What Everyone Needs to Know When Planning a Wedding

I’ve seen a fairly large number of weddings, and I can guarantee you that there has never been a perfect wedding.   But here are seven things that are KEY to a GREAT WEDDING.

Here’s the crazy thing about most weddings.  You and your partner will share very little time together on the most important day of your lives!   First, you get ready for the ceremony, then have the ceremony, and finally spent a lot of the reception dancing with parents and friends and thanking guests for coming.  I highly recommend that you PLAN some alone time for you and your spouse immediately after the ceremony.  Take a walk, go to a room alone, or just some place where the two of you can really share time just with one another.  The Wedding Timeline should allow plenty of time for your together time and photos of just the two of you.

Don’t try to do everything yourself!  The night before the wedding you don’t want to be making place cards, finishing centerpieces or arranging bouquets.  In fact, you should have all your décor and decorations READY 30 days before the wedding!  Those last few days before your wedding you want to enjoy.  Delegate and use your family and friends.  The bridesmaids and groomsmen are there as well to assist you, so don’t hesitate to ask them to take responsibility for a last-minute task.

Don’t invite too many wedding guests.  Sure, I’ve seen empty spaces at tables where guests have RSVP’d and then failed to arrive.  However, if you have invited 300 guests, received 290 “yes” responses, but the reception venue can only legally accommodate 275, you might have to turn 10 people away.  That’s really bad.  And I think most couples don’t realize this.  Keeping the guest list shorter also helps control the budget – that’s the easiest way to cut expenses.  And quite honestly, you want to be spending your day with those who TRULY care about YOU…not a second cousin removed that has only met you once!

Don’t blow the budget!  Make a budget and keep track of your expenditures.  Don’t forget the hidden extras like tips and delivery fees.  I’ve heard of grooms who had to make a trip to the bank to get money to pay the DJ, or else there would be no music!  It costs a lot of money to have a wedding, so make sure you have all the major items budgeted for.

Photography is one of the MOST IMPORTANT items on your budget.  Your photos will be your special “take away” from the day – and images that bring back memories of your special day are just really priceless!


Create some WOW at your reception.  Do you want your wedding reception something that family and friends will be talking about for years?  You don’t have to spend a fortune.  You just need to add some extra pizazz and show guests that you really appreciate them.  Little things can make a big difference.  For example, serve pre-ceremony cocktails or serve wine/sparkling grape juice during the ceremony, have an “after party”, or hire special entertain for the reception.  Perhaps a singer, bagpiper to make a grand entrance, or a piano player to play requests!

Your wedding day goes fast, so just go with the flow and enjoy your day.

Receptions with a Different Twist

Are you the kind of bride that wants to see your guests and friends having a great time and mingling at your reception?  A reception is a party and creating a party atmosphere can be easily accomplished with food stations.  From a carving station to a pasta station, guests can enjoy a night to remember that is truly special.  Here are some ideas of different food stations that you might consider:

Carving Station – Smoked Turkey, Honey Ham, Prime Rib

Mashed Potato Bar – Provide toppings such as cheese, bacon, spices, blue cheese, sour cream, onions, green peppers, etc.    Add seasonings for French fries and sweet potato fries.  How about some homemade potato chips.  The possibilities are endless.

Pasta station – mostaccioli, macaroni and cheese, chicken with bow tie pasta, etc.

Barbeque Station – Ribs, Pork Steaks, and Brats to name a few.

Nachos Station – Build your favor nachos with Mexican toppings.  Add a pitcher of margaritas for more fun.

Taco Station - BrideStLouis.com

Hot Dog Station – Wow!  I love this.  Include a variety of sausages as well.  Put toppings in clear glass jars.  Provide a variety of homemade pickles, pepper rings, sauerkraut.  Maybe have a selection of local microbrew beers.

Bread Station – What about lots of different breads, rolls, jellies, peanut butter, almond butter, honey butter.

Popcorn Station – Yes, lots and lots of great choices here.  Be sure to check out Poptions in Kirkwood for a wonderful selection including Gooey Butter, Chocolate Pecan Praline (my favorite), Aged White Vermont Cheddar and many, many more.

Popcorn Bar - BrideStLouis.com

I think you get the idea.  It is lots of fun.  Guests love it.  Be sure to forego the ordinary and try to think of fun ways to serve everything!  Vintage dishes can be used for many of the stations.

