Wedding Planning Stressing You Out? Try a Modern Honeymoon

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Let’s be honest, Houston bride: You’ve never needed a vacation as badly as you do in the midst of juggling those 7 million little details you diplomatically call planning your wedding. Luckily, you’ve got your honeymoon to look forward to, right? Ugh, if only you have to plan that, too …

Well, now, you can cross all of those honeymoon planning details off your to-do list. Instead, just pick up the phone and call Houston’s own Modern Honeymoons or visit their  website. This totally free service will do all of the legwork of planning your romantic getaway—and save you some serious money.

All you have to do is tell them about you and your fiancé’s honeymoon style and budget. Want to take a cruise around the world? Soak up the sun and drink piña coladas at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico? Pose in front of ancient monuments as you backpack across Europe and stay at cozy bed and breakfasts? You name it, Modern Honeymoons has you covered.

By milking its relationships with some of the world’s best resorts, boutique hotels and travel wholesalers, Modern Honeymoons—a division of Travel with Tim—scores newlyweds-to-be the best deals on airfare, rental cars, hotels, cruises. Their specialty? All-inclusive-stay packages, which means you and your guy can forget about money and planning meals and activities (finally!) and just relax and soak up your first days of marital bliss. And don’t worry about your budget—no matter how much you can afford to spend, Modern Honeymoons can put together a romantic honeymoon package that fits the bill.

That’s not the only reason to love this sweet honeymoon planning service: Modern Honeymoons can even set up a honeymoon registry. That’s right, Houston bride, you can give your wedding guests the option of helping to foot the bill for a honeymoon you’re sure to always remember (rather than a dozen settings of fine China you probably won’t use). And you can give yourself an even fancier post-wedding vacay than you’d planned.

So what are you waiting for? Your to-do list called, and it wants “plan honeymoon” crossed off—like now.

Wedding Reception Fun

We love the idea of injecting a little extra amusement into your wedding, don’t you? We’re not talking balloon animals and bouncy castles here (although, if that’s your bag, Houston bride, go for it!). We’re thinking about intriguing, unexpected, slightly more grown-up diversions.

For instance:
Magic on the Move
The strolling magician is a very cool cocktail-reception idea. Imagine a suave, debonair magician circling the room and stopping by cocktail tables. Guests don’t have to do much except maybe pick a card, any card, and enjoy the mystery and excitement of good, old-fashioned sleight-of-hand—and enjoy it they will, guaranteed.

Photo Booth
Fast becoming a reception favorite, the classic or digital photo booth gives guests a chance to make their own wedding memories. Throw in photo booth frames—these can easily double as place-card holders—and you’ve got a fun wedding favor, too! Ask your photographer for a booth rental referral.

Sweet Sensations
Another much-loved activity-favor combo is the custom candy bar. Stock your bar with your favorite childhood sweets, or match your candy colors to your reception palette. Supply guests with custom-monogrammed or imprinted bags, tins or boxes, and let them go to town!

Planning a warm-weather wedding? There’s something so nice about ice cream. Rare is the guest who’s not charmed by the make-your-own sundae bar or cone cart. Your wedding caterer can help you plan the perfect treat.

Late Night Fun
Planning to do a post-reception lounge or after-party? Consider featuring an authentic cigar-roller. If your groom, dad or dude friends are cigar fans, they’ll love the chance to watch a rolling pro do his thing—and enjoy the fruits of his labors, accompanied by a sophisticated postprandial libation, afterward (in the appropriate outdoor setting, of course).

For indoor late-night entertainment, nothing beats a little karaoke! Rent a setup, stock your song list with classic wedding tunes and your favorite hits, hire a karaoke MC, have your wedding coordinator set up a stage, and you’ve got the makings for YEARS of amusing wedding anecdotes. What could be better than that?

