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Wedding Day Survival Kit

The happiest day of your life can also be one of the most stressful. For most Houston brides, wedding-day anxiety is not of the big-picture variety—Is he really the one? Am I ready for this?—but a result of minor glitches: a fussy bustle, chipped nail polish, a lost contact lens. One of the best ways to avoid these sorts of mishaps is by making sure you have a well-stocked wedding day survival kit at your side on your big day.
  

 

Harried bride wishing she had a survival kit  

A week or two before your wedding, print out your kit list and get everything on it; almost all of the items will be available at your local drugstore. Organize items by category, pack smaller items in labeled Ziploc bags for easier access and assemble your kit in a roomy tote bag with plenty of compartments (a diaper bag makes a great survival kit holder!).
 
Every wedding day survival kit should contain the following:
 
BEAUTY
All your wedding makeup (if your makeup is being done professionally, make sure you have all of the products the makeup artist is using, in order to do touchups prior to photos; refresh makeup before you cut the cake, as this is one of your biggest photo ops)

  • Hair spray
  • Nail polish
  • Nail glue
  • Bobby pins
  • Oil blotting papers
  • Q-tips
  • Tissues
  • Mirror

 
CLOTHING

  • Safety pins
  • Sewing kit
  • Clear nail polish
  • Stain remover (brides and wedding pros swear by white chalk or Clorox wipes to erase stains on white wedding gowns)
  • Masking tape (perfect for quickly mending dropped hems)
  • Extra stockings

 
PHARMACY

  • Non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Tums or other antacid tablets
  • Any medication you might need
  • Extra contact lenses and lens solution
  • Feminine protection
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Breath mints
  • Band-Aid Blister Block

 
EVERYTHING ELSE

  • Pen and paper
  • Batteries for cameras
  • Vendor contact list (ask your coordinator to provide one—include taxi companies)
  • Cell phone (to phone taxis, track down a missing vendor or a temporarily misplaced coordinator)
  • Copy of your vows
  • Wedding license
  • Rings

 
Make sure your survival kit comes with you to your ceremony site AND your reception site (you may want to entrust your planner or maid of honor with this responsibility). And, speaking of your maid(s), you may want to pack a few extra…well, just about everything, to make sure your wedding party is as prepped, primped and in perfect wedding day form as you are.

 

 

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Wedding Shoes that Wow

Think the selection of your wedding gown is just about the toughest choice you’ve ever had to make? You obviously haven’t gone wedding shoe shopping yet, Houston bride. Peep-toe or slingback? Flower or bow? High heel or ballet flat? The options are endless.

To settle on the perfect pair, consider your dress style. In general, narrower silhouettes are best paired with a show-off shoe, since it’s more likely to be on view. Ditto shorter dress styles, which look lovely with satin peep-toes, strappy sandals, sparkly wedges or even elegant ballet flats. Ballgown styles go well with platforms, slingbacks and pretty pumps.

While your shoes need not match your dress—champagne shoes are fine with a white gown; satin shoes go well with a tulle skirt—if you’re partial to embellishments, try to couple like with like (don’t mix heavily bejeweled footwear with a seed-pearl-encrusted gown, for instance).

A few more words of advice: Make sure you bring your wedding shoes (or a different pair of the same heel height) to all your gown fittings, to ensure your hem is the proper length. Also, you may want to buy two pairs of wedding shoes, particularly if you will be changing outfits between ceremony and reception. Even if you plan to party in your bridal finery, consider a comfier pair of reception shoes so you’re able to dance the night away painlessly.

And now, a few of our current favorite bridal shoe picks.

 

If your budget allows, you’ll want to have a look at these darlings from designers Christian Louboutin and Giuseppe Zanotti. Both are d’Orsay style, peep-toe, bow-accented and drop-dead gorgeous, but somehow they couldn’t be less alike. We love them both!

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Christian Louboutin Carnaval Nodo Satin d’Orsay Pumps


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Giuseppe Zanotti 80429 Wedding Shoe

Looking for something a little unconventional? Check out the Body Talk from Poetic License—a sweet satin T-strap with an adorable frill detail and sturdy, dance-friendly 3 ½ -inch heel.

