Ashton Gardens West Houston Wedding photographer

Ashton Gardens West Houston Wedding photographer.

The story of Matt and Kati.

Have you ever wondered if God was trying to tell you something? There was no doubt that it was God’s plan for Kati & Matt to meet. They kept running into each other while they both were living in Austin, had mutual friends and even ‘met’ on a dating website! They finally got the message and love was in full-bloom!  

The Proposal
The story of Matt’s proposal to Kati is sweet, humorous and one of the most sentimental stories we’ve heard in awhile. It’s absolutely best to hear it in Kati’s own words!
         “Matt had planned a romantic weekend get-away in Burnet, Texas. Looking back on the beginning of the weekend, there were so many signs that he was about to propose; however, I was completely oblivious to all of them…I actually just thought his odd behavior was because he was coming down with an illness!  Some of the signs were: Matt carried the ring through the Longhorn State Park Taverns in his jacket pocket and wore the jacket the entire time despite the warm temperature.  I thought, “Does he have a fever? Why would he be cold down here?”  At lunch, he continuously made excuses to go out to the car and check on the ring (i.e, he went to the restroom multiple times so again, I’m thinking he is sick).  After playing cards, we decided to take some pictures, but we were the only ones around so Matt set up the GoPro and said he’d just take still shots of the videos later so we could capture a few memories on camera.  We walked down by the water and that’s when Matt popped the question.  I was completely surprised and after lots of happy tears and kisses, I said, “Yes” and he put my beautiful ring on my finger.  
         (P.S. – the ring is my mom’s first diamond that my dad proposed to her with.  My mom offered it to Matt and I after she was first diagnosed with cancer so it means so much to me.  Matt took the stone and had it put into the beautiful halo setting). I was so glad Matt captured the whole proposal on the GoPro so we can relive that moment at any time.  Matt had also snuck some champagne into the fridge and had champagne flutes engraved so we poured us a glass to celebrate and called our families and close friends to tell them the news!”
  ashton Gardens west wedding photography groom at ashton gardens west

The Venue
Just like finding the right wedding photographer for your big day (SGI Photography was honored that Kati & Matt chose us as their wedding photographer) searching for the perfect wedding venue in Houston can seem like looking for a needle in a haystack. There is such a wide-variety of wedding venues, it can be intimidating at first. Take your time and do a little research on the ones that appeal to you, narrow it down to a few, then spend time touring and meeting with their representatives. Kati & Matt looked at many wedding venues in Houston and finally settled on Ashton Gardens and couldn’t have been happier with their decision.  
         “We originally liked the look of Ashton Gardens North, but did not like the lay out.  We wanted a large rectangular room so all the guests could see the dance floor, speeches, introductions, etc.  We also wanted a venue that had plenty of room for mingling and more than one bar area.  
My favorite aspect of Ashton Gardens was the gorgeous chapel.  The wooden beams with windows in the back blew us away when we first walked in.  It was so nice to have the chapel right next door from the reception so no one had to drive between the two events.  The coordinator, Bethany Stanton, was incredible.  She helped pull off every detail of the wedding.  Ashton Gardens worked with us to plan the perfect food and drink menu and they were more than accommodating to make any special requests happen.  I would recommend this venue to anyone!”
wedding ceremony at ashton gardenswedding send off at ashton gardens houston wedding photographer

The Details
Gown: Pronovias Barquilla from Brickhouse Bridal in the Woodlands  (Kati also took her time choosing her favorite my dress designer, and the results were well worth it! Such a lovely dress for a beautiful bride!)

Cake: Bavarian Cakery’s Bavarian cream cheesecake – marbled vanilla and chocolate cake with a layer of cream (each tier had either a vanilla or chocolate Bavarian cream cheese cake layer)

Flowers: Floral Events (They were amazing!)

Number of guests: 250

newlywed couple at ashton gardens houston ashton gardens first dance reception photo of ashton garden west The Big Day
Finally, the moment Matt and Kati were waiting for had arrived! “Excited and relieved that after all the planning, the moment we had been waiting for was finally happening! I don’t think we’ve ever smiled so much in one night!” Of course there were all the feels!

“Oh man!” Kati said, “I had lots of emotional moments!  So many happy tears!” There was a tie for most emotional moment between the chapel doors opening and Kati seeing Matt for the first time or listening to her father’s speech.

The happy bride & groom took time to share some of the highlights of the their wedding reception with us. You may find some tips included that you may not have considered while planning your own Houston wedding. “Looking around and knowing that all of guests were there for us and that everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time.  You spend months planning for one night so having all the guests enjoy themselves was really important to us.  Matt and I were both so thankful that my parents allowed us to extend the reception an extra hour (5 hour reception instead of 4).  That gave us the opportunity to walk around and talk to almost all of the guests and gave us plenty of time to celebrate on the dance floor as well.  Also, eating dinner in a private room by ourselves was advice given to us early on and one of the best decisions we made.  It gave us a moment alone to relax, talk in private, and really take it all in!”

