Wedding Sushi S1E6 “Top 6 Ways To Make Your Wedding Day YOU-nique”

today’s guest:

Today I’m in the studio with Julie Swaney, owner of Limelight Events, a local St. Louis business with upscale event venues in St. Peters and Ellisville, Missouri. Parties and events are tailored to your group with personal service and design touches, and many options for food and desserts. Specializing in “petite events” such as Bridal Showers, Rehearsal Dinners, and Micro-Weddings. https://meetatlimelight.com/about/

TOP 6 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR WEDDING DAY YOU-NIQUE!

Your Wedding Day should be all about you, so Julie Swaney has provided us with some helpful ideas to personalize your BIG DAY!

#1.) CREATE A VISION BOARD – Before you purchase any items, or book any vendors, you should sit down and think about the overall concept that you’re wanting to achieve. Choose a theme. Do you two share in special interests or hobbies? Is there a certain style you prefer? Rustic? Elegant? Beachy? What colors are important to you? You should have 3 colors…. A Dominant, Paired, Accent. (*Color Schemes will be the focus of another episode…Stay Tuned)

#2.) USE MUSIC TO CREATE A MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCE – Talk to your music professional about creating a custom playlist. Think about songs that reflect moments in your relationship, or family traditions. Have you thought about writing a song?! Do it!! OR hire someone to write a song for you! Music is a fabulous way to personalize your event.

#3.) CREATIVE FLORALS – Flowers will be one of the most expensive items on your Wedding List…. but they don’t have to be. Julie suggests trying some interesting centerpiece alternatives, such as “floating flowers” in a beautiful glass vase. Or, build a floral wall for your ceremony backdrop, then reuse it at your reception for a photo wall.

#4.) PERSONALIZED FAVORS & GIFTS – Think of fun ways you can add your monogram or family crest to items that will be given as favors, and/or add your wedding party member names to their gifts. Looking for personalized items? Visit our sister company, YippeeWear at www.yippeewear.com where all Allegro Couples get a FREE custom design created for their own wedding swag.

#5.) IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT CAKE ANYMORE – Showcasing different dessert options is a fun way to share some of your favorites with guests. Did you two meet New England area? Perhaps a blueberry pie should be served… or maybe you met here in St. Louis, and you’d like to have Gooey Butter Cake as a special treat. Julie recommends having some bite size candies or cake-pops incorporated into your tablescape.

#6.) FUN WITH PROPS – Do you remember the couch featured in the intro to the “F.R.I.E.N.D.S” tv show? Maybe you’d like to setup a “scene” at your reception, where your guests can have memorable pictures taken. By adding a chaise lounge, or a set of wingback chairs, you’re setting the perfect location for fun photos! If you’re looking for more ideas, visit partiesandprops.com

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Wedding Sushi S1E5 – “Wedding Transportation and Things To Consider”

In today’s episode of Wedding Sushi, we hear about Brian Klimaski’s fascinating career path, and how he went from baseball in New Jersey, to nightclubs with rockstars in Vegas, to becoming the Sales Director for Missouri’s largest transportation company: JED www.jedlimousine.com

We touch on all of the Frequently Asked Questions that engaged couples typically ask during the booking process, PLUS very important aspects most people wouldn’t even think about.

what style?

When it comes to the vehicle of your choice, would you prefer perimeter seating? Or forward-facing seating?

where to?

Think about where you will need to be picked up from, and all of the stops along the way…. Do you want a limo or party bus to pick you up from home, to take you to your wedding location?  Or do you only need transportation from your ceremony to the reception, with picture stops in between?  Where will you be stopping to take photos?  Have you created a travel timeline with your photographer?

are you local?

Have you selected a wedding venue that is in the St. Louis metro area? Or have you booked a venue that is further away?  When you’re budgeting for your transportation, there may be travel fees involved.

need a restroom?

If you and your wedding party will be traveling for an extended period of time, have you considered choosing a vehicle that has restrooms? JED offers 19 different coaches/shuttles that offer this option.

how many people?

Let’s talk about capacity…. Who will be riding along?  Wedding party, family, photographers…. Come up with a headcount so you know how many people you need to account for when looking at vehicle options.

extra space!

