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Light Fantastic: The ABCs of LEDs

Photo by D. Jones
Photo by D. Jones

Let’s take a little break from flowers and frills and finery to get technical for a moment, shall we? Along with all that lovely stuff, good lighting will go a long way toward transforming your reception space and creating ambiance at your wedding, Houston bride.

One of the most exciting technologies in wedding lighting is the LED, or light-emitting diode. LED lighting can wash a room in color, highlight key reception spots (like cake tables and lounge areas), and create fabulous effects. But, says Frank Tritico of Houston’s Bright Star Productions, “Unless a client knows there is a difference in LED lights, they could get duped and ultimately be disappointed by either a well-intentioned decorator or florist, or a less reputable lighting company.”

So what do Houston brides need to know about LEDs? “Remember your color wheel in 5th grade art? It showed that we could make a whole range of new colors by mixing red, green and blue. This is what an LED does to make many hundreds of colors,” Tritico explains. But he adds that while LED lights are incredibly versatile, “They’re still a new technology and evolving.”

Tritico points out that older LEDs and less professional equipment aren’t able to produce amber or white light. That means they can’t create many of our most coveted wedding colors, like lavender, peach, Tiffany blue and cranberry.

Also, if a wall is being lit by an LED and a halo of red, green and blue light is visible, “This is an indication that the LED doesn’t have the ability to be lensed correctly and therefore can’t disburse the light evenly,” the lighting pro warns. “It might look great on the ceiling, but be an embarrassment on the walls where it counts.” Yikes!

Tritico advises brides who are interested in LED lighting to ask their lighting and sound company—along with Bright Star, Pro Sound and Tech Ave are among Houston’s best—for a demonstration. “A client will see the difference instantly,” he says.
Thanks, Frank, for lighting the way!

Photo: D. Jones
Photo: D. Jones
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Great Cover Ups: Bridal Shrugs and Boleros

Planning to walk down the aisle in a strapless, spaghetti-strap or other skin-baring gown design? You’re in good company. The vast majority of modern wedding wear is designed to show off a bride’s neck, shoulders and arms, creating a perfect picture of femininity and grace.

But what about comfort? Specifically, temperature. During Houston’s hottest months, indoor temps, aided by powerful AC, can dip down to downright frosty levels. Outdoor weddings during Houston’s milder seasons, meanwhile, can be subject to the occasional big chill. So what’s a bare-shouldered bride to do? Shrug it off!

The classic bridal shrug or bolero is a very short (think no longer than ribcage length), usually open-fronted sweater or jacket that complements but doesn’t overwhelm a bride’s wedding gown. In general, a shrug or bolero is a better choice than a shawl or wrap because it won’t slip off, and leaves a bride’s hands free for dancing, toasting and showing off her ring!

Bridal shrugs/boleros run the gamut of fabrics and complexity of design, from a simple chiffon number, like this sweet one from David’s Bridal, which would work with almost any gown material or style:

Photo courtesy of David's Bridal
Photo courtesy of David's Bridal

…to this lacey lovely by Forever Yours, which would coordinate nicely with a simple, luxe fabric and relatively unadorned bodice style:

Photo courtesy of House of Brides
Photo courtesy of House of Brides

Another of our favorite spots for beautiful bridal shrugs and boleros is haven-of-all-things-handmade, Etsy, which features a variety of unique designs, including cashmere, crocheted and dupioni silk styles.

If you have not yet purchased your wedding gown and are thinking about a cover-up, ask about matching shrugs and boleros when browsing dresses. Many styles come with coordinating or detachable shrugs. And even when they don’t, a savvy Houston bridal boutique associate can suggest a perfect pairing.

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South Asian Weddings: Baraat at the Omni Houston Hotel Galleria, Aug. 2

Photo: J. Cogliandro
Photo: J. Cogliandro

Much more than your run-of-the-mill bridal fashion show, the Aug. 2 “Baraat at the Omni Houston Hotel Galleria” was a spectacular showcase of the best in South Asian wedding style, décor and food trends, set in the hotel’s gorgeous new Regency Ballroom.

The show’s 300 attendees enjoyed champagne, South Asian and American menu specialties and sweets (all gratis—the whole bash was free to the public), while they perused offerings from 19 expert vendors, including decorators, floral designers, jewelers and photographers.

As if that wasn’t enough to entice South Asian brides and their families, guests got to indulge in treatments courtesy of the Omni’s own Mokara Spa. Hourly door prizes and special offers from featured vendors sweetened the deal that much more.