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Poetic License Body Talk

A pretty wedge combines (relative) comfort with modern style. We love the exceptionally affordable Shanika Wedge from Touch Ups with its rhinestone-accented buckle closures and dyeable satin upper, and the T-strap Nina Gamma evening sandal, with a cool Lucite heel and just a touch of bling.

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Shanika Wedge

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Nina Gamma Wedge

No matter what shoes you take a shine to, they’ll get an extra bit of wedding sparkle from Wedding Things’ Bridal Bling shoe-sole initials—perfect for trying out your new last name!

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Wedding Flowers that Beat the Heat

Photo courtesy Wedding Flowers by Lisa

Photo courtesy Blooming Gallery

Doesn’t matter what the calendar says—summer is officially here. With today’s temperature looking to top 90 degrees, and the rest of the week, month and entire season likely to bring more of the same, it’s time to think about wedding flowers that can endure Houston’s notorious heat without a petal out of place.

If you’re planning a Houston wedding in the next few months, you’ll want to make sure you choose heat- and humidity-resistant blooms, particularly if any part of your wedding is scheduled to take place outdoors.

Among the heartiest, and loveliest, hot-weather floral picks, the intricate orchid is an enduring favorite. Despite their delicate, exotic appearance, orchids are extraordinarily well suited to maintaining their dewy appearance in even the steamiest weather conditions. Whether you choose clusters of six-petal dendrobiums or showy, dewy cymbidiums, you can’t go wrong with these sturdy plants in your bouquet or centerpieces. And for grooms and groomsmen, a single cymbidium makes a dashing boutonniere!

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Photo by D. Jones Photography, courtesy Events in Bloom

The elegant, attenuated calla lily is another great summer wedding bloom. Choose mini callas in intense, vibrant shades—choices typically include gold, hot pink, scarlet and purplish-black—and have your floral provider create a simple, unadorned, hand-tied nosegay, or an ornate, jewel-accented bouquet.

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Photo courtesy alovelymorning.blogspot.com

For centerpieces, you might try forgoing cut floral altogether. Succulent arrangements can be a stunning modern alternative to traditional tabletop floral. Succulents come in almost as many shapes and colors as cut flowers, but unlike conventional wedding flowers, they retain moisture in their leaves and stems, and can stand up to intense summer heat. Your floral vendor can create arrangements using floral foam and/or colored stones, bits of glass or other textured pieces for anchoring and additional color. Or use potted succulents that can double as guest favors when your celebration comes to a close.

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Tipping Tips

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Photo courtesy DW Photography

Here’s what’s fun about planning your wedding: trying on gorgeous gowns, indulging in caterer and cake tastings, picking out fantastic florals and luxurious linens, getting your hair and makeup done by a professional, fantasizing about your fabulous life as the future Mrs. So-and-So. Here’s what’s not: figuring out whom and how much to tip.

While tipping wedding vendors (or restaurant waiters for that matter) is not mandatory, it is, generally, expected, particularly when a superior level of service is provided, as it is by the vast majority of Houston wedding professionals. So, working on the assumption that your wedding will be wonderful, you should calculate appropriate gratuities well ahead of time, and make sure that they are distributed properly.

Follow these tipping guidelines, and you’ll do right by your vendors, while keeping your budget in check—a big plus in these tough economic times:

Officiant: $50-$100, before wedding day, or at end of ceremony.

Caterer: Check first to find out if a staff gratuity has already been added to your total. If it hasn’t, figure $100-$200 for banquet manager and $20-$40 each for wait staff and bartenders. Alternately, you can tip 18-20% of the catering bill total, and leave it up to staff to divide accordingly, though this usually ends up being more expensive. Either way, hand out envelope(s) with cash at end of reception.

D.J./Musicians: $20-$25 per musician; $25-$35 for D.J., if you book through an agency. For an independent band or D.J., tipping is optional.

