brushed silver give these monogram letters a hip, contemporary look we love.

Vintage
Vintage

Vintage cake toppers are in vogue, and this off-white porcelain bride-and-groom style is one of the prettiest we’ve seen. We especially like luxe touches like the faux pearls, rhinestone-studded roses and 24K gold trim on the bride’s veil.

Love Birds
Love Birds

We are utterly in love with these handmade love birds. Customize your pair by choosing the groom’s tie style, bride’s veil style (birdcage, feather headpiece or full veil), and wing colors. Add-ons include a hand-painted bouquet and 6-inch-wide Spanish-moss nest.

MORE Make the Most of Your Wedding Budget

Sweet Couture
Sweet Couture

For those brides among you who may find themselves on a rather tight wedding budget during these rather tough economic times, we recently ran this post with great budget-maximizing tips from top Houston wedding planner Karen Brown.

Well, we’re at it again, this time with input from the delightful and gracious Heather George of picturesque Conroe wedding venue Heather’s Glen.

Here’s Heather’s advice for the budget-watching bride:

On FAVORS: “Brides can save a lot by not purchasing cheap tchotchkes that really add up! Rather than purchasing personalized knick-knacks as favors for everyone, provide a
candy buffet or a coffee bar. Your guests are likely to eat candy, but not likely to save a coaster with your picture and wedding date on it.”

On LINEN: “See what your facility already provides; many have standard linens and centerpieces that you can spruce up with your colors in rose petals or a runner, rather than renting expensive linens.”

On VENUE RENTAL: “Another excellent way to save is to have a wedding on a Friday night, Saturday morning or Sunday evening.  Most facilities have lower minimums for those hours.”

On PHOTOGRAPHERS: “NEVER skimp on a photographer. The pictures will last a lifetime. If you find a gorgeous facility, you want to have quality pictures of your special day there. It would be a shame to look back and say, ‘The pictures just don’t do it justice!’”

Amen to that, Heather. And thanks a million for the free advice—now we’ve got more to spend on that yummy candy buffet!

Nonalcoholic Wedding Drinks

Like peanut butter and jelly, like shoes and socks, like you and your future hubby, weddings and alcohol are two things that just, well, go together. But not always, and not for everyone.

While most weddings feature alcoholic beverages in some form—a full premium bar, beer and wine, champagne, alcoholic punch or a signature cocktail—there are always going to be wedding guests who prefer to abstain. Do you really want to leave your nondrinking guest—whether a recovering alcoholic, designated driver, teenager or simply someone who chooses to forgo or limit her consumption—out in the cold?

In addition to sparkling water and sodas (for extra panache, you may want to throw in a selection of fancy or retro-looking bottled fizzes such as IZZE Sparkling Juice, Thomas Kemper Vanilla Cream Soda, Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry Soda, etc.) there are plenty of perfectly celebratory nonalcoholic “cocktail” options you may choose to feature at your wedding. Your caterer or bar service may specialize in certain no-booze beverages, so be sure to ask what’s on the menu. And make sure your bar is stocked with the necessary juices, syrups, mixes and garnishes to make a great nonalcoholic drink should a guest request one.

In the meantime, here are two of our favorite festive, fabulous nonalcoholic “cocktails” to wet your whistle:

Madras
Madras

Perfect for hot-weather weddings, the Madras is a refreshing blend of orange and cranberry juice. Just omit the vodka that usually goes into this vibrant cocktail, serve in a highball glass with plenty of ice and an orange-slice garnish, and you’ve got a perfect beverage for a sunny al fresco or tented reception. Tip: Sub grapefruit juice for orange juice and you’ve got an alcohol-free Sea Breeze; sub pineapple juice for orange, and, voila, it’s a Bay Breeze!

Nojito
Nojito

This one takes a little work to prepare fresh to order, but it’s well worth the effort. Fill a pint glass halfway with ice, add a handful of clean, fresh mint leaves, add 3 ounces of fresh lime juice and 1 ½ ounces of simple syrup. Gently muddle the mix with a wooden pestle. Add more ice, top with club soda, and serve with a mint/lime garnish. Delicious! Tip: You can prep the mint leaves and squeeze the lime juice ahead of time, but DON’T muddle the mint beforehand, or it will blacken and wilt. Ick.