Category Archives: Wedding

Wedding Venues in St. Charles, Illinois

Choosing a wedding location in St. Charles, Illinois, can involve sifting through dozens of venues. Here are some of the most in-demand locations!

Planning a wedding is an exciting, sometimes daunting task. If you live in St. Charles, Illinois, the number of potential wedding venues can be dizzying. This article features some of the most in-demand locations in St. Charles.

Country Clubs

The Royal Country Clubs are a series of three associated clubs in the St. Charles and Winfield areas. The Royal Fox in St. Charles offers full wedding day services: indoor and outdoor options for the ceremony location, catering services and multiple banquet halls.

You may also opt to schedule all your wedding events (bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, wedding reception, etc.) with the three Royal Clubs and receive a "Bridal Bundle" discount. The reviews say the Royal Clubs are a professional and lavish local option.

 

There is one other major private country club in St. Charles: The St. Charles Country Club, which hosts events of up to 300 guests and offers several wedding packages. You can contact their Dining Room Manager/Event Planner through the website to help you make your plans.

Historic Resorts and Hotels

Located on 250 acres near St. Charles, Pheasant Run is the Midwest's largest entertainment resort. Originally a dairy farm, the Resort was opened in the early 1960s and continues to grow today. Pheasant Run Resort was featured by The Knot Magazine as a Best of Weddings 2019-20 Pick.

Pheasant Run offers wedding and entertainment packages that include golf, stage shows, a comedy club, a day spa and hair salon, and the Midwest's own version of New Orleans' Bourbon St. The location offers four ballrooms; indoor and outdoor options for the ceremony itself; and support services: an award-winning chef, on-site florist and salon, professional wedding planners, and a full-time Director of Entertainment.

Historic Hotel Baker, located in downtown St. Charles, was built in 1928 on the site of an old mill. The hotel boasts a laundry list of famous guests and musicians who slept in the venue and played in Hotel Baker's Rainbow Room. Hotel Baker was recently restored and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hotel Baker offers indoor options with the Waterfront Ballroom and Rainbow Room, along with outdoor ceremony locations at the Waterfront Patio or Rose Garden. On-staff wedding consultants and caterers will team up to help you design your event.

Wedding Chapels

Nestled into seven acres on the outskirts of St. Charles, Chapel In the Pines is a wedding venue that caters to smaller weddings, up to 150 guests. The venue offers a bridal cottage for preparations, indoor weddings at the classic chapel, outdoor weddings on the lawn at the gazebo, and banquets/receptions at the banquet hall, opened in 2010.

Another wedding chapel option in the St. Charles area is the Chapel by the Fox on East Main Street. The St. Charles Chamber of Commerce website offers their contact information and cites the venue as seating 50 people.

Conference Centers

An often overlooked type of site for wedding festivities is the conference center. In St. Charles, the Q Center boasts stylish conference and banquet rooms, coupled with an on-site culinary/catering staff. DuPage Expo Center on Main Street also hosts weddings, and has the capacity to host massive celebrations upwards of 500 guests.

May your wedding be memorable in all the right ways, and may your search for the perfect St. Charles venue be quick and easy!

Planning a Green Wedding: Ideas For Reducing Your Wedding Carbon Footprint

It used to be that planning a green wedding took a lot of extra work. But these days, wedding vendors are more aware than ever that brides and grooms want to plan a special event without sacrificing the environment. The result is a wide array of eco-friendly wedding products that not only make a wedding beautiful, but earth-friendly as well.

Eco-friendly Wedding Invitations

According to The Green Bride Guide, the amount of paper used to create wedding invitations each year could cover the entire island of Manhattan. Reducing the amount of paper used in an invitation is one of the easiest ways to reduce the carbon footprint of a wedding. Some green wedding invitation ideas include:

  • Choose 100% post-consumer recycled paper for the invitation, and print with only soy-based inks.
  • Print only the invitation and avoid the popular practice of creating a variety of inserts for each potential guest. Send maps, accommodation information, and other events only to those who have confirmed their attendance.
  • Opt for electronic wedding invitations. While it may not be suitable for every wedding, using an electronic invite will save paper, postage, and fuel for the transportation of mail.