Soon, the newlyweds were off on their Honeymoon at Sandals Ochi in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  It was an all-inclusive couples’ resort with a Romeo and Juliet room.  “We had our own private pool and hot tub in a courtyard between our room and our private living room.  The best part was that we didn’t have to plan anything!”  

father daughter dance at ashton gardens west houston wedding photographerAdditional Advice
Trust us when we tell you that experience gains wisdom! Take into consideration the advice of brides & grooms who have been where you’re headed! Kati & Matt are an exceptionally wise married couple now, so heed what they have to share with you!
“Try not to stress!  Be organized so everyone knows what you need them to do on the wedding day.  Enjoy the planning process and on the wedding day, don’t get caught up on the little details!  When you’re relying on so many vendors to come together on the wedding day and do exactly what you want them to do, someone is bound to misunderstand or forget something…BUT that’s okay.  I expected at least one little hiccup so when a few of the mishaps occurred, I wasn’t upset by them.  All that matters is that you’re marrying the love of your life!  At some point during the night, take a moment to stand back, look around, and realize that all of your loved ones are in one room celebrating you and your new husband/wife.  Enjoy every moment of the night because it goes by way too quickly!”

bride and groom send off


Grace Episcopal Church Wedding Photography Galveston

Grace Episcopal Church

Wedding Photography Galveston

Bethany and Peter are incredibly interesting individuals who make a fascinating couple! SGI Photography was honored to be a part of their wedding celebration! The actual story of how they met is best told in their own words (as posted on their wedding website).

Bethany and Peter found each other from half the country away thanks to the magic of the internet. She was all the way down south in Galveston, Texas, handling demanding experiments on a deadly bacterium; he was up north in Minnesota, studying diligently for a medical licensing exam while enjoying his parents’ company. After his return, they met up in Houston and hit it off. It was striking how fluently they spoke each other’s language, how well they could problem-solve, and how much they enjoyed spending time together with their families. The next six months were a wonderful whirlwind. After a Greek festival, two Oktoberfests, carving pumpkins, Thanksgiving with her family, some excellent photography lessons, an original Christmas song, and a lovely Valentine’s day with miracle berries that made even sour lemons sweet, Peter knew he had found the one. He asked Bethany’s parents for their permission to marry her and proposed on a Galveston beach on their six-month anniversary. He put a ring and miracle berry in a lemon, got down on a knee, and told her, “Bethany, life will undoubtedly give me lemons, but if you marry me, you’ll be the miracle that will make even those sweet as can be.” She answered a resounding Yes!

They chose to exchange wedding vows in Grace Episcopal Church. One of the reasons was for its historic feel. Not only is it a beautiful church dating back to 1895, but Reverend Meredith has history with Bethany’s family. The atmosphere of Grace Episcopal was always welcoming and friendly whenever they attended on Sundays. From their first visit, Bethany and Peter knew it was the place where they wanted to become husband and wife!

As for their reception venue, Ashton Villa had always been one of their favorite places on Galveston Island for its architecture. “We love its historical value, and we felt like we were supporting the history of the island by having our reception in such a wonderful venue. Ashton Villa also fit into the romantic and Victorian vibe of our wedding.”

The Details:

Number of guests: 125

Gown: “Garland” by Sottero and Midgley

Cake: The bride’s cake was a four layered white almond cake with raspberry filling decorated to look like the night sky. The groom’s cake was a circular chocolate cake with strawberry filling, and it was decorated with the symbol of the Republic from the Star Wars universe topped with R2D2 and BB-8 robots to symbolize the bride and the groom. Cakes were created from the Cake Lady Bakery.

Flowers: The bridal bouquet was from Knapp Flower shop.
When the big day finally arrived, Bethany said she felt very anxious as they were not going to see each other until the wedding ceremony.
“Peter is my best friend, and it did not feel right to not be spending the morning together. When I first saw him, I was joyous and filled with excitement. I was about to marry my best friend, and we were going to declare our love in front of God and all of our love ones!” As they joined each other together at the altar, there was a wave of emotions. “I could tell Peter was very nervous up there waiting for me at the altar. When we reached the altar, I made a funny face at him in order to cut through the tension. I could see relief wash over him, and his face filled with happiness and love. We were then able to focus on the beautiful message given by Reverend Meredith and our joyous vows of marriage.”

