Tips to Cutting Your Guest List

With many brides opting to have fewer guests at their wedding, the question often arises as to how to cut your wedding guest list without stirring up any tension.  You and your future spouse probably know a lot more people combined than you realize.  So – here are a few tips on how to cut your list to a reasonable and affordable number without drama or hurt feelings.

  1. Rule #1 – If you haven’t spoken to a relative in years, don’t feel obligated to invited them to your wedding. It’s not a family reunion.
  2. Do you have friends that you’ve grown apart from or no longer speak to frequently – that’s an easy cut.
  3. Your work connections could be huge, so only those who are truly good friends should be invited.
  4. Make your wedding an ADULTS ONLY event. Give couples with kids ample notice to arrange for alternative care for the night.  Those couples might really enjoy a kid-free night.
  5. Remove Plus Ones you’ve never met. If you’ve never met the person, why buy them a dinner?

A wedding is a celebration for you and the person you’re marrying – and should be shared with those closest to you.

What are YOUR Safety Plans for Your Wedding?

Bride St. Louis and Safety Plans for a Covid-19 Wedding

What are YOUR Safety Plans for Your Wedding?

We have been talking with a lot of brides about their upcoming wedding and a typical topic that surfaces is “What Safety Plans are you putting in place for your wedding.” Now that some weddings will be starting to occur, we wanted to share with you ideas of some brides-to-be and, of course, we would love to hear from you any suggestions you might have.

SCALE IT DOWN

Many of the brides have reduced the number of guests significantly, and some have limited it to just Family Members.

Some brides have “eloped” while rescheduling their “party” reception to a later date. Brides who have married say that it has reduced stress, and in many ways, made it more intimate. In addition, many loved the ideal that they would celebrate TWICE.

PROCEEDING WITH THEIR WEDDING – With Changes or Rescheduling the Date

Brides are asking photographers to keep their distance by using longer lenses.

Rather than talking directly to DJ’s about dance requests, they are asking guests to “TEXT” their request. Those with photo booths have eliminated props from the DJ company and asked guests to supply their own.

Those with buffet style dinners are changing to a plated dinner. Some are adding more tables – limiting seating at a table to just family members, or as few as 4 people. Some have requested that silverware be wrapped – not left open/displayed on the table.

Of course, many have added sanitizing stations, and provided masks for all guests.

To keep the dancing spread out, some plan to place hoola hoops on the floor to scatter guests.

Some have asked their venue to just keep doors open, or have someone stationed there to open the door for guests.

 

The most important part is GOOD COMMUNICATION by a wedding couple to the venue, the vendors, and their guests. Let everyone know that you care about their safety.

 

So – brides, what are your plans?

 

Send your ideas to Bride@BrideStLouis.com. One winner will receive 4 FREE TICKETS to our June 7, 2020 “SAFE DISTANCING” Bridal Show.

Colleen’s Journey – Part Four

Welcome back, brides! Now that you have heard my wedding dress saga, I have to share a little dress hack that I recently learned about.  How many of you have helped your friends use the bathroom on their wedding day? 🙋‍♀️ I’ve been a bridesmaid 6 times now so I’ve gone through this experience quite a few times!  Well, if you want to relieve your bridesmaids of this duty (no pun intended), then use this little genius idea…First, you need one of those large, blue, Ikea bags. Next, cut the base out of the bag.  Now you will basically have a blue cylinder with straps. You can now step into the bag and as you pull the bag up, scoop your dress up at the same time in the bag. Place the straps of the bag on your shoulders so you can be hands-free!  You can always just leave the blue Ikea bag in the bathroom so you don’t have to walk out of the restroom with a giant blue bag!

Sorry for that little off track piece of advice, I just felt like I had to share!  On to the next step of my wedding planning process! Since I have the pleasure of working for Carol with Bride St. Louis, I have been to many bridal shows and I have recently been scoping out a great DJ for my reception.  I have to admit, there is something specific I have always wanted at my wedding.  I’ve always dreamed of having karaoke.  I love a good night out with friends and singing terribly at the top of my lungs.  I’m the first to admit I have absolutely no musical talent but that doesn’t stop me!  So as I was hunting down a decently priced DJ, I wanted to make sure karaoke would be an option that wouldn’t break the bank.  I also wanted to make sure karaoke wouldn’t be the only thing played at my reception.  I wanted a good mix of fun dance songs as well as singing with the mic!  I checked out about 4 different DJ options and ultimately went with the one that was able to offer the karaoke package at a reasonable price and without hesitation at my idea.  They were all for my idea and I can tell they will really make my vision come alive! I feel as though my decision for a DJ has been the easiest process so far. I didn’t ever really stress about this part of the wedding planning process because I knew there were always DJs out there and I would always have an option.  Don’t stress about this area! Take joy in the fact that this should be a painless part of the process.

My goal for next week is to have a photographer!  Now that is one area that is totally stressing me out!  By the time I share with you next week, it is my goal to have found a photographer.  I expect you to hold me to it! Have a great week!

Colleen’s Journey – 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.