Brian recommends building in extra buffer space for your wedding day.  You do not want to be squished in like sardines, so choosing an option that has MORE room is always the best choice!  For example, if you have 25 people riding along, book a coach or bus that can seat up to 35.  You’ll appreciate the elbow room.

road restrictions?

Some small towns have road restrictions due to vehicle height, width, and weight.  Will you need to be traveling down tiny country roads? Ask your venue coordinator if they know about any road restrictions you should be aware of.

WANT MORE INFO ON WEDDING SERVICES?


Wedding Sushi S1E4 – “How To Choose The Perfect Wedding Venue”

WHERE DO I START?

Just remember- planning a wedding is not a sprint and it’s not a marathon…. It’s more like a nice long walk. With a little thoughtful pre-planning, you should have a great experience!

Before you begin to look for any vendors- sit down with your peeps and outline what you’re looking for. There are no right answers. Go with what speaks to you and your fiancé and families.

· A big wedding with lots of guests or an intimate affair. Think about how many guests you’d like.

· What type of wedding? Outdoor/Indoor? Art Gallery? Hotel Ballroom? Country Club? Barn? Winery?

· What day of the week and times? Is brunch your ideal party or would you prefer a traditional sit-down dinner on a Saturday night.

When you work out these questions- the whole process will be much smoother.

After you outline your ideal ceremony and reception- now it’s time to DIG IN with BUDGET!! UGH. I know. Thinking about money sucks. But it is a must. There are plenty of FREE Budget Planners out there that will do the work for you.

HOW MUCH SHOULD BRIDE AND GROOMS ALLOT FOR THE RECEPTION?

You put in your budget and it will separate how much couples will typically spend in that category. For example—your OVERALL reception costs should be about 50%-55% of your budget. This includes venue, beverages, food, rentals, etc. This doesn’t include décor or entertainment.

I have seen exhausted couples and parents touring venue after venue- eating up their entire weekend. Touring totally different styles of venues and places that they could not afford.

WHAT SHOULD B&G’S PUT IN THEIR INQUIRIES

Your Name / Your Fiance’s Name- They Count Too.

How to contact you. Email/Phone

The Date(s)

The Times

How many guests

The type of wedding- Give a little information

Why you’re asking about their venue.

When their sales team gives site visits.

After you book the interview- don’t forget to let the tour guide know who is coming with you. Try to keep the group to immediate family and maybe key players.

WHAT ARE SOME QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK ON THE TOUR THAT MOST PEOPLE DON’T THINK TO ASK

How many hours are included with the rental? When can my vendors/family arrive for set up?

Are there any décor restrictions?

How many parking spaces? How many handicapped?

Are you ADA Compliant?

How many restrooms do you offer? Take a look!

What is the deposit? What is the payment structure?

What about cancelling?

Tell me about your insurance.

WANT MORE INFO ON WEDDING SERVICES?


Calligraphy Engraving

Susan houseman designs

Hello, my name is Susan Houseman and I would like to tell you a little more about my work. I fell in love with calligraphy at a very young age.  I was self taught until my early 20’s when I began studying with Master Calligraphers and Master Pen men and women from around the world.

I have all types of clients, professional and private.  My calligraphy has been published in national magazines and I have been in numbers gallery shows. I have developed a stamp line for Stampington & Company.  In 2020 I add engraving to my portfolio, and that is when my Soul Stones were developed. 

For More Info visit SusanHousemanDesigns.com

traditional calligraphy

Calligraphy for your wedding invitations, parties, or just sending a card is so important these days.  It’s a way to connect with people in a very personal way. 

what is calligraphy engraving?

Engraving adds a unique touch to any event by providing a personalized shopping experience for your guest and customers.  Susan’s goal as a calligraphy engraver, is to make a memorable item for my customers.

What are soul stones?

Susan’s love of calligraphy and a desire to have a tangible reminder of life’s priorities helped to bring these Soul Stones to life. 
They are glass stones that are hand engraved with words that resonate with our heart and mind. The Soul Stones are hugs that you can give to yourself or to others. They also make great team building gifts.

do you have questions about wedding services?


