Elopements and Small Weddings right here are the trend!



Did you know that every Wednesday at the St. Louis County courthouse you can get married by a judge?

I had the chance to observe brides and grooms lining the hallways waiting their turn to be called before the judge.  As many as 28 couples waited their turn and then were called to the front of the court room with their two witnesses.  In front of all these strangers they committed to loving one another forever.   Five minutes and done.  I doubt that any of those couples every thought of this ceremony as the wedding of their dreams.  And sometimes couples are turn away because there is not enough time!

Sometimes couples decide that the larger, formal wedding just doesn’t work for them.  They instead decide to “elope”.  (You don’t have to leave town to elope.)  This decision might be precipitated by military deployment, family issues, or just because they want to forgo the expense and time consuming traditional wedding.  

Getting married is a very important step in your life and even If you are considering such an “elopement” there are better options.  Perfect Elopements (www.PerfectElopements.com), a consortium of wedding professionals, is a company that brings everything together for you to have a beautiful wedding ceremony without the huge expense and you can schedule your wedding with just a few days, or sometimes, hours notice.  Flowers, cupcakes, photographer, and an officiant starting at just $395.00.  Just because it’s smaller doesn’t mean that it can’t be beautiful.  You show up with your rings and your license.  That’s it! 

Andrea and Lee


There are several packages from which you can choose – some include more extensive photography, music, and sand ceremonies.   There are lots of additional options you can add such as dove or butterfly releases.  But most importantly it’s a beautiful, sentimental, ceremony that is romantic.  And best of all, every package include a professional photographer to capture the wonderful memories of this day.

And now Perfect Elopements has completed their own venue JUST for small elopements and weddings called The Tuscany Gallery (www.TuscanyGalleryandEvents.com).  It resembles a small Italian Courtyard at night with a garden like feel – but indoors!  Perfect for winter ceremonies.   They offer two elopement package and three small wedding packages, that can include a small reception as well.  


If you know anyone wanting to get married, share this information with them.  Help them have a day full or wonderful memories.


Venues that Allow Outside Caterers






A lot of brides have asked us if we could provide a list of venues that allow outside caterers.  We found for you lots of choices – from community spaces to elegant historic homes.  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.










560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave., St. Louis, MO 63130, www.wustl.edu/arts/560.html

Dog Museum, 1721 S. Mason Road, St. Louis, MO., 63131, www.museumofthedog.org

Ballwin VFW Hall, 115 Minosa Lane, Ballwin, MO 63011, www.ballwin.mo.us

Blanchette Park Memorial Hall, 1900 W. Randolph St., St. Charles, MO 63101, www.stcharlesparks.com

Casa Loma Ballroom, 3354 Iowa Ave., St. Louis, MO., www.casalomaball.com

Charles F. Knight Center, Washington University, www.wustl.edu/arts

City Hall Rotunda, 1200 Market St., St. Louis, Missouri

Concordia Turners, www.ConcordiaTurners.org

The Edge of Webster, 359 Marshall Ave., Webster Groves, MO 63119, www.theedgeofwebster.com

Florissant Egan Center, Florissant, Missouri, www.florissantmo.com

Foundry Art Center, 520 N. Main Center, St. Charles, MO 63301, www.foundryartcenter.org

The Hawken House, 1155 S. Rock Hill Road, Webster Groves, MO 63119, www.hawkenhouse.org

Kuhs Estate and Farm, 13061 Spanish Lake Pond Road, St. Louis, MO. 63138, www.kuhsfarm.com

The Lodge at Des Peres, 1050 Des Peres Road, St. Louis, Mo. 63131, www.desperesmo.org

Machinists Hall, 12365 St. Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton, MO 63044

Magic Chef Mansion, 3400 Russell,St. Louis, MO, 63104, www.magicchefmansion.com

The Mahler Ballroom, 4915 Washington Ave., St. Louis, MO, www.mahlerballroom.com

Oakland House, www.AfftonOaklandHouse.com (5 to choose from)

