11 Thing to Know BEFORE you talk to any Wedding Vendor

As couples begin planning for their wedding most are in completely new territory. Hiring a venue, photographer, bakery, caterer, florist, and all the other services that make for a wedding isn’t something they do regularly. As a result, most couples have no idea what questions to ask potential vendors. Then, armed with limited and often conflicting answers to what may not have been the right questions in the first place, they then try to compare between several and make the best choice. It’s very stressful.

Let’s make sure you’re armed with the right knowledge so you can make an informed choice that’s right for you.

  1. Know your budget. Create your budget and know where your money is coming from BEFORE you even start talking to vendors. Agree on an amount for each type of service you need. Base that decision on what’s important to you.
  1. Know your priorities. Maybe you care more about the music and dancing than running around town for photos in a lot of locations. In that case, spend more on a top-notch DJ or a live band and cut out the party bus. Be very honest about what’s important to you and what will make your day special and weigh the budget in favor of those things.

  1. Set a definite location and date up front. If you come into a cake shop for a tasting to “just peruse” and you don’t have a place and a time set yet, you’re wasting both your time and the vendor’s time. That cake shop might already have ten weddings booked and can take no more. Photographers and videographers, for example, will usually want to know that information right from the beginning as they may already be booked for your date.
  1. Trust the professionals. Wedding pros have experience gained over countless weddings, so listen to their advice and don’t try to second guess them. If a photographer tells you that ten minutes is just not enough time to take twenty family poses after the ceremony, believe it. In the end, however, vendors want your day to be the best it can be and they may have a plan you haven’t even thought of so you don’t have to give up your wedding dreams.

  1. “What does it cost” should not be your one and only question.It’s important to have a general idea of what price range each vendor serves and if they are within your budget. However, price is not the only important thing to consider and you should make it clear when you first contact them that other things are equally important. Let’s be very honest here, wedding professionals are people that are very passionate about what they do. Many are true artists that put their heart and soul into their products and services. When the only question is “what does it cost” many feel it belittles the care and talent that they put into their profession. Instead of getting off on the wrong foot, a better way to approach a vendor is to have a list of three or four questions, in addition to price, that shows you really care about and value what they offer.
  1. Don’t send one big mass email to every single vendor.Narrow down your list to your top choices and then send them inquiries. Be short and INFORMATIVE. Provide them with your wedding date, your venue, and a little bit about the kind of wedding you’re wanting to have.

  1. Always be honest and upfront when talking with a vendor especially as it relates to your expectations and your budget. Give them a heads-up about any “unique” circumstance so that there are no surprises on your wedding day.
  1. Be realistic. While negotiating with service professionals is acceptable, you need to respect their offerings and be reasonable about what you can afford. A vendor’s pricing often reflects their experience, skill level and the hard and soft costs of doing business. You’ll be wasting your time and the vendor’s time if you seek out luxury wedding professionals when you’re on a DIY wedding budget. In most cases, negotiations will be more successful if you’re willing to make certain sacrifices to your vision to get the pricing down. Instead of requesting a discount, ask if there’s anything that can be removed from the quote to reduce the price. Alternatively, seek out off-season deals. You may have a better chance at negotiating lower rates on various services in a non-demand season.
  1. Know who you can negotiate with. Don’t expect to bargain with an in-demand wedding professional during peak wedding season. Talented vendors who are just starting their business may be more likely to negotiate in order to fill their calendars and build their portfolios. Also keep in mind the type of service being provided. For example, a florist has to order new flowers for each event, making it hard to reduce service expenses.
  1. Watch out for hidden fees!Tax is one of life’s inevitable truths, so you need to be prepared for that up front. However, some vendors have fees that most couples don’t know to look out for. Many venues, for example, have a non-negotiable service fee and a gratuity added on top of the listed price. It doesn’t mean they’re dishonest, it simply means you need to ask about any additional fees up front so that you don’t get hit with any surprises.

  1. Be true to yourself and your desires.As you progress down the path of planning, a lot of people will be giving you opinions! You’ll make a decision, confident in your choice, and then a future sister-in-law or neighbor will suggest something totally different. Trust me when I tell you a lot of people will be giving you “their” advice, and then it makes you question your decisions creating utter chaos. You will never be able to please everybody. It’s your wedding! Once you make a decision – it’s done.

