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Missouri-St Louis

Inexpensive, not cheap

Hello, all!

I am recently engaged, but have wedding plans well underway. My FI and I live in Fenton, however have family attending from several different areas, so location really isn't an issue. Our budget is modest...Very modest. I've been trying to find ways to cut cost as much as possible, but I still want our wedding to be an affair to remember. (Doesn't every bride?) We're looking to make it elegant and simple without breaking the bank. If anyone has suggestions on reception venues that allow outside catering or any other ways to cut corners, I would greatly appreciate them!

Thanks Ladies!!!

Re: Inexpensive, not cheap

  • kkse08kkse08 member
    Knottie Warrior 10 Comments
    edited December 2011

    Hi, I am a wedding coordinator and I am currently writing a book for budget brides. 

    Here are my  suggestions for you:

    The following vendors allow outside caterers and alcohol vendors

    If you would like a winery type of venue, then I would go with Quail Ridge
    Lodge.  What makes this venue exceptionally remarkable is that it has a gazebo  reception/ballroom with vaulted ceilings, wooden deck, windows looking out to the lake, etc.  Another exceptional point is that you can rent it out for the full day for only $650.00 (9 am-11 pm).  This time span gives you a lot of time to decorate the facility.  Tables and chairs are included, but I would invest in renting other chairs (affordable party rentals and weinhardt are best bet).  Accommodates 180 guests.

    There are three different ways you can decorate this room to get the most out of its beauty. 

    1.  Lavendar and Silver
    Do rich lavenders with silver accents to get the winery feel.  Maybe do a wine, beer and soda bar to cut down costs.  Use lots of candles.  If you are DIY bride and want to create your centerpieces for yourself can get roses at flowerrama for super cheap (maybe lavender and pink).  They are usually around $10 for a dozen. 

    2. Rich wine red color
    This is also a great color for this room since Quail Ridge Lodge backdrop is mostly wood.  

    3.  Sherbert Colors like Hot Pink and Orange 
    Believe it or not I did a wedding with these colors and it turned out great.

     
    Other great venues that I have seen beautifully decorated and allow outside caterers are the:

    Shrewsbury Ballroom ($750) accommodates 250 people
    Machinist Hall ($1000) accommodates 200 people (if I remember correctly)

    Best caterer for your buck is Georgianna Catering (no hidden costs).  I like them because their food is actually flavorful, plus there is a lot of variety.  Furthermore, they did the catering for George Clooney's "Up in the Air" movie here in STL.  They run about $9.50 per person for a buffet dinner plus tax (8%).  Last time I checked they can serve alcohol for around $7.50 per person.  It is cheaper if you provide the bottles.

    Here is some major points that I tell my budget brides:


    Never skimp on the photography- it is the only tangible thing that is timeless (besides the ring).  You want your kids and grandkids to see the beautiful pics.  

    Rent floor length linens only.  The other kind looks cheap and the floor length is only 1 or 2 dollars more expensive.

    Use real dishes, glasses and silverware  (around $2.50 per person).  People expect the real thing and you want your guests to be happy.

    Never do a cash bar - this is very rude to the guests.  It is better to do a limited bar.

    provide good entertainment (guests value this highly according to research)

    provide good food (guest value this highly according to research)

    do not spread your wedding and reception out.  For instance: do not do a 2 pm wedding and a 7 pm reception.  Out of towners will be put out, and people will not having anything to do in between that time.  Some people just drink and by the reception they are completely drunk. 

    have fun and relax!


    Please let me know if you would like any more advice.

    Warning:  You need to verify the following prices  and information by contacting the vendors themselves for they might have changed and might be currently incorrect. 

  • edited December 2011
    We had a very modest budget as well & we ended up working with a location that did not provide outside catering b/c they gave us a great price.  We used Debonaire Banquet Center & I highly recommend them.  Their price included the room, food, open bar, cake, some decor/linens, and a discount on the DJ.  We only had 100 guests, and they normally require 125 for use of the large room... but they let us use it any ways.

    I would say to just ask for a better price if you find a place you like that doesn't offer outside catering.  I did and it really paid off!
  • edited December 2011
    I've heard Andre's in South County is less expensive than most and often have specials.  There is an Andre's in Fenton too that my co worker says is nice, but might be expensive.  I have also hear The Christy is reasonable.  If you do it on a Friday night, you can sometimes get a better deal.  Or do it during the day.  A friend of ours had inlaws get married at 11 and the reception was at The Christy from 1-4. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • mmdpmmmdpm member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I highly recommend Holiday Inn Six Flags in Eureka.  The package includes almost everything and is very affordable.  Also Adrienne is super helpful and has been doing wedding coordinating for years.  Their package includes the food, table centerpieces, the DJ and the cake.  Also you get a honeymoon suite and your guests receive a discounted room rate.  All that you need to find on your own is a florist, dress, tuxes, and photographer. 