Lighting Décor 101

let’s talk about lighting decor

There are two main types of lights that are used for décor, in the event world. Uplights & Gobos. Today, I’m going to give you a crash course on both of them. What do they look like? How do they work? How can they be personalized?

uplights

An uplight is a small round LED fixture, that measures about 8 inches in diameter, and stands about 6 inches off the ground. The models we use at Allegro Entertainment are called Chauvet 56 Pars, which means that each light has 56 individual LED bulbs per uplight.

COLORS – These uplights operate on an RGB Coding system, allowing us to program them to over 10,000 different colors, by adjusting the percentages of red, green, and blue.

SETUP – Uplights are usually used as perimeter lighting around a room, to add pops of color, depth & dimension, or to accentuate interesting architectural structures or texture.

gobo light

This one always makes me giggle when I hear people ask about it. 99% of the time, I’ll have clients ask me what a “BOGO” is. When they do, I tell them that it’s a sale at Payless Shoes that offers customers a Buy One Get One special…. But that if they’re interested in the light, it’s called a “GOBO”

What’s up with the name? Well, the word “GOBO” is actually a mixture of an abbreviation and an acronym, that stands for GO-BETWEEN-OPTICAL.

GOBO LENS – This is a small round piece of metal, or mirrored glass, that has a design laser cut into it. Whether you choose to have a personalized monogram or pattern cut into it, the gobo lens sits in between a light source, and a projector lens, so that the light is forced through the laser cut design, displaying the image on a wall or dance floor. FUN FACT! The lens itself is only about the size of a quarter.

At Allegro Entertainment, we have a graphic design team that will help you to create your perfect gobo design!

Have questions about lighting decor?


Cocktail & Dinner Playlists

HOW MANY SONGS DO i NEED TO PLAN FOR?

Let’s talk about creating a playlist for your cocktail and dinner music…
One of the most commonly asked questions we receive is, “Can we create our own playlists?”

Absolutely! But let’s talk about that for a minute….. Before you head over to Spotify, or open a new spreadsheet in Excel, it’s important for you to understand how much time you’ll be needing to fill during your cocktail and dinner hours. With the average song ranging from 3 to 4 minutes long, there are approximately 20 songs per hour. It’s not a bad idea to add a few more than that, but make sure you’re not supplying so many song titles that we’ll never have time to accommodate all of them within the timeframe of your event.

should there be a theme?

Every well crafted playlist should be creating an experience. Music helps set the tone for an event, so as you’re choosing your songs, you should be thinking about what type of vibe or mood you want your guests to feel.

One of the most popular genres we see our wedding clients selecting for their cocktail & dinner hour is Jazz & Big Band. Timeless singers like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, mixed with some of today’s favorites like Michael Bublé, Diana Krall, and Nora Jones. These tunes are classic, and add a touch of sophistication to any atmosphere.

Some other options we see couples gravitate towards are Acoustic & Soft Rock artists. These would be songs that feel light, happy, easy-breezy, and upbeat (*Without feeling too powerful). Think of music by Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Mumford & Sons, and ballads by some of the greats like Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Elton John. Having familiar music playing in the background makes your guests feel welcomed and comfortable.

FUN FACT! Did you know that the music you choose will also help your guests remember your wedding day better? According to PsychologyToday.com, A 2009 study from the University of California, Davis mapped the brain while people listened to music and found specific brain regions linked to autobiographical memories and emotions are activated by familiar music.

make your day unique through music!

A fun way to make your special day different from other weddings, is by creating a musical “journey” to transport your guests to a different locale altogether! Ask your music professional to help you create a flavorful playlist that incorporates genres from around the globe!

One of my personal favorite “off the beaten path” go-to’s is Brazilian Jazz. The soothing grooves of samba & bassanova is like a sip of ice water on a sweltering hot day. It quenches the thirst to escape the daily mundane, and infuses a lightheartedness into the air. Seek out artists like Stan Getz, Antônio Carlos Jobim, and João Gilberto and enjoy the listen!

Are there songs I should avoid?

