Colleen’s Journey – Wedding Planning – Part 2 “Choosing a Venue”

Bride St. Louis

 

Welcome back, St. Louis brides!  The next step in your wedding planning process definitely requires a glass (or three) of wine!  It’s time to think about your venue!  This was definitely the most stressful part of wedding planning that I’ve experienced so far.  Yet, once it’s over you can breathe a HUGE sigh of relief.

Picking a venue has so many challenges that come with the task.  There are so many things that you have to take into consideration that I didn’t even know I would ever worry about.  Not only do you have to worry about the price per person for food and drinks, you also have the room rental to consider, the ceremony and the ceremony fee, the space for guests, etc.  After emailing and calling so many places, I started to lose track of you who I had and had not talked to!  I highly recommend creating a spreadsheet!  It was very simple and basic since I knew eventually I will have chosen a place and I wouldn’t need it.  My spreadsheet included the location, the price per person, venue rental, ceremony fee, and the person I was in contact with.

Next step…calling and emailing and emailing and emailing.  So many emails!  The most important thing to consider when you are considering your venue is what type of reception you are wanting.  I was interested in a “party” vibe.  I want my guests to just eat and drink to their heart’s desire and of course, have a blast!  I wanted a place where I could put out some games like giant Jenga, cornhole, etc.  I knew I needed more of a barn or brewery type of vibe!  So, I could immediately rule out some of the places I talked to that were more industrial and seemed “cold” to me.  Distance was also a huge factor!  Which set of family and friends was going to have to drive a distance and which set were going to have a short commute?  Were there hotels nearby?  What about a fun restaurant or bar that guests might be able to get a drink at after the reception? (Can you tell yet that I really just want my guests to have fun?)

Another way to narrow down your search is by thinking about what is absolutely too far for guests to travel.  If you’re on the fence about a place, I suggest taking a “drive-by” before you schedule an official visit.  I drove by a location that I was unsure about and by just driving to the location, I immediately ruled it out.  It just wasn’t what I was looking for and through this approach, I didn’t have to spend my Saturday at an appointment at a spot that I knew wasn’t going to work.

After taking all of these aspects into consideration, I was able to narrow my search down to two places!  I booked an appointment with one of the places and the next day I toured the location.  I didn’t even call my second option for an appointment because I fell in love with the first one!  It has the room and ability to play games, it has a great price for food and drinks, a beautiful area for a ceremony, and it’s the perfect distance for so many of our guests.  I can finally breathe!  The hardest part is over.  Like my fiancé said, “When you know, you know.  Just like when I saw you.” Aww, sappy I know 😊.  More to come next week!

 

NOTE:  Bride St. Louis has a sister site called VenuesofStLouis.com.  There you will find over 300 Venues Listed with detailed information.  That site is searchable by location, price, and type.

 

Colleen’s Journey To Her Dream Wedding – Introduction

Hello St. Louis Brides!

We are introducing a new “feature.”  Colleen, one of our very own team mates is getting married this year, and we’ve asked her to share with you her journey as she prepares for her wedding this coming July.  Witness her decisions, frustrations, and joy as she journeys to her “Dream Wedding”.


First of all, congratulations!  You’re getting married!  Can you believe it? If not, don’t worry. I couldn’t either, and I still can’t!  Second of all, I’m here to let you know that we are in this together! From the hundreds of emails that are flooding your inbox to the millions of calls you are making to venues, photographers, florists, DJs, and more. Just know that we are all going through this together and we will make it out alive!  I promise.

In the blog posts that I will be writing over the next couple of months, I am going to walk you through the plans I have been making and the tips and tricks I have come across. But first, let me begin by introducing myself! My name is Colleen, I am 29 years old, and I was born and raised in St. Louis.  I am a full-time teacher and lover of hiking, dogs, and trying new breweries. When I am not teaching, I love spending time working for Bride St. Louis under the direction of Carol Pope. She is a bridal show guru and she knows all the ins and outs of the bridal industry! I have been working with Carol for around 3 years now and I have learned so much from her.  As a teacher and a bridal show consultant, I have come to realize my love for organization, planning, and being prepared. As you will read in the next few months, you will notice that I like to stay ahead of schedule and make sure everything is organized. So, if I worry you with how quickly I move forward when booking a venue, finding a dress, etc., don’t stress! That is just because I am a type-A personality that finds anxiety in being behind schedule.  Therefore, I am here to help you keep track of what you might need to start thinking about doing next!

The first thing I knew I needed to do was book my venue and date!  Oh, my goodness that is stressful. My fiancé and I have only been engaged for three weeks now but it feels like I’ve aged three years in that time.  Since I am a teacher, I’ve always known I wanted to get married in the summertime and since I’m an organized planner, I felt like I could make this summer work!  Seven-month engagement? I got this!  I decided to let the engagement sink in for a few days and really feel all the feels instead of jumping right into planning.  I highly suggest you take this time as well! However, once a week passed, this anxiety-filled planner started to stress and realized it was “go time”.  But please, take more than a week. Take a few weeks, take a month. You do you! 

The first thing I downloaded after getting engaged was The Knot app.  This app is amazing!  You can take a style quiz to determine what kind of wedding you are looking for if you don’t already know.  This app will then give you some suggested venues in your area or surrounding area that fit your style. Along with being extremely organized and in control, I am also insanely indecisive.  I can never make a decision without thinking about it for hours (wedding dress shopping should be fun). With that being said, The Knot helped me make a vision for our wedding and narrow down some venues that fit with my style.  My indecisive qualities loved this feature! Speaking of “narrowing down some venues”, next week I am going to go through all of the planning, phone calls, and meetings that it took to book our perfect venue!  In the meantime, don’t stress about all of those little details that are keeping you up at night, everything will get figured out in time and it will turn out perfectly! Oh, and make sure to download that app, it’s a lifesaver 🙂

That’s it for this week…..I’ll be back with more news next week.

 

 

 

 

 

11 Things 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.