7 Tips to Make Your Wedding Day Stress Free

I’ve seen a fairly large number of weddings, and I can guarantee you that there has never been a perfect wedding.     Here are seven things you might want to put on your checklist when you are planning your big day.


  1. Don’t forget the marriage license.  Yes, it’s true.  It happens and it happens quite often. Make one of you responsible for bringing the license.
  2. Make the rehearsal dinner different from the reception.   The purpose of the rehearsal dinner is for close family and friends of the bride and groom to mingle and be at ease with one another.  If the rehearsal dinner was a great four course meal, dancing, and the works – the next night might seem like a “repeat” of the first, but with more guests.  A rehearsal dinner should leave the participants psyched up for the “big” event.  Create a rehearsal dinner that’s different – maybe an outdoor steak/hamburger grill, barbeque or a picnic style event with relaxed dress attire.
  3. Here’s the crazy thing about most weddings.  You and your partner will share very little time together on the most important day of your lives!  First, you get ready for the ceremony, then have the ceremony, and finally spent a lot of the reception dancing with parents and friends and thanking guests for coming.  I highly recommend that you PLAN some alone time for you and your spouse immediately after the ceremony.  Take a walk, go to a room alone, or just find some place where the two of you can really share time just with one another.
  4. Don’t try to do everything yourself!  The night before the wedding you don’t want to be making place cards, finishing centerpieces or arranging bouquets.  Delegate and use your family and friends.  The bridesmaids and groomsmen are there as well to assist you, so don’t hesitate to ask them to take responsibility for a last minute task.
  5. Don’t invite too many wedding guests.  Sure, I’ve seen empty spaces at tables where guests have RSVP’d and then failed to arrive.  However, if you have invited 300 guests, received 290 “yes” responses, but the reception venue can only legally accommodate 275, you might have to turn 10 people away.  That’s really bad.  I’ve seen it happen.  And I think most couples don’t realize this.
  6. Don’t blow the budget!  Make a budget and keep track of your expenditures.  Don’t forget the hidden extras like tips and delivery fees.  I’ve heard of grooms who had to make a trip to the bank to get money to pay the DJ, or else there would be no music!   It costs a lot of money to have a wedding, so make sure you have all the major items budgeted for.
  7. Tension between families is inevitable.  Remember that this is a celebration of the beginning of your life together….and leave all the family issues at the door.  Don’t let issues ruin your day.

Have a Great Time at Your Wedding!



Is a Tent for your Outdoor Wedding in Your Budget?


Are you planning an outdoor wedding?  If so, do you have contingency plans in place?  What happens if it rains on your wedding day?  Can you afford to rent a tent?  Having room in your budget for a tent will keep you sane and stress free, and even if it’s a bright and sunny day, your guests will appreciate a place to get out of the sun.

If you are only days away from your wedding and rain is predicted chances are that you are not the only one looking for a tent.  You’ve probably spent every penny of your wedding budget, so adding a tent – which costs quite a bit – can push you far beyond what you wanted to spend.

So first – does your location have amble space for a tent and is it allowed?  Secondly, what size tent do you need?  If you have up to 100 guests a 30×60 canopy tent should be fine.  Over 200 guests requires a tent at least 40×80.  You need to allow space for a dance floor, DJ, buffet, bar and possibly a photo booth.  Your catering company will also need to be covered by an additional smaller tent placed close to the event tent.  Then what type of tent do you want?  A Pole Tent works best on a grassy area and is secured with stakes.  There will be at least one center pole supporting the tent.  A frame tent can be place on relatively any surface and there are no center poles to obstruct your view and event layout.

When pricing tents ask the following questions:

  • Is labor to setup and tear down the tent included?
  • What are the delivery and pickup fees?
  • How long will it take to construct the tent?
  • Is the tent weatherproof?
  • Do you provide linens, drapery, lighting?  Chandeliers are popular options in a white wedding tent – is that available?  Can I string lights myself?  What about uplighting?  Is there electrical service to the area?
  • Do you provide side walls?  Side walls are great in rainy weather and will need to be installed as the tent is set up.  They can block the view of the property, but will help in keeping guests dry and warm.
  • Do you provide a dance floor?   Are there other flooring options?

Here are three local companies that are experienced in our area with tent rentals.

  • Event Partners, www.EventPartners-stl.com
  • Weinhardt Party Rentals, www.Weinhardtpartyrentals.com
  • Fund Ways of Missouri, www.FundWaysofMo.com

A tent wedding can cost more than a beautiful banquet facility, but can be very beautiful..   So, have a beautiful outdoor wedding – and plan for a tent just in case!  You know what they say about the ST. Louis weather!


