December 6th, 2016
{Ring Design Q&A With Marco Gutierrez Jr. Of Eklektic Jewelry Studio}
 

Your love is unlike any other. Which is why Eklektic Jewelry Studio creates wedding jewelry unlike anything else you’ll see. In this exclusive Houston Wedding Blog Q&A, we chat with Eklektic founder Marco Gutierrez Jr., who grew up “running around and getting in trouble” in his grandparents’ jewelry workshop—and who now works side by side with to-be-weds to create the jewelry of their dreams, in his very own studio. If you’re thinking of going custom with your wedding jewelry, you’ll want to read every word. And don’t miss Eklektic Jewelry Studio’s Holiday Diamond Event, this Thursday, Dec. 8 from 4-8 p.m. RSVP to 713.784.0200…we’ll see you there!

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Photos: Courtesy of Eklektic Jewelry Studio

Houston Wedding Blog: What is your jewelry design background?

Marco Gutierrez Jr.: I grew up in the jewelry industry, and started Eklektic Jewelry Studio in 1999 in Rice Village. Just out of architecture school, I wanted to establish my own business that would combine my passion for jewelry and my love of architecture. Every design I ever made in architecture school had a “jewel-like” element.

Everything we do stems from our passion for making jewelry. All of our jewelers have been personally trained by my father and myself in the art of making jewelry. Unlike most other jewelers, we are actively involved in the process of making jewelry and we passionately invest in learning new techniques.

HWB: Take us through the process of designing a custom engagement ring or wedding band. What are the steps, and how long does it typically take?

MGJ: We believe in making jewelry for a lifetime. We truly believe an engagement ring is the most important part of a couple’s history and legacy.

We approach design in a very personal way. We talk to our clients in a casual conversation about things that are not related to jewelry. I feel this helps me get a feel for what our clients like and dislike, as well as a direction on their style.  After our initial conversation, we start determining things like colors, materials and budget.

This is when I start brainstorming and creating three completely different computer renderings of what I think the design could be. Usually most clients tend to lean toward a particular style out of the three, or in some cases a combination of two of them. Once the style is chosen, we start detailing the design by adding or removing elements such as the center stone.

Once we are happy with the design, we use one of our 3D printers to print out the model. This takes anywhere from four to eight hours depending on the complexity of the design. This 3D-printed model allows us to see the scale and proportions as they will be in the final piece. It is probably the most important part before finalizing the process prior to starting the work in metal.

Then we prepare the final 3D model for casting. Once the piece is cast in the metal of choice, the bench work starts: filing, detailing, laser correction, polishing, setting of stones, and polishing. All of which is done right here in our studio. The entire process from start to finish can take up to six weeks.

HWB: What is your advice to couples for selecting the perfect engagement diamond?

MGJ: We encourage them to learn as much as possible about diamonds, especially the 4 C’s (carat, color, clarity and cut), and sometimes the origin of the diamond. For inspiration, we always recommend that our clients look at luxury jewelry houses. Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and Tiffany are some of the most common.

Lastly, the money spent on a ring should feel comfortable. Engagement jewelry marks a point in your personal history and it has to be able to reflect that part of your life. We don’t believe it is about a certain dollar amount, but instead it is about a certain feeling in the creation of your ring.

HWB: What would you tell a potential customer who is intrigued by the idea of a custom engagement ring…but concerned about veering away from tradition?

MGJ: Custom is not for everyone. Having your jewelry custom-made means you will have an amazing one-of-a-kind piece that tells your unique story. It’s a conversation-starter in many cases. We provide a lifetime of complimentary maintenance and polishing for your ring, because we love the piece we made for you and want to make sure it’s properly maintained. Every visit is a grand celebration and every client makes a big difference in our lives.

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Photos: Courtesy of Eklektic Jewelery Studio

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December 5th, 2016
{Q&A With Award-Winning Wedding Stylist Kat Creech}
 

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Photo: Ama Photography & Cinema

“I think that, subconsciously, I knew the event industry was for me when I was young and prepared dinners for my parents,” says Kat Creech, owner of renowned Houston wedding-design and planning firm Kat Creech Events. “While the menu only consisted of hot dogs, peanut-butter sandwiches and hamburgers, with cookies for dessert, the table was set, the napkin was folded with a menu card placed on top, the candles were lit, and the lights were dimmed.” Now all grown up, and the recipient of multiple industry awards—plus countless accolades from the wedding couples whose spectacular celebrations she has styled—Creech is still setting those tables, placing those menu cards and lighting those candles…only now, on a MUCH grander scale.

Houston Wedding Blog: What was the official start of your journey to becoming a wedding stylist?

Kat Creech: I began the hospitality journey in 1989, at the young age of 16, and climbed the career ladder. In college, I received my first management position as the bar manager of a fine-dining establishment. Upon graduating with honors from the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College in 1999, I entered the catering and events industry full time, moving from an operations manager role to a special events role in 2005, and there was no looking back.