Eco-friendly Wedding Attire

Many bridal and wedding attire fabrics are made with synthetic fibers and man-made materials that pollute the air and produce additional carbon. With more brides demanding eco-friendly wedding dresses, bridal designers are paying attention. Here are some ways that wedding attire can be both beautiful and earth friendly:

  • Look for bridal gowns that are made with natural fibers, such as cotton or silk. Justin Alexander, for instance, has recently launched a completely biodegradable and beautiful line of wedding dresses, PURE.
  • Choose a pre-owned wedding gown. Choosing a wedding gown from a consignment shop, thrift store, or a hand-me-down from friends or family not only reduces the environmental impact of the wedding, it can save a lot of money, as well.
  • Rent a wedding gown. Renting a wedding gown is a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to buying a new gown.

Eco-friendly Wedding Accessories

One of the easiest ways to implement eco-friendly practices into wedding planning is by choosing green wedding accessories.

  • When shopping for diamonds, choosing a conflict free diamond is one of the most environmentally and socially conscious options.
  • Many jewelers and wedding ring designers offer wedding bands and engagement rings that are fashioned from recycled gold.
  • Scope out antique stores, thrift stores, and consignment shops to purchase pre-owned items for wedding party gifts or bridal jewelry.

Other Eco-friendly Wedding Tips

In addition to making eco-friendly decisions in the core parts of planning a wedding, creative brides and grooms can extend their green wedding planning to other areas of the special event:

  • Give guests a renewable wedding favor, such as a packet of flower seeds. Small trees have become a popular wedding favor, but they only succeed at being green when the guest will actually plant and maintain them. Opting for something simple, such as seeds, keeps the gift low maintenance for wedding guests.
  • Opt to purchase a carbon offset membership. Carbon offset programs calculate the amount of carbon produced by the wedding, and use the money of the membership to invest in offsetting that carbon. Some examples include investing in wind or solar powered resources.

While there are many options to help reduce the carbon footprint of a wedding, it's important to always look beyond just the label. Many companies have started to "greenwash" their wedding products making them sound more eco-friendly than they actually are.

Creativity is key when planning an eco-friendly wedding and reception. Limiting choices to only those that provide the green wedding results the bride and groom desire can help make a the planning of a green wedding be less overwhelming and more fulfilling.

Wedding Thank-you Notes: Thanking Guests For Wedding Gifts

Wedding thank you cards can be as elegant as the bride and groom’s linen invitations, as casual as a postcard featuring a favorite photo from the wedding day, or a simple blank card with a handwritten message inside. Thank you notes are another opportunity for the bride and groom to show their individuality, and a chance to reconnect with the guests who made their day so special. Co-ordinating thank-you cards can be included as part of a couple’s wedding stationery package, or they can order self-designed cards on line.

Who Should Receive A Thank-you Note?

  • anyone who gives the couple a gift at a wedding-related event, including engagement parties and showers, receives a thank-you note. This includes those who give monetary gifts or donations to charity in the couples’ name.
  • anyone who hosted an event or party for the couple
  • vendors, members of the wedding party, and others who helped the bride with the wedding planning, including parents of bride and groom.

When To Send Wedding Thank-you Cards

Etiquette dictates that thank you notes should be sent within three months of the wedding, and sooner if possible. A good strategy to keep on top of things is to keep a list of what gifts were received, for what occasion (shower, wedding, etc.), and who gave it. Having a column to check off when the thank you note is actually mailed will keep brides organized and worry-free about their thank you notes.

For brides who have received gifts prior to the wedding through their registry, thank-you notes can be written before the wedding. In fact, writing a set number of thank-you notes daily will be much less stressful than sitting down to write hundreds of thank-you cards after the wedding.

Who Writes Them?

Each couple has a different system when it comes to writing thank-you notes for wedding gifts sometimes it is the bride who writes the majority of the cards; sometimes the couple split the list down the middle, and sometimes they agree to each write the thank-you notes for their own family. However the couple decides to divide the responsibility, it’s far less daunting to write a few thank-you notes a day over the period of a few weeks than to realize that all the notes must be completed in one weekend.

What if No Gift Was Received?

Technically, the reception is the couple’s thank-you to their guests – if no gift was received, no thank-you note is strictly neccessary. However, many couples do choose to send a thank-you card thanking guests for their presence at their wedding.

 

What to Write?

