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Craziest wedding party ever? Always a Bridesmaid bash pushes the envelope at Rienzi

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13 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Emily Tucker, Amanda Juarez, Wendy Loch
Emily Tucker, from left, Amanda Juarez and Wendy Loch at Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi. Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
6 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Victoria Ridgway, Sarah Henderson, Durham Kyle, Barbara Fowler
Victoria Ridgway, from left, Sarah Henderson, Durham Kyle and Barbara Fowler at Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi. Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
15 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Katie Hamman, Amelia Johnson
Katie Hamman, left, and Amelia Johnson at Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi. Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
14 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Trisha Lira, Jennie Orellana
Trisha Lira, left, and Jennie Orellana at Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi. Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
12 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Lisa Brouilette, Monna Tolbert
Lisa Brouilette, left, and Monna Tolbert at Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi. Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
11 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Elizabeth Suffield, Victoria Ridgway, Meredith Allison
Elizabeth Suffield, from left, Victoria Ridgway and Meredith Allison at Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi. Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
10 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Lea Solomon, Sylvia Drake
Lea Solomon, left, and Sylvia Drake at Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi. Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
8 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Katy Schawe, Claire Petree
Katy Schawe, left, and Claire Petree at Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi. Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
7 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Sarah Schultz, Reid Lukens
Sarah Schultz and Reid Lukens at Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi. Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
5 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Marisa Peschel, Cotti Villagomez, Naomi Duke
Marisa Peschel, from left, Cotti Villagomez and Naomi Duke at Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi. Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
1 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Sooloman Shein, Elaine Shein
Sooloman and Elaine Shein at Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi. Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
4 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Sara Loeb, Betirri Bengtson
Sara Loeb and Betirri Bengtson at Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi. Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
3 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Wendy Barreno, Esther Trioche
Wendy Barreno, left, and Esther Trioche at Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi. Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
2 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Emily Knochel, Peggy Walsh, Deborah Horwitz
Emily Knochel, from left, Peggy Walsh and Deborah Horwitz at Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi. Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
9 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 crowd venue
The scene at Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi. Photo by © Chinh Phan/CultureMapSNAP.com
13 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Emily Tucker, Amanda Juarez, Wendy Loch
6 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Victoria Ridgway, Sarah Henderson, Durham Kyle, Barbara Fowler
15 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Katie Hamman, Amelia Johnson
14 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Trisha Lira, Jennie Orellana
12 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Lisa Brouilette, Monna Tolbert
11 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Elizabeth Suffield, Victoria Ridgway, Meredith Allison
10 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Lea Solomon, Sylvia Drake
8 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Katy Schawe, Claire Petree
7 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Sarah Schultz, Reid Lukens
5 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Marisa Peschel, Cotti Villagomez, Naomi Duke
1 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Sooloman Shein, Elaine Shein
4 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Sara Loeb, Betirri Bengtson
3 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Wendy Barreno, Esther Trioche
2 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 Emily Knochel, Peggy Walsh, Deborah Horwitz
9 Always a Bridesmaid party at Rienzi May 2013 crowd venue

On a typical day, Rienzi is a sophisticated setting to ooh and aah at the stylish European decorative arts holdings of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The former home of Carroll Sterling Cowan and Harris Masterson, who wed in this 1952 River Oaks residence designed by notable architect John Staub, is the epitome of class and good taste.

Then, why on earth was a bevy of gals and gents in a mishmash of nuptial duds occupying the museum's grounds — you ask?

Rienzi director Katherine Howe isn't shy about bringing back the original owners' penchant for partying. With a nod to the exhibition The Wedding Dress, on view through June 30, the ballroom, reception area and lanai, which was covered with swaths of flowing white fabrics overlooking rows of pink roses lining the fountain, served as the stage for the "Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride" party on Thursday.

It was gathering with a romantic — yet quirky — personality that had everyone chatting about weddings do's, wedding don'ts and nostalgic stories of days gone by.

Take Barbara Fowler, who was wearing the garment her mother wore to Fowler's 1964 wedding at St. Anne's. You could see the timeless, lace dress complete with elbow-length, white leather gloves and beaded purse in a photo Fowler brought to the event. So what if Lea Salomon's original wedding gown is now covering a chair in her living room. Salomon grabbed her daughter's elegant ensemble, added a few rhinestones to the headpiece and happily walked down memory lane.

Howe, in a flowing, sheer pink number she wore to her daughter's wedding, alongside security officer Cheryl Collins and docent June Bynum, dished out prizes for best costumes, which included an array of gift cards. Finger foods by Lola, indulgent cakes and plenty of bubbly, plus sentimental oldies by DJ Johnny J ushered guests to Smilebooth's photo haven, which was outfitted with plenty of accoutrements that made for comical mementos.

Saying "I do" — or "I don't" — were Emily Knochel, Peggy Walsh, Deborah Horwitz, Wendy Barreno, Esther Trioche, Victoria Ridgway, Sarah Henderson, Durham Kyle, Katy Schawe, Claire Petree, Elizabeth Suffield, Meredith Allison, Katie Hamman and Amelia Johnson.

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