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Enchanting Austin Engagement and Wedding by High Dot Studios, Part I

There’s so much to love about Houstonians Shatara and Bilal, we can’t contain the amazing in one single blog post. That’s why we’re spreading it out over TWO. In today’s post, we swoon and sigh over this beautiful couple’s breathtaking engagement photos, shot by Austin-based High Dot Studios at historic Laguna Gloria in Austin, and picturesque Vista West Ranch in Dripping Springs. Oh, how we adore the magnificent natural settings, the superbly stylish attire and the subtle vintage touch of this dreamy photographic idyll. If you love this couple and these pix as much as we do, get ready to go gaga over this Thursday’s HWB post, which will showcase Shatara and Bilal’s beautiful Laguna Gloria wedding!

Photos: High Dot Studios

Vibrant Vintage DIY Wedding at The Gallery by Red Fly Photography

As you know, we here at the Houston Wedding Blog aren’t big proponents of DIY weddings. Sure, there’s an element of creative control that the uber-crafty among us can’t resist. And the prospect of saving money by doing yourself what you might otherwise pay an experienced wedding professional to do is not without its temptations. But the truth is that the stress of DIYing your most important day is more than most brides can handle gracefully and with their sanity intact (hence the old saw, “If I’m DIYing, I’m dying!”). As for the assumed budget savings, well, it’s no surprise that many brides find themselves actually paying more for DIY decor, flowers, cake, etc., due to costly trial-and-error mistakes and last-minute special orders.

So you might be wondering why we chose Jin and Vince’s soup-to-nuts DIY wedding at The Gallery to feature on HWB. Let’s just say this wedding, and foodie/photo buff/blogger bride Jin’s irrepressible spirit, captured our hearts in such a way that we temporarily kicked our DIY doubts to the curb, and just enjoyed the beautiful ride (which, Jin notes, had its highs and lows—more on that after the photos).

Grooms hanging suit boutonniere Bride and Groom welcome sign Wedding rings Bridal bouquet bride and groom portrait bridesmaids Wedding Party bride and groom bride, groom and puppy Inside The Gallery DIY wine bottle centerpieces Outdoor evening venue decorations Mr. & Mrs. Chair signs Photobooth decor and accessories bride and groom dancing Cake toppers Photobooth fun Favors

Jin, who blogs about food, photography, style and crafting @ misscontradictionofsorts, explained to us that she wanted a “perfectly imperfect and unconventional wedding—full of laidback tones, fun vibes, a touch of frivolity and Alice-in-Wonderland whimsy,” which, while an awesome concept, was “in hindsight, an ambitious feat for a wedding of 250,” she admits. Still, “countless DIY hours and many sleepless nights later,” she and Vince got exactly what they wanted—a fact to which their wedding photos from Austin-based Red Fly Photography attest gorgeously. And in the end, she says, she’d definitely do it all over again, except maybe “for a more intimate wedding of 50 to 100.”

So here’s the thing, while we do not recommend that you attempt a complete DIY wedding yourself, dear bride, we absolutely DO love the idea of DIYing one or two special elements. Which is why we’re thrilled that Jin has shared her great DIY tutorials with us (and you!). Find out how she made her cake toppers, boutonnieres, Mr. & Mrs. glittered notion banner and “guestbook” questionnaires—then decide if and how much doing-it-yourself you’re willing to do!

Our happiest wishes to the wonderful Jin and her handsome Vince—may they enjoy a lifetime of love and creativity together.

Photos: Red Fly Photography ~ Bride’s Dress: Sarah Seven ~ Bridesmaid Dresses: Anthropologie ~ Venue: The Gallery

Intimate, Elegant, House Party Wedding by Willow Tree Photographs

“An intimate day with our closest loved ones” is how Houston bride Lisa describes her vision for her autumn wedding to Paul.  To keep things cozy, casual, but decidedly vintage-chic, the couple selected a 6,500-square-foot, Old-World-style residence on the grounds of an oak-dappled Hockley country club as their venue—and kept their guest count to a cozy 80 friends and family members. Houston Wedding Blog fave Tamara Menges created lovely arrangements of hydrangea and roses and berries, with a palette based on pale greens and antique-pink hues, and placed them throughout the residential space, along with framed personal photos of the wedding couple’s, to blend with the rustic-luxurious decor, rather than stand out from it. Heavy hors d’oeuvre, fine wine and cocktails subbed in for “a stuffy sit-down dinner,” Lisa notes, and guests spent the evening mingling, getting to know one another, nestling down on sumptuous sofas, laughing, conversing, and, as the evening went on, dancing to the tunes of a singer-songwriter-guitarist (he played acoustic for the ceremony) turned DJ. “It was exactly the way we wanted it to look and feel,” Lisa says—and the joy and satisfaction she felt shows, radiantly, on her face and Paul’s, captured for posterity by Willow Tree Photographs.

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Photos: Willow Tree Photographs ~ Flowers & Decor: Tamara Menges Designs ~ Bride’s Dress: Lazaro from Ivory Bridal Atelier ~ Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo and Toms ~ Groom’s Tuxedo: Hugo Boss ~ Officiant: Minister Lynn Turner of Weddings Performed ~ Venue: Houston Oaks Country Club & Family Sports Retreat, Founder’s Lodge

Fairytale Castle Wedding by The Silhouette Studio

“Our wedding truly was a fairytale,” says bride April, who married college sweetheart Kery at The Castle on the Lake in Jacksonville this fall. “I will never forget the look on Kery’s face when he saw me for the first time, walking down the aisle toward him—and I will never forget how handsome he looked in his uniform. Smiling at each other during those first few, nerve-wracking moments is my favorite memory of the day.” For her momentous occasion, April, soon to graduate with a Master’s Degree in English, wore a Maggie Sottero gown from Brickhouse Bridal, while Kery, who joined the United States Army in 2010, looked dashing in his crisp service uniform. We love the glorious floral arrangements from La Tee Da Florist in Tyler, and the mix of small vintage touches (wrought-iron vases, burnt-edge guestbook) and big dramatic gestures (fireworks, silver Rolls) that make this wedding such a feast for the eyes—and, we’re sure, made it such a thrill for the 175 guests who took part. One last word of advice from April: “Find a photographer with whom you have chemistry.” Calling Sarah Williams of The Silhouette Studio a “photographer and artiste extraordinaire” (we couldn’t agree more), April says, “Thanks to her, we will forever have unforgettable visual images of our wedding day: the joy and love, the dancing and laughter, and every moment in between.” We wish April and Kery all the very best, and we welcome The Silhouette Studio to the Houston Wedding Blog, and to Weddings in Houston magazine!

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Photos: The Silhouette Studio ~ Brides Dress: Maggie Sottero from Brickhouse Bridal ~ Venue: The Castle on the Lake

Rustic-Chic, Retro-Cool Wedding by Carlino’s Photography

How refreshing is the mix of rustic-chic and retro-vixen at Josh and Lindsey’s ranch wedding? Demure pearls…but also black patent platform pumps. A pretty white wedding dress…but also hot red roses. A sweetly feminine, pearl-ringed wedding cake…but also the Texas-Outlaw-mobile! Cheers to this cool couple for doing it their way—and doing it in superb style. And big thanks to Carlino’s Photography for capturing the spirit of this spirited wedding so beautifully!

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Photos: Carlino’s Photography ~ Bride’s Dress: Alfred Angelo ~ Bride’s Shoes: Guess ~ Bride’s Makeup & Hair: Nuance Salon & Spa ~ Cake: Dana Hartensteiner ~ Flowers: Terra Flora ~ Venue: Safari Texas Ranch