Vendor Reviews (finally)... long
Okay, so I've got a few minutes to put all this down in a post. I'll try and do this chronologically throughout the day, so I don't miss anything...Hair/makeup: Cherry Pie Salon (Karen + 2 other stylists, I think their names were Esmerla (something like that) and Debbie; Karen did my hair and makeup plus all the pre-day colouring and such). Cherry Pie was AWESOME! They opened their salon on Sunday morning at 6 AM!! just for me and my bridal party. The only downside was that nothing was open for breakfast at that time. But my sister ran out and got stuff at Dunkin which was right around the corner. They managed to get my up-do and makeup, my MOH's half up-do, jr. bridesmaid curl/style, my flower girl's up-do, one of my BM's up-do, as well as the best man's wife's blow-out and their daughter's curl/half up-do all done by 8am. And all reasonably priced (I think it was under $400 for everyone but the best man's two ladies). Karen worked a miracle and a half with my hair, which stayed well throughout the next day! Miracle miracle miracle, as I have the FINEST hair ever and it never holds curls or anything--especially if I sweat even the slightest.Bug Light Park: Town of South Portland. For $50, I couldn't go wrong. Nobody complained to us about using the parking lot near the boat launch (closer to our ceremony spot), and since we kept the ceremony short, nobody had any issues with not having chairs to sit in. It was gorgeous! And it allowed us to spend our money on our reception and gifts for the bridal party!Flowers: Sweetpea Designs (Lewiston). Laurie was great, if a little "perkily flaky." I didn't have a lot of flowers-- basically, I had the bouquets for me and my 3 BMs, wrist corsage for my Jr. BM (Laurie made her a snap bracelet corsage which was so cool for the 12 year old!), a flower wand for my flower girl, two wrist corsages for the mothers (gorgeous beaded/pearl bracelets), a pin-on corsage for my grandmother, and then boutonnieres for the groom, officiant, my father, and my grandfather. All the flowers looked GORGEOUS and were exactly what I wanted, even though I had no idea what they'd look like exactly until the day-of. Laurie had even put flowers on the arch we rented from her (although I didn't have it in my budget for those "extra" flowers). She also put the tulle I provided on the arch, as well as set up the aisle of shepherd's hooks and lit candles in lanterns that I had given her. All of this (including delivery to SoPo) was within my budget of $600. And the bouquets were HUGE and made of more expensive flowers (calalillies, orchids, gerber daisies, and greenery).Only two issues with Laurie: 1) I had asked her to put a lavender ribbon on all the BM's bouquets (in remembrance of DH's sister who passed in Feb and was supposed to be a BM) and she only put the ribbon on the MOH's bouquet. 2) Laurie got lost coming over the bridge to the ceremony location (she dropped off the bouquets at the hotel in Portland) and was late to set up. It wasn't a problem because it took her 2 minutes to set up and our guests were all running late anyhow (and their were park benches for them to sit on if they were older/pregnant/etc.) but it did mean I was sitting in the car waiting for things to start-- which caused me to end up losing my veil at one point before the ceremony. Not a huge deal, though, as it all worked out in the end and nobody minded. Except my brother (also my officiant) who was mad at Laurie for telling him that I had told her the ceremony started at 11am, not 10am. Which was a lie-- and not one that she told to me. So whatever. DJ: Larry Weddleton from Jeff Rockwell Productions. Best decision I ever made was to check him out and hire him! By far! He was so helpful beforehand, helping me organize the flow of the reception and helping me choose the few bits of music I was unsure of (my dance with my grandfather, last dance, etc.). He set up at the ceremony with a wireless mike for our officiant which was powerful enough to pick up DH and me as we spoke. The music was loud enough but not too loud. And because he had wireless and cordless equipment with an independent power source, he was able to set up his stuff without interfering with the beauty of the setting or our arch/aisle/etc. He was really unobtrusive. At the reception, he worked well with the organizers at the hotel, was our liaison even when we were working out the kinks of our entrance, and he grasped the mood of the room perfectly-- all our music worked to keep people out on the dance floor, from age 2 to 94! He really got into it, too-- he chose the super-sappy father-daughter dance song that we started to dance to, before we signaled to Larry that it wasn't working and he started playing "Old Time Rock N' Roll" (he thought that was hysterical). He was especially respectful and sincere with my two grandparents, which was important to me. I cannot say