Colleen’s Wedding Planning – Part 2 “Choosing a Venue”

Bride St. Louis

 

Welcome back, St. Louis brides!  The next step in your wedding planning process definitely requires a glass (or three) of wine!  It’s time to think about your venue!  This was definitely the most stressful part of wedding planning that I’ve experienced so far.  Yet, once it’s over you can breathe a HUGE sigh of relief.

Picking a venue has so many challenges that come with the task.  There are so many things that you have to take into consideration that I didn’t even know I would ever worry about.  Not only do you have to worry about the price per person for food and drinks, you also have the room rental to consider, the ceremony and the ceremony fee, the space for guests, etc.  After emailing and calling so many places, I started to lose track of you who I had and had not talked to!  I highly recommend creating a spreadsheet!  It was very simple and basic since I knew eventually I will have chosen a place and I wouldn’t need it.  My spreadsheet included the location, the price per person, venue rental, ceremony fee, and the person I was in contact with.

Next step…calling and emailing and emailing and emailing.  So many emails!  The most important thing to consider when you are considering your venue is what type of reception you are wanting.  I was interested in a “party” vibe.  I want my guests to just eat and drink to their heart’s desire and of course, have a blast!  I wanted a place where I could put out some games like giant Jenga, cornhole, etc.  I knew I needed more of a barn or brewery type of vibe!  So, I could immediately rule out some of the places I talked to that were more industrial and seemed “cold” to me.  Distance was also a huge factor!  Which set of family and friends was going to have to drive a distance and which set were going to have a short commute?  Were there hotels nearby?  What about a fun restaurant or bar that guests might be able to get a drink at after the reception? (Can you tell yet that I really just want my guests to have fun?)

Another way to narrow down your search is by thinking about what is absolutely too far for guests to travel.  If you’re on the fence about a place, I suggest taking a “drive-by” before you schedule an official visit.  I drove by a location that I was unsure about and by just driving to the location, I immediately ruled it out.  It just wasn’t what I was looking for and through this approach, I didn’t have to spend my Saturday at an appointment at a spot that I knew wasn’t going to work.

After taking all of these aspects into consideration, I was able to narrow my search down to two places!  I booked an appointment with one of the places and the next day I toured the location.  I didn’t even call my second option for an appointment because I fell in love with the first one!  It has the room and ability to play games, it has a great price for food and drinks, a beautiful area for a ceremony, and it’s the perfect distance for so many of our guests.  I can finally breathe!  The hardest part is over.  Like my fiancé said, “When you know, you know.  Just like when I saw you.” Aww, sappy I know 😊.  More to come next week!

 

NOTE:  Bride St. Louis has a sister site called VenuesofStLouis.com.  There you will find over 300 Venues Listed with detailed information.  That site is searchable by location, price, and type.

 

5 Points to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Venue

One of the biggest decisions you’ll make in planning your wedding is where to have it.  Because there are over 350+ Venues, your decision can be difficult.   Here are some basic concepts to consider when deciding on your wedding venue.

BUDGET

This is the most important factor.  The reception cost is generally about 50% of your entire budget.  If you are on a tight budget and the venue you want is beyond your price range, think about having a brunch or cocktail reception at the venue instead of a full dinner.   Look at what’s included.  If you have to rent additional items, that may impact your total costs.  And things like cake cutting costs, extra charges for dance floors, and extra charges for glassware can all add up.  It’s the final price that counts.

SIZE

Consider the number of guests you anticipated inviting.  If you are having a small wedding you might feel dwarfed in a venue that is too large.  Conversely, if you are having a large number of guests, you want to make sure that you don’t feel cramped.

FEEL

Did you always dream of an outdoor wedding?  Do you like the ideal of a grand ballroom?  Be true to your feelings, and make it meaningful for you.  Bear in mind, with an outdoor wedding you might be at the mercy of the elements, so have a Plan B in place.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Do you have a lot of out of town guests invited?  Close proximity to the airport might be something to consider, or perhaps being close to certain activities like downtown for the Blues or our Cardinals.  Do many of your guests have limitations with regard to steps and walking?  Consider a location that is easy for them to navigate.  Do you want iconic photos at a certain location – like Forest Bar, a favorite hangout, close to work?  Choose a venue that is close to minimize travel time on the day of your wedding.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Finally, be flexible with the day of the week.  Fridays & Sundays are generally less expensive and more available.  Popular places can book up over a year in advance, so start your search for a venue early.  June and October in our area are always two of the most popular months and book fast.  If you are having a small wedding, consider a Thursday night.  You can negotiate better rates for other services like photography for example, because wedding professionals generally book only one event on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday – you will pay their going rate for a “full, larger” wedding on those days.

VenuesofStLouis.com allows you to search by location, by price, and by type of venue.  And, as this new site grows you will be able to gather complete information on the venues that you think might be the right one for you making your job to compare venues easy and saving you a huge amount of time.

Wedding Gratuity Guide

Wedding Reception at Hermann Hill by BrideStLouis.com

 

Tipping vendors and wedding providers isn’t always mandatory, but I can guarantee that they always appreciated it when you do tip.  Many vendors put their heart and soul into making your day the very best possible.  If they have done a good job for you and the service was exceptional, just do it.   To keep your day running smoothly pass the tipping duties to someone such as your best man, friend or parents.

Also appreciated is a quick personal note thanking them for their service.

 

Here are some guidelines:

Hair Stylist/Makeup Artist – 15% to 20%, 30% if done on site.

Ceremony Musician – $15 to $20 per person.

DeeJay – $50 – $150.

On-Site Coordinator – 15 to 20% of the event fee.   (However, – sometimes this is automatically added to your final bill.

