FINDING VENUES WITH CHARACTER

Find Your Perfect Venue at www.VenuesofStLouis.com

Are you looking for a VENUE with CHARACTER to host your wedding or reception?   BrideStLouis’ new sister site, VenuesofStLouis.com, offers you an unparalleled opportunity to find exactly what you want!  Here are some unique venues that we selected to give you a taste of just how great this site is.  Currently, there are over 200+ venues listed, but by December all 400+ St. Louis, St. Charles, So. Illinois and Surrounding Missouri areas will be listed.

Piazza Messina

Piazza Messina is the perfect marriage or rustic and modern Tuscan décor in a beautiful natural setting. It includes 8000+ Sq. Ft. of private event space situated on 14 1/2 acres of agricultural land.  Featuring a bistro, ballroom and both an indoor and outdoor bar.  This venue overlooks a beautiful four acre lake. One of the most unique features of Piazza Messina is the seamless transition from an indoor to outdoor setting including a wraparound covered portico with a view of the lake.

The Barnett

The Barnett on Washington is a unique and sophisticated St. Louis event venue that recently opened its doors after undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation. The building, located at 3207 Washington Boulevard, has a long and storied history, but was only recently renovated and restored to its original luster and elegance. Famed architect, Tom Barnett, constructed the building in 1920.  It features a Spanish Mission style of construction and maintains its historic look and appeal while boasting the highest quality modern amenities.

 

Rocking J Ranch

ESCAPE FROM THE CITY!  Just minutes from St. Louis. With 60+ Acres, nestled among 1000s acres of Ozark ridges, valleys, & great views all around, you will experience wide open spaces. The Rocking J Ranch is rustic, laid back & loaded with vintage & primitive pieces & unsurpassed Southern style hospitality. You and your guests won’t want to leave here.  Their scenic setting includes a waterfall, wood arbors, vintage doors, barrels, pastures, horses grazing, barn wood, lights and all your favorite rustic decor, both inside and out.  Wedding packages range from an all inclusive retreat to a Do-It-Yourself wedding on a budget and everything in-between!

The Larimore

The Larimore is a private, historic estate established in 1858. This Venue boasts 6 acres of enchanting grounds, the charming Victorian mansion and an elegant banquet center. This hidden gem is perfect for those searching for a spectacular event that is “Unique” and offers plenty of “WOW” factor!   The Larimore provides for gazebo weddings in the garden or quaint chapel weddings, and indoor receptions.

The Weingarten

The Weingarten’s wedding ceremony and wedding reception venues are unlike any other.  Surrounded by beautiful forests, cornfields and a lake, our natural landscape offers a picturesque setting for your wedding ceremony and wedding reception.  Our winery feels miles away from it all but is actually less than 10 minutes from the nearest hotel.

Sunset Bluffs

With its picturesque surroundings and unparalleled service, guests will have an experience like no other at Sunset Bluffs. The Sunset Bluffs House faces an eight-acre quarry lake, surrounded by 110-foot natural bluffs that add an extra element of uniqueness to your event!

 

For MORE information about these great venues, be sure to visit our newest site, VenuesofStLouis.com.  Contact information and more detail is available for each one of these venues, plus many more, all in one easy searchable site.  Please register to stay up-to-date on the latest special offerings and deals.  And visit and LIKE our Facebook page, www.Facebook.comVenuesofSTL to keep current on the latest new additions to our area.

Outdoor Weddings – What YOU Need to Know

 

 

Today, I thought it might be appropriate to talk about concerns that you need to take into consideration when planning an Outdoor Wedding.    Outdoor weddings must be planned with thoughts about the weather and the light conditions.