34 Venues that allow you to bring your own catering company

Outside Catering Venues

Jon and Jess Wedding 03-15-14

It’s time for an update and reposting of one of our most popular blog topics – Venues where you can choose you own catering company.

A lot of brides have asked us if we could provide a list of venues that allow outside caterers.  We found for you lots of choices – from community spaces to elegant historic homes.  If you book one of these venues, be sure to tell the venue that you found them through BrideStLouis.com.


560 Music Center,

Barnett on Washington  (A list of 7 from which to choose – more on the way)

Dog Museum, 1721 S. Mason Road, St. Louis, MO., 63131

Ballwin VFW Hall, 115 Minosa Lane, Ballwin, MO 63011

Blanchette Park Memorial Hall, 1900 W. Randolph St., St. Charles, MO 63101

Butterfly House (Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House)

Charles F. Knight Center, Washington University, St. Louis, Mo.

City Hall Rotunda, 1200 Market St., St. Louis, Missouri

Cultural Art Center, St. Peters, Missouri (Behind the Rec Plex)

Edge of Webster, 359 Marshall Ave., Webster Groves, MO 63119

Fast Lane Cars, 427 Little Hills Industrial Blvd., St. Charles, Mo 63301

Florissant Egan Center, Florissant, Missouri

Foundry Art Center, 520 N. Main Center, St. Charles, MO 63301

Gallery 400, 4th & Washington, St. Louis, MO. (A list of 9 from which to choose)

Hawken House, 1155 S. Rock Hill Road, Webster Groves, MO 63119

Jefferson Undergound

Kuhs Estate and Farm, 13061 Spanish Lake Pond Road, St. Louis, MO 63138

Lodge at Des Peres, 1050 Des Peres Road, St. Louis, Mo. 63131

Machinists Hall (District 9), 12365 St. Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton, MO 63044

Magic Chef Mansion, 3400 Russell,St. Louis, MO, 63104

Magic House, Kirkwood, MO

Mahler Ballroom, 4915 Washington Ave., St. Louis, MO

NEO on Locust

Old Courthouse – Downtown, St. Louis, Missouri

Powell Symphony Hall, St. Louis, MO

Regional Arts Commission

Quail Ridge Lodge (St. Charles County Parks), Wentzville, MO 63385

Saint Louis Carousel at Faust Park

Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Blvd, St. Louis, MO. 63108

Shrewsbury City Center

St. Louis City Hall, St. Louis, Missouri

Tuscany Gallery and Events

Third Degree Glass Factory

Wm. D. Purser Center


Additional contact information can be found in our vendor section.  If you know of others that you would like us to add to the list, let us know, and we will check them out.

How to Keep Formal Portraits Stress Free at Your Wedding

Guest Blogger: Patrick Pope – Patrick Pope Photography



How Many Formal Photos – and How Much Time Should I Allocate?

Ah, the ubiquitous family group shots. They’re not exciting, but they’re an important part of most weddings. The fact is, nobody really likes posing for these and everyone is much happier when they get done quickly and move on with the day. Not to mention that some venues leave only a very tight window of time for these photos.

Rather than trying to cram in every possible group you can think of I recommend going with a 6+4 list which should keep formals to about 30 to 45 minutes. A short list is greatly appreciated by guests and family as well as the wedding party and will help to ensure they remember your wedding with a smile rather than a groan.

The 6+4 List

I always recommend four groupings; bride alone, groom alone, bride and groom together, and the entire wedding party. Each of these might actually be a couple different variations. That leaves an additional six groups for family or friends.

Notice I didn’t include parents in the four recommended groups. I include those as part of the “six.” Really, I don’t even guess at family dynamics. Some couples have many sets of parents or grandparents while others have none at all.

I Want More!

You can certainly do more if you like, but the 6+4 typically list fits in a 30 minute window if everyone is on the ball. You’ll want to budget more time for more photos or if any of the six is a particularly large group. Needless to say it takes longer to position a group of 30 than a group of six.

One thing I STRONGLY advise against: Do not try to get an individual photo with each bridesmaid or groomsman. Sure, you can do it, but it’s long and tedious for you and your attendants and will seriously cut into time better spent having a good time. No matter how fast you think your photographer can power through them it always takes longer than you’d expect. Don’t do it!