During their beautiful wedding reception at Ashton Villa, Bethany and Peter especially enjoyed their first dance together as husband and wife! “Neither of us are very good dancers, but we spent a few months practicing. Peter picked a song near to his heart – “No Other Love” by Jo Stafford. It was the most romantic part of the evening for the both of us.”

The happy newlyweds had to return to their jobs and education right after the wedding, however, they are planning a grand adventure for this late summer or fall. We hope they have a lovely time!

Take their advice if you are about to become engaged, engaged already or in the trenches of wedding planning! “Give more time than we did to plan your wedding. We got engaged in February 2015, and then Bethany interned in Europe between May and August 2015. It was hard to plan a wedding while overseas and in the short time after she came back from Europe. Also, enjoy the wedding ceremony and reception. Everyone says it goes by really fast, but if you calm your mind and be mentally aware of every detail, the celebration of your new marriage becomes more memorable.”

Grace Episcopal Church Galveston Wedding photographyGrace Episcopal Galveston Wedding ceremonyNewlywed couple portrait wedding photographer galvestonWedding ceremony at Grace Episcopal Church photoFirst dance at Ashton Villa Galveston Wedding PhotographerDepartur from wedding at ashton villaAshton Villa Galveston wedding Photographer


Ashton Villa Galveston Wedding Photography

Ashton Villa  Galveston, Texas Wedding Photography


Lauren and Eric first met in college at Texas A&M University. They became close friends during the summer after taking History together, and kept running into each at the pool. However, following that summer, they lost touch and went their separate ways. Two years later, Lauren and Eric bumped into each other again! “We were both out celebrating July 4th on Rainey Street in Austin and it has been history ever since!”

Eric and Lauren planned a trip to New York City over the Holidays. Lauren had always wanted to visit New York during Christmas to see the lights, the magic of the city, experience the snow in the city, and of course get a look at Times Square. “I had dreamt about being proposed to in New York on a rooftop while snow was falling. A complete dream that I never thought would become reality. It had been discussed that I would love to be in New York to get proposed to, but it never crossed my mind that it would happen.” Lauren’s dream came true!

Ashton Villa bride and groom portrait dancing at Ashton Villa wedding reception Reception hall set up at Ashton Villa Tremont House Bridal portrait Tremont House Bride getting ready for wedding Tremont House Groom and his groomsman Tremont house hotel bridal party Tremont house wedding ceremony Wedding at Ashton Villa

As the wedding planning commenced, Lauren had in mind a location with a historic feel. “I always wanted an old house that was elegant and had some character.”

That’s exactly what she and Eric discovered with Ashton Villa in Galveston, Texas. A romantic, elegant home on Broadway that is full of historic charm, Ashton Villa has been well preserved and currently functions as a beautiful wedding venue.
180 guests joined the celebration on Lauren & Eric’s wedding day. It was completely like a dream-come-true for Lauren. “Everything seemed to come together perfectly. All my memories are of holding my dad’s hand, walking down the aisle with my dad, looking straight at Eric and saying our vows. I think my heart was overwhelmed with love and excitement! I just couldn’t believe this day was truly here!” Lauren wore an all-lace wedding gown with a plunging neckline and she chose beautiful calla lilies and roses as the flowers. “I couldn’t believe how beautifully decorated the reception was! Walking in and seeing the vision come to life was amazing. It was everything I wanted for a Christmas wedding and more.”

The cake was a simple 3-tiered wedding cake, while the groom’s cake was chocolate with a Texas A&M logo.
They especially enjoyed seeing everyone, having a great time and dancing!

Finally, the newlywed’s were off to an all-inclusive Sandals resort in Grenada for their honeymoon.

Call your Galveston Wedding Photographer today!



Bell Tower on 34th Houston Wedding Photographer

Bell Tower on 34th
Houston Wedding Photography
Jessica & Brett

Happy New Year, to all our friends of SGI Photography! We are forever grateful to our past and current clients, and look forward to meeting new friends this year. Perhaps you became engaged over the holidays and are just beginning to plan your 2016 wedding. We welcome you to read through our blogs about the wide variety of wedding venues in the Houston & Galveston area, and the stories of some amazing newlyweds SGI Photography was honored to photograph.

Jessica and Brett met at a workout facility in Houston. Brett was an athlete working out at the location where Jessica was a trainer.

Fast-forward to when Brett was ready to propose. He surprised Jessica with her first trip to NYC! “During the trip he surprised me with a horse carriage ride through Central Park. We decided to get out and walk around the park for a few minutes when he got down on one knee and proposed!”

