I LOVE HOUSTON as an event locale for many reasons, namely its diversity; in particular, the number of venues at which to consider holding a special occassion. Below is a countdown of top selections taking into consideration three key factors: budget, number of guests and style or theme.
A Room with a View
A relatively new addition to the downtown area, The Grove wows guests while being surrounded by a lush downtown park. With crisp architecture and beautiful interior design, this spot offers three enclosed private rooms and one outdoor deck space that accommodate a variety of events from an intimate meal for 20 to a seated dinner for 250.
The floor-to-ceiling glass windows provide an incredibly stunning view of Discovery Green. The backdrop is a menu designed by renowned chef Robert Del Grande. This space is perfect for your wedding, rehearsal dinner, or any other type of festivity.
This space is designed to let the city be your stage as you celebrate. With breathtaking Houston views in the background, Skyline sets a new standard for atmosphere and is a perfect space for a rehearsal dinner or a corporate event reception.
This space is one of my favorites. Not only because it was the location of an event for which I won a prestigious award. Au contraire, the city’s skyline is a real gem from here.
The Grand Lobby blends a festive sense of welcome with relaxed elegance, and is equipped to seat several hundred easily. Want more exclusivity? I like that too. Reserve the Founder’s Club for smaller gatherings.
Out of the Ordinary
Who isn’t a wine lover these days? This venue is perfect for a rehearsal dinner or birthday party. The wine cellar, old world gazebo and enclosable pavilion gracefully blend romance with southern charm.
This is a great space for a number of different reasons. Aside from its Italian villa and hacienda-inspired architecture, it boasts various spaces that can accommodate 50 to 1200. The wine cellar is warm and inviting and the chapel is ideal for medium-sized wedding.
The space as it was originally designed by the Isaacson Chain & Belting Co. Inc., boasts 3400 square feet of warehouse. It’s stark, but linear, industrial feel is so appropriate. It now offers the comforts of a commercial kitchen and interior courtyard and flaunts a sophisticated, yet minimalist vibe with its cement floors, a wall of glass and contemporary art-lined hallways.
Crisp is best suited for private dinners or cocktail parties with a respectable 150-person or less guest list.
A Little Artsy
Not just a studio and gallery, Aerosol Warfare is also a raw, edgy space available for private parties. With sleek cement floors and graffiti-covered walls, Aerosol is the perfect backdrop for small (cozy/intimate) and (not-so-cozy/medium guest-sized) urban events.
Furthermore, GONZO247 and the artists of AWG are performance art aficionados available for hire here and for events elsewhere. Their specialty: creating paintings and murals while a party is going on … I know … very COOL.
This facility houses three fully-equipped dance studios and a 120-seat theater. It is operated by Suchu Dance, Houston's award winning contemporary dance theater company. Barnevelder rents space for private events and features a kitchen and social/reception area.
Masterful architecture combined with a diverse collection of contemporary art provide a snazzy destination for your next event. Rental includes: gallery space, kitchen, bar, sculpture garden and, hello ... artwork. With moveable walls and track lighting, the gallery can be customized to create a unique entertaining area well suited for entertaining needs.
The two building, 3,330 square feet of functional space easily accommodates events for 50 to 225.
Here's another space that is unique in that there’s nothing that looks like it in Houston. It’s BEAUTIFUL! In the works is a commercial kitchen to accommodate catering capabilities as well. The crisp, white satin-like walls are perfectly paired with ornate furnishings and state-of-the-art media capabilities.
The facility's focal point, the La Scala Ballroom, is just shy of 4,000 square feet and holds 300 guests in its three breakout rooms. Additional highlights include four boardrooms named after Italian landmarks, a spacious square foot conference room and several social/intermission areas. Catering will be provided by Bistro Alex and, for groups with dietary restrictions or ethnic celebrations requiring special menus, Hotel Sorella provides kitchen access to outside catering teams.
Boasting 57,310 square feet of event/meeting space, Houston's newest events venue needs no introduction; but I will anyway because it is wonderful. Located south of 610 off Fannin just minutes from Downtown, the many amenities include The Pavilion, an architectural phenomenon which seats 800 banquet or 1,000 theater guests.
Its Event Center and Chapel seat a maximum of 1,600 banquet or 2,500 theater style. This space is going to quickly become the venue of choice for large events, especially non-profit/fundraising gala types of events.
Oldies but Goodies
This venue is definitely a standout in Houston in terms of its design and history. A stunning amenity sheathed entirely in oak panels dating back to 1715 and hand-carved in France, the Grand Ballroom offers an exquisite presentation of the grandeur of a bygone era. A refresh of the entire space was completed earlier this year in celebration of the hotel’s 30th anniversary.
The ballroom alone holds up to 250 seated guests for events such as weddings, galas, fashion shows, luncheons, award ceremonies and corporate dinners.
This magnificent neoclassical building at the corner of Main Street and Franklin, completed in 1905 as the home of the First National Bank, occupies the first and mezzanine levels of the edifice; elegant former reception areas once known as "The Great Hall." Its most stunning feature, however, is a majestic colonnade of 35-foot Corinthian columns supporting the intricately decorated plaster ceiling.
Ideal for an elegant dinner of a thousand. A cocktail reception for 1,500? No problem. Pair the architecture with the culinary feats of world- renowned caterer Jackson Hicks and Co, the Corinthian is a must for the decadent affair.
The 1912 Hofheinz House is a unique historical venue owned by high-end catering duo Barbara and Lance McKnight. Formerly owned by legendary Judge Roy Hofheinz and immaculately restored, this beautiful craftsman-style venue hosts rehearsal dinners, the most intimate of wedding receptions and other private events for up to 120 guests.
Guest services book only one event at a time, accentuating an uncommonly warm yet exclusive experience for guests.
Yonder Down the Road
Consider the sole historic hotel in downtown Galveston and the only one featuring a sophisticated, modern lounge atmosphere on its roof. Enter the Tremont House if you will.
Multiple large meeting rooms including the Davidson Ballroom spare no expense on the latest technology and catering services for any occasion. The ballroom's staircase is a certain point of distinction with century-old charm. This hotel is perfect for the proper southern wedding.
The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center's 60,000 square feet is comprised of 33 meeting rooms and is perfect for a corporate retreat. Wedding venue wise it offers everything from a lakeside terrace to a Forest Deck under a canopy of lush trees to its signature glass enclosed ballroom.
The resort's wedding package makes it easy to customize an event to suit any style and budget.
This space is epitome of Texas chic. The limestone architecture paired with tower trees and a gorgeous lake makes for a very romantic wedding. Fifteen thousand square feet of event space, including a chapel and a crystal chandelier-clad ballroom, are among its graceful features.
CultureMap contributor Deborah Elias is the founder of Elias Events.