Admit it. You started drooling by just reading the name of Houston’s most exquisite wedding venue.
The ‘Destination Wedding Venue’ in Houston’s backyard! The fairy-tale, dream-come-true, European style, enormous French castle that is deep-in-the-heart-of-Texas! That’s right; we are talking the royal treatment! Tall spires, marble floors, The Louvre-like art, renaissance fireplaces, European-style fountain & gardens, an elegant spiral staircase, crystal chandeliers…are you breathless yet?
It was not difficult to find a glamorous spot to photograph one of my clients during her bridal portrait session! Check it out!
Sacred Heart Church – Galveston Wedding Photography
Maddie & Billy Joe are quite possibly the nicest couple we have ever worked for! There is such a sincerity about them that is rare to find these days! Perhaps their authentic kindness comes from a bygone era. Their appreciation for family and genuine friendships was evident throughout their wedding and reception.
An antique feel to their style was symbolic of the old-fashioned values that characterize this wonderfully warm couple!
A part-time job during Maddie’s college days was where she & Billy Joe first met. They were not allowed to formally see one another until Maddie left the job. In her own words, Maddie explains happily, “…so I lost that job but gained a significant other!”
Billy Joe put a lot of effort into his proposal. He proposed while they were visiting Maddie’s parents in Ohio for Thanksgiving during their final dinner together. He had prepared a whole video production that included collages of the two of them put to a song that was popular when they first began dating! Maddie’s parents even had parts in the video of them saying “Say, ‘Yes’!” Very cool, Billy Joe!
The hospitable staff of Lasker Inn on Galveston Island hosted their lovely rehearsal dinner. Maddie also got dressed for her wedding day in a beautiful room of the Lasker Inn. Billy Joe is Catholic, and they wanted to get married in Galveston. Sacred Heart Church of Galveston, Texas was a ‘no-brainer’ for the location of their wedding ceremony.
“It is so gorgeous and the white coloring went along with our wintery colors theme. Also, we were very happy to be wed by Father E.J., who kept us so relaxed through the process and Amy Bly, the church coordinator who made sure the order of the ceremony went off without a hitch.”
The reception was held at the Trolley Station on the Strand. “We needed a good amount of space and we loved the atmosphere. It has an old antique feel with all the wood and the large staircase in a modern setting with the dance floor, balcony, and couches.”
The important details:
Gown: It was by Allure Bridals, and was adorned with Swarovski crystals. There was also a double veil, with one being full cathedral-length.
Cake: 4 tier with alternating layers of white cake with buttercream frosting, and lemon cake with raspberry filling, and a double chocolate groom’s cake. Coordinated through our caterer, Chopin Mon Ami.
Flowers: All of our gorgeous flowers were done by Downtown Blooms, which I highly recommend! I told Lee what I was thinking and gave him full creative reign! We had dusty miller and blue hydrangea bouquets, and amazing alternating-height centerpieces that included white orchids.
Even though Maddie had gone with Billy Joe to look at the men’s tuxes, and she knew what they would look like, when she first saw Billy Joe on their wedding day she was absolutely amazed at how handsome he looked! Her dress was a total surprise to him, because she had selected it while visiting her family in Ohio with the help of her mom, sister, and grandma. As enthralled as he was by her stunning wedding gown, he kept saying how much he liked her hair! The moment before Maddie walked out to go down the aisle, she became very emotional. “I chose to have both my parents walk me, as my mother did when she married my dad. They were both crying, which made me cry, and seeing Billy Joe at the altar made it so real.”
At the wedding reception, Maddie said it was all so much fun, but went so fast! “I had a lot of fun posing in a lot of people’s photobooth pics!”
Since they chose to get married right before a holiday, they stayed around afterwards to visit with family that stayed in town through Christmas. They wanted to wait and plan a honeymoon trip for the summer when Maddie would be on break from teaching and Billie Joe could take vacation time. “We are both kind of workaholics!”
Now for the good-advice from the newlyweds that you won’t want to miss!
“It goes so fast, so enjoy it and don’t sweat minute details that do not end up making a difference. It is YOUR day. Also, do your homework to get the best vendors and venues possible for one of the most important days of your life!”
Contact your Galveston Wedding Photographer about your wedding TODAY!