Parking attendants: $1 per car. Give envelope of cash to valet manager or maitre d’ at end of reception to divide among attendants.

Hair/Makeup Stylist: 18-20% of bill, in cash if possible.

Wedding Coordinator: Tips are generally not expected, but it is always nice to acknowledge a coordinator who has done a spectacular job. You can give cash at your discretion, or a thoughtful gift, such as flowers, an accessory such as a silk wrap or cashmere scarf, a unique or elegant home décor item, or a gift certificate for dining or spa.

For all reception-related tips, put your coordinator in charge of handing out envelopes. As a bride, you’ll be focused on other things, like enjoying the happiest day of your life—assigning tipping to a designated person will ensure that everyone gets what’s coming to them.

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Indian Wedding Trends Part II

The scene at House of Blues’ Foundation Room was, itself, a showcase of Indian wedding wonders, at the April 15 National Association of Catering Executives’ wedding trends luncheon. Guests got a traditional, and fragrant, Indian welcome, complete with sandalwood, rose water and kumkum (lime-treated turmeric powder), followed by plenty of time to peruse tables laid with ornate linens, spectacular mandaps (the traditional Indian-wedding canopy structure), and ornate brides’ and grooms’ outfits, all assembled in a space turned out in shades of copper, bronze, turquoise, pink and gold—magnificent!

(Photos by D. Jones Photography)

No Indian wedding would be complete without sweets and entertainment, and in these departments the NACE event did not disappoint. Guests dug into cardamom-infused wedding cake with fresh mango filling, refreshing lassi drinks and traditional Indian sweets, while enjoying live bhangra music (if bhangra doesn’t make you dance, nothing will!) and dhol drumming.

In the midst of all this spectacle and beauty, keynote speaker Radhika Day, publisher of Weddings in Houston, shared her input on hot, emerging and enduring Indian wedding trends. Here’s the scoop:

Groom’s Arrival:

The modern groom arrives in an expensive convertible, though the true traditionalist might still choose to arrive on a horse, or even an elephant or camel. At least one innovative groom arrived at his wedding on a Segway!

Ceremony:

Reform Hindu—or arya samaj—weddings are very popular. Since many brides and grooms belong to different communities from India, the arya samaj ceremony serves to satisfy both sets of families. Also, both Hindus and non-Hindus can marry in this ceremony without converting. Convenient!

Attire:

Couples today bring a mix of western and Indian elements to the wedding since many have grown up here in the U.S. Many couples are choosing to wear traditional attire for the ceremony and an ethnic outfit with a western twist for the reception.

Decor:

There is a great deal of emphasis on the decor at upscale Indian weddings. Elaborate and colorful tents and backdrops that transport guests to the grandeur of a bygone era are not uncommon.

Entertainment:

The modern Indian wedding has been greatly influenced by Bollywood and it’s not unusual for couples to bring in Indian entertainment groups to perform and get the crowds moving.  Live musicians such as dhol players at the baraat, and DJs, bands and professional dancers at the reception, are not uncommon.

Wedding Planners:

Every Indian family has older traditional relatives who actually guide the wedding couple on religious rituals and expectations. What couples need a planner for is to keep the crowds organized and to coordinate the many vendors involved in the wedding. Many young couples do not necessarily seek out an Indian wedding planner but look for someone who will help tie eastern and western elements together.

Food:

Often, the Indian wedding guest list includes a mix of Indian and non-Indian guests. Expect large, overflowing multi-cuisine buffets and multiple food stations with many dishes (yum!). Since the traditional Indian wedding involves so many events with the same guest list, most families like to vary the cuisine at the different events. A wedding cake—though not an Indian tradition—usually is part of the reception, and is served in addition to Indian desserts and sweets.  Often the cake flavors, fillings and decoration will have an Indian twist. And, for drinks, signature cocktails using mango or litchi are quite popular. Bottoms up!

Special thanks to Steve Lee, Ky Signature, Luxe Studios, Studio Capture, J. Cogliandro for allowing the use of their beautiful images in the Experience the Mystique of India presentation.

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