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Weddings 101 | Wedding etiquette and trends for guests and brides

Whether you’re recently ringed, the mother of the bride, or a friend of a happy couple, when it comes to weddings, there are countless parties to plan for. The wedding may be the Main Event, but friends and family of the bride and groom warm up for months with showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties.

With so many parties to attend, knowing what to wear, what to buy, and current etiquette rules can be exhausting. Have no fear – Kristin Ashley Events is here!

 

Engagement Parties – Don’t feel like you need to bring a gift; just come and enjoy the excitement that follows moments after a couple gets engaged! If you feel like you need to do something, bring some champagne or a nice bottle of the couple’s favorite wine to help them stock their soon-to-be shared bar. Another fun gesture for the bride is to bring the latest issue of a bridal magazine like The Knot or St. Louis Bride so she can get excited about planning!

 

Showers – If you’re the bride, depending on your guest count, don’t register at more than three places. You want to give your guests options, but don’t overwhelm them. If you are seeking monetary gifts, consider giving guests the option of contributing to your honeymoon at honeyfund. Many people like to give personal gifts rather than just writing a check or buying a gift card.

If you’re a guest, when in doubt, stick to the registry. But if you’re closer to the couple, you can consider going rogue with something off the registry that is handmade or off the registry. Whether you buy from the registry or not, try and make your gift fun and exciting for the bride to open by buying several gifts with a shared theme or adding in unexpected details to bring the gift full circle. For example, you could create a BBQ set with grilling tools and round the theme out with some nice spices and rubs. Or a pie plate, rolling pin, a cookbook all about pies and a bushel of apples!

If you are gifting towels, consider embroidering a few with the couple’s new monogram – remember, the first letter is the bride’s first name, the large middle letter is the couple’s last name, and the third letter is the groom’s first name. If you are in the wedding and want to do something thoughtful, get some custom stationery made with the bride’s new last name! After all, she has a lot of Thank You Notes to write so can never have too many!

 

The Wedding – As a guest, try not to bring a large package to the wedding; instead, opt to ship the gift. Most registries will offer private delivery to the couple’s home and for most sites, orders over $100 offer free shipping. For value, don’t try to guess how much the couple is spending per plate and match that value for your gift. Instead, give what you feel like you can and take into consideration how close you are to the couple. We like to recommend these basic guidelines as a starting point: Co-worker/distant family/loose friend $50-$75 per guest (even if you can’t make it). Relative or close friend $75-100 per guest. Close relative $100-150 per guest.

 

Paper etiquette – We called our friends at Cheree Berry Paper Company to help us with the dos and don’ts of modern day invitations.

Is it okay to offer an email RSVP? For showers and rehearsal dinners, email is totally fine. And if you are having a casual wedding, brides can get by with email RSVPs – whatever is most comfortable and easiest for you and/or the hosts. However, as a bride or host, if you want a more formal affair, stick with the traditional snail mail.

Should you specify dress code on the invitation? The invite sets the tone of the event so you don’t need to state what to wear unless it is black tie or white tie. Oh and please, do not list your registries on the wedding invitation! Instead, provide your wedding website on your Save the Date, which will have links to your registries.

 

What to wear – We asked Carrie at Bella Bridesmaid what’s trending in wedding party attire. Adrianna Pappell is a great designer that offers beautiful sequins dresses (long and short) which photograph beautifully and offer an unexpected yet classy look for your bridesmaids. Another great designer we love is Jenny Yoo. Her tulle fabric and illusion necklines are very in right now. Blush pink is a hot color for wedding parties, but feel free to mix and match styles, fabrics, patterns and even colors. As long as it’s cohesive it’s totally acceptable!

As a wedding guest, it apparently bears repeating (because we see it all the time): do not wear white. Or ivory. Or white with some gold or black or any other color in it. Unless the bride has specifically instructed you to wear white, find another color to wear. Is it the end of the world if you do wear white? Well, no, of course not. But you can wear that beautiful white frock another day. On the wedding day, we think it’s the bride’s day to wear white!

Other attire to steer away from unless specifically requested on the invitation or by the couple: jeans, cowboy boots, t-shirts or tiaras.

 

See more from Kristin in this clip from KSDK’s Show Me St. Louis when she was asked to come on the air to be featured as a wedding etiquette expert!

In the Details | Escort Cards

Unexpected details can set your wedding apart by surprising and delighting your guests. But those details don’t have to be expensive or difficult. They just require a little creativity.

We like to start that feeling of delight from the time guests arrive. At a seated dinner, one of the first impressions you make is at your escort card table. Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a traditional printed table tent escort card! But, if you want to use that as an opportunity to establish or reinforce a theme or do something unexpected, an escort card is a high impact and easy place to do so.

