Wisconsin

Vendor Reviews for my 11/5/2011 Milwaukee Wedding ***Warning: Long!!!

Bridal Salons (Please note that I didn't have any appointments, but I went to the salons early during the weekday. I didn't give ratings to the salons in which I didn't try on dresses.)

David's Bridal
(74th St- Greenfield) The consultant rolled her eyes at me, when I told her that I didn't have an appointment. I only returned to look at the hairpieces and veils. Which, if your on a budget- go with ebay. You will save money!

Heim's Bridal (74th St- Greenfield) They have a nice supply of sample dresses. The lady was very sweet and helpful and didn't pressure me into trying on something just for the sake of trying something on.

(A) Eva's (Howell Ave- Oak Creek)  The lady helped me try on 5 different dresses. She didn't mind that I asked to try on one that I thought was absolutely ridiculous looking. (She had to take it off the mannequin.) And surprisingly, enough the dress really didn't look bad once it was on. I just thought it was nice that she let me have my fun. She didn't pressure me into any certain dress.

Apollo Bridal (Mitchell St- Milwaukee) They have a limited supply of samples. The lady was very sweet and helpful and didn't pressure me.

(A) Hallelujah Fashion (Mitchell St- Milwaukee) I was weary of going to this store after the google reviews, but I ended up buying my dress here. But nothing went wrong on their end. The consultant was able to work with me a little on price (basically, it worked out that the money she discounted covered the taxes...) She let me try on multiple dresses. I went back an additional 2 times, before I finally bought the dress.

(F for both!) Online Dress Companies:
Thinking I could save money, I first ordered a knock off dress from Tidebuy.com (dress knock-off company in China). After 2 weeks of placing the order, they sent me an email stating that they could not find the same flowers that my dress had, so they went ahead and made substitutions. They asked that I confirm that the substitutions were okay before they continued. Well, they sent me 2 photos. Mind you, I prepared myself that this might happen (it's common to substitute beading and material with these knock-off sites.) What I was taken back by was the shoddy construction of the dress. Granted they were still making the dress, but it looked like a complete different dress. Anyway, I told them to cancel my order give me my refund. This is where things got tricky. They then told me the dress was finished and wanted to send it to me. If I wasn't happy, I could ask for a refund. I didn't trust this, so I kept asking them just to cancel my order. After the 3rd runaround email I got from them, I went through PayPal resolution dispute to get my money back. Since I never received the dress, PayPal was able to find in my favor and credit my account within a week.

So, after that ordeal, I find the same dress online, cheaper- but this time the dress is authentic, and it's carried in a NYC salon that deals with online ordering. www.thebridalshop.com (aka www.bridalworks.com.) I see that the dress is in stock, so I order it. Here's where I made my mistake. I assumed that since the website said it was inventory, I would get it within a couple of weeks, like what the website states. However, after I placed the order, it said the dress would be delivered within 2 months. I didn't sweat it, since it allowed time for alterations. Well delivery date is less than a week away and I find it a little odd that I haven't received any tracking info via email. I check my order, and website form says "no order found." I call immediately and was told that there website order status form wasn't working and to call back if the dress is not received by the date stated on my reciept.

Dress never comes. After 2 unanswered voice messages, I call again and I finally get a person; he tells me he'll call me back. I give him 2 days, and I call him again. This time he "promises" to call me back within the hour. He does call back, a day later. He informs me that my dress order was never placed because Mori Lee had a production hold on the dress. It will be available in another 2 months. I can't wait that long and he said he'll call me back. Another 2 days go by and I call him.

I tell him to refund my credit card at this point. He says, "As it states on our website we have a no refund policy, but what I can do is exchange it for a similar like dress." I  inform him I never received a dress to exchange in the first place and I want that particular dress that I ordered. He tells me he'll see what he can do and call me back. (Oh he also said he would be willing to pick out a dress for me- ha ha ha. like I'm going to let a total stranger pick out my dress!)

At this point, I go through my credit card resolution department to resolve the case. They found in my favor.
So, if you must go through this route- USE YOUR CREDIT CARD to pay for an online dress. That in itself saved me from getting screwed.

Alterations:
(A+) Fig Leaves (in Dover, off Hwy 20 between Waterford and Racine) Carol and Virgina are partners who work out of Virginia's home. They are both so kind and  very reasonable. It was about $105.00 to shorten 6 layers of fabric, take the dress in about 1 1/5" in the center, add a slip underneath (so the itchy crinoline material didn't drive me yup the wall), and pressed it. When I went for my second fitting, the dress fit like a glove & I was able to take it home right then. They have an awesome way of wrapping the dress in a bed-sheet so that it won't get all wrinkled or damaged for the big day.