These mini buffets are scattered throughout your reception area and are the perfect solution for non-traditional reception spaces.  Don’t be afraid to implement your own ideas.  Have fun.

Brideatfoodstation - BrideStLouis.com


The Love Letter and Wine Box Tradition

wine box and love letter- BrideStLouis.com

Many couples are not familiar with the “Love Letter and Wine Box” tradition that you can add to your ceremony.  The box contains a bottle of wine, two glasses, and a love letter from each to the other.  The letters describe the good qualities you find in one another, the reasons you fell in love, and your reasons for choosing to marry.  The letters are sealed in individual envelopes and you do not see what your partner has written.  The box is then sealed.  You thus have created your very own “romantic” time capsule to be opened on your 5th wedding anniversary.  

During the ceremony, the officiant instructs you that if you ever find your marriage enduring insurmountable hardships, you are to as a couple, open this box, sit and drink the wine together, and then separately read the letters you wrote to one another when you married.  By reading these love letters it is hopeful that you will reflect upon the reasons you fell in love and chose to marry each other.

Hopefully, you will never have a reason to open this box.

Isn’t this a beautiful and romantic idea?


Children, Second Marriages & Amazing Families

Nelson-158Including your child in the wedding ceremony is extremely important in second marriages as it helps the child/children feel as if they are part of the new family. Children need to know that they will always be loved and cherish by their parents, and not feel abandoned. Taking some steps to include them in this new “family” helps create a stronger bond. In fact, many times when you are happy and your spouse treats your kids like his own, it’s amazing how well children thrive.

So – be sure to make them a part of your ceremony. A nice touch is to present the child with a gift just after your vows are completed, and when you present this gift, you each can make a vow to the child pledging your support and encouragement. Let the child know that you want to create a new family together where everyone loves honors and protects one another.Butterfly Release BSL

Addional ways to include children is through the sand ceremony where each member of the family has different color sand or perhaps a butterfly release if the weather permits.Gift Presentation BSL

A White Dove Release for Your Wedding

Few symbols have a tradition as long and as rich as the dove.    A White Dove Release is a breathtakingly beautiful sight!  The symbol of hope, peace, and love all wrapped up in two beautiful snow-white birds.    Two doves in a pure white decorated birdcage are usually set up at your wedding near where vows are taken.  This symbolizes you as a couple joining together.  Like us, the dove takes one mate for life.  After the ceremony is complete, the doves are released in celebration.

Dove in Wedding Ceremony


Weddings are very special and a remembrance for a life time for all.    When doves are released it is always spectacular, no matter if they circle many times or just deliver the wish into the heavens quickly.

All doves are not created equal.   Doves released by professionals are highly trained and well cared for.  It takes a period of 6-9 months to train birds to travel a 50 mile radius. In addition to training, daily exercise is important to keep the doves “in shape” for releases.

If you schedule a dove release, bear in mind that safety for the doves is the number one priority.  Weather conditions and time of day must be considered.  It is not safe for the birds to fly in heavy winds or gusts, heavy rain, snow or fog.  Temperatures above 100 degrees or below 30 degrees are considered extreme.  Heavy lightning is also dangerous for the doves.

two white doves

If you want to put “AW and WOW” in your wedding day, consider a dove release. Wish Upon A Dove is a great company to contact right here in our area. Call Candy at 636-399-4240 or check out their web site at www.WishUponADove.com.  For more information you can find them under “Butterfly and Dove Release” on the vendor section of our web site.

Enjoy the Moment!

Bride and Groom holding hands

When you walk down the aisle and join hands with your husband-to-be, it is one of the most emotional moments of your life.  You have come together to begin a life united as husband and wife.   And quite naturally, this is a time that your guest should be totally focused on what is happening.  BUT, so many guests are clicking away with their camera phones, capturing a so-so image that they probably will toss at a later point in time, when they really should be focused on the wedding ceremony.  Many brides are asking their guests to ditch the phones and cameras and truly be a PART of the ceremony.  As a bride you have spent lots of time, energy, and money to create your dream wedding, and while many guests might disregard this request, it really brings the focus back on the purpose of the day.  How do you feel about this “No Photos” rule?