I found my place, and I have loved it ever since. I have never lost my thirst for this industry! I have a passion to do great things, to think differently, to execute events differently, leave a legacy, and ensure that lasting memories are made.

HWB: What is the difference between a wedding planner and a wedding stylist?

KC: A wedding stylist and a wedding planner could have similar roles, but there are differences. A wedding stylist handles all the aesthetic items, such as theme, color, story, interests, vision and vibe. A wedding planner is much like a project manager, overseeing the event’s logistics.

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Photo: Ama Photography & Cinema | Venue: The Corinthian | Consultant & Planning: Kat Creech Events | Linens & Chairs: EB Inc. Event Rentals & Design

At Kat Creech Events, we do both. As wedding stylist, we are about about creating a personal brand for your wedding day. Our firm focuses on the design storyboard…and that something special that you can’t quite put your finger on. We obsess about the little details. We look past the daunting checklists, the digital boards, the wedding color, and really get to know our clients—the foundation of what makes them who they are. We ask deeper question and get deeper answers, and then we bring in our creative partners to come play in the wedding playground.

The wedding planner side of the business provides us with a bird’s-eye view of the event as a whole. In the end, it is an intangible journey that results in an epic reality.

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Photo: Ama Photography & Cinema | Design & Styling: Kat Creech Events | Rentals & Linens: EB Inc. Event Rentals & Design | Dinnerware, Stemware & Stationery: Bering’s | Flowers: Dream Bouquet | Lighting & Special Effects: Bright Star Productions

HWB: What’s your best advice to a couple who may be feeling slightly overwhelmed by all of the advice, inspiration and ideas they are encountering?

KC: 1. Hire a designer and planner. They are your true investment to create a day you will never forget. Many have different packages to fit into your needs, wants and budget. Our firm acts as the general contractor for your event and ensures that the perfect creative partners are brought in to accomplish all the various elements that are so important in your event: design, decor, venue, entertainment, food, lighting. Trust in the professionals to help you execute your vision.

2. Create a hierarchy of the items that are most important to you, and build your budget around those items.

3. Don’t always go for the discount. Be conscious of the investment you are making. I always break down the investment into man-hours and billable rates, to provide a better understanding of how a professional is getting paid to do their job for you. As they say, you get what you pay for.

4. Budget. My very best advice is to break the overall budget into a price per person. A true professional can guide you to determine if your budget is in line with your expectations.

5. Be kind. This is the most important day of your life and probably the biggest party you have ever thrown. Don’t let your stressful emotions get the best of you. There is life after your wedding. Be kind to your family, your wedding party, and your vendors. It costs nothing and it will get you a lot.

Like what you hear? Love what you see? Schedule your consultation with Kat Creech Events, and find out how this exceptional event stylist can bring your event vision to life! And don’t forget to mention that you found her on the Houston Wedding Blog!

Vanderbilt Styled Shoot

Photo: Ama Photography & Cinema | Coordination: Kat Creech Events | Venue: The Astorian | Flowers: Dream Bouquet | Gown: Ivory Bridal Atelier | Lighting: DJU Entertainment

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December 1st, 2016
{Hill Country Spotlight: King River Ranch PLUS Exclusive Booking Offer}
 

Hill Country Spotlight: King River Ranch PLUS Exclusive Booking Offer

Photos: Courtesy of King River Ranch

A private quarter mile of the rushing Pedernales River is the dramatic backdrop for ceremonies at King River Ranch. And that’s just the beginning.

From the first moment David Hahn set his eyes on the site of what would become King River Ranch, he was smitten with its spectacular natural beauty. He was also captivated with the ranch’s uniquely Texan history, first as the location of generations of thriving Comanche settlements, and more recently as a development undertaken by a former president of the Texas Rangers Foundation.

Hahn knew he had found the exact place he had been looking for—and set about creating, on the site, a wedding venue that countless couples have come to feel the same instant connection with, the moment they arrive at this stunning spot, located at the start of Hill Country’s famed 290 Wine Trail.

We, too, are smitten with King River Ranch, for more reasons than there are bluebonnets in bloom on a spring day on the venue’s sprawling acreage.

But here are just a few of our favorites:

  • The Barn, crafted from 100% Ponderosa pine, and bordered by a picturesque pond on one side, and an awe-inspiring horse pasture filled with friendly livestock out the other—a perfect spot for a rustic-elegant reception where dancing spins on late into the night.

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Photo: Courtesy of King River Ranch

  • The getting-prepped areas, with 3,000 square feet of luxurious space that includes a makeup and hair studio, a two-story fireplace, a veranda with river views, and, for the guys, plenty of diversions (large-screen TV, foosball, wet bar and more) to keep them occupied while the gals get ready for the big day.

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Photo: Courtesy of King River Ranch

  • The service offerings, which include floral and design artistry from Willem-Aiden, King River Ranch’s on-site decor firm, and a former event design provider for clients including the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, American Idol, Cadillac and Audi (Hahn headed up Willem-Aiden in Los Angeles before setting his sights on a more easygoing Hill Country lifestyle).

