Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

Roula’s Real Wedding

Monday, January 11th, 2010
Real Wedding: Roula Christie to Tasos Kostas

Real Wedding: Roula Christie to Tasos Kostas

If you’ve perused our fabulous new February issue—and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for, Houston bride?—you’ve likely checked out our story on the Oct. 24 wedding of 104.1 KRBE’s Roula Christie to Tasos Kostas. We are thrilled to feature Houston radio star Roula’s magnificent reception at the Omni Houston Hotel (and may we offer our mea culpa—we referred to Roula as co-host of the Roula & Ryan show, when, in fact, she’s one of the few women in radio to have her own show: You go, girl!). And we’re even more thrilled to have had a chance to speak with Roula recently about how planning and having a wedding—and BOY, what a wedding—has impacted her life as Radio Roula.

First off, let’s just get this out there in the open: Roula loves her job. No, we mean she REALLY loves it. Why? “I think it’s that people always surprise you,” she tells us. “It’s different in TV—you don’t know anything about the personality of the anchor. They’re just there to deliver the news. But for radio, especially for our show, we are the actual people on the air. You get emotionally attached.” With that kind of audience connection, it’s no surprise that when Roula got engaged to Tasos, she talked about it, LOTS, and her listeners weighed in.

But there were limits to Roula’s revelations. “I shared as much as I could…but I didn’t want to give away the farm before the wedding happened.” Plus, she admits, “I was a little worried about people who might try to crash the wedding—not that they’d mean any harm, but that was NOT the day I wanted to be a radio personality.” So how did keeping details under wraps work out for the ever honest and outspoken Roula? “It was SUPER hard to do!”

roula-nhan12

In the end, Roula and Tasos had the wedding of their dreams, and the couple are loving their newlywed life. Roula credits her hubby big time for accommodating her morning-radio schedule, and the 4 a.m. alarm that goes with it—yikes! “Poor thing,” she says. “I try to say, ‘Go back to sleep,’ but…” Luckily, the happy Houston bride notes, “He’s totally 100 percent fine with it. And that’s why we work as a couple.”

With wedding planning behind her and married bliss ahead, Roula’s got a few things to say (shocking, huh?) to Houston brides-to-be: “Don’t let planning become your job. Don’t make it your life, or you’re going to be disappointed when it’s over.” As for weddings themselves, Roula’s a huge fan of showing off Houston’s best to guests (another shocker, right?). Her own event, for instance, featured Shipley’s Do-Nuts, delivered fresh to visiting guests’ hotel rooms on the morning of the wedding, and welcome bags that paid homage to her favorite Houston attractions. Whatever you choose to highlight at your own wedding, make it personal, Roula says. “Show them those fun little things you and your groom love to do—give them some insight to who you are as a couple.”

Words to wed by, Roula. Thanks, and congratulations to you and Tasos!

New Year’s Wedding Resolutions

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

New Year’s Wedding Resolutions

Here we go again! Another New Year, another chance for a fresh start. While you’re thinking about this year’s resolutions, Houston bride, here are our suggestions for wedding (planning) vows you’ll definitely want to keep:

I resolve to get organized. If you have been putting off getting all your ducks in a row for your 2010 wedding—whether because you’ve been too busy, or simply become mired in an overabundance of choices—now is the time to buckle down. Create that wedding web site; make a wedding binder that contains your wedding planning checklist, inspiration images, vendor information, contracts, etc.; hire a coordinator,  if you haven’t already; ditto booking your wedding site.

I resolve to get in shape. It’s a common New Year’s resolution—and one that many resolvers tend to forget about after a month or two. But not you, Houston bride. This year, you’re going to find a fitness routine that works for you and stick to it. You’re going to walk instead of driving, take the stairs instead of the elevator, take money out of your budget for a personal trainer, take up yoga, maybe even take on the Marathon Oil Tower. You’re going to get fit, have fun doing it, and look absolutely spectacular in your wedding gown. No excuses.

I resolve to take good care of myself. While you’re working out, slimming down and buffing up, don’t forget that a beautiful bride is a healthy bride—in body, mind and spirit. Along with that weekly exercise regimen, you want to make sure you are getting the right nutrition, and nourishing yourself with periodic massages, facials, spa treatments, acupuncture—whatever it is that works best to reduce your stress level, raise your energy and sustain you through the demanding and exhilarating process of planning your perfect wedding.

