How are You Going to Purchase Your Wedding Dress?

 

Today let’s talk about how you are going to purchase your wedding dress.    Why are dresses so much pricier when they’re meant for walking down the aisle?    Buying a wedding dress is not like buying a pair of boots or that new phone.  It’s an emotional purchase – after all, all eyes will be on you – you’re the star of the day.

So now that you have your ring, have you started the process of finding “the dress”?  Have you visited any of our great local bridal shops and tried on dresses?  Do you love the experience of sipping champagne, having your best friends and family with you, as you are trying on dresses?   Shopping for a wedding dress can be equal parts amazing and totally stressful.  And, trying on several dresses for a few weekends can wear you out.  Designer dresses are expensive so do you feel that going that route is stretching your budget?  After all, it’s just one day and there are other expenses like setting up a household that might need your funds.

And then, are you considering an “online” purchase.  Places like online retailers, Ebay, Craig’s List all have dresses that start even below $100.  You need to be very careful when shopping online, to make sure you don’t get ripped off.  That’s not to say every online store/contact is a scam, but you do need to be careful.  Plus, almost all wedding dresses need to be altered to fit correctly, and you will need to line up a good experienced seamstress.   If you have ordered your dress and received it, was it to your satisfaction?

So, we really want to hear from you how it’s going in your search for your wedding dress even if you have already purchased it.  Tell us what you have done, has it worked for you, and give us some feedback as to the pros and cons in your situation.  Even if you have not yet purchased your gown, tell us your concerns.   We want to share with our readers your knowledge and experience.  All comments will be posted and all people who send us their comments will receive a FREE Ticket to the Harvest Bridal Show.  Help us help you.  Send all replies to Bride@BrideStLouis.com.

Important Dates When Scheduling Your 2018 Wedding

One of the first questions you will be asked after announcing your engagement is, “Have you set a date?”  The date you choose is key to your entire event.  If you are on a tight budget there are some dates you will want to avoid and if you choose a date around a Holiday, you might find your favorite vendor already booked.  To save money, go for a Friday or Sunday wedding as many vendors will offer a reduced price on those days.   We also listed the 3 day weekends – these are great for guests who need to travel.   October is a very busy wedding month.  If fact, it ranks up with June as one of the most popular wedding months.

So let’s start –

December 31st – It’s a Sunday this year.  Some of you might want to opt for a 12/31/17 end of year wedding.  And besides it will save money on taxes if you file as “Married”.

January 1st  (It’s 1/8/18) – A easy date to remember!  What I call a Novelty Date.   (Yes, it’s a Monday)

January 13-14-15 – A 3 day weekend for many to celebrate Martin Luther King’s Day.

(January 21st – Our First Bridal Show of the Year at The Christy Banquet Center in O’Fallon, MO.)

February 4th – Super Bowl 52

February 10th -11th -12th   Lincoln’s Day is a State Holiday in Illinois.  That another longer weekend for some.

February 14th  – Valentine’s Day (Wednesday).  Florists will be super busy, and you might pay more for those red roses.  (This is also the first day of Lent known as Ash Wednesday.)

February 17th -18th -19th  – President’s Day Weekend – A 3 Day National Holiday.

(February 18th  – BrideStLouis Bridal Show at the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles

March 11th  – Daylight savings time begins.  (Longer Days)

March 17th  – For You Irish Lads. (It’s a Saturday.)

March 18th  – BrideStLouis Bridal Show at Bear Creek Golf Center in Wentzville

March 20th  – First Day of Spring – Vernal equinox. (Tuesday)

March 31st  – Passover

April 1st  – Easter Sunday.  Most couples avoid that date.  Many churches will not perform weddings the Saturday before Easter – March 31)

May 13th  – Mother’s Day.  (Be sure to check with your Mom’s about that weekend.)

May 26th -27th -28th  – Big Wedding Weekend – Memorial Day Weekend.  If you are thinking about one of those dates, you need to get your contracts signed NOW.  Photographers and favorite venues may already be booked.  Vendors know that they can book these dates – so don’t look for price deals.

June 17th  – Father’s Day.

July 4th  –  (Wednesday) This could be a busy time for many places so get your reservations in early.  If you have folks who need to travel this could be an ideal time for them to come.  It’s generally HOT so consider an indoor wedding.

August 18th – A play on numbers.  It’s 8/1/18!  Also a Saturday.

