Engagement Ring Care Tips for New Brides-To-Be

Congratulations to all your newly engaged brides-to-be. We thought this would be an excellent time to share with you some tips on how to care for that newly acquire ring. Wedding rings will last a lifetime, and maybe longer if you pass it down to future generations, so extend the shine and sparkle and keep your stones safely in their settings.

Clean your wedding jewelry at home with warm water and a baby soft tooth brush. Stay away from sinks and drains. Lotions, powders, soaps – even the natural oils from you skin will create a film and reduce their brilliance. You can use a small bowl of warm suds containing a mild household liquid detergent, but don’t use any cleaners containing chlorine. Paper towels can scratch the ring so use a cotton towel or let it air dry. Be sure to rinse and avoid touching the diamond with your fingers. There are also ultrasonic cleaners available that you may purchase, and there are some liquid jewelry cleaners that you can buy as well. If you are wearing your diamond ring every day in situations where it’s likely to get dirty, give your ring a quick and gentle scrubbing once every two weeks. Opt for a more thorough cleaning once a month.

Store your rings in a separate soft compartment, fabric lined case or box with dividers to avoid scratches. Be careful when using ring holders or jewelry dishes as these tend to stack rings on top of each other which can cause damage.

As tempting as it may be to keep that sparkler on all the time, there are a number of everyday scenarios that can damage your new jewelry. Exercising, showering, cooking, cleaning, and applying makeup are all risky activities for your ring. .Avoid wearing your diamonds while doing housework, yard work or other kind of rough work. Even though a diamond is extremely durable, a hard blow could chip it. Don’t take your ring off to wash your hands in public bathrooms — there are many tories of women leaving rings being.

Insure them! Get comprehensive coverage against loss, theft, damage and mysterious disappearance. If you have homeowners or renters insurance, an engagement ring can typically be protected by simply adding a rider to the policy. As an alternative, there are also independent companies that specialize in jewelry insurance. A jeweler or appraiser will have to determine the value of your ring for insurance purposes. In most cases, an expert at the store where the ring was purchased should be able to help. It’s also a good idea to have your ring re-appraised every year since values often change over time.

Once a year take your engagement ring and wedding bands to a jeweler for inspection and cleaning. They will check for loose settings, any worn prongs and other potential problems. However if you see a loose stone or prong between your annual checkup, immediately take your piece to the jeweler.

11 Thing to Know BEFORE you talk to any Wedding Vendor

As couples begin planning for their wedding most are in completely new territory. Hiring a venue, photographer, bakery, caterer, florist, and all the other services that make for a wedding isn’t something they do regularly. As a result, most couples have no idea what questions to ask potential vendors. Then, armed with limited and often conflicting answers to what may not have been the right questions in the first place, they then try to compare between several and make the best choice. It’s very stressful.

Let’s make sure you’re armed with the right knowledge so you can make an informed choice that’s right for you.

  1. Know your budget. Create your budget and know where your money is coming from BEFORE you even start talking to vendors. Agree on an amount for each type of service you need. Base that decision on what’s important to you.
  1. Know your priorities. Maybe you care more about the music and dancing than running around town for photos in a lot of locations. In that case, spend more on a top-notch DJ or a live band and cut out the party bus. Be very honest about what’s important to you and what will make your day special and weigh the budget in favor of those things.

  1. Set a definite location and date up front. If you come into a cake shop for a tasting to “just peruse” and you don’t have a place and a time set yet, you’re wasting both your time and the vendor’s time. That cake shop might already have ten weddings booked and can take no more. Photographers and videographers, for example, will usually want to know that information right from the beginning as they may already be booked for your date.
  1. Trust the professionals. Wedding pros have experience gained over countless weddings, so listen to their advice and don’t try to second guess them. If a photographer tells you that ten minutes is just not enough time to take twenty family poses after the ceremony, believe it. In the end, however, vendors want your day to be the best it can be and they may have a plan you haven’t even thought of so you don’t have to give up your wedding dreams.

  1. “What does it cost” should not be your one and only question.It’s important to have a general idea of what price range each vendor serves and if they are within your budget. However, price is not the only important thing to consider and you should make it clear when you first contact them that other things are equally important. Let’s be very honest here, wedding professionals are people that are very passionate about what they do. Many are true artists that put their heart and soul into their products and services. When the only question is “what does it cost” many feel it belittles the care and talent that they put into their profession. Instead of getting off on the wrong foot, a better way to approach a vendor is to have a list of three or four questions, in addition to price, that shows you really care about and value what they offer.
  1. Don’t send one big mass email to every single vendor.Narrow down your list to your top choices and then send them inquiries. Be short and INFORMATIVE. Provide them with your wedding date, your venue, and a little bit about the kind of wedding you’re wanting to have.

