Personalizing Your Vows

Wedding Planning by


Wedding vows today no longer necessarily follow the standard “love, honor, cherish…” verbiage.  Couples use their vows to express their feelings and commitments to one another.

Here are some examples:

I, (Bride/Groom), take you (Groom/Bride), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

I, (name), take you, (name), to be my [opt: lawfully wedded] (husband/wife), my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.

I (name), take you (name) to be my (husband/wife), my partner in life and my one true love. I will cherish our union and love you more each day than I did the day before. I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together. I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall live.

In the presence of God and these our friends I take thee to be my husband/wife, promising with Divine assistance to be unto thee a loving and faithful husband/wife so long as we both shall live.

I, (name), take you, (name), to be my friend, my lover, the (mother/father) of my children and my (husband/wife). I will be yours in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph. I promise to cherish and respect you, to care and protect you, to comfort and encourage you, and stay with you, for all eternity.

I, [name], choose you [name] to be my [husband/wife], to respect you in your successes and in your failures, to care for you in sickness and in health, to nurture you, and to grow with you throughout the seasons of life.

I, (name), take you, (name), to be my partner, loving what I know of you, and trusting what I do not yet know. I eagerly anticipate the chance to grow together, getting to know the (man/woman) you will become, and falling in love a little more every day. I promise to love and cherish you through whatever life may bring us.

And some addition readings might include:

Today we come together not to mark the start of a relationship, but to acknowledge and strengthen a bond that already exists.  Marriage is a commitment to the best that (name) and (name) can find and develop within each offer.   It offers opportunities for sharing and growth no other human relationship can equal, a physical and emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime.  A wife and a husband are each other’s best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic.

Marriage is the ongoing process of shaping and reshaping your lives together. It is the commitment to always listen to each other, to respect and value the other as your equal, to be honest with each other and to treat each other with kindness and thoughtfulness.

When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique to themselves, which binds them closer than any spoken or written words.  Marriage is a promise which takes a lifetime to fulfill.

Today, as I give myself to you, my commitment is strong and forever.  All that I am and all that I have, I offer you in love and joy.  Because of you, I laugh, I smile, and I dare to dream.  Today I fully and unconditionally give you my all.  To be by your side through thick and thin.  I vow to hold you when we go to sleep and kiss you when we wake up.  As I give you my hand to hold so I give you my life to keep.

Work with your officiant as he or she may have specific words that you cannot deviate from for a religious ceremony of he/she may have additional samples of vows.  Feel free to add your own embellishments, loving words, and inside jokes.

READ THIS FIRST – BEFORE you buy your Wedding Dress


All women want to look their very best on their wedding day – beautiful, confident and radiant!  Here are some tips to ensure that you make a GREAT choice when it comes to your choice of bridal gown.

  1. Start NOW to find your dress. If you plan to order a designer gown it can take up to six months to arrive after it is ordered.  Plus – every gown will need some alterations to fit perfectly.
  2. Don’t let anyone persuade you into purchasing a particular dress – not your mother, your fashionista friend, or an opinionated maid of honor. Choose the dress YOU LOVE and the dress that makes you feel beautiful.
  3. We all love to get a great deal. But this is one time you don’t want to make a decision purely on price.  Find dresses that are within your budget and choose from those selections.
  4. Believe me when I tell you, make sure your dress is comfortable! Can you sit, dance, and relax in your dress?  Good undergarments and a dress that fits right is so essential.  At 8 o’clock when it’s time to party you will be glad that you followed this tip.
  5. Locate a reliable, reputable and well-respected shop instead of shopping online. Good service and advice is worth a lot more than saving a few dollars.  I went to a wedding last year where the bride wore a “pink” dress– it was a bright, hot pink!  She ordered it online, and it arrived just a few days before the wedding.  The online photos showed this dress as a “very, light delicate baby pink. NOT! It was a hot pink and the bride had no choice but to wear it
  6. Don’t buy your dress based on your street clothes size. Bridal gowns don’t run true to your typical dress size.  Don’t buy a smaller gown because you are planning to lose weight before your wedding day.  Remember, it’s easier to have a dress taken in if you lose the weight than trying to find an extra inch to let out.
  7. Need help finding a good Bridal Shop. Here is a link to all the great Bridal Shops in our area. I’ve been to many of them and they will treat you right.

One of the MOST Important Decisions of Your Wedding

BrideStLouis for Weddings


The photographs from your wedding day will be a timeless keepsake and choosing your photographer will be one of the most important decision you will make regarding your wedding.  Wedding photographers can be very expensive or not, focus on a number of different styles, and offer a variety of levels of service and experience. Choosing a wedding photographer takes careful thought and consideration.