It’s never a good idea to play songs, with lyrics about break-ups or heartaches, but other than that, it’s entirely up to you. At Allegro Entertainment, our Event Specialists encourage couples to slowly build the energy as the night progresses. Play your mid-tempo tunes earlier in the evening, and save the high BPM & heavy bass songs for later in the evening.

do you have questions about wedding services?

Allegro Entertainment offers many different options when it comes to Live Music, DJ Services, Photobooths, Event Planning, and Lighting Decor! Interested in connecting with one of our Event Specialists?


Tracking RSVP’s Like A Pro

Répondez s’il vous plaît

The French to English translation is “Please Respond”

At this point in the game, you are about 3 months (or less) out from your wedding date, and excited to see your friends & family RSVP’s trickle in! Every little card clearly states each guest’s name, whether or not they can attend, and their menu selection (*If you’re offering options). Or does it?

efficienCY IS KEY!

Let’s take a beat to discuss the purpose of an RSVP card, and how we can use them to their fullest potential. It’s important to know what information you will need from your guests, in order to understand how to efficiently design the actual RSVP cards, to start with. In the world of weddings, beauty typically trumps function, but if you’re a person who likes to work “smarter and not harder” let’s setup an RSVP system that’s built for success!

THINGS TO CONSIDER:

Q: Are you inviting adults only?

Q: Do you have invitations going out families?
When you’re reaching out to an entire household, it’s not always a simple “one line response” on who can actually attend.

Q: Are you offering your guests different menu option to choose from?


TIP! – Here is a sample card we designed, that clearly states how many guests are invited, plus leaves lines open for them to write in the names, check their response, and select their menu option. We’ve also included 2 lines to write in any additional dietary needs, such as food allergies, that catering would need to be aware of.

Call to action

Now that we’ve established the information we need returned to us, let’s create an alternative method to getting it to us. As you know, we live in a cyber society, so your tech savvy guests are more likely to “click & respond”, rather than they are to “stamp & respond”.

For optimal response, we recommend using an online system such as TheKnot Wedding Website, Eventbrite, or even Facebook Events in addition to traditional mail-in option. When setting up your RSVP template, be sure to include the same fields you have listed on your RSVP card:

•First & Last Name
•Accepts or Declines
•Entreé Selection
•Dietary Concerns

organizing guests

Take it to Excel! Man, I LOVE a good spreadsheet!!! The best part about this whole “Inviting/Rsvp’ing” process is that you are literally creating your contact list for EVERYTHING♥

Holiday Cards? Birthdays? You name it, you’ve got it! This spreadsheet is going to be super handy for ALL of life’s events, as long as you keep it organized, and add any additional columns you may need down the road….

But, for today’s blog, we’re keeping it simple, and to the point!

You can see that I’ve created a column for Last Name, First Name, Table Number, Entreé, and Dietary Concerns.
The Table number will probably be the last column that gets filled in (since you’ll be shifting the seating arrangements over and over until their perfect!) As the RSVP’s come in, be sure to plug them into your spreadsheet.

♦TIP! – Don’t let them pile up. Just knock it out as they come in. Procrastination is the root of most anxiety, so putting things off is never a good idea. You’ll be glad you got it done, and you can toss out the card when you’re finished.

planning for more

“I love how responsive, and considerate my guests were at letting me know who was coming” – Said no one, ever!

Listen, we may have some people show up who didn’t RSVP, and we will probably have some people “no show”. It’s all part of planning & hosting events. So, rather than get flustered about it, let’s just plan for it.

NO SHOWS – To be honest, it sucks to be stood up for anything, and when it comes to a wedding, it hurts. How rude?! But it’s their loss. Think about it…. Fabulous location! Great food! Free drinks! Friends & Family! Fun music! If you have guests that choose not to show up, that’s on them. It won’t effect your plans too much, other than some extra food left over at the end of the night.

NO RSVPS – Now this is the one we want to plan for. I once had a wedding, where 15 extra people showed up unannounced. (mmm, hmmm. Hair flip!) I know right?! Gah! So my team and I scrambled to get 2 more tables setup, and it all worked out. Since we always recommend having a “vendor table” this can also double as our “holy crap! I had no idea you were attending, but I will play it off like I did”, table.

