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.

Smart Spending for Your Wedding


It’s easy to get excited about your dream wedding, but your fairytale wedding could turn into a less joyful situation if you go into debt.   Even before creating your budget, you and your partner need to decide which details are important for both of you.  It’s funny – no one will remember the little details, like the color/type flowers you might have opted for, but they will remember if they had a good time.  Don’t skimp on food and entertainment as these elements have a huge impact on your guests’ enjoyment.

However, food doesn’t have to be expensive.   You could choose to have a cocktail wedding or perhaps hire a food truck.  A few weeks back we published a list of venues that allow you to bring your own outside catering companies – many independent catering companies would love to be of service and can provide a competitively priced menu.  Secondly, trim your guest list.  That’s one of the biggest ways to save money.  Ask yourself, “Would you take this person out to an expensive dinner at any other time?”  If the answer is “No”, scratch them from the list.   How well do you know that person?  If you hardly remember their name or recognize them, scratch them from the list.

One thing I don’t recommend is to try to tackle everything yourself – like preparing your own food or baking your own cake!  Hire a professional!  They know how to do the job and you really don’t need that stress.  Hire a florist but choose in-season blooms.  Do hire a professional photographer.  Don’t depend on family or friends for your photos.  So many brides have cried the blues when their photos didn’t turn out to be what they expected.  Photos are the only thing you will have after the day is over.

Our new Wedding Planning for the St. Louis/St. Charles and Southern Illinois Bride is now available!  Request your FREE copy today by sending your request to bride@BrideStLouis.com.

Venues that Allow Outside Catering

A lot of brides have asked us if we could provide a list of venues that allow outside caterers.  We found these choices – from community spaces to elegant historic homes. Some of these venues have “preferred” catering companies while others allow you the freedom to choose your own.   If you book one of these venues, be sure to tell the venue that you found them through BrideStLouis.com.

Be aware that some venues do charge extra fees for non-preferred catering.  Some are reasonable and some are extremely high.  All will require proof of insurance and other such documents that a good business caterer should have no problem producing.

If you know of other venues that allow Outside Catering, please write us at bride@bridestlouis.com and let us know so that we can share with others.


Why Weddings Can Be So Expensive & How Can I Spend Less

How to Save Money on Your Wedding

By now you have probably heard that the “average” wedding cost is $25,764, with couples spending between $19,323 and $32,205!  Yes – that a staggering amount.  So, two questions I am often asked is “Why are they so expensive?”  and “What can I do to reduce the amount that I spend?”

As you start the planning process, you will begin to get pricing from venues, florists, photographers, etc. and as you start adding up these expenses, it hits you.  Wow! 

So, let’s discuss the “Why”.  To create your awesome wedding, you need to hire wedding professionals because they can make it truly the beautiful experience that you desire.  They charge what they do, as this is the way they pay their bills and feed their family.  (Many people consider their job “fun” and not work, but that’s not so).  Most importantly when you hire a wedding professional, it’s their time, knowledge, experience and expertise that you are paying for.  And then you need stuff – food, alcohol, flowers, linens, space rentals, cake, dress apparel, gifts, music.  All of that “stuff” makes it what it is.  And finally, it’s not a wedding without guests.  The more guests, the more money you’ll have to spend.

It’s so easy to over spend in the excitement of planning your “fairytale wedding”.   But spend too much and you could turn your “happily ever after” into years of debt  – and money issues is what most newlywed couples fight over!

How to Save Money When Planning Your Wedding

Question No. 2 – What can I do to reduce the amount that I spend?  There are lots of ways to do this but the biggest way is to control the guest list – keep your guest count small!  Less food, less drinks, less tables – it makes a huge difference.  Your first step in planning your wedding is to create a budget and know where the money is coming from.  Then decide on what’s important to both of you.  Focus on your priorities and think creatively.  Do you need that expensive banquet hall, perhaps have a brunch wedding, or how about a food truck with some fun food items.  I always tell brides to forego the favors.  Really – they’re not necessary.   Small stuff here and there can add up to big dollars.  Spend your money where it has the most meaning to you.  And most importantly, don’t scrimp on good photography.  It’s the only thing you will have after the wedding.  Those photos represent memories that you will share and enjoy forever.

And finally – think big picture.  What are your goals after your wedding – house, travel, furniture, kids?  When you are tempted to go over your budget, re-evaluate how important that item is in the big picture.  Sometimes that “Horse & Buggy Carriage Ride” doesn’t seem that important.  