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Photo: Courtesy of King River Ranch

Celebrate your nuptials at King River Ranch, and you’ll enjoy not just an incredible Texas Hill Country getaway with up to 250 of your friends and family, but you—and they—will also get a chance to enjoy nearby attractions including “countless wineries, high-end whiskey and rum distillery tours, a 20,000-square-foot brewery, a world-class children’s science museum, an Italian art center, hot air balloon rides, helicopter tours, winery tours, live music horseback riding, hiking, fishing, and of course, an endless array of some of the country’s best lodging, shopping and dining,” Hahn says.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Book your wedding for an off-peak date in February, August or December by Dec. 31, 2016, and you’ll receive $250 worth of Willem-Aiden decor rentals for free! Make sure to let the venue know you found them on the Houston Wedding Blog . And make one of the best planning decisions you can: a King River Ranch wedding your guests will never forget!

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November 29th, 2016
{Cream, Blush & Fuchsia Wedding by Steve Lee Photography at Brennan’s Houston}
 

Rochelle caught Danny’s eye while he was walking to the food court in the Galleria. “After walking past Rochelle, the first thing I noticed were her eyes and how stunning she is,” says Danny. “After speaking to her I realized that she is beautiful not only on the outside, but inside as well. I knew one day, no matter what, she was going to be my wife.” It wasn’t long before the pair started planning their Houston wedding—with a New Orleans touch, to pay homage to their Louisiana roots. They had the best of both worlds, thanks to Brennan’s Houston. The guests enjoyed a four-course menu, including traditional gumbo and Creole potatoes (mmm…), followed by praline favors at the end of the night. Danny’s favorite moment? “Watching my wife walk down the aisle,” he says. We couldn’t be happier for these two. Check out their lovely photos from Steve Lee Photography below. Congrats Rochelle and Danny!

Cream, Blush & Fuchsia Wedding by Steve Lee Photography at Brennan's Houston Bridal-Party-Getting-Ready Father-Walking-Bride-Down-Aisle Outdoor-Wedding-Ceremony Bride-and-Groom Bride-and-Groom-Kissing Ivory-and-Fuchsia-Tablescape Wedding-Reception-and-Brennans Ivory-Blush-and-Fuchsia-Tablescape Praline-favors Ivory-Wedding-Cake Wedding-Reception Bride-and-Groom-Cuting-Cake Diamond-Rings

Photos: Steve Lee Photography | Venue: Brennan’s Houston | Wedding Dress & Accessories: Weddings by Debbie | Rentals: Any Occasion Party Rental | Rings: Zadok Jewelers | Favors: Brennan’s Praline Bags

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November 16th, 2016
{Hill Country Spotlight: Ma Maison PLUS Exclusive Booking Offer}
 

Ma-Maison-Wedding

Top Photo: Courtesy of Ma Maison | Bottom Photo: The Bird & The Bear Photography

Its name, translated from the French, means “my house,” and at Ma Maison, that intimate, gracious, at-home feeling is what you can expect—plus more gorgeous Hill Country views and luxurious celebration space, inside and out, than you could ever imagine.

Let’s start with The Grove, this Dripping Springs’ venue’s most beloved ceremony spot, where a canopy of lush live oaks forms a magnificent backdrop for your marriage ritual—and room for up to 600 guests offers enough space for ALL of your nearest and dearest.

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Photo: Jessica Scott Photography

For more intimate ceremonies, there’s the picturesque Green Cathedral—a fabulous forested spot featuring a reclaimed antique French gazebo straight out of a fairytale.

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Photo: Jenna McElroy Photography

Getting the picture?

When it’s time to party, Ma Maison’s 4,000-square-foot Great Hall greets guests with exposed beams, chandeliers and antique French accents, along with ample space for a seated dinner or food stations, along with a dance floor and multiple bars. Side wings—one adorned with a stone fireplace—can be used for extra seating or lounge areas, while the balcony gives guests an outdoor respite from the festivities, at any time.

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Photo: Jerry Hayes Photography

Ma Maison owner Karen Moise is quick to point out that “wedding guests who are interested in local tours that include some ‘sippin’ in Drippin’ will not be disappointed.” For a true Hill Country destination wedding experience, schedule a guest trip to Hamilton Pool—a nature preserve with a 50-foot waterfall that plunges into the head of a steep box canyon, followed by an evening on Mercer Street, where numerous bars and a dance hall with live music offer a perfect spot for pre-wedding revelry.

EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Want to get hitched ASAP, with all of the beauty of a Hill Country destination, but no fuss and minimal fanfare? Email Ma Maison and mention this Houston Wedding Blog post to receive 10% off remaining 2016 dates. Willing to wait? Be sure to check out Ma Maison’s annual wedding open house on Sunday, Jan 15, 2017…and start planning your perfect Hill Country destination wedding getaway!

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