+1 More – Be courteous. Even if you’ve decided to go with someone else, please respond back to all vendors and let them know where they stand. If you are just looking for a price, its best to be open about it. It’s hard to receive an inquiry from a client who raves about your work and says you’re exactly what they’re looking for only to never hear back from them again. It’s good to remember that the person you’re talking to is human and they put a lot of time and effort into their response and their business.

Wedding planning does not have to be so stressful. Learning to ask the right questions will help ensure your wedding comes off without a hitch!

 

2019-2020 Venues that Allow Outside Catering

 

It’s time for an update and re-posting of one of our most popular blog topics – venues where you can choose you own catering company.

A lot of brides have asked us if we could provide a list of venues that allow outside caterers.  We found lots of choices for you – from community spaces to elegant historic homesSome of these venues have catering company from which you choose, and others will allow you to choose your own.

If you book one of these venues, be sure to tell the venue that you found them through BrideStLouis.com.

Contact Information and detailed information can be found at our sister site, www.VenuesofStLouis.com.

  • Aeries Terrace, Grafton, Illinois
  • Arch, The
  • Barnett on Washington, St. Louis
  • Ballwin VFW Hall, Ballwin
  • Boenker Hill Vineyard and Winery, Bridgeton
  • Blanchette Park Memorial Hall, Charles
  • Boo Cat Club, St. Louis
  • Brookdale Farms, Eureka
  • Butterfly House (Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House )
  • Campbell House, St. Louis
  • Charles F. Knight Center, Washington University, St. Louis
  • City Hall Rotunda, St. Louis
  • City Museum, ST. Louis
  • COCA University City
  • Cultural Art Center, St. Peters, Missouri
  • Edge of Webster, Webster Groves, MO 63119
  • Fast Lane Cars, St. Charles
  • Firefighters of Eastern Missouri
  • Florissant Egan Center, Florissant, Missouri
  • Foundry Art Center, Charles, MO 63301
  • Gateway Classic Cars, Shiloh, Illinois
  • Harvester Lions Club, St. Charles
  • Hawken House, Webster Groves
  • Heights, The – Richmond Heights
  • Hive 44, Fenton
  • Jefferson Undergound
  • Jewel Box, St. Louis
  • Kuhs Estate and Farm, St. Louis, MO
  • Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis
  • Limelight Events
  • Luminary, The
  • Lodge at Des Peres, Louis
  • Machinists Hall (District 9) Bridgeton
  • Mad Art Gallery. St. Louis
  • Mahler Ballroom
  • Magic Chef Mansion
  • Magic House, Kirkwood, MO
  • Mount Pleasant Estates
  • Museum of Transportation
  • NEO on Locus
  • Old Courthouse – Downtown, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Professional Fire Fighters of Eastern Misosuri, St. Peters
  • Pour Vineyard
  • Powell Symphony Hall, St. Louis, MO
  • Purser Center, Chesterfield
  • Quail Ridge Lodge (St. Charles County Parks), Wentzville
  • Randall Gallery, ST. Louis
  • Saint Louis Carousel at Faust Park, Chesterfield
  • Louis City Museum, St. Louis
  • Sheldon Concert Hall, St. Louis
  • Louis Artists Guild, Clayton, Missouri
  • Louis County Parks, St. Louis
  • Louis History Museum, St. Louis
  • Louis Jewish Community Center, St. Louis
  • Shrewsbury City Center, St. Louis
  • Louis City Hall, St. Louis
  • Louis Muny, St. Louis
  • Shelton Concert Hall, St. Louis
  • Soulard Preservation Hall, St. Louis
  • Tuscany Gallery and Events, Wentzville
  • Third Degree Glass, St. Louis
  • Valley Farms, Foristell
  • Wild Carrot, St. Louis
  • D. Purser Center, Chesterfield
  • White Owl, Wright City
  • World’s Fair Pavilion, St. Louis

Additional contact information can be found in our vendor section.  If you know of other venues that you would like us to add to the list, let us know, and we will check them out.  Send that to bride@bridestlouis.com.

