Known for its edgy, elegant decor and chic, cosmopolitan vibe, Houston’s Hotel ZaZa seems like the perfect place for a party. And on Sept. 6 it hosted one heck of a great party, indeed.
The 300-guest engagement celebration for a lovestruck Indian couple took full advantage of ZaZa’s incredibly cool semicircular ballroom—not to mention sleek, sophisticated black chiavari chairs (the hotel has them in house…no need to go outside for rentals).
Sure there were gorgeous flowers from John Freidman and amazing linens from Touch of Elegance. Yes there was that sensational candy bar created by Darryl & Co. Houston Photographer, Steve Lee, was on hand to capture the festivities.
But ZaZa senior catering manager Lisa Hudson says the luncheon event’s food might have been the most enticing element of all. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that the ever-accommodating ZaZa, unlike some properties, allows clients to bring in culturally specific or traditional hors d’oeuvre and desserts, which it serves alongside its own divine contemporary American offerings (exactly what the couple did).
To bring even more zing, ZaZa created a “spice table”—a delicious nod to the couple’s South Asian heritage, which featured tantalizing spices and sauces, and added color and excitement to the festivities.
Hudson says the hotel is working on a whole new catering package that will include plenty of South Asian specialties and vegetarian options for clients who want to add a taste of tradition to their weddings, engagement fetes and other events.
Looking to add a little spice to your own event? Give Lisa a call at 713.639.4505—she’d love to help you out!
Not so long ago, a happy Houston couple and their photographer had only to find a relatively quiet hour of the day to get great engagement or wedding photos at the Water Wall. Not so any more.
Sure, you can still pose for fabulous wedding pix and even get married or renew your vows in front of the famed Philip-Johnson-designed sculptural fountain, between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week. But you’ll have to email Uptown Water Wall Park or call 713.552.2800 to reserve the space (you can do so up to 10 months in advance) AND get a mandatory permit. You’ll also have to pay a fairly hefty fee (how hefty depends on the number of people in your group and how much you plan to impact the park).
Here’s the 411 on fees:
For Engagement/Wedding Photos: $250, whether your photos are being shot by a professional, or by an amateur photographer with a “professional-looking camera,” says park administrator Jane Serbin.
For Weddings/Vow Renewals/Events: $300 for a standing-only, two-hour-max ceremony or event with fewer than 20 people. To have chairs, tables or “anything that touches the grass,” Serbin says, it’s a $1,000 fee + $3,000 deposit—but you do get four hours instead of two. Bonus. For larger groups or more complex weddings (yes, you can have food, alcohol, music, etc., but you’ll need permits for those, too), fees can range as high as $10,000 + $30,000 deposit. Contact the park for details.
If it makes you feel better, fees go toward maintenance of the popular public park.
And if storm clouds should threaten to put a damper on your party, Serbin says you can get your fee back as long as you contact the park office up to one minute before the start time indicated on your permit. Whew.
So does the romance and mystique of the Water Wall merit the price? That’s for you and your beloved to decide, dear Houston bride.
Nothing stokes the appetite like a wedding ceremony. All that pre-wedding preparation and gussying-up, all that pomp and circumstance, all that love being pledged and promised and celebrated. After sighing and smiling their way through your ceremony, you can bet your guests will be hungry. So give them what they need, Houston bride: sustenance, served up with special-occasion flair.
Remember, your cocktail reception hors d’oeuvre will be the first taste guests get of your wedding, and they need to set the right impression. Where presentation is concerned, elegance and artistry are de rigueur, but don’t overdo it—nobody wants to confront food they can’t identify or figure out how to insert into their mouths.
We suggest keeping things simple and delicious, with a focus on quality and handle-ability. As for cocktail reception hors d’oeuvre no-nos? They include messy items (save the Buffalo wings for a post-wedding poker night), bad-breath and heartburn inducers (raw onions do NOT make for pleasant close-quarters mingling), and a lack of choices for vegetarians or guests who observe religious food restrictions (maybe rethink that all-pork smorgasbord your fiancé fancies, Houston bride).
Here are some of our all-time favorite hors d’oeuvre items, any one of which your caterer is likely to be able to provide, along with unique signature specialties of their very own. Can’t decide just by browsing? That’s what tastings are for, Houston bride! Isn’t wedding-planning yummy?
• Goat cheese tart with fig jam
• Smoked salmon tartare on potato slices
• Tuna tartare on crispy wontons
• Tandoori or satay chicken skewers
• Scallops wrapped in smoked bacon
• Coconut shrimp
• Stuffed mushroom caps
• Crispy spring rolls
• Baby lamb chops
• Mini Beef Wellington
• Mini crab cakes
• Mini gourmet pizzas
• Gourmet sliders
• Assorted crostini (savory toasted crackers topped with cheese, vegetables or meat—make sure they’re not too crunchy or they’ll shatter when guests try to bite them!)
