July 17th, 2017
{Celebrity Floral Designer Ariel Dearie Takes Us Behind Her Designs}
 

Writer: Natasha Garber

While managing a Brooklyn restaurant in the early 2000’s, Ariel Dearie would put together the occasional flower arrangement for her employer—a hobby she came to adore. Though she had been planning to open her own café for years, her passion for floral design took over, and after arranging flowers for a few friends’ weddings one summer, she found herself on a new, and very successful, career path.  With the launch of Ariel Dearie Flowers in 2011, Dearie began making a major name for herself, attracting fashionable corporate clients including Dior, Prada and Bulgari, and working on photo shoots with notables including Isabella Rossellini, Jessica Chastain and Hillary Clinton. Her own “Vogue”-featured 2015 wedding, set at Brooklyn’s Boathouse at Prospect Park, and decked out with sprigs of fern, sinewy orchids and pomegranates, is emblematic of her design sensibility. And her sensible approach to wedding floral that is as evocative as it is unfussy is a style-minded bride’s dream-come-true. Check out or exclusive Q&A, and then find your own Houston wedding florist, and start growing your one-of-a-kind wedding design!

Ariel-Dearie-Refinery-Hotel Photo: Courtesy of Ariel Dearie

Weddings in Houston: What influence does your New Orleans background have on your floral design aesthetic?

Ariel Dearie: Growing up in a lush, verdant city definitely had an impact on my work. I think that going from New Orleans to New York really left me with a longing for more green and more nature. Some of my favorite Southern flowers are camellias, azaleas and smilax foliage.

Ariel-Dearie-Flower-Arrangement Photo: Courtesy of Ariel Dearie

WIH: What changes have you seen in couples’ floral preferences since you launched your business in 2011?

AD: Over the past years, having beautiful flowers at your wedding has become just as important as having a great venue or a great photographer. Our couples have started requesting flowers that are unexpected and out of the ordinary, and they also want to have non-floral elements included in their arrangements, like fruit, feathers and nuts. Instead of just standard roses, they want frilly garden roses blended with textural foliage and berries. Instead of a ball of hydrangeas, they want lace hydrangea as an accent with tree peonies and kumquats. Instead of simple clear glass vessels, our couples usually choose from our inventory of antique silver, brass and ceramic pieces.

WIH: What are some of your favorite bouquet ideas, and how do you collaborate with each bride to make sure she has a bouquet she’ll cherish?

AD: I love loose, flowing bouquets that feel as if you’ve just swept up the blooms from a garden. When coming up with a bouquet design for our clients, I usually ask what they want to carry and how they want to feel while carrying it. We also take their dress and the wedding setting into account. I love when brides want to include a family heirloom or sentimental item in their bouquet. I think it makes the bouquet extra special.

WIH: What floral trends or design “fallbacks” do you dislike most? 

AD: I don’t really like super-tight floral arrangements that cease to look like flowers. I don’t think flowers should be heavily manipulated to look like something they’re not.

Ariel-Dearie Photo: Courtesy of Ariel Dearie

WIH: What design trends are you seeing evolve for your 2018 weddings?

AD: For the past few years and continuing into the 2018 season, couples have been requesting larger-scale installations in addition to bouquets and table centerpieces. These have included hanging floral pieces suspended over the tables and lush arches for the entryways. To create these, we love to use vines such as smilax and pair those with garden roses, peonies and Dutch carnations.

WIH: What is your top wedding tip for couples tying the knot in Houston—where climate is an issue any time of year?

AD: For outdoor weddings, always have a good Plan B, in case the weather isn’t cooperating. And make sure to choose a venue where you’d be happy with either the indoor or outdoor options. It’s just one less (big) thing to stress about!

WIH: What do you love most about working on weddings?

AD: We have been so fortunate with the clients we have gotten to work with. I think there’s something about the natural, loose style of our flowers that just attracts really lovely people to our work!