  1. Always be honest and upfront when talking with a vendor especially as it relates to your expectations and your budget. Give them a heads-up about any “unique” circumstance so that there are no surprises on your wedding day.
  1. Be realistic. While negotiating with service professionals is acceptable, you need to respect their offerings and be reasonable about what you can afford. A vendor’s pricing often reflects their experience, skill level and the hard and soft costs of doing business. You’ll be wasting your time and the vendor’s time if you seek out luxury wedding professionals when you’re on a DIY wedding budget. In most cases, negotiations will be more successful if you’re willing to make certain sacrifices to your vision to get the pricing down. Instead of requesting a discount, ask if there’s anything that can be removed from the quote to reduce the price. Alternatively, seek out off-season deals. You may have a better chance at negotiating lower rates on various services in a non-demand season.
  1. Know who you can negotiate with. Don’t expect to bargain with an in-demand wedding professional during peak wedding season. Talented vendors who are just starting their business may be more likely to negotiate in order to fill their calendars and build their portfolios. Also keep in mind the type of service being provided. For example, a florist has to order new flowers for each event, making it hard to reduce service expenses.
  1. Watch out for hidden fees!Tax is one of life’s inevitable truths, so you need to be prepared for that up front. However, some vendors have fees that most couples don’t know to look out for. Many venues, for example, have a non-negotiable service fee and a gratuity added on top of the listed price. It doesn’t mean they’re dishonest, it simply means you need to ask about any additional fees up front so that you don’t get hit with any surprises.

  1. Be true to yourself and your desires.As you progress down the path of planning, a lot of people will be giving you opinions! You’ll make a decision, confident in your choice, and then a future sister-in-law or neighbor will suggest something totally different. Trust me when I tell you a lot of people will be giving you “their” advice, and then it makes you question your decisions creating utter chaos. You will never be able to please everybody. It’s your wedding! Once you make a decision – it’s done.

+1 More – Be courteous. Even if you’ve decided to go with someone else, please respond back to all vendors and let them know where they stand. If you are just looking for a price, its best to be open about it. It’s hard to receive an inquiry from a client who raves about your work and says you’re exactly what they’re looking for only to never hear back from them again. It’s good to remember that the person you’re talking to is human and they put a lot of time and effort into their response and their business.

Wedding planning does not have to be so stressful. Learning to ask the right questions will help ensure your wedding comes off without a hitch!

 

2019-2020 Venues that Allow Outside Catering

 

It’s time for an update and re-posting of one of our most popular blog topics – venues where you can choose you own catering company.

A lot of brides have asked us if we could provide a list of venues that allow outside caterers.  We found lots of choices for you – from community spaces to elegant historic homesSome of these venues have catering company from which you choose, and others will allow you to choose your own.

If you book one of these venues, be sure to tell the venue that you found them through BrideStLouis.com.

Contact Information and detailed information can be found at our sister site, www.VenuesofStLouis.com.

  • Aeries Terrace, Grafton, Illinois
  • Arch, The
  • Barnett on Washington, St. Louis
  • Ballwin VFW Hall, Ballwin
  • Boenker Hill Vineyard and Winery, Bridgeton
  • Blanchette Park Memorial Hall, Charles
  • Boo Cat Club, St. Louis
  • Brookdale Farms, Eureka
  • Butterfly House (Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House )
  • Campbell House, St. Louis
  • Charles F. Knight Center, Washington University, St. Louis
  • City Hall Rotunda, St. Louis
  • City Museum, ST. Louis
  • COCA University City
  • Cultural Art Center, St. Peters, Missouri
  • Edge of Webster, Webster Groves, MO 63119
  • Fast Lane Cars, St. Charles
  • Firefighters of Eastern Missouri
  • Florissant Egan Center, Florissant, Missouri
  • Foundry Art Center, Charles, MO 63301
  • Gateway Classic Cars, Shiloh, Illinois
  • Harvester Lions Club, St. Charles
  • Hawken House, Webster Groves
  • Heights, The – Richmond Heights
  • Hive 44, Fenton
  • Jefferson Undergound
  • Jewel Box, St. Louis
  • Kuhs Estate and Farm, St. Louis, MO
  • Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis
  • Limelight Events
  • Luminary, The
  • Lodge at Des Peres, Louis
  • Machinists Hall (District 9) Bridgeton
  • Mad Art Gallery. St. Louis
  • Mahler Ballroom
  • Magic Chef Mansion
  • Magic House, Kirkwood, MO
  • Mount Pleasant Estates
  • Museum of Transportation
  • NEO on Locus
  • Old Courthouse – Downtown, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Professional Fire Fighters of Eastern Misosuri, St. Peters
  • Pour Vineyard
  • Powell Symphony Hall, St. Louis, MO
  • Purser Center, Chesterfield
  • Quail Ridge Lodge (St. Charles County Parks), Wentzville
  • Randall Gallery, ST. Louis
  • Saint Louis Carousel at Faust Park, Chesterfield
  • Louis City Museum, St. Louis
  • Sheldon Concert Hall, St. Louis
  • Louis Artists Guild, Clayton, Missouri
  • Louis County Parks, St. Louis
  • Louis History Museum, St. Louis
  • Louis Jewish Community Center, St. Louis
  • Shrewsbury City Center, St. Louis
  • Louis City Hall, St. Louis
  • Louis Muny, St. Louis
  • Shelton Concert Hall, St. Louis
  • Soulard Preservation Hall, St. Louis
  • Tuscany Gallery and Events, Wentzville
  • Third Degree Glass, St. Louis
  • Valley Farms, Foristell
  • Wild Carrot, St. Louis
  • D. Purser Center, Chesterfield
  • White Owl, Wright City
  • World’s Fair Pavilion, St. Louis

