YOU GUYS!! We just got the sneak peek from Chosen Photography of Allie & Matt’s wedding day & it is giving us ALL. THE. FALL. WEDDING. FEELS.
So OF COURSE we have to post a little #throwbackthursday to all of our past October SSD couples because October creates the most beautiful backdrop here in St. Louis for our most beautiful couples (because you know all SSD couples are the most beautiful!)
PS Allie + Matt’s wedding was our 1st & LAST wedding of 2020 *insert sad face here* & you know we haven’t forgotten about Bri & Tyler’s magical day back in June (captured by Vasva & Co.), but our Lead Planner Sarah came into their planning process 10 days prior to their wedding day so they fall into the SURPRISE Wedding category while Allie + Matt have been with us for months! (& Allie’s sis Gail has been with us for over a year as a weekend warrior!! Stay tuned in with our social media as we introduce our team in the coming weeks to meet her!)
ANYWHO! (shoutout to our SSD couples & mamabears who receive my wordy emails on the regular while y’all only have to put up with my wordy blogs a couple times per month!) Let’s walk through our month of October Anniversary memories together!! (& to avoid a wildly wordy blog again, I’m going to try to stick with a caption of our couple & their photographer & let the pics speak for themselves BUT sometimes you know I just can’t help myself!!)
Jill + Todd- 10.3.15
Jill + Todd are the most darling of duos + their vineyard wedding will always be one of my favorites. Y’all know I don’t hide my Disney love + neither do these two! They had a Mickey Mouse hidden on their wedding cake! Such a fun thing for guests.
Manda + Rudy- 10.6.18
Eek! Manda + Rudy got married on the Allen Family Farm up in Quincy, IL & it will go down in SSD history as one of my all time favorite first reactions! Y’all have probably seen us post Rudy seeing Manda walking down the aisle for the first time BUT look at these 2 right after they became Mr + Mrs! #JOYJOYJOY
Laura + Tyler- 10.6.18
Laura + Tyler are expecting baby number two! Wow does time sure fly! They partied all night long with all their besties at the Clayton Plaza Hotel on a perfect fall day. This was wedding número dos for this fam + we just love getting the opportunity to work with the same families again!
Rachel + Jonathan – 10.8.16
Spoiler alert!! Matt TOTLLY dipped Allie on their wedding day & our team couldn’t help reminiscing about Rachel dipping Jonathan during their First Dance 4 years ago!! Soooo cute!!!
Allison + Devin- 10.12.19
Ugh we can’t say enough about this gorgeous wedding day which was a DIY boho dream complete with pampas grass + loads + loads of candles! Best part is they served pizza from Pastaria at their reception!
Jamie + Chris – 10.15.17
Jamie + her daughter danced to Bruno Mars’ 24k Magic in glittery sneakers + to this day I want to be just like them every time that song comes on the radio in my own glittery sneakers!!
Jess + Mike- 10.17.15
Confession time! During my initial internship interview with Ashlee at our old office, this pic was hanging above her desk & I might’ve gotten a teensy bit distracted by all of the LOVE & JOY in this pic!! Still one of my faves to date!!
Dana & Brandon- 10.20.17
You guys. do you know how hard it was for me to go through their album to find ONE pic where they aren’t gazing into each others’ eyes?! literally impossible!! so we’re posting this pic full of love for each other!!
Stacey + Taylor- 10.22.16
Stacey + Taylor were our very first full planning client! We had a ball walking them through the whole planning process! Stacey + her dad’s first dance song was She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful because they used to sing it in the car on the way to school in the mornings. And let me tell you, that dance floor really heated up when the Magic Mike soundtrack came on! Never a dull moment in this job I tell ya!
Sarah + Mark- 10.24.14
Sarah + Mark are my babes from the easy years + I can never thank those families that gave SSD Events a chance enough. This was an all family on deck to help decorate this outdoor barn wedding at Willoughby Farms complete with quilt covered hay bails as ceremony seating + twinkle lights laced with ribbon + hand cut stairs hanging from all the trees. Every time I hear Keeper of the Stars, I think of these two angels + their baby girl Emmy Lou!
