January 2010 Winner Heather Hess
by Laurette Veres
Heather Hess, was the Bridal Extravaganza Show’s billboard bride and was one of over five thousand women who registered to win the big prize at the George R. Brown last summer. But her fifteen minutes of fame started with a weekend trip to New York City.
The Fourth of July is Heather’s favorite holiday and she was thrilled when her boyfriend, Paul McHugh, proposed a trip to New York City. At a rooftop restaurant overlooking the Hudson River, they enjoyed a spectacular fireworks display. Afterward, Paul said “I hope this makes the night even more magical.” He lifted his hand and on his pinky finger was a ring.
The engagement weekend became surreal when Heather and Paul stood outside of the “Today Show.” Holding signs declaring “She said yes,” and “He put a ring on it,” the weather anchor interviewed them. Heather’s phone burned with messages of congratulations. “I got to announce my engagement on national television!” she recalls.
At first, planning the wedding seemed stressful. Heather’s mom passed away two years ago. “I was crying for the first week [of the planning process]. It’s kind of a challenge without my mom.” Her groom stepped up to the task. “It’s becoming a more of a joyous occasion now,” she says.
Timing couldn’t have been better for her engagement. “The fact that Paul asked me two weeks before [the Extravaganza] was perfect. I had been waiting for so long,” she says.
Set to a pallet of brown, champagne and gold, her winter wedding is planned for early 2010. She describes her event as intimate and traditional. The traditional aspect has surprised her. “I don’t see myself as a traditional person, but the more planning I do, the more I realize how important traditions actually are,” she says.
Heather has saved and dried every flower Paul has given her since they started dating. She’s going to shape them into a heart and display them in a shadow box with a poem (at the reception).
She will carry her mom’s diamond pendant on her bouquet of roses, orchids and hydrangeas created by Carmen’s Floral Design. And she’s adding a dash of bling to her three-tier cake with a Swarovski crystal monogram. Her cake is from Cakes by Gina. Her strapless gown from Bridal Depot is cathedral length with a sweetheart neckline.
When she heard the news about the billboard bride honor, she couldn’t contain her excitement. “It’s like I’ve won the lottery. It’s especially meaningful for my dad,” she says.
“Everything has been so perfect and amazing,” she gushes. From the Fourth of July proposal to being on national television and featured on billboards all over Houston: “It’s a dream come true.”
Heather will appear on billboards citywide. She will also be on hand at the next Bridal Extravaganza Show January 9-10, 2010 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. All brides-to-be in attendance are eligible for this honor.
Get this look: Gown: Ventura’s Bridal, Photography: Houston Photographer EVOKE Photo & Video, Jewelry: Loida Wexler Jewelry, Hair & Makeup: Your Make-Up Expert.com, Bouquet: Darryl & Co