For brides who are experiencing writer’s block, here are some sample wedding thank-you notes to help get started. Generally, a wedding thank-you note should make mention of the gift giver, as well as the gift, for example how the couple will use it in their new home, or how much they appreciate the gift giver taking time to think of them. Some rules of thumb to consider when writing thank-you notes:

  • wedding thank-you notes should be personalized, and mention the wedding gift
  • couples should be enthusiastic, but still sincere when praising a gift
  • couples should never mention that they plan to return a gift, or that they did not like it

Wedding Invitations For The Bride On A Budget: DIY Invitations

The wedding invitation is the first sign a guest receives of what to expect. Aside from being notified of the date of a wedding, the invitation is designed to give out clear signals about the religiosity of the ceremony, the duration of the celebration and the type of atmosphere to be expected.

Wedding Invitation Format

There are not many choices when it comes to the layout of the wedding invitation, but some essential elements should be addressed. Will the invitation be a double sided post-card or a fold-out card? What shape will it be and will something be holding it closed. Will the invitation also feature R.S.V.P. cards or will guests give an electronic or telephone attendance confirmation? These are all things to be considered before colours and designs even come into the picture.

Choosing A Wedding Invitation Pattern

The first step in creating a beautiful invitation with ease is to “use what is already there”. Many times brides feel they can’t design their own invites because they don’t know how to match certain colours, or choose between different patterns, or they don’t know how to put them together.

The simplest thing to do is to keep in line with the themes and colours of the wedding. A linen pattern or the design of the cake, or even a piece of fabric from the dress can all be elements used on the invitation. If the bridesmaids are wearing a certain colour, or the centerpieces and bouquets have a particular scheme, why not use it in the invitations? It will take the headache out of coming up with an entirely new and original visual concept.

Wedding Invitation Wording

If a bride’s flair doesn’t lie with words, there’s an easy cheat – the internet! The wording is tailored to every type of invitation style (formal, informal, or funny), and specific to circumstance (whether the parents are sending out the invite or the couple). Romantic phrases and succinct directions to banquet halls now come in generic messages that can be pulled off the internet at no cost. Brides can take advantage of the fact that someone else has already done the work for them and written the perfect invitation.

Adding Personal Touches To Wedding Invitations

The final step after the background design and the wording have been selected is to add those little touches that take an invitation from being a simple piece of paper with some information on it, to a work of art that reflects the wedding to come.

Selecting a special paper – embossed, high-gloss, or thick recycled paper – can give a texture that will make the visual aspect of the invitation pop. The added value of handcrafting the invite with sparkles, ribbons, fabrics or jewel stickers can give the invitation a personalized touch that guests will remember. Adding a picture of the bride and groom on the back of the invitation will turn it into a sentimental memento that guests will hold on to for years to come.

Depending on personality and willing bridesmaid hands, brides can craft a stunning masterpiece right in the comfort of their own home. And by adding extra three-dimensional touches at the end, even printing can be a breeze, whether outsourced or done at home or in the office. Invitations don't have to be a daunting task.

Planning a Wedding on a Budget: Cheap Chic Weddings

Weddings can be expensive, but not everybody has a million dollars to spend on the wedding of their dreams. There are a few tips you can follow to have a fabulous wedding on a budget.

Budget Wedding Gowns

Consider renting a wedding gown to save money because many wedding shops offer this service. Try a consignment shop since many of these stores may have less expensive wedding gowns. Ask a friend if you can borrow a dress. Although the gown will most likely need a thorough cleaning and some alterations, you will undoubtedly save dough in the end. Instead of purchasing a designer gown, consider having a similar dress made, which will save some dollars.

Budget Wedding Rings/Bands

Choose a less expensive material such as gold or white gold rather than platinum bands. Although these are sturdy they can be much more expensive than gold alternatives. Men's ring offer many inexpensive and low maintenance options such as tungsten, tungsten carbide or titanium rather than gold. Consider purchasing a bridal set together rather than a separate band, which could put some cash back in your pocket in the end.

Wedding Favors

Try making your own wedding favors rather than purchasing already made ones. Offer your guests candy or jelly beans in your wedding colors which can be a nice touch. You can purchase inexpensive boxes that can be filled with candy and tied with inexpensive ribbon. You could also print the bride and groom names on a small address label and wrap it around miniature candy bars.

Inexpensive Bridal Bouquets

Making your own bouquet out of silk or artificial flowers can save considerable cash. Many stores offer silk flower options that can be close imitations of the real thing. You can also purchase real flowers in bulk from some retail chains such as Sams Club and Costco that sell them in bulk.

Food and Beverage

The bulk of the wedding cost can be from the reception food and beverage. Tips to save on the beverage cost is not having an open bar or offering lower grade alcohol or well liquor. You can save on food by offering less side dishes and only one entree. Most guests will not even notice that there was not more than one entree.