The Omni Hotel Wedding Houston Wedding Photographer
Stephanie & Tim met through mutual friends who were engaged to be married in 2011. Tim was the Best Man for the groom and she was a bridesmaid for the bride! Once they were introduced, they immediately hit it off! Tim and Stephanie kept in touch the months leading up to their friends’ wedding. After spending quite a bit of time together during their friends’ wedding weekend, they definitely “clicked” and began a long distance relationship between North Carolina and Texas for the next 18 months.
They traveled to Houston to spend the Christmas holidays with Stephanie’s family in 2012. Little did she know, but Tim found an opportunity to speak to her dad and ask for his blessing to marry her! At the time, Tim had not purchased the ring, though he was planning to do so in 2013. While Stephanie was away on a business trip in January, Tim had his cousin from New Jersey fly down to go ring shopping. The two of them headed to Charlotte, NC to buy her ring from Tiffany’s – the only city in the state that has this store. (It’s about a 2.5-3 hour drive from where they live.) When Stephanie returned from her trip that Friday, the weather was extremely cold with icy conditions. Tim picked her up from the airport so that she didn’t have to drive in the treacherous conditions. Upon arriving home, Tim took her bag upstairs and hid the box with the ring in her suitcase. When they were finished with dinner, he encouraged Stephanie to unpack right away, even though she didn’t want to.
“He sat on the floor by my bag, which I thought was odd, and watched as I unpacked…one or two items at a time. (It was a slow process and probably seemed like an eternity to him.) I finally got down towards the bottom of my bag and saw the little blue box peeking out. Tim asked me to hand him the box, and then he proposed. I was so surprised!”
They chose St. Cecilia Catholic Church for the location of their wedding ceremony. They thought it was a pretty sanctuary with pretty grounds. A couple of their friends were married there and had positive things to say about their experience.”For the reception venue, I had been to a couple of events at the Omni Houston Westside before and knew it was nice. My parents visited the property for a consultation before I did – they loved the grounds and were very impressed with the service and our catering manager. They thought the venue was a good value for the smaller-sized wedding reception we would have and that our catering manager and hotel staff would take great care of us.”
The beautiful details:
Gown: Ivory, strapless gown with modified sweetheart neckline, A-line skirt and lace detail overlay with cathedral length train from Impression Bridal
Cake: Who Made the Cake; Bride’s cake – 3-tiered Italian Cream Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting; Groom’s cake – 2-tiered Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and fondant decoration, Villanova “V” (where Tim earned his undergraduate degree)
Flowers: Nora Anne’s Flower Shoppe (Sugar Land); bride carried bouquet of ivory roses with pale blue hydrangeas wrapped in ivory satin ribbon and rhinestone beading
Bridesmaids bouquets were white and green mini hydrangeas wrapped in navy satin ribbon
Reception centerpieces – bubble bowls with white and green hydrangeas; tall 20×4 cylinders with single, submerged Cala lily and floating candle
How did you feel when you first saw each other on your wedding day?
Sometimes it is difficult to describe how a bride and groom feel when they first see each other on their wedding day, but Tim and Stephanie described their feelings so well! Tim ~ “I was taken aback by how beautiful Stephanie looked. When she met me at the altar and took my arm, I made a point to lean over and tell her so. Seeing Stephanie for the first time was definitely the most emotional moment during the ceremony.”
Stephanie ~ “All I could do was look down the aisle and focus on Tim. I was very emotional in the grand entrance with my dad. Looking and focusing completely on Tim put me at ease and allowed me to smile for the pictures. I got emotional just before lining up with my bridesmaids and Dad. I think I was in disbelief that the wedding was finally happening, and I was marrying the man of my dreams. But the pinnacle of the emotion came when I walked out and saw Tim for the first time. I was overwhelmed with emotion and my eyes welled up with happy tears. I smiled as big as I could to fight back the tears – even though they were tears of joy!
When we asked them what they enjoyed most at their wedding reception, they both agreed that their first dance was the best!!! “Even though we were in a room full of family and friends, it seemed like it was just the two of us, enjoying our first moments as husband and wife.”
What was your honeymoon destination?
After their beautiful, memorable wedding day, Tim & Stephanie traveled to Sea Island, Georgia in early December for a “mini-moon,” just a quick weekend getaway. “It’s really beautiful there, and we had some time to unwind at the resort and spa. We highly recommend this place for honeymooners or anniversary trips. We plan on going back for a special occasion!” Their real honeymoon is set for 2014 with the location yet to be determined!
