Why Weddings Can Be So Expensive & How Can I Spend Less

How to Save Money on Your Wedding

By now you have probably heard that the “average” wedding cost is $25,764, with couples spending between $19,323 and $32,205!  Yes – that a staggering amount.  So, two questions I am often asked is “Why are they so expensive?”  and “What can I do to reduce the amount that I spend?”

As you start the planning process, you will begin to get pricing from venues, florists, photographers, etc. and as you start adding up these expenses, it hits you.  Wow! 

So, let’s discuss the “Why”.  To create your awesome wedding, you need to hire wedding professionals because they can make it truly the beautiful experience that you desire.  They charge what they do, as this is the way they pay their bills and feed their family.  (Many people consider their job “fun” and not work, but that’s not so).  Most importantly when you hire a wedding professional, it’s their time, knowledge, experience and expertise that you are paying for.  And then you need stuff – food, alcohol, flowers, linens, space rentals, cake, dress apparel, gifts, music.  All of that “stuff” makes it what it is.  And finally, it’s not a wedding without guests.  The more guests, the more money you’ll have to spend.

It’s so easy to over spend in the excitement of planning your “fairytale wedding”.   But spend too much and you could turn your “happily ever after” into years of debt  – and money issues is what most newlywed couples fight over!

How to Save Money When Planning Your Wedding

Question No. 2 – What can I do to reduce the amount that I spend?  There are lots of ways to do this but the biggest way is to control the guest list – keep your guest count small!  Less food, less drinks, less tables – it makes a huge difference.  Your first step in planning your wedding is to create a budget and know where the money is coming from.  Then decide on what’s important to both of you.  Focus on your priorities and think creatively.  Do you need that expensive banquet hall, perhaps have a brunch wedding, or how about a food truck with some fun food items.  I always tell brides to forego the favors.  Really – they’re not necessary.   Small stuff here and there can add up to big dollars.  Spend your money where it has the most meaning to you.  And most importantly, don’t scrimp on good photography.  It’s the only thing you will have after the wedding.  Those photos represent memories that you will share and enjoy forever.

And finally – think big picture.  What are your goals after your wedding – house, travel, furniture, kids?  When you are tempted to go over your budget, re-evaluate how important that item is in the big picture.  Sometimes that “Horse & Buggy Carriage Ride” doesn’t seem that important.  

Have a SWEET Wedding!

Desserts are a big part of the wedding day experience for your guests.  However, you don’t have to stick just with the traditional cake.  Here are some ideas to add a more personal touch.  Yes, you can have your cake, plus these sweet things too!

Milk And Cookies at a Wedding - BrideStLouis.com


Milk & Cookies

Nothing beats a stack of fresh baked cookies and a glass of milk. Cookies will satisfy each guests’ sweet tooth, while the glass of milk gives them a refreshing boost for the night’s festivities.  This is a great item to serve later in the reception before guests start departing.



Ice Cream Sundaes

Having a summer wedding?  Reception spaces can get hot as the night goes on and the dancing starts. Cool down with a refreshing ice cream sundae. Create a sundae bar for guests to make their own and choose their toppings.   Also be sure to check out Dipping Dots as well, as they can provide everything for you without the hassle!  Talk to Ben or contact him at favierben@gmail.com

Donuts for Your Sweet Wedding by BrideStLouis.com




I never knew anyone who doesn’t like doughnuts!  Choose doughnuts decorated with your wedding color palette to make an adorably delicious snack for late at night.





Pastries & Dessert Bars

Dessert pastries are the perfect compromise between carbs and sugar. From cannolis to croissants, channel that corner bakery with a delectable selection for your guests.  Add some macarons or fresh baked pies for lots of choices.  Nothing Bundt Cakes makes these absolutely delicious little “buntinis” (bit size bundt cake) that could be perfect as well!  Check out Nothing Bundt Cake in Chesterfield at 159 Lamp and Lantern Village.

So, let there be sweet treats for all!


Top 2 Reasons to Hire a Professional Photographer – It’s a decision you won’t regret!

