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Giving Thanks for Darryl & Co.

Rachel Ray in Ohio
Rachel Ray in Ohio

We’re thankful for all of the great Houston wedding vendors, but this week, we’re especially thankful for the generous gang at Darryl & Co.

On November 8, the Houston-based events design firm teamed up with Rachael Ray to give 2,000 Wilmington, Ohio residents a Thanksgiving to remember. Many of these Ohioans have lost their jobs since the delivery company DHL Express closed up shop in Wilmington last year, and Ray didn’t think these layoffs should keep them residents from enjoying a tasty Thanksgiving meal.

Having worked with Darryl & Co. to coordinate a lavish wedding for several Houston brides at Minute Maid Park last fall, she knew just who to call to help her out. Naturally, Darryl & Co. was happy to pitch in and spruce up the Wilmington convention center for the big day. During their three days in Wilmington, they helped remodel a local food pantry and worked with “Design on a Dime” host Kahi Lee on dinner décor for the Thanksgiving feast.

Darryl & Co. staff in Ohio
Darryl & Co. staff in Ohio

Together, they designed five different centerpieces, using lanterns, amber votives, and tree branch candelabras. The tables were covered with linens in warm, seasonal hues like gold, brown, chocolate, and burgundy. “When you saw the sea of tables, they looked like a fall tree,” says Darryl & Co.’s Lee Capetillo.

A giant scarecrow designed by Darryl & Co. greeted guests as they entered. Inside were buffets filled with turkey, dressing, green beans, pumpkin pie, and apple pie and decorated with baskets filled with pumpkins and gourds. (Yum!)

“It was really, really fun,” says Capetillo. “The whole town was so supportive from the moment we arrived at the hotel, and we had lots of volunteers who helped us get the place ready.” In fact, Darryl & Co.’s crew made a few new friends with the volunteers, who were eager to help in any way they could. “Our visit was about much more than just setting us up for TV,” Capetillo says. “We made friends and became accepted as part of the town.” With that kind of generosity, we can see why Darryl & Co.’s staff are so popular.

The episode aired on November 25, but if you missed it, you can check it out on Rachael Ray’s website.

Room Decorated by Darryl & Co. for Rachael Ray Thanksgiving Dinner
Room Decorated by Darryl & Co. for Rachael Ray Thanksgiving Dinner

Wedding Chair Covers We Cherish

If you’re planning to use ballroom chairs (otherwise known as chiavaris) at your reception dining tables, Houston bride, make sure they’re dressed for the occasion.

Anyone who’s familiar with The Linen House knows that Jan Cancila and her crew are always coming up with new ideas and beautiful designs in wedding linen. We recently came across some of their gorgeous covers and accents, which bring out the elegance of ballroom chairs, rather than concealing the chairs completely.

How about the feminine, fabulous Ballerina Chair Cover? We adore the combo of buttons and bow—a perfect way to soften the look of formal ballroom chairs.

Ballerina Chair Cover
Ballerina Chair Cover

For taller chairs, this look, reminiscent of tuxedos, is lovely, especially in a muted aqua-and-gold palette and hip stripes-and-dots print.

Aqua-Gold
Aqua-Gold

Check out this chair—it’s got its own bridal gown! OK, maybe not quite, but this cover is so romantic, so pretty, so perfectly suited for a wedding. Love the splash of color from the orchid accent!

Bar Stool Bridal Chair
Bar Stool Bridal Chair

Something a little less lush your style? These chair pads add color and drama, but retain the classic chiavari look.

Classic Chiavari Chairs with Cushion
Classic Chiavari Chairs with Cushion

Don’t see exactly what your hear desires here? The Linen House can create a custom chair cover just for you!

Make the Most of Your Wedding Budget

We had so much great advice we just couldn’t squeeze into our upcoming Weddings in Houston magazine story on maximizing the impact of your wedding budget, we decided a blog post was in order. Let’s face it: These are tough times. Now more than ever, Houston’s style-savvy brides are searching for ways to get the most bang—whether in decor, fashion, food, etc.—for their wedding budget buck.

Lucky for us, hometown wedding coordinator extraordinaire Karen Brown of Karen For Your Memories has these 7 essential tips for getting the most for your wedding money, however much you plan to spend. Don’t event THINK about planning your big day without reading this first!

