Today totally feels like a Monday to me. Anyone else?
I am posting a lot later than normal because I have been playing catch up ever since we arrived home from Houston last night. We landed right around 5 p.m., and I barely made it to a commitment across town at 7. I was pooped when I finally walked in the door, then spent this morning training at the gym. Our suitcases are still packed and the house looks like a disaster, but, hey, we’re just going to keep rolling with it!
Taking advantage of the U.S. holiday yesterday, Scott and I extended our stay in Houston an extra night to enjoy the warmth of the weather and great company in Texas. (Can you blame us? It was -9 degrees, without the wind chill, in Rochester Hills yesterday. So unnecessary.)
Unlike most trips or vacation, this one was pre-scheduled with plenty of events and outings before we got there. Two of our dear friends were getting married!
Robert and Amy planned their wedding to be an event unlike anything traditional anyone has seen before. For starters, they had a giant wedding party that included mascots. Yes, bright and furry sports mascots. Scott has known the groom for thirteen years, so we were thrilled for the opportunity to fly down and be a part of the spectacle throughout the entire wedding weekend!
I feel like this post could easily go all over the place, so I’m going to keep things simple and cover the highlights of our Valentine’s Weekend in Houston in standard bullet point fashion. Here we go!
• Rehearsal Dinner at Mo’s
The majority of the bridal party arrived Friday afternoon, and the celebrations started later that night during rehearsal dinner at Mo’s…A Place for Steaks. Our group drove from the hotel to the restaurant together and kicked things off with a round of drinks while we waited for the bride and groom to join us.
The glass(es) of champagne chambord were so, so good.
I felt a little awkward taking pictures of the table as appetizers and courses arrived, so just trust me when I say everything from the calamari and sushi rolls to the filets, sides and desserts were delicious!
We were excited to be there to honor the very special couple.
• Kenneally’s Irish Pub
After dinner, the (ridiculously energetic) group of us headed over to one of the couple’s favorite spots: Kenneally’s Irish Pub. Once the entire party was there, the bride and groom handed out Rockets jerseys to the (extremely large) bridal party.
Amy did a wonderful job designing personalized toasting flutes, and we all raised a glass to celebrate the happy couple.
It was a fun night filled with hilarious people, lots of laughter, and continuous shenanigans.
(That’s an intentional champagne spill on my upside-down husband.) He and his friends are really, really reserved. Obviously. Now if only I could get them to let their hair down a little…
• Robert & Amy’s Wedding
As I mentioned above, Robert & Amy’s wedding ceremony and reception was unlike any I have seen before. In fact, It was unlike any most people have ever seen before. You can catch a video preview of the craziness covered by NewsFix.
As extreme Houston Rockets fans (Robert has worked for them for over 20 years!), they themed out everything in their Valentine’s Day wedding in red. The majority of the bridal party consisted of NBA mascots along with others from the area!
It was definitely the funniest and furriest walk down the aisle I’ve seen to date.
The bride and groom were dressed in red and all of the guests were asked to sport the color as well. It was neat to see a crowd of red everywhere we went!
• Sam Houston Horse Race Track & Reception
Both the wedding and reception were held at Sam Houston Race Park. Live horse racing took place just outside the reception doors, and the private party room overlooked the finish line.
Everyone went outside to watch races during the cocktail hour.
Mascots mingled in the crowd, then entertained us by putting on their own race! It was awesome.
Eventually, everyone made their way back inside and settled into spots at the guest tables. It was a casual dinner of hot dogs, hamburgers, and fries paired with not-so casual entertainment stations including a hair dresser, massage therapist and even tattoo artist! Yes, people were actually getting tattoos at the wedding. I told you. Untraditional to the tee!
The newlywed couple made sure to snap their cake photos early on, just in case any furry groomsman decided to mess with it. (Wise choice, Amy!) She is a woman of many talents and even made the wedding cake herself!
Now that’s love!
Of course, there were some traditions that held true during the reception. The bride changed into an adorable reception dress and the couple had a beautiful first dance. The bride’s father showed his love by performing a set of three original songs about the couple. That was really sweet to hear and see.