Additional contact information can be found in our vendor section.  If you know of other venues that you would like us to add to the list, let us know, and we will check them out.  Send that to bride@bridestlouis.com.

 

2020 Wedding Trends for the St. Louis Bride

2020 Wedding Trends for the St. Louis Bride

We are soon to close the door on 2019, and before you know it, 2020 will be here.  So, I thought it might be a good time to talk about the wedding trend predictions for all you 2020 Brides.

  1. Today’s bride is focused less about choosing a church/chapel and more about finding a LOCATION that is special to them as a couple.  More venues are being selected that feature outdoor facilities where everything, including the ceremony, is all at one location.
  2. Wedding décor shifts away from the “traditional” look to something that feel fresh and more “personal.” Unique lighting is becoming a key focus with a mix of hanging pendants and chandeliers to set that romantic tone.   Beautiful lighting is a must.  Ceremony décor incorporates unique arches mixed with greenery and colorful flowers.  Living plants are added everywhere.  Foliage, like Eucalyptus is being draped on entries and head tables.  And small plants and succulents will be used for guest tables.  Vintage elements still remain important and reflects back to family connections.
  3. Some of the bridal shops predict that bridal gowns for 2020 will be more elegant with longer trains and beautiful lace detail. It’s a mix of long sleeves – some brides love them and others say no.  Brides want a more sophisticated, slim unfussy, elegant style over the big ballgowns.  Bohemian elegance is very popular.   Sexy, backless dresses are the rage and dresses with pockets are requested more.
  4. Couples tend to spend their budget more lavishly on smaller groups. Less focus on things like “favors” and more focus on experiences like late night snacks and special entertainment.
  5. You will see more prints in weddings, like stripes, and chevon. Many bridesmaid dresses will incorporate these elements, going away from the “traditional” same color dress to a blended mix of colors and shades.
  6. Makeup will be more classic glamour and hair will feature soft up-dos and loose hair that drapes down the neck and shoulders. Bold red lips and crystal brooches will be hot.
  7. Wedding cake is still the most popular choice over cupcakes. Unique flavors are requested.  Grazing and dessert tables are really “in.”
  8. Brides are choosing the newer photo booth options. Some like the Photo Booth Guest Book while others like photos connecting instantly to Social Media, and not actually having prints.
  9. Bridal bouquets are incorporating more greenery, wildflowers, and succulents. Brides are requesting large, loose unstructured bridal bouquets.   Brides want to go “BIG” and “BOLD.”
  10. And YES, more and more brides are finding BrideSTLouis.com to be their best source to plan their wedding! It’s “Everything Weddings!”

So – what are your plans for your wedding?  Share with us your ideas and one lucky bride will win a FREE Ticket for two to our Sept. 15, 2019 Wedding Planning seminar.

 

7 Color Themes for Your FALL Wedding

So many of us here in the St. Louis area absolutely love FALL – and as October is one of the busiest months in our industry, it’s obvious that our brides love Fall too!  Fall represents COLOR!  Find inspiration from the leaves changing and seasonality around you.  There are so many shades of autumn’s color that you can choose for your wedding that are stunning.  The cooler temperatures inspire autumnal shades and so we thought we would suggestion some of our favorite color combinations that are vibrant that can make your wedding spectacular.

