We arrived on Thursday in the early afternoon. We checked into the hotel and then hung out at the hotel bar with family that we haven't seen in a while. We were staying at the Magnolia Hotel which had a free happy hour from 5:30-6:30 every day. Needless to say, Keith and my dad really enjoyed that! I personally enjoyed the cookie & milk buffet every night from 8:30-10:30.
The next day, Friday, we didn't have any plans until the rehearsal dinner at 7pm, so we went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. I haven't been to a museum in years and this one was pretty decent. After, we wanted to go to Cavender's, which is a big western store, to pick up some stuff for the cowboy themed rehearsal dinner. There were 5 Cavender stores in the Houston area, but our GPS couldn't find any of them. We finally stopped at a Target (where I found a fashion cowboy hat for $12!) and got our GPS to work. Going to Cavender's was a mistake...we ended up spending nearly $200, but Keith did get a pair of black boots that I know he'll get a lot of wear out of. He was just excited to have something else to wear with his suit to the wedding instead of the uncomfortable dress shoes he brought.
The rehearsal dinner was a lot of fun. My aunt & uncle rented out a local country bar, The Armadillo Palace, until 10pm. It was pretty entertaining to see all of these yuppie types dressed up like cowboys. What kills me is they spent hundreds of dollars on hats/boots they'll probably never wear again. At least Keith and I both spent under $20 on our hats! It's a good thing my Aunt & Uncle had rented a few buses to take everyone to and from the hotel, because there were a lot of drunk people that night!
The next day (wedding day!) we went to the Houston Space Center...talk about a waste of $19 per person! It's very much geared towards little kids...we took the 1 hour tram tour of Mission Control and some rocket...it was interesting, but seeing how the heat index was 108 degrees, it made it difficult to enjoy.
The wedding was beautiful. The ceremony was very much personalized to the bride and groom and you could really feel how much Matt & Lauren love each other just through the words the minister was saying. There was a prayer done by a friend of the bride's family and it was 15 minutes long...that kind of put a damper on things. After the ceremony we were all shuttled to the reception. It was held at the Crystal Ballroom at the Rice (a historic hotel that's now loft apartments except for the ballroom). We enjoyed a cocktail hour w/ passed appetizers and open bar (water for me!) for about 30 minutes while we waited for the bride and groom to arrive. The reception itself was stunning. The pictures don't really do it justice! The food was delicious, the music was great...there were 2 open bars and a cigar roller on the balcony.
There were only a few things that stood out about the reception -- the bride and groom didn't do table visits together. There wasn't any kind of receiving line at the ceremony (which was nice, I HATE those!) so I figured they'd do table visits or something. Nope. My cousin stopped by our table for like 5 minutes, and the only time I really talked to the bride was when we had a family picture taken. Considering the amount of family/friends that had traveled over 1,000 miles to be there (most from the Philly area) I thought that was kind of rude. I know how easy it is to get caught up in the moment of the wedding day, so I'm sure that's just what happened, but still. Also, the reception lacked a lot of personal touches. It was stunningly gorgeous, but it felt kind of generic...if that makes sense.
Overall, it was a great trip and the wedding was fabulous. I don't think I'm in any hurry to go back to Houston any time soon (I hate city life), but it's nice to say I've been there. Congrats to Matt & Lauren and enjoy your 3 week European honeymoon!