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Where, Oh Where, to Tie the Knot: Choosing the Perfect Venue for your Special Day

By Henry V. Thiel

With the plethora of choices that our metropolis and its outlying areas have to offer, choosing the perfect dream venue for your wedding should be a piece of cake.

If you’ve literally been dreaming of sailing off into the sunset, South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center may be your port of call. Located right on the water at South Shore Harbour Marina in League City, Harbour Resort is the perfect place to dock your honeymoon yacht. “South Shore Harbour is completing a multi-million-dollar renovation of its guest rooms, as well as building a new Lighthouse Bar & Bistro, the Oasis tropical pool that has its own swim-up bar, spectacular two-story suites overlooking the water, and a new event space designed especially for wedding ceremonies and receptions, just in time for your summertime wedding,” says Roy Green, the resort’s general manager.

South Shore Harbour is a full-service hotel with a newly refurbished fitness center and spa, conveniently located near golf courses, dinner- and party-boat cruises, and attractions like the Kemah Boardwalk, NASA, Galveston cruise ships, water sports, and shopping.

Such on-site amenities allow for some fantastically relaxing packages that keep the romance of the occasion front and center. Popular packages include “Bubbles and Brunch” and the “Overnight Romantic Stay,” both of which include luxurious spa treatments for the newlyweds.

Wooded Bliss: Chateau Polonez, located in northwest Houston, provides the perfect space for couples looking to have a unique wedding. Photo: Lulu Lopez
Wooded Bliss: Chateau Polonez, located in northwest Houston, provides the perfect space for couples looking to have a unique wedding. Photo: Lulu Lopez

If the beach is not your thing, head to Chateau Polonez, a wooded European dream-come-true in northwest Houston. Created by a family team consisting of Ania Gurtowski and her daughters, Basia and Kasia, Chateau Polonez has a strict policy about never hosting more than one wedding in a day. “You deserve a day just for you,” explains co-owner Basia Gurtowski, who also promises to pamper you like no other. I wouldn’t doubt her for a second.

“Our weddings are as unique as the couple getting married,” Basia adds. “Each groom or bride will have their own changing suite complete with private bathrooms in which to prepare for the wedding. We include complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres, as well as a complimentary photo session during business hours, and much more.”

La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa, located on beautiful Lake Conroe, is your ideal setting for a wedding incorporating the coziness of a cottage located a few steps from the beach, all the while nestled close to lush woodlands. “We are a destination wedding venue that is right in your back yard,” says Martin Valdez, La Torretta’s marketing manager. “The resort is welcoming to any couple that wishes to celebrate love.” Amenities are available for both you and your guests—golf, flotation tubs, a fitness center with circuit and weight areas, racquetball, Pilates, as well as spin and yoga studios. Their couples’ retreat package includes a champagne-and-strawberries amenity, breakfast for two, and a late checkout. All-inclusive packages, including custom cake and floral arrangements and custom linens, are also available.

For a tropical-island wedding, there is Galveston’s own San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center. Michelle Beckwith, area director of catering, says, “The San Luis is a unique destination for its stunning beachfront views of the Gulf, first-class personalized customer service, and outstanding overnight accommodations. Guests may choose to have their wedding in the outdoor gazebo, on the pool hill overlooking the Gulf, in the expansive Grand Ballroom outfitted with crystal chandeliers, [or in one of our] other intimate settings.”

Her favorite wedding location at the San Luis is the Wedding Gazebo, located on the Promenade Lawn overlooking the Gulf. “It provides the perfect beach setting for a wedding with scenic Gulf views. We have several ballrooms and private banquet rooms that can accommodate parties from 20 to 1,200 guests.”

You can also create your own history at the historical Lyceum in Galveston, which was founded in 1850 as Texas’ oldest German Lutheran church. Each of its original floor-to-ceiling stained-glass windows are still in place. The Lyceum still sits on the church’s grounds adjacent to the present-day sanctuary, separated only by a beautifully landscaped wrought-iron gated courtyard.

You can have your ceremony in their garden gazebo, or inside the Lyceum, which is accented with an elegant yet relaxed Victorian ambience that is perfect for a ceremony and reception. Your caterer will be grateful for the ease of the service kitchen, and your guests will appreciate the free parking. The former choir loft is ideal for vocalists, photographers, and videographers. A beautifully decorated Bridal/Grooms Suite is available, and you can arrange for access to the venue for bridal portraits or engagement pictures prior to the wedding.

If you are a true-blue Texan, consider the Texas Ballroom at the Houston Marriott North Hotel. According to social catering sales manager Heather Seely, the 7,000-square-foot ballroom features a contemporary regional décor with a muted palette that will complement any theme. “We believe that love has no limits,” says Seely, “and that there is no room for inequality. We believe that every guest, whoever they are, wherever they go, should feel comfortable and welcome the moment they walk through our doors.

“You chose a partner to marry based on trust and compatibility, and your wedding venue should be no different,” she says. “That is why from the first meeting we get to know our clients and what their wedding vision is. We discuss how to best partner with them on their special day so they can express themselves, celebrate with their loved ones, and have incredible memories that last a lifetime.

“To show our commitment to the LGBTQ community,” adds Seely, “for weddings of 50 guests or more, we offer discounts on catering menus, complimentary ceremony space, an upgrade on all bar liquors, a complimentary hotel room the night of the event, and Double Marriott Rewards Points.”

Galveston’s Moody Mansion is available for romantic and picturesque weddings by the seashore. Its 19th-century Victorian formal ballroom is perfect for brides and grooms who want to make a statement with their reception.

Moody Mansion was once the home of one of the wealthiest families in the nation, and has been faithfully restored to its original grandeur. It was built in 1895, and the Moody family purchased the home and moved in shortly after the 1900 hurricane.

“Have your wedding portrait made while standing on the hand-carved stairway landing next to a beautiful stained-glass window,” suggests Viola Moore, visitor services manager at Moody Mansion, “and have your ceremony in the lovely gardens. Your guests will enjoy the historic setting, and easy access to free parking.” 

JB La Hacienda is picture perfect for those who dream of a wedding that’s off the beaten path. Located just minutes outside of Northwest Houston in Tomball, this unique, private estate offers two separate venues that are cozily tucked away among gardens, lakes, and pines, away from the noise and distractions of busy roads.

“Celebrate your special union with family and friends at JB La Hacienda,” says the venue’s owner, Blanca Ruvalcaba. “Our event professionals will produce an event from start to finish that fits your unique style and budget. Our team will guide you through every step, allowing you to focus on what’s important—the celebration of two becoming one.”

So, where will you tie the knot?

Henry V. Thiel is a principal with The Epicurean Publicist. He hopes to tie the knot in the near future. Hint, hint, Mr. Boyfriend!

Chateau Polonez
12612 Malcomson Road
Houston, TX 77070

The Lyceum
2401 Winnie Street
Galveston, TX 77550

Marriott Houston North
255 North Sam Houston Pkwy E.
Houston, TX 77060

The Moody Mansion
2618 Broadway
Galveston, TX 77550

The San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center
5222 Seawall Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77551

South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center
2500 South Shore Blvd.
League City, TX 77573

La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa
600 La Torretta Blvd.
Montgomery, TX 77356

JB La Hacienda
17143 Hufsmith-Kohrville Rd.
Tomball, TX 77375

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