I resolve NOT to go over budget. Sure, spring peonies would look divine at your December wedding. And wouldn’t it fabulous to have foie gras and French champagne for your cocktail reception? As for those custom crystal-encrusted tablecloths/hand-lettered invitations/Louboutin pumps—aren’t you worth them? Of course you are. But if you keep spending a few more bucks here and a few (hundred) more bucks there, just to make sure you have the latest, greatest, most luxurious, designer-est EVERYTHING for your wedding, or jumping at every little lovely that’s waved in front of your face, you’re soon going to find yourself (or your parents, as the case may be) stretched thin financially, or, at the very worst, driven into deep debt. So indulge, pamper, honor the magnitude of the day, even live out your fantasies—but do so within your means, so that happily ever after is within your reach.

I resolve to be a good bride-to-be. We’ve all encountered at least one sweet, kind, easygoing, reasonable girl who is transformed, Hulk-like, into a demanding, temperamental, impatient, totally unreasonable beast by the process of planning her wedding. Please, please promise, right here and now, Houston bride, to avoid this fate in 2010. Be thoughtful and generous with your bridesmaids, patient and empathetic with your parents (and your groom’s), reasonable with your vendors, and, most importantly, understanding with your fiancé—after all, he’s your partner not just in the journey toward marriage, but for life. Show him the woman you are, and the wife you will be: kind, strong, fair, wise and always, always full of love.

Happy New Year, Houston bride.

Make the Most of Your Wedding Budget

Monday, November 9th, 2009

We had so much great advice we just couldn’t squeeze into our upcoming Weddings in Houston magazine story on maximizing the impact of your wedding budget, we decided a blog post was in order. Let’s face it: These are tough times. Now more than ever, Houston’s style-savvy brides are searching for ways to get the most bang—whether in decor, fashion, food, etc.—for their wedding budget buck.

Lucky for us, hometown wedding coordinator extraordinaire Karen Brown of Karen For Your Memories has these 7 essential tips for getting the most for your wedding money, however much you plan to spend. Don’t event THINK about planning your big day without reading this first!

1.    Cut back on the number of people invited. This gives you a chance to spend more on food, décor, entertainment, or whatever will make you happy.
2.    Order invitations from a reputable dealer…but create your own save-the-dates and programs.
3.    If you are searching for a location that is different, but generally less expensive, check out small art galleries. Just be sure that the art on display during your wedding/reception is something you want to be included in your décor. Another lower cost venue is a garden club where you have beautiful grounds to work with. Just make sure there is an indoor area for backup, in case of bad weather.
4.    Find magazine photos of things that you love and work with your consultant to try and adapt them to your wedding and budget. I had one bride who fell in love with a hand-painted aisle runner of black-and-white paisley. We started searching wallpaper stores and found a similar pattern that could be used, but for less cost. One double roll provided the runner all the way down the aisle. We taped it directly to the wooden floor with tape the color of her green accents.
5.    Add dummy layers to the bottom of your cake. We try to arrange to have the cake moved into the back before being cut and served to the guests, so sometimes all but one layer of the cake is a dummy, and sheet cakes are already cut and plated in the back and ready to be served. You still have a beautiful display cake that is a great focal point, but you spend less money. The guests won’t know unless you tell them!
6.    Never sacrifice memories for other areas that seem to be important to you at the moment.  Photography and videography are probably the most valuable things you will take with you from your wedding—besides your new mate, that is.
7.    Always go for quality, not quantity.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Thanks, Karen!

Caffeinate with Care with a Coffee Bar

Friday, October 30th, 2009
Java Pura Coffee Bar

Java Pura Coffee Bar

Your fave coffee has been the unsung hero in planning your wedding, keeping you going as you’ve stuffed envelopes, freaked out over the seating chart and flipped through bridal magazine after magazine in search of the perfect up-do. So, why not give your liquid sidekick a special part at your reception by offering a full-service coffee bar?

Our vote for the honor goes to Java Pura, a local coffee roasting and catering company that does events for heavy-hitters like Neiman Marcus, The Houstonian Hotel Club & Spa and Tootsies, and is quickly becoming a must-have vendor among Houston brides.

Hire Java Pura for your big day, and they’ll send their professional barista—commercial grade espresso machine and grinder in tow—to your reception to serve up made-to-order specialty coffee drinks, like crème brulé (latté with caramel), almond joy (latté with dark chocolate and almond syrup) and espresso. Your guests can even opt for frozen cappuccinos, Italian sodas, hot chocolate and an assortment of teas.

Summer brides-to-be, worry not: Java Pura can put any drink over ice, so you can justify the coffee bar as a way to keep your guests cool and caffeinated for plenty of dancing.