Allie + Matt – 10.24.20
Quick shoutout to Chris Johnson at CJ’s DJ’s for live streaming their ceremony AND First Dance AND Speeches for all of us who couldn’t attend their day in person!! I got to tune in from Sunny California to toast the new Mr + Mrs!
Molly + Jason- 10.26.19
Molly + Jason + their pup Bear are expecting a baby girl soon!! We are so over the moon happy for them & LOVE that they’ve kept in touch with us!
Alicia + Justin- 10.26.13
Alicia was one of the first people to call me when I started SSD Events! She also rode to school with me + my sister in a little red wagon because we were neighbors growing up! So basically she + her sis, my childhood bestie have been around for all our firsts! Alicia + Justin celebrated 7 years this year! Holy cow! They have the cutest babes: Adriana + Jaxton!
Lindsey + Anthony- 10.28.17
Oh this wedding, truthfully, always brings a happy tear to my eyes! Lindsey’s family is one of the warmest and kindest families I’ve ever gotten to meet. Her sis (the MOH!) braided Disney songs into her toast & their First Dance had not ONE dry eye in the house (including our whole team!)
Can’t wait for our November Anniversaries blog post?? Head on over to our Instagram for more about our team, our couples + all things wedding!! @ssdevents
Wedding planning is just a hobby for organized girls who like to decorate, right? Maybe for some, but for the countless lady bosses we work with, it’s our living. It’s our passion. It’s our love for people, for service, for celebrations.
So why is it so expensive if we enjoy it so much?
First off, expensive is a perception, + sometimes an uneducated opinion. Not in a bad way uneducated, but legit not knowing all the work + time that goes into our jobs.
In fact, the cost of wedding services for all parts of the industry surprises many of our clients. “The flowers cost what?” Well the flowers are grown in California (or in another part of the world) which means someone takes care of that land, fertilizes it, waters it, carefully picks the flowers + packages them. Then they are flown here. They are picked up at the airport usually on Monday or Tuesday. They are processed at the design studio. Then they become these gorgeous bouquets, centerpieces, installments (not by magical fairies, but by real people mind you- but we think they are pretty magical). Next they are hand delivered carefully + thoughtfully to your event. Unloaded + set up. All the while keeping them alive + pretty! Look how many people played a role in making that beautiful centerpiece you have been eyeing on Pinterest!
Just like anything, time is money honey! And we would like to shed light on the popular topic of why wedding planning services cost what they do.
What made you reach out to us? Was it our portfolio? Our pretty, easy to navigate website? Our social media feed? Someone referred us? We showed up on Google or a wedding planning site?
Those beautiful, super detailed weddings you see in our portfolio took a countless hours creating + coordinating with a team of vendors + plus our own staff to execute that weekend starting with rehearsal + ending when the last vendor leaves the event. (But wedding weekend sometimes starts as early as Monday, depending on when load in begins)
That website cost money to build. That social media feed takes time + thoughtfulness to create. To rank on the first few pages of google starts with SEO (search engine optimization) + most likely paid advertising. Same if you found us on the Knot, Every Last Detail, or The Perfect Wedding Guide. Yup, we paid to be there so you can find us.
If you heard about us from a friend – chances are they can tell you exactly what is was like to work with us, how hands on we are, what a peace of mind we brought, that we know all the right people + how to manage challenging situations so that the couple + their families could be present + enjoy their day.
In addition to our time, here are just a few expenses that come with running a wedding planning business:
Insurance (business and staff)
Attorney to write contracts
Customer Relationship Management systems
Education + training
Printer ink, staples + paper
Domain registration + hosting
Those cute hats + red heart sunnies that are a part of our brand
The scissors, sewing kits, deodorant, breath mints, the blister blocks that save many a tootsie with that fill our wedding day emergency kit along with loads of other things we’ve learned are needed on wedding days
Time to meet you, answer emails, design, edit, work on your behalf communicating with vendors
Office space, internet, phone, electric
Desk + chair
Vehicles to get to your event + gas + insurance
Staff on Wedding Weekend
And on top of all of that, we have to pay for the most un-fun thing ever: taxes which is roughly 25-30% of what the biz brings in.