Wedding Photography

The most precious day of your life is surely your wedding. You want to ensure that every moment of your special day is captured in a unique and beautiful manner.   I have heard from many couples after the fact about their poor decision in hiring a friend or family member to do the job.   Their failures and inexperience lead to your heart ache and disappointment, and unfortunately you will never be able to capture that moment of time again.  You have spent thousands of dollars to have a one-of-a-kind unforgettable wedding and when it’s over you have only your memories and your photos.  Don’t you want the assurance that those photos will tell your story – your every special moment – as splendidly as the day was.

So – here are two compelling reasons NOT to hire that family member or friend:

Commitment – Professional photographers won’t flake out on you like a friend or relative, because they are obligated by contract to be there. They have backup systems, cards and batteries.  They know that equipment can fail, but that won’t stop them.  They are ready for that.  They are dedicated to doing a great job for you because they depend on your referrals to pay their bills.  Full time professionals are committed to doing the best job possible.  Would you hire an amateur to pull a tooth?

Experience – Professionals have spent thousands of hours photographing weddings.  They know how to get the best shots even in tricky lighting.   Professional photographers in other genre can struggle with weddings – weddings are a beast!  It’s a fast pace day, you have to know how to handle tricky situations like Aunt Betty and her I-pad up in the air, and then top in all with amateurs not knowing anything about posing. Professional experience is invaluable.  Your friend or relative doesn’t have that “experience” to predict or anticipate a special moment, and they don’t have the dedicated concentration to stay alert for special moments – like a mother’s admiring glance at her daughter getting married. 

RESULTS! – That’s what matter.   I love when couples look at their photos from a professional and many times they are surprised at the many funny and moving moments the photographer captured that they never witnessed.  An amateur isn’t going to capture them, and you’ll never know what you’ve missed.

Your wedding day only happens once!  Keep those precious memories and moments alive by NOT compromising on photography.  Cut the size of the cake, or the guest list – but keep the professional photographer – because you can savor those images for a lifetime.


Your Wedding Planning Timeline

Planning a Wedding, Wedding timeline


Here is an easy to follow Wedding Planning Schedule that you might wish to print out and keep handy.  The secret to a stress-free wedding is being prepared and handling the scheduled tasks on a timely basis.  You should work with your partner on many of these tasks as it is his wedding too!  Most importantly, decide on a budget and stick to it.  If you follow these few steps, you will be able to enjoy a fantastic wedding!


10 months before wedding

□  Pick wedding theme/style, color

□  Plan budget, start a wedding folder or binder.

□  Make tentative guest list

□  Set wedding date & time

□  Book ceremony & reception location

□  Select members of wedding party


9 months before wedding

□  Pick DJ/Band & ceremony musicians

□  Book wedding day transportation

□  Book photographer and videographer and consult with photographer on scheduling your day to allow sufficient time for all photos.  Allow a minimum of one hour for photos of just the two of you.

□  Book florist

□  Meet with ceremony officiant


8 months before wedding

□  Order your bridal gown and Select Bridesmaids’ dresses

□  Send Your Save the Dates


6 months before wedding

□  Register gift choices

□  Finalize guest list

□  Order wedding invitations

□  Plan hotel and transportation for out-of-town guests

□  Order wedding cake


5 months before wedding

□  Wedding-night hotel suite for bride and groom

□  Plan honeymoon

□  Select and order wedding favors


4 months before wedding

□  Order groom’s attire

□  Select groomsmen’s attire

□  Send out-of-town guests invitations

□  Select wedding bands


3 months before wedding

□  Send out invitations to in-town guests

□  Finalize and book menu for rehearsal dinner

□  Finalize menu and drinks for reception


2 months before wedding

□  Purchase gifts for wedding party & parents

□  Plan reception seating

□  Plan itinerary for out-of-town guests

□  Finalize arrangements with DJ/Band, Ceremony Musicians, Florist, Cake Baker, Photographer and Videographer