Old Courthouse – Downtown, St. Louis, Missouri

Powell Symphony Hall, St. Louis, MO, www.slso.org

Quail Ridge (St. Charles County Parks), Wentzville, MO 63385, http://sccmo.org/parks

Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Blvd, St. Louis, MO. 63108, www.thesheldon.org

Silver Oaks Chateau, www.silveroakschateau.com (several to choose from)

St. Louis City Hall, St. Louis, Missouri

Third Degree Glass Factory, St. Louis, MO, www.stlglass.com


If you know of others that you would like us to add to the list, let us know, and we will check them out.

Brides Against Breast Cancer

The Brides Against Cancer Charity Bridal Event & Trunk Sale was held Saturday at the Hollywood Casino.  Brides Against Breast Cancer is a nationwide tour of gowns that offers brides the opportunity to purchase beautiful wedding gowns from as low as $75 to $1800 – a fraction of their original cost.  The revenue generated by Brides Against Breast Cancer makes it possible to deliver free information and services to thousands of children and adults impacted by cancer.   It was a great success with a few additional vendors there as well such as Nicole Lenau featuring Jamberry products, Catlynn Zayon featuring Younique products, Big Bow Event LLC,  and many more.  Bang for Your Buck Mobile DJ was the DJ for the day.  Look for this event to return in September.  Here are a few images of the day.



Bang Buck




7 Ways to Help Eliminate That Awkward Feeling in Front of the Lens on your Wedding Day

On your wedding day it’s vital to feel comfortable in front of the camera, and lots of couples say that they feel awkward and a bit uneasy – and that stress will show in your images.  Nerves are generally translated into your photos as strange expressions and stances.  Your smiles will be stiff and your face will be strained with little emotion in the eyes.

Relaxed Couple at door

You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your photographer during the day so here are a few tips to help overcoming awkwardness during your photo time.

  1.  First and foremost be sure to meet with your photographer in person to determine how comfortable you feel with him or her.  A professional photographer will work with you to make you feel at ease – like a friend.  Your photographer should be someone who will help you relax, and guide you through every minute of your time together.  I’ve seen photographers who will joke and strike up a mutual conversation in between shots and the result is natural, relaxed images.
  2. Your photos should be capturing the story of the day and a lot of the time you won’t even know that the photographer is doing his thing.   Except for the formals or portraits, don’t smile at the camera or play to the camera – go about enjoying your day as if the photographer wasn’t even there.  How difficult is that?
  3. Many couples choose to do an engagement shoot to get use to posing and following their photographer’s directions.  That can give you an extra confidence boost.
  4. A fashion model learns that “if it bends, bend it” and what that means to you is avoid those straight arms down at your sides and straight legs.  A relaxed bend at the elbow or hands on the hips is flattering.  And for your guys leave those legs a shoulder width apart and bend your feet outward so your toes are facing away from each other.   Crossing your legs one leg in front of the other gives a nice curve to the body.
  5. Be yourself and have fun.  You don’t always have to pose.  Actual interactive shots turn out so much better as those images gives a glimpse into your relationship.
  6. If you’re still feeling uncomfortable – add some props to hold or do an activity – take a walk together, just snuggle together, or tell each other how you feel today.
  7. And then there is “The Kiss Shot.”  There’s something about an almost kiss or a post kiss shot that captures a moment in time.  A mix of little kisses and smiles can create a kind of sweet flirtation moment between you.  Some people smush noses or keep their eyes open, so kiss gently and softly and close your eyes and feel the emotion between the two of you.

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Creating an experience that keeps you relaxed is the key to great images.  While we love photographs with great backgrounds, it is the portrait we connect with emotionally that will remain the most compelling, and these emotional reactions come from being your true self, gently guided by your photographer.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks for being a BrideStLouis.com follower.  We wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving and Holiday season.Happy Thanksgiving

Top 10 Ways to be a Better Bride


David Letterman has his Top Ten lists that we are all familiar with.  With that in mind, I put together a Top Ten Guidelines to be a Better Bride.  This list is designed to help you really enjoy the most important day of your life AND at the same time eliminate the stress of wedding planning.

