Posts Tagged ‘Adam Nyholt’

Making Marriage Work: Q&A with Stephanie McKenzie of The Relationship Firm

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Stephanie McKenzie, founder of The Relationship Firm, has been a life coach of sorts since she was a teenager. “The first person I provided life coaching to was my godmother. She was getting divorced, and I was absolutely livid. I was 13 and I kept reminding her of the tenets of marriage,” Mckenzie says.

Stephanie-Mckenzie

Photo: Courtesy of The Relationship Firm

She won’t go as far as to say that divorce is never an option, but she will tell you, straight up, that it’s a very last option. As a certified life coach, who offers counseling for couples in any stage of the game, she believes that couples who are willing to fight for their marriage will always have a chance of making it. To her, that fight starts when a to-be-wed says, “Yes.”

We talked with Stephanie about what engaged couples can learn from marriage counseling, and the importance of talking about the things that might make you squirm, and we learned a bit about the coach herself. Take a look!

Houston Wedding Blog: How did you get into this industry?

Stephanie McKenzie: It was a really well planned accident. This was not what I was doing with my life, but I had done it my whole life unofficially. I was working in marketing and started working with a dating site. I thought it would be great to offer relationship education. So I went and got certified and started building a brand via social media.

HWB: What has shaped your opinion on marriage?

SM: My parents are divorced and have been since I was about two years old. Yet, I was never engaged in the conflict—they remained friends. As I got older and developed more of a spiritual understanding, I realized how beautiful it can be when two people come together and want to share their life. It requires an understanding of something greater than ourselves, no matter what you call it. Marriage really is a divine union and can be amazing if you do it right.

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Photo: Civic Photos

HWB: What are the most common problems—or potential problems—you see when you work with engaged couples?

SM: I see them being very idealistic about what marriage is, thinking that they have arrived and achieved, once they say, “I do.” The wedding is just one day. It is supposed to be a celebration, but couples shouldn’t let it get bigger than the marriage, to the point where they are spending plenty of cash, but are bankrupting their marriage with the stress and the tension. Anyone can get married, but I am talking about staying married.

A lot of the time couples just haven’t talked about anything, or they haven’t talked things through to the point of resolution. And I don’t just mean talking about having kids or where they are going to live, but also money, sex, and deal-breakers, which we call “no-no’s.”

HWB: What are your no-no’s?

SM: No-no’s are always determined by the couple, but if someone asked me for my deal-breakers, they would be physical and emotional abuse. I hate divorce, but sometimes when you can’t get what you need from a partner, and are being degraded and berated, something has to change. I would also add consistent disrespect by thought, word or deed. At some point everyone does something that is disrespectful, but maybe they didn’t think it through. After you tell someone what you expect and come to a resolution, and they continue to show these behaviors, then that’s a huge problem.

HWB: What advice do you have for couples for not letting the wedding get bigger than the marriage?

SM: Elope… I’m kidding. I recommend that they craft a ritual to stay grounded. Make every Thursday night massage night, or every Saturday morning go on a walk or a run, and don’t talk about the wedding.

Also, take away the expectation of perfection. It should be a beautiful day, and not a stressful day where mistakes are not welcome. You are both fallible, and if you are going to have a life together, mistakes are going to happen.

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Photo: Serendipty Photography

HWB: What are some of the biggest points of contention you recommend couples talk through before their wedding?

SM: Learning how to handle conflict in a healthy way is huge. People often have the mistaken notion that when there’s conflict, it is terminal. We can grow to love and have a greater understanding for our spouse if we handle conflict correctly. Not dealing with conflict can be like dripping water on a rock. It just keeps dripping until it erodes the rock. You might call it the Grand Canyon.

Also, for many couples, sex comes as an assumption, but it is something you should discuss. It is very easy once you’re married for life to take over. Your friendship and your physical intimacy with your spouse are so important. Your union with your spouse should be your priority; don’t let your marriage be a casualty of your life.

HWB: OK, so we’ve talked about sex and conflict? What about the other taboo: money?