If you’ve ever attended a wedding, Houston bride, you know that the restroom is usually one of the most heavily trafficked areas in the venue. For starters, there’s the little matter of all that wedding-day weeping, which naturally drives makeup-wearers into the restroom for touch-ups. More than that, the restroom—particularly the ladies’ room—is typically the scene of lively conversations, sometimes even of happy reunions (there’s often so much going on at the wedding, that the ladies’ room ends up being where gals go to catch up on gossip and reconnect with old friends).
Unfortunately, the restroom is frequently one of the most overlooked areas when it comes to wedding decor and floral. If your wedding site’s restroom is going to be a central gathering point, doesn’t it deserve a proper dolling up? Don’t your guests deserve to be immersed in the beauty and grandeur of your wedding even when they step off the dance floor and into the loo?
So, please pardon our toilet talk, but here are a few fantastic ideas for giving your reception restroom(s) the attention to which they’re entitled:
Petal Project: Carry through your wedding’s floral look by placing small arrangements, even just a couple of blooms, on the restroom’s sink counter.
Wax Works: If your venue allows, place votive candles on the sink counter, or incorporate them into the mini floral arrangements. Restrooms are the perfect place to use scented candles, which should be avoided in dining areas so as not overwhelm sensitive sniffers and conflict with food scents.
Sound Scape: If it’s possible to conceal a small sound system and set up speakers discreetly, have songs from your wedding playlist playing in the restroom—at a soft, conversation-friendly volume, of course.
Touch Up Stuff: If your venue’s restroom doesn’t already provide them, you should purchase items like hair spray, hand lotion, Q-tips, breath mints and Band-Aid Blister Block, and have your planner or venue staff arrange them attractively on the restroom counter (decorative mirror trays and glass sundry jars work well for this purpose, and can be gussied up with glass stones, floral and candles). For the men’s room, set out handkerchiefs, toothpicks, breath mints and hard candies. Your guests will be grateful, we guarantee.
If you’ve always envisioned your wedding as a strictly adult affair, this probably isn’t a blog post you need to bother with. BUT, if like many brides, you are considering including one, two or a bunch of children at your wedding, you’ll want to read on.
Whether or not to have children at your wedding is almost always a difficult decision fraught with potential offenses and possible (but certainly avoidable) catastrophes. If you happen to either have children in your family with whom you are very close, or have children of your own, then there’s a good chance you’ll want to include these little ones on your guest list.
Of course, it helps hugely if your wedding is scheduled to take place fairly early in the day (tantrums are much more likely to occur late, when children are kept up past regular bedtimes).
And, naturally, you’re more likely to be comfortable with kids at your wedding if you welcome the whimsical spontaneity that children often bring, and are OK with some things not going exactly as you had planned (perhaps your little nephew simply refuses to wear anything but his beloved green dinosaur T-shirt, or your best friend’s young daughter decides to belt out the ABC song during your ceremony!).
If you do decide to have wee ones at your wedding, here are five top tips for maximizing their (and your) enjoyment, and minimizing meltdowns.
1. Keep Them Occupied: Nothing breeds crankiness and chaos more than boredom. If you plan to have children at your wedding, make sure you have plenty for them to do. This may mean hiring a professional children’s entertainer to tell stories, paint faces, etc., or a childcare provider (or two) to take the kids on a “discovery stroll” or lead a scavenger hunt. If your venue has space, you may want to set up a separate “screening room” where you can play kids’ TV programs or movies on DVD.
2. Feed Them: Kids tend to be finicky eaters, and they tend to behave better when well fed. Keep their bellies full and their attention occupied by providing kid-friendly meal items served at low, easy-to-reach tables. Good choices include finger foods like chicken strips, mini burgers, cheese pizza, veggies and dip, and fresh fruit, along with juice boxes or milk boxes to drink. Try to avoid serving them sweet treats, which inevitably lead to sugar-fueled hyperactivity and the inevitable post-mania crash.
3. Give Them a Role: If possible, include invited children in your ceremony by giving them tasks. Sure, there’s usually only one ring-bearer or flower girl, but who says you can’t have three darling little girls holding tiny nosegays beside your bridesmaids, or two handsome boys handing out programs to entering guests?
4. Let Parents Prep in Peace: Try to provide childcare during the hours prior to your wedding to allow guests, especially members of your wedding party, to get themselves ready. This is especially feasible if you are getting married at a hotel or club where a room can be set aside for kids to eat, nap or play while parents get gussied up elsewhere on site.
5. Don’t Force the Issue: A wedding can be an intimidating environment for a small child. Don’t try to force a resistant child to leave his parents’ side, or to participate in activities if he doesn’t seem inclined. Most children need a little time to warm up to the situation and will naturally gravitate toward other kids who are having fun when he is comfortable and feels safe and ready.