Ask the Patch Pro: Wedding Planning Experts Answer Your Questions Thursday

Our panel of experts are waiting in the comments to answer your questions about planning your big day in the latest installment of Ask the Patch Pro.

It's time for another edition of Ask the Patch Pro, where each week we tackle a different topic and open up the comments section for questions. Our team of experts stop in to help you out and answer your questions.

This week we're talking about wedding planning. Patch wants to help you get your questions answered, but we needed some help. 

We've compiled a team of experts to help us out. Meet the experts:

  • Evonne M. Grabauskas: Beautiful Celebrations, LLC
  • Allison McDonald: Owner of Flourish Events & Concierge
  • Aieme Wright: Works at The Salon 
  • Ellen Gutierrez: Owner/Designer/Planner at Bride's Vision Weddings and Events
  • Tricia Layton: The Bridal Exchange-Resale & Rental Boutique 
  • Holly Speakes: Bridal Stylist and Makeup Artist
  • Bobette Kyle: Publisher of MyOnlineWeddingHelp.com
  • Renee Joshu: Weddings By Renee
  • Deborah McCoy: The American Academy of Wedding Professionals
  • Shannon Lemp: STL Hospitality
  • Jeff: Absolute Perfect Touch Limo
  • Maria Lindsey: Wedding Coordinator with Weddings by Maria
  • Carolyn Burke: Wedding Liason/Written for Saint Louis Bride Magazine
  • Kippin Sanchez: Vellum Stationery

Have a question? Ask in the comment section below! 