SM: Regarding finances, my cardinal rule to couples is to figure out what works, and don’t tell anybody outside of your relationship. People have visceral reactions to how other people handle their money. At the end of the day if you want to have a joint account, great. If you want separate accounts, that’s great too. Just don’t tell anybody. Everyone is going to have an opinion and it will make you doubt the decision you made with your spouse—the only other person who has skin in the game.

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Photo: Adam Nyholt

HWB: What is the benefit about discussing all of this before the wedding?

SM: I always liken it to weight loss. You can lose 10 pounds or you can lose 100 pounds. What’s easier? If we are coming in and taking the bull by the horns from the beginning, it’s easier to be beholden to the values that brought the couple together, not the values that are breaking them.

I am working with a couple that I also worked with during their premarital coaching session, and the same issues are cropping up. I do feel that they will be more successful because at a certain point they knew that they had to call me, or another unbiased party who could help. It takes a humble person to say that. I feel like those couples who say, “We need help with this and want to be our best selves and our best love,”—those are the couples that last.

Visit The Relationship Firm here, and contact Stephanie McKenzie to schedule your pre-marriage coaching session. You’ll be glad you did!

Elegant White, Blush & Pink Wedding by Adam Nyholt

Monday, April 17th, 2017

It was love at first sight when Rikki saw Boris dressed up as a mustard bottle (yes, a mustard bottle) on Halloween at a college frat party. She asked their mutual friend to set them up, but unfortunately it didn’t work out…until the pair connected again during their first week of senior year.

On a perfectly ordinary afternoon, after Rikki returned from a friend’s bridal shower, a surprise proposal awaited her. “Boris and I had planned on going for a walk on the beach when I got home. Once I opened the door of our apartment, I knew something was up. There were flower petals on the ground, flowers from my favorite flower shop all over, candles, and pictures of us from the past four years all over the walls,” recounts Rikki. “I found Boris waiting for me on our balcony on one knee, and he asked for my hand in marriage with the most beautiful ring!”

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“I felt like Cinderella in my Mira Zwillinger dress from Joan Pillow Bridal Salon,” says Rikki.

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“Our wedding felt like a dream! So many of our closest friends traveled from all over the U.S. to celebrate with us,” adds Rikki.

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The ballroom had a very romantic, elegant feel with white, blush and pink flowers accented with soft candlelight.

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The night ended with ice cream sandwiches from Smoosh Cookies’ truck for everyone to enjoy.

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“Our parents went above and beyond and gave us a wedding weekend we will never forget,” says Rikki. Thanks, Adam Nyholt, for the beautiful photos!

Photos: Adam Nyholt | Bridal Gown: Joan Pillow Bridal Salon | Registry: Bering’s, Kuhl-Linscomb | Baker: Susie’s Cakes & Confections | Wedding-Day Stationery: Isabella Invitations

WOW, What a Show!

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

If you were one of those fortunate (and savvy) enough to have attended last Thursday’s utterly magnificent I Do! Wedding Soiree at The Corinthian, you experienced first-hand the all-encompassing splendor of Houston’s ONLY true luxury wedding event and VIP bride/groom cocktail bash.

If you weren’t present for Thursday’s festivities, well…let us give you a little glimpse of what you missed.

WOW, What a Show!

Photo: Civic Photos | Decor: Darryl & Co.

We’re so thrilled to have benefited from the talents of the following show contributors, without whom we could not have put on this one-of-a-kind wedding fantasyscape and sumptuous fete: EB Inc. Event Rentals & Design, LBL Event Rentals & Design, Johanna Terry Events, DJU Productions, LG Entertainment, Scott Graham Piano, and our awesome show photographer (and top Houston-area wedding photography studio!) Civic Photos, whose pix we’re featuring here.

WOW, What a Show!

