Divine Events By Helena, Helena Parker
I hired Helena as one of my first vendors. I would have hired her earlier than I did, but I had to set a date first! I ended up hiring her for month of coordination and I am so glad I did. I am quite the planner myself but she was some of the best money I spent. She was so helpful through the entire process. She would bring up questions I had never thought of, and was always there to lend an unbiased ear or eye. Looking back on the day, I cannot imagine doing it without her. My family would have been so stressed! I had such a vision of the way I wanted everything to look and she and her team captured it perfectly, and in only an hour (Bali Hai’s only downfall…one hour set up time!) I still don’t know how they did it. I am sure there were issues through out the night, but I didn’t hear about them.
Just her vendor recommendations alone were worth a lot of her cost! Everyone she recommended worked out very well, and it was so nice having all my vendors know one another.
The timeline she worked out was perfect, just enough time for everything, without my guests feeling bored or rushed. All my vendors were where they were supposed to be, everybody got paid, and she took care of all the confirmations the month and week of the wedding. A week before the wedding, I realized I hadn’t talked to a lot of my vendors in months, but Helena had it all covered!
I have looked back on the event so many times in awe just wondering how I would have done it without her. It would have been the most stressful day of my life. I definitely recommend her and her team. It is worth it to cut something else to allow you and your family to enjoy the day. I ended up cutting out a photobooth to make sure I could hire her and I have not one regret about doing so.
Mexisurf Productions, Richie Sanchez
Picking a DJ was terribly nerve wracking to me. All you can really base your decision on is reviews. I was recommended to Mexisurf Productions by my coordinator. I am so glad she mentioned him to me, because he incorporated a lot of what I was looking for. He is “cool” but also knows how to appeal to the older crowd. He was very easy to communicate with, and so nice. His equipment is wonderful and he is prepared for any issues that might arise with electronic equipment! He had the ceremony set up so that we had a mic for the readers and so that my officiant was mic’d as well. We didn’t have any issues with sound and everyone could hear everything.
He helped the night flow very well, and even got all the names pronounced right for the grand entrance, and we had some difficult names! He accommodated requests from my guests, even hooking one of my girlfriends phones up to play a particular song. I got compliments from people of all ages. He was an excellent master of ceremonies J He also got everything set up within an hour! Unbelievable! As my husband and I were waiting for our car at the end of the night, we watched him load his car, and I had no idea how much work was put in to setting everything up! It makes it that much more impressive that he did it so quickly! I absolutely recommend him!
Ceremonies by Bethel, Bethel Nathan
My husband and I had a small JOP ceremony a year before we hired Bethel. We knew we wanted to do a vow renewal/larger ceremony and reception that all our friends and family could join us at, which is where Bethel came into play. Because we were already married (all of our guests knew), I wasn’t sure how we wanted to go about the ceremony. I wasn’t sure how we were going to make it different and special. Well, Bethel was the answer to all my concerns. She is absolutely fabulous! I had heard wonderful things about her so I made an appointment for my husband and I to meet with her. We both felt like we had known her forever, and you could tell she had a vested interest in all the couples she helped. We knew the minute we stepped out of the meeting that we wanted to hire her; she also offers a military discount, which we appreciate!
The way she has you prepare for the ceremony is so easy and fun! I didn’t have to do any research; she sent us everything we needed and more! Our “homework” was fun and she always gave us plenty of time. Part of the homework is kept secret from your spouse until the actual ceremony. This was probably one of my favorite parts! It was so wonderful having a surprise on the day of the wedding! I had planned every single detail, so having an unknown was exciting and really put me in the moment!
Bethel also introduced us to the hand fasting ceremony, which was such a pleasant alternative to sand or wine. It was also a nice way to incorporate our families. It was quite the hit with our guests as well!
Bethel was able to write the ceremony in a way that celebrated the fact that we were already married, which was important to me.
