Gates of Heaven: A
We had our ceremony at Gates of Heaven, a historical synagogue that is booked through the Madison Parks Dept. Everything was super easy, and the space was perfect for our small guest list (the building holds a maximum of ~ 80-90 people). The attendant responsible for setting up the chairs and getting everything ready on the wedding day did a great job. It was 90+ degrees so I was a bit concerned about the A/C, but it worked great and kept everyone cool.
Happily Ever After Wedding Officiants: A+
Husband and wife team Jim and Connie were fantastic to work with. Connie officiated our ceremony and it was awesome. Everyone raved about how personal it was. Jim and Connie really make an effort to learn your love story, as they call it, and reflect that in the ceremony.
Arboretum Duo: A
The Arboretum Duo is the cellist and flutist team that we booked for our ceremony music. About a month before the wedding I got an email stating that neither musician would be able to play at our wedding due to unforeseen issues. I was a little worried, but they found replacement musicians for us within the week and sent along a summary of their credentials. I didn’t have to do anything other than give the thumbs up to use these different musicians. They arrived on time, and the music was beautiful.
The Madison Club: A+
We had 60 guests, and our reception was held in the bottom level, which included a main reception space, patio, bar, and even a separate area for a kids’ room with a TV/DVD player that was well-utilized. The Madison Club also has rooms that would accommodate larger guest lists, and they are all beautiful. The food was amazing, and the staff was very attentive. I was surprised by the number of staff dedicated to our small group. I can’t say enough good things about this place – it was perfect.
Amying Focus Photography: A
Amy did a fantastic job with our engagement and wedding photos. She is actually located in the Wauwatosa area, but will travel. She is great to work with, making everyone feel at ease. She had no issues handling our unique wedding party – 6 kids between the ages of 3 and 8. Quality work at a very reasonable price.
Sweet Pea Floral: A
Sweet Pea is located in Waunakee, which is about a 30 minute drive from Madison. They did a fantastic job. My bouquet was absolutely gorgeous, better than I had envisioned. The bridesmaid bouquets, corsages, and bouts were all excellent and what we had discussed in our two meetings prior to the wedding. The centerpieces and other reception flowers were perfect. Cathy, the owner, was great with ideas and communication, and I though the cost was very reasonable.
We are still hearing about how awesome the cupcakes were. We chose four different flavors from the premium menu. The peanut butter overdrive was definitely the most popular – it was stuffed with a mini Reese’s PB cup. I frequent their café on Mineral Point to get my sugar fix. I absolutely LOVE this place.
All Dressed Up Event Planning: A+
Since we had a lot of decorations for the reception space (paper lanterns, items for the cupcake buffet, seating card display, etc.), we hired Jami to be our DOC and tackle the set-up. She was fantastic!! We provided all the items, and a general guideline of how we wanted things to look, but gave her freedom to set things up in the way she thought would be best on the wedding day. Everything looked perfect!!
David’s Bridal: B
I ended up with two wedding dresses, both from David’s Bridal. I went to both the Brookfield and the Madison stores. Both locations were understaffed and I had to do some waiting around at all stages of the process (waiting to check in, waiting to try on dresses, waiting to purchase a dress, etc). The sales staff was very friendly, though, and I was able to find the perfect dress, after buying and altering two of them(!), which is by no means the fault of David’s Bridal
Sewing by Trish: A+
Trish Pulvermacher, who runs her business out of her home in Cottage Grove, handled the alterations for my wedding dress. Actually she altered two dresses for me. I had second thoughts and decided not to go with my first dress (the decision had absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the alterations). At the last minute (three weeks before the wedding), I ended up buying a new dress that I absolutely LOVED. Trish was awesome about getting the alterations completed in the short time frame. My dress was perfect.
Hilton Madison Monona Terrace: D
We had a room block set up at this hotel, and we also stayed there the night of the wedding. Our room was very nice, no issues there, but I wasn’t impressed with the front desk staff or the woman who set up the room block. My parents booked two rooms, as they were booking for my grandparents as well. My Mom had the confirmation number and everything written down, but when they arrived to check in, the hotel had a record of only one room. The hotel was full, so they were SOL. The Hilton didn’t admit to making a mistake, but they did try to rectify the issue by offering to supply cots in the room. My Dad ended up driving my grandparents home (to the Milwaukee area), immediately after the reception.