Let’s talk about hours invested. We typically have 3 team members on-site on wedding weekend. That is approximately 45-50 hours alone.While most of our weddings, are between 100-150 hours, at an absolute minimum we spend 40 hours planning a wedding. So nearly 100 hours of time is invested into one wedding.
“Why so many hours?” “Can’t you cut that down?” “I’ve done all the planning myself, I just need an extra set of hands on my wedding day.”
The easiest way to explain this is: think of your finals in school. They cover a semester or even a year of learning. As your planner, we can’t be responsible for your whole year of planning + be expected to know it front to back, just by showing up on wedding day with a clip board. Although that would totally rule + allow us to book lots more weddings a year! We have to review everything you’ve done, learn your vision, develop your time line, run through your checklist to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything, communicate with your vendors, develop lay outs + get answers to the questions that you haven’t thought of since you haven’t planned a wedding before. All of that takes time.
To break it down even further, you are paying for our experience + service. My 16 years spent learning + working events is worth more than someone who planned their own wedding + started an instagram account for their business. Although I am super happy that they discovered their passion in life + started a business. Live your dream sister! I am merely saying that there is a difference as to why we charge differently.
The countless stellar reviews on the World Wide Web + Wedding p\Planner of the Year awards are why we cost what we cost.
Whew! It all adds up pretty quickly you see.
Keep in mind we are also in business to make money. While we love people + giving back + our work is very joyful, we still want to make a living from it. We have rent + mortgages, car payments + car insurance. We need to feed our families + go on that trip to the Ozarks.
As much as I would like to say we are all millionaires in the wedding industry, we aren’t. Most of us are regular folks, making the magic happen because people + their happiness is our passion. We work through out the week + long hours on the weekends (missing soccer games + family dinners + birthdays + sometimes holidays) because we seriously LOVE what we do so much.
I do know this though, we definitely charge what we are worth, we charge for the value of our service + the time invested in your wedding day. If you don’t believe us, check out our testimonials. Two common lines you will see are: best money spent + worth every penny.
And while we are always so excited when an inquiry comes through or when we schedule consultations, we know that we are not the best fit for everyone. We may not be your style, you may not jive with our overly excited personalities + we may not be in your budget. I suppose that is half the fun: finding our couples, creating + executing their happily ever afters + staying best friends forever. Because if there is anything you have learned about SSD from our website, social media or reputation, it’s that we are all about family + you are stuck with us even after the wedding!
Do y’all remember that old Green Day song “Wake Me Up When September Ends?” Well, could someone have woken me up when August ended?! Because oh my goodness these couples + their anniversaries are so important to us!!
September in St. Louis brings beautiful weather (evidently Midwest states are the only ones that believe that a sweatshirt can be paired with shorts!), changing leaves, and the most perfect backdrop to Fall Weddings!
+ in true SSD fashion, we can’t help but reminisce on our past SSD couples, their best day evers, + the special places they each hold in our hearts!
Jessica + Ryan 9.1.18
Our beautiful Jessica married Ryan on Labor Day Weekend in 2018 St. Louis Elizabeth Lloyd captured every magical detail – especially these outdoor pics of the bouquet made by our gals at An Affair to Remember! We loved Jessica’s organization during the planning process and her never-ending smile for her whole wedding day!
Gena + Brad 9.19.2015
These two had the most gorgeous fall wedding at Pere Marquette in Grafton, IL. They are also celebrating 5 years this year! An Affair to Remember transformed the lodge with long family style tables, olive leaves + loose blooms, candles of course, + the prettiest chargers. It was the perfect fall day + complete with a golden sun! We adore this family. So much so that we coordinated her sister’s wedding two years ago + can’t till it’s Kat’s turn!
Amanda + Matt 9.4.16
Can you say FAIRYTALE pic?! Amanda + Matt look like they’re ready to ride off into the sunset like they are straight out of The Princess Bride! + you have to believe us when we say that their entire outdoor wildflower event was equally as magical as this pic!!
Natalie + Brice 9.7.19
Speaking of wildflower magic!! Our Natalie + Brice were married on the Terrace of The Caramel Room surrounded by wildflowers grown locally by our Urban Buds! + Jennifer at The Lonesome Traveler found the perfect fabric for the gentlemen’s ties to match!
