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St. Louis wedding basics

Ready to start planning your wedding in St. Louis? During the planning process you'll probably meet with a bunch of wedding vendors -- here's what to know before you start setting up interviews.

1. Come prepared. Your vendors aren't mind readers (even the really, really good ones). The best way to help them help you is by giving them visual clues as to what you're looking for. Collect photos of other St. Louis weddings, colors you like, and even fabric swatches that inspire you and bring them along to your consultations. This gives your vendor a concrete idea of what your style is and helps avoid unpleasant surprises later.

2. Be open-minded. While it's good to have an idea of what you're looking for, don't forget: These people are professionals. They know St. Louis wedding planning better than anyone, so trust them if they tell you something won't work. It's their job to have creative ideas, so don't get so stuck on your own vision that you're not open to suggestions. You just might love the unexpected result!

3. Put it in writing. Creating a contract for your St. Louis wedding photographer, venue, caterer, and everything else in between doesn't only benefit you. A contract helps both you and your vendors be clear on what is expected when and where. Be sure both parties are clear on the terms of the contract, and make sure to keep a copy in your wedding files.

4. Keep it in the family. Try to find St. Louis wedding professionals who have worked together before. Often times, using in-house caterers, decorators, or wedding photographers works out best for you because they know the facilities best (think about it: a photographer who has been to a venue before is going to know all the best angles for great wedding photos). It's also often cheaper to use on-site vendors than to bring in your own because you can get a bulk rate.

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Photo: Nicole Welch Photography