Sep 23, 2008
Rogers and Holland
For our bands, we went with tungsten bands from Rogers and Holland. Again, as a bigger store, they have a lot of room to wiggle their prices around, and we found the staff at the South County Mall (St. Louis, MO) to be routinely nice, fun and easy to deal with. They were also knowledgeable: Since tungsten is such a hard metal, it is virtually impossible to resize. Rogers and Holland staff mentioned that if we were worried about resizing, we might like to look at the ArtCarved rings, since they have a lifetime Forever Fit program whereby you can simply exchange your ring for a different size at any point in your lifetime. This proved to be very useful after my husband managed to lose quite a bit of weight recently.
Services used: Unique Services
I cannot say enough nice things about Sqwires Annex. The Annex is the party room of Sqwires Restaurant, but it goes way beyond party room. First of all, its a beautiful spaceits in a former wire factory (hence the punny name) with lots of exposed brick and metal. Their staff transformed a pretty-enough-room into an absolutely gorgeous wedding reception with very little direction from me (in fact, when I walked in on the day of our wedding, I teared up a bit, saying, It looks like a wedding!). There were a lot of reasons we ended up going with Sqwires: They had a lot of parking; the Annex has its own entrance and its own bathroom; although theres a loft area, there are no steps that MUST be used (both of our fathers are in their 70s so mobility was a concern); they provide all linens, silverware, glassware, etc; plus it was within walking distance of our ceremony location. Sqwires also thoughtfully let us use chairs for our ceremony for free(we simply had to carry them over to the park and back again), and offered us a rain contingencytheyd let us come in an hour early if it rained and we needed to hold the ceremony at the reception site. That alone took a world of worry off my mind. The coordinator was remarkably easy to work witheasy going, but always making sure I hit my deadlines without any nagging. I was a bit apprehensive when our coordinator left the week before our wedding, leaving us with a brand new coordinator, but my worries were unfounded: The new coordinator did a fabulous job! Everything that Id discussed previously went through flawlessly, and the new coordinator was on site day of our wedding and made sure everything went according to plan. We had a buffet brunch, with a limited bar (bloody marys and mimosas). Price was reasonable and the food was tasty. I was wary of doing a buffet (Ive been to so many bad ones), but this was remarkably well done: The hot stuff was hot, the cold stuff was cold, and all of it was remarkably flavorful. Several of my friends are self described food snobs, and all of them enjoyed the meal. The best surprise was that when we got our final bill there WAS no surpriseeverything was exactly as wed discussed with no hidden charges. Sqwires Annex IS a smaller venue; I think my literature said it could comfortably hold 200 (although I think that might be a bit of a stretch); we had approximately 70 people there, and it was comfortably roomy without looking empty. But I would highly recommend it for ANYTHING: rehearsal dinner, shower, whatever.
Services used: Wedding Venue, Rehearsal Dinner
My husband opted to buy a suit rather than rent a tux, and we were incredibly impressed with the sales staff at Mens Wearhouse. Not only did the salesman manage to size my husband up on the first try visually, he also managed to nicely suggest certain things which we obviously had no clue about (like where he likes his pants to break for instance. Neither of us knew what that even meant!). He helped us through every aspect of the outfitright down to socks! And while I realize that was just his job, its been a long time since I experienced customer service on that levelhe was phenomenal.
Services used: Unique Services
(5+++ stars) Oh, how I love cake! Choosing the cake was probably one of my more difficult decisions, because I really, really wanted to like the cake I was serving to people. And I am a cake snob. There, I said it. But, unfortunately, I was also a bride on a budget, so I had to contain myself a little bit. We tried several tastings at different bakeries, but really werent satisfied with anythingall seemed a little dry, and the frostings we tried seemed too sugary sweet. Luckily, we found out about the Cakery. The Cakery is a small bakery located in Dogtown in St. Louis, and they make the most wonderfully moist, delicious cakes with a buttercream frosting that will truly melt in your mouth (no gritty aftertaste here). Since they are a small shop, they do tend to book up quickly, but we were in luck. See, the other reason that picking a cake was going to be difficult for me is that I have some weird fear of cutting cakes (why yes, it IS really difficult to be in my head!). I really, really, REALLY did not want to do that, especially not with 100 of my nearest and dearest family/friends watching. So I decided to circumvent that whole fiasco and go with cupcakes instead. And boy, am I glad I did. We went with three flavors: strawberry cake with strawberry buttercream frosting (my ultimate favorite), lemon cake with raspberry buttercream frosting and chocolate cake with mint buttercream frosting. The Cakery rented us a tiered cupcake stand, and we arranged to pick up the cupcakes the day before the wedding (we got married on a Sunday, so we picked up the Saturday before). This worked SO well for uswe didnt have to pay for delivery and because they were neatly packed in large bakery boxes, I wasnt worried about them sliding around or getting ruined. And heres where the Cakery gets a gold star: As I said, we got married on a Sunday. The following day, we left at stupid oclock to go on our honeymoon. The Cakery was not due to be open yet. I was completely flummoxed about how to return the cupcake tier (my family all lives out of town, so I really couldnt delegate it to anyone). When I called to explain the problem, one of the girls said shed come in so I could drop it off. And she showed up just as promised. Fabulous!