The reception ended before 11 p.m., but it wasn’t without a dance party, cartons of silly string, and utter chaos from both furry and regular guests.
We all wished them well with the biggest silly string attack in mascot history. It got everywhere and covered them from head to toe. I truly regret not snapping a photo there.
The party moved onto the bride and groom’s house and stayed alive for hours and hours. I really can’t remember a time I laughed so hard for so long. It was such a fun time!
• Catching up with friends, nice weather & relaxing
While Scott and I were technically in Houston for four days, we didn’t get to see too much of the city. With the exception of the rehearsal dinner, we only made it out to explore the area one other night. To be honest, it was just what we needed.
The weather was fantastic, and even though we didn’t get any time at the pool like I’d hoped, it was still great to spend a weekend outside of my winter parka and snow boots. When we weren’t participating in wedding events, a big group of us hung at the hotel and in our own little area of the lobby. It was so great to catch up with friends who live all over the U.S.!
• Lupe Tortilla Mexican Cuisine
Scott and I were looking forward to meeting up with a couple of friends from Orlando that now live in Houston on Sunday night. We asked them for their favorite Mexican restaurant suggestion, and all signs pointed us to Lupe Tortilla.
There are several locations all over the city, and we visited the one in Spring Branch.
“Es Preety Goood!”
Really though, everything was fantastic. Just as expected, we all quickly overstuffed ourselves with the complimentary tortilla chips (the bean salsa is so good!), and put in a shared order of fajitas for dinner. Lupa Tortilla is known for their fajitas, and the picture I snapped of our 1 lb. beef order doesn’t do it any kind of justice.
I ordered a side of shrimp skewers to put on mine, but I also tried the beef. Scott and I agreed that it was the best fajita meat we have ever tried. They come with regular and (thick) corn tortillas, and there was more than plenty to go around. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone in the area looking to experience great Mexican cuisine!
I was also so happy to catch up with our friend, Brooke, and her fiance, Mike. Brooke and I used to dance for the Magic together in Orlando, so it was definitely a treat to sneak in a visit with her while we were there.
• Hilton Garden Inn – Northwest Freeway
I normally don’t include the hotel as a highlight on trips, but this one is very much worth mentioning.
The Hilton Garden Inn on Northwest Freeway was the official hotel accommodation for the wedding. I have been to plenty of Hilton hotels before, but this one was, hands down, the best service we have ever received. The entire staff treated us like VIPs!
On our last night coming in from dinner, we made a joke to the front desk that we needed cookies (since we weren’t full enough from the Mexican food, right?). Without a second thought, they said “stay right here,” and brought out a warm plate of cookies and milk for our group. They then asked if we wanted bottles of water and told us we were free to grab anything from store or snack bar, on the house.
Scott made a joke that he wanted ice cream on his cookies, and they were legitimately going to go grab some from across the street for him. He didn’t let that happen, but the fact that they were that accommodating blew our minds. We had a fabulous stay, and I would also recommend the Hilton Garden Inn to anyone visiting the area!
After three nights and four days of enjoying time in the warm weather with friends, it was a little rough coming home to Michigan yesterday. Every time we see this crazy group of friends, we always leave with the biggest smiles on our faces. They’re so great.
Congratulations to the beautiful newlyweds, Amy & Robert!
We are so happy we could be a part of your special wedding weekend. <3
Before I go, there are a handful of Giveaway Winners to announce!
Thank you to all who entered and participated in LIL Giveaway Week.
• Robin G., you have won the Blue Diamond Almonds gift package
• Jessica C. , you have won a 1-Day Juice Cleanse from Urban Remedy
• Calli W., you have won a 14-Day Herbal Slim Tea kit from Urban Remedy
• Melissa F., you have won a $100 gift card to ActivewearUSA
• Jennifer M., you have won 2 Tervis Tumblers water bottles
All winners have been emailed and need to respond to claim their prizes!
All right, it’s time for me to get back to work.
I’ll see you all back here in the morning for What I Ate Wednesday!