Ellen Gutierrez January 24, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Absolutely not; it is quite acceptable to have an uneven number. If you have more maids than groom's men then one or more of the Gmen escort 2 maids, If it's more men than ladies then one or two maids are escorted by 2 Gmen.
Ellen Gutierrez January 24, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Tamara, I believe photography and videography are very important as they are what you will have after the wedding and for years to come. Very few brides get their dress out 10 yrs after the wedding but you will look at your pictures and video for years to come. Best wishes to you.
Bobette Kyle January 24, 2013 at 05:20 PM
Most do have the same number, but what's wonderful about a modern wedding is it can be as unique as you are! You don't *have* to have anything (except the legalities). The logistics will have to be addressed in rehearsal, of course, so everyone knows when and where to go, but you can work it out. Be ready for some resistance from those (family, friends) who believe a wedding should follow traditions, but I say go for it! Mix, match, and mismatch however feels right to you and your fiance. Bobette Kyle www.MyOnlineWeddingHelp.com Your Dream Wedding on a "DIY" Budget
GamersWife January 24, 2013 at 06:09 PM
Do you have any helpful hints or tips for a couple that is having their family cater their wedding??
Evonne Grabauskas January 24, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Hello Candace, Weddings today don't have many rules. Let the wedding be about you. You definitely do not have to have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen if you don't want to. If you have more bridesmaids, then have a groomsman escort 2 bridesmaids down the aisle or vice-versa. That lucky groomsman or lucky bridesmaid definitely enjoys the little 'extra' attention going down the aisle! Make sure to go over the logistics during the rehearsal. Happy Planning! - Evonne Grabauskas www.beautifulcelebrations.net
Evonne Grabauskas January 24, 2013 at 06:26 PM
If you are having a buffet dinner, you need to make sure that there is more than enough food prepared. I have seen families run out of food and guests actually not get fed. Portion control is hard for buffets. Remember to double check to see if there are any vegetarian guests or guests with food allergies. If you have any food left-over, you can always serve it the next day at a brunch. Happy Planning! - Evonne Grabauskas www.beautifulcelebrations.net
Jordan Lanham January 24, 2013 at 06:48 PM
What do you think of planning a New Year's Eve wedding? Is it fun to have the theme and the extra element of celebration, or does it take away from the couple's special day and everyone else's holiday plans?
Allison McDonald January 24, 2013 at 07:26 PM
I love New Year's Eve weddings! Of course, it depends on each couple and their guests, but I think it can be a fun and meaningful way to kick off the beginning of the year. Most people are looking for a fun and elegant party on New Year's Eve and weddings have those elements and more! My only advice would be to plan early enough in advance so guests can plan on celebrating with you! Allison McDonald Owner - Flourish Events & Concierge flourishstl.com
Owen Skoler (Editor) January 24, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Any advice for couples whose in-laws have never met each other. What would be a good way to carve out time for parents of the bride and groom to get to know each other?
Renee Joshu January 24, 2013 at 08:15 PM
Candace, As others have said, you certainly don't have to have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen ... but plan out the processionals and who will stand where during the ceremony and the photos. I had a groom who had just returned from Afghanistan and his best friends were all overseas. He only had a best man and the bride had 10 bridesmaids. So 4 of the bridesmaids stood on the groom's side during the ceremony. Circumstances and families vary widely now. Most important thing is to have the people you love in your wedding party. All the Best, Renee Joshu Weddings By Renee www.stlweddingsbyrenee.com
Renee Joshu January 24, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Tamara, I agree with everyone that photography and videography are very important as they are what you'll have for many years to come. But also take care in choosing your venue and caterer. The food and drink is usually your biggest expense ... and everyone remembers if the food is disappointing! All the best, Renee Joshu Weddings by Renee www.stlweddingsbyrenee.com
Ellen Gutierrez January 24, 2013 at 08:18 PM
If it is not possible for the parents to meet in advance of the wedding weekend then it is imperative to have time for the parents, along with the B&G,to be together, without other family members or friends. The B, G and all parents, could have dinner night before the rehearsal or meet for lunch the day of the rehearsal. www.bridesvision.com
Kalen Ponche January 24, 2013 at 08:19 PM
What's an average St. Louis wedding cost these days? I know prices can vary, but I'm just curious to see what expert's thoughts are on an average for this area. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say people spend $15,000 easily on a medium sized wedding.
Renee Joshu January 24, 2013 at 08:22 PM
I have a couple hints ... or maybe more cautions. Of course you want to be sure they are experienced in feeding large numbers of guests ... have the right equipment, know how much to prepare and are good cooks. But the caution with having family do anything at your reception is that they do the job and not become guests enjoying themselves and forgetting to do what they've promised. Have the tough conversations long before the reception. All the best, Renee Joshu Weddings by Renee www.stlweddingsbyrenee.com
Renee Joshu January 24, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Jordan, A New Year's Eve Wedding is a great celebration for family and friends. It will be a welcome party option for all. Give them plenty of notice before they commit to another party. You might want to consider a hotel ballroom for the reception and get a block of rooms so guests can party, spend the night and make a weekend of it. Your groom will certainly never forget your anniversary ... and your anniversary celebration will always be a New Year's Eve party! All the best, Renee Joshu Weddings by Renee www.stlweddingsbyrenee.com
Jordan Lanham January 24, 2013 at 08:52 PM
What are some other creative options for a guest book? Something you can display or hang in your home for years to come?
Bobette Kyle January 24, 2013 at 10:17 PM
According to The Wedding Report, the average St. Louis Metropolitan area wedding in 2012 cost $25,159. That said, around 38% are less than $10,000.
Bobette Kyle January 24, 2013 at 10:25 PM
A few ideas that come to mind... - A wishing tree [some examples are here (amidst some other table top trees: http://pinterest.com/YourWeddingHelp/wishing-tree-or-tree-centerpiece/) - Have guests write on note cards and display in collage frames. - Guests sign a family tree quilt or large illustration. - Have them sign smooth rocks and make a water centerpiece or arrangement with them. - Set up a Polariod photo booth...guests take photos and write note on the back. HTH Bobette
Ellen Gutierrez January 24, 2013 at 10:28 PM
The average price of a wedding in St. Louis is about $26,000 but what does that mean? $25,000 for 300 guests is a tight budget, $25,000 for 50 guests is a very lovely wedding. The best way to control your costs is to control your guest list. www.bridesvision.com
Mike K January 24, 2013 at 11:23 PM
A friend of mine runs a unique local service where guests can leave video messages or pictures in a photo booth setting. He also has video cameras available for guests to wander about creating their own video. The couple gets all copies of everything on a flash drive after the event. Video and pictures can be immediately uploaded to social media sites and prints made. I think even on-site. www.picturethisphotobooth.com
Aisha Kashif January 24, 2013 at 11:28 PM
I'm trying to decide whether or not I need flowers at the reception. Is it OK to not have flowers on tables?
Allison McDonald January 24, 2013 at 11:31 PM
A wedding I did recently had a simple sketch of a tree with bare limbs with a large white border. There were different shades of green rubber stamp ink that guests used to make thumb-print leaves on the tree. We also had markers to sign names on the border. Be sure to have wet wipes on hand! It made for a great frame-able memento! Allison McDonald Owner - Flourish Events & Concierge www.flourishstl.com
Allison McDonald January 24, 2013 at 11:39 PM
It is absolutely OK! There are so many wonderful non-floral options for centerpieces. - Candles can be used in a huge variety of ways...on mirrors or in Mason jars for a rustic look just to name a few. - Individual cakes or other desserts on stands for each table - Items of special significance to the couple (books, collectibles, natural elements) - Clear containers of seasonal fruits (citrus, pomegranates, cranberries, etc) The sky is the limit. Always remember, it's your wedding and the only rule is that you want your day to reflect who you are as a couple! Allison McDonald Owner - Flourish Events & Concierge www.flourishstl.com
Bobette Kyle January 25, 2013 at 12:41 AM
Allison about covered it, I think. I have one additional idea: centerpieces of photos of the bride, groom, friends growing up put into mason jars or otherwise arranged. If possible, match photos at each table with guests who will be sitting there. For inspiration, you can see around 15 other easy, non-floral centerpiece ideas my daughter and I did up for do-it-yourself videos here: http://www.myonlineweddinghelp.com/DIY/centerpieces/
Jordan Lanham January 25, 2013 at 01:32 AM
Thanks for all the questions and thank you to our experts for all of their great answers today!
Carolyn Burke January 25, 2013 at 05:09 AM
There are certain venues that allow outside catering. Most that do still have preferred list of caterers. Is this wedding going to be at someone's home? If not, I can help you find a venue that allows ANY outside catering. www.weddingliaison.com/findavenue Carolyn Burke - Wedding Liaison
Barbara Ploch January 28, 2013 at 05:13 PM
Is it too late to ask wedding questions? Will this offer be repeated?
Jeff Clark January 28, 2013 at 05:28 PM
Sorry to blatantly advertise but it seems I'm not the only one. The Wyman Center right here in Eureka is a popular venue for indoor and outdoor ceremonies and receptions, and the money goes to a great cause...helping our financially disadvantages teens out of the cycle of poverty. We offer multiple packages and also allow any outside catering or we can provide it. http://experiencewyman.org/packages/wedding/
Jordan Lanham January 28, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Hi Barbara! Thanks for the comment. This edition of Patch Pro has ended and we have a new topic for this week. We will revisit wedding planning again soon!
Jordan Lanham January 28, 2013 at 06:10 PM
Thanks for sharing this information Jeff!


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