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.

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.

10 Tips to Stay on Budget for Your Wedding

Saying “I DO” can be a budget buster.  Here are some tips and hints to save on your celebration:

BrideStLouis is Best for Wedding Planning in St. Louis

  1. Keep the wedding guest list under 100.
  2. Limit the wedding party – keeping it small. This cuts down on the cost of attendant bouquets and gifts to each member in the wedding party.
  3. Consider having the ceremony and reception at the same site – thereby paying only one site fee and possibly fewer total hours. This can also save on transportation costs – no need for a party bus.
  4. Find a venue that allows you to bring your own food.  This blog post lists those that we can recommend:  http://www.bridestlouis.com/venues-that-allow-outside-caterers
  5. Why not an early morning or early afternoon wedding. You can eliminate a lot of alcohol and possibly a band or DJ.
  6. If your event is small and intimate, create your own personal playlist and purchase a blue tooth speaker.
  7. Try “off season” times like December and January. Vendors will usually work with you on a special price as this is a slower time for them.
  8. If you really want a popular month like May, June, September or October go for a Friday or Sunday to save money.
  9. When shopping for your wedding dress, ask about off the rack “inventory” dresses. Many bridal shops have a good selection of discounted, previous year’s styles that are beautiful.
  10. Set up a wedding checking account and make deposits monthly. Use only that money for the wedding allowing you to see what you are spending, and a better way to stay on top of the budget.

Weddings can be beautiful without depleting your bank account and being in debt for years.

 

First Look or Not?

Wedding Planning

A “First Look” is the term used when a bride and groom decide to see each other before the wedding ceremony. Many couples go back and forth on this decision. While, a traditional bride might prefer to have her groom enjoy the first sight of her as she walks down the aisle, there are many benefits to having a first look. Here are 8 reasons to have a “First Look”:

Wedding days should be full of emotion and should not be stressful.  A first look can add so much beautiful emotion and happiness to your day.

If you are Jewish you must see the groom before the wedding to sign the wedding contract.

A First Look helps eliminate those “I think I’m going to go crazy” nerves that you often feel before the wedding. Seeing your honey and sharing that time can provide instant relaxation and assurance that everything will be just fine. While some jitters and nerves come back when you are about to walk down the aisle, it’s different.

Photographers enjoy doing photos before the ceremony as there is less stress and more time to be creative.

Many guys lock up when you come down that aisle. They feel “on stage” and you often won’t get an honest response out of him. He’s nervous too! When he can see you before, he can take it all in, respond to how beautiful you are, laugh with you, cry with you, and most importantly… TALK TO YOU!

When you choose to see each other before the ceremony you have time to touch-up makeup, are able to say things to one another and you are actually able to enjoy your time together before the ceremony. When there are tears, you can take time to re-compose before your walk down the aisle.

Many times the reception and the ceremony are very close together in time scheduled to eliminate a long wait time for your guests. However, that means that once the “formal photos” are done, there is usually not enough time to do the really great candid shots.

TIME with your groom alone!  The day will be very busy!  Guests will be congratulating you, wanting to ask thousands of questions, and you will have no time to share with your groom until the end of the day.  The first look gives the two of you some time together.

If you’re traditional, it’s okay to skip it. “Remember that you can always change your mind—even on the day of your wedding!  Some couples prefer that the first time they see each other to be when the bride walks down the aisle in church. It can be an exciting and emotional time, and you can share that with your guests.  Plus, the photos after the ceremony capture you wearing your rings.

 

 

What Everyone Needs to Know When Planning a Wedding

I’ve seen a fairly large number of weddings, and I can guarantee you that there has never been a perfect wedding.   But here are seven things that are KEY to a GREAT WEDDING.

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 some place where the two of you can really share time just with one another.  The Wedding Timeline should allow plenty of time for your together time and photos of just the two of you.

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.  In fact, you should have all your décor and decorations READY 30 days before the wedding!  Those last few days before your wedding you want to enjoy.  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.

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.  And I think most couples don’t realize this.  Keeping the guest list shorter also helps control the budget – that’s the easiest way to cut expenses.  And quite honestly, you want to be spending your day with those who TRULY care about YOU…not a second cousin removed that has only met you once!

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.

Photography is one of the MOST IMPORTANT items on your budget.  Your photos will be your special “take away” from the day – and images that bring back memories of your special day are just really priceless!

 

Create some WOW at your reception.  Do you want your wedding reception something that family and friends will be talking about for years?  You don’t have to spend a fortune.  You just need to add some extra pizazz and show guests that you really appreciate them.  Little things can make a big difference.  For example, serve pre-ceremony cocktails or serve wine/sparkling grape juice during the ceremony, have an “after party”, or hire special entertain for the reception.  Perhaps a singer, bagpiper to make a grand entrance, or a piano player to play requests!

