Outside The Ring Box

 In Guide, Style


Take your wedding from standard to standout with these creative tips, inspirations and ideas to make your wedding truly your own.



Photo by Sweet Monday Photography.

The Flowers

Flowers need not cost a fortune‰ÛÓor even be flowers. Sparkling jewelry, colorful origami and luxe composite-petal bouquets are being pinned like crazy, and it’s easy to see why. Succulent arrangements can also fill tables to give the venue a stylish, modern look and serve double-duty as long-lasting favors for guests to take home as a reminder of the day. For bridal-party flowers and boutonnieres, DIY it: Have the wedding party get together a day early for a hike and picnic, gathering flowers for the bouquets along the way. Or, have a professional florist achieve that fresh look of seasonal flora with berries and branches for the winter months, bright blooms for the spring and summer, and fiery clusters of branches and leaves in the autumn.


Photo by Sweet Monday Photography.


Photo by White-Klump Photography.

The Music

Swap the string quartet for a gospel choir to escort you down the aisle, or pass over the DJ for a mariachi or polka band for the reception‰ÛÓthe music on the big day should capture the spirit of the occasion. Or, don’t hire out at all: If you’re musically inclined, compose your own down-the-aisle accompaniment or book this gig for your own band. Otherwise, bringing in gifted family and friends to spin or play a piece during the reception hits just the right note. If you’re not about the live music, don’t be afraid to skip the DJ (if the venue has a good sound system, that is): DIY a Spotify playlist with your partner to assemble the songs and remixes that are perfect for your day (thus banishing the “Cupid Shuffle” for good). Just make sure you have a designated tech operator so the two of you don’t have to worry about a crackly speaker or dance-party stall mid-event.


Photo by Sweet Monday Photography.


Photo by Brea Photography.


Photo by J Elizabeth Photography.

The Venue & Decor

Creative settings and special touches that speak to your personality as a couple can go miles for your big day. Case in point: The retro train car from Lauren Casper and Eric Mrozewski’s wedding shoot (pictured above) was both unexpected and charming, which made for a playful oasis come picture time. Antiques of all kinds have been making their way into weddings as well, adding that special something to the day. Traditional round tables with tablecloths and centerpieces make for a beautiful contrast with antique chairs or placesettings for an outdoor wedding with just the right amount of nostalgia. Other times, sleek and simple is the way to go. Treat minimalist spaces like a blank canvas, adding as much or little to them as you wish. Jason Nichols and Jim Colcannon made use of the courtyard at the Contemporary Art Museum by adding simple touches to pair with their French-inspired wedding (above, center): Simple calla lilies marked rows, paper lanterns added a festive faux-ceiling to the outdoor space, and bold red chairs provided a celebratory pop of color. In a rented space, blend decor and venue to create an unmistakably “you” look by having guests help set the scene: Succulents, candles and small pots of floral arrangements serve triple-duty as decor, place-markers and then favors that guests will cherish as a fond reminder of your special day.


Photo by Brea Photography.


Photo by Heather Roth Photography.


Photo by Brea Photography.

The Food

You don’t have to put all your focus on a sit-down spread: Small plates, food stations and late-night snacks quell those 11pm hunger pangs and keep the dance floor full until the wee hours (especially if an open bar is your style). Plan a Mexican fiesta like Lauren Casper (above, holding tacos), go savory with a nacho or frites bar (look to the Belgians for creative sauces), or stay sweet by serving milk shots with a cookie topper (above, right)‰ÛÓany way you choose, you’re bound to please. And you can never go wrong by serving St. Louis favorites: Toasted ravioli, Imo’s pizza and Billy Goat chips have all been known to make their way onto the menus of St. Louis receptions.


Photo by J Elizabeth Photography.


Photo by J Elizabeth Photography.

The Cake

Embrace the novelty (and quirkiness) of creative sweets like bespoke cupcakes (above, left), donut tiers and macaron or cream puff towers. If you’re into personalizing your day, enlist family members to make favorite desserts from both sides of the family (Bonus: Include recipe cards for guests to take). And if showing some STL pride is your thing, the city’s favorite cake‰ÛÓgooey butter, of course‰ÛÓ will always be a hit at the dessert bar (above, center). Pie bars are also gaining popularity, especially for summer celebrations when fresh berries are in season. The rich colors of blackberry, cherry and other summer fruits are picture-perfect against a gingham tablecloth, and the dessert’s domestic nature adds a welcoming feel to receptions (don’t forget the ice cream!).


Photo by Sweet Monday Photography.

The Vows

For couples not set on having a religious officiant, enlisting a mutual friend to get ordained (online, naturally) and lead the vows adds a personal touch to the wedding day. Other ideas: Swap a unity candle for a Celtic knot, enlisting friends and family to both literally “tie the knot” and to celebrate your newlywed bond with the close community (the knot looks great framed in the living room after the wedding, too). And if you love a dramatic finale, releasing doves to herald the completion of your vows (pictured) concludes the ceremony on a perfect crescendo.


Photo by Brightshot Photography.


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