The unfortunate thing about your big day is that it is just one day. There are no do-overs.   Fortunately, the right wedding photographer can gorgeously preserve the entire event’s happenings, the emotions, and the fun—forever!  One perfect picture can instantly take you back to the happiest day of your life.

How do you find your photographer?  Below are tips for finding your photographer:

Start Searching Immediately

So, you just got engaged—Congratulations!  Now start looking for a wedding photographer. The truth is, the best professional photographers book their schedules a year in advance, so hiring someone is one of the first things you should do after you’ve set the date.  If your wedding is in June or October here in the St. Louis area and you haven’t booked – you could very well have to choose someone other than your first choice.

Narrow Down Your Options

Once you have a list of your top choice photographers, take an in-depth look into their services to begin eliminating candidates who aren’t a good fit.

Determine which photographer will meet your budget as well as your specific needs.   But don’t necessarily eliminate the more expensive as they may have payment plans or other options to help you get the best photos that you deserve.  I can’t tell you how many brides said to me, “I am sorry I didn’t listen to you.  I hate my photos.”  Don’t trust your special day to someone with zero experience, cheap gear, and likely no backup gear to save a couple hundred dollars.  (Think family or friends with a camera!  Don’t – let them enjoy your wedding.)

Conduct Your Interviews

After narrowing your selection of wedding photographers down to two or three, make appointments to interview the photographers. Look at two or three wedding albums available to show. Make sure you see at least one album of an entire wedding, from start to finish.

Examine the basics of the pictures such as color, clarity, exposure, graininess and composition.

Do the guests look natural or self-conscious?

Do the photos capture the emotional tone?

If a photographer says they don’t edit, run!

Dedicated and experienced wedding photographers apply a higher degree of craftsmanship and artistry, and employ creativity well beyond the average Bob or Mary could even dream of … but much of that goes unrecognized, and by default under-valued. Some uneducated couples have been known to choose a photographer simply based on time and number of photographers being the criteria.   Quite honestly a good photographer has a unique style of their own, and is quite capable of handling a complete wedding by themselves, providing consistency in style.

Cell phones have made photography seem like a commodity to some couples.  After all they make cell phone shots and get them on Facebook quickly!  They think, what’s the big deal?  In reality, these couples have no idea of the time spent before and after a wedding shoot to bring a FOREVER quality to your images.

During your interview, find out how many weddings the photographer has shot over how many years. He may have been a professional photographer for 15 years but only doing weddings for the past year. Remember, wedding photography is much different than any other type of photography; the pressure is high and the emotional energy is not suited for everyone.

Be sure to ask if the photographer has shot at your wedding venue before. If he has, he may already know where to stand to get the perfect shot or how to incorporate the church’s ancient stained glass in a uniquely engaging way.

Will his/her presence be an asset or a burden? Truly, a wedding photographer’s charm and ability to put everyone at ease is an important skill.


In conclusion, we’d love to hear from you.  What’s important to you regarding capturing great photos of your special day and choosing your photographer?    The first 5 to respond will receive a complimentary ticket to our March 3, 2019 Bridal Show at The Foundry in St. Charles.  Send your comments to

Spend Smart for Your Dream Wedding

It’s so easy to get swept up in the excitement of planning your Dream Wedding.  But spending too much could turn your “happily ever after” into agony afterward.  Money is one of the number one reasons couples fight, so it is important to communicate with one another about how much you have to spend and where you want to spend it.   The small stuff adds up, so spend your dollars toward items that will have the biggest impact and that are most important to you. 

Let’s talk about how to plan a wedding that fits your style AND your budget.


Sit with your spouse-to-be and together decide which details are most important to you.   What do you want to splurge on, such as a high-end venue or a DJ who provides lots of bells and whistles to keep the wedding party going.  Spend the money where it has the most value to you, and scale everything around those two or three priority things.  Don’t skimp on good food.  No one remembers that you had chair covers, but they will remember a cheap meal.  Personally, I recommend the best photographer you can afford – a good photographer will capture all those special moments and emotions that bring back memories every time you look at your photos.   Those photos will last a lifetime.  In fact, I have a bride’s mom call me today, her daughter had a fire and they lost everything – however, the photographer had backup copies of all their wedding photos!   She was so glad they hired a professional!


We are so fortunate to live in the St. Louis area where we have many great venues that can fit almost any budget.  Forest Park, Quail Ridge in St. Charles, Art Galleries and other community centers.  A great resource to find your venue is our new which lists over 300 venues that you can search by location, by price, and by type of venue. 