Ariel-Dearie Photo: Courtesy of Ariel Dearie

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July 14th, 2017
{Show Us Your Selfie & You Could WIN A Polaroid Camera!}
 

Weddings-In-Houston-Cover
Cover Photo: Sylvie Gil | Monique Lhuillier Gown: Joan Pillow Bridal Salon | Stylist: Summar Salah | Headpiece: Weddings by Debbie | Earrings & Ring: Neiman Marcus | Hair: Ceron Hair Studio| Makeup: VCI Artists | Assistant: Devin Harvey

Y’all. We are SO excited about our special anniversary issue that we’re doing a week long Instagram #selfie contest… to win a Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Polaroid camera!

HOW TO ENTER:

1. Follow us on Instagram

2. Take a selfie with the new mag (shown in pic, available at these locations)

3. Use the hashtag #wihandme **Profile must be public**

4. Deadline: Sun. 7/16. Winner will be announced next week. Good luck, and we can’t wait to see those selfies!

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July 13th, 2017
{Find Your Wedding Style With Your Zodiac Sign}
 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so many wedding dresses and wedding styles to choose from, which is why homing in on your zodiac sign can be a great place to start narrowing down options. Each Zodiac sign has its own unique profile, just like each bride, and each wedding. Scroll down here to find your sign, and shop the looks that express it!

Earth: Driven and engaging all senses, your vision for a blissful wedding is emotional and sensual. You love earthy tones mixed with hints of gold, and adore the idea of mixing classic and modern touches. Earth
1. Marchesa Embellished Cape Gown: Saks Fifth Avenue 2. Jennifer Behr Earrings: NET-A-PORTER 3. Kevyn Aucoin The Matte Lip Color in Bloodroses: NET-A-PORTER 4. Gumuchian Rose Gold Diamond Ring: Lewis Jewelers 5. Charlotte Olympia Orchid Pandora Clutch: NET-A-PORTER 6. Bouquet: Keisha’s Kreations 7. Eternal Romance Invitation: Wedding Paper Divas 8. Gianvito Rossi Satin Sandals: NET-A-PORTER 9. Four-Tier Cake: Sweet Regards by Daniela

Air: Creative, quick-thinking and full of fancy, you’re a heady romantic with a flair for fun. Light-as-air fabrics and blush tones are the wedding textures and colors you have your eyes on.

Air 1. Marchesa Pre-Fall Couture 2017: Marchesa 2. Lele Sadoughi Straw Tassel Earrings: Lele Sadoughi 3. Tom Ford Skin Illuminator: Neiman Marcus 4. Ted Baker Oriental Blossom Clutch: Bloomingdale’s 5. Gilded Shore Coral Invitation: Minted 6. Bouquet: Darryl & Co. 7. Anna Sheffield Hazeline Suite: Anna Sheffield 8. Badgley Mischka ‘Blakely’ Mesh Evening Shoe: Badgley Mischka 9. Four-Tier Cake: Bobbette & Belle

Fire: Passionate, positive and powerful, you’re the life of the party—at the party of a lifetime! You want to stay true to yourself and show off your boldness with bright colors!

Fire 1. Sabyasachi Red Floral Lehenga: Sabyasachi 2. Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick in Bawse: Smashbox 3. Floral Arrangement: Dream Bouquet 4. Minza Khan Yasmin Clutch: Minza Khan 5. Centifolia Rose Invitation: Minted 6. Ruby & Diamond Ring: Nazar’s Fine Jewelry 7. Sergio Rossi Tresor Swarovski Crystal & Suede Sandal: Saks Fifth Avenue 8. Two-Tier Cake: Cake Ink

Water: Sensitive, thoughtful and imaginative, your wedding-day inspiration never stops flowing! You absolutely adore the idea of watercolor invitations, floral cakes and wedding dresses that make you feel like you’re floating as you walk down the aisle.

