10 Ideas for Remembering Your Loved Ones on Your Big Day

Make it a Personal, Happy Reflection

Leading up to your big day there are a lot decisions to be made. A few of those will force you to take a break from the sunshine and rainbows {or rather florals and fondant} to take a short trip through the darker side of your emotions.


Some of us have lost an important person, not everyone that we love is still here with us to participate in celebrating finding the man of our dreams. It may cross your mind that you don’t want any somberness involved in your wedding day; however you can still pay tribute to those no longer with us in a tasteful way. When I get married the most influential person in my life, my mother, will not be able to attend, but you better believe there will be a nod {or 12} to that amazing woman on my wedding day.


There are a plethora of options for us to remember our loved ones while continuing to celebrate. No one but you can decide the best way to do so. The trick is finding a way that lets you reflect for a moment and then carry on. My mom loved Diet Pepsi and Raleigh cigarettes; but neither of those items really fit into my idea of my wedding day. I haven’t quite figured out how I will be celebrating the woman that gave me life during my nuptials, but I know I will be. I have listed 10 ideas with multiple spin offs to get your brain storming in the right direction for remembering that special someone. This is to help motivate you to create the perfect memorial; so that the sun may shine again on the planning process!

Photo | Switzerfilm

Remember to make it your own…

  1. Wearables:

Place lockets of photos on your bridal bouquet, pictures of your loved ones or handwritten letters you’ve saved sewn into your wedding gown, a broach bouquet made from her jewelry, or wear their wedding ring as a bracelet. For him – grandparents photos pinned to suit jacket, cufflinks of his, lace from her wedding dress tied around the boutonniere, your groomsmen can even wear the ties once worn by him.

Florals | Tina Barera     Photo | John Koch

Photo | Laura Ann Miller Photography

2. Donations:

Make a charitable donation in that special person’s name in lieu of a wedding favor. You can place a scroll at each place setting or include this information on a program or menu as a way for others to remember with you.

3. Florals:

Reserve a seat for someone that couldn’t be there with a single flower at either the ceremony or reception, place a single flower at each place setting {Note: Gardenia blooms are gorgeous}. My sister went a different route and had a vase of my mother’s favorite flower, cala lilies, displayed at the alter.

Photo | Laura Ann Miller Photography

4. Photos:

Display old photos in a vintage window frame or inside vintage bottles for a more abstract look, or even large framed photos on chairs at the ceremony. For a more private moment take photos in your wedding attire holding the photos of those not with us. For him – photos inside his cufflinks.

5. Music:

A favorite musician or vocalist of your loved one performing acoustically for the ceremony, a song dedicated to them at the reception, a song written in their honer, a family dance to a song at the reception.

Photo | Laura Ann Miller Photography

6. Candles:

Light a candle during the ceremony or have a memory candle at the reception.

7. Make the Ceremony Extra Personal:

Have a family member of the loved one become ordained and include them in your wedding ceremony. Or include their names in your ceremony program.

Event Design | Events Luxe   Photos | Keith Lee

8. Up In The Air:

Release balloons in their honor…or biodegradable confetti or fireworks or raise your sparklers up to the sky.

Photo | Susie Vreeland

9. You Don’t Have to Pick Just One:

Create a memory table including special message signage, photos , candles, florals, specialty linen, or everything combined. {Note: use the niche wall at Lumen to hold these memories}.

Photo | Laura Ann Miller Photography

10. Bubbles and Yums:

Include their favorite food items in the evening’s menu, serve one of their famous recipes, or tray pass one of their favorite cocktails. Have a nostalgic wedding cake by recreating your grandmothers.

Photo |  John Koch 

Photo |  Laura Ann Miller Photography


Whichever route you take down memory lane, just remember today you are surrounded by those who love you that are here to celebrate the two of you and your new beginning!

"Na Zadrowie" Christy and Kamil

{Naz-droh-vee-ay}...to your health

Our team went through a few changes last year, event managers left to be stay at home mommy’s and new ones came around. I [Rose here!] got the pleasure of taking over Christy and Kamil’s wedding. Most people are a bit hesitant to change event managers during the planning process [rightfully so!] but Christy and Kamil and I hit it off instantly! Luckily for me, these two had a few cultural traditions up their sleeves for their June wedding.christikamilwedding-107While guests enjoyed “Kamillionare Crab Cakes” [named by none other than Kamil himself] on the mezzanine, the bridal party and family were prepping for one of the best entrances we have seen! Downstairs, a cocktail table filled with freshly made bread, a toasting glass of water and a toasting glass filled with vodka awaited our happy couple.christikamilwedding-589Polish wedding traditions are unique and quite different than anything we’ve done here at Lumen! I’m sure you are intrigued by this Vodka, Water + Bread toast [I certainly was]. Traditionally, the couple meets their families at the table, unaware of which glass has the vodka in it a toast is made. “Na Zdrowie” and bottoms up!  Now for the fun part… the recipient of the vodka toast is then named The Decision Maker in the household.
[See picture below for results]

christikamilwedding-602How’s that working out for you Kamil? I’m thinking Christy might have taken over the title of Decision Maker! 