Services used: Wedding Cake
Yvette Barlow (owner) @ Tuscan Sky Hair Salon
(5+++ stars)! I started going to Yvette about 10 months before my wedding, on a whim. Shes a very warm, outgoing person who also happens to be fabulous with hair! I had a lot of gray streaks in my hair, but was reluctant to color because I didnt want the work and expense of keeping up with the roots. Well, slowly but surely Yvette warmed me up to the idea and I finally let her put some blonde highlights in my otherwise mouse-brown hair. What a difference! I no longer looked old and washed out. Yvette loves to do updos, and it really showsshes an artist. For my wedding itself, we did a trial run; I showed her a number of pictures of what I hoped to achieve, and she managed to put a whole new twist on what I was showing her. She worked with the clips and pins that I wanted to include, tried the style both with bangs and without to see which looked better and just took so much time listening to me. My hair was intricately styled yet it did not fall out of the style until I physically took the pins out at the end of the night (which is remarkable considering I can generally use an entire can of hairspray on my hair, only to have it wilt ten minutes later). I should also mention that Yvette agreed to open her shop up so she could do my sisters and my hair at 8:30 on a Sunday morning. I cant recommend this woman enough.
Services used: Beauty & Health
callahan's tuxedo company and alterations by ruth
Ruth Callahan was one of my very favorite vendors. Theirs is an interesting business: They rent tuxes, bridal gowns, bridesmaid gowns; they also do alterations; they sell bridal gowns on consignment; AND they can help you plan your honeymoon. We only used them for alterations, but using them was one of the best decisions I made. The service was great: Ruth was quick, down-to-earth, and reasonably priced. Everything was done as promised (even ahead of schedule), and she let me store my dress at her shop for a month prior to the wedding after shed steamed it for me. A tiny warning, though: this is not your typical wedding dress shop. If you want to have the whole sipping champagne while trying on dresses and sitting on overstuffed chairs experience, this may not be the store for you. The dressing rooms are clean, but not exactly elegant. And the store gets very busy on weekends, so you may have to wait a little longer than you might like.
Services used: Dress & Attire
Lafayette Square Park is a lovely Victorian style park about ten minutes from downtown St. Louis. Its surrounded by huge Victorian mansions, most of which have been lovingly refurbished. The park is surrounded by black wrought iron gate, and the landscaping is absolutely lovely. We also liked that there were things to entertain children therea pond with ducks to be fed and a small playground; we thought our friends with kids might enjoy having something for them to do before/after the ceremony. For $300, we were able to reserve a gazebo in the park for four hours. The reservation is made through the City of St. Louis, so it was a little bureaucratic, but nothing too terribly taxing. The rules and regulations are a bit strict (in regards to hanging any decorations, lighting, sound, etc), but since we were married in the afternoon (and used weighted balloons as decorations), they really didnt concern or bother us too much. The gazebo is small, but looks out over a beautiful small pond with a large bridge over it. The grounds leading from the gazebo down to the pond are absolutely resplendent with color; the flowers the park plants are truly lovely, especially in the fall. Its one of the reasons we didnt feel the need to add much in the way of decorations; nature took care of that for us! We incorporated the bridge into our entrance and exit, and it made for some very beautiful pictures (Ive since learned that this park is a popular site for wedding pictures, understandably so). We only experienced two problems with the site: One was that they were doing some planting/weeding work the week before our wedding, which we found out kind of by happenstance (we came by for our rehearsal and found a giant mound of dirt next to the gazebo). Fortunately, the dirt was gone the day we arrived to set up for the wedding; workers had left a garden hose out, but we were able to stow it out of site. The other incident was more a factor of being married in a public place than the park itselfas I was standing by the pond, waiting to begin our procession, two strangers came up to me with a friendly, Hi! Are you having an event today? (Uh, no, ladies, I generally hang out near the pond in a full length white gown.). Turns out they had rented the space for the following weekend and wanted to run a soundcheck. I told them, as politely as I could, that they would have to wait until our time was up before doing so (even though, yes, believe it or not, they promised to be quiet). HA!
Services used: Unique Services
Soda Fountain Square LLC
Rehearsal Dinner: Again, ours was a very informal event, and since our wedding was to be at 1:00 PM, we opted to have our rehearsal the same time the day before and hold a rehearsal lunch rather than a rehearsal dinner. Across from Sqwires (and owned by the same people) is The Soda Fountain; a new take on the old time feel of a soda fountain, complete with several menu pages filled with ice cream sodas, shakes and sundaes. Nice, relaxed and laid back, it was a great afternoon. They accommodated our (semi-large) party easily in their main dining room (they also have a separate room available for meetings, showers, etc). Service wasnt the best (several orders were wrong when they were brought out), but overall it was a nice experience.
Services used: Unique Services