Water 1. Lazaro Gown: Ivory Bridal Atelier, Weddings by Debbie 2. Sutra Sapphire & Diamond Tassel Earrings: Zadok Jewelers 3. Rafe Sofia Straw Minaudiere: Neiman Marcus 4. Goshwara Gossip London Blue Topaz Bracelet: Zadok Jewelers 5. Indigo Sea Invitation: Minted 6. Bouquet: TnT Events, Flowers & Decorations  7. Imagine Vince Camuto Phoebe Embellished T-Strap Sandals: Bloomingdale’s 8. Three-Tier Floral & Metallic Cake: Cake Ink

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July 12th, 2017
{Wedding Menu Q&A with Atlanta’s Talk Of The Town Catering}
 

Writer: Michelle Naik

What does a hungry 11-year-old boy do when his mom is studying for nursing school exams and his dad is a traveling salesman? Well, if he’s Andrew Brackner, he tunes into PBS and starts learning his way around a kitchen, with the help of charismatic TV chefs like Julia Child and Martin Yan. From these humble beginnings, Brackner eventually worked his way up through the culinary industry, putting in time as a dishwasher and waffle-house cook, before eventually landing at the Ritz Carlton, and getting his culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu (where he graduated top of his class, natch). An executive chef position at Atlanta’s renowned Talk Of The Town Catering & Special Events—clients include Missy Elliot, Steve Harvey, Tyler Perry, Usher, Shaquille O’Neal and more than a couple of NFL teams—eventually led to Brackner’s purchase of the company in 2010. In this exclusive Weddings in Houston interview we get the scoop on Brackner’s most in-demand menus, the wedding menu trends he’s tracking for 2018 (you can chat about these and plenty more reception food ideas with Houston’s own top wedding caterers) and his passion for bringing the taste of the South to events far and wide.

Andrew-Brackner Photo: Courtesy of Talk Of The Town Catering

WIH: Describe one of the most exciting wedding menus you’ve created recently—what makes it so fabulous?

AB: We have been selected to cater the wedding for the daughter of the president of the largest seafood distribution company in the Southeast. This is a unique wedding because they are providing all the proteins, including caviar (which we are serving on edible sushi-rice spoons with bluefin tuna and seaweed), diver scallops, lobster, king crab (which we are doing in Thai basil rolls), wagyu beef that’s being served as carved rib roast with maître d’ butter, and kumamoto oysters with mignonette ice, fresh chilies, chimichurri and pickled pears. The majority of the items will be produced at live action stations by our own chefs.

Talk-Of-The-Town-Catering Photo: Six Hearts Photography

WIH: What are some of your most in-demand menu items for wedding receptions?     

AB: I have learned that clients want their guests to be familiar with the food, but also want to include a unique twist. As an example, one of our top selling passed items is sliced quail breast with red-onion marmalade, served on a mini fried green tomato. House-made charcuterie and local cheeses are always a crowd pleaser, but we add a twist with our garnishes by including truffle honey, mango chutney, and pickled cauliflower and carrots, and we incorporate root-veggie chips alongside the traditional bread and crackers. One of our most popular stations is our carved serrano ham display, which includes crostini with a variety of spreads and toppings (goat cheese, small-batch mustard, arugula, pickled onions, shaved fennel and balsamic syrup). Our barbecue raspberry duck breast with butternut-squash polenta is also becoming a huge hit!

Talk-Of-The-Town-Catering Photo: Anna Shackleford

WIH: What culinary trends are you tracking for 2017-2018 weddings?

AB: The scenery! We are customizing more and more menus to reflect the location of the wedding. Whether it’s an informal crawfish boil next to the river, a small-plates tapas-style action station at a winery, or even a white-glove Russian-style service at a downtown location, our culinary services need to be reflective of the location to truly give the guests a cohesive experience.

Talk-Of-The-Town-Catering Photo: Farrah Brianna

WIH: What are some of your favorite display ideas for fun, unique, interactive food stations?

AB: Chafer-less food stations are a big hit. Instead of using a heat lamp for a carving station, we use a blowtorch to gently brush the roast and keep warm. We also have used marble tiles with sterno underneath to keep food hot. I am a big fan of large iron griddle plates—we use these to keep mini cast-iron skillets warm for our seafood-and-grits station, Cuban sandwich sliders, cornmeal-dusted trout, grilled asparagus and chicharones. The possibilities are endless! Another favorite is the vertical buffet station. We have used ladders with slates of wood, magnet walls with metal dishes, and stackable square blocks with glass shelves.