Photos: Civic Photos | Top Left: Plants N’ Petals | Top Right: Flora & Eventi | Bottom: Johanna Terry Events

From the moment our guests entered the majestic Corinthian in downtown Houston, they knew they were in for something special, as they encountered floral-and-finery flights of fantasy from the likes of Plants N’ Petals, Todd Events, Flora & Eventi, Darryl & Co., Johanna Terry Events, Nuage Designs, Inc., EB Inc. Event Rentals & Design, LBL Event Rentals and Flowers of Kingwood.

WOW, What a Show!

Photos: Civic Photos | Top Left: Nuage Designs, Inc. | Top Right: Darryl & Co. | Middle: Todd Events | Bottom Left: EB Inc. Events | Bottom Right: LBL Event Rentals

Helping couples to refine their wedding-day vision, and coordinate the details of their big day, planners Kat Creech Events, A Day to Remember and Cocomar Ladies met one-on-one with attendees, and showed plenty of examples of the incredible Houston wedding celebrations they’ve brought to life for their grateful clients.

WOW, What a Show!

Photos: Civic Photos | Top Left: A Day To Remember | Top Right: Kat Creech Events | Bottom: Cocomar Ladies

Brides who were searching for wedding-day style and fashion found plenty to love, from Parvani Vida Bridal & Formal, Winnie Couture, Now & Forever Bridal Boutique, Houston Bridal Gallery, Damsel White Label, Tess Harriss Designs and MW Couture.

WOW, What a Show!

Photos: Civic Photos | Top Left: Now & Forever Bridal Boutique | Top Right: Houston Bridal Gallery | Middle Left: Winnie Couture | Middle Left: MW Couture | Middle Right: Tess Harriss Designs | Bottom Left: Parvani Vida Bridal & Formal | Bottom Right: Damsel White Label

And just in case they weren’t sure whether they’d prefer a head of flowing waves or a glam updo, a sun-kissed glow or shimmering bare shoulders, a full set of lush lashes or just a bit of enhancement, our guests could experiment with looks, get advice and try out products from Nyoka Gregory Beauty, WINX Lash Studio, KAX Tanning Souffle and Hotze Health & Wellness Center.

WOW, What a Show!

Photos: Civic Photos | Top Left: Kax Tanning Souffle | Top Right: Nyoka Gregory Beauty | Bottom Right: Winx Lash & Makeup Studio | Bottom Right: Hotze Health & Wellness Center

Of course, no wedding-day look is complete with the right…sparkle. And guests found oodles of glimmer and shine (and a few VERY substantial rocks), at the dazzling displays put on by Peran & Scannell Jewelers, and Donoho’s Jewellers.

WOW, What a Show!

Photos: Civic Photos | Left: Peran & Scannell Jewelers | Right: Donoho’s Jewellers

Couples seeking a talented photographer and/or filmmaker to capture the beauty and emotional resonance of their special day had an abundance of options, with exhibits from Adam Nyholt, D. Jones, M. Wang, Lindsay Elizabeth, MD Turner, Steve Lee, Serendipity, Danielson Cinema, mutli-Emmy-award-winner Sculpting With Time, and our very own show photographer Civic Photos.

WOW, What a Show!

Photos: Civic Photos | Top Left: Serendipity Photography | Top Middle: Steve Lee Photography | Top Right: Sculpting With Time Productions | Middle Left: Danielson Cinema | Middle Left:  Adam Nyholt | Middle Center: Civic Photos | Middle Right: D. Jones Photography | Bottom Left: MD Turner Photography | Bottom Middle: Lindsay Elizabeth | Bottom Right: M. Wang

Cakes? Gifts? Invitations? The I Do! Soiree had something for each and every couple, from Houston icons Susie’s Cakes & Confections, Bering’s and Isabella Invitations.

WOW, What a Show!

Photos: Civic Photos | Left: Susie’s Cakes & Confections | Top Right: Bering’s | Bottom Right: Isabella Invitations

While they wandered through the Soiree’s wonderland of wedding WOW, guests were entertained by top Houston MC, DJ, and live-music experts DJU Productions, LG Entertainment and pianist Scott Graham. And, of course, since this WAS a party, eager attendees indulged in fabulous food, sips and sweets from Jackson and Company.

WOW, What a Show!