She is also amazing at logistics. She has all the readings and vows written out for you so no one has to worry about forgetting anything! She’s got the ceremony nicely prepared on her iPad, so no shuffling of papers! She was early enough that she was able to say hi and explain everything to the participants in the ceremony, so come show time, everyone was comfortable.
I cannot say enough good things about her. I wish there were more opportunities to hire her for things! I guess I will just have to make sure all my friends hire her so I can see her again! She brought a zest to the ceremony and the ceremony planning!
Audra Rene Studios, Audra Rene
I cannot say enough wonderful things about Audra! I couldn’t for the life of me decide how I wanted my hair for my wedding. She helped me find inspiration pictures, and pointed me in the right direction for excellent extensions! We had a trial hair appointment that she graciously did for me on a Sunday (when she usually doesn’t work!). The day of the wedding she was early, happy and relaxed! She had an awesome schedule to make sure all the girls got through hair and makeup without a hitch. She’s clearly done this before, because the schedule was perfect timing! She had her iPad full of inspiration pictures so my girls could go through and pick what they wanted. She was able to make them all cohesive and unique at the same time. They all loved their hair and everything stayed put nicely. The flower girls headbands never moved and they never complained about bobby pins being too tight J My mom has short hair and wasn’t sure how she wanted it done and Audra was able to come up with a style that she was very happy with!
As for me, my extensions felt very secure, and my curls lasted until I showered the next morning, I don’t know how long they would have lasted had I not gotten my hair wet!! J She was able to give me the down curled look while still keeping my hair out of my face! And, she was the one that recommended getting brooch pins for my hair as opposed to actual hair clips. She pinned them in with bobby pins. I couldn’t even feel them and they never came loose! She uses the best bobby pins! (and the yummiest smelling hairspray!)
Not only was our hair fabulous, but she was such a help with everything else, from placing the veil, to hooking my longline bra, steaming the veil and dress. I don’t know what we would have done with out her! She was also able to squeeze in my brothers girlfriend since we had some extra time! She did an awesome side ponytail in just minutes!
Because we had so many girls, she hired out the make up portion to Maggie Hansen who did a fabulous job, though I am sure Audra would have done just as well! J
Don’t hesitate hiring her, she does a fabulous job, is as sweet as ever and will make your day just perfect! It was such a wonderful feeling not having to stress about hair and makeup!
Dolled Up Industries, Maggie Hansen
Maggie was hired through my hairdresser to be the makeup artist for my wedding. She did such an amazing job!! We had a trial, which was wonderful and convenient. The day of she was early, prepared and happy! Can't ask for much more to start the day! All my girls loved their makeup and she stayed on our time schedule all day. My mom was nervous about her aging skin, but Maggie did a wonderful job making my mom feel just beautiful! My make up turned out just perfect. She had written down the changes I wanted to make from the trial, and it turned out better than I could have imagined! It lasted all day and all night, even the waterline! To boot, she is the sweetest woman! It was so nice having her smiling face in the hotel as we were getting ready! Would hire Maggie again in a heartbeat!!
Bali Hai Restaurant
I had never been to the Bali Hai when I looked into using them for our ceremony and reception. I am so glad I decided to go with them! I read multiple wonderful reviews, actually couldn’t find a bad one out there! They have recently remodeled so it is beautiful, and clearly they know how to cook since it’s a restaurant!
Food/Drinks: The food was wonderful, the drinks were great and reasonably priced! The mai tai’s were a hit and allowed me to not feel bad not paying for hard liquor (I had an open bar for beer, wine and Mai tai’s). I never saw a crazy line at the bar, and the bar itself was very pretty! Food was just as good as when we had our tasting. It’s always a little nerve wracking knowing they are cooking in bulk, but as a restaurant they are well aware of how to cook everything well! I think that was one of the best parts about using a restaurant, our food tasted nothing like wedding food! I wish we would have thought to get doggie bags for the hotel room!
