Your Guide to Purchasing Alcohol for Your Wedding

Your Guide to Serving Alcohol at Your Wedding by BrideStLouis

How to Save on Open Bar Costs:
Open bars are fun, but they get expensive fast. Cut down on the open bar cost by only keeping it open during certain times. For example, you could have a cocktail hour during the reception, and then switch over to just beer and wine during dinner. Or you could set up a DIY drink station where people can make their own cocktails or pour their own wine or beer. Another way to reduce open bar costs is to ask friends and family members to take turns tending bar, rather than hiring a professional.

Selecting the Right Wine:
The first rule of choosing wine is that it’s your wedding, so choose your favorite ones. Once you select a few favorites, you can choose some other varieties to match your menu.

Chicken: Choose a light to medium white wine such as an oaked chardonnay or riesling, or a light to medium red such as a zinfandel or pinot noir. A rosé is also a fine choice.

Fish: Light whites such as sauvignon blanc or riesling are ideal.Beef: Opt for a red such as a pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, merlot or shiraz.

Pork: Serve a juicy, light-bodied red such as a grenache, pinot noir or zinfandel, or a high-acidity white such as a sauvignon blancor riesling.

Make sure you store your wine at proper temperatures. Whites and rosés should be refrigerated for a few hours prior to serving so they’re served at around 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Refrigerate reds for around 15 minutes in advance so they’re served at 60 to 65 degrees. Keep sparkling whites and champagne refrigerated beforehand, and store them on ice between pours so they stay around 45 degrees.

Selecting the Right Beer:
Your goal when choosing beer is to keep everyone happy. A good rule of thumb is to offer five or six different types of beer. Make sure you have at least two staple domestics and at least one local or craft brew for the more adventurous beer enthusiasts. You may also want to consider a seasonal option and a cider.  Session beers are great for weddings, as they’re low in alcohol so they can be consumed over the course of a few hours. You may also want to have one light, hoppy beer such as an IPA or pale ale, and a darker beer such as a porter or a stout so you can cover both ends of the spectrum. Finally, you really can’t go wrong with a Belgian white. Belgian beers tend to appeal to casual sippers and beer snobs alike.

It’s no secret that planning a wedding is a daunting task. From the guest list to the menu, every detail matters, and that includes your beer and wine purchase. Fortunately setting up the perfect wedding bar is one of the easier tasks to check off your list, thank to this handy guide.  Count on guests consuming two drinks in the first hour of your event and one drink during each following hour. Are you serving wine, beer and spirits? The general rule of thumb is 50% of your guests will prefer wine, 30% will prefer beer and 20% will prefer mixed drinks.  Simply offering wine and beer? Plan on 60 percent of your guests drinking wine and 40% drinking beer.

Here’s your handy guide :

ServingWineandBeeandSpirits Chart Wine and Beer Chart

Living Coral – Pantone Color of 2019 – Great for Any Wedding

Wedding Planning and Decor by BrideStLouis

Pantone announced that Living Coral (Pantone 16-1546) is the Pantone Color of the Year for 2019.  It is such an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.  And it’s perfect for your spring/summer or fall wedding.  This color can be incorporated without busting your budget.  It’s great for bouquets, table runners, and it blends with so many other colors as well.

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Living Coral is bold and brilliant and when paired with these complimentary colors provides a dazzling portrait of color splashed across the sky as the sun rises and sets – adding feelings of pleasurable warmth.

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Love a blue color?  Pair Living Coral with these complimentary colors that can suggest the blue of the sea and the kaleidoscope of colorful sea life.

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Living Coral might just be the color for your wedding.  What do you think?

Here are some flowers that are perfect if you choose Living Coral compliments of Flower Muse.

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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.

Personalizing Your Vows

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Wedding vows today no longer necessarily follow the standard “love, honor, cherish…” verbiage.  Couples use their vows to express their feelings and commitments to one another.

Here are some examples:

I, (Bride/Groom), take you (Groom/Bride), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

I, (name), take you, (name), to be my [opt: lawfully wedded] (husband/wife), my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.

I (name), take you (name) to be my (husband/wife), my partner in life and my one true love. I will cherish our union and love you more each day than I did the day before. I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together. I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall live.

In the presence of God and these our friends I take thee to be my husband/wife, promising with Divine assistance to be unto thee a loving and faithful husband/wife so long as we both shall live.

I, (name), take you, (name), to be my friend, my lover, the (mother/father) of my children and my (husband/wife). I will be yours in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph. I promise to cherish and respect you, to care and protect you, to comfort and encourage you, and stay with you, for all eternity.

I, [name], choose you [name] to be my [husband/wife], to respect you in your successes and in your failures, to care for you in sickness and in health, to nurture you, and to grow with you throughout the seasons of life.

I, (name), take you, (name), to be my partner, loving what I know of you, and trusting what I do not yet know. I eagerly anticipate the chance to grow together, getting to know the (man/woman) you will become, and falling in love a little more every day. I promise to love and cherish you through whatever life may bring us.