Brittany + Scott 9.1.13
This was our VERY first Signed Sealed Delivered Events wedding! OMG! That was seven years ago! We instantly clicked with the queen of the Sparkle Kitchen + the Name Tag Guy Name Tag Guy + had a wonderful time planning their Forest Park ceremony at the Muny + glitter coated reception at The Artist’s Guild. To this day Scottany (their nick name) performed MY very favorite first dance! (Click here to watch) Which I captured with my Zach Morris style flip phone.
Abbie + Craig 9.7.19
Oh Abbie + her Mamabear Glenda will always bring a giant smile to our faces! Their big hearts, pure excitement, and overwhelming joy will always have a special place in our hearts!! Grimm + Gorly made every one of their flower dreams come true at Mainstreet Abbey!
Katie + Brian 9.15.18
Gosh, our September MOBs are true gems! Katie’s Mama Lois was so excited to party but that didn’t stop her from truly experiencing every perfect moment of Katie + Brian’s day. They had a First Touch captured by Dreaming Tree Photography that captured our hearts forever!! + can we all just take a moment to swoon at the way Brian is looking at Katie here?!
Tori + Ben 9.18.15
Tori and Ben hosted one of the first weddings at the Magnolia Hotel! Tori + her mom DIY’d nearly all the decor. Her sister did her hair + make up. And her pupper Louie came by for kisses of course. Tori + Ben are celebrating 5 years this year! Every Christmas, I look forward to getting a card in the mail from these babes!
Katy + JB 9.16.17
We are still giggling thinking of Katy + JB! These two just welcomed their baby girl into the world! Not sure if you’re following along on our Insta Stories as we talk about What Wedding Planners Do, (if not, skip over there right now!) but we talk about how our clients become family. Katy, JB + their MamaBears have truly become a big part of our SSD family + we cannot wait to plan baby Juliet’s wedding! (don’t worry, JB, we can wait 20+ years!!)
Kari + John 9.21.14
Are you smiling, yet?? If not, you will be after this adorable pic of Kari + John sharing a special moment together on their wedding day captured by Brooke G Images! Fun story, I’ve known Kari since kindergarten, she was my neighbor up until college. Some of my fave childhood memories are of us riding our bikes (reminds me of the movie Now + Then)! She + John met working at Best Buy in high school + have been lovebirds ever since. They celebrate 6 years (+ two precious baby girls later) this year! My fave part of their wedding is when John surprised Kari + sang to her at the reception.
Caitlin + Michael 9.5.15
It’s the big 5 years for Caitlin + Michael too! We loved the classic black bridesmaids gown paired with fluffy pink peonies! After the ceremony, they rode down to the arch for photos + back to party their tail feathers off! We worked with our favorite Dreaming Tree Photography that day! We love Amanda + she has continued to document their lives! One of my favorite things when a couple grows with their photographer! They have two of the most darling babes.
Shannyn + Mitchell 9.24.16
Back to our September MamaBear love!! We are on Wedding #3 with Shannyn’s mama Debbie! The Rudawsky family might have to become the RudawSSD family! Ok, that was a little cheesy but we just can’t help it when talking about them! Shannyn + Mitchell are celebrating year 4 of their Happily Ever After this month + we just cannot pick a favorite pic from their day because Shadow + Light gave us so many options (+ these families are just so beautiful inside + out!) From overlooking Forest Park at the World’s Fair Pavilion to greeting their guests with a champagne toast to their sparkler sendoff, every moment was magic. Truly magic!
Christine + Doug 9.26.15
Christine + Doug also danced their wedding night away at Union Station! Their First Look gives us all of the happy feels even 5 years later! Look at their faces!! They’re so happy to spend the rest of their lives together!! (can you tell we really love this job?!)
Courtney + Russell 9.26.15
Courtney + Russell hosted their wedding at the Fox Theater! Their band came in from Texas + was quite possibly the most fun reception we’ve ever seen! They ended their reception with a second line parade of sparklers. Honestly it doesn’t get any more magical than that! Courtney + Russell’s little girl Harper just celebrated her first birthday this summer.