Wine at the tables? Not this time around! Kamil made raspberry vodka for each table! [Grandma’s famous recipe] and wow! It delicious! Another Polish tradition is your toasting glass should never be empty; so home-made vodka on the tables really got this party going! “Na Zdrowie” {to your health} was the phrase of the evening!


Check out this map Christy made honoring guests that traveled from all over to celebrate Christy and Kamil’s vibrant love for each other! Celebrate might be an understatement for this crowd… by the end of the night, I was hoping to be one of their best friends!


Christy and Kamil are so spirited, so upbeat, extremely entertaining, and two of the most welcoming people you might ever meet. This picture says it all. Na Zdrowie you two!



Special thanks to Dana Tate Photography for capturing these unforgettable moments.

Seat at the Table

Thanks for Being a Part of Our Family

Today, I had a realization. As event managers for 23 City Blocks Catering, we have the opportunity to meet with tons of different people all searching for a little something unique that is going to be the absolute perfect fit for their event, no matter if that is the day they marry their best friend, a holiday celebration for the co-workers, or even a joint birthday party for spouses like the two gentleman I showed around Lumen this afternoon. As we take you on a journey through our venue, we throw mounds of information at you, talk about the tiny details and the big ones, answer questions including the ever popular “What haven’t I asked that I should ask?”, and really paint the picture of your event. That is, in fact, our job, to teach you about our venue so you can make the most educated decision for yourself and your event.

Now there are times where coordinators and potential clients just click! They have an instantaneous connection and it’s as if you are planning with your best friend. There are other times where potential clients are more reserved, trying really just take it all in. There are ones who hold nothing back and throw it all at us, and always a few that believe they are never going to get everything done or taken care of in time. However, all of these potential clients have one specific commonality after they safely secure that date as theirs: They become part of our family.

This afternoon as I walked my two gentlemen down from the mezzanine area, another coordinator had a tasting for one of her Winter clients happening simultaneously. Now at our tastings, we get into the real nitty gritty of your event. We want to know everything, and we are going to ask you a million and one questions to help you stay on your decision-making track because you’re getting to crunch time people. But we also have conversation. We talk about your younger sister that flew in who just got a job at that PR firm in NY. We talk about your new puppy that is tearing the house to pieces, which is why the new furniture isn’t being ordered yet. We joke around with dad who says he plans on doing a video montage of the “ugly” years. Because we don’t just care about your event, we care about you and your family.

It appeared as if they just finished their second entree course and were getting some refills on wine, when the table burst out into a laugh that filled the rarely empty space. As this happened, one of the gentleman turned to me and said “Man, that family is having an absolutely wonderful time!” It was at that moment that it hit me. This man had no idea that of the seven seated at the table, one of them was our coordinator, Courtney. He just viewed them as one big happy family enjoying incredible food, drink and the company of one another.

When you host an event with 23 City Blocks Catering, you are not just another date or couple. You have a story to tell, and our purpose is to help you do that. We are here to offer advice on which other vendors are going to be able to best collaborate in order to turn your vision into a reality. We are here to revise menu after menu after menu until we have one that you feel is a reflection of who you are. We are even here for when you need someone to complain to about how your Maid of Honor is being a total b*tch about the bridemaids’ dresses right now. We are here because we truly care. Yes, we want your event to go perfect because as a company, that is what we strive for day in and day out. But as event managers, we want it for that and so much more. You have trusted us, you have confided in us, you have made us your go-to, you accepted the seat at our dinner table and we want nothing more than to prove you made the right decision in doing so. Now we may not always agree [blue lighting during dinner service is not going to make your meal look the most appealing], but when you decide to say yes to us, you are no longer just a client, or even just a friend, you become part of our family and for that, I want to say thank you.



Photo Courtesy of Parenthood & The Bravermans

Love Is Sweeter...

...Than Cake Alone

You’ve already chosen your one man, who says you only get one dessert? Maybe it’s just us, but we can never get enough variety in our sugar.

LAM.MK.Married-669Laulie Cakes | Stems 4 Weddings | Lauren Ann Miller Photography

 Lucky 034Lucky 036 | Kelly Manno Photography | Sarah’s Cake Shop


Incorporate your favorite indulgences! Macaroons? Yes, please! Surprise your out of town guests with St. Louis’ signature Gooey Butter Cake as a nod to your city. They’ll never forget tasting their first bite at your reception!


Stems 4 Weddings  | Lauren Ann Miller Photography 

The wedding cake VS cupcake debate is never ending. We say on your big day… BOTH! Dessert stations with bite sized assorted goodness allows your guests to choose their own ending to the fabulous dinner. Plus, they’ll have the chance to take two… or three! A little dessert never hurt!


Laulie Cakes | Stems 4 Weddings  | Lauren Ann Miller Photography 

Of course, you can have a wedding cake as well so you don’t have to forgo the cake cutting portion and miss out on smashing it in your Groom’s face. This miniature wedding cake was a great addition to Meghan and Kurt’s desserts.

LAM.MK.Married-752 “Let them eat cake, TOO!”

