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
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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 gettingit 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
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….
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.
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….
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♥
The Foundry Art Centré hosted a Block Party on Saturday, June 19th, which featured live music, art demonstrations, and local food vendors. Our owner – Dori Abell, and Event Specialist – Maggie Winchell were on the scene with our Wander Selfies to provide fun photos for all who attended!
Grafik House, a new print shop and art producer in St. Louis, provided an interactive art demonstration, which included a steamroller and large pieces of fabric stretched over ink soaked design templates. The outcome created beautifully and strategically printed tapestries!
We live in a super hectic world, with a million things fighting for our attention every moment of everyday. Think about your work schedule, and all the tasks you’ve had while planning your wedding, and social events you’ve committed too…… now think of that thing that you want to do, but keep putting off….
Trust me, I’m the first person to tell you that poor responders frustrate the crap out of me, BUT I’m also the person who will put the DSW 20% coupon on my fridge, promising that I’m going to get over there soon, and then next thing I know the deal expired over a month ago.
Wedding guests are normal people too. Of course they’re excited about your wedding! And YES they are super honored that you invited them, and I bet that their RSVP card is sitting on their counter ready to go in the mail, but maybe they ran out of stamps.
BUT, if you are an instant gratification lady, like me, then let’s come up with a game plan to make sending an RSVP simple and stamp free.
There are several ways for engaged couples to create online RSVP options….
TheKnot.com – Have you created your wedding website? TheKnot.com is a prime example of a quick and easy way to create a special page for your wedding day, that also includes RSVP options.
EventBrite.com – This is a FREE event website, that you can use to track your RSVP’s
Facebook Events – Let’s face it, this is not the sexiest option, but it works AND most of your wedding guests our already on FB anyway.
Just because you’re offering an online option doesn’t mean you have to skip the process of having beautifully printed invitations created. It’s simply another way you can connect with your invited friends & family, to make sure you receive an accurate headcount.
You may have helped a friend plan their wedding day or spent hours on Pinterest creating your dream board, but that doesn’t mean you have to tackle it solo. There are so many different reasons why we suggest hiring a wedding planner. Between booking vendors, organizing your RSVPs, and managing your budget, planning can be a lot of work. Add in your normal day-to-day responsibilities, and it’s enough to make even the most organized to-be-weds stressed. Working with a pro can take a huge weight off you and your partner, leaving you time to enjoy the process. Here are six reasons why you should hire a wedding planner.
Here’s the number one reason why you should hire a wedding planner. Trust us—whether you’re expecting 50 or 150 guests, planning requires a lot more than just picking out pretty flowers or tabletop décor. A planner essentially juggles the roles of designer, legal counsel, budget manager, coordinator and so much more—all while helping you pull together your wedding. They can be tapped to take care of everything on your to-do list, from choosing aesthetic details to going over vendor contracts and dealing with day-of emergencies. All of this makes planners a huge asset for busy couples hoping to approach the checklist with minimal stress. They’re clued into everything there is to know about throwing a wedding, and all that comes along with such an emotionally charged event, so you’ll be in good hands whether your issue is bouquets or overbearing in-laws. Plus, they’re connected with top venues and pros in your area, ensuring you have the best team of experts to pull off your celebration. Simply put, an experienced planner is one of the key investments you can make when bringing your wedding day to life.
They’ll Help You With Your Specific Needs
There are essentially three types of wedding planners: full-service, à la carte and month-of coordinators. A full-service planner will handle it all, start to finish—from crafting the vision for your event to hiring and meeting with your vendors, and coordinating a weekend of activities for guests. This option is best for a pair looking to host a multi-day affair or destination wedding, or for couples who simply want a professional to guide them through every step of the wedding planning process.
Prefer a part-time pro you can contact on an as-needed basis? An à la carte planner can help you iron out specific details, like your tabletop rentals, or give suggestions for the perfect caterer to execute your French bistro menu. Ideal for couples who just need someone to help refine their wedding day blueprint, an à la carte or part-time planner is also a more price-conscious choice. They give you the help you need for a price that doesn’t put you over budget.
For assistance during your wedding day (but not throughout the entire process), opt for a month-of coordinator. Different from an on-site venue coordinator, they’ll be solely focused on your priorities and responsible for making sure your wedding day runs smoothly. Typically, a month-of coordinator will begin working with you anywhere from two weeks to a month ahead of your wedding to make sure everything is in order. They’ll coordinate both your ceremony and reception setup, keep you and your wedding party on schedule, and handle any necessary, immediate post-wedding duties, like tipping. If you’re unable to include a full-service or à la carte planner in your budget, adding a day-of coordinator to your team will help you and your partner relax and enjoy your wedding day festivities to the fullest.
They Can Help You Stick to Your Budget
Packages can range depending on the pro you hire, but a wedding planner typically charges their clients a flat fee, an hourly rate, or a percentage of their overall wedding budget. These days, most planners list a flat fee for their contracted services. If they don’t, expect to set aside around 10 to 20 percent of your overall budget for a full-service planner. An à la carte planner will charge an hourly rate or flat fee for each service they provide, while day-of coordination is generally a flat fee. While hiring a planner may seem like a big chunk of your budget, it’s an investment that will give you peace of mind and ensure you enjoy the moments you’ve spent months planning. Plus, with an expert behind all your decisions, purchases and negotiations, you’ll save money in the long run. Their pull may be able to score you insider deals, and they’ll always look out for your budget so you don’t have to.
They’ll Bring Your Vision to Life
The right planner will help you make the wedding of your dreams a reality—but only if you pick the right one. Think of your initial meeting with a planner like a first date—you want to make sure the two of you get along and have the same vision, as you’ll be spending a lot of time together over the next year or so. Arrive armed with a few basic questions, and then listen to their responses carefully. Whether you’re envisioning a formal ballroom affair or a rustic outdoor ceremony, the right planner will know all of the best venues and vendors to pull it off.
They Can Help You Enjoy the Day
Think of your planner as a safety net on your wedding day. If anything goes wrong (and something typically does) they’re there to troubleshoot so you won’t have to fret. They’ll be the one able to make the rain call to move your affair indoors when you can’t bear to or hunt down your set of heirloom champagne flutes before the first toast of the evening. On your wedding day, your only order of business is to soak up every memorable second, which is why so many couples hire a wedding planner. Trust the pro you’ve hired to do their job, and let go of control day-of. Working with a pro also means you’ll get to spend precious extra time with loved ones instead of worrying about the cake not showing up or a missing flower arrangement. Trust us on this one—you want (and deserve) a helping hand on your wedding day. After all, this is going to be the happiest day of your life.