Staff: Absolutely wonderful! Jenny and Mimi took care of all my questions so quickly. I asked so many questions, and never heard one bit of frustration from them!! I got responses on weekends, and they were so easy to work with. Jenny actually ended up saving me a lot of money. When she found out what I was going to order, she switched my plan and it saved me probably $20 per person!! Larry was so friendly and made sure everything was just perfect the day of!
Their waitstaff was very attentive. They made sure my husband and I got through the buffet first and made sure we always had drinks that we wanted. We had tray passed and buffet appetizers and I think the waitstaff did a wonderful job at making sure they got around to everyone with the tray passed. They were all very friendly too! They helped us call cabs and didn’t mind us hanging out while they cleaned up!
Location: How can you beat a San Diego waterfront restaurant?? The outdoor ceremony area is stunning, views of the water and surrounded by green. And, if it rains, they have a covered area outdoors to move you to. Also, there is plenty of parking and most of my guests stayed at Humphreys so they could literally stumble back to their room after the reception! No driving needed!
Cost: It was by far one of the cheapest places I could find. They provide napkins, table clothes, gorgeous chairs, private restrooms, a bride’s room, ceremony site, ceremony chairs, altar arches, all the food and drinks and all the staff. And, for all this, you get it at a steal. It is an amazing bang for your buck, and I did a TON of research!! Also, at a bridal show I was able to snag my ceremony site for free!
The only issue I had with them was there standard one hour set up time. More than an hour is charged and not available if there is an event before you. I think that caused some unnecessary stress for my vendors. So, it is just something to keep in mind. All the more reason to hire a coordinator!
We stayed here the night before the wedding, the wedding night and the following night. The service was fabulous, the room was amazing. My husband still wears his slippers at home J We had so much stuff and the bellhop’s were wonderful! The only bummer was no bathtub. The shower was wonderful and stayed warm, but a bath after our wedding would have been heaven! The government rate was unbelievable. It is so nice when hotels recognize military, that alone has me sold. For an old hotel, the elevators are amazingly fast! You do need a key to use the elevators which is a little bit of a pain, but understandable since the lobby is open to the public in downtown San Diego. We had our first look pictures taken inside at the hotel and you couldn’t ask for a better backdrop! I would recommend this hotel to anyone!
Melissa McClure Photography, Melissa McClure
Melissa is so sweet and absolutely excellent at photography! This was one of the areas I really wanted to focus on, as it is what you have left after all is said and done. I had searched and searched and was always drawn to her style of photography. Then, it turned out she shared a studio space with the coordinator I was looking into, so it just seemed to fit. I met with her and instantly knew I would be comfortable with her. I actually ended up making sure the wedding date I picked worked with her schedule before I put the deposit on the venue. We had our engagement photos about a year before the wedding and I am just in love with the photos! She made my husband feel so comfortable, and he is not one to enjoy getting his picture taken. I was worried he’d get bored and frustrated, but he actually really enjoyed it and was looking forward to the wedding pictures! I was so happy she was able to get real smiles out of him! I can’t tell you what a relief that was! She also found the perfect location for them.
As far as logistics and timelines…she gets teasers to you so quickly! Within a day or two something is posted to facebook and quite a number are emailed to you. It definitely satiates you so that she can spend the necessary time editing the rest! She gets the remaining pictures back to you remarkably fast for how many she takes!