Cake

Check around to see if you have a friend or relative who is handy at making cakes which could save you a bundle in the end. Only have as much cake as what you need. Many people think they need five or 6 tier cakes, but it is unnecessary, although it looks elegant.

When to Send Wedding Invitations: Invitation Etiquette, Schedule and Timing for Wedding Invites

Planning a wedding is all about small steps taken in the right order and at the right time. Understanding the etiquette and timing rules for wedding invitations might seem daunting at first, but there are simple guidelines that ensure invitations are ready to be mailed in enough time to allow guests to attend.

When to Send Wedding Invitations Out

The first and most important question in the minds of most brides and grooms is when to send the wedding invitations. The general guideline for when to send wedding invitations is about 6 weeks before the wedding, but some people advise 6 to 8 weeks, while others say that giving guests 4 weeks before the wedding is all that's necessary.

What's most important here is to ensure that your guests will have time to receive the invitation and return RSVP cards in time to inform the caterer and other wedding staff about final numbers.

Save the Date Invitations: Destination Weddings and Out of Town Guests

There are, of course, a few exceptions that call for additional notice. This is where save the date cards come in handy. If a destination wedding is being planned, it's usually best to give guests at least 5 to 6 months' notice (sometimes as much as a year) in order to allow them to schedule the event on their calendar and make travel plans.

The same goes for out of town relatives and friends, who will need to schedule ahead in order to make it to the big day. Save the date cards or "save the date invitations" are a thoughtful way to let friends and family know about the wedding 4 months or more in advance, time that's useful if they'll need to travel to get there.

Ordering, Proofing and Preparing Wedding Invitations

Under normal circumstances, it takes a professional printer about 8 weeks to turnaround a wedding invitation order. If the printer works quickly or in cases of unusual luck, this time frame may be shortened, but it's usually best to place an order at least 10 weeks ahead of the schedule for sending the invitations – 4 to 5 months before the date of the wedding.

Proofs and samples will be prepared on the printer's schedule, but make sure to go over them with an eye to detail and return them as quickly as possible in order to speed up the process.

If the bride or other family members will be addressing the invitation envelopes by hand, plan ahead and do them in increments to avoid hand strain and messy work if time runs out. That may mean starting on them and budgeting time from the minute the printer completes the invites.

Wedding Announcements and Thank You Cards

After the wedding is over, thank you cards must be sent to everyone who gave the couple a gift. These can be ordered in advance at the same time as invitations are chosen, in the same or a similar style to the wedding invites. Etiquette dictates that all thank you cards should be handwritten and mailed by three months after the wedding, or as soon as humanly possible, but late is better than never!

Wedding announcements are optional, but are typically sent out after a small wedding or if the couple elopes, in order to announce their marriage to friends and relatives who weren't present. These cards should be sent out immediately after the wedding.

Picking a Wedding Photographer: Selecting a Photographer for One’s Wedding

Whether it’s a trash the dress photo shoot in Tallahassee, FL, a reception in San Diego, CA or wedding and reception in Athens, GA, photography is an important part of the wedding day. After all, the job of a wedding photographer is to capture the emotions and activities of the happy couple so the day can be remembered for years to come. Consequently, hiring a talented wedding photographer is a must.

While many couples are stunned by the cost of hiring a wedding photographer, it is not be something to be taken lightly. There are many other ways to save money on one’s wedding, but the photographer should not be one of the choices. In selecting a qualified wedding photographer, there are several questions the couple should ask the potential wedding photographer.

How to Select a Wedding Photographer

There are a variety of features to look for in wedding photography. These may range from size of the photo packages to styles like photojournalism or candid shots. To help in the selection process, consider the following:

  • Will the wedding photographer listen to the needs and desires of the couple? The wedding day is all about the bride and groom. A photographer that has a specific type and amount of photos that they will take and who is unwilling to deviate from that will often miss unique shots that add personalization.
  • What style of photos will the photographer take? There are 2 main types of modern wedding photography: Photojournalism and traditional. A good wedding photographer will offer both.
  • Does the studio offer albums, online viewing or custom printing? Today many studios and wedding photographers offer a photo CD or the negatives. To get the most for the price paid, ask about having the photos put into a quality album. Ask if photos are available on-line so others can review and order their own set.
  • Can photos be retouched/edited? Many wedding photographers will do this automatically, but it never hurts to ask ahead of time.
  • How long has the photography studio been in business? More experience equals better photos. Check the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints.

