First and foremost, thank you to all of the brides who have previously posted. The vendor reviews were incredibly helpful in my planning process.
I had an absolutely amazing wedding experience overall, but some of the vendors left a lot to be desired so I'm going to be 100% candid.
It's also probably worth mentioning that I am a New Orleans native who has been living in NYC for almost a decade. While it was so wonderful to celebrate my nuptials with my friends and family in my hometown, I found it painful to get responses in a timely manner and in some cases, feel confident that I would get what was promised. I'm simply adding this truth just in case there are any other brides (from out of town or in town) who are having some of the same anxieties. Sadly, it is the norm. BUT, I will say that my friends from all over the country had an unforgettable time in the great city of New Orleans and they can't wait to go back.
Now on to the reviews!
Ceremony & Reception Venue, Room Blocks, and Bridal Suite - The Westin Canal Place
- Ceremony Venue: B - In an attempt to trim costs on transporting out of town guest, we opted to do the ceremony in the hotel vs. a church. Unfortunately The Westin does not have any great options for ceremony spaces. The hotel also charges for little items that add up like "tuning a piano" or covering a stage. On the plus side, they have lots of chairs and a stage that clients can use for free.
- Reception Venue: A - The ballroom is beautiful, the foyer is expansive, the dance floor & staging are complimentary, and the food is really good. Plus, the in-house catering/events manager, Marguerite, is very capable, pretty agreeable (with a little effort) and she will do her best to make you happy.
- Room Blocks: A - There were a few technical glitches with rooms "selling out" throughout the booking period, but overall the rates were great, everyone had a room, and the hotel was very accommodating.
- Bridal Suite: A- - The room is huge but it's pretty plain (i.e. Westin Standard). The hotel sent a few treats on the night of the wedding. But, they let us takeover the suite for almost the whole week for the same rate as a standard room.
Weekend of Coordinator:
- Forescene Events - C - The coordinator Reagan Sidney has a great upbeat personality and she tried hard, but her coordinating, organizational, existing connections/network, communication, negotiation, and diplomacy skills were really below par.
- Windsor Court - B+ - Very cozy and sweet. A little overpriced and they didn't offer us anything special.
- Dooky Chase - A-/B+ - Getting this planned and confirmed with the restaurant felt like pulling teeth but the out was great. The food was much better than what I had tasted during previous lunch dining experiences and the private space in the back of the restaurant was perfect.
Welcome Party: TBD - A/A-
- ChaCha Stylist - A - My stylist from NYC came down to NOLA and did a fabulous job on all of the hair styles.
Photography Booth (WARNING - DO NOT USE THIS VENDOR)
- Jenea Garcia - A - Local makeup artist Jenea works very efficiently, is priced well, and did a wonderful job on me and my bridesmaids. Everyone looked stunning.
- Sean Johnson of Majestic Photography: F---- - This vendor made false promises and was horribly difficult to get in touch with after he received my deposit. To make a bad situation even worse, he pulled out of my wedding just days before the big day because he didn't think he would make enough money for the night. This guy is a pathetic excuse for a businessman. A complete scammer and an overall embarrassment to the services industry in New Orleans. I've never encountered such an irresponsible display of accountability in my life.
- Adrian's Christian Florist - A- overall. But A++ for the arrangements - Adrian's is a small family run business and it was a bit painful to have to stalk them for pricing and general responses. Although the customer service element was lacking, my contact Lisa was always very sweet (when I did get her on the phone) and she assured me "everything would be beautiful". And boy was she right! She worked with my budget and many changes, and turned out arrangements that blew my mind. They did a tremendous job. I would absolutely recommend but it will be a test of patience. And they don't use email of course
- Your Event Delivered - B- -This is a tough and surprising one for me to review since there are very few options for event rentals in the city. On the positive side, I liked my account manager, Lil' Dre, and his response time was really fast. On the down side - several of my rentals arrived with flaws - there were missing chair pads for chivalri chairs, drapes with holes, gold glass beaded chargers were worn in color, etc. Ultimately we were refunded for some of the faulty items, but the stress that it caused (my bridesmaids) just hours before the event was not worth it.
- Gambinos - A- - The customer service was great and the prices were very modest (which is what we were looking for). There was not much design to my cake, but it tasted nice and fresh from what I can remember. They also incorporated all of the trimmings that I sent in addition to the cake pulls/charms at no added charge.
- Phat Hat Band (out of Baton Rouge) - A- -The band sounded great the night of the event, the band leader was oozing with personality and my guests had a great time. The manager, Rick, was super professional and was responsive throughout the planning process. The only downside is that their playlist is somewhat limited and they are inflexible about learning any new material - even if you have a special song that you are dying to hear.
- B Nice: B-/C+ - Super nice guy but his speaker broke and he didn't really rock the party. Thank goodness we had also had a live band and a 2nd line band to close out the reception.
2nd Line Band:
- Free Agents Brass Band: A+ - Simply put, they killed it! People are still talking about our brass band. We loved every second and are grateful that our coordinator was able to secure this for us.
- Clawson Media - A/A- - This husband wife team is so nice and they did a really nice job with the video - especially since their rates are a bit more modest than most.
- Lauren Carroll - C+ - Working with Lauren throughout the planning process was very pleasant. She was upbeat and very responsive. By the day of the wedding I could tell that I may have made a mistake. She wasn't assertive at all when it came to "getting the shot". I've been in weddings with amazing photographers who are confident shooters and will do anything to capture the moment. This was not the case with Lauren. She was timid, didn't seem to have a plan and when I received the images - it showed. I had specifically asked for photojournalistic style pictures and that's not what I received. My wedding pictures are very mediocre and sadly, that's not something you can do over.
- The Knot Wedding Shop - A - great selection, great prices.
- The Engraving Company - A+ - This family run business located in Lakeside Mall went above and beyond. The customer was just so great that I kept finding excuses to buy more gifts there! Would definitely recommend.