Take a look at these recent examples of clever escort cards we’ve done for our brides:

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Drinks – check! Escort cards – check! Lasting impression – double check! We used champagne splits and water bottles as refreshing escort cards that set a festive tone.

2015-05-26_0003 This crystal curtain of handwritten escort cards was a jaw dropper and totally carried the sparkling theme of the evening.

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Using objects as card holders is just too much fun! And they can double as a fun favor, too.

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And just because you stick with a traditional card doesn’t mean it has to look boring. A more casual script and an unexpected setting for the place cards can tie in with your color scheme, florals, and overall look and feel in a way a cursive cardstock can’t.

Many of these options can be done yourself or we can help find vendors to pull it off to perfection. Whatever you choose, make it YOU!

xoxo,
KAE

Real Frameworthy Weddings: Lindsay + Louis at The Chase Park Plaza

Long distance planning is a common request we get from our brides and grooms. While careers or other life decisions may have taken you across the country, many couples want to celebrate their big day back home. Planning a wedding in town can be stressful enough; adding several hundred miles into the mix makes it that much more complicated.

Lindsay and Louis were one such couple and their resulting celebration was truly breathtaking! After graduating from Indiana University, both took jobs in Chicago. When they decided to start their lives together, though, Lindsay knew she wanted their big day to be back home. Her father lives in the Central West End, so they selected the nearby and very beautiful Chase Park Plaza as their reception venue.

The couple wanted the ceremony to be deeply personal so made some unconventional but incredibly special choices to make it all their own. Lindsay is the only daughter in her family, so instead of bridesmaids, Lindsay and Louis shared their brothers as Best Men. Instead of classical music, a string quartet played Disney songs.

The reception was filled with “wow” moments, too. As guests arrived to the Zodiac Room, they were greeted by a pianist playing a white piano on a platform surrounded by candles. We affectionately referred to it as the “Elton John Moment!” Handwritten escort cards were woven into crystal curtains and table centerpieces included magnolia and eucalyptus “trees.”

Enjoy looking through this gorgeous wedding for a couple as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. It was such a pleasure helping them plan their long distance wedding and ensuring they enjoyed every minute of the process and their big day!

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Ceremony: The Shrine of Saint Joseph

Reception: The Chase Park Plaza

Photographer: Jon Koch Photography

Videographer: Poetic Productions

Florist/Stationary: Poppies Design Studio

Lighting and decor: Exclusive Events

Linens: BBJ Linens

Cakes: The Cakery

This Week in Instagram 5.8.15 | Bonding with Brides, Save the Dates, and Keeping it Simple

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With a big wedding at the Four Seasons this weekend, the team has been working hard to make every last detail perfect – but when you work hard, you have to play hard, too, right?!?

On Monday, we got amazing tickets to Game 1 of the Cards vs. Cubs series – you know, the one with the grand slam and the incredible Cards comeback! On a gorgeous spring evening, there’s nothing better than cheering on my current home team as they take on my former home team! There are some awesome event venues at Busch Stadium that make for a unique rehearsal dinner, bachelor or bachelorette party, or even a wedding! There may be no finer venue for true a Cardinals couple.

I’m always so sad when a wedding ends and I don’t get to talk to my brides every day anymore. But the good news is that we become such close friends that we just can’t/don’t want to lose touch! This week, I took one of my current brides into lululemon at Maryland Plaza to get her first pair of their amazing leggings where one of my favorite past brides happens to be the store manager! Supporting one another, creating new friendships and connections, and of course having fun together is one of the best perks of my job. When you’re with Kristin Ashley Events, you’re family for life!

On a stationary visit with one of our 2016 brides, we selected what may be the coolest Save the Date card ever! The couple is getting married at the History Museum, so M Haley Design is creating a hand drawn Saint Louis skyline complete with the History Museum, the Arch, and a custom car for this automobile-enthused couple. Personal touches are what make weddings so special and unique. We can’t wait to hear the reactions when guests start to receive these adorable Save the Dates!

M Haley Design also made us the most amazing wooden box with our logo engraved on the lid. It was such a special surprise and a testament to how incredible our vendors are. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Melissa!

Lots of fun playing with flowers, of course. How stunning is this garden rose? The color, the shape, the layers – one gorgeous bouquet coming right up!

And I couldn’t help but include a little sticky note I made for myself. It’s so easy to get caught up with the craze of life – the stress, the excitement, the ideas, the possibilities – that we often do too much. That’s why a little reminder to “Keep it simple” helps me keep perspective. Focus on the few most important elements and make them fabulous.

