Overall – A Our beach wedding was amazing! Weather couldn’t have been better! There was not one cloud in the sky and it was warm enough throughout the day and night. We purposely had a small wedding (about 80 people/3 bridesmaids/3 groomsmen) and it was the best decision we made. Not only was it better for our budget, but I felt like I really got a chance to see and talk to everyone at the wedding. Engagement Party – The White Whale (Seaford) A+++ Food was awesome, price was awesome and they even have a nice outdoor space right on the canal. Unfortunately it happened to have been about 95++ degrees that day so it was hard to stay cool, so some people headed inside. Rings – Blue Nile and Michael C. Fina A+++ My husband got my rings from Blue Nile and I love them! Great quality and price and no hassle. I happen to be passing by Michael C. Fina since its right by my job one day and they were having a huge wedding sale, so I took advantage and got FH a nice wedding band for an awesome price – so I definitely scored here. Dress/Veil – Kleinfelds A+ My dress is by LianCarlo (Style 3867). One of the few reasons I decided to go to Kleinfelds is because they are the ONLY bridal salon in NY State that sells this designer, so naturally, I had to try on the dress. I loved it but continued to try on dresses at almost every bridal store in NY and in the end, decided that this was”the one.” I didn’t have such a great experience with my first consultant, but I called back for a second appt. and let them know to give me a new one and they were very accommodating. They worked hard to work with my budget and I was really surprised at how willing they were to help me out. As far as the alterations dept. was concerned – they are TOP NOTCH (Akelina was my seamstress). They really turned my dress into something special and made suggestions that made it so much better than what it originally was! I also ordered my veil from there to go with my dress; it was one of their in-house mantilla veils that matched perfectly. Is it expensive? Yes. Was it worth it? YES! Shoes – My Glass Slipper A+ I searched far and wide for shoes and ended up going to the MY Glass Slipper boutique in NYC. They do have a website as well. I got the Sasha shoe by Grazia. Again, another slightly expensive item, but they were extremely comfortable and I didn’t feel the need to hobble around in pain at the end of the night – so it was money well spent. Bridesmaids – Priscilla of Boston (Roslyn Heights) A My bridesmaids got a dress from the Vineyard collection (Style 1504 in gray). I was surprised that it was one of the cheaper dresses in the collection. Although my bridesmaids did have to get them hemmed because the length is almost made for tall models – but the fit was perfect! They charge an arm and a leg for simple alterations – but I didn’t want to take the chance incase something messed up – which it happened – it was minor and they took the initiative to fix it, which is why I gave them an A instead of A+. Overall I was happy and would order from them again (only from the Roslyn Heights location – I found the NYC location to be crazed and not as well serviced as LI). Jewelry – Lord & Taylor A+ Found super cute earrings – they had quite a variety of stuff and it was a good, cheaper alternative to a “Thomas Knoell.” 1st DOC – Christine Viola/EAP FFFF I originally sought out a planner because my venue was unique and I really needed someone to be there throughout the process to help. I won’t go into much detail but in hindsight, I didn’t do enough homework and I didn’t know any better at the time what I was getting for my money. I was extremely unhappy, stressed out and we parted ways – in hindsight, it was a blessing. If you want more info, feel free to FM me. One piece of advice to brides looking to get a planner, DO YOUR HOMEWORK and ask tons of questions. Final Wedding Planner/DOC – Danielle Elder/Classic Events A++++ I learned my lesson and searched far and wide. I interviewed most of the planners on LIweddings.com and called around for referrals. Through another bigger event planning company that was out of my budget range, out came the name of Danielle Elder. She has an impressive resume and is even more impressive to work with. She has real class and is in a different league. One of the things I realized when looking for a new planner was that I did need to spend more to get a different caliber of planner, and it was well worth it! She was always early to appts., extremely polite and cordial, asked all the right questions, didn’t step on anyone’s toes and just went the extra mile! She understood my needs and is very adaptable to personalities and situations. She was honest and always gave advice and ideas to help make this the best wedding possible. I would work with her again in a heartbeat if I could! Hair/Makeup – Claudia Pedala/Maureen Pedala A+ What can I say??? They are such sweethearts and again, top-notch professionals. They were another slight splurge for me, but it was well worth it. They showed up on time and really worked with what the bridesmaids wanted. I knew from my trial that they had to do my wedding and it was another great decision made. The makeup was flawless, the hair extensions were great quality and they didn’t make me look like a drag queen! I would definitely work with these ladies again if the opportunity came along. Cake – Cakes By Mona D This was definitely the most disappointing vendor for us. We spent a lot of time looking at cake vendors and trying different cakes. It was important to us to have a great looking cake, but more so, have a great tasting cake. We weren’t having any other desserts and we hate nothing more than to go to a wedding and have crappy wedding cake. We LOVED her tasting and had high expectations based on the tasting and cake design we picked out. We were very disappointed to find several things wrong with the cake. The most severe thing being that the fillings weren’t even what we picked out! It was extremely embarrassing since we announced the flavors on the menu’s and I talked this cake up to all my friends and family like it was the best thing! Looking back, I would’ve been better off spending all that money on pastries or even a cake from Fairway or King Kullen! When we confronted Mona about all this and asked for compensation for this mishap, she didn’t seem to believe us and take us seriously – we aren’t letting this go..story to be continued! Limo – Camelot Limos A+ This was a last-minute item for us. We didn’t see the big deal in getting a limo since no one was going to see us arrive. But at the end of the day, I needed a limo for my dress and bridal party as well as to take me and FH back to the hotel. They were on time, accommodating with price, limos were clean and the drivers were nice and helpful. What more could you want or need??? Hotel Before/After Wedding – Allegria Hotel A Like many other brides and LI’ers – we were anticipating