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Hotel ZaZa Hosts an Indian Engagement Party with Panache

Likhari Engagement
Likhari Engagement

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.

Likhari Engagement
Likhari Engagement

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).

Ballroom at Hotel ZaZa
Ballroom at Hotel ZaZa

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.

Candy Buffet
Candy Buffet

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!

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Around Town: Uptown Water Wall Park Has New Permit Reqs & Fees, Same Romantic Vibe

Uptown Water Wall
Uptown Water Wall

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.

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Pre-Wedding Beauty Products Your Body Will Love

Sure, luxurious pre-wedding spa and salon treatments are a necessary bridal indulgence. They’re also expensive, and let’s face it, most busy Houston brides-to-be can’t spend hours a day getting rubbed and scrubbed and professionally lavished with lotions and potions.

That’s where beauty products come in. Fortunately, the marketplace is bubbling over with effective, high-quality products that feel good, smell good and, when used at home regularly, will have you looking not just good, but GORGEOUS, by your wedding day.

Here are some of our favorite picks for head-to-toe bridal beauty:

Kerastase Oleo-Relax Masque
Kerastase Oleo-Relax Masque

Hair Masque
When it comes to getting hair into wedding-ready condition, nothing holds a candle to celebrity standby Kerastase Oleo-Relax Masque. Excellent for dry, curly, coarse or over-processed hair, as well as normal hair, this five-minute masque leaves hair incredibly soft, smooth and shiny.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple
Philosophy Purity Made Simple

Skin Cleanser
Sephora loves Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple facial cleanser and so do we. The 2008 “Best of Sephora” award-winner packs in sandalwood, sage, carrot and coconut, in a daily cleanser that rids skin of makeup AND excess oil without drying or irritation of any kind.

Origins Ginger Body Scrub
Origins Ginger Body Scrub

Body Scrub
Sweet-almond oil, macadamia oil, ginger zest—we don’t know if we want to shower with it or eat it! Origins Ginger Body Scrub is full of delicious ingredients, along with sloughing Dead Sea salts—amazing for all-over buffing and silk-smooth skin (even knees and elbows!).

Butter London Stiletto Stick Hydrating Heel Balm
Butter London Stiletto Stick Hydrating Heel Balm

Foot Balm
Butter London’s Stiletto Stick Hydrating Heel Balm really does transform hard, dry, cracked feet and heels into wedding-worthy tootsies. We love its purse-size packaging and heavenly scent. Use daily in conjunction with a good pumice for best results, and get ready to slip confidently into those designer slingbacks, Houston bride.

Opi's Original Nail Envy Natural Nail Strengthener
Opi's Original Nail Envy Natural Nail Strengthener

Nail Strengthener
Weak, soft, thin nails? Get prepped for your wedding mani-pedi with OPI’s Original Nail Envy Natural Nail Strengthener. Applied every other day, Nail Envy strengthens and repairs brittle and damaged nails—even if you’ve worn acrylics for ages. Your ring finger will thank you, Houston bride!

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Make it Official: Getting a Houston Marriage License

Photo: D. Jones
Photo: D. Jones

Hey Houston bride with the wedding in the works—you got a license for that thing?

If you’re planning to get hitched in Houston, you’re going to need a marriage license from the Harris County Clerk’s office. To get one, you and your fiancé will need to pay a visit to either the main office, or one of numerous branch offices.

Here’s what you need to know before you go:

•    To get a marriage license without parental consent, both parties need to be 18; 16 with parental consent.

•    You need to purchase your marriage license at least 72 hours, but no more than one month, before the date of your ceremony. The license expires 30 days after the date on which it was issued, if the ceremony has not been conducted in that time. The 72-hour “waiting period” is automatically waived for military personnel, who can get married as soon as they have their license (though they’ll need to show military ID at time of license purchase).

•    To purchase a marriage license, you need to bring a valid ID with you to the county clerk’s office (driver license, DPS ID card, passport, resident alien card or other government-issued identification).

•    The fee for the license is $71 (a bargain, considering it’s for a lifetime of wedded bliss).

•    You DO NOT need to bring a witness to purchase your license; you DO NOT need to have a blood test.

•    Once you have your marriage license, you’ll need to be married by someone authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in Houston.

These include

–Licensed or ordained Christian ministers and priests
–Jewish rabbis
–Officers of religious organizations who are duly authorized by the organization to conduct marriage ceremonies
–Justices of the supreme court; justices of the court of appeals; judges of the district, county and probate courts; judges of the county court-at-law, courts of domestic relations and juvenile courts; retired justices and judges of such courts; justices of the peace; retired justices of the peace; and judges and magistrates of the federal courts of Texas

They do NOT include:

–Friends who owe you a favor
–The guy who dresses as General Sam Houston at the annual San Jacinto Day Festival & Battle Reenactment
–Your beloved Labradoodle, Mr. Snickers

So put that visit to the county clerk on your calendar (no less than three days, no more than 30, BEFORE your wedding day), and make a date of it—a romantic lunch for two, a stroll and a signing of the document that makes it official in the eyes of Houston, Texas and everywhere else.

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Dig In: Delicious, Guest-Friendly Cocktail Reception Hors D’oeuvre

Photo: DW Photography
Photo: DW Photography

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!)

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