September 1st -2nd -3rd  – Labor Day Weekend.   Book quickly if you want this date.  Good again for those with out-of-town guests.

September 10th – Rosh Hashanah (Monday)

September 23rd  – First Day of Fall – Autumn Equinox

September & October Weekends

Extremely popular in the St. Louis area.

Great time for those Wine Vineyard Weddings.

Ties with June as the most popular month.

October 6th -7th -8th  – Columbus Day is October 8th (Monday).  Another good long weekend.

Nov. 4th  – Daylight Savings Ends

November 10th  – 11th  Veterans Day  (Saturday & Sunday)

Many in the military choose this day.

November 22nd , 23rd ,24th , 25th  – Thanksgiving Weekend. These dates book fast.

December 21st  – First Day of Winter

December 25th – Celebrate the end of the year married!  Get a tax break for the entire year!

 

Also, be mindful of religious and cultural holidays (Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, Yom Kippur, Christmas, and Kwanzaa) when planning your wedding.  There may be restrictions at your house of workship.

And if your family is deeply involved in sports – avoid weekends with the Super Bowl, Final Four March Madness, and perhaps some local college games as well.

And finally, for number “13” fans – you have:  January 13th (Saturday)), April 13th (Friday), May 13th (Sunday), July 13th (Friday), and October 13th (Saturday).   This is for Friday, Saturday or Sunday events as noted.

100 Tips to Save Money on Your Wedding Budget

Your wedding budget should not be something you are paying off for the next 5 years!  There is a lot of pressure from family and friends to spend lots of money and I am here to tell you that you don’t have to!  Make your budget something you are comfortable with and not what your family and friends tell you.  Choose what’s important to you – and cut back on the less important items.

Here are 20 tips to save money.    If you like these, email us at Bride&BrideStLouis.com and we will send you the complete list of “100 Ways to Save on Your Wedding Budget.”

Here you go:

  1. One of the best ways to save money is to keep your guest list small.  If you are having 50 guests or less, there are places like Tuscany Gallery (www.TuscanyGalleryandEvents.com) that can host your wedding ceremony & reception for a very modest price, and it’s beautiful.
  2. Consider a different time of day for your wedding, such as morning or afternoon.
  3. Consider a buffet or family-style meal rather than a plated meal. You can also opt for a cocktail hour with appetizers rather than a formal dinner.
  4. Stick with flowers that are in season. Or buy flowers from wholesale places like Sams and make an casual arrangement yourself.
  5. Consider getting married during off-peak wedding season. June and October tend to be the most popular month for weddings.
  6. Print your own invitations at home. Also check out Creve Coeur Camera’s Business Express. They do beautiful invitations and other print material and can even address your envelopes!
  7. Purchase handmade items directly from the designer on places like Etsy–and cut out the middle man.
  8. Consider a wedding location that isn’t a traditional “wedding” location, such as apark, municipal building or school.
  9. Have less formal food options. Everyone loves comfort food and snacks! A new trend is to bring in a food truck. Also consider food stations, such as a hot dog station, taco bar, or salad station where guests can create and choose what appeals to them.
  10. Consider a wedding dress that is not from a traditional bridal store. Browse a major retailer or online store for white dresses at a good price. Watch next year for the 2nd “Run for the Dress” event, where thousands of dresses are sold here in St. Louis for 50% to 70% off the retail price.
  11. Think about saving money for your maids. Bridesmaid dresses can also be found at a discount store or outlet or have your bridal party wear something they already own all in the same color.
  12. Shop sample sales or go dress shopping while there are sales. This could mean shopping way ahead of time to get a good price.
  13. Consider doing your own hair or makeup. Or go to a makeup store and have a professional teach you how to apply a good look.
  14. Instead of buying something, consider renting it, with things such as a tuxedo. Or, consider a more relaxed look like casual dressy attire.
  15. Purchase silk flowers over real.
  16. Consider not having favors to cut down on costs or limit them to one per couple instead of one per person.
  17. Helium Balloons make for wonderful décor to add color to any basic banquet room.
  18. Use coupons to find deals on craft items, wedding supplies and accessories. Michaels many times has 40% off coupons.  You might have to make multiple purchases over several trips to get everything, but it’s a great way to save a lot.
  19. Ask friends to help out with anything they can contribute. Maybe one of them could even officiate the wedding.
  20. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to the wedding budget. The last thing you want is for him to go and splurge on something he wanted while you promised to make cutbacks on things you wanted. Marriage is all about compromise.