 

7 Color Themes for Your FALL Wedding

So many of us here in the St. Louis area absolutely love FALL – and as October is one of the busiest months in our industry, it’s obvious that our brides love Fall too!  Fall represents COLOR!  Find inspiration from the leaves changing and seasonality around you.  There are so many shades of autumn’s color that you can choose for your wedding that are stunning.  The cooler temperatures inspire autumnal shades and so we thought we would suggestion some of our favorite color combinations that are vibrant that can make your wedding spectacular.

 

Cranberry and Mustard Yellow

Yes, cranberry is a staple color for fall, but very few brides add mustard yellow as a secondary color.  Dried Yarrow or Dried Leaves can be used in floral arrangements and the contrast of colors is stunning.

Metallic Orange with Brown, Beige and Sage Green

Autumn is associated with orange, but make it brilliant with a “metallic” orange.  It’s a great combination for a rustic wedding and you can incorporate pumpkins, dried wheat arrangements, and orange/red mums.  For the sage color, succulents fit the bill.

Wine with Gold

Rich and Bold – a Merlot Color Wine pairs beautifully with Gold.  There is a wide range of seasonal flowers like wine color tinted calla lilies, dark red roses and hypericum berries that can create an elegant statement.  Gold charging plates on your reception table with the wine color floral décor speaks classy and refined.

Dark Emerald Green and Gold

If you are a red head – green is your color – and why not employ the power of that combination for your special day.

Dusty Blue, Sage Green and Navy

So elegant and romantic.    You can’t ever go wrong with these colors.  Your guys would look stunning in dark Navy Blue Suits and you can add that romantic touch to your bridal bouquet with the softness of the dusty blue and sage green.

Dusty Blue with Burnt Orange

Again – a great fall color combination.  Floral arrangements of seasonal dusty blue flowers coupled with orange and white flowers is perfect.

Cream, Tangerine, and Copper Brown

Once again you can steal from the fall palette to create a unique and noteworthy theme.  Tangerine is so vibrant!  Copper Brown allows you to add elements of antique copper table centerpieces, so unique and special.

20+ Ideas to Create a Wedding Reception that will Entertain and Wow!

Creative Ideas for Your Wedding ReceptionWhat will guests most remember about your wedding?  While great food is always important,  it’s so much more than that.  Your reception is the biggest party that you will ever plan, and while it marks the importance of the fact that you just married the love of your life, your guests will look to you to be entertained.  They will remember a FUN experience.  Making your party personal and unique will keep them talking about the great night they had for a long time.

First there are some basic reception concepts to follow, like creating good seating arrangements.  A good seating arrangement creates good conversations among friends and people that have common interests.  Put college buddies together and teenagers together, etc. and don’t try to force strangers to struggle to make connections.

And, of course, food should be a big part of being a guest.   I love the new food options that can be introduced – like pasta stations, potato bars, and such.   If you choose to do several courses, you might arrange for some short entertainment between courses.  This is a good time for a quick toast from a favorite lifelong friend or a salute to your parents.  Do you know someone who sings or plays a musical instrument – now is a great time for a quick song.   And keep good food coming all night long!  Have a slider bar or serve toasted ravioli toward the mid part of the night to kept their energy up.  You might even consider hiring a food truck for late at night.

After the food, comes great music and dancing!   Great music keeps the dance floor full, so be sure to arrange with your band or DJ music that everyone will like.  Play some of your favorites, but be sure to include some older tunes that everyone will enjoy.  This is the time that you and your wedding party should play an active part in getting everyone up to dance.

And for your unique sparkle, here are some additional ideas for your reception that could add a special twist:

Stage a Whiskey Tasting Bar or create an area to make your own special margaritas!

S’mores Stations, Chocolate Fountains with Fruit, Popcorn Bars, etc are yummy.

Specialty Coffee Bars with flavored syrups and toppings are popular.

Outdoor weddings might include country games like horseshoes, ring toss or croquet, or even a petting zoo.  You might also arrange a late night hay ride or, for a winter wedding, a sleigh ride.