A standard 60″ round can seat up to 10 guests, and your catering company typically prepares 10% more food than what the actual head count requires, so if we have the extra table in the plans, we will be able to accommodate the potential handful of Non-RSVPers. To be fair, 9 times out of 10, weddings have less people then the final headcount. It’s very rare that extra people show up, but being prepared for anything is what makes everything easy-breezy and stress-free!

NOTE: We LOVE our vendors, and would never want to confiscate a table, but we know you would understand if it was an emergency ♥

FINALIZING THE GUEST LIST

At 2 weeks out, you have a pretty accurate number for your headcount, but your venue and your caterers will require the absolute final headcount around 1 week out. Since you’ve been diligent and organized, you can attach your spreadsheet to an email, and send it right on over to your planner, catering, and venue.

SEATING CHART – If you are planning on having a large sign made up, for guests to see where they are sitting, be sure to have it listed by LAST NAME, and not by table number.

TIP: It’s a common mistake most couples make, but if you have guests organized by table number, you’re causing a ton of confusion. People will naturally find their names by alphabet, so make that the focus. Yes, it looks pretty to organize names by groupings per table, but it’s not functional. Let’s make it easy for your guests to find their table number, searching by name.

PLACE CARDS – Same thing. You will want to make sure that your name cards are printed, and organized by last name. If you’re using a designer or print company, simply send them the spreadsheet. But if you’re creating these cards by yourself, let’s take it to Word and use the Mail Merge feature….

need help with planning?


Choosing The Perfect Wedding Venue

Wedding Venue

From rustic barns, to elegant ballrooms, contemporary museums to industrial warehouses, St. Louis offers a plethora of wedding venues to choose from.  So where do you start?

STEP ONE: Consider Your Budget First

Since there are so many different styles and sizes you can choose from, prices can range anywhere from $1,500 – $9,000 just to rent event space, so it’s important to consider EVERYTHING when planning your budget.

According to the 2020 Wedding Report, the average wedding in St. Louis cost $22,000.

Once you land a total amount, that you feel comfortable with, THEN you can start actually planning your wedding.  Why is this important?  Without stating a number, you leave yourself vulnerable to overspending, which will only result in buyer’s remorse, making it very difficult to enjoy the whole wedding day experience.  Trust me, I’ve seen it.

STEP TWO: Create Your Guest List

I know what you’re thinking… “Dori?! C’mon!  Can’t we start touring venues yet?  I’ll think about my guest list later!!!” 

Wellllllll…. You can, but let’s be realistic.  It doesn’t matter how much you love a particular venue, if you won’t be able to fit all of your guests inside of it.  Right?!

Creating The Perfect Guest List is another article, for another blog post, so I’ll skip ahead….. Once you’ve tallied up the names on your list, remember that on average 20% of your invited guests will not be able to make it, and now with COVID concerns still lingering, that number might even be as high as 30%.

I’m telling you this because it will help you to zero in on the realistic number for your headcount.
For instance, your invited list tallies up to be 200 guest…. Then you subtract 20% (40 people) you will most likely have around 160 in attendance on the day of your wedding.

STEP THREE: Consider Location & Logistics

YAY!!!! Now you’re ready to tour!  Well, almost!
Your wedding day is all about you and your boo, but I also want you to consider your guests, as we take a look into where to host your Big Day! 

Questions To Ask Yourself:


1.) Is there a location that is centrally located between my relatives and my fiancé’s relatives?

2.) Do we have a lot of out-of-town guests that will need lodging accommodations?

3.) Are there some specific St. Louis hotspots we MUST have our photos taken on our wedding day?

4.) Do we have any handicap guests, or loved ones with mobility issues?