□  Schedule Hair & Makeup Trials and Create a Wedding Emergency Kit


1 month before wedding

□  Get final fitting of your wedding gown

□  Get marriage license

□  Get name-change forms (if changing your name)

□  Confirm all hotel accommodations


1-2 weeks before wedding

□  Have rehearsal & dinner

□  Have bridesmaid’s lunch

□  Have groomsmen’s’ day out

□  Confirm wedding day transportation

□  Confirm guest count with caterer

□  Confirm time and location with Officiant, Florist, Cake baker, Photographer, DJ/Band, and Videographer


Congratulations!  It’s your Wedding Day!  Turn over all wedding planning activities to a close friend who you trust to handle any issues and just enjoy your day!!!

Choosing a Theme or Color for Your Wedding

Color Combinations for Weddings, BrideStLouis Wedding PlanningCongratulations to many of you that are newly engaged.  It’s an exciting time in your life and we want you not to stress over the task of planning your wedding.  While it is probably the biggest event that you ever orchestrated, just take it step by step like we discussed last week.

Remember that BrideStLouis.com can help guide and support you through your wedding planning journey with our easy wedding directory featuring thousands of premier wedding and bridal businesses.  In fact, we have over 2000 vendors listed in over 62 different categories.  In addition, our blog posts are always original, timely, and plentiful!  You can review over 450 blog posts that cover every detail of weddings by various categories as well.

Our new 2018 Free E-book “Wedding Planning for the 2018 Bride!” will be ready in just a few days.  Let us know if you would like to receive a copy by emailing us at bride@bridestlouis.com.

So, one of the first steps besides the budget is to choose a theme or color that best represents you – the bride and groom – as a couple.  There are many ways of doing this, like choosing a shared interest, favorite hobby or leisure time activity.  I’ve seen Lego Weddings, Book Theme weddings based for favorite books, Movie Themes, Country Weddings – you name it!  Some couples love to dance and they base their reception on that.

Some couples just choose a style – like Old World Elegance, Fairytale & Romance, or perhaps Seasonal Themes depicting their favorite time of year…a Winter Wonderland or a Fall Harvest Wedding.   A Harry Potter theme has happened as well as The Great Gatsby.

And then there is color.  Color can reflect your style and personality as well.

White – Purity, Innocence and Fresh Beginnings

Yellow – Wisdom, Happiness, Intellectual Energy

Pink – Love, Beauty, Fun Personality

Red – Strength, Health, Vitality

Blue – Youth, Peace, Tranquility

Green – Harmony, Balance, Flexible & Unique

Silver – Calmness, Elegance

Gold – Wealth, Power, Tending to Extravagance

Black – Sophisticated, Controlling, Perfectionist, Dominant

So – what’s your color and theme?  Be sure to share with us your ideas and we will post our favorite on Facebook next week.  Our favorite as voted by our staff will win four FREE tickets to our next bridal show at The Foundry Art Centre on February 18th, 2018.  Send you comments to Bride@BrideStLouis.com.

Making the Most of a Bridal Show


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.

Here are tips to get the maximum benefit from any show:

Before you go to any show, print several sheets of adhesive address labels with your name, contact information, AND wedding date.  If you have not yet set a wedding date, add something like Spring 2018.  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 go quickly.  September and October dates book quickly here in our area.  It’s prime wedding season, and many vendors like venues and photographers book a year out!

Bring family and friends you trust, and whose opinion matter.  But be careful of the size of your group because too many opinions, and you could be overwhelmed with indecision.

Invite your groom, but take him only if he wants to have a voice in this part of the wedding planning.  If this is not his thing, don’t torture him!  (Note:  Bring your groom along to our January 21st My Dream Wedding Bridal Show at The Christy Banquet Center and try out some complimentary dance lessons provided by Dance Pizazz.)

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

Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.

Be ready with phrases such as, “I’ll think about that.”  And always give yourself a set amount of time and make a decision.  One of the biggest causes of stress in wedding planning is not making decisions on a timely basis…and then things start to really back up and you’ll find yourself in a spin trying to finalize decision.

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