 Photo: Ben Vigil

WIH: Here in Texas, barbecue is BIG. How do you present barbecue in an upscale dining environment like a wedding reception?

AB: I like to give my clients approachable, familiar items with a slight twist. Some of my favorite ways to present traditional barbecue are grilled quail kabobs with peach barbecue sauce, raspberry barbecue duck with butternut-squash polenta. Or we might pass a mini barbecue-pork slider with mango jicama slaw, peppercorn-smoked shrimp, and scallops with spicy rosemary corn coulis. We even did a barbecue octopus station with smoked tomato, pickled radish, roasted garlic, bacon batons and a Worcestershire-balsamic glaze. I love thinking about ingredients and how they can be rearranged to fit the occasion.

Talk-Of-The-Town-Catering Photo: Anna Shackleford

Ready to dig in to your own menu planning adventure? Peruse our list of Houston’s hottest wedding caterers and culinary experts, and start dreaming up (and savoring samples of) a wedding menu you and your guests won’t forget!

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July 11th, 2017
{7 Adorable Houston Proposals That Will Give You The Feels}
 

Grab those tissues, y’all. You’ve been warned about these real proposal stories, real engagement ring selections and the real Houston couples behind them.

Jessica & Grant

Jeweler: Zadok Jewelers

Proposal Photo: Meghan Rolfe Photography

Jessica’s Story: In November of 2016, Grant and I planned a trip to visit some of my best friends at their home in beautiful Winston-Salem, N.C., to see the fall foliage. The last day of our trip, we made the drive up to The Biltmore in Asheville. It was breathtaking, and looked like a picture-perfect painting of fall, which happens to be my favorite season. When we arrived, Grant took me to a spot that has the best view of the estate. Soon, he was down on one knee. He popped the question, and I said, “Yes!” We spent the rest of our stay exploring The Biltmore, tasting wine and horseback riding through the beautiful property. It was perfect! We will be married at Saint Anne Catholic Church on Sept. 23, 2017, with a reception to follow at Hotel ZaZa.

Allison & Henry

Jeweler: Eklektic Jewelry Studio

Allison-and-Henry-Proposal Photo: Courtesy of Eklektic Jewelry Studio

Henry’s Story: I proposed on our one-year anniversary at Eklektic Jewelry Studio, where the founders Marco Sr. and Marco Jr. had helped me design and create an amazing engagement ring from a sketch on a piece of paper. I spent about 30 hours working on the ring with them and they called me the minute the ring was ready. I then called my soon-to-be fiancée, Allison, and asked her to meet me at Eklektic ASAP!  She drove in the pouring rain and arrived at Eklektic about an hour later. Marco Sr. and Marco Jr. had set the most amazing stage for my proposal with flowers and bubbly. The ring, which has a cushion-cut center diamond with an alternating variation of diamonds in the halo, was gift-wrapped in a beautiful box. As Allison started to open the box, I got down on one knee and asked her (the most amazing person I have ever met) to spend the rest of her life with me. And she said, “Yes!”

Maggie & John

Jeweler: Lewis Jewelers

Maggie-and-John-Proposal Photo: Kasey Lynn Photography

Maggie’s Story: We both love going to the beach. For my birthday, John rented a beach house in Bolivar, where his family used to own a house that was destroyed by Hurricane Ike. On Saturday morning, we woke up, had some Champagne and went down to the beach to look for shells. He drove us to the beachfront where his family’s house once stood. The shells on the beach were all brown and broken, but then I saw one that was bright yellow, huge and perfectly intact. I exclaimed for John to come look, and when I picked it up, I noticed there was a little jewelry bag inside. I opened it, and John got down on one knee and proposed. It is a moment that still gives me such joy.

We’re thrilled to share engagement stories from not one, but two, of the family jewelers from Nazar’s Fine Jewelry. Brothers Nareg and Alec Kalajian both proposed to their fiancées with rings they made themselves, and both brothers are having 2017 weddings at Hotel ZaZa.