 

Cranberry and Mustard Yellow

Yes, cranberry is a staple color for fall, but very few brides add mustard yellow as a secondary color.  Dried Yarrow or Dried Leaves can be used in floral arrangements and the contrast of colors is stunning.

Metallic Orange with Brown, Beige and Sage Green

Autumn is associated with orange, but make it brilliant with a “metallic” orange.  It’s a great combination for a rustic wedding and you can incorporate pumpkins, dried wheat arrangements, and orange/red mums.  For the sage color, succulents fit the bill.

Wine with Gold

Rich and Bold – a Merlot Color Wine pairs beautifully with Gold.  There is a wide range of seasonal flowers like wine color tinted calla lilies, dark red roses and hypericum berries that can create an elegant statement.  Gold charging plates on your reception table with the wine color floral décor speaks classy and refined.

Dark Emerald Green and Gold

If you are a red head – green is your color – and why not employ the power of that combination for your special day.

Dusty Blue, Sage Green and Navy

So elegant and romantic.    You can’t ever go wrong with these colors.  Your guys would look stunning in dark Navy Blue Suits and you can add that romantic touch to your bridal bouquet with the softness of the dusty blue and sage green.

Dusty Blue with Burnt Orange

Again – a great fall color combination.  Floral arrangements of seasonal dusty blue flowers coupled with orange and white flowers is perfect.

Cream, Tangerine, and Copper Brown

Once again you can steal from the fall palette to create a unique and noteworthy theme.  Tangerine is so vibrant!  Copper Brown allows you to add elements of antique copper table centerpieces, so unique and special.

20+ Ideas to Create a Wedding Reception that will Entertain and Wow!

Creative Ideas for Your Wedding ReceptionWhat will guests most remember about your wedding?  While great food is always important,  it’s so much more than that.  Your reception is the biggest party that you will ever plan, and while it marks the importance of the fact that you just married the love of your life, your guests will look to you to be entertained.  They will remember a FUN experience.  Making your party personal and unique will keep them talking about the great night they had for a long time.

First there are some basic reception concepts to follow, like creating good seating arrangements.  A good seating arrangement creates good conversations among friends and people that have common interests.  Put college buddies together and teenagers together, etc. and don’t try to force strangers to struggle to make connections.

And, of course, food should be a big part of being a guest.   I love the new food options that can be introduced – like pasta stations, potato bars, and such.   If you choose to do several courses, you might arrange for some short entertainment between courses.  This is a good time for a quick toast from a favorite lifelong friend or a salute to your parents.  Do you know someone who sings or plays a musical instrument – now is a great time for a quick song.   And keep good food coming all night long!  Have a slider bar or serve toasted ravioli toward the mid part of the night to kept their energy up.  You might even consider hiring a food truck for late at night.

After the food, comes great music and dancing!   Great music keeps the dance floor full, so be sure to arrange with your band or DJ music that everyone will like.  Play some of your favorites, but be sure to include some older tunes that everyone will enjoy.  This is the time that you and your wedding party should play an active part in getting everyone up to dance.

And for your unique sparkle, here are some additional ideas for your reception that could add a special twist:

Stage a Whiskey Tasting Bar or create an area to make your own special margaritas!

S’mores Stations, Chocolate Fountains with Fruit, Popcorn Bars, etc are yummy.

Specialty Coffee Bars with flavored syrups and toppings are popular.

Outdoor weddings might include country games like horseshoes, ring toss or croquet, or even a petting zoo.  You might also arrange a late night hay ride or, for a winter wedding, a sleigh ride.

Laser Light Shows or perhaps fireworks or a sparkler send off can be fun.  (Be sure to get the long 36 inch sparklers.)

Provide party gear like glow sticks, sunglasses, beads and fun trinkets.

Create a Stunning Unexpected First Dance or have a MOB performance.

Rent a Dry Ice Machine and dance in the fog!

Balloon drops on the dance floor can really get the party hopping as well.

Have Unique Entertainers – live art painting, belly dancers, caricature artists, or professional ballroom dancers.

For a different twist hire singing groups like an a capella group, country banjo players, etc.

Bring in Specialty Artisans – For example, hire someone to demonstrate how to make hand rolled cigars, or bring in a barista for special lattes.

Having kids?  Create a special kid’s area with entertainment just for them.

Bring in the new photobooths – fish eye, slow motion, video, and many more options are available today.

 

The possibilities are endless.  Keeping your guests surprised and entertained all night long will make for a reception that will be the talk of your friends and family.