For Omni director of food and beverage Zee Qureshi, the event was an opportunity to demonstrate his, and his staff’s, inimitable expertise in South Asian cuisine and customs. He points out that the property offers both halal meat and divine vegetarian entrees—all part of “an extensive South Asian menu that caters to every region of South Asia.”

Omni director of catering Georgia Graugnard adds that the hotel specializes in South Asian wedding rituals including the traditional mehndi, sangeet, baraat and pheras ceremonies. Plus, with an outstanding array of reception space, including the opulent Regency Ballroom (product of the hotel’s recent $35 million renovation), which can accommodate 750 guests, the Omni has room to accommodate the large guest groups typical of South Asian weddings. On top of that, “We offer special rates for out-of-town guests and a lovely suite for the bride and groom,” she says. “Our goal for every wedding is to create a lifetime of memories.”

Getting an early start on wedding planning, or know a South Asian bride who might be? Good news: The Omni’s inaugural South Asian wedding show was such a smash success, the hotel plans to make it an annual event. Call 713.871.8181 or click here for more information.

Photo: J. Cogliandro
Photo: J. Cogliandro
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Favor Fave: Best in Boxes

You probably wouldn’t dream of sewing your own bridal gown or baking your own wedding cake, Houston bride (and we don’t recommend that you do!). But wedding favors are one area where a little DIY goes a long way toward creating a personal touch AND saving you money.

One of the sweetest, simplest and most enduring favor options is a beautiful box, filled with goodies and assembled with love. Whether you pack it with luscious truffles, jelly beans or other candies that coordinate with your wedding palette, breath-freshening mints, bath beads or flower seeds, a pretty, personalized favor box will show your guests that you appreciate their love, and won’t break the bank.

Worried about having time to fold, fill and fancify all those little favor boxes in the days just before your wedding? Ask your maid of honor, sibling or a dear friend if she’ll take on the task. Let her know you will consider it her wedding gift to you and your betrothed—and a most sincerely appreciated one, at that. Whomever you assign to assemble your wedding favors, make sure that person knows exactly where and when to drop them off at your reception site, especially if your venue’s staff or decor crew will need to incorporate them into dining-table place settings.

Here are a few of our favorite favor box ideas to get you inspired!
We can’t decide which paper boxes from The White Aisle we like best—they’re all so lovely. Pictured here are Cherry Blossom and Vintage Dandelion designs from their contemporary collection. The White Aisle also offers boxes in silk paper from Nepal, Jaipur paisley paper handmade in India and Thai-made, baroque-style mulberry paper, among others. Purchase them already assembled and filled with truffle pairs or candy, or assemble them yourself with whatever your heart desires!

Photo Courtesy of The White Aisle
Photo Courtesy of The White Aisle

For a great selection of cool, contemporary, super-stylish favor boxes (not to mention tins, jars and even miniature suitcases!) nobody beats Beau-coup. Our top picks? For spring and summer weddings, we love these darling polka-dot boxes

Photo Courtesy of Beau-Coup
Photo Courtesy of Beau-Coup

…while autumn weddings will be well served by these seasonal leaf designs:

Photo Courtesy of Beau-Coup
Photo Courtesy of Beau-Coup

For sheer variety, our vote goes to Bliss Wedding Market. Gable boxes, popcorn boxes, tote boxes—they’re all here and all reasonably priced. Check out the fancy oval favor boxes in jet-black paper with white trim and black grosgrain ribbon—a perfect choice for your formal wedding reception:

Photo Courtesy of Bliss Wedding Market
Photo Courtesy of Bliss Wedding Market
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Designer Spotlight & Trunk Show: Reem Acra @ Mia Bridal Couture

Photo Courtesy of Modeulation
Photo Courtesy of Modeulation

A wedding gown by Lebanese-born designer Reem Acra is a very special dress for a very special event. Esteemed for their intricate embroidery and exquisite detailing, Acra’s bridal creations are among the world’s most luxurious. But that hasn’t stopped the award-winning Acra from getting a little lighthearted with her spring 2010 bridal collection.

Inspired by fairytales (designs have names like Rapunzel and Snow White) and featuring dreamy puffs of tulle, fanciful flowers and gold screenprinting, the new gowns evoke notions of charmed princesses and their handsome princes.

Drop in on the Reem Acra trunk show at Houston’s Mia Bridal Couture next Friday and Saturday, Aug. 14 and15, for an exclusive preview of these airy, ethereal gowns (and others in Reem Acra’s extraordinary bridal repertoire). Need more incentive than mere gorgeousness? Try 15% off all Reem Acra gowns during this not-to-be-missed event. Happily ever after never looked so good!

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