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By Henry V. Thiel
“We know that today’s celebration becomes tomorrow’s lasting memory. If you think wedding design and décor is just about centerpieces, backdrops, ceiling treatment, and china, we need to talk.”
This need-to-talk line has both humor and gravitas when delivered by Day to Remember’s Claudia G. De Velasco. You can tell De Velasco means business by her dual job title: “Lead event planner and creator of memories.” Indeed, there’s no other occasion where memories are a more serious a business than the marriage ceremony.
“The tiny details of the couples’ personal lives are woven throughout the events and the décor [of every] wedding. That’s what people will remember and cherish.
“For most of our same-sex couples,” De Velasco continues, “marriage was not something they imagined would ever be a possibility. So we want to focus on making their wedding-planning experience a beautiful and memorable journey!
“When hiring us as their wedding planner, our couples have the peace of mind of knowing that we will be there for them, guiding them through unchartered territory. Our job is to ensure that each vendor selected by our couples has been fully vetted, to avoid any unpleasant experiences.
“In January of 2015, two very lovely ladies, Stephanie and Theresa, reached out to me to help them plan their commitment celebration,” shares De Velasco. “Since both ladies were employed by Chevron, a company that already recognized same-sex marriages, they just wanted to celebrate their love with their family and closest friends. During the entire planning process, we joked about how their marriage might be legal by the time their wedding date came around. Lo and behold, on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court passed marriage equality! The timing couldn’t have been more perfect—just days before Houston Pride Weekend! It just so happened that we were meeting the ladies at the florist when we heard the news. I received a phone call from the Houston Chronicle, asking to interview me in regards to the new ruling. When they found out I was actually with two brides planning their wedding, [they sent] a reporter and photographer to meet Stephanie and Theresa. The next day, Channel 2 news did an on-camera interview. Needless to say, [they were the first same-sex couple married] at The Astorian and featured in the A-list wedding magazines!”
Chic accessories aren’t just limited to event-planning companies, either. At Coda in the Heights, owner Frank Yunc carries an eclectic collection of home décor and gift items, from fun and funky wall décor to serving and entertaining items like paper napkins.
“Our ‘Mr. & Mr.’ and ‘Mrs. & Mrs.’ hand towels are big sellers,” adds Yunc.
And as Gilad Zadok, owner of Zadok Jewelers, explains, “What makes our gifting services unique and different from others is that we are a local, family-owned business. Our family legacy and expertise as master jewelers goes back seven generations, and we have been in the same location in Houston for 40 years. We pride ourselves on providing a no-pressure experience in a warm and friendly atmosphere—[along with] the utmost in customer service and attention to detail. We represent many world-renowned luxury brands not found anywhere else in Houston—and often, nowhere else in the U.S.
“Customers appreciate our passion for providing them with the highest quality, value, and service,” adds Zadok. “[We offer] loose certified diamonds, custom hand-crafted jewelry, watch service, and jewelry repair. Our showroom features an extensive selection of diamond engagement and wedding rings, designer jewelry, over 25 of the finest Swiss watch brands, fine crystal, gifts, and accessories.
“We understand that engagement and wedding rings are the most precious and sentimental jewelry that a couple shares, whose meaning and symbolism go far beyond material value. Whereas many jewelers might try to avoid making one-of-a-kind custom jewelry for their clients, we welcome and encourage it. After all, hand-crafted jewelry is the ultimate expression of love.
“The most popular gifts couples give each other are watches or a piece of fine jewelry,” Zadok says. “Some couples also gift pieces to be worn the day of the wedding, such as cufflinks and earrings. One of our designers, Heather B. Moore, creates custom cufflinks and other custom jewelry that can be engraved with a sentimental message, such as the wedding date, each partner’s name, or even a special image.
“One of our favorite clients, Sarah Arrendondo, came to us looking for engagement and wedding rings for her girlfriend, Carrie Moore,” shares Zadok. “She chose a set that she knew Carrie would love, and planned to present them to her on a trip to Lake Tahoe. Carrie told me later that when they arrived at Lake Tahoe, Sarah suggested they go on a hike at sunset. On a plateau, near the top of a hill, they stopped to enjoy the amazing view of the sun setting over the lake. To her surprise, Sarah sweetly knelt down, poured her heart out, handed her the beautiful Zadok rings she had brought from Houston, and proposed. Of course, Carrie said yes.”
Coda in the Heights
355 W 19th St.
A Day to Remember
926 Yale St.
1749 Post Oak Blvd.
Henry V. Thiel is a principal with The Epicurean Publicist, a boutique public relations company representing chefs and restauranteurs. He can’t wait to say “I Do!”