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Missouri-St Louis

Please help! Need a wedding venue!

My fiancé Bradley and I have been engaged since september of last year and we plan to marry June of 2015. We have been searching for the perfect venue without breaking the bank. We would love to have an outdoor ceremony and reception. We are aiming for something that we can make more our own, like our own decor and catering of our choice. We live in a really small town but are close to the St. Louis area. We just want a venue that is very intimate, unique, under 1000. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks!

Re: Please help! Need a wedding venue!

  • Congratulations on your engagement! This response will probably be a novel, so apologies in advance!

    Do you think you and your FI will definitely want a Saturday ceremony/reception, or would Friday or Sunday also work? Often times, you can get much cheaper rates for venues (and other vendors) if you're having your wedding in an off-season or an off-day (which would be Friday and Sunday.) It's definitely something to consider, as it might put an otherwise out of budget venue within reach.

    Have you thought about checking out parks and park pavilions? I've seen a fair share of weddings and receptions take place at Tower Grove Park in South City.You can check out some visuals and get pricing info here! Keep in mind that with a lot of outdoor ceremony/location sites, you'll have to provide generators or some sort of electrical outlet (as well as potentially a mobile kitchen for the caterers, if your venue doesn't have a kitchen for them to work out of or if your caterer doesn't have a mobile set-up.) 

    There are also a few venues in Forest Park that do reduced rates if the date is less than a year out--which could potentially be an issue, as June 2015 is quite a ways away! Not only that, but June is one of the most popular months to get married in; so there's a good chance that another couple who doesn't really care about the reduced rate for waiting could come along and book while the two of you wait for things to get less than a year out... Either way, here are some venues in Forest Park that might work for you?

    World's Fair Pavilion (capacity for ~400 guests, so it can hardly be called intimate I suppose, but you can have both the ceremony & reception in the same place. This is one of my favorite venues in STL, because of how gorgeous it looks just sitting up on the hill overlooking the fountain...and because it's just a giant open floor plan and I've seen couples do amazing things with the space!) $1,000 for a Friday or Sunday event.

    Cabanne House (not sure what the capacity here is...I think it's something like 50 people if you want to be inside the house and ~100 for outdoors? Rental includes an small to average sized tent for tables and such outside, if you need it.) $1,000 for 6-hour rental.

    I know that you're looking for under $1,000--but if for whatever reason you can go up to ~$3200 (I know, I know; that's quite a jump in numbers!), then I would highly, highly, highly suggest the venue that my fiance and I booked with. We're also a 2015 couple (yay!), and we booked with The Lalumondiere Mill & Rivergardens. They aren't as well known as other venues in the St. Louis area, but they've got the uniqueness and intimacy that you said you were looking for. The venue owners are the sweetest people ever, and the place is actually their home turned bed and breakfast--and it really just feels like home there (but not in a weird way!) They set you up with a payment plan of about $800 with each payment, so it's not like when you book they require everything up front (but again, I do realize that $3200 is far, far away from ~$1,000!) As far as creative freedom goes and making the space your own, the owners have a preferred vendors list, but allow you to bring in whatever caterer or vendor that you'd like (as long as vendors like the caterer and bar tender are certified/licensed, of course!) According to our contract, decor pieces besides centerpieces just need to be run past the owners, just to make sure it's not something that will damage the property, etc. Most of the property is pretty much already decorated...they have lights strung up throughout the property and as it's outdoors and surrounded by plant-life, there's no shortage of flowers or greenery. Honestly, I don't think we'll have to do much to decorate--which, again, is going to save us more money down the road. We're having both our ceremony and location there (the ceremony site that most couples use holds about ~40 people seated, with room for overflow guests, too.) and I could just go on and on about the place, haha! So, if you two do decide down the road that $3200 might be something you could do, then I would definitely say check out the Lalumondiere!

    I think your best bet is to book a pavilion/site at a park in St. Louis, if you want to have as much freedom over your wedding as possible. A lot of places will give you a list of preferred caterers that you must choose from, so you don't really have the freedom to bring in a caterer not on the list. With park venues, there are usually lots of ways to make the space "your own" (since they're mostly just pavilions with open space!) A lot of the pavilions in Tower Grove and other parks in the city will have fees that are well under $1,000, which would then free you up to cover the additional costs that come along with having an outdoor ceremony and reception (again, renting generators and making sure that there's an electricity supply, a place for your caterer to work, restrooms if there aren't any, etc.) I live and work close enough to both Tower Grove and Forest Park that I would be more than happy to go out and take pictures for you if you're not in a position to come take a look for yourself; just let me know!

    Best of luck and I hope I helped somewhat!
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    Sietah
  • Wow! Thanks for all of the options! You've been an amazing help :) the lalumondiere is to die for and worth the cost. I'm still gonna weigh my options bc I would like to save as much money as possible so we can save money on the honeymoon. It's so hard to, bc catering cost an arm and a leg! But I didn't think about providing a space for the caterers for outside which also plays a big factor. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me! Congrats on your engagement!
  • Oh & pics would be awesome! Thanks so much :)
  • You're very welcome! I know, I fell in love with the Lalumondiere as soon as we arrived for a tour! They give a lot of freedom to their couples, which (besides the owners and how the site actually looks) was our biggest reason for booking. The owners are so sweet and adorable, it feels like getting married at your Grandparents' house! When I asked if there were many restrictions or if they needed us to do anything specific, all they asked for was a picture of us and a copy of our wedding invitation for their scrap book. My heart melted and we were ready to book on the spot right there! Catering options at other venues were very limited (and very expensive, most of them starting at around $80/a person) at a majority of the venues we looked at, and nothing really felt like "us" anyway out of all the preferred caterer options provided. We're a relatively young couple paying for everything ourselves, so without any help, $80/person (with a guest list of about ~150) was a little out of budget for us! The Lalumondiere has a list of preferred caterers (a majority of which are more on par with our budget), as well as allowing outside caterers of our choosing too. Plus, we can provide our own alcohol--we just need to have a licensed bartender to actually work our reception. Though the cost of renting the Lalumondiere out for the day is expensive, we get the whole place for 8 hours that day and a room for the night in their newlyweds suite. Since it's so inclusive and there's so much freedom there, there are a ton of different ways to trim your budget there and move money around to other places in your budget. For example, I already mentioned that the site is so gorgeous all on it's own, with string lights, floating candles, and foliage everywhere that we probably won't have to spend as much as originally thought on decor, but the owners also help and oversee set-up and take-down, they already have a place for caterers to work out of (as well as electrical outlets and such, so you wouldn't need to rent generators or anything), speakers and an ipod dock (in case you don't have/want a DJ or a band.) Like I said, I could go on and on about the place, haha!

    I would be more than happy to take pictures for you! I'm not sure when the next time we'll be out to the Lalumondiere will be (I'm thinking probably for our engagement photo session, sometime in April or May), but I'll probably be able to get some pictures of the different sites and pavilions in Forest Park and Tower Grove sometime this week! :)
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  • are you working with any other vendors yet? sometimes that can be a huge help...Ashlee with Signed Sealed Delivered Events is great to work with and our photographer, Ikon Photographs, was a huge help!
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