Hot Wedding Apps

If you’re one of those lucky gals who just got a cool new iPhone this holiday season, take note: Your phone can do more than call, text, e-mail, shoot, guide, play, look up, add up, alert, inform and entertain. Why, that ingenious little handful of technology can help you plan your wedding, too!

Wedding-related iPhone apps abound—some made specifically for wedding planning, some just natural fits for the planning-mode bride—and, as with all apps, some are simply better than others. To help you decide which app is best for you, we’ve noted a few of our favorites:

iWedding Deluxe
iWeddingDeluxe
This turnkey planning app (it replaces the earlier iWedding app) includes such handy features as a fully customizable to-do list, scheduler, auto or manual budget tracker, guest detail section, invitation status tracker, gift tracker and inspiration/ideas section. We’re big fans of the home screen Quickview Binder, which provides fast access to to-dos, notes, budget and photos.

iBridalGown
ibridalgown
So many gowns, such a useful app! When you shop at a local bridal salon, enter detailed info on the gowns you’re considering—style, silhouette, fabric, price, etc.—along with notes on any special features or thoughts you might have about each gown (“very Audrey Hepburn a la ‘My Fair Lady,’” “better w/no straps?” “Brad’s gonna LOVE it,” etc.). Also lets you take and organize gown pix (first make sure the salon allows pre-purchase photos—many don’t).

Etsy Addict
EtsyAddict
The vintage craze is in full swing for 2010 weddings, and there’s no better place to find unique, handmade, vintage-inspired wedding fashion, accessories and décor than at that haven of all things handmade, Etsy. A mere buck buys you this awesome app, which lets you browse Etsy listings by category, view listing details including materials and price, and instantly grab limited-edition listings before another buyer beats you to it. A recent visit to Etsy turned up such fantastic finds as handmade wedding bands, gorgeous Art Deco jewelry and—so cool—wedding gowns from Project Runway Season 6 finalist Carol Hannah. If these sorts of handmade treasures appeal to you, get your hands on this app, pronto!

Fab Invitations Just for You from Tad + Faboo

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We know about you, Houston bride: You’ve got a flair for style, and you’re making sure every little detail on your wedding day has your name written all over it. Shoes, dress, and jewels? Check, check, check. First dance song? Check. Place cards? Obvi.

But what about your invitations? Have you found some that show off your unique style and really set the tone for the wedding you’re planning?

What’s that, Houston bride? You’re still looking? Well, then we insist: Stop flipping through those big books of invitations and head directly to Tad + Faboo’s Web site. Run by husband and wife duo, Tad and Heather Griffin, this Houston paperie and stationery studio works with brides to design elegant save-the-dates, wedding invitations, menus, cocktail napkins, escort cards, thank you notes, shower invites, programs, and more.

Looking for an invitation with pockets? They can design one for you. Looking for an eco-friendly save-the-date? They can take care of that, too.

Have we mentioned that Tad + Faboo specializes in Letterpress Printing? Oh, yes, Houston bride, this boutique invitation studio knows how to put on the charm.

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Letterpress might not be your thing, of course, and the Griffins know this. That’s why they also offer traditional offset printing.

Brides who use Tad + Faboo have two options for selecting invitations: If you’re on a budget, try Tad + Faboo’s stock collection. You can get any of the invitations, and other stationery from their collection, customized to match your wedding color palette. Or, if you’re looking for something truly one-of-a-kind and have a little dough to spare, consider opting for Tad + Faboo’s custom design option. This way, you’ll get exactly the invitation you’ve dreamed of in the colors you want, with the flair you want. And no other Houston bride will have an invitation quite like yours.

What matters most at Tad + Faboo is that your wedding stationery radiates your unique wedding style or theme. Your big day is about you, after all.

That’s why Tad and Heather spend one to three hours getting to know their brides and grooms before they ever begin the design process. And they make two complimentary rounds of revisions before they print your invitations. With that sort of commitment to their brides, we practically want to marry Tab + Faboo!

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!