Have a SWEET Wedding!

Desserts are a big part of the wedding day experience for your guests.  However, you don’t have to stick just with the traditional cake.  Here are some ideas to add a more personal touch.  Yes, you can have your cake, plus these sweet things too!

Milk And Cookies at a Wedding - BrideStLouis.com


Milk & Cookies

Nothing beats a stack of fresh baked cookies and a glass of milk. Cookies will satisfy each guests’ sweet tooth, while the glass of milk gives them a refreshing boost for the night’s festivities.  This is a great item to serve later in the reception before guests start departing.



Ice Cream Sundaes

Having a summer wedding?  Reception spaces can get hot as the night goes on and the dancing starts. Cool down with a refreshing ice cream sundae. Create a sundae bar for guests to make their own and choose their toppings.   Also be sure to check out Dipping Dots as well, as they can provide everything for you without the hassle!  Talk to Ben or contact him at favierben@gmail.com

Donuts for Your Sweet Wedding by BrideStLouis.com




I never knew anyone who doesn’t like doughnuts!  Choose doughnuts decorated with your wedding color palette to make an adorably delicious snack for late at night.





Pastries & Dessert Bars

Dessert pastries are the perfect compromise between carbs and sugar. From cannolis to croissants, channel that corner bakery with a delectable selection for your guests.  Add some macarons or fresh baked pies for lots of choices.  Nothing Bundt Cakes makes these absolutely delicious little “buntinis” (bit size bundt cake) that could be perfect as well!  Check out Nothing Bundt Cake in Chesterfield at 159 Lamp and Lantern Village.

So, let there be sweet treats for all!


Your Wedding Planning Timeline

Planning a Wedding, Wedding timeline


Here is an easy to follow Wedding Planning Schedule that you might wish to print out and keep handy.  The secret to a stress-free wedding is being prepared and handling the scheduled tasks on a timely basis.  You should work with your partner on many of these tasks as it is his wedding too!  Most importantly, decide on a budget and stick to it.  If you follow these few steps, you will be able to enjoy a fantastic wedding!


10 months before wedding

□  Pick wedding theme/style, color

□  Plan budget, start a wedding folder or binder.

□  Make tentative guest list

□  Set wedding date & time

□  Book ceremony & reception location

□  Select members of wedding party


9 months before wedding

□  Pick DJ/Band & ceremony musicians

□  Book wedding day transportation

□  Book photographer and videographer and consult with photographer on scheduling your day to allow sufficient time for all photos.  Allow a minimum of one hour for photos of just the two of you.

□  Book florist

□  Meet with ceremony officiant


8 months before wedding

□  Order your bridal gown and Select Bridesmaids’ dresses

□  Send Your Save the Dates


6 months before wedding

□  Register gift choices

□  Finalize guest list

□  Order wedding invitations

□  Plan hotel and transportation for out-of-town guests

□  Order wedding cake


5 months before wedding

□  Wedding-night hotel suite for bride and groom

□  Plan honeymoon

□  Select and order wedding favors


4 months before wedding

□  Order groom’s attire

□  Select groomsmen’s attire

□  Send out-of-town guests invitations

□  Select wedding bands


3 months before wedding

□  Send out invitations to in-town guests

□  Finalize and book menu for rehearsal dinner

□  Finalize menu and drinks for reception


2 months before wedding

□  Purchase gifts for wedding party & parents

□  Plan reception seating

□  Plan itinerary for out-of-town guests

□  Finalize arrangements with DJ/Band, Ceremony Musicians, Florist, Cake Baker, Photographer and Videographer

□  Schedule Hair & Makeup Trials and Create a Wedding Emergency Kit


1 month before wedding

□  Get final fitting of your wedding gown

□  Get marriage license

□  Get name-change forms (if changing your name)

□  Confirm all hotel accommodations


1-2 weeks before wedding

□  Have rehearsal & dinner

□  Have bridesmaid’s lunch

□  Have groomsmen’s’ day out

□  Confirm wedding day transportation

□  Confirm guest count with caterer

□  Confirm time and location with Officiant, Florist, Cake baker, Photographer, DJ/Band, and Videographer


Congratulations!  It’s your Wedding Day!  Turn over all wedding planning activities to a close friend who you trust to handle any issues and just enjoy your day!!!