Laser Light Shows or perhaps fireworks or a sparkler send off can be fun.  (Be sure to get the long 36 inch sparklers.)

Provide party gear like glow sticks, sunglasses, beads and fun trinkets.

Create a Stunning Unexpected First Dance or have a MOB performance.

Rent a Dry Ice Machine and dance in the fog!

Balloon drops on the dance floor can really get the party hopping as well.

Have Unique Entertainers – live art painting, belly dancers, caricature artists, or professional ballroom dancers.

For a different twist hire singing groups like an a capella group, country banjo players, etc.

Bring in Specialty Artisans – For example, hire someone to demonstrate how to make hand rolled cigars, or bring in a barista for special lattes.

Having kids?  Create a special kid’s area with entertainment just for them.

Bring in the new photobooths – fish eye, slow motion, video, and many more options are available today.

 

The possibilities are endless.  Keeping your guests surprised and entertained all night long will make for a reception that will be the talk of your friends and family.

Free or Almost FREE – Outdoor Locations for Your Wedding

Venue Locations for Your Wedding by BrideStlouis.com

 

Recently we had a future bride ask about outdoor places with gazebos or gardens that could be used for wedding ceremonies.  (She was looking for FREE or almost free!)  So – I tossed together some locations that come to mind.

Oak Knoll Park in Clayton.   They have large and beautiful large trees.  Also, there is a sunken garden area that is available on the West side of the property.  And a plus, there are also outdoor restrooms available here too.

Alton Gordon Moore Public Park – Alton, Illinois

Forest Park – Waterfall off Lagoon Street, The Muny Entrance (Gazebo and beautiful lake in front of the Muny), General Grounds, the Basin area, and Old World’s Fair Pavilion are my favorites.  Don’t forget about locations within the zoo grounds as well.

Faust Park – By the old Village, Outside the Butterfly House, or at the Thornhill Mansion grounds that is behind the Butterfly House.

Missouri Botanical Garden – That’s not free, but it is beautiful.

Kiener Plaza They removed the beautiful waterfall, but it is still a fun location.

Carondelet Park

Water Tower off Grand

Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit.   It’s $5.00 per person to enter, but it’s worth it!   They have a beautiful lake and in spring 1000 of daffodils.

Bee Tree Park in South County.

Klondike Park – Augusta, MO Off Highway 94

City Garden (Downtown) – It has a nice waterfall

Tower Grove Park – Most everyone knows about the ruins, the lily pond, and the many, many gazebos.

Castlewood State Park off Manchester Road in Ballwin

The J.C. Stage in St. Charles on the Riverfront.  It cost a little to rent, but it’s very nice.  They also have two other smaller pavilions.

St. Louis Arch Grounds – It’s beautifully renovated.

Ball Park Village is Fun

Bellevue Park – Belleville, Illinois.  It has a beautiful gazebo and a medium size lake.

Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton, Illinois

Lafayette Square & Park  – They have a nice gazebo and a beautiful bridge over a garden area.

Laumeier Sculpture Park

Queeny Park in Manchester – Try up in the garden area (Close to the closed Dog Museum) or down by the lake.

Chesterfield City Park – A beautiful water fall area, a lake, and the gazebo

St. Ferdinand Park in Florissant – Both Lake & Gazebo.

Various New Town Locations in St. Charles

Drace Park in Des Peres – not well known, but very nice.

Longview Farm off Clayton Road in Town & County.

Creve Coeur Lake Park

Kirkwood Trail Station – Get married inside the train station.  A great location when the weather is bad.  Kirkwood Community Center also has a nice lake and walking path.

Fort Zumwalt Park

We, of course, would love to hear any additional suggestions from you that we can share with our readers.

Are you looking for a Distinctive Destination for your wedding?

Are you looking for a Distinctive Destination for your wedding?    Here are fourteen suggestions of great wedding venues that will set your wedding apart.   These are just a few of the great locations you can find at our sister site, VenuesofStLouis.com.

