The After Party – (either after the ceremony or after the reception)

Most weddings consist of ceremony, picture taking, and reception.  However, a new trend which is quickly catching on is the After Party.

Many couples are choosing to continue to celebrate the special day with an After Party.  And this After Party many times ends up being one of their favorite parts of the day.  It could be a BBQ on the family terrace, a get-together at a local, favorite bar hangout, or just good times in a familiar setting.  Many of the formalities of the reception – greeting your guests, the formal dinner, the toast, are all social functions of the reception in contrast to the After Party which is more of a let’s crash, hang-out together, do whatever you want.   It’s an opportunity for the couple to really relax and just enjoy their close friends and one another.  There’s no formality, no special functions, just time together.

Playing Pool

Rather than dragging the wedding party from one photo location to another, the couple generally chooses one spot for photography, and then proceeds to their After Party location, until it’s time for the reception to begin.   Everybody is having fun.  And spontaneous photos of the wedding party are caught in natural moments of whatever their doing.  It’s an opportunity for true fun and laughter.  Not, okay let’s go to…., and smile at the camera.

Playing Video Games

Sometimes these After Parties are after the formal reception, if time doesn’t permit between the ceremony and reception.  Either way, it’s something that is starting to happen much more frequently and this might be something you might want to consider for your day as well.

Having Fun at the After Party

7 Wedding Stress Relievers

Snacks for the Wedding Party

Every bride needs some practical advice for relieving wedding stress.   You won’t feel overwhelmed if you follow these simply seven steps:

  1. Lists are your best friends!  This is the biggest party that you probably will ever plan so there will be hundreds of details, and more details.   The beauty of lists, spreadsheets, budgets, and timelines is that they will keep your life organized.   Stress is many times caused by that feeling that you have no idea of what’s going on.  And being organized and on top of things definitely keeps you in control and minimizes that stress.
  2. Delegate!  Your maid of honor and bridesmaids are there for a purpose.  Also just ask friends when you need some additional help.  You will be surprised how eager everyone will be to be a part of your big day.
  3. Appoint a Wedding Day Contact:  On your big day you really don’t want to be dealing with last minute details, like which tables get which centerpieces, etc.  Choose a reliable person who knows your like and your dislikes, and make them the go-to person for last minute coordination.
  4. Eat small meals throughout the day.   We all get cranky when we are not full, as the commercial says, so eat lightly throughout the day.  At this point, that sandwich is not going to make a difference about how you’re going to look in your dress.
  5. Take a deep breath.  If you find yourself overwhelmed, take several deep breaths.  Stop.  Relax.  Think about all the things about the groom that you love.  Think about the time you first met.   It’s amazing how that will transform you.
  6. Schedule Time to Relax & Rejuvenate.  Okay, you’re getting married and I tell you to rest and maybe even try to get more sleep.  Impossible!  I understand.   Take that day before the wedding and pamper yourself, visit a spa near you, or just relax at home with a favorite movie.   Keep the alcohol in check, because a hangover is no way to start your big day.  There will be plenty of time to party on your big day.
  7. SMILE.  You’re there.  This is your wedding day!  Just have a wonderful time.  You worked hard for this day, so let happen what may be, and just enjoy the day.

Creating the Guest List

Brides tell me that one of the most challenging parts of a wedding is the guest list.  From experience, I suggest strongly that before you announce your wedding to everyone, you and your groom develop some simple guidelines about inviting guests – or be prepared to suffer the consequences.  For instance, your excitement of the moment may put you in an uncomfortable position if you both verbally announce to everyone at work that they are invited to your wedding.  And when you determine that you can only accommodate x number of guests, and they have to be un-invited…..not a good situation.

Escort Cards

You need to consider some qualifying factors – like how large or small you want your wedding to be, the size of the facility and how much you can afford to spend.

Most couples start with the family first and combine both sides together.  You might want to consult with your parents to be sure that an important member of the family has not been overlooked.   Keep in mind that you want to invite to your wedding the people that you really want to celebrate your special day with.   About 10-15% of the guests that you invite will not be able to attend, so some couples keep a “B” list to invite at the appropriate time. Remember that anyone that you have not been close to or spoken to in years can safely be cut from the wedding guest list.  The creation of the guest list may mean some compromise on both your part and the groom’s part as well.