the opening of this hotel for months. Finally 2 weeks before the wedding, they opened and I booked ASAP. Thank god I did, because they ended up being sold out right after I booked! We got a big suite with an oceanfront view. It was perfect and fun to use with my bridesmaids and for getting ready. There were definitely some things missing that showed that construction was still underway, but nothing that would deter me from staying or going back. They are understaffed and the staff is generally uninformed, but they are trying their best under the conditions. My husband and I had breakfast there the morning after the wedding in their restaurant and it was GREAT! Dinner the night before was iffy – but they made sure to make it up to us – they are trying hard to make up for their mistakes and mishaps. Photography – Denise Chastain/Modern Wedding Photography – A+ When I set out to look for a photographer – I knew I didn’t want someone to tell me to think of a happy place and pose like an idiot (like in napoleon dynamite) – I wanted something modern and a journalistic approach. I found her and I knew from our first meeting that she would be amazing! After seeing the amazing proofs and judging from the wedding slideshow teaser pics – the money was WELL SPENT! She was super pleasant to work with on the day of – she wasn’t intrusive or in any one’s way. Her and her assistant were professional, on time and understood how to capture the wedding day. I hope to work with her again one day! Florist – Flower Michele (John) A+ They were great to work with. I wanted a florist that could think outside the box and give us something different and fresh. We found that in Flower Michele and had a pleasant experience working with them and they really took the time to get things right. I was a little disappointed in my bridesmaids bo-k’s, but that was mostly my fault. I said I hated roses but then I somehow picked a garden rose in the middle of all the planning. Caterer – SpeakEasy Caterers A+ Not being a Long Beach or Atlantic Beach native, I had never heard of this catering vendor or their restaurant. I was super happy to work with them after the tasting. It was amazing and I never felt so happy to have food at a wedding! Ben (who I worked with) was super accommodating and was such a sweetheart to deal with. If I ever needed anything, he always responded in a timely manner and put things at ease and into perspective. I would work with them again if the opportunity came up. Guests raved about the food and I couldn’t have asked for better service throughout. Favors – Godiva Truffles (Roosevelt Field) A+ This was decided about a month before the wedding. We were chocolate lovers and wanted something cheap and delicious. We also didn’t want the favors that were pre-packaged favors. So they were nice enough to let us pick out thee truffles that we liked (which gave it a personal touch). It worked out cheaper than I thought since I had some discount coupons from Kleinfelds for big orders. These were a hit at the wedding! Tuxedos – Town & Country Tuxedos A+ Really great to deal with, the tux’s came in quick and they were accommodating to the groomsmen that were flying in from other parts of the country. The prices were great and they made my husband look amazing
String Quartet – The Grazioso Ensemble A++++ My dad found these guys (since my dad is a famous musician) and they really were special! We had a hard time finding a string quartet that was available during our wedding and that could play special rock song arrangements. We had the string quartet specially arrange for guests to arrive to “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica, and have me walk down the aisle to “All I want Is U” by U2…and some other amazing rock songs during the ceremony!!!! They sounded amazing on the beach and played rock songs thru cocktail hour and everyone LOVED it. I plan on hiring them again someday soon to hear the wonderful music they played
Band – The Bronx Horns (Latin Jazz) A++++ Amazing…because my dad is a latin jazz musician and I’m half Puerto Rican, we had to have a live band in addition to the DJ. So naturally, my dad’s band and his friends played for half of the wedding – they were great and always a class-act if anyone needs a latin jazz band. Invitations – Laurie Coreas - B Things started off great; I gave her a mock-up of an invitation I designed and hired her to take it up a notch. She did and it was ok. It took a lot of back and forth to get it right and it was. Only thing I didn’t care for was that it ended up on her companies’ blog and when I asked her to remove it, she didn’t want to because our contract stated that it’s her final art work and she can use it for marketing purposes. In my opinion, if a client has an issue and they want something removed – you do it – so many other good things will come along that can be showcased. but whatever – it wasn’t a fight worth pursuing in the grand scheme of things. Escort Cards/Table Numbers/Programs – Me A++++ Since I design invitations and other stuff at my job all the time, I put my skills to work and created some great pieces. Paper I got from Staples. I always thought that if I ever lost my job, I would create wedding invitations and other wedding stuff…. Travel Agent – Travel Tom (American Express Travel) A+ Tom was great – I especially love the fact of how reachable he is. I am a phone person and sometimes I didn’t have time to get to stuff until late after work – so that was a huge plus for me. He was so helpful with helping us pick a resort, the prices were great and he was super helpful during the whole swine flu outbreak when we were thinking of alternative places and holding out to see how conditions would change as the wedding approached. And didn’t push us into anything we wouldn’t be comfortable with. I would book with him again. Honeymoon – Excellence Playa Mujeres A+ This resort was everything we hoped it would be and more. After all the swine flu news broke out, we were scared and like many others, considered booking elsewhere, but we got some discounts on our honeymoon if we kept it, and we are sooo glad we did. There really is nothing to be afraid of, and I probably have a higher chance of getting swine flu in NY than in Mexico. Everything was super clean and sanitized, the rooms and grounds were as the website promised. The staff was AMAZINGLY FRIENDLY AND HELPFUL. We could not get over how accommodating they were (at every level). We spent 10 days in the 2 story rooftop terrace (club level). I think upgrading to the excellence club was well worth it. We were at the club room at least once a day (partially for the endless cheese platters). The activities staff was awesome –we played beach volleyball every day. The restaurants were pretty good – we didn’t have one bad meal! The pools were soo clean and the bars were always well stocked. We met some great people and plan on going back again one day!