Alec & Seelva (no pic yet for these two cuties…but we’ll be sure to share images from their wedding later this year!)

Alec’s Story: Seelva and I met at a Halloween karaoke night at our church, but we didn’t date until April of the next year. We weren’t dating for very long before I decided to propose to her that August. I asked her to come to the store for a little bit, and I left to go get some flowers. But getting the flowers ended up taking forever! I rushed home and I put a bunch of flowers in the apartment and put vases with one rose in each to make a path to a table in our apartment. After I had made her wait at the store for probably too long, I told her to meet me at the apartment, where she found me on one knee with a three-stone-cushion-cut-diamond-and-twisted-yellow-gold engagement ring. Afterwards, we went back to the store to celebrate with everyone, and then went to dinner with my parents and brother Nareg. Nareg’s proposal story is probably a little better than mine…

Nareg & Darlene

Nareg-and-Darlene-Proposal Photo: Courtesy of Nazar’s Fine Jewelry

Nareg’s Story: Darlene and I had plans to take a trip to Seattle. I just finished making her ring at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and we had a flight at 6:30 p.m. that day. We were the last ones on the plane and the airline was going to make me check my bag, but that was where I had kept the ring!  So, I sneakily put the ring in my jacket pocket, but the box was kind of thick and I was worried that Darlene could see it. We ended up sitting across from each other on opposite sides of the aisle. At one point, she asked me if she could borrow my jacket because she was cold, but I had to say…“No!”

We originally met at a Starbucks in Houston, so when we got to Seattle, I wanted to propose at the original Starbucks in Pike Place Market. When we got there, the place was really crowded. I thought, “I can’t do it here,” so we went to a giant Ferris wheel nearby. The Ferris wheel started moving and when we were up in the air, I proposed. I was still able to get down on one knee!

Amanda & Matthew

Jeweler: Loggins Jewelers

Amanda-Matthew-Engagement_Photographer_Maria_Cordoba_v1-17x11-HI-RES Photo: Maria Cordoba

Matthew’s Story: I’ve wanted to marry Amanda since our first date. After being at her place of employment for 10 years, Amanda was rewarded with a vacation. I was blessed to be invited to accompany Amanda to Thailand! I thought this would be a great place to purchase a unique engagement ring, a ring as unique as our love. While on our vacation, I stumbled upon a gem shop that was going out of business, and I jumped on the chance at buying an engagement ring. I found a blue sapphire that I thought perfectly reflected our relationship.

When I got back to America I went to Loggins Jewelers to ask if they could help me upgrade the engagement ring I bought in Phuket. Jennifer Pappas at Loggins Jewelers was heartbroken when she had to break the news to me my sapphire was in fact blue glass. To say that I was devastated was an understatement, but Jennifer was a godsend. Not only did she make sure I didn’t feel like the worst boyfriend in the history of the world, she gave me hope. Jennifer let me know she was going to handpick some options for me to come take a look at. Feeling lost and overwhelmed at the idea of a new search, this was exactly what I needed to hear. When I met up with Jennifer again, I was taken aback by the difficult selection before me. Jennifer and her sister had picked out four amazingly beautiful rings. After some consideration, I settled on a smoky topaz set in a halo of diamonds.

With the ring in hand, I was ready to propose. I decided I’d propose the same way we met: walking our dogs. I asked if I could spend the rest of my life with Amanda, and she blessed me with her, “Yes!”

Kaylin & Michael

Jeweler: Donoho’s Jewellers

Kalyin-and-Michael-Engagement Photo: Dave DiLauro Photography

Kaylin’s Story: We began dating on Dec. 20, 2006, when Michael took me to an ice rink in The Woodlands and asked me to be his girlfriend. Almost seven years later, on Nov. 23, 2013, he took me to dinner at Brio on The Woodlands Waterway for The Lighting of The Doves [the area’s annual Christmas-display lighting ceremony]. We walked the waterway and when we were under the doves, Michael got down on one knee and ask me to marry him.

We are super grateful to our wonderful couples for sharing their deeply personal proposal stories with us…and with you! And we wish them all a lifetime of love and happiness. Congratulations!!

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