Number 10:  Flexibility.

Have you been planning your dream day your entire life?  Your wedding is more likely to go off without a hitch if you are open to options, suggestions, and recommendations.  For example, you picked a date in October (one of our most popular month’s here in the St. Louis area) and the venue that you adore is booked!  Don’t stress out, look for alternatives.  Choose a different date or a different venue.  Don’t let your emotions spoil a “vision” that is not set in concrete.

On the day of your wedding issues may arise that are beyond your control.  Okay, the flowers are not the exact shade of purple that you wanted….but people will never know, and it’s not all that important in the big picture of the day.

Number 9:  Make Decisions & Go Forward.

Everyone will have an opinion about the decisions you make.  For example, “What! Your bridesmaid are wearing different style dresses!  Or, “I think the cakes from XYZ Bakery or so much better.  Maybe you should talk with them.”   I know that friends and families mean well, but it is YOUR wedding, so go with your choices.  If you second guess yourself every time someone questions your decision, you’ll drive yourself crazy.

Number 8:  Make & Keep Deadlines.

Be a good bride.  If the DJ needs his payment two weeks prior to your event, please make sure that it is done.  Be organized and keep notes, and you will feel so much better.  If you have an appointment to get your fitting for your dress, be there and have the proper underwear.  It’s when things are not done as scheduled, that stress starts to creep in and that creates anxiety.

Number 7:  Delegate.

You are not a “Super You.”  You can’t do everything.  Weddings take a lot of effort and you must learn to request help from family and friends.  On your wedding day there is so much going on that the last thing you want to deal with is the missing cufflinks or the cake that has not yet arrived.

BN6A8421Number 6: Make It Real.

Are you a Pinterest addict?  Have you watched every episode to “Say Yes to the Dress” marathons?  Throw all of that away and take a quiet moment and decide what YOU want your wedding to be.   By keeping the wedding representative of you and your fiancé’ personality, style and wishes, you will be able to enjoy your day and focus on just having a wonderful time.

Number 5:  Treat your vendors with respect & you’ll receive a whole lot more.

Trust your vendors to do their job.  Do not try to micro manage.  Be courteous and respectful as they work really hard to make sure that your day is super special.  Thank them at the end of the night.  And a tip to show them that they are appreciated is always a thoughtful gesture.  Later, after the wedding, a nice thank you note is also welcomed.

Number 4:  Don’t drag your fiancé to all your appointments.

Most guys are not really into all the details of the wedding day.  They want to get married and they have chosen you to be their wife.  Understand that getting married has a different meaning to them than to you.

Number 3:  Communicate clearly and promptly.

Communication is the most important aspect to insure all parties are on the same page.  You need to take the initiative to make sure everyone knows what is expected of them.  For example, if your bridesmaids are expected to arrive early for photos, you need to let them know precisely what time they are expected.  Don’t say, “Come Early for Photos”.  Tell them, “You need to be here no later than 2 pm to take photos.”  And don’t tell them at the last minute.  One late person can disrupt the entire schedule for the day.

Number 2:  Listen.

The strong skill to learn is to listen.  And that goes for the rest of the marriage as well.

BN6A9511Number 1:  Relax.

Don’t suffer a bridal meltdown.  It is often the case that as a bride you are so wound-up and worried about every aspect of the day, that you have failed to add yourself to the “take care of” list.  Find whatever works for you to find relaxation.  You will look and feel gorgeous and glowing on your wedding day by taking a little time to pamper yourself.  Arrive to your wedding relaxed and refreshed!

If you do all of the above, you will be a way cool bride!  Your wedding will be great.  It will be flawed but fantastic, insane but incredible.