Just remember that your wedding is about CELEBRATING your day with the people you care about most.

Rainy Day Weddings

Did you know that rain on your wedding day means good luck?  Take the weather in stride and add a bold, fun umbrella and make it a fashion statement.  I recently came across these fabulous umbrellas at a local store called Pure by Jen located in Wildwood.  And while you’re at it, if it’s extremely soggy, add a pair of cute, fun rain boots.  Being prepared never looked so fashionable.

Umbrella Fashion BSL














Another benefit of a rainy day is that your photographer might catch some very subtle alluring photos in the soft light of an overcast day.  The sky may be dark and ominous, but it can make for a dreamy look much more than a bright and beautiful day.

Local Wedding & Photo Destinations – Part 1

Today I wanted to share with you several of the locations that have been suggested for a fabulous wedding and beautiful wedding photography.

The first is a low-cost and scenic spot located on the St. Charles riverfront with the ceremony on the Jaycee Stage.  A raised pavilion provides protection from any rain or direct sunlight and accommodates any number of guests.  A neat walkway allows the bride to make a grand entry.  On the riverfront there are numerous locations for group photos eliminating the need to travel from point to point – savings time and money.

Jaycee Stage- St Charles Riverfront

St Charles Riverfront Walk In Front of Rivert

Another location that has been suggested is Bee Tree Park in South County.  While there is no pavilion, a circle area allows guest to view the wedding from many angles.  Here again, on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, the wedding party can find plenty of photo opportunities.

Bee Tree Park Overview

Bee Tree Park Overlook

There is one more that I want to share with you and that is Quail Ridge Park out in Wentzville, Missouri.  This is a St. Charles County Park with a beautiful lodge that can accommodate about 200 guests.  Right down from the lodge is a gazebo and a lake, with a blacktop walkway all around.  The price is modest but beware – this facility books quickly.  And that’s understandable, because it is such a beautiful location.  Wedding and reception can be held here all in one place.

Quail Ridge Lodge WentzvilleQuail Ridge Lake

We have many received many more suggestions and over the next few weeks, we will be sharing those with you as well.

Feng Shui & Your Wedding

Li-47As you begin planning your wedding you might want to consider the positive energy of Feng Shui.   Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice of placement and arrangement of space to achieve harmony with the environment.  I’ve listed a few guidelines that help contribute to a loving energy that they say could have a positive effect on your marriage for years.   It is said that these Feng Shui principals will help you with the harmony and balance of the ceremony and reception, and uplift everyone in attendance.

  • Select the luckiest date.  The number 8 is auspicious for love and 9 represents eternity.  Choose a wedding date that contains these numbers or at least adds up to them.
  • Based on the Chinese tai chi symbol of yin and yang (black and white), you have the white wedding dress and the black tuxedo.  However, some brides wear a gown that isn’t diamond white (white is the color of mourning and death in both Chinese and feng shui tradition).  Opt for a shade that’s slightly off-white such as beige, ivory, candlelight or gold.
  • Include candles everywhere – leave no dark corners. Use lots of natural side light.   That ensures a bright future.
  • If you borrow something, borrow something blue from someone with a happy marriage and a happy family.  The energy of that person’s happy life will give good energy to you on your wedding day.
  • Choose scents to enliven the mood.  Rosemary, lemon or rose are popular pleasurable smells that can have a powerful affect.
  • Avoid square or rectangular tables with sharp edges which attract conflict.  (Now you know why most banquet halls use round tables.)
  • Increase the flow of positive chi with healthy and colorful flowers.  The pink rose symbolizes love, lilies stand for abundance, mums for happiness, and peonies for longevity.
  • The color theme you choose for your wedding sets the tone:  Red (a traditional Chinese wedding color) creates an atmosphere of love and romance, pink for young couples reflect lightheartedness and playfulness, purple and violet for a more sexy, passionate atmosphere, blues and greens promote a calm feeling.
  • No clocks should be visible in your space.  The reason for this is because your wedding should be timeless and clocks limit that idea.

This is just a sampling of some of the Feng Shui ideas, but they are easy enough to implement and it might just stir up a fun conversation.