STEP FOUR: Style & Concept – Now that you’re ready for the fun stuff!  What are you envisioning for your wedding day vibe?  Are you wanting something Rustic Chic?  Maybe something Classic & Regal?  Below, you will find a guide I’ve created for you…..  6 venue venues per category, sorted by direction from St. Louis County.

ruSTIC CHIC

NorthPere Marquette Lodge
SouthMaison Du Lac
EastA Fair Barn
WestSunflower Hill Farm
CentralStone House

INDUSTRIAL

NorthCity Museum
SouthMoulin Events
East612 N. Events
WestThe Factory
CentralMajorette

CONTEMPORARY

NorthGrafton Winery
SouthMad Art Gallery
EastHyatt at The Arch Rooftop
WestThe Foundry Art Centre
CentralContemporary Art Museum

BALLROOM

NorthThe Center Special Events
SouthLiUna Event Center
EastThe Regency
WestThe Christy of O’Fallon
CentralSpazio Westport

HISTORIC

NorthWOW Furnishings
SouthCasa Loma Ballroom
EastThe Olde Wix Factory
WestGrand Opera House
CentralMahler Ballroom

REGAL OR FAIRYTALE

NorthLarimore House
SouthSilver Oaks Chateau
EastBarnett on Washington
WestHermann Hill Weddings
CentralThe Jewel Box

Need help planning your wedding?

What Some Wedding Planners Won’t Tell You To Your Face…

Let’s have a heart to heart, (pats the couch) come have a seat sister girl. 

I want to talk about a not so glittery side of wedding planning.
It’s a slippery slope, so I want to make you are aware of the potential risk of wedding addiction.

First of all, I want you to know that I fully understand how exciting, stressful, and all consuming everything can be when you’re trying to balance the multiple aspects of planning a wedding, AND keep up with regular daily life. 

I get it girl.  It’s a lot.

Since most of us woman LOVE a good to-do list that we can sink our teeth into, we relish in the organization of our wedding binders, pinterest boards, and don’t even get me started on the spreadsheets.  Gah!  Its deliciously detailed.  I mean, its like we can’t get enough of it…. 😬

And that is exactly what I want us to focus on today….

Once it’s planned….  Let it be (clap👏)

Imagine this… You get your hands on your grandmother’s insanely scrumptious flourless chocolate fudge cake recipe.  It’s your favorite!  You’re so excited that you immediately head to the store, get all the ingredients, rush home, put on your perfectly adorable apron, and go to town like you’re Betty Freakin’ Crocker.

Pinch of this, dash of that, stir stir stir, little batter taste, and viola!
It’s time to pour this gooey goodness into your super cute cake pan, EEK!

Then into the oven it goes!

But guess what?!  Once it goes into the oven, the OVEN does the work from there.

You can’t pull it back out, and start adding or removing the ingredients from the batter.

At this point, you need to just patiently let the cake bake, sweety♥

What most planners won’t say to your face is this…

“Stop overthinking things!”   Your wedding is less than 2 weeks away, and you’ve done a great job making all of your decisions. Now, listen to me baby girl…. it is time to accept the fact that the planning has officially concluded. (holds your hand, and nods slowly).

Yep.  It’s done babe.

You chose all of the perfect flowers. You chose all of the best food items.  Your linens are going to look great!  Your hair trial went flawlessly!  Your bridesmaids’ dresses have all been altered, and look stunning.  Your out-of-town guests have all confirmed their accommodations.  The weather forecast is looking incredible.  Your photographer got the exact time of the sunset for your wedding date.  The Earth is still rotating.  The sky isn’t falling….

You see where I’m going with this?

Stop. Nit. Picking. Every. Little. Detail. Trying. To. Find. Something. To. Plan. Or. Revise.  (clap, snap, hair flip)

What some planners won’t say to your face is that you are literally making yourself crazy, driving your fiancé nuts, and quite frankly, making your wedding planner’s job a little difficult to finalize everything, with all of these teeny tiny last minute changes.

This overthinking is NOT helping you, or anyone else around you.

Here’s a trick to ween you off of “wedding plans”, and ease the withdrawals.

Since you’ve been primed to dive into planning mode as soon as you arrive home from work,

Turn that energy towards another outlet…. Like journaling!

What are some things you want to do in your first 12 months of marriage?

•Buy a house?
•Remodel a kitchen?
•Start a family?
•Move to another state?

Divert your attention from away from overthinking wedding plans, and redirect it towards a new project that you can look forward too! I promise that your wedding day is going to be magical & memorable!

Now exhale, trust, and change the channel in your brain. It’s all going to be fabulous♥