Wait Staff/Bartenders – $10 to $20 per person if not included in your total price.

Photographer – $50 – $100.

Officiant – $50-$100

Rental Delivery People – $5 to $10 per person (leave with site manager the day before).

Wedding Planner – 10% to 20% of the total service cost.

12 Great Tips from Previous Brides about their Big Day

Wedding Planning by BrideStLouis

 

We recently had a wonderful opportunity to speak with brides who not long ago tied the knot, and we asked them what they recommend (as well as not recommend) the day of the wedding or just a few days before the wedding. Here are some of their suggestions:

Watch what you eat. If you know that certain foods can cause stomach upset, avoid those the day before the wedding. There is nothing worse than getting sick on your wedding day.

Don’t get a sunburn! Plan a relaxing day – but stay out of the sun if you tend to burn. All your photos will have you looking like a lobster!

Don’t party or drink too much! Get good rest before your big day. There is nothing worse than having a hangover the next day and trying to be happy.

Be sure to enjoy some “quiet time” right before your wedding. This is a big day and it’s nice to have time to reflect on the importance of this day. This includes not greeting people right before the wedding – there will be plenty of time after the ceremony.

Don’t worry about the choices you have made – it’s done. Go with the flow. You selected your hair, dress, and all the details because they looked good! You will look great! Smile – and enjoy the day!

DO drink WATER. Lots of water. It’s great for your complexion.

Remember that all things might not go as planned. No wedding is perfect. (Last year, I attended a wedding where the officiant forgot to do the ring exchange!)

The biggest surprise for many brides is that they do not have much time to sit and eat at their reception. Many brides and grooms ordered room service later just because they didn’t really get to eat.

The wedding day will fly by fast. No matter how many people tell you this, most brides tell us that they can’t believe how fast the day went. Really relax and enjoy every moment of the day and truly soak in the wonderful feeling of your day.

Spend more time with your new hubby. I spent the morning with my mom, the day with my bridesmaids, and really didn’t spend enough time with my husband during the reception. It was “our” day, but looking back, it really wasn’t.

Have a plan for the end of the reception. Designate someone to take home all your gifts, card box, and other mementos. If you are changing out of your gown before going to the hotel, have someone take it home for you.

Don’t sweat the small stuff and embrace the moments.

Selecting the Best Wedding Dress for Your Body Style

 

Selecting a wedding dress is more than just a fitting.  It’s selecting the right type for your body shape.  What’s follows is a guide to selecting the right silhouette for your body type.  This allows you to find the best figure flattering wedding gown.  Petite, tall, thin, plus size – here is your go to for choosing your dream wedding dress.

And it’s selecting the right color as well.  If your skin color is cool, with pink undertones and you favor silver jewelry, bright white is a good choice.  If your skin tone is warm, with peachy undertones and you look best in gold accessories, you best choice is an off-white gown.

 

 

Selecting by Silhouette/Body Type

 

If your shape is an inverted triangle:

Measurements:  Bust is larger than your hips and your waist is well defined.

What to look for:  You want to look for ways to add definition to your waist and hips.  An excellent way to accomplish this is with a strapless, scoop, rounded, V-Neck or plunging necklines with a narrow bodice and fuller skirt.

Best Dress Shape:  A-Line, Empire, and Ball Gown.

If your shape is an hourglass:

Measurements:  Bust and hips are the same measurement and you have a defined waist.

What to look for:  Styles that enhance your natural curves.

Best Dress Shape:  A-Line, Empire, Sheath, Ball Gown, and Mermaid.  Corset bodices and strapless or off the shoulder necklines are great choices!

If your shape is a rectangle:

Measurements:  Bust and hips are the same measurement.  Waist is slightly smaller than the bust and hips.

What to look for:  Ways to add definition to your chest and waist.  A good way to do this is with a beaded neckline or bodice with a gathered or embellished waist.

Best Dress Shape:  A-Line, Empire, and Ball Gown.

What to Avoid:  Sheaths and other clingy styles.

If your shape is rounded:

Measurements:  Large bust, narrow hips, and a full midsection.

What to look for:  Ways to add definition to your upper body and chest.

Best Dress Shape:  A-Line of Empire.  A deep V-neck sweetheart or scoop neckline, high straps or a halter top style neckline.

What to Avoid:  Styles that emphasize the waist or hip area. 

If your shape is a triangle:

Measurements:  Bust is narrower than hips.  Waist is slight smaller than hips.

What to look for:  Styles that enhances bodice and defines the waist.  Beaded necklines are great options!

Best Dress Shapes:  A-Line and Ball Gown.

What to Avoid:  Avoid making your shoulders look broad.  Avoid boat necks, spaghetti straps and puffy sleeves.

If your shape is a diamond:

Measurements:  Waist is larger than bust and hips.

What to look for:  Ways to add definition to upper body and chest.  An excellent way to accomplish this is with embellishment on the bodice or neckline to add more volume to your bustline.

Best Dress Shapes:  Empire or Sheath.

What to Avoid:  Thin straps and dresses with waist detailing as this will accentuate your broader waist.

CHOOSE A STYLE that compliments your personality as well:

  • Fit & Flare – Your style is both contemporary and traditional.  You have a girly figure and love to socialize.
  • Mermaid – Glamour defines you.  You have curves and love to show them off.
  • Tea Length – Understated elegance is your thing
  • Sheath – You dig anything retro.  You tend to be taller and have great legs.
  • Ball Gown -You are a princess and want to be the star attraction.

 

Information provided by our guest blogger:

Emalyia Klemmer, CEO/Designer

Osio Mita LLC

www.osiomitasignature.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.