Flowers:
(A+) Sam's Club I ordered online. For about $280.00. (I was charged 10% extra since I didn't have a club membership) I received 250 beautiful flowers. Only 3 were broken. With the exception of adding flower plant food, I followed the directions exactly. Allow for some time to set them up (I had help decorating my ceremony/reception venue) and have a few hours set aside when you have them delivered to your doorstep for prepping. I got so many compliments how beautiful they were- no one suspected that they came from Sam's.

After a few trial and errors, sister-in-law and I made 2 bouquets (one for me the bride, and another for the MOH.) We also made 8 boutonnieres out of red roses for my step-kids, FOB, & grandparents. (Spent $8.00 on roses at the local Pick n' Save.) Search YouTube videos- they were very helpful! But keep in mind, this is definitely a DIY project. You will need to budget time to do this.I ordered Red, Orange, and Yellow Gerbera Daises.

Venue:
(A) Wil-o-Way Facility, Grant Park (South Milwaukee) The only reason why I'm not giving it an A+ is because the bathrooms could use a re-painting. There is one sink in the women's bathroom that has a hard yellow water stain on it that bothered me in the beginning, but became little concern on my big day. A friend told me that she was nervous to use the stalls, because they had curtains for stall doors, but this is because this place is owned by The Milwaukee County Office for Persons with Disabilities. They hold a lot of functions for people who are disabled and they need curtain doors so that mentally disabled people don't accidentally lock themselves inside.

The maintenance guy "Tim" went above and beyond to help me on my big day. I went a little over my reservation time setting up (you rent by the hour), and he was kind enough to forgive it rather than charge me extra. He even helped clean up (which was not required!) He let me borrow a pair of scissors and bottle opener and even lit the fireplace (again, this was something we were suppose to handle.) He even gave me access to additional rooms to get ready in.

The outside setting itself is gorgeous. (My 11/5/11 ceremony & reception was held inside the building, because it was too cold.) It was very warm and cozy inside. You get access to a garden on the side of the building that's maintained by UW-Milwaukee. There's even a greenhouse filled with beautiful plants. If your thinking of a summer/spring wedding- they also have an awesome park for kids to play in.

All the pricing and availability is visible on their website.They have mic & speaker system (cost $25 extra), tables, and chairs you can use there. The chairs are orange- but they went with my decor PERFECTLY.

Food:
(A+) All Occasion's Catering (aka Bubb's Big Style Barbecue) (Big Bend) DH & I attended a wedding where we had the pleasure of trying out this company's food. We were so impressed, that we made an appointment with them right away. The owner, "Mark" was so nice. He answered all our questions (even my redundant ones) and was very kind to let us extend the buffet service. (We wanted to make sure that the food would be out long enough for people to grab seconds.) The staff was very prompt, professional, and invisible when they needed to be (like during the ceremony.) Mark really works with you. He let me pick and choose a lot from different menus- so we kind of made our own. They are very reasonable! Our main dish was the German Pig Roast (they roast it on site!) And even though the corn on the cob wasn't in season, it was still good.

Beverages: (DIY) I ordered a quarter-barrel keg of Miller Lite from Avenue Wine and Liquor (Howell Ave- Milwaukee.) Probably 3 people drank from it- so I should have just bought bottles of beer looking back on it. But this can be a cost saver for the right person. They provide you (with a deposit) with a tub to keep it in ice and the tapper. I went to Woodman's for soda. They had the best deals for Pepsi and Coke brand products.

Cake:
(C) Walmart (27th St, the one in Oak Creek) When I went to pick it up the night before, it  wasn't ready at the time promised. So making an extra trip back was a little annoying. The second trip back, my heart fell to the ground. I wasn't happy the way it turned out. The cake decorator came out and told me immediately she wasn't happy either and that it was definitely not her best work. Basically, the pearls (tiny circular dots on the edges) were much bigger than they should have been and the frosting just wasn't very smooth. They offered me the cake half off, so I took it.

When I got it to the hall, I placed some leaves made out of gum paste that I ordered from an ebayer. This made my cake look 100 times better and I received many compliments on it. I would just say that Walmart's definition of white cake is yellow to me; but I confirmed that it was indeed white cake. The butter-cream frosting was awesome and the cake was moist. So no complaints there. They are really reasonable for a "wedding cake." I honestly can't say that I would still have gone somewhere else if I would have had a crystal ball. The extra touch of adding my fall leaf cake decorations really did the trick.

Photographer/DJ/Officiant:

(DIY) Friends. May I just suggest that you have a photography list of must-have shots. I did- and my friend photographer reminded me of what I had placed on the list. Also, do a test run on the sound system you plan to use. And it's always good to have a music back up plan! (I brought in cd's just in case- but everything went well.)  It was awesome to have a family friend be our officiant- we got to write the entire ceremony ourselves!

