Hey all, just done with all the wedding weekend bliss, have a few days before we are off to our honeymoon so wanted to share with you while everything was still fresh! I found this very helpful when previous brides posted. You learn so much while planning a wedding, I just wanted to share because I don’t plan on having the opportunity to use what I have learned again!
I did all the planning in two trips to Madison and by email from Phoenix, AZ.
Ceremony: West Circle rooftop at Monona Terrace: awesome outdoor place for a group of about 150 people. The smaller area made the ceremony intimate, but still with a stunning clouds over the beautiful lake. Great place for pictures too. They were very easy to work with. Pay the extra money for the rain backup…it really eases your mind!
Officiant: Father Michael Messina of Risen Christ Ministries: We chose him because we wanted a Christian wedding outside. My husband is Catholic and he desired someone who could bring some of the Catholic traditions to the ceremony for us. Father Michael is American Catholic, not Roman Catholic but many of the traditions are the same. He did a nice job with the ceremony. http://www.rcm-aocc.org/
Reception: Madison Club. They did a great job, very helpful coordinator, excellent service and really good food. I was very happy. The most difficult part was the room sizes – perfect for 120 guests, you need to use two rooms for many more than that. It looked beautiful, but it is hard to decide who gets “second room” status when doing seating arrangements. Big plus was the ease of the package which included appetizers, open bar, dinner selections, wine pour during dinner, cake, including cake cutting, and room charges. We ended up having our rehearsal dinner in their lower level patio too, which was awesome!
Photographer: Red Wave Pictures: We picked their platinum package, which includes two photographers for 8 hours. They were really easy to work with, and did a fantastic job especially considering we were not willing to spend too much time doing the portrait sessions. They also edited pictures during dinner and played a slideshow of 20-30 pictures during the dance. These guys are photojournalists and really find some creative shots. Very very happy with them! The day after the wedding photos were posted on their Facebook blog and easily shared with family and friends. http://www.redwavepictures.com/
Linens: For our damask theme, we rented some table squares and runners from Exclusive Elements. http://www.exclusiveelementsinc.com/
They ship ten days in advance and include shipping labels to make returns easy. I thought their prices for rentals were reasonable and their quality was good.
Ceremony music: Gabriels Horns: Cliff Fredrikson played acoustic guitar. I asked him to play the classics for prelude and postlude and the Cannon and Wedding March. It was simple, perfect, and affordable. I wouldn’t do this any different. http://www.gabrielshorns.com/
Florist: Gene’s Beaver Floral in Beaver Damn. Gene is sooo helpful, especially if you don’t have a whole lot of creative genius in your own genes. The flowers were beautiful and he provides a level of service you don’t get from most florists. Prior to the ceremony, my Grandmother snuck in without anyone noticing, and Gene tracked her down in the crowd to make sure she had her corsage. He also helped us save money by moving the ceremony flowers to the reception for us and suggesting using the bridal party bouquets on the tables. http://www.genesbeaverfloral.com/
Photo booth: We used http://www.partypicturebooth.com/ and they were a hit. Everyone had a good time with the booth. We decided not to do props and let everyone’s silly selves come out naturally. We were able to extend the time by an hour once we realized how popular it was, although when the guests were still in line at 11pm they declined to stay another extra hour. This will probably be a hit at your wedding too so book them for the whole time!
Wedding planner: We used Bill the Wedding Guy for our “day of” planner. I regret we did not get him in sooner … we booked him two weeks before the wedding when we found out our rehearsal time did not work for our priest. It was very nice to not have to run the rehearsal and have someone to guide the ceremony timing and seating. We could have got more for our money if we invested sooner rather than later but I think the overall stress reduction was still probably worth the money if you are not on a tight budget. http://thewedguy.com/