If you are looking for some practical advice, take some from these wise, experience newlyweds!
Tim’s Advice: Get some cake at the reception! We only had one bite of each for our photos. And, don’t go back to work the Monday following your wedding!”
Stephanie’s Advice: 1) Don’t obsess so much over every little detail of the day. The whole day goes so quickly that you realize worrying about the right flowers and all the other little things don’t matter in the end. It’s all about enjoying the experience and trying to take in every moment with your husband, family and friends. 2) If your budget allows, hire a wedding coordinator for day-of the wedding. I wish I had!
3) Wait a few weeks before taking your honeymoon. It was nice to return home after the wedding and begin to decompress. There’s such a whirlwind of activity leading up to the wedding – especially the last month – that I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed a honeymoon immediately following the wedding. Plus, we have a trip to look forward to now!
Bell Tower on 34th
The Bell Tower on 34th in Houston, Texas is a one-of-a-kind wedding venue! If you are searching for a breath-taking location for an exquisite wedding celebration, this is the place. With professional staff and exemplary service, The Bell Tower on 34th is Houston’s premiere wedding venue.
Natalia and Asim know from experience, what a gem The Bell Tower on 34th is! SGI Photography was honored to be their wedding photographer, and they told us why they chose The Bell Tower on 34th as their wedding venue.
“Choosing wedding venue was the easiest part of planning our wedding.
I did my research online and read that the Bell Tower on 34th is one of the prettiest wedding venues in Houston. At the entrance, they play music that makes you feel like you are in a magical world. Once I walked in, I was stunned by how gorgeous this venue was. I felt like I was a little princess in a huge castle. Right then, I knew that I would have my fairy tale wedding here! Our favorite aspect of the Bell Tower was definitely elegant decor: high ceilings with chandeliers and marble throughout. The whole design of the Bell Tower is just gorgeous. You feel like you are in a palace!
Their staff is very friendly and accommodating. Angie was our wedding coordinator. I had no idea how to plan the wedding, but Angie told me that she would help me all the way. She really guided me through the whole process. We really loved the service. Everyone was super nice and helpful. The food was delicious too. You don’t usually have good wedding food, but The Bell Tower’s chef is a five star chef!
The Bell Tower has several rooms to choose from for the ceremony and reception. Also, the Bell Tower gives you good value for what you are paying. We never had to pay extra fees. Valet parking was complimentary, and gorgeous crystal flutes for toasting came with the package.
The candles throughout the venue for our ceremony and reception were totally worth what we paid for them. These candles added chic and elegance to our event.”
What a stunning and beautiful wedding day it was for Natalia and Asim! There was not a happier couple in the entire world that day!
Their passionate love story began when a mutual friend introduced them.
It was literally love at first sight!
“We knew that we belonged together the very minute we saw each other! After talking for two minutes, we felt that we had known each other forever! We believe that our match was made in heaven! The love that we have you can find only in fairy tales. Our eyes shine when we look at each other! We can’t live or breathe without one another.”
Although Natalia and Asim felt like they were married in their hearts the moment they met, Asim proposed to Natalia on their third date!
“It was a lovely August evening. We were walking from dinner on the City Center Town Square. Asim asked me to wait for him by the water fountains on the Town Center Square and went to pick a flower from a nearby tree. He ran back to me and got down on one knee. Holding this simple flower, he told me how much he loves me and asked me to marry him. He swept me off my feet with this unexpected proposal! I said, “Yes!” and still have this flower kept pressed in a book to this day!”
On their wedding day, Natalia was a bit anxious before ceremony started.
“My heart was beating so fast that I could hardly breathe. But then the doors opened and I saw Asim; I felt calm and happy! I felt like I was the happiest girl in the world! I just could not wait to hold his hand. When he took my hand, I felt that we were no longer two people but one!”
Asim’s heart started jumping out of his chest when he saw Natalia.
His bride looked like a true princess! He felt like he was the luckiest man in the world to be taking this princess to be his wife!
As Natalia walked down the aisle toward Asim, it was the most emotional moment for both of them. “We were about to give our lives to each other!”
50 guests witnessed the union of Natalia and Asim in The Bell Tower on 34th. Beautiful floral displays by ‘Weddings in Bloom’ surrounded them. Natalia was pretty as princess in her Vera Wang wedding gown.
When Natalia and Asim danced their first dance together as husband and wife, they felt like a prince and princess dancing in their palace!