Photobooth:
(A+) A Case of Fun PhotoBooth Anthony (one of the owners) answered my price inquiry very quickly and was very helpful and responsive with all the questions that I had. I was happy to see him at my venue at the promised time. Everything was set up and ready to go way before it needed to be. I had my ceremony inside the same room as I had my reception, and everything worked out perfect. Anthony was happy to oblige me as to where I wanted the photobooth set up. Holly was very nice as well.
The package included an album of all the photos that were taken for the night, as well as a DVD Slideshow and a CD copy of all the photos taken. My guests absolutely loved the photobooth. Especially the kids (6 year old's- to-teenagers.)

If anyone has additional questions, just send me a PM or reply to this post. I'm still waiting for my photos, but I have some from friends and in this post (click.)
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Re: Vendor Reviews for my 11/5/2011 Milwaukee Wedding ***Warning: Long!!!

  • I can't believe all that you went through with ordering your dress online! I don't think I would have handled it so well. I do agree to ALWAYS use your credit card with online purchases. Happy to hear eveything else with well. Congrats MRS!

    I will post your reviews on the knottie site after Christmas.
  • Thanks for your posting regarding your dress issues.  Im gettig married inthe Bahamas in October 2012 and I saw a few dresses I liked online but I havent started shopoing for my dress yet.  I have been looking at TideBuy.com.  I work close to Hallelujah Fashion and I actually found a dress that they carry but i havent heard any reviews about them I was gonna go there one day on my lunch break and just see how the atmosphere is so thanks again for your posting i will be checking them out ina few weeks for my dress.
  • Can I PLEASE get Carol's number for Fig Leaves?! I can't find it ANYWHERE and I'm seriously needing some alterations done...she has been highly recommended by more than one person! Thank you!
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  • Can you tell me a little bit more about your flowers from Sam's Club?  My mom and I have been debating about this.  I really don't want to spend an arm and a leg on flowers.
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  • Thanks for your posts!!!! I'm not originally from the soutern wisco area but I'm getting married here, so this is very very helpful!!! I would also love to hear more about getting flowers at Sam's.  Also, what did you do for decorations?  Did you do anything unique or find good deals anywhere?  Thanks for posting!
  • Sorry guys. I didn't see the recent replies.

    -You can reach Carol at Fig Leaves at 262-878-3573.

    -Flowers from Sam's Club: It was actually pretty easy. If your not a member, you pay an extra 10% on the purchase. But I still found it really cheap. They come in a box by Fed-ex. I ordered my flowers 3 days before the wedding, and I was stressing out that they wouldn't last, but they were beautiful. They lasted about 2 weeks after the wedding.

    It took me about 3 hours by myself to unwrap and cut them once they were delivered. Be sure that someone is home to accept them and prepare them at once since they will need to be watered ASAP. Basically, the flowers came wrapped in plastic and each flower head had a netting on it that needed to be removed. Also, be sure that you will have enough room in your refrigerator to keep them stored. I had to really re-arrange my fridge and barley had any room for food! You will also need to large buckets for storage.





    I received so many compliments. On the day of the wedding, I had my sister arrange them in clear vases for the reception tables (this took her about an hour to do about 14 vases.) We made the bouquets the day before (You Tube is filled with demonstration videos that really helped us out.) You can buy the bouquet supplies at Dollar Tree or Micheals.

    I was worried about ordering them online, but they turned out beautiful and I highly recommend it!

    Here are some pictures:














    The bouquets:



    Day of:






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  • In Response to Re: Vendor Reviews for my 11/5/2011 Milwaukee Wedding ***Warning: Long!!!:
    Thanks for your posts!!!! I'm not originally from the soutern wisco area but I'm getting married here, so this is very very helpful!!! I would also love to hear more about getting flowers at Sam's.  Also, what did you do for decorations?  Did you do anything unique or find good deals anywhere?  Thanks for posting!
    Posted by brian&liv
    No problem. ; ) My ceremony & venue was at the same area; The Wil-o-Way Building in Grant Park in South Milwaukee. I used bright red and orange as my primary colors with a fall theme. I ordered one bunch of yellow flowers to soften all the red & orange.

    As far as reception decorations, I just bought some Chinese lanterns and strung them on fishing line. I had originally bought LED lights and batteries for them, but it just became too tedious and the amount of light they gave off was not very bright at all. Still, I liked how it turned out.




    I also named my tables after common WI trees, and placed a picture of that tree on the table. I tried to find pictures that depicted the trees in the Fall season to stay within my theme. I included white votive (candles) and had red linen napkins to add color to the tables.









    For the alter, I was able to find an arbor at a rummage sale that I assembled at the venue site. I wrapped some fake fall leaves on a string that I bought from Micheal's and used minimal white Christmas lights just to give it some light. I also threw some fake fall leaves on the aisle.



    My contract included free use of chairs and tables. I covered the tables with white tablecloths and the orange chairs fit perfectly with my colors.

    Hope this helps!
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