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

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 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 -


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

Donuts for Your Sweet Wedding by




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!!!

Choosing a Theme or Color for Your Wedding

Color Combinations for Weddings, BrideStLouis Wedding PlanningCongratulations to many of you that are newly engaged.  It’s an exciting time in your life and we want you not to stress over the task of planning your wedding.  While it is probably the biggest event that you ever orchestrated, just take it step by step like we discussed last week.

Remember that can help guide and support you through your wedding planning journey with our easy wedding directory featuring thousands of premier wedding and bridal businesses.  In fact, we have over 2000 vendors listed in over 62 different categories.  In addition, our blog posts are always original, timely, and plentiful!  You can review over 450 blog posts that cover every detail of weddings by various categories as well.

Our new 2018 Free E-book “Wedding Planning for the 2018 Bride!” will be ready in just a few days.  Let us know if you would like to receive a copy by emailing us at

So, one of the first steps besides the budget is to choose a theme or color that best represents you – the bride and groom – as a couple.  There are many ways of doing this, like choosing a shared interest, favorite hobby or leisure time activity.  I’ve seen Lego Weddings, Book Theme weddings based for favorite books, Movie Themes, Country Weddings – you name it!  Some couples love to dance and they base their reception on that.

Some couples just choose a style – like Old World Elegance, Fairytale & Romance, or perhaps Seasonal Themes depicting their favorite time of year…a Winter Wonderland or a Fall Harvest Wedding.   A Harry Potter theme has happened as well as The Great Gatsby.

And then there is color.  Color can reflect your style and personality as well.

White – Purity, Innocence and Fresh Beginnings

Yellow – Wisdom, Happiness, Intellectual Energy

Pink – Love, Beauty, Fun Personality

Red – Strength, Health, Vitality

Blue – Youth, Peace, Tranquility

Green – Harmony, Balance, Flexible & Unique

Silver – Calmness, Elegance

Gold – Wealth, Power, Tending to Extravagance

Black – Sophisticated, Controlling, Perfectionist, Dominant

So – what’s your color and theme?  Be sure to share with us your ideas and we will post our favorite on Facebook next week.  Our favorite as voted by our staff will win four FREE tickets to our next bridal show at The Foundry Art Centre on February 18th, 2018.  Send you comments to

Welcome to 2018!

Welcome to 2018!

Congratulations to everyone who recently received an engagement ring, and to those who have started to plan their wedding.  We thought it would be a good time to post this survey we did last Fall with previous couples who were married about a year ago – discussing what was good and what they would do differently.

We call this the “REAL truth about Weddings in Retrospect” by couples looking back after their first year.

We’ve talked to 12 couples who were married about a year ago and asked them, in hindsight, what they thought about their wedding, what they would do differently, and what was their biggest disappointment.  Some of the weddings were large, elaborate affairs while others were smaller, more family oriented weddings.

Because most couples who are planning a wedding have no experience about planning and paying for a wedding, the number one answer that was the biggest concern for all couples was the actual cost of their wedding.  Eleven of the twelve couples said that it ended up being way more expensive than what they anticipated.    Most of them said that as their wedding day approached there was a lot of anxiety about having enough money to pay for everything as planned.  There were always extra expenses that were not anticipated.   Nine of the 12 couples said that if they had it to do over again, they would scale down the wedding about 50%.  One of the couples is still paying off the debt from the wedding – it’s a sore point as they want to save for a house.  Two of the couples felt that, while it was expensive, it was a once in a lifetime event which they would do over again in a heartbeat.   One of the brides loved every minute and expensive detail of her wedding at the time of the wedding, but now regrets spending so much of her parent’s money, as it caused a hardship on her family.    Had she and her parents talked more openly and truthful about the costs, she could now look back with better feelings about her wedding.  In hindsight, she feels that she was “selfish and overbearing” asking and getting everything no matter what it cost.

When asked about specific details on expenses, many mistakenly assumed they had to, for example, have a LIVE Band, or they HAD to have the Tall Centerpiece displays.  It was the expectations from others that lead them to spending MORE money than they needed to on certain items.   Interesting.  One couple that had a very simple wedding, did what they wanted and not what others felt they should do.  It was fun, and they enjoyed planning and working out all the details for a small, intimate wedding with about 50 guests.   They then had money left over for a fabulous honeymoon.   That’s a trend that’s really smart.

Other than concerns over money, most couples agreed that their wedding was the best day of their life.  Yes, they would change some things and focus more on what matter to them.

One thing they all agreed upon – they all thought the day passed by so quickly!

So, what does this all mean to you?  As you are planning your wedding, make sure to communicate and discuss your ideas, budgets, and desires.  We are a firm believer in making your wedding YOUR best day ever – being the kind of wedding that’s right for you.  Let’s us know how we can help you achieve your goals.  We love hearing from you.  Write to us at