Let’s face it. Wedding planning can be a pain. Every detail has to be planned and accounted for, plus it has to match a vision that some girls (and guys) have in mind, sometimes since childhood. Fortunately, Jefferson City has many options to choose from when building your special day.

From venues to gowns and tuxes to photographers to food, you can easily find exactly what you are looking for close to home.

Kempker’s Back 40, only 30 minutes outside of Jefferson City, is one venue that makes it easy to have a picturesque wedding. Hold your ceremony in one of the two 100-year-old, refurbished oak barns, on a pavilion overlooking a sparkling lake, or surrounded by magical woodland. Then have your reception in the same barns, or another outdoor pavilion with gorgeous views.

Ana Marie’s Bridal and Samuel’s Tuxedos and Gifts, both in Downtown Jefferson City, have you completely covered in the wardrobe department. Wendy Gladbach and Sam Bushman have the tools and knowledge you need to look your best on your wedding day. Ana Marie’s is proud to carry designs unique to central Missouri. Samuel’s boasts customizability. With hundreds of colors and styles to choose from, you’re sure to find what you want.

The style of your wedding is most likely the first piece of the puzzle when planning a wedding. Will you go country chic, classic, modern, or unique? Once that decision is made, every other detail falls under that umbrella. In order to capture that style, a good photographer is the next big necessity. Jefferson City photographers Lindsey Pantaleo and Travis Duncan share some of their favorite photography encompassing different wedding styles.

With wedding season on the way, take a look at some of these gorgeous options available to you. Whether you are a bride, groom, mother-of-the-bride, wedding planner, or anything else wedding-related, let us help inspire and jumpstart your wedding plans.

Styles for Your Big Day

Wendy from Ana Marie’s Bridal advises brides on the best way to wedding shop.

by Wendy Gladbach
photos by Travis Duncan

Your wedding gown will probably be the most expensive garment you will ever purchase. So how do you go about purchasing your dream dress without totally stressing out about the process?

There are a lot of different theories and opinions about going through this — just ask your already married friends, or search the internet. I ask several questions when you enter my shop: Do you have pictures of dress styles you like? Where and when are you getting married? What is your budget?

Wedding Venue

It’s generally a good idea to have your wedding venue and theme chosen before you go shopping for your dress. Are you getting married inside or out? Religious ceremony or not? Barn or ballroom? For example, if you’re getting married on your grandparents’ farm, do you want a fully beaded ballgown? If your ceremony is in a marble and crystal ballroom, do you want a short dress and cowboy boots? With that, keep time of year in mind. Will the ceremony be in spring or fall? Do you want to wear a heavy dress in 90-degree weather?

Dress Silhouettes and Body Type

Pinterest and other online sites are good places to explore many different styles of dresses: lace or crystals, train or no train, strapless or sleeves, mermaid or ball gown. Depending on height and curves, not all silhouettes look good on all body types. When you book your appointment to try on dresses, keep an open mind and try on different styles. You might be surprised what you like. Many times, a bride ends up loving a dress she never would have imagined herself in. Most bridal stores have consultants to help you pick dresses that will look good on your body type.


If possible, be selective on who goes shopping with you. Most bridal shops will ask you to limit your party to four or fewer. There are two reasons for this — the first is that smaller bridal boutiques simply don’t have the room for large groups. Some will allow private appointments if you need to have a large group accompany you on your shopping trip. The second reason is that a diverse group with many opinions can make the appointment more stressful for the bride. The worst thing that can happen is the bride finding the “perfect” dress and having a loved one be vocal about how bad they think it looks.


When setting your dress budget, does the number include veil, headpiece, jewelry, shoes, and alterations? Or have you budgeted that separately? Is there any wiggle room? If you are on a strict budget, the worst thing you can do is fall in love with a dress you can’t afford. In a 2014 survey from The Knot, the average price for a wedding gown was $1,281. Price of the dress depends on the quality of fabric, the lace, the beading, details you will not see, and the structure of the dress. 

Just remember it’s your wedding day — not your mother’s or your best friend’s. Pick the dress that makes you the happiest. Picture yourself on your wedding day walking down the aisle to your groom. What do you picture yourself wearing?  That is what’s important.

Congratulations on your wedding, and happy shopping.

For the Groom

Sam Bushman of Samuel’s Tuxedos and Gifts informs grooms how to dress for their big day.

by Sam Bushman
photos by Lindsey Pantaleo

Samuel’s has been dressing Jefferson City men for their special occasions for 43 years. I wanted to share some experience to make your wedding tux shopping a little easier.

Buy or Rent?

While some decide to buy their tuxes, most tend to rent. If you are someone who will need a tux for future events, you may want to purchase one. Otherwise, renting is the way to go. Samuel’s has a wide variety of options and combinations to choose from.

Formal or Informal?

Weddings are changing: they’re becoming more informal, and they’re often being held outdoors. In these situations, you may decide not to go for a full tuxedo. Instead, simply forgo the jacket and/or vest.


Depending on location, formality, preference, etc., tuxedo colors are typically the traditional black, navy, white, or gray, with occasional variations. One of the most important pieces when deciding accessory color (vest, tie, etc.) is matching the bridesmaids’ dresses.