While it’s true that every wedding is unique, some brides lean toward ruffly, flowery weddings and others opt for sleek, contemporary ones. And then there is the destination wedding and the second wedding—each with their own unique considerations. Read what local experts say about planning the right wedding for your sensibilities.

Fairy Tale

Almost every woman, no matter her usual personality, secretly longs to look and feel like a fairy-tale princess on her wedding day.With a wave of the magic wand, a handful of dream dust and an endless supply of talent and creativity, St. Louis’ wedding pros can turn your special day into a royal affair.


Randy McArthur, McArthur’s Bakery

    “I’ve seen a lot of trends come and go since 1956, when my dad first sent me to cake-decorating school,” says the president of McArthur’s Bakery. “Over the last few years, I’ve seen a shift in demand for the ‘fairy-tale-princess’ type of wedding cake, which is fancier and more structured than usual.”

    Elaborate, themed cakes call for sturdy ingredients, McArthur notes. “You can’t create castles and other fantasy motifs with buttercream or royal icing,” he says. “They’re simply not sturdy enough to hold a shape.” The medium of choice is rolled fondant. “It allows a tremendous amount of creativity: You can cut it, shape it, paint it, stencil it and even spray glitter on it,” he says.


Datra Herzog, Studio Inn at St. Albans

    No one understands romantic settings better than the folks at The Studio Inn at St. Albans. Perched high on a hillside overlooking the majestic Missouri River, the former mansion was once the idyllic summer home of Irene Walter Johnson, widow of philanthropist Oscar Johnson.

    “Brides-to-be fall in love with it right away because it’s so intimate and beautiful,” says owner Datra Herzog. Contributing to the fairy-tale ambience are the house’s turrets and gables, and  also the expansive grounds with breathtaking views. “Other romantic elements brides might want are waterfalls, ponds and luxuriant gardens abloom with fragrant flowers,” she recommends.


Scott Hepper, Diane Breckenridge Interiors/Carriage House Florals

    Scott Hepper’s ideal romantic wedding, based on Georges Seurat’s famed painting ‘Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,’ would take place on Art Hill in Forest Park. “I’d spread picnic cloths all over, and guests would arrive in full picnic regalia,” explains Hepper, Carriage House’s master designer. “Guests could tour the museum and enjoy a picnic, while the bridal couple’s parents and grandparents greet everyone. The mood would be casual, like a French country gathering.”

    As a string quartet played Handel’s Water Music, the bridal party would glide into Grand Basin, borne by white boats festooned with tulips, peonies and Missouri garden roses. “The bride would carry an unstructured bouquet of white roses,” Hepper says.

    Take advantage of your environment, don’t compete with it, Hepper advises. “We’ve got this magnificent park, and a world-class museum that embodies an incredibly romantic artistic history,” he notes. “What could be more magical than that?”


Judy Litty, The Enchanted Bride

    “To me, a fairy-tale wedding dress doesn’t mean a big, bouffant Cinderella ball gown, but a look that’s elegant and timeless,” says Judy Litty, who has been a bridal consultant at The Elegant Bride for 10 years. “What women consider romantic hasn’t changed much—lace will always be in style,” she says. “Fabrics also enhance that fairy-tale feeling: silk satins are rich and gorgeous; organza and tulle are delicately graceful.” Strapless designs are still popular, as is the classic sweetheart neckline framed by thin straps.

    Brides usually come in with a definite idea of what they want, but often end up with the exact opposite. “I always tell them, ‘You’ll know what works the minute you try it on,’” Litty says. ” It happened just the other day: A client came out of the dressing room, and she and her mom burst into happy tears. She looked beautiful. She looked like, well, a princess.”