Have a happy weekend, friends!

Follow us on Instagram for more fun pics all week long: @kristinashleyevents

Real Frameworthy Weddings: Ali + Marty at Forest Park Visitors Center

Although we have spring on our minds here at Kristin Ashley Events, I can’t help but think back to one of my favorite fall weddings with darling Ali and Marty.

Although Ali is a ray of sunshine herself, she and Marty had dreamed of an autumn wedding in St. Louis, which is truly one of the most gorgeous times of year. Ali wanted to tie into the season, but not go over the top and have it feel like a Halloween party. Instead of oranges and browns, we went with softer peach, gold, and ivory with whimsical touches like white pumpkins and wheat for a rustic, natural feel.

Warm and romantic were the words of the night and nothing sets that stage quite like candlelight and charming string lights along the ceiling. And everyone was blown away by the handmade chandelier that Poppies Design Studio created – the final product was even more beautiful than we could have imagined!

Rather than a traditional wedding cake, Ali and Marty opted for a spread of seasonal pies, displayed on slices of tree trunks from their family farm. Instead of traditional place cards, we tied names to the stems of miniature white pumpkins, which was an unforgettable touch that really had guests talking!

A beautiful day for a perfect wedding for a very special couple. Cheers to Ali and Marty!

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Ali and Marty were breathless when they saw their reception set for the very first time. And can you blame them? That handmade chandelier is unbelievable! Becky at Poppies truly knocked it out of the park on this one!

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Wedding Day Zen: Morning Yoga

Yoga is an incredible way to calm your mind, care for your body, and find focus – all things many brides have a difficult time doing on their wedding day. Weddings are all about love – not only the love you have for your future spouse, but for yourself, your family, and your friends. That’s why I think a morning yoga session is the best way for a bride to start her wedding day on the right foot: connected with herself and feeling refreshed and filled with love.

I started offering morning yoga sessions to my brides last year and the feedback we’ve received has been incredible. Before the clouds of hairspray begin to fill the room, the bride and her girls gather together, fresh-faced, rested, and raw to spread their yoga mats across the floor and find their zen together.

There are a lot of benefits to wedding day yoga. Hopefully, very few things will go wrong on your wedding day (especially with the help of a great planner – wink wink!) but inevitably, something will not go exactly according to plan. Maybe it rains. Maybe there’s traffic causing people to run late. Maybe two of your bridesmaids are in a tiff. Whatever comes up, my girls find starting out in a calm space carries them through the rest of their wedding day, no matter what comes their way.

Taking care of your body is incredibly important and it’s easy to forget your own well being when you’re in the home stretch leading up to your wedding. By starting your wedding day with fitness, you’ll kick start your metabolism and release endorphins, creating a happier, fitter you for your big day!

Yoga is also a great way to connect with those you love most. Breathing, moving, and sweating together with your best girl friends is a powerful way to connect on a deeper level as you each work through your yoga practice together.

At a recent wedding, photographer Christine Foehrkolb captured these incredible photos of a morning yoga session with one of my brides. If you think you might benefit from a morning yoga session on your wedding day, let us know – I love creating custom sessions for brides!

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Real Frameworthy Weddings: Amy + Dan at Bellerive Country Club

I don’t know about you, but when I find out someone went to an Ivy League university, I get a little intimidated. So when I heard both Amy AND Dan went to Princeton University, you had better believe I made sure to take my A game up to an A+!

But let me tell you, this couple is as down to Earth as you can imagine. Amy is a true brains AND beauty, and Dan is a genuine class act. The love these two share is truly rooted in friendship, and it shows. Although they met on their first day freshman year at Princeton University, they were friends for two years before they took the big step toward love. And thank goodness they did!

Their summer wedding was classic and beautiful. And if their future is any reflection of their wedding day, it will be filled with fun, laughter, mutual respect, support from their families, and lots and lots of dancing!

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I just love the smiles on Amy’s and her father’s faces as he escorts her out of their family home to head to the church!

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These darling St. Louis-themed welcome bags were such a treat for the out-of-town guests!

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Ceremony: Our Lady of Pillar

Reception: Bellerive Country Club

Photographer: Josephine Havlak

Videographer: Forte

Floral: Poppies Design Studio

Music: Griffin and the Gargoyles

Lighting and décor: Exclusive Events

Linens: BBJ Linens

Transportation: St. Louis Carriage and Trolley | JED Limousine

Makeup: Emily Miller

Hair: Jeana Klump with Dominic Michael Salon

Cake: The Cakery