And some addition readings might include:

Today we come together not to mark the start of a relationship, but to acknowledge and strengthen a bond that already exists.  Marriage is a commitment to the best that (name) and (name) can find and develop within each offer.   It offers opportunities for sharing and growth no other human relationship can equal, a physical and emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime.  A wife and a husband are each other’s best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic.

Marriage is the ongoing process of shaping and reshaping your lives together. It is the commitment to always listen to each other, to respect and value the other as your equal, to be honest with each other and to treat each other with kindness and thoughtfulness.

When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique to themselves, which binds them closer than any spoken or written words.  Marriage is a promise which takes a lifetime to fulfill.

Today, as I give myself to you, my commitment is strong and forever.  All that I am and all that I have, I offer you in love and joy.  Because of you, I laugh, I smile, and I dare to dream.  Today I fully and unconditionally give you my all.  To be by your side through thick and thin.  I vow to hold you when we go to sleep and kiss you when we wake up.  As I give you my hand to hold so I give you my life to keep.

Work with your officiant as he or she may have specific words that you cannot deviate from for a religious ceremony of he/she may have additional samples of vows.  Feel free to add your own embellishments, loving words, and inside jokes.

READ THIS FIRST – BEFORE you buy your Wedding Dress


All women want to look their very best on their wedding day – beautiful, confident and radiant!  Here are some tips to ensure that you make a GREAT choice when it comes to your choice of bridal gown.

  1. Start NOW to find your dress. If you plan to order a designer gown it can take up to six months to arrive after it is ordered.  Plus – every gown will need some alterations to fit perfectly.
  2. Don’t let anyone persuade you into purchasing a particular dress – not your mother, your fashionista friend, or an opinionated maid of honor. Choose the dress YOU LOVE and the dress that makes you feel beautiful.
  3. We all love to get a great deal. But this is one time you don’t want to make a decision purely on price.  Find dresses that are within your budget and choose from those selections.
  4. Believe me when I tell you, make sure your dress is comfortable! Can you sit, dance, and relax in your dress?  Good undergarments and a dress that fits right is so essential.  At 8 o’clock when it’s time to party you will be glad that you followed this tip.
  5. Locate a reliable, reputable and well-respected shop instead of shopping online. Good service and advice is worth a lot more than saving a few dollars.  I went to a wedding last year where the bride wore a “pink” dress– it was a bright, hot pink!  She ordered it online, and it arrived just a few days before the wedding.  The online photos showed this dress as a “very, light delicate baby pink. NOT! It was a hot pink and the bride had no choice but to wear it
  6. Don’t buy your dress based on your street clothes size. Bridal gowns don’t run true to your typical dress size.  Don’t buy a smaller gown because you are planning to lose weight before your wedding day.  Remember, it’s easier to have a dress taken in if you lose the weight than trying to find an extra inch to let out.
  7. Need help finding a good Bridal Shop. Here is a link to all the great Bridal Shops in our area. I’ve been to many of them and they will treat you right.

Spend Smart for Your Dream Wedding

It’s so easy to get swept up in the excitement of planning your Dream Wedding.  But spending too much could turn your “happily ever after” into agony afterward.  Money is one of the number one reasons couples fight, so it is important to communicate with one another about how much you have to spend and where you want to spend it.   The small stuff adds up, so spend your dollars toward items that will have the biggest impact and that are most important to you. 

Let’s talk about how to plan a wedding that fits your style AND your budget.


Sit with your spouse-to-be and together decide which details are most important to you.   What do you want to splurge on, such as a high-end venue or a DJ who provides lots of bells and whistles to keep the wedding party going.  Spend the money where it has the most value to you, and scale everything around those two or three priority things.  Don’t skimp on good food.  No one remembers that you had chair covers, but they will remember a cheap meal.  Personally, I recommend the best photographer you can afford – a good photographer will capture all those special moments and emotions that bring back memories every time you look at your photos.   Those photos will last a lifetime.  In fact, I have a bride’s mom call me today, her daughter had a fire and they lost everything – however, the photographer had backup copies of all their wedding photos!   She was so glad they hired a professional!


We are so fortunate to live in the St. Louis area where we have many great venues that can fit almost any budget.  Forest Park, Quail Ridge in St. Charles, Art Galleries and other community centers.  A great resource to find your venue is our new which lists over 300 venues that you can search by location, by price, and by type of venue. 


Celebrate your day with the ones that mean the most to you.  So much of the expense is calculated per person, so keep your guest list small.


Good food doesn’t have to be expensive to be enjoyable.  Be creative – hire a food truck, have stations where people can make their own meal, such as a pasta bar, potato bar, etc.  Have an afternoon wedding and serve sandwiches.  Host a small Sunday wedding with Cake & Cocktails.   I love one bride who had a “brunch” on Sunday after the ceremony, and then invite only the immediate family to an up-scale dinner at a local restaurant that evening.


Don’t make the ones you care about have to work at your event.   Hire a florist and choose in-season blooms to save money.  Pass on the photo booth.  Professional vendors will deliver the SERVICE and product that will make your day special.   There is nothing worse than handling issues on your wedding day.


Need more help?  Email us and we will send you our new 2019 eBook “Wedding Planning for the St. Louis/St. Charles and Southern Illinois Bride.