LAM.MK.Married-756Laulie Cakes Lauren Ann Miller Photography 

Eat more sugar, it will only make you sweeter!


| Meghan and Kurt Krieger | Mr. & Mrs. Wedding EventsLauren Ann Miller Photography 

We'll let them tell you...

From Within

Sometimes we blush when we have to write about ourselves. Since our cheeks are already rosy enough from this St. Louis summer heat, we decided to share a few thoughts of our previous clients who have hosted their special events with us at Lumen this year.

  • “Loved the fact that you already have great furniture, which left little to rent additionally.”  – January 2016
  • “Our Event Manager was a perfect host and the Chef made fabulous vegan options.” – January 2016
  • “Staff is professional, helpful, and friendly. Everyone went above and beyond.” – March 2016
  • “I don’t have enough words to express how happy I am to have had my wedding at Lumen. From synchronized service to cleanup at the end of the night, everything went off without a hitch. I also really appreciate the kitchen staff for taking the time and effort to make a complicated Serbian dish as one of my entree choices.” – May 2016
  • “The staff was exceptionally friendly. I stepped in front of one of the staff members while he was serving a guest of mine. I apologized because I realized what I had done, He said ‘It’s no problem ma’am this is your day, please do not worry about me and the staff.’ That moment touched me and resonated as being the true tone of every employee at Lumen.” – June 2016
  • “The portions were tremendous along with flavor, presentation, and creativity. All of our guests raved about the food. They could not get over how good it was.”  – June 2016
  • “We’ve heard nothing but overwhelming positive feedback about our event at Lumen and about the event space itself. Thank you!!!!” – June 2016

We just love sharing the happiest and most celebratory emotions with all who enter our space!


Before Lumen

The long and winding history of our building, from T.S. Eliot to Automobile Row

A little over a century ago, Locust Street in Saint Louis was formally known as “Automobile Row.” This historic street was once filled with car dealerships, auto part stores and showrooms. It was also once a charming residential area packed with commotion as well. One of the most famous people to ever come from this area is T. S. Eliot who grew up at 2635 Locust. He is most famous for his father being the founder of Washington University and for being a remarkable author. Eliot wrote the book, “The Waste Land”. The Waste Land changes voices and locations frequently. It contains lines in German and mantras in Sanskrit. It references to Homer, the Bible, Aldous Huxley, Sophocles, Dante, and even Buddha. The Waste Land is a significant achievement. It’s impossible to not admire the beauty of Eliot’s style. Today there is a plaque at the location where he was raised and many people take bike tours through this part of town to admire it.

Not only was Locust Street a home for many and automobile central, its buildings were also built by famous architects. The man who designed 2201 Locust Street was named John L. Wees and he known for his stunningly ornate buildings. According to the Missouri History Museum this building, originally home to a Packard dealership and show room, this elaborate building remains startling despite the loss of its cornice. The Missouri Packard Motor Car Company building was built in 1913 to house O. L. Halsey Packard Palace. It was the first and longest Packard dealership in St. Louis, and originally housed Halsey automobile showroom, a warehouse and car body storage spaces. Packard was the ultimate luxury automobile during the first few decades of the 20th century, gaining fame as the car of the Astors, the Rockefellers, and the Vanderbilts. Halsey Palace included car body storage because Packard were usually sold with two bodies, a winter and summer. Customers would come in seasonally to get their bodies changed out and could rent a space to store the off-season body until it was needed. Its second owner, the Berry Auto Company, continued selling Packard from 1925 into the 1950s – a remarkably long run for Automobile Row. Today the show room is an events venue called Lumen Private Event Space, with condominiums above it.

Time for a face lift!

Our hardwood floors have been refinished and we are excited for you to see them!

It’s safe to say our “Dancing Queens” have gotten great use out of our hardwood floors. In July, 2015 Lumen underwent another facelift making it even more exquisite for your big event. Our hardwood floors have been refinished and we are excited for you to see them! Not only have we been busy polishing up our floors, we have also been retouching the little scratches on our walls, brightening up our venue… just for you!


Our rockstar team has been working hard to provide you with one of the best venues in St. Louis! And let us tell you…it looks superb. Want to see it to believe it? Schedule a walkthrough with one of our incredible Event Managers and book your next event at Lumen! Show off to all of your friends what a magnificent event you can throw …we won’t take all the credit!

Then and Now!

Giving a facelift to an historic old building

In July 2014, 23 City Blocks Catering purchased Lumen Private Event Space and brought it into The Caramel Room at Bissinger’s famiy giving clients two very unique and different locations to host an event.

We didn’t stop there – it needed some love. We wouldn’t necessarily call this a renovation, more like a…. facelift! Because Lumen Private Event Space is a historic building in the Packard Lofts in the Locust Business District, we needed to approach the design with kid gloves.

Lilly and Michael WallAfter

In addition, we donated the outdated banquet chairs and purchased silver/gray chiavari chairs, hung three new stunning chandeliers above the bar and wrapped the bar in stainless steel.

ChairsBefore Chairs After

In the end, we’re thrilled with the outcome and hope you have an opportunity to see it for yourself very soon! We would love to have you!

BenchBefore Benchafter