 

Garth Woodside Manion, Hannibal, Missouri  – www.garthmansion.com

Contact: Julie

Phone:  888-427-8409

Garth Woodside Mansion Distinctive Wedding Destination - VenuesofStLouis.com

Of the many wedding venues in Missouri, Garth Mansion is special as it offers their beautiful historical mansion and bed and breakfast experience.  Enjoy the manicured property and additional cottage space.  Their personalized planning services makes it stress free and easy.  The gardens and property features accentuate every aspect of the outdoor beauty one would want for their special day!

 

Cedar Creek, New Haven, Missouri –  www.cedarcreekcenter.com

Contact:  Jeni Grunzinger

Phone: 636-266-9975

A distinctive destination for your St. Louis wedding by VenuesofStLouis.com

Located just one hour west of St. Louis, in New Haven, Missouri, the natural beauty of Cedar Creek provides a romantic setting for your truly unforgettable wedding. Featuring on-site overnight accommodations for up to 125 guests, a salt water pool, a golf course and so much more. Popular areas for use include The Barn, The Lake, the Saloon and Town Hall, and our on-site restaurant located in our iconic Western Town. Why not turn your wedding day, into your wedding weekend? The possibilities are endless!

 

Defiance Ridge Vineyards, Defiance, MO – www.defianceridge.com

Contact: Michelle

Phone:  636-798- 2288

Distinctive Destination for Your Wedding - VenuesofStlouis.com

Defiance Ridge Vineyards is a beautiful facility located in Missouri Wine Country and provides a gorgeous setting to celebrate your special day.  Enjoy the vineyard, sparkling lake, and lush garden – offering great backdrops for your photos, and roaming area for your guests to explore. Your wedding at Defiance Ridge can tell your story and reflect your personality and vision.  With accommodations for a small or large gathering and full catering menu, they can help you craft the perfect event that guests will never forget.

 

 

Foundry Art Centre, St. Charles, MO – www.foundryartcentre.org

Contact: Melanie, events@foundryartcentre.org

Phone:   636-255-0270

A Distinctive Wedding Venue by VenuesofStLouis.com.

The Foundry Art Centre in located alongside the Missouri River and Katy Trail in downtown St. Charles.  The beautifully redesigned interior of the old Foundry is where railroad cars were once produced and it is now a cultural center of national and international regional art.  Dramatic high ceilings, balconies above for viewing, combined with flowers, music and delicious food, makes The Foundry your special venue.  Truly one of a kind location.

 

 

Dodson Orchards, Fredericktown, MO – www.dodsonorchards.com

Phone:  573-561-3093

Dodson Wedding Venue by VenuesofStLouis.com

Experience the magic of your wedding inside the authentic 100+ year old barn, surrounded by your loved ones.  Dodson Orchards is located in the rolling hills of the Ozarks and is about an hour’s drive south from St. Louis County.   You will be the main attraction and because they are an all inclusive venue, you can relax knowing that everything will be just as you envisioned.  Plus, you have full access to their vast array of rustic chic décor and antique furniture pieces to use as accents and gift tables.

 

 

Hermann Hill, Hermann, MO – hermannmoweddings.com

Contact: Becky

Phone: 573-486-4455

Host a romantic, private wedding ceremony along the scenic Missouri River at Hermann Hill Weddings, a picturesque and popular wedding event venue nestled in a storybook setting in Hermann, Missouri.  The location is conveniently accessible to couples from St. Louis to Columbia via I-70.  The maximum number of guests you may host for an indoor ceremony is 225, while up to 300 guests may be served for an indoor reception or outdoor ceremony.  Hermann Hill offers various packages that can accommodate most budgets.  Included in some of the packages are use of a Bride and Groom’s room, use of pavilion for reception, use of chapel or gazebo.

 

 

Inn at Hermannhof, Herman, MO – www.innathermannhof.com

Contact: Samantha,  sales@innathermannhof.com

Phone: 573-486-5199

The Inn at Hermannhof is a perfect weekend getaway destination in the romantic Missouri Wine Country.  It is situated in the historic town of Hermann, Missouri – known for its German heritage and one of the oldest wine growing regions in the U.S.  If you are having out of town guests, this is a perfect spot as their bed and breakfast can accommodate your family and friends all in one great location.

