Dress: Brides by Demetrios (Schaumburg, IL) As a plus-size bride I was incredibly doubtful that I would find anything at this boutique store, but I called ahead and they had around 30 samples to try on, and there were about 10-20 in my price range of under $1,000. My consultant Lori was phenomenal about being patient with me and letting me decide which dress was right for me. I ended up with a strapless ivory dress with a sweetheart neckline and a handkerchief chiffon hemline. I've never seen anything like it from another store or magazine and I positively loved it!
Flowers: Jess Fleur Fun (Waukesha): I originally thought we'd have to go with DIY flowers to save money, but Minday was great about keeping the price in mind but helping me design fantastic fresh flowers arrangements for my bridal party. I was thrilled with the way they turned out and the roses from my bouquet are still blooming 9 days later!
Photographer: White Dog Photography Paul and Jim are great. They don't charge by the hour, but instead have a flat fee for the entire event, including an engagement session and portrait. We spent less than we would have on other photographers, but ended up with all our engagement pictures, plus 800+ photos from our big day and they are all fantastic. Jim was very knowledgable about the best places to get pictures at Villa Terrace and he made the whole thing very easy on us. It wasn't arduous to stand for all those pictures, it was fun! The pictures were online within a week and I get giddy all over again just looking at them. A fantastic job and a great deal!
DJ: Accent Events Cannot say enough great things about this DJ. He was there to answer all my questions about wedding planning, not just music/DJ'ing. Again, he does by event pricing rather than by the hour. He did our ceremony music too and kept the party hopping all night. No way we could have picked someone better. We had family and friends telling us all night how great the DJ was, and the event staff/catering staff even told us how awesome he was!
Venue: The Villa Filomena We enjoyed working with Tina and her mom throughout the planning process. They were flexible with us for timing and made sure we felt comfortable leaving the set up in their hands. Tina was our day of coordinator and definitely kept us running on time. The courtyard for the ceremony was beautiful and the reception was breathtaking with the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Truly a great experience.
Chair Rental: The Elegant Touch We rented chiavari chairs from them and it was a pretty simple transaction. Every month I got an invoice and when we changed the number of chair rentals, I got an updated invoice. She showed up on time to set up the chairs and they looked lovely.
Cake: Brookfield Wedding Cakes MUST MUST MUST taste these cakes. Absolutely the best wedding cake I've ever had in my life. People are still gushing over the cake.
Catering: Zilli's Hospitality Group Despite venue changes, head count changes and last minute requests, they were absolutely on the ball. The food was fantastic and the catering staff was great. We had them do a side-by-side comparison with another caterer we were considering, but Zilli's had the best price, and comparable quality. They also took care to make sure we knew our event was just as important to them as it was to us. They knocked it out of the park.