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A Peek Inside: Upcoming Open Houses

Like a neighborhood open house, a venue open house is a great way to get inside an unfamiliar place, have a look around, meet and greet nice people and enjoy a bite or two. Unlike most neighborhood open houses, however, a venue open house is meant to attract you to the potential site of what just might be the most important occasion of your life.

Fortunately for Houston brides, the city is simply swimming in spectacular wedding venues. The toughest thing for most to-be-weds is deciding which of Houston’s lovely locales to book for their big day.

Many Houston venues routinely throw open their doors and invite brides in for an exclusive look. Here are three open houses to whet your wedding-venue appetite. These all fall on the same day, same time—Aug. 9, 1-3 p.m.—so either pick the one that sounds most enticing to you, or hopscotch to all three if you dare!

Either way, we suggest you make sure to ask plenty of questions (“What table options do you offer?” “How many people can this room accommodate for cocktails?” “Can I bring in my own décor vendor?”) and bring a digital camera to snap pix. Attend with your fiancé, if at all possible, or at the very least, make sure to bring your maid of honor, mother or a close friend—a second opinion is always a good idea when choosing your wedding location.

Photo Courtesy of Sweetwater Country Club

Sweetwater Country Club
4400 Palm Royale Blvd.
Sugar Land, TX 77479
Feast your eyes on crystal chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking lush lawns and sparkling lakes at this Fort Bend County gem.

Photo Courtesy of Fontenot Grand Mansion

Fontenot Grand Mansion
5807 Spring Stuebner Road
Spring, TX 77389
Stately columns, bubbling fountains, sparkling chandeliers—all this and expert on-site wedding-planning assistance await you at the Fontenot.

Photo Courtesy of Downtown Aquarium

Downtown Aquarium
410 Bagby St
Houston, TX 77002
Imagine the thrill of a 50,000-foot cylindrical sea-life tank as the centerpiece of your reception. It’s at the Downtown Aquarium, which also features hand-painted ceilings and sumptuous surroundings.

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Designer Spotlight & Trunk Show: Simone Carvalli @ Mia Bridal Couture

Simone Carvalli
Simone Carvalli

Exquisite pure silk, fine French lace, curve-hugging silhouettes and pooling chapel trains—these are the hallmarks of Simone Carvalli. We simply melt away at the sight of those incredible Simone Carvalli bubble hems and blossoming bustles, those screen-siren ruched bodices and hourglass-figure-flattering mermaid skirts. And the fit—fabulous!

Simone Carvalli’s new collection features plenty of styles for the bride who wants to make a major statement on her wedding day. Our favorite details include sparkling Swarovski crystals, dazzling beadwork and handmade silk flowers. And we love that these gowns are made to make the most of our womanly curves. Oh—and did we mention that a Simone Carvalli couture gown WON’T set you back the price of a down-payment on your newlywed nest?

Get star treatment as you experience these Hollywood-worthy wedding gowns when Mia Bridal Couture hosts a Simone Carvalli trunk show July 31 – Aug 1. Simone Carvalli representatives will be on hand to meet with brides at Mia, one of Houston’s most exclusive bridal salons (think Kenneth Pool, Elie Saab, Reem Acra…). Take advantage of this very special occasion to select the wedding gown of your dreams, glamour girl!

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Style Alert: Birdcage Veils

Photo: Larry Fagala
Photo: Larry Fagala

Soft, sensual, romantic. Today’s most coveted bridal hairstyles are leaning toward a more natural look, with accents of pearl, crystal, flowers or feathers for added elegance. Some of the most flattering styles include half-up-half-down, the loose French braid, the over-the-shoulder side ponytail and flowing waves lifted gently from the face with jeweled barrettes. Of course natural doesn’t mean unkempt. You’ll want your bridal hairstylist to assure your soft ‘do stays done through the day and night by applying the right flexible-hold product and securing hair accessories well.

For those of you with shorter locks, or a passion for vintage glamour, you’ll be pleased to know that ANOTHER hot trend taking hold of brides’ heads across the country is the retro-chic birdcage veil.

The birdcage veil is a short, circular veil that is typically attached to the hair with a comb or with pins. Most commonly, a birdcage veil is worn with a blusher—a section of veil that usually covers the bride’s face almost to her chin during the processional, and is pulled back to reveal the bride’s face for the ceremony.

Birdcage veils are typically made from Russian or French netting, which has an open pattern that covers but does not really conceal the bride’s face. Often adorned with feathers or silk flowers, birdcage veils also can be accented with vintage brooches or other heirloom jewelry (something old, something borrowed, etc.).

These sweet, subtle veils evoke Old Hollywood glamour, but are perfectly suited to modern hairstyles from textured bobs to gamine cuts to low, blunt ponytails. They look lovely over nape-bound updos, too.

“Grey’s Anatomy” star Katherine Heigl wore one over beautifully back-swept bangs for her wedding to musician Josh Kelley. Drew Barrymore sported a snazzy one over darling finger-waves at the “Grey Gardens” premiere (O.K., technically not an actual wedding, but brides aplenty took notice!). Reese Witherspoon’s character beamed from behind one during the wedding scene in “Sweet Home Alabama.” And you can get ’caged, too, Houston bride. For ideas, check out birdcage veil specialist  Emma’s Bridal Boutique or click on our bridal gown & accessory vendor listings and start the search for your perfect veil.

Photo courtesy Emma’s Bridal Boutique
Photo courtesy Emma’s Bridal Boutique
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Don’t Forget the Ladies’ Room (or Gents’ Either, for that Matter…)!

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.

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Wedding Invitation Printing Techniques—What Do They Mean? Which Should I Choose?

invitation.blog
Invitation: Embossed Graphics of Texas Photo: Eason Photography

Invitation: Tad and Faboo
Invitation: Tad and Faboo

Your wedding invitation is much more than an informational packet instructing guests where and when you and your one and only will be tying the knot. It is the first opportunity you have to introduce guests to the style and tone of your wedding. Grand and elegant or cozy and whimsical? Celadon and coral or silver and sage? A well-chosen wedding invitation entices invitees and gives them a taste of the celebration to come.

Since there’s no second chance to make a first impression, it pays to know a bit about invitations, particularly the different printing techniques available to you. Houston’s finest stationers are experts in the latest—and most traditional—printing possibilities. Before you select the one who will create perhaps the most important invitations of your life, let our handy printing-technique guide give you the head start you need.

Engraving: Formal, elegant, timeless. Engraving typically utilizes copper plates to produce raised print, and works well with black ink on light paper. Engraving is time-consuming and expensive, but the cost goes down with the volume of invitations produced, making it a good choice for weddings with large guest lists.

Letterpress: This centuries-old technique is in vogue once again. With letterpress, words are stamped by machine, and letterpress print looks especially good with textured or handmade paper. Not as expensive as engraving usually, but still on the pricey side.

Lithography: Also known as offset, lithography uses plates, emulsion and light exposure to produce crisp, flat print. It allows for a vast range of colors and works well with almost any kind of print surface. Lithography is a versatile technique that costs less than engraving or letterpress.

Thermography: With thermography, ink is applied to paper then treated with a chemical and heated to produce a raised-print appearance. This technique can only be used with certain ink colors and paper types, so it has its design limitations. BUT, it is considerably less expensive than engraving, and produces a similar effect.

Digital: Fast, flexible, modern, inexpensive. Digital printing is a great option for contemporary invitations, short planning schedules and limited budgets.

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