Wedding Photographer Tips & Questions

  • Ask to see the photographer’s portfolio. Most photographers have several samples which one can peruse to get an understanding of the photographer’s work. If the photographer does not have a portfolio yet, and plans on using this wedding as part of their portfolio, ask for a discounted rate. Some studios have multiple photographers; ask to see the work of the photographer one is considering. If dissatisfied, arrange to see another person’s work.
  • What is the difference between photojournalism and traditional? Photojournalism is when the photographer anticipates and records a moment without the subjects' knowledge, when the photos are artistically and creatively refined, or uniquely posed by the photographer. These photos may be in color, black and white, or both. Formal or traditional photographs are arranged by the photographer selecting the setting, lighting, positioning and expression of the subject, and are often captured in color.
  • Ensure the photographer will be bringing more than one camera and the needed equipment, as well as any back up supplies.
  • Make sure that the photographer gets food. They are working hard to make sure that the memories of the day are wonderful. This can be hard to do if they are hungry.

Wedding photographers are an important part of one’s wedding. After all, having great photos helps one remember the beauty, love and laughter of the day. Select with care and the wedding day will be more enjoyable for all.

Wedding Etiquette: A Guide to Wedding Traditions and Customs

Weddings are a celebration of a bride and groom’s love and commitment. Every wedding will reflect the bride and groom’s personalities with the bride being able to express individuality. Every event will oblige some wedding traditions and customs. Correct wedding etiquette is important to show that the bride and groom are serious about their life together. The bride and groom may chose cultural, social or family traditions and customs to follow. The bride and groom may chose not to abide by correct wedding etiquette but some wedding traditions are just age old and must be followed.

Wedding Dresses

Everyone will talk about the gown. The wedding gown is traditionally white. This became fashionable in 1840 when Queen Victoria wore an all white wedding costume. History shows that white was the Ancient Greek colour known as the emblem of joy and Roman brides wore white to pay tribute to the god of fertility. The old English rhyme suggests that married in white, you have chosen right.

Another wedding adage is not ignored by any bride. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe. The something old and something new represents the rite of passage with a link to the past and the hope of success for the future. To borrow something brings good luck, with the blue symbolising purity, love and fidelity. The coin represents future wealth.

The Bride

The bride must stand at the groom’s left side when taking her vows. This is because most people are right handed and the groom will be able to protect his bride from would-be marauders, explains Arlene Hamilton Stewart in her book A Bride’s Book of Wedding Traditions, 1995.

The bride traditionally adorns a bouquet of flowers or herbs as a good luck symbol. The throwing of the bouquet passes the luck onto the next to be married.

 

The attendants are traditionally expected to protect the bride. The more bridal attendants, the more protection provided from bad spirits.

The Groom

The groom’s attire relates to the time of day the wedding ceremony will take place. The later in day the more formal the groom should dress. An evening wedding justifies a formal black tailcoat, white waistcoat and white bow tie.

The Wedding Ceremony

The procession into the wedding ceremony of a formal wedding should begin with the ushers walking down the aisle in pairs, followed by the bridesmaids in pairs, then the maid and matron of honour, followed by the ring bearer, flower girls and then the bride accompanied by her father.

As the ceremony draws to a close the bride and groom kiss to the sound of wedding bells, sealing their commitment to each other.

The Wedding Reception

A feast of food and wine following the wedding ceremony is an age-old wedding tradition to celebrate the first meal taken together as husband and wife. The father of the bride is traditionally responsible for the expense of these arrangements.

The wedding cake is served at the end of the meal and is a symbol of fertility and plenty. According to wedding lore, the bride and groom must cut the cake and eat the first piece together as a sign of love. The top tier of the cake is kept for the christening ceremony of the couple’s first born child.

The bride and her father commence the first waltz with the groom joining in with his mother. Today this tradition has been replaced with the bridal waltz when the bride and groom commence dancing together.

It is correct wedding etiquette to give wedding favours, a small gift or memento given to the guests. Three or 5 sugar-coated almonds wrapped in tulle and tied with a ribbon are the traditional thank you gift representing fertility and wealth.

No guests should leave the wedding reception until the newly married couple have been farewelled for the honeymoon. Then the guests may depart thanking the mother and father of the bride.

Following the correct etiquette, customs and traditions will provide luck for a long, happy, fertile and prosperous marriage.