Jessica and Brett were married in Houston at the Bell Tower on 34th. Their wedding day was truly phenomenal. Honestly, that cannot happen without first having a phenomenal bride & groom! They were really a delight to work for, and that makes the wedding photographer’s job much easier! Their eye for quality in a wedding venue played an immense part in the successful results! The magnificent Bell Tower on 34th was the perfect wedding venue for such an outstanding couple!
“We decided to have our reception at the Bell Tower on 34th Street because of all of the little details that they can cover within the venue. I did not have to go outside the venue for a million different things like linens, tables, etc. Beautiful details are included within the venue and allowed me to not have to pay for a wedding coordinator. They were extremely organized and to seal the deal the venue is absolutely breathtaking!”

The Details:
Wedding Gown ~ Mermaid strapless dress by Matthew Christopher, Houston Bridal Gallery

Cakes by Gina

Flowers ~ Weddings in Bloom
310 guests

The Highlights:
On their wedding day, “

God’s presence was so surreal”.
As they first saw one another, “No smile has ever compared”.

The most emotional moment was when Jessica’s dad was crying while walking down the aisle. Their favorite part of their wedding reception was having all of the people they love under one roof…and dancing of course!

The Newlyweds spent their Honeymoon in Saint Lucia.
“It was absolutely breathtaking!”

Take this advice from this wise Mr. & Mrs:
“Enjoy this once in a lifetime moment. Little things may stir you up but remember why you are getting married. You get to commit the rest of your life to your best friend and soulmate. No one can take that moment or day away from you.”

Bell Tower on 34th water wall photo

Bell Tower on 34th bridals Bell Tower Bride getting ready for the wedding Groom at Bell Tower on 34 wedding

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Bell Tower On 34th wedding photography

Bell Tower on 34th wedding photography

The Beginning
Young love is so sweet. Especially when you find your life-long love! Kristine and Garrett met in high school. She was only 15 and he was 17. By their wedding day, they had been together for 8 years! Prior to Garrett’s proposal, some wedding plans were already taking off!
Kristine had already picked out the perfect wedding venue ~ Bell Tower on 34th ~ and she even purchased her wedding dress! One lovely day, they went walking through a beautiful park in the Woodlands. Garrett playfully teased Kristine and asked how embarrassed she was to buy her wedding dress and not even be engaged yet. “By the time I turned around to answer him he was down on one knee and said “Let’s change that”. It was very sweet and romantic!”

The Venue
Every client SGI Photography photographs at the Bell Tower on 34th wedding venue has been highly satisfied with their choice of venue! Kristine and her mom set out to search for a wedding venue with 3 or 4 places to visit on their list. Their first stop was the Bell Tower on 34th in Houston. They immediately fell in love with it. “The main reason I picked it is because I didn’t really need a whole lot of decor. It already had so much beauty in it even when nothing is in there. Also, the service was awesome! They definitely made me feel like a princess but they also catered to all of my guests. Everyone was complimenting on how amazing the service and staff was.”

The Big Day
The best part of my job is witnessing a bride and groom experience authentic joy & love on their wedding day. It was an honor to watch Kristine and Garrett enjoy true love & sheer happiness as they became one. “We were both so happy to see one another on our wedding day. He had the biggest smile on his face and I couldn’t stop laughing because I was so happy to finally marry my best friend.”
Special, unscripted moments of a wedding day become precious memories. Kristine shares one such touching moment for her and her parents, “The only real time I got emotional was when I gave my parents their gifts. I had handkerchiefs made for them and they were both embroidered with sweet messages from me. As soon as I saw my dad start crying, I did too. It was an awesome moment that I will always remember.”
The highlights of the reception for the new Mr. & Mrs. included dancing, the red carpet photo booth, and spending time with friends and family that they hadn’t seen in a long time.

The Details
Guests ~ 150
Cake ~ “My aunt’s best friend/neighbor made my cake. She works a full time job so she only does this on the side. She did an amazing job.”
Flowers & Decor ~ The Bloom Room “My theme was 1920’s/ Old Hollywood. The color scheme was black, gold and ivory.”
Honeymoon ~ Carnival cruise to Cozumel, Cayman Islands and Jamaica


Words of Wisdom
The Newlyweds had this advice to offer future brides & grooms, “Soak up every bit of the planning and the wedding day as much as possible. I didn’t believe anyone when they said that it would go by in the blink of an eye. But it does. Also, get the planning and all the details out of the way months before the wedding day. That was one of the smartest things I ever did. I never once stressed about anything, nor did I find anything go wrong on my wedding day.”

001-002 Wedding dress at Bell Tower on 34th Bridal photo at Bell Tower on 34th groom at the Bell Tower on 34th Candela room at Bell Tower on 34th Newlyweds at the bell tower Bride and Groom photo from Bell Tower on 34th wedding photography Bell Tower reception first dance Bell Tower on 34th wedding couple