 

Peace Tree Farms, Eolia, MO –  www.PeaceTreeFarms.com

Contact:  peacetreefarmsllc@gmail.com

Phone:  573-470-6777

Peace Tree Farms - Venue Review at VenuesofStLouis.com

 

Peace Tree Farms is dedicated to conservation, organics, preserving nature and the beauty of our Earth.  They specialize in Custom Weddings within their 150 Acres of Beautiful!  Choose your perfect ceremony and reception site – garden and main pavilions, lakeside, woodland, or orchard and meadow.  Coming Fall 2019 the new Garden Barn.  If you can dream it, Peace Tree Farms can make it happen.

 

Aeries Terrace Banquet Center, Grafton, IL – www.aeriesview.com

Contact:  Angie events@aeriesview.com

Phone:  618.786.8438

Aeries Wedding Venue - Venue Review by BrideStLouis.com

Memorable events deserve an unforgettable setting – someplace different.  Aeries is close to home, yet being there feels like an escape.  Awesome, natural beauty and adventure around every corner.  You wedding will be at the edge of a breathtaking panorama that is simply the best view in the Midwest.

 

Pour Vineyard, Red Bud, IL – www.thepourvineyard.com

Contact: Travis – thepourvineyard@gmail.com

Phone:  618-304-4516

 

The Pour Vineyard is located in Red Bud Illinois and is one of Illinois’ newest wedding destinations.  Pour Vineyard offers a rustic barn, large lake and over six acres of vineyards.  They offer many ceremony locations and they allow you to choose your own vendors.  About 200 can be accommodated for a barn ceremony and 224 for a vineyard or lake ceremony/reception.

 

Seven T Farms, Sullivan, MO – www.seventfarms.com

Contact:  Matt & Mia,  events@seventfarms.com

Phone: 573-915-6760

Seven T Farms - Review by VenuesofStLouis.com

Many say that Seven T Farms is the perfect backdrop to say “I DO”!  From modern to vintage, Seven T Farms offers a unique setting for your wedding or event.  Enjoy a 300 acre venue located one hour west of downtown St. Louis just outside Sullivan, Missouri.  They have several ceremony options, a large reception room with stage for a head table or DJ setup, and an additional room perfect for rehearsal dinners or cocktail hour.  The patio offers outdoor seating, an indoor/outdoor bar, stone fireplace and a stunning view overlooking the farm.  An on-location bridal suite accommodating up to 12 is also available for rent.

 

 

 

The White Owl, Wright City, MO – www.the-white-owl.com

Contact:  Janie – thewhiteowlinfo@gmail.com

Phone:  636-030-6005

Wedding Venue Review by VenuesofStLouis.com.

The White Owl is a private outdoor event venue that works hard to craft a personal, unique, and unforgettable event for its customers located in Wright City, MO. They believe events such as a wedding, birthday, anniversary, graduation, corporate celebration have the power to do more than celebrate a milestone; they create long-lasting impressions through social interactions, memorable moments, and custom personal touches. They also believe in enjoying what you do and doing it with the ones you love.

 

Noboleis Vineyard, Augusta, MO – www.noboleisvineyards.com

Contact:  Angie

Phone: 636-482-4500

Noboleis Vineyard by VenuesofStLouis.com

Looking for your dream wedding in a vineyard?  Noboleis Vineyards offers panoramic views of rolling hillsides while the surrounding vineyards offer the backdrop to an outdoor ceremony and/or a reception for up to 200+ people in a tented pavilion.  There’s a bride’s loft for getting ready, plus great photo spots in the vineyards and cellar.

 

The Larimore, St. Louis, MO – www.larimoreweddings.com

Contact:  Dena – info@larimoreweddings.com

Phone: 314-265-2531, 314-868-8009

The Larimore Wedding Venue by VenuesofStLouis.com

The Larimore is a private, historic estate established in 1858.  This venue boasts 6 acres of enchanting grounds, the charming Victorian mansion and an elegant banquet center.  This hidden gem is perfect for those searching for a spectacular event that is “unique” and offers plenty of “WOW” factor!