    Personally I love Brandy Patterson, http://www.brandypattersonphotography.com/
    She is affordable, fun and listens.  But you can use many of the wonderful STL photographers.

    Quail Ridge is nice but you have to set up and tear down, and you have to OUT of the park by midnight, which means clean up has to be finished so your reception must wind down at ~10:30 in order to have the site cleaned.

    Remember favors are appreciated  but not necessary.  And if you dohave favors no one wants something with your name and date emblazoned on it, gifts of food are always nice.

    PM me if you have more questions.
  • MeShell841MeShell841 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Hi!  We are getting married Sept 5th and I must say that I am completely rocking my budget!  I can't believe how much I've saved compared to many of my firends!!! 

    Venue:  The biggest way we've saved is our date.  We are having our wedding the Sunday of labor day weekend.  It was perfect for us because the long weekend gives us much more time with our out of towners (My fiance is from KC).  Plus the reception alone was $10 a person cheaper for having it on sunday!!!    (Times that by 421 people!)

    As far as the actual venue, we are using Genesis on telegraph in Soco.  Others that are affordable are Andre's, south county, Andre's west is a little more expensive, The Christy is very afordable, Orlando Gardens, Royal Orleans.  I went to a wedding in Margaret Mary Church's hall that was catered by Favazza's.  It was very simple and elegant and the food was amazing of course.  If you have a local church that has a hall or even a gym you can dress up it might be your most affordable option.

    Flowers:  We are doing the flowers ourselves.  My bridesmaids, Aunts, cousins, and mom are all helping on this.  I've recently helped a friend of mine do all her flowers.  As long as you have the hands to help, it's really not that bad, and you save so much money! 

    Odds and Ends:  I've bought a bunch of random things on craigslist.  I've gotten votives, candles, bows/decor, my cake topper, a clutch, pebbles/gems, champagne glasses, and flower girl/ring bearer stuff.  All for super cheap. Most of it I'll prob sell on craigslist after I'm done too.

    Limo:  Perfect Touch is by far and away the most bang for your buck.  I researched limos like crazy.  Other places that are affordable have limos that are just old and nasty.  Perfect touch's were newer and not as expensive as places like Rodgers limo or Best transportation.

    Photography:  This is the one thing we are not skimping on.  We are using Lelephotography.com  Check them out!  So fun to work with and they take AMAZING pictures.  Worth every penny!

    Dress:  I bought my dress from david's in sunset hills.  If you go there be sure to make your appointment with Corey.  She's awsome!  I gave her a list of dresses to bring me and I wasn't really feeling any of them.  After I did my own thing she said she knew of a dress that wasn't on my list she thought would be perfect and it was the one!  It was a discontinued dress that wasn't on the website.  She's been there for a long time and really knew the inventory.

    Ceremony:  We are getting married at the Music Stand in Tower Grove park.  Not too expensive.  I know that  Bee Tree park is only like $20/hr to rent for a ceremony.  It only holds like 150 people or so, so it wasn't big enough for us.  Just keep in mind that you have to rent chairs (The music stand has benches already).

    I could keep going, but I need sleep!!  Good luck and feel free to message me if you have any questions!
  • edited December 2011
    We're getting married at Quail Ridge next July 2, and couldn't be any happer with the venue!  Our ceremony is just off the deck in the garden area, and I am in LOVE with the entire wall of windows!  It's freaking gorgeous!
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    image 99 Invited!
    image 45 Are Psyched!
    image 5 Are L0$3RZ
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  • kkse08kkse08 member
    Knottie Warrior 10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I agree that quail ridge lodge is wonderful.  I am positive that your wedding is going to be gorgeous.  Have a great wedding day.
  • MrsKubes13MrsKubes13 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thank you to everyone for your wonderful suggestions. You all have given me some great ideas! They're very much appreciated. I'll let you all know how things go as they come along. Super excited and thanks again!
  • edited December 2011
    Quail Ridge is a great place!!!! You must call NOW to see if your date is available!!!! It fills up fast, like over a year in advance!! I am getting married there April 2011 and when I called (in February) to do a walk through I asked them about the date I had in mind and it was ALREADY taken. So I moved the date up (only a week), but still!!!!. It is beautiful!!!
  • CLSchrammCLSchramm member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    There is a pretty little historic building in Washington that does weddings. Called the Washington Brewery. Tracy, the site director, is super personable and very helpful. The price is great, and you can use any vendor you want. You also get a key the  morning before to set up, and can come back the morning after your reception to take things home. Great place, cannot say enough about them.
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