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.

 

Outdoor Places for Low Cost Ceremonies

Recently we had a future bride ask about outdoor places with gazebos or gardens that could be used for wedding ceremonies.  (She was looking for FREE or almost free!)   So – I tossed together some locations that come to mind.

Alton Gordon Moore Public Park

Bellevue Park, Belleville.  It has a beautiful gazebo and a medium size lake.

Forest Park – Waterfall off Lagoon Street, The Muny Entrance (Gazebo and beautiful lake in front of the Muny), General Grounds, the Basin area, and Old World’s Fair Pavilion are my favorites.

Wedding Planning by BrideStLouis.com

 

Faust Park – By The Village, Outside the Butterfly House, or at the Thornhill Mansion grounds that is behind the Butterfly House.

Missouri Botanical Garden – That’s not free, but it is beautiful.

Kiener Plaza – The old Kiener Plaza was a beautiful setting.  The new one is a bit busy all the time.

Carondelet Park

The Water Tower off Grand

Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit.   It’s $5.00 per person to enter, but it’s worth it!   They have a beautiful lake and in spring they have 1000s of daffodils.

Oak Knoll Park in Clayton.   There is a sunken garden area to the West of the building and also a small lake.

Bee Tree Park in South County.

The City Garden has a nice waterfall

Tower Grove Park – Most everyone knows about the ruins, the lily pond, and the many, many gazebos.

Wedding Planning by BrideStLouis.com

Castlewood State Park off Manchester Road in Ballwin

The J.C. Stage in St. Charles on the Riverfront.  It cost a little to rent, but it’s very nice.  They also have two other smaller pavilions.

The Arch Grounds.

Lafayette Square & Park

Wedding Ceremony locations by BrideStLouis

Laumeier Sculpture Park

Queeny Park in Manchester

Chesterfield City Center Park

Wedding Venues by BrideStLouis.com

 

St. Ferdinand Park in Florissant – Both Lake & Gazebo.

Various New Town Locations in St. Charles

Drace Park in Des Peres – not well known, but very nice.

Longview Farm off Clayton Road in Town & County.

Creve Coeur Lake Park

Kirkwood Trail Station (Get married inside the train station.  A great location when the weather is bad.)

Fort Zumwalt Park

Quail Ridge Park in St. Charles County

Wedding Venues by BrideStLouis.com

At some of these locations you can reserve a shelter.  For almost all locations I recommend you check with the various authorities for any permits that may be required.

We, of course, would love to hear any additional suggestions from you that we can share with our readers.

5 Tips for Getting Into Your Wedding Dress.

I love the fun and excitement of getting ready that occurs in the girl’s getting ready room.  There are lots of special moments that unfold that beg to be captured by your photographer.  Perhaps it is your sister’s special hug or gift, or your best friend’s “something old” that she has given you – all these moments are so very special.

Here is what I hate – bags, shoes, underwear, empty food containers, water bottles and a complete mess all around the room!  Your photographer will do their best to capture the events, but honestly, let’s have your girls pick up as they go – and a firm reminder from you, goes a long way.  The benefit is that your photos will not have the distractions of the messy environment, and those photos will emphasis the event and the emotion.  Remember you will be looking at these photos years from now!

And now for putting on the dress.

Tip #1:  Always go potty BEFORE you put on your dress.

Tip #2:  Be sure your photographer is there to capture the moment.  Don’t put on the dress before he/she arrives.

Tip #3:  Putting on your wedding dress can be an incredibly beautiful, fun and captivating moment.  Most photographers recommend that you pick one person to assist you, sometimes your mother or your maid of honor.  Having less people will make the moment more relaxed, let you enjoy it, and allow your photographer to capture more of you and your dress, rather than a sea of people.

Tip #4:  To keep your hair and makeup fresh, if you are putting the dress on over your head, raise your arms up and out to protect your hair and makeup.

Tip #5:  Put on your own jewelry.  A sea of people – adjusting your dress, adding your bracelet, one adding a necklace – just way to much going on at one time.  I see people looking like they are dressing a Barbie Doll, and the bride just trying to accommodate everyone!  It’s crazy.   Put on most of your own jewelry, but if you have one piece that’s important to you (or hard to get on) have ONE person help you with this.  Shoes do require help – who can see their feet in those big fluffy or tight dresses.

And one last, little thing.  Why do all girls hold onto their boobs?  Really?  Once the dress is on, let go!    Do you want all your photos to show you holding up your boobs?

Printing & Stationery Checklist

 

It’s always a smart idea to put together a list of all the paper elements you’ll need as this will help you stay on budget and having this list will keep you organized.  We have put together a list of the various paper elements you might need for your special day.  You may not wish to use everything on this list, and some items can be done as a DIY project.  Today you can also email many of these items.  However – it’s still “proper” and correct etiquette to mail the wedding invitation itself.

Save the Date Cards – This card is used to pre-announce that a wedding is scheduled.  These are especially Important it you are having a lot of out of town guests who will need to make arrangements for travel.

Rehearsal Dinner invitations.

Bachelor/Bacherlorette Party Invitations.

Wedding Invitations  –  Always order a few more than you anticipate, plus always order MORE envelopes than invitations.  Some of the more formal invitation require envelope liners.

Reception Cards – Issued when only a select number of the guests invited to the ceremony are also invited to the reception.

Ceremony Cards – This card is enclosed when a select few guests are invited to the ceremony, in addition to the reception to which are guests are invited.

Response Cards – Guests return this card with their names and whether they will be attending.

Pew Cards (Reserved Seating) -This card is used in large, formal weddings and they indicate special seating positions at the ceremony/church/temple.

Rain Cards – This card informs guests invited to an outdoor wedding of an alternative location in case of rain.

Maps – Small printed maps with directions to the ceremony and/or reception site.

Accommodation Cards – This card is used to inform guests of any lodging accommodations that have been made and the fees for such.

Travel Cards – This card is used to inform guests of any special wedding day transportation you have arranged, such as a bus to take out of town guests from their hotel to the ceremony.

Weekend Wedding Activities – This card informs guests of the activities scheduled for the weekend and ideas of appropriate attire.  You may also use this card to suggest personal fun activities they may wish to do.

Ceremony Program – A program describing the events of the ceremony and the participants.  You can also include a list of the songs, prayers, and scriptures to be read.

Menu – Small Card used at the place seating indicating the menu for the event.

Table Number Cards – These can be just a number or a name based on your theme.  For example, if your wedding is all about great musicians….one table might be Johnny Cash, another Reba McIntyre etc.

Seating Place Cards or a LARGE display board to indicate where guests are expected to sit.

Thank You Cards – Small cards usually folded – used to express thanks for gifts received

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.