Photos: Civic Photos | Top Left, Middle Left & Bottom Right: Jackson and Company | Top Right: DJU Productions | Middle Right: LG Entertainment| Bottom Left: Scott Graham Piano

Along with the grandeur of The Corinthian all around them, venue-seeking to-be-weds could virtually tour The Parador and Chateau Cocomar—two beloved Houston sites for ceremony and reception.

WOW, What a Show!

Photos: Civic Photos | Top: Chateau Cocomar | Bottom: The Parador

To round out their full wedding- and marriage-planning experience, guests had the chance to chat with Minister Lynn Turner of Weddings Performed, and expert realtor Michelle Ray, of Michelle Ray Properties.

WOW, What a Show!

Photos: Civic Photos | Left: Michelle Ray Properties | Right: Weddings Performed

We are so thrilled to have had the honor to celebrate and serve so many Houston couples, and their friends and family, at this month’s extraordinary I Do! Wedding Soiree. From food and drink, to stunning tablescapes, to beautiful exhibitor displays, to luxury swag bags and superb door prizes (including our hold-your-breath giveaway of 5 nights’ luxury oceanfront accommodation at Bermuda’s fabulous Pompano Beach Club), the Feb. 4 I Do! Wedding Soiree was an absolute knockout.

We welcome you to post, pin, tag, share and comment on photos, and, if you attended Thursday’s show, let us know what you DISCOVERED, what you LOVED, and what you’d RECOMMEND to Houston brides and grooms starting on the journey to planning the perfect wedding.

Thank you…and HAPPY PLANNING!

Hotel Galvez & Spa Special Wedding Offer

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Photos: Adam Nyholt ~ Venue: Hotel Galvez ~ Decor: Lavish Affairs ~ Wedding Dress: Weddings by Debbie ~ Hair & Makeup: Hotel Galvez Spa

She’s the Queen of the Gulf…and her magnificent wedding spaces, including the 9,300-square-foot Centennial Green, are the jewels in her impressive crown. If your fantasy is a destination wedding, but you’re looking for a destination a little closer to home, the magnificent Hotel Galvez & Spa, overlooking the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico, may be just the location you’re looking for. Say “I do” outdoors, as a gentle ocean breeze flutters the floral garlands of your altar canopy…then dine and dance the night away in the gorgeous Galvez Music Hall or stately Terrace Ballroom. Make a weekend of it, and invite guests to take in Galveston’s historic architecture, oceanfront attractions and Historic Pleasure Pier. However you choose to have your Hotel Galvez wedding, it WILL be wedding you’ll never forget.

Book your Hotel Galvez wedding by Dec. 31, 2015, and you’ll receive a complimentary Hotel Galvez signature cocktail as part of your libation menu, plus a complimentary upgrade to elegant chiavari chairs for your reception. There’s no better time to book your Hotel Galvez wedding than right now. And no place better to be swept away in a seaside wedding fantasy come-to-life!

Sanctuary Cap Cana Destination Wedding by Adam Nyholt

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

WEDDINGS IN HOUSTON SPRING 2015 | REAL WEDDING FEATURE

Brooke & Austin ~ November 23, 2013

Like their Aruba engagement, high-school sweethearts Brooke and Austin’s destination wedding was set in a stunning seaside locale. The couple joined 75 of their closest friends and family at the Dominican Republic’s luxurious Sanctuary Cap Cana for a weekend celebration full of sun, sand and spectacular ocean views. The pair’s ceremony took place on a private island, where a white-linen-draped, orchid-bedecked chuppah “was the perfect backdrop to say, ‘I do!’” the bride notes.  For their reception, the couple treated guests to a light-up dance floor where everyone let loose—they were on vacation, after all! “Our favorite memory of the wedding day was how laid back it was,” Brooke says. “It was so easy to just take a deep breath and truly enjoy our special day.”

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Photos: Adam Nyholt ~ Reception: Ballroom at Sanctuary Cap Cana ~ Wedding Dress: Brickhouse Bridal ~ Registry: Williams-Sonoma