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

 

 

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.