Pick a Designated Photo Helper

Assign an assistant from the family or wedding party who can help gather groups and round up people. Guests don’t tend to pay much attention to the photographer, who they don’t know from Adam, but tend to listen to someone from the family or wedding party. It also helps to speed the process considerably as one group can be getting together while another is being photographed.

List or No List?

A list can help keep formals time organized, but is not strictly necessary. Groupings can also be done by request on the actual wedding day itself. Be brutal when determining which are the most important groups and prioritize your “must have” shots over your “would be nice” images. Usually immediate family is at the top of the list.

The most important thing to remember about a list: Be flexible! People wander off, time runs out, or you simply get sick of standing and smiling and are ready to get on with the day. Don’t be crushed if you don’t get each and every one, particularly if it’s a longish list. That’s another reason to keep your list short, by the way.

If it’s important that everyone, including yourself, has a great time at your wedding, a reasonable number of photos captured over a fairly short window of time will be a big hit. With just a little organization and some realistic expectations it’s not hard to get the photos that are important to you and give everyone a fantastic wedding day experience.

13 Tips for Stress Free Wedding Gown Shopping

Wedding Gown Shopping

Tips for stress free wedding gown shopping:

  1. Create a budget.   Most brides will spend about 10% of their wedding budget for their dress.
  2. Start shopping early.  It takes anywhere from six to twelve months from the time you place the order to when you bring your wedding gown home.  Bridal designers need four or five months to make it, and then you need to schedule fittings.
  3. Know what kind of dress you want. Love satin, hate lace…let your stylist know what you love and what you hate.
  4. What kind of wedding are you having? Destination wedding, outdoors, grand ballroom, barn/country….this decision will play some kind of role in selecting the right dress for the mood of your wedding.
  5. Most bridal shops prefer appointments, but most are happy to work with walk-ins too. Saturdays can be crazy busy, so why not try a weekday appointment for a more private and relaxing experience.
  6. Bring one or two people whose opinion means the most to you. The reality bridal shows show brides bringing a huge group of family and friends – and that just add drama and indecision to the process.
  7. Get ready for your appointment and bring items you want to wear down the aisle. Wear a strapless nude bra and a seamless thong or brief.
  8. Some dresses look better on you than on the rack. Let the stylist help choose a style which will flatter your body.  Keep an open mind.  Try different silhouettes to see which one makes you feel stunning.
  9. Forget about “sizes” in the wedding gown industry. Every designer’s size charts are different.  Taking in a gown is easy; letting it out is difficult.
  10. For most shops, a 50% deposit is required when you order.
  11. Don’t be afraid to say “yes” to the dress on your first attempt. When you know, you just know.  If you feel exceptional in that dress, it’s your dress.
  12. Move around – sit – dance a bit. You want to be comfortable.
  13. Gowns are made to order, so minor details can be customized or switched. You can add a belt to add some sizzle, or add some colored tulle underneath to add contrast.  Straps can be added or you might want to order a small jacket or fur for those cooler months.



How to Protect Your Wedding Dress



Whether you are wearing a new wedding gown or an heirloom wedding gown, you want your wedding dress to be perfect in every way.  Here are some tips to make sure your dress stays in tip top shape.

Prior to the Wedding:

Avoid excessive handling of your gown.  Clean hands are a must.  Carefully and fully inspect your gown – inside and out.  Check the beading – is it sewed or glues?  Some glued beads cannot withstand dry cleaning or even a gentle wet cleaning process.  Look at the pleats.  Some pleats may not withstand cleaning, pressing or steaming without losing their crispness or structure.  Inspect your gown for loose trim – make sure all ends are properly sewed.  Check the hook and eyelets at the top of the zipper – is it secure.

Finally, always hang your wedding dress from the loops inside the gown which are attached to the side seams.  And please, no wire hangers.  Protect your gown from exposure to light and air by wrapping it in a clean sheet and never keep your gown in a plastic bag as fabric needs to breath.

After your Wedding Day:

It is important to have your wedding dress properly cleaned by a Wedding Gown Specialist.  Make sure your cleaner can remove sugar, salt, and acid stains – seen or unseen.  Sugar stains can cause yellowing or caramelizing leaving ugly brown stains on your bridal gown.  Pack in 100% acid free tissue to eliminate permanent creases and fold.  Many cleaners here have special see through boxes that are acid free that are perfect for storing your dress.

A little preventive care goes a long way.  After all, your daughter just might be wearing your wedding dress in the future.