enough about Larry that would do him justice-- he was beyond perfect, even though he was giving us a huge discount because of DH's status as a veteran.Reception venue: Portland Regency Hotel and Spa. Started working with Naomi, but she left in July and Celeste took over. They were AWESOME! From the cooks to the valets, from the staff who set up the room to the top sales reps-- everyone worked hard and professionally to make it a great, stress-free event. They embraced all the curves I threw at them-- food allergies, my personalized/home-made centerpieces, changing seating arrangements, bizarre card-box, etc. and took it all to the next level. Their eye for detail was amazing and they caught things I wouldn't/couldn't have. They were flexible all the way through from planning to execution. They worked within our budget without making us feel awkward about our limitations. They even held a room for us at no extra charge in case rain prevented our outdoor ceremony. The food was fantastic-- all my guests talked about how good it was (not an easy feat to cook salmon, chicken, and breakfast fare without something drying out or being over/under-cooked!). The room looked GORGEOUS-- they did a better job setting up my little centerpiece scenes than I did! Cake: Cakes Extraordinaire. Steve was AWESOME! I knew the cake would taste great-- I'm a stickler for a moist cake-- but I didn't have a great photo for him to work from and yet he executed my vision perfectly. We talked a couple times and he was patient with me as we worked through some options. The cake was a surprise to me-- I didn't see it until the reception-- but it was everything I envisioned. I didn't get to eat any during the ceremony, but I think I will have him remake a smaller version of it every year for our anniversary. We actually used Steve for our rehearsal dinner cake, too, and my father-- who does not like cake or chocolate-- raved about the vanilla portion of the cake. Gowns: Fabulous Formals. They were great with me-- the owner was best. Especially for my BMs and MOB dresses. But they were able to work with me on my gown to ensure I got the right fit and that the style worked for me (even though they didn't have the gown in stock at the time). The only complaint I really have is the seamstress there. Lovely young lady, but not an accomplished seamstress. Buy the dress from them, but don't use their seamstress. I had to initiate all the changes, really-- from putting cups in, to noticing tugs or pulls-- and you can see where she tied the ribbons for the bustle, because the stitching shows through on the outside of the gown. Not cool. Especially not for what the alterations cost. My MOH and mom had to get their dresses altered FURTHER by an independent seamstress (who was not happy with the quality of the work she had to fix).Seamstress #2: I don't know who my sister and mom used (it was my sister's in-laws' recommendation down in SoPo) but I used Veronica's Creations in Greene for my Jr. BM's dress. She was awesome, charged one flat fee for the alterations, and I wish I had used her for my gown. Bummer. But now I know for next time? LOLJewelry: Eco-Elegance in Portland. Wedding consignment shop. Owner is sweet, honest, forthright, and really helpful. Ended up buying a great pair of earrings instead of a necklace and she was absolutely right about the change! And I got the earrings at a great price! If I decide to consign my gown, I'll do it through her, to be sure!Table Runners: www.tableclothsfactory.com was a god-send! I could NOT find regular cloth table runners-- they were all either organza or satin. For a Sunday brunch wedding reception (and use afterwards), I didn't want anything too fancy or evening-only-appropriate. They responded to my email request and produced! For $2 or $3 each (I can't remember now which it was), I bought 12 table runners in a variety of my wedding colours (I had a fall palette plus navy blue, which was in my gown). The look really tied the tables in with the theme of the wedding, the runners looked elegant (but not too elegant) and broke up the all-white table settings perfectly. Quick shipping, great customer service. Can't recommend them enough!I think that's all of them! (Phew!) If I think of any more, I'll sing out. And if anyone has any more questions about these reviews, please feel free to email me at dbbucar at gmail dot com. I'm happy to speak more about any of the vendors. I had the BEST time (even though I hate being the center of attention like that)-- and a lot of that was due to my great vendors! And, of course, my FELLOW KNOTTIES! I COULDN'T HAVE DONE ANY OF THIS WITHOUT YOU!! LOVE YOU ALL!!
"Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky." -- Ranier Maria Rilke Me:37 MH:38 TTC since Oct 2011 BFP/Beta#1: 13 6/20/12; Beta#2: 20 6/22/12; MC/Beta#3: 9 6/27/12 BFP#2/Beta#1: 9/21/12 S/PAIFW
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