1.    Cut back on the number of people invited. This gives you a chance to spend more on food, décor, entertainment, or whatever will make you happy.
2.    Order invitations from a reputable dealer…but create your own save-the-dates and programs.
3.    If you are searching for a location that is different, but generally less expensive, check out small art galleries. Just be sure that the art on display during your wedding/reception is something you want to be included in your décor. Another lower cost venue is a garden club where you have beautiful grounds to work with. Just make sure there is an indoor area for backup, in case of bad weather.
4.    Find magazine photos of things that you love and work with your consultant to try and adapt them to your wedding and budget. I had one bride who fell in love with a hand-painted aisle runner of black-and-white paisley. We started searching wallpaper stores and found a similar pattern that could be used, but for less cost. One double roll provided the runner all the way down the aisle. We taped it directly to the wooden floor with tape the color of her green accents.
5.    Add dummy layers to the bottom of your cake. We try to arrange to have the cake moved into the back before being cut and served to the guests, so sometimes all but one layer of the cake is a dummy, and sheet cakes are already cut and plated in the back and ready to be served. You still have a beautiful display cake that is a great focal point, but you spend less money. The guests won’t know unless you tell them!
6.    Never sacrifice memories for other areas that seem to be important to you at the moment.  Photography and videography are probably the most valuable things you will take with you from your wedding—besides your new mate, that is.
7.    Always go for quality, not quantity.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Thanks, Karen!

Make it Personal: Marry Monograms

Marry Monograms Rose
Marry Monograms Rose

We go to a LOT of weddings. And the ones that we love most, the ones that linger longest in our memories, are those weddings where the wedding couple’s personal touch is on everything from flowers to food to favors.

One of the most elegant ways to personalize your wedding, Houston bride, is with a sophisticated monogram logo bearing the initials or names of you and your new spouse. Monogram logos can be used to put your imprint on wedding items including:

–save-the-date cards and invitations
–aisles
–dance floors
–cakes
–wine bottles
–water bottles
–favors

Marry Monograms Wine
Marry Monograms Wine

For versatile, memorable monogram logos, we adore Marry Monograms. For a very reasonable price, MM will create a downloadable JPEG-format logo that you can provide to your invitation designer, cake baker, favor-maker, dance-floor provider—pretty much any vendor whose product can be imprinted. Monogram style categories—MM has more than 200 standard designs available, and can do custom work as well—include Classic, Contemporary, Simple and Romantic, and many logo styles can include your wedding date or wedding locale.

Marry Monograms Dance
Marry Monograms Dance

HWB tip: In the market for fun bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts or bachelor/bachelorette party favors? Use your MM monogram to customize clutches for the ladies and caps or T’s for the gents!

Caffeinate with Care with a Coffee Bar

Java Pura Coffee Bar
Java Pura Coffee Bar

Your fave coffee has been the unsung hero in planning your wedding, keeping you going as you’ve stuffed envelopes, freaked out over the seating chart and flipped through bridal magazine after magazine in search of the perfect up-do. So, why not give your liquid sidekick a special part at your reception by offering a full-service coffee bar?

Our vote for the honor goes to Java Pura, a local coffee roasting and catering company that does events for heavy-hitters like Neiman Marcus, The Houstonian Hotel Club & Spa and Tootsies, and is quickly becoming a must-have vendor among Houston brides.

Hire Java Pura for your big day, and they’ll send their professional barista—commercial grade espresso machine and grinder in tow—to your reception to serve up made-to-order specialty coffee drinks, like crème brulé (latté with caramel), almond joy (latté with dark chocolate and almond syrup) and espresso. Your guests can even opt for frozen cappuccinos, Italian sodas, hot chocolate and an assortment of teas.

Summer brides-to-be, worry not: Java Pura can put any drink over ice, so you can justify the coffee bar as a way to keep your guests cool and caffeinated for plenty of dancing.

And yes, we’re sure your guests will use the coffee bar, no matter the season. Even if you’ve somehow made it to your big day without several dozen carmel macchiatas, at least half of your guests like coffee, says Java Pura co-owner Richard Colt.

And they’ll like it no matter when you serve it during your big day. Java Pura’s first brides just wanted to serve coffee with the wedding cake, but now lots of Houston brides are opting to offer a coffee bar throughout the reception. (Some guests even forego cocktails for a cup—or three—of java!) Speaking of which, a coffee bar makes a fun drink alternative if you’re having an alcohol-free wedding.

If you want to really wow your guests, try this idea from an event held at River Oaks Country Club: Java Pura set up two coffee bars—one in the main area, the other near the exit, so guests could grab a to-go cup for the road. You could even sweeten the send-off gift with a personalized coffee sleeve or mug that reminds guests of how you caffeinated them with care. Your guests will thank you for it. We know we would.