37 Great Engagement Shoot Locations

It doesn’t surprise me that there were lots of wedding proposals on eclipse day.  After all, watching a total solar eclipse and getting engaged on the same day is something you just won’t forget!  And, it’s a very appropriate time to propose because as the moon almost completely blocks out the sun, you will see a bright light radiating out of the sliver of distance between the sun and the moon – and that is known as the “diamond ring.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Kelly Pratt Photography

 

And now that your wedding is official, here are some perfect locations for your engagement photos.  The St. Louis area has a plethora of iconic settings and eye-catching public parks that are prime for unforgettable photos.  So, all you new brides-to-be, now is a perfect time to schedule your session with the beautiful FALL colors coming soon.

 

Ballpark Village St. Louis MO
Bee Tree Park St. Louis MO
Butterfly House Chesterfield MO
Carondelet Park/Boat house St. Louis MO
Castlewood State Park Ballwin MO
Chesterfield Central Park Chesterfield MO
City Garden St. Louis MO
City Museum St. Louis MO
Creve Coeur Lake Park Creve Coeur MO
Drace Park Des Peres MO
Faust Park St. Louis MO
Forest Park – Muny Box Office, Bridges, Waterfall, etc. St. Louis MO
Fort Zumwalt Park St. Charles MO
Graffiti Wall Downtown St. Louis MO
Great Rivers Greenway – Bike Trail St. Louis MO
Jaycee Stage – Historic St. Charles St. Charles MO
Jewel Box in Forest Park St. Louis MO
Kuhs Farm Spanish Lake MO
Lafayette Park St. Louis MO
Landing in St. Louis St. Louis MO
Laumeier Sculpture Park St. Louis MO
Longview Farm Town & Country MO
Moonrise Hotel St. Louis MO
Muny in Forest Park St. Louis MO
Noboleis Vineyard Augusta MO
Oak Knoll Park St. Louis MO
Quail Ridge Park Wentzville MO
Sandy Covered Bride, The Hillsboro MO
Shaw Nature Reserve Gray Summit MO
St. Charles Gazebo on Main Street St. Charles MO
St. Ferdinand Park Florissant MO
Tower Grove Park St. Louis MO
Villa Antonio Winery Hillsboro MO
Washington Boulevard St. Louis MO
Water Tower St. Louis MO
World’s Fair Pavilion St. Louis MO

Your St. Louis Area Guide to Barn Weddings – Get That Country Feeling and Loving!

One of the strongest trends in our area is the barn wedding – brides are looking for that vintage, rustic inspired, down-home country feeling and atmosphere.  It also gives couples the opportunity of adding a lot of fun to the day with features such as a barbecue pits (roast that pig), fire pits for S’mores, and grassy area for yard games.   The romance and feeling of being outdoors and having a wonderful time is a strong appeal.  And being out in the country provides plenty of opportunities for breathtaking photos and a lot of homespun details, including family heirlooms, for the décor.   In fact, Pinterest has tons of ideas that you can incorporate into your reception and ceremony site.  Just search “barn weddings” and you will be flooded with ideas.

Barn weddings do have their challenges.   While fields and pastures are beautiful, can Grandma and Grandpa navigate the terrain?  And what happens if it rains just prior to your wedding…will you have a field of mud.   And anytime you are outdoors, you have to think about bugs and the weather – will it be too hot or too cold.

Here are some locations and venues that you might want to consider if you decide a barn wedding might be just the perfect option for you.

Haue Valley, Pacific MO (hauevalleyweddings.com)

Haue Valley has a large patio overlooking the property’s three lakes.  A rustic building with beautiful concrete floors and cedar wood beams.  They do provide tables and white wedding chairs and have indoor bathrooms that are wheelchair accessible.   Prices begin at $4500.  They do have exclusive caterers from which you must choose.

Rocking J Ranch, High Ridge, MO (www.stlouisbarnwedding.com)

Rocking J Ranch offers both an all-inclusive and a DIY package for weddings on a budget.  The all-inclusive is $55/person (minimums apply) and the DIY package starts at $4500.  The barn has a dirt floor except for a small dance area, and there is a lovely area set up for the ceremony just outside the barn with a small pond.  They usually release the horses in the pasture behind the ceremony area during the ceremony.  The farm house is provided as a bride’s get ready area.

