These reviews are late but that's due to my own work schedule! We got married on January 8, 2011 in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
WARNING: LONG BUT AWESOME!
Ceremony: Saint Benedict Catholic Church (Fontana) (A+++++). We are Catholic. But from Dallas. This presented a problem as no Catholic churches in the area permit non-parishioners to be married at their church. (Ridiculous). Not Saint Benedict. Father Dan sees it as a part of ministry to marry people like my husband and I. He was by far one of the most talented and fabulous people I have ever had the opportunity to meet in my life. I mean that truly. He was wonderful in the planning process and made our nuptial mass so special. He organizes the rehearsal dinner and ensure everyone is comfortable before the big day. The church's pianist, Jeff and cantor, Jennifer are so talented with music. It was beautiful.
Reception/Guest Rooms: Grand Geneva Resort & Spa (Lake Geneva) (A+)The hotel was absolutely wonderful. We actually were switched to a different event manager mid-stream when our manager took a promotion but GG ensured everything went smoothly. The planning process with them was easy, they were very responsive via email and telephone. We used the hotel for the reception site as well as the hotel. We had a hotel block and they were great about accommodating special requests, especially early check in for the wedding party to ensure they were able to make it to the rehearsal. GG as a reception site was incredible. The space was fabulous (we were in the Evergreen Ballroom which overlooked their lake), the food great, the service as expected at a resort of this type and rating. Our only issue was one miscommunication as to the start of wine service during dinner but the banquet manager rectified that situation as soon as my father mentioned it.
Cake: Grand Geneva (Lake Geneva) (A+) Delicious. I had given vague descriptions of what I wanted and the pastry did not disappoint. The cake was moist and delicious and the frosting even better!
Lighting: Grand Geneva/American AVC (Lake Geneva) (A-) We did pinspot on each table and then flushes up the walls. It was perfect. They called the week before to talk about what I wanted and it was amazing. It added so much to the room and could not have been better. My only complaint was that some of the lights had to be adjusted when guests sat down as two of the lights were directly in their eyes. It was quickly fixed with apologies.
Band: North Coast Orchestra (Milwaukee) (B+) The band was very talented and was willing to work with our special requests. They also provided a jazz trio during our cocktail hour which was great and added to the atmosphere. The band helped to facilitate the reception and did a great job. My only regret would be that I was not more specific in the songs I requested. They played a couple of songs that I didn't think were a good choice but its a matter of opinion on things like that. I highly recommend the band and loved what the band added to the reception (we debated about a DJ) but North Coast offers the DJ during their breaks which was perfect.
Get Away: Dan Patch Stables (Lake Geneva) (A+) We left our reception via sparklers and a horse drawn carriage in almost 0 degree weather. It could not have been more memorable. They are wonderful people at the stables. They made sure everything went just as planned.
Coordinator/Florist: Bloom Floral & Event (Milwaukee) (A+) Laurel made my day! Laurel ensured the ceremony began smoothly then headed over the GG to set up the reception with their florals. Our bouquets were absolutely gorgeous. They were the perfect sizes, with wonderful jewel accents and tied immaculately so they did not fall apart! The reception centerpieces were fabulous. She just took my vision of what I wanted and made it a reality. It was perfect. She also help set up our candy buffet and ensured everything was organized with our photobooth. I cannot say how much I highly recommend her. She was also VERY affordable and willing to work with any budget by making additions and subtractions up to the deadline to order flowers. She has amazing ideas and was a perfect choice.
Stationery: Dazzling Expressions (Florida) (A+++++) When I started the process of looking for someone to do my stationery there were a ton of options, we live in Dallas and my parents spend part of their time in Chicago. I was wandering on Etsy when I found an absolute gem. Dazzling Expressions. Christa is amazing!!! She can take any abstract idea or specific one and make it real in sample form for you to look at. We created a wedding invitation, programs, menu cards, escort cards, place cards, table numbers, you name it. They are gorgeous, elegant and exactly what I wanted. She is VERY prompt in her correspondence, sends physical samples and electronic samples of the product. We went through a number of drafts. I cannot say enough good things about her. I love her and her work! It made my wedding.
Photographer: Front Room Photography (Milwaukee) (A++++) We are from Dallas and these photographers came highly recommended from a well known Dallas photographer. There are not words to describe how much I liked Eron and Neil as people and their talent speaks for itself in our photographs. We have memories that I don't even remember experiencing the night of but they were there to ensure we had the moments from the smallest details to the biggest moments. We loved their style, their ideas and their vision for documenting our big day. We are still in the process of getting the album (due to NO fault of Eron and Neil but my own work schedule) but they worked hard to get us proof of the album ASAP after the big day and have been working with us to make all the changes we have asked as quickly as possible. I do not have negative thing to say about these guys. We also had a photobooth which was scheduled with Front Room and it was the biggest hit. Our guests are still talking about it and show us the photo strips from the night.
I know I rated my vendors high but it is the honest truth! I did A LOT of research before choosing my location and vendors and it absolutely paid off. It could not have been more perfect!!