Your wedding day goes fast, so just go with the flow and enjoy your day.

Wedding Planning – Important Dates to Keep in Mind for Your 2019 Wedding

Wedding Planning

 

Congratulations to all you brides sporting a beautiful new rock on that left hand.  One of the first questions you will be asked is, “Have you set a date?”  The date you choose is key to your entire event.  If you are on a tight budget there are some dates you will want to avoid and if you choose a date around a Holiday, you might find your favorite vendor already booked.  To save money, go for a Friday or Sunday wedding as many vendors will offer a reduced price on those days.   We also listed the 3 day weekends – these are great for guests who need to travel.   October is a very busy wedding month.  If fact, it ranks up with June as one of the most popular wedding months.

So let’s start –

January 1 – It’s a Tuesday this year.  Some of you might want to opt for a 12/31/18 end of year wedding.  And besides it will save money on taxes if you file as “Married”.  Many companies will be celebrating a 4 day weekend so this could be a great time to say those “vows” especially if you have out of town guests invited.

January 9, 2019 (It’s 1/9/19) – A easy date to remember!  What I call a Novelty Date.   (Yes, it’s a Wednesday)

January 19-20-21  – A 3 day weekend for many to celebrate Martin Luther King’s Day.

(January 27th – Our First Bridal Show of the Year at The Christy Banquet Center in O’Fallon, MO.)

February 3th – Super Bowl – If your guy’s a sports fan – forget about this date!

February 12th  – Lincoln’s Day is a State Holiday in Illinois.  It’s a Tuesday.

February 14th – Valentine’s Day (Thursday).  Florists will be super busy, and you might pay more for those red roses.

February 16-17-18 –  President’s Day Weekend – A 3 Day National Holiday.

March 3rd – BrideStLouis Bridal Show at the Foundry Art Center in St. Charles

March 5th – Marti Gras (Tuesday)

March 6th – Ash Wednesday (Catholics usually don’t marry in Lent.)

March 10th – Daylight savings time begins.  (Longer Days)

March 17th – For You Irish Lads. (It’s a Sunday. Wear those kilts!)

March 20th – First Day of Spring – Vernal equinox. (Wednesday)

April 19th – Passover Begins and Good Friday

April 21st – Easter Sunday.  Most couples avoid that date.  Many churches will not perform weddings the Saturday before Easter – April 20th)

May 12th – Mother’s Day.  (Be sure to check with your Mom’s about that weekend.)

May 25-26-27 – Big Wedding Weekend – Memorial Day Weekend.  If you are thinking about one of those dates, you need to get your contracts signed NOW.  Photographers and favorite venues may already be booked.  Vendors know that they can book these dates – so don’t look for price deals.

June 16th – Father’s Day.

July 4th – (Thursday) This could be a busy time for many places so get your reservations in early.  If you have folks who need to travel this could be an ideal time for them to come.  It’s generally HOT so consider an indoor wedding.

(July and August can be very hot in St. Louis.  It is best to plan for an “indoor” ceremony/venue.)

August 31, Sept. 1 & 2 – Labor Day Weekend.   Book quickly if you want this date.  Good again for those with out-of-town guests.

September 29th – Rosh Hashana Begins (Sunday)

September & October Weekends

Extremely popular in the St. Louis area.

Great time for those Wine Vineyard Weddings.

Ties with June as the most popular month.  Book EARLY for weekends in these months.

October 12-13-14 – Columbus Day Weekend.  Another good long weekend.

October 31st – Thursday

November 1, 2019 – Another Novelty Date (9/1/19).  Easy to remember.  (Sunday).

Nov. 3rd – Daylight Savings Ends

November 9 – 10 – 11 Veterans Day Weekend

Many in the military choose this day.

November 28, 29, 30,Dec. 1 Thanksgiving Weekend. These dates book fast.

December 22nd – Hanukkah Begins

December 25th – Christmas (Wednesday)

December 28, 29, 30 and 31 – End the year married!

 

Also, be mindful of religious and cultural holidays (Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, Yom Kippur, Christmas, and Kwanzaa) when planning your wedding.  There may be restrictions at your house of workship.

And if your family is deeply involved in sports – avoid weekends with the Super Bowl, Final Four March Madness, and perhaps some local college games as well.

And finally, for number “13” fans – you have (on weekends):  January 13th (Sunday)), April 13th (Saturday), July 13th (Saturday), September 13th (Friday), and October 13th (Sunday).   This is for Friday, Saturday or Sunday events as noted.