Unless your hostess is pinning like crazy in preparation for your bridal shower—and is excited to have a party in her home—consider bringing together all of the ladies in your life at one of these lovely locations.
Every Tuesday through Saturday, this darling restaurant known for its green setting, fresh, local ingredients, and straight-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies makes itself available for a gazebo dinner. The private outdoor space offers 16-foot ceilings and seating for 14 in a lush, garden setting with a view of the restaurant from the other side of the lawn. Expect a table setting with white linens, candles, and flowers. If you prefer a daytime gathering, check out its sister location, Tiny's No. 5. An equally charming venue for a seated breakfast, brunch, or dinner, it has accommodations for as many as 16 in a private room.
Brennan's of Houston
A city icon for more than four decades, the renowned restaurant serves up a gourmet Creole menu by Executive Chef Danny Trace, including classics like turtle soup, with a side of gracious southern hospitality that also applies to its extensive accommodations for private parties. Choose from eight different spaces—each with its own distinct décor personality and square footage—on two floors or the entire 21,000-square-foot restaurant for large affairs.
We're partial to the sweet Little Room, which suits up to 18, and the glam, sunlit first-floor dining room known as Terms of Endearment (a scene from the movie of the same name was filmed here) for up to 28. The mod, mirrored Courtyard Balcony is also a prime pick for as many as 28 guests. Best of all, everyone can snag homemade pralines to go on their way out the front door.
The St. Regis Hotel
Honor the tradition of afternoon tea for your bridal shower, and take to the Tea Lounge while enjoying a regal respite from bustling city life. Expect English teas, finger sandwiches, mini pastries, and other decadence—all set to classical music at the hands of a harpist. Bubbly is also on call! True to prime and proper form, we recommend reservations.
For a grown-up tea party in a foodie setting (and also with a live harpist), this beautiful and beloved Galleria-area Indian restaurant hosts afternoon tea every Saturday at 2 p.m. for $35. The vast menu starts with a toast, then an Indian start—i.e. Chai tea. Ladyfinger sandwiches include Waldorf chicken salad, English cucumber with sun-dried tomatoes, Tandoor-smoked salmon with dill, English pea shoots with baby peas and cheddar, and tomato and mozzarella skewers with fresh basil. Reservations are required.
Haak Vineyards & Winery
Calling all oenophiles and non-traditional brides: the 12-acre vineyard is less than 40 miles from Houston. Whether by limo, party bus, or Uber, a visit to Haak Vineyards & Winery in Santa Fe, Texas, makes for a fun daytime excursion. Tour the vines, taste wine, and partake in Haak's full-service catering at a per person rate (you choose the menu within your package level, and there are no rental fees). The wine cellar is made for intimate parties of 40 or fewer, but the winery can accommodate as many as 200 guests. For larger groups, the pavilion and patio are open to the vineyard.
Sweet Paris Crêperie & Café
Opened by a couple "on a mission to sweeten the world," Allison Young Chavez and Ivan Chavez put "sweet" in their business' name "to reflect the romantic convivial side within all of us." Interestingly, both sweet (hint: s'mores served with Nutella) and savory crêpes are on the menu. Both Houston locations (one in Rice Village and the newest in CityCentre) are intimate and beautiful, with industrial-chic details, a tranquil color palette, marble tabletops, and modern chandeliers. Where better to celebrate your nuptials with a few of your nearest and dearest? But definitely call ahead to reserve space.
Let this luxurious downtown hotel be your playground, whether you and your gal pals want to partake in The Spa (a 2,500-square-foot Clarins spa with a menu of massages, manicures, pedicures, body treatments, and facials), poolside "Spa Tapas" treatments, or high tea at Quattro. The hotel restaurant puts on a delicious spread with scones, croissant, handmade preserves, and more for 10 to 30 guests in one of four private dining spaces, from 2-4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Keep in mind that the hotel is making over its 4th-floor spa facilities and fitness center—just in time for a better-than-ever New Year's 2016 reveal.
It's decidedly southern with a feminine flair at popular Washington Corridor cocktail bar Julep. That's because the boss lady—owner and master mixologist Alba Huerta—wanted a laidback place packed with southern charm and tradition. Think lace curtains, shiny silver julep cups, a cozy patio with fireplaces, and classic house cocktails like Old Pepper, Pimm's Cup, and St. Charles Punch. Known for seafood dishes (oysters on the half shell, clams, lobsters, prawns, and bay scallops), Julep will host private events and take group reservations.