She made our wedding day fun and easy. She and my coordinator worked out a schedule that allowed for plenty of time for pictures. Melissa has such an eye that I trusted every shot she took! She found wonderful places for all the pictures and her assistant was there to help every step of the way! They managed to keep the whole bridal party together for pictures in downtown San Diego. She was so fun the whole day. She really let us relax, which allowed her to capture us in a way that my husband and I are so pleased with. She even drove my husband and I to the ceremony site, can’t beat service like that! During the ceremony and reception, I didn’t even notice them. My guests said they were just amazed by Melissa and Michele! They were everywhere at the reception without getting in anyone’s way. My dad said he even saw one of them on the floor taking photos, that is taking your job seriously!! J I just can’t say enough good things about her. The smallest things made such a difference, like teaching my husband how to hold my train. That made walking around for photos so much easier! And my husband just loved her little tricks to get good poses, he just loves “smelling my temple” J
Our wedding photos are better than I could have imagined them to be and I have no idea how I am going to decide which ones to enlarge! She is my photographer for life. Now, I’m just going to have to get her to fly out to Georgia for all the other major milestones in our lives J
Luke McCain Videography, Luke McCain
At first I didn’t think I had the money in our budget for video, which was disappointing to me. However, I had heard so many good things about Luke that I decided to email him anyway and see what we could do. His rates are so reasonable, and he provides services worth so much more than he charges! I wish I could have afforded him all day, but it was one of my best decisions hiring him for the ceremony and reception. It all went so quickly, and I could only be in one spot at a time, so it was so nice to see everything from another angle! I never really thought about the fact that the video is the only way I’d be able to see the processional. He captured so many things I didn’t see! He was there early and was nearly invisible the whole night. A lot of my guests complimented me on him, mentioning that he was literally everywhere while still never being in the way. His communication was very reliable and he emailed me after the wedding giving me an update before I could even ask, which was such a pleasant surprise! He got our video back very quickly and even contacted our photographer to add pictures to the menu and dvd! Worth every penny, plus some! I definitely would recommend him to anyone! J
Shirley the Cake Lady, Shirley Resnick
Best cake I’ve tasted!! I had first wanted cupcakes, but one conversation and tasting with Shirley and I was sold on cake! Her cakes are unbelievable! She uses so many fresh ingredients! It was so hard deciding which cakes to choose, but I definitely recommend the lemon! She uses fresh lemons and it is pretty much amazing! The wedding cake was just as good as the tasting cake, which shows that bulk orders don’t change the quality. The icing is so yummy and doesn’t melt. She was able to give me exactly the look I was going for. She doesn’t use fondant, which was fine for me. If you are looking for a fondant design, throw it out the window and go for the yummier cake!
Beyond the yummy cakes, Shirley is the sweetest woman in the world! She is hysterical; I wish I could have spent more time with her! She is one of those people you just want to be around.
She made everything so easy and is absolutely your best choice!
Exquisite Blooms, Sally Preston
I had seen Exquisite Blooms on a number of sites with rave reviews so I decided to give her a call. I am so glad I did! Not only was she reasonable, but my flowers were stunning! I was probably fairly difficult because I didn’t really know what I wanted, and I completely changed my mind half way through the process! I just couldn’t come up with an inspiration picture of exactly what I wanted. Though I totally trusted her, I was just nervous because I felt like I couldn’t put into words what I wanted. Well, Sally is a genius. She managed to get results that were EXACTLY what I was looking for, better than I had ever hoped. She was able to get these dahlias that were unlike dahlias I had ever seen. I got so many compliments on them!! The bouquets were all the perfect size. The ceremony flowers were stunning!! I love looking at the picture of our arch! For the reception I bought a bunch of vases, which she graciously took, off my hands a couple months early. I tried to have a vision when I bought them but was a little worried they weren’t going to work together. Sally made them all work perfectly! The tables looked exactly like what I had pictured! I still don’t know how she managed to pull all my thoughts together like she did, she is truly gifted! Absolutely worth hiring!
The most fun I have ever had in front of a camera! I was nervous, as most people would be to have the boudoir shots done. I had never met Allie, though you could tell via email she was easy to get a long with! I had about an hour before the shoot to get to know her, while getting my hair and makeup done. By the time the shoot started, I knew I wanted to come back again! She made me so comfortable, it was strange how easy it was walking around in lingerie J She tells you exactly what to do, how to pose, strategically covers areas you probably don’t want shown. I wasn’t 100% happy with my body at the time (who ever is?) and she made me feel like a rockstar! I had a hectic week prior to my shoot and a busy weekend after and during those two hours with her, I was so relaxed! It was exactly what I needed. The album came back just perfectly. I still can’t believe the pictures are me! My husband loves it, and his expressions were priceless. I cannot wait to do it again!! J