Seven T Farms, Sullivan, MO (seventfarms.com)

Seven T Farms is a 400 acre venue that offers a large reception room, patio and an indoor/outdoor bar, stone fireplace, and a stunning view overlooking the farm.   Rentals start at $3750 and can accommodate up to 450 seated guests.  Russo catering is their exclusive catering company.

 

 Lake Creek Winery, Marthasville, MO (www.lakecreekwinery.com)

Lake Creek Winery is an 1860’s farmhouse, covered deck & patio area with spectacular views.  While not actually a “barn” wedding, the historic house adds that farm, vintage feel to any wedding.   There is an old barn that makes a great picturesque backdrop for your photos.  They can accommodate up to 250 people.

Sweet Clover Farm Events, Hermann, MO (sweetcloverfarmevents.com)

Sweet Clover Farms has a newly remodeled reception building that has a barn feel with wagon wheel chandeliers and white round tables and chairs.  They can accommodate up to 200 guests.  The Bride’s Cottage is included in the rental for the bride preparation prior to her day.  They allow you to choose your own vendors for catering, music, officiant and other.  One other note is that they do not supply alcohol and bartenders are not provided.  Prices begin at $2400 for a Saturday ceremony and reception,

Dodson Orchards, Fredericktown,  MO  (www.dodsonorchards.com)

Dodson offers an authentic old barn which is spacious and can accommodate up to 250 comfortably.  The old timbers and tin roof were put together around 1900.  Combine this with the vintage chandelier and string light and you have a stunning venue.  They also offer an outdoor garden chapel and a bridal cottage.  They offer both an all-inclusive with many additional options available such as ungraded china, S’more bar and more.   A venue only option is available only for off-peak dates.

Valley Farms, Foristell, MO  (www.valleyfarms.us)

Valley Farms is one of the newest BARN venues and is located in Foristell, MO. A beautiful NEW barn with concrete floors.  They offer lots of options including bonfire, hayride, S’more bar, and drone footage on your wedding.  You can also use one of the remote areas of the 20 acre farm to tie the knot.  Prices begin at around $3000 and you have flexible options for catering and other vendors.  They will be hosting an OPEN HOUSE on Sunday, October 22, 2017.  Be sure to come out and see this beautiful venue.

Illinois Barn Weddings (Calhoun County Illinois) (www.barnweddingsillinois.com)

 

Host a breathtaking country wedding at either the beautifully restored 150-year-old Mount Hope Barn, located on 250 acres or perhaps you would prefer the White Tales Lodge nested on 5 acres.   Packages stat at $2500 for the Lodge and $3500 for the Mount Hope Barn.  They offer many different packages so be sure to give them a call for more specific details.

The Pour Vineyard, Red Bud, Illinois (www.thepourvineyard.com)

The Pour Vineyard is one of Illinois newest wedding destinations and offers a rustic barn, large lake and over six acres of vineyards.    They offer many ceremony locations and they allow you to choose your own vendors.   Pour Vineyards can accommodate 200 for a barn ceremony, and about 225 for a vineyard or lake ceremony/reception.

Top Planning Tips for a Destination Wedding

Photo Credit:  Jessica Claire Photography

 

More couples today are turning to destination weddings from beach locations stateside to international locations such as Riviera Maya, Punta Cana, Montego Bay.  The majority of couples who choose destination weddings are doing so to find extra unique opportunities for themselves and their guests.  While many people assume the average duration is equivalent to a long weekend, most destination weddings average six days.

When choosing a venue it is important to keep your guests in mind.  Will the destination be affordable for guests to fly to and are there multiple hotel options at different price points.   Because of the extra expense of a destination wedding, you will find that your guest list will filter down to your core group of friends and family.

Most importantly it is important that you invest time and money to visit in person early in the planning process.   You will want to schedule venue site visits, do taste testings, and plan layouts and floor plans.  Depending on the size of your wedding, it may be easier to hire an event planner to help coordinate other vendors such as florists, photographers, DJs, etc.  And most importantly, if you are doing an international wedding in another county find out what the marriage license requirement are.  It might mean that you’ll have to tie the knot locally for it to be legal.

Know your destination and communicate information to your guests.  Share any special opportunities and travel ideas with them.   Communicate dress code and perhaps even send a basic vocabulary list in the local language.  Most important – have fun planning your special day.