Megan + Josh 9.29.18
Speaking of dancing the night away – Megan + Josh had one of the BIGGEST dance floors we’ve ever had on a room diagram!! + Bountiful Blossoms + Grand Rental Station transformed the Hecker Dome into a wonderland of florals + blushes! + we of course have to give our Arndt Photo + Cinema a giant shoutout for capturing this show stopping pic of the new Mr + Mrs
Sure there is always two people committing to one another (or 3 if you’ve seen the Tiger King) + someone to marry them.
Usually refreshments of some sort + loads of happiness.
But there is plenty of opportunity to make your day be a reflection of your love story!
What are your fave foods?
What is your cultural background?
What do you like to do for fun?
We loved that Elena + Patrick opted for a Sunday afternoon wedding followed by fancy mocktails + Puertorican themed appetizers (complete with appetizer flags)! Elena’s father is Puertorican so representing their culture was something we knew we had to do! 23 City Blocks worked with us to create a mouthwatering menu to include tostones + empanadas.
But it didn’t end there…
There were countless things that made this wedding personal.
Let’s start from the very beginning (a very good place to start). Elena got ready at home where she grew up surrounded by family heirlooms while mama + papa bear laughed with the bride squad.
She had her first look with her dad there + read a beautiful letter from Patty that had us all in tears.
The bride + groom opted for the traditional route of not seeing the bride till the minute she walks down the aisle which we love!
Even the recessional song had meaning: You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall + Oates! Elena listened to this on her way home after hanging out with Patrick for the first time!
Once you entered the doors of Lumen, this guest experience was wow from every angle.
Not only was the decor STUNNING!!! Hello look at those flowers! But the delicious food + presentation by 23 City Blocks blew us all away (per usual)!
Since bingo was one of Elena + Patrick’s favorite things to do in college, we had bingo cards at each seat with winning baskets full of their favorite hobbies like movie night, game night + baking!
After dinner, Carlos with Mambo Revolution taught salsa lessons to our guests! This was probably my favorite thing we have ever done at a wedding!
And this wouldn’t be a blog post without me telling you how much I adored my mama + papa bear! Michele + David were such a delight to work with + I loved that from the very beginning David said: whatever makes my girls happy. I am pretty sure his girls were happy! Look at that face!
At the end of the evening the Sobrino men shared cigars with the newest member of the family: Patrick!
Every minute of this wedding so thoughtful!
You know that is part of the SSD Events planning experience: helping our clients imagine events that standout because they represent the couple. We are all about the creativity + special nods to their love story.
Normally I post a happily ever after anniversary message with loads of my fave pics from their day.
But this year I wasn’t sure how.
You see this beautiful woman’s soul left this earth after an uphill battle with ovarian cancer last month.
I will never forget reading Kyle’s words that he lost the love of his life that day. How much she inspired so many. How he knows she will be with him always.
It was May 11. My birthday. The reason I bring that up is because her wedding day photographer, Shannon shares my birthday as well. So now the 3 of us share that day- earth birthdays + heavenly birthdays.
You know how people say life isn’t fair?
Well I don’t believe our lives play a game of fair vs unfair. But this rocked my faith for sure. At the same time, Kimber + her family’s faith made me want to believe even more that she was truly home + we would meet again some day.
We are still celebrating you today Kimber.
You and Kyle.
Your wonderful families.
On your second wedding anniversary.
Your beautiful soul needs to be celebrated + honored every day, not just on milestones in your life. I am absolutely positively sure it is because you are loved by so so so many.
And I know you are watching over us all, but send an extra dose of love + light down to Kyle + Luna. I know we will.
I won’t lie, I intended to post this on your birthday (May 12th) but I couldn’t find the right words. Nearly a month later, there will never be the right words.
I visited Kimber + Kyle + Luna (that’s their furbabe) in February. We talked about their family vacations, family weddings, missing her students + what cancer is like. We talked about hope, which is fitting because that’s her middle name. That girl is so damn brave. Her husband is so damn brave. Hearing their story + their continuous faith made me love them even harder.
Picking out our favorite photos of the day was so hard. Tears of joy + tears of sadness of what a beautiful life. A beautiful love story.
While we usually focus on all the details of a wedding + include a healthy balance of all the pretties, for Kimber + Kyle, we wanted to show you the heart of them + their family.
Kimber we will remember you always.
Kyle, Carla + Scott, we are sending you the biggest hugs.