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.    http://www.bridestlouis.com/listings/bridal-fashions

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 Bride@BrideStLouis.com.

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.

IDENTIFY YOUR PRIORITIES

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!

AFFORDABLE VENUES

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 VenuesofStLouis.com which lists over 300 venues that you can search by location, by price, and by type of venue. 

TRIM YOUR GUESTS LIST

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.

FEEDING YOUR GUESTS

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.

HIRE PROFESSIONALS

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 BrideStLouis.com.

 

Topic:  ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS

What to Wear for Your Engagement Session

What to Wear for Your Engagement Session

 

Topic:  WEDDING DRESS

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

 

Topic:    WEDDING PLANNING

 

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

 

Topic:  GETTING MARRIED

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.

20+ WOW Ideas to Personalize YOUR Wedding

 Decor Ideas for Your Wedding by BrideStLouis
I am going to start you off with 20+ ideas to personalize your wedding, and by the time you get to the bottom of this list, you will have probably thought of several things as well. Here we go:
  • Dress doors and entrances with flower garlands and fabric swags.
  • Have a garden wedding and hang lanterns lit by candles from sturdy branches. At night keep guests warm by setting up ceramic chimineas (small outdoor firepots) or bring in a fire pit.
  • Food Stations – South Sea Island Menu & Drinks, Mexican Station, Sushi Bar, Mashed Potato Bar, Salad Bar, Pasta Bar — anything goes.
  • Order your own wedding Converse shoes as dancing shoes for the reception.
  • Don’t number the reception tables – name them after your favorite places, pets, travel destinations, movies, songs, etc.
  • Add a line to your RSVP cards for a DJ song request.
  • Brand your wedding with a logo or monogrammed initials that are displayed everywhere – napkins, favors, etc.
  • Pick wedding colors that mean something to you. Cardinal Fan – it’s definitely Red. Missouri Tiger fan – go for that Black and Gold. You get the idea.
  • Why not choose a getaway vehicle to compliment your theme – Humvee limo, antique Rolls Royce, Motorcycle & Side Car, any 30s – 40s or 50s car, London style double decker bus, or just an old yellow school bus. If you are getting married by the water, think about a boat for your getaway.
  • Choose a venue that fits your theme – Moto Museum in downtown St. Louis has over 50 antique motorbikes  Like animals? Check out the Zoo. If you like to garden – there are lots of choices like Missouri Botanical Garden, the Lily Pond at Tower Grove Park, or the Jewel Box. Barns? Check our new sister site, www.VenuesofStLouis.com and search the barn category. In fact, if you don’t have your venue that the best place to start looking.
  • Pick an unconventional start time – like 5:12 – the exact time that you first meet, or when he proposed.
  • Create a signature drink. Check out www.stirrings.com to find drinks that match your wedding’s theme and color.  Have bartenders rim guests’ glasses with salt or sugar in your wedding colors. Want to conjure us some glamour…add a fountain that gushes champagne or your speciality drink.
  • Love vintage. Rent vintage china, linen and décor. Choose flowers that reflect the period like lavender, jasmine, etc. Mix and match seating options using couches and chairs with pillows.
  • Bottle your own wine complete with romantic custom labels. Serve at the reception or give as gifts.
  • For a great departure, provide sparkers for guests.
  • Love to dance? Jitterswing the night away. Be sure to pick a band that plays your favorite 50s, 60s, 70s tunes.
  • Elegant invitations are appropriate for elegant weddings. But if your wedding theme is designed around a theme that shouts “YOU”, make the invitation appropriate to the theme. For example, if you both love western movies and horses, and plan to have a barn wedding – send something more appropriate to the theme.  Perhaps send a red bandanna and invite your guest to dress appropriately. Ask your guest to wear their favorite boots and western hat.
  • Put a guest book next to the photo booth. Ask guests to make an additional photo to paste in the guest book.  They can add their personal message on that page as well.
  • Serve up decadent chocolate truffles, custard from Ted Drewes, or popsicles spiked with liquor.
  • Ask your videographer to set up a stationary camera and let guests record messages – a video guest book.
  • Hire specialty musical performers for a brief performance at the reception – conga players, banjo, and even a bagpiper.  It adds a lot of excitement to the evening.
  • Let everyone have a good time – set up blackjack and casino card game tables.
  • Give guests the words to your first dance and let the guests serenade you as you dance.
  • And finally, serve the super popular, tiny white castle hamburgers at 11pm before your guests leave.

Wow, the ideas are endless. So, we want to know what you are planning to make your wedding special. Send us your ideas now, and we will be posting them during the month on our Facebook page.  Everyone who submits their ideas will receive 2 complimentary tickets to our January 27th, 2019 bridal show at The Christy Banquet Center. Send to Bride@BrideStLouis.com.