Celebrate your day with the ones that mean the most to you.  So much of the expense is calculated per person, so keep your guest list small.


Good food doesn’t have to be expensive to be enjoyable.  Be creative – hire a food truck, have stations where people can make their own meal, such as a pasta bar, potato bar, etc.  Have an afternoon wedding and serve sandwiches.  Host a small Sunday wedding with Cake & Cocktails.   I love one bride who had a “brunch” on Sunday after the ceremony, and then invite only the immediate family to an up-scale dinner at a local restaurant that evening.


Don’t make the ones you care about have to work at your event.   Hire a florist and choose in-season blooms to save money.  Pass on the photo booth.  Professional vendors will deliver the SERVICE and product that will make your day special.   There is nothing worse than handling issues on your wedding day.


Need more help?  Email us and we will send you our new 2019 eBook “Wedding Planning for the St. Louis/St. Charles and Southern Illinois Bride.

Help with Wedding Planning

Today we are listing and linking some of our most popular blog posts for you.  As you begin your wedding planning, these are some of our bride’s favorite articles from past years.  Need more help?  We have almost 500 blog posts that you can search by category on our site that can help you with just about everything!

Do you know anyone that just got ENGAGED?   Forward this information to them to help them discover all the helpful wedding services and inspirations offered at



What to Wear for Your Engagement Session

What to Wear for Your Engagement Session



7 Points to Consider as You Shop for Your Wedding Dress

7 Points to Consider as You Shop for Your Wedding Dress

13 Tips for Stress Free Wedding Gown Shopping

13 Tips for Stress Free Wedding Gown Shopping




Choosing a Theme or Color for Your Wedding

Choosing a Theme or Color for Your Wedding

3 Ways You Can Help Your Photographer Capture YOUR Memorable Moments

3 Ways You Can Help Your Photographer Capture YOUR Memorable Moments

7 Tips to Make Your Wedding Day Stress Free

7 Tips to Make Your Wedding Day Stress Free

10 Tips to Stay on Budget for Your Wedding

10 Tips to Stay on Budget for Your Wedding

20 WOW Ideas to Personalize Your Wedding

20+ WOW Ideas to Personalize YOUR Wedding

How to Keep Formal Portraits Stress Free at Your Wedding

How to Keep Formal Portraits Stress Free at Your Wedding

Outdoor Places for Low Cost Ceremonies

Outdoor Places for Low Cost Ceremonies

7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Venue

7 Things to Consider When Choosing A Wedding Venue



The Marriage License

The Marriage License

14 Snippets of Ideas When Writing Your Own Vows

14 Snippets of Ideas to Help When You are Writing Your Own Vows.

First Look or Not?

First Look or Not?

Music to Walk Down the Aisle

Music to Walk Down the Aisle

Miss, Ms to Mrs. – The Name Change Checklist

Miss, Ms to Mrs. – The Name Change Checklist



Making the Most of a Bridal Show

Wedding Planning and Bridal Shows by BrideStLouis


Bridal Shows can be fun and exciting, as you put together the pieces of your wedding day.  And they are indoors…where it’s warm!  So you can warm your body and excite your spirit.

Many brides tell me that they are thoroughly overwhelmed the first time they attend a bridal show, so I thought it might be good to lay out a few guidelines to help you make the most of your time.

Before you go – print several sheets of adhesive address labels with your name, contact information, AND wedding date.  Quickly peel off a label and stick it on an inquiry sheet at any booth that you would like to receive additional information.

Bring your checkbook – you just might want to book or hold a date.  High demand dates can go quickly.  Is your wedding date in May, June or September, October? If you find a vendor you like, and they are available, you better book it now.  Photographers book sometimes a year out, and so do venues.  They can only host one event on any one day, so don’t take a chance and find them booked next time you inquire.

Bring family or friends you trust, and whose opinion matters.  But be careful of the size of your group.  Too many opinions – and you could be overwhelmed with indecision.

Invite your groom – but take him only if he wants a voice in this part of the wedding planning.  If this is not his thing, don’t torture him!

Know what you are looking for and what’s your budget.

Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.

Many vendors will have special SHOW specials.  This is a great time to take advantage of these show specials to help stretch the budget.  Be sure to ask questions about their service.  And service is what the top professional vendors provide – that’s what puts them in demand.  Weddings are a very personal service, and without GOOD service, you could have problems.  Not a way to remember a wedding.

Whether your wedding is a few months away or an entire year, a bridal show will help you pull everything together.