“You know how they show Cinderella dancing with the prince in the fairytale? It was us!”
Of course, their honeymoon destination is the city of love ~ Paris!
Now, if you are hoping to have as wonderful of a wedding day as Natalia and Asim had, we suggest checking out The Bell Tower on 34th and following the happy couple’s advice:
*Don’t stress out! Things can and will go wrong, but remember one thing: there is nothing more important and more precious than you two.
*Enjoy the day and each other.
*Breathe in every second of it and don’t pay attention to little things.
*Plan everything ahead.
*Try having your rehearsal dinner one week before the wedding day and rest the night before the wedding.
*Take it easy!
*Have fun planning your wedding.
*Do a good job of researching, interviewing and hiring good vendors. *Develop a good relationship with your vendors. And let them do their job!!! Don’t try to tell them what and how to do it. They know how to do it! Your only job is to look pretty and enjoy the day!
*Start getting ready early (our ceremony stared at 7pm but I started my makeup at 11am). This way you enjoy it all: your makeup, your hair, getting dressed, and taking pictures without rush.
*Have fun at your wedding. It’s your day!
League City, Texas may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning your dream wedding, but if you are a Texan or a Texan at heart, it should! Located half-way between Houston and Galveston, conveniently near I-45, the historic district of League City is a picturesque Texas hot spot! League City is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations for engagement and bridal portrait sessions. A wide variety of elegant, rustic, country club or western-style venues are available for weddings and receptions. Originally developed around the Butler family’s Ranch on Clear Creek, League City was the birthplace of the Butler Longhorn bloodline.
One area in particular along Main Street near League Park has been beautifully preserved and renovated to accommodate an ideal Texas wedding; Butler’s Courtyard. Butler’s Courtyard is a collection of cottages, gazebo and ‘great hall’ inside the restored brick building from 1908. 100 year old majestic oak trees surround the property. Butler’s Courtyard now serves as a fantastic wedding venue that offers outdoor and indoor spaces for a unique wedding ceremony and/or reception.
SGI Photography captured the magical moments of Jennifer and Jeff’s wedding in League City at Butler’s Courtyard. When searching for the perfect wedding venue, Jennifer and Jeff wanted to have an outdoor wedding and fell in love with the intimate charm of Butler’s Courtyard. “The ambiance is elegant and beautiful, the staff is wonderful, and they handle the coordination of a lot of details. If there is a glitch in any detail, the staff handles it seamlessly!”
Jeff is a native Texan, but Jennifer is from Boston. They met in a country-western dance hall of all places and Jeff asked Jennifer to dance. She said she didn’t really know how, but Jeff persistently asked two more times until she agreed to dance with him! Like a good country boy, he spoke from his heart when he eventually asked Jennifer to marry him. He got down on one knee and said, “I’ve been thinking of a million ways to do this, but… it’s plain and simple… I don’t want to wait another day without asking you to spend the rest of your life with me.” That was next to the bottle of vino and desserts he had waiting for her after work before they headed to the airport on a vacation. A couple of months later, Jeff wanted to have her diamond placed into a different setting and when the ring was ready he baked her a three tiered wedding cake from scratch and had the engagement ring dangling from a statuette on top. He asked her to marry him all over again! Looks like this could become an anniversary tradition for Mr. and Mrs. Romance!
On their wedding day at Butler’s Courtyard, there were two equally emotional moments ~ when Jennifer saw her dad waiting at the foot of the stairs to walk her to meet Jeff, and when she and Jeff were reciting their vows. The song “At Last” by Etta James expressed how Jeff and Jennifer felt when they first saw one another at the wedding ceremony. “We both waited to find each other and are so happy we did!” Such a happy and emotional moment!
The beautiful bride wore the Bella Deur gown ‘Ella’ and a bolero created by a seamstress, the flowers were by Clear Lake Flowers, and cakes created by Cake by Jula. 100 guests celebrated their union in the elegant and intimate reception hall while the dj played all the right songs. Everyone said they had such a great time! Since family members had flown in from out of town, they wanted to enjoy spending time with their company after the wedding. That means the tropical and relaxing honeymoon is soon to be. Have fun, you two lovebirds!
If you are still in the planning stages of your wedding, take these pearls of wisdom from these newlyweds: Enjoy this time in your life! Breathe…Take it all in and remember that it’s about your love and starting your future together!