And yes, we’re sure your guests will use the coffee bar, no matter the season. Even if you’ve somehow made it to your big day without several dozen carmel macchiatas, at least half of your guests like coffee, says Java Pura co-owner Richard Colt.

And they’ll like it no matter when you serve it during your big day. Java Pura’s first brides just wanted to serve coffee with the wedding cake, but now lots of Houston brides are opting to offer a coffee bar throughout the reception. (Some guests even forego cocktails for a cup—or three—of java!) Speaking of which, a coffee bar makes a fun drink alternative if you’re having an alcohol-free wedding.

If you want to really wow your guests, try this idea from an event held at River Oaks Country Club: Java Pura set up two coffee bars—one in the main area, the other near the exit, so guests could grab a to-go cup for the road. You could even sweeten the send-off gift with a personalized coffee sleeve or mug that reminds guests of how you caffeinated them with care. Your guests will thank you for it. We know we would.

How to Pick Your Wedding Date

Monday, October 19th, 2009

He’s popped the question, you’ve said, “Yes,” the ring sparkles oh-so-fetchingly on your finger, all is well in the land of true love. Now all you need to do is pick a wedding date, Houston bride-to-be. And with 365 days to choose from in any given year, that should be easy, right? Not exactly.

Even if you’re not one of those sentimental or superstitious sorts who has to have all the stars precisely aligned on her wedding date, many days are simply not feasible for reasons of his or your work or school schedule. Factor in other potential schedule conflicts, plus factors like weather and venue availability, and that yearlong calendar looks a whole lot shorter.

Here are some common-sense guidelines to follow in picking the best date for your big day.

Season

This is Houston, which means seasons can play a big part in the type of wedding you have, and also in its cost. Because of extreme temperatures and humidity, and a general desire among Houstonians to NOT subject out-of-towners to our fair city’s summer swelter, July and August typically are not top choices for Houston weddings. On the other hand, you just may be able to negotiate a great deal on your event venue if you choose an off-season date.

Fall, on the other hand, tends to be a lovely season for weddings in Houston, with its milder temps and plethora of great activities for visiting guests to enjoy. But fall also overlaps with storm season. We’re all well aware of September, 2008’s, Hurricane Ike, which blasted across Houston leaving destruction—and devastated brides-to-be—in its wake. Sure, Ike is an extreme example, but even milder storms can affect wedding plans, including guest travel, tenting and, of course, anything scheduled to take place outdoors. If you do opt for an autumn wedding, make sure you have contingency plans in place, especially for events with outdoor elements.

Spring is an ideal season for a Houston wedding when it comes to weather, floral choices, etc.—but the popularity of the season comes with the challenge of venue and vendor availability, so start planning early. And avoid the week before April 15! As for winter, it’s a favorite for nuptials here in Houston and offers a great opportunity to plan a “winter wonderland” wedding. But if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want to choose your florals wisely—many blooms are not in season in winter months, and imported exotic flowers can be exorbitant.

Holidays/Special Events

Sure, it might seem like a totally neat-o idea to get married on Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve. But think about it—if your anniversary were NOT on Valentine’s Day, you’d get TWO romance-fests a year rather than a mere one. And do you really want to run the risk of having your wedding guests treat your celebration like an all-you-can drink blowout? Probably not. Guests also may have their own family commitments during major holidays, while flights often are hard to come by and airfares are at a premium, making it difficult for some to attend. When it comes to picking your wedding date it’s best to avoid major holidays, and the weeks immediately before or after. (Though a holiday theme wedding can be fun any weekend of the year!)

Also important to avoid are special events or annual events. Planning a June wedding? Better find out if anyone on your guest list is planning to graduate that month. A winter wedding? Not on Super Bowl weekend, especially if you, your fiancé or anyone whose attendance you can’t live without is a major football fan (and imagine the Super Bowl/anniversary conflicts for years to come!). Got a pregnant bridesmaid or other important guest? Make sure your wedding doesn’t fall on her due date or in the three months (at least) after she delivers.

Day of the Week

Saturday is the most popular day for weddings—except for Jewish weddings, which are often scheduled for Sundays to avoid taking place on the Jewish Sabbath, and some Indian weddings as well. If you, like the majority of brides, are planning to have a Saturday wedding, make sure you start your planning early, especially if you are determined to have your reception at one of Houston’s most popular wedding sites. These venues often book up a year or two in advance, especially for prime-season Saturdays. Allowing yourself ample flexibility in selecting a venue will go far toward helping you find the right site on the right date for your marriage to Mr. Right.