  • You need to have adequate lighting for your guests’ departure.  Display lanterns or luminaries help indicate where guests exit.
  • Guest Name Cards will fly away if there is wind.  Display these name cards tied to branches or tucked into a decorative display base filled with sand.
  • The Ceremony area many times is out in the open, so give so consideration to positioning that event space in a shaded area.  Our hot sun makes for a very uncomfortable experience during an afternoon ceremony.
  • Of course, provide plenty of water and non-alcoholic beverages for guests to grab. Flip flops for ladies are nice if you are using a gravel or sandy area.  (Think lake front or beach!)
  • Additional things to have on hand and very useful include – bug spray, suntan lotion, flashlights, garbage bags, and paper towels.
  • Always have a Plan B for inclement weather.  What will you do if it is raining all day long?  Tent rentals are always in demand during the summer and one might not be available if you wait unit the week before to try to rent one.  And renting a tent is not a “cheap” affair.  They are expensive and may times exceed the cost of a regular indoor venue.
We would love to hear from past brides who have had an outdoor wedding. What worked? What were some of the problems you encountered? What advice do you have for our 2018 brides? Please share with our reads your thoughts and suggestions.  Send your comments to Bride@BrideStLouis.com.
One of the bonuses of an outdoor wedding is the natural beauty around you.   Be prepared to keep your guests comfortable, and you will shine as the perfect host on your day.

7 Things to Consider When Choosing A Wedding Venue

Outdoor Wedding, Kuhns Farm, Wedding, Tented Wedding

Choosing your wedding venue is a big decision as it impacts your entire wedding – number of guests, theme, menu, and more. Review these factors before signing that contact:

Location:  

You need to consider your guests and how they will arrive.  If most of your guests are coming from out of town, transportation needs to be readily available.  Your venue also needs to be somewhat close to a choice of hotels.  And most importantly, that venue should be easy to travel to the hotel from the reception without having to leave bread crumbs.   A good option here is to consider a venue that also has cottages and rooms available.  Hotels and destination locations like Pere Marquette, Hermann Hill, and Cedar Creek Center etc. are all good choices.

If you are choosing a location where the wedding is held outdoors is there an “indoor” Plan B option in case of bad weather?  What does it cost to move to this alternative Plan B.

Size:

Weddings where everyone is crammed into too small a room is the last thing you want.  Be sure to create a tentative guest list to estimate how many people you anticipate.  Most times you can expect about 80% of those invited to attend.

Wedding Location, Wildwood Hotel, BrideStLouis info on Venues

Ambiance:

Choose a venue that matches the look and feel that you desire – classic ballroom elegance, rustic and outdoorsy, or something you can add your own personal touch.  A naturally beautiful place will save you money on decorations.   I also recommend to find a place that provides a multitude of photo locations.  Sometimes it can be in the general vicinity – like downtown, and other times it can be on the property of the venue itself like at Lake Creek Winery, Crown Valley Winery or other wineries.

Service:

This is an extremely important issue.  Do they have experienced professionals on staff to assist with all the details and make sure everything runs as you expected?   If they have an event coordinator, that person will assist with all details of the venue.  (Note:  this is not your “wedding” coordinator – that person is responsible for ALL the details of your wedding, not just the venue.)

BrideStLouis wedding venue information, Union Station as a venue

Food:

Does this venue offer food in-house or can you hire your own catering company?  Do you want the flexibility of bringing in a food truck or choosing your own catering company?  Does this venue only allow you to choose from a selection of Preferred Catering Companies?   If, in-house, do you have a wide choice of food options that will appeal to all your guests – and does it taste good!   And finally, take a look at the price/per person.  Be sure that you include gratitude and tax, which is normally added to the per person expense and that can be as high as 30-35% more. 

Bar Service

Is a basic bar service included?  What does it include?  Is it a generic brand of alcohol or house wine?  Can you upgrade to a premium service and what does it cost?

Extras:

Watch the extra costs.  Do you need to pay for a dance floor or a cake cutting charge?  Do they provide water service at the tables.   (Many places no longer include this.)   Ask what is included and not.  Ask about rehearsal times and if they are included in the quoted price.   Find out if they provide extras in the price.  Holiday Inn at Six Flags provides a free bride’s room and overnight accommodations, plus much more. 

Very soon BrideStLouis.com will be announcing our new sister site, VenuesofStLouis.com which will have information on all 425+ venues in the St. Louis, St. Charles, and So. Illinois area.  It will be searchable by location, price, and style.  Stayed tuned.  We believe in helping you with everything you need to know to plan and execute a beautiful wedding

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.

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!