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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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Signature Cocktails By Color

A couple of weeks ago, the Wedding Buzz, our must-have weekly e-newsletter, featured a recipe for a fabulous, bright red Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail. Well, seeing as how you brides went ga-ga for this refreshing “ruby sipper,” we thought we’d offer up some more fun ideas for yummy cocktails that can be color-coordinated with your reception palette.

Matching a signature cocktail to your wedding reception color scheme isn’t just a cool design touch, it’s also a smart choice for brides on a budget. At your cocktail reception, instead of offering a full premium bar (at a premium price to you—or whoever is footing your wedding bill), have waiters tray-pass one of these eye-catching drink choices, or a custom-designed, color-matched mix of your own invention. Give your signature cocktail a cute name—the “Mike and Lisa Love-tini” or the “Together Forever,” for instance—and dress up trays with hand-lettered signs letting guests know what they’re sipping.

Photo Courtesy of White on Rice Couple
Photo Courtesy of White on Rice Couple

Green Scene
We love the tropical look of the Green Flash Cocktail, which we found on this happy couple’s great blog, along with the recipe. Concocted by a bartender at Club Med Columbus Isle in the Bahamas, the drink gets its pretty green color and sweet-citrusy flavor from a combo of Blue Curacao, Peach Schnapps and orange juice.

Photo Courtesy of Blue Cocktails Blog
Photo Courtesy of Blue Cocktails Blog

True Blue
For a veritable library of blue-hued libations, you can’t do much better than the Blue Cocktails blog. Our favorite? The Blue Sapphire Martini, a tart, stylish blend of Bombay Sapphire, Cointreau, Blue Curacao and sour mix.

Photo Courtesy of Deep Glamour Blog
Photo Courtesy of Deep Glamour Blog

Purple Passion
We couldn’t believe our luck when we stumbled upon the oh-so-sophisticated Deep Glamour Cosmotini at the blog for which this jewel-toned gem of a cocktail is named. Check out the recipe, which includes purple-dyed tapioca pearls—a fabulous look for a wedding with a high-style, lounge-y vibe.

Photo Courtesy of Laylita.com
Photo Courtesy of Laylita.com

Well Red
More and more wedding palettes seem to feature the color red, whether it’s teamed with celadon or violet, tangerine or watermelon, black-and-white or gold. This lovely Valentine’s-Day-inspired fizzy cocktail from Laylita makes a gorgeous day or evening reception drink, and those blood orange garnishes? Perfection!

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Amsale Trunk Show @ Mia Bridal Couture

Photo Courtesy of Amsale
Photo Courtesy of Amsale

Fashionable brides, this is one Houston trunk show you WON’T want to miss. This Friday through Sunday, Sept. 18 – 20, representatives of bridal gown goddess Amsale bring the Ethiopian-born designer’s prized collection to Houston’s beloved Mia Bridal Couture.

Spectacular silk radzimir, silk faille and silk taffeta, sumptuous satins and ethereal organzas, crystal beading and vintage brooches—these are signature Amsale touches certain to be on breathtaking display at this much-anticipated September show.

Follow in the footsteps of Amsale’s celebrity fans—the self-made, FIT-trained designer has outfitted such stars as Salma Hayek, Vanessa Williams and Julia Roberts, and her bridal gowns have been featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and in the blockbuster film “27 Dresses”—and make one of these magnificently constructed creations your very own.

Call 713.622-2022 today for an appointment, or simply pop in and soak up the glamour, girl.

And while you’re at it, how about a 15% discount for trunk-show purchases? Now that’s VIP treatment, indeed.

Photo Courtesy of Amsale
Photo Courtesy of Amsale
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Wedding Shoes that Wow II

Boring kitten heels? Dull dyeable pumps? Too-pointy T-straps that look like they’ll have you cringing in pain after the first dance? Even bona-fide shoeaholics can find themselves at their wits’ end when it comes to bridal footwear. If this sounds like your personal plight, Houston bride, you’re going to love this post.

We’ve been scanning the bridal fashion scene for knockout wedding shoes, and we’ve found some amazing beauties. For the sake of brevity, we’ve narrowed our picks down to closed-toe styles, in a nod to upcoming fall and winter weddings.

We invite you to try these darlings on for size:

Photo Courtesy of Zappos.com
Photo Courtesy of Zappos.com

Pretty, and so’s the price: That’s what we think about the Xion from longtime special-occasion favorite Nina. Along with a sassy “vamp band” and sweet rosette detail, this 3 ½-inch-heel pump has luxe features including leather lining and a leather sole. Nice!

Photo Courtesy of bellissimabridalshoes.com
Photo Courtesy of bellissimabridalshoes.com

From Paradox London, the Benjamin Adams Collection’s lovely Liza is handcrafted from duchesse silk and Swarovski crystals, with kid-leather lining. We adore the sweet pleats and itty-bitty bow.

Photo courtesy of myglassslipper.com
Photo Courtesy of myglassslipper.com

Tall brides take note: The lower-heel (1 ¾ inches) Lilla by Grace features a lightly elasticized slingback for fit and comfort, and delicate embroidery for refined bridal elegance.

Photo Courtesy of endless.com
Photo Courtesy of endless.com

For a whisper-soft touch of color, we are mad about Badgley Mischka’s pale pink Carlo. With its fashion-forward raw-edged rosette and divine mesh-covered satin upper, this willowy 4 ¼-inch-heel pump will remain a dress-up favorite long after your special day.

Photo Courtesy of NeimanMarcus.com
Photo Courtesy of NeimanMarcus.com

O.K., so the Ceci Air Rose from Cole Haan is technically a peep-toe, not closed, but we’re going to let it slide. I mean, how can we not jump up and down for an Italian silk-satin, rose-covered wedding shoe that pairs a sexy 4-inch-heel with sporty NIKE AIR® technology? Score!

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