I got married on October 8, 2011. Check out my planning and wedding bios (still being updated). During the process I was able to work with some wonderful vendors. I've included only those vendors who travel and online vendors (my wedding was in NYC).
Videography: AJ Ingoglia Films
AJ was awesome! We were originally going to skip hiring a videographer but then we saw his wedding trailers. If you want to have a beautiful video that you'll actually want to see every year....he's your guy. His prices are more than reasonable and he has a great payment plan. He was always responsive and he was great on the day of.....even when parking was hard to find. One of THE BEST decisions we made was hiring AJ. Check out my wedding trailer: http://vimeo.com/30344680
Photography: Dreamlife Photography & Video
While we loved the photos on their websites and their albums we were still a bit worried since we wouldn't know who our photography was going to be until right before the wedding. Well.....we worried for nothing. Sonny was great! Even though things got a bit crazy since time became an issue he was a trooper and worked really well with our videographer. We just received our shots and they are absolutely beautiful! Their packages are reasonable and they also have a great payment plan.
Band/DJ: Willy Torres' NYC Salsa Project
For our wedding I was desperate to find a Salsa band. This was actually harder than I had initially thought it would be. We live in NYC....it should've been easy. But many of the latin bands would play mostly merengue and if they played salsa it wasn't old school salsa or Boricua salsa (I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and grew up listening to the likes of Hector Lavoe, Willie Colon, Ruben Blades, Tito Puente, Frankie Ruiz, etc., so the distinction was extremely important to me). It just so happened that my sister was friends with one of the back-up singers (and dj) of this band. They were so professional and the music was on point! I wish we had had them playing all night long because they had everyone on the dance floor! They were professional and since they read music (not all bands do) they can play any song you want!
I went to Tejani to purchase my jewelry. Lyndsay was extremely helpful and patient with me (I believe I went three times in all). Their selection of jewelry is extensive and beautiful. You will find what you need to complete your look here, however, it does come with a slight price tag. Be on the lookout for sales though....sometimes they provide up to 40% off.
Bridal Salon: Solutions Bridal (Florida)
Since my mother lives in Florida (and she had never seen my sisters try on dresses) I decided to try some dresses last year while I was visiting. I was not planning on buying anything. Well....I was wrong. Not only did I find my dress but I found it on sale. Apparently the salon had been able to contact their designers and convinced them to provide a 20% discount as a Thanksgiving day sale! The sale applied to everything on the store. Meg and the rest of the girls were absolutely wonderful. She knew what I was looking for and she was right! Without that sale I would've never been able to afford my dress. The only thing I didn't like was when I asked if they knew anyone in NYC that would alter my dress.....they said yes. Well.....once my dress arrived and I asked where I could have it altered I received a "oh, I don't know. Why don't you call the designer's main shop and see what they tell you?" This had me freaking out for a bit until I found The Wedding Dresser! I'd also like to give a shoutout to The White Gown in Brooklyn. Though I didn't buy my dress there my experience was phenomenal. Erica, was my consultant that day and she really listened to what I was looking for. Their dresses are reasonably priced and like most bridal salons have clearance sales.
Invitations/Programs/Menus: One area I wasn't willing to spend money on were the invitations, programs and menus (which also acted as place cards). I had gone to Papyrus and Kate's Paperie and the prices of the invitations I liked were crazy. They quoted me between $1100 - $1600 for the invitiation suites I liked. If this is important to you than go for it.....but for me it just wasn't. However, I couldn't find anything from Michaels or Wedding Paper Divas that I liked. Then I found Paper Presentations in the city. Wow....this place had everything you could possibly need in order to do invitations and programs. I bought pocketfold invitations similar to the ones I had seen in Papyrus and Kate's and then bought the cards. I had my FFIL do the printing for us.....which was gratuitous (though I can't see a printing place charging too much). In the end our invitations came out to approximately $450 for 100.....which isn't cheap but I wanted a certain look....which meant nicer paper and invitiations. For us, though, this was a great savings considering what we had been quoted. There are certainly less expensive options at Paper Presentations. On a side note: I actually enjoyed putting these together with my husband....then again I didn't have to force him since he offered to help. We also decided to do our programs and menus ouselves....and FFIL again offered to pay for the printing. Paper Presentations has the covers and papers of various sizes and colors so that you can choose which ones you like or those that fit within your budget. If you're not sure as to the cost of printing simply go to your local printer and ask. It'll certainly be less expensive (though more hands on) if you go this route. If you're looking for something a bit less complicated (aka you don't want to put invitations together) definitely check out weddingpaperdivas.com. My sister ordered the bridal shower invites from them and they were awesome!
Favors: We decided to give our guests a bottle of limoncello and Italian and Puertorican candy for our wedding. We bought the bags and boxes (for the candy) at nashvillewraps.com and crinkle paper at bagsandbows.com. The tags for our gift bags were ordered through zazzle.com. All of these websites processed their orders quickly and the prices were great!
Save the Dates: Magnetstreet.com
Before I ordered the STDs I knew I needed to find something that people would actually save. What better than with a magnet? We chose the image of NYC skyline since our reception was going to be held in the city and many of my guests were traveling (this was a destination wedding for them). Magnet Street was easy to order and arrived very quickly.....I ordered on Monday they were home by Saturday.
Etsy: I used Etsy for three things: custom cake topper, calligraphy and signs. For my very cute cake topper I contacted Ana from Ana Crafts. Her cake toppers are so awesome and she made the bride's dress look exactly like mine! I had to hide the topper so my fiance wouldn't see the dress! She was very responsive and the topper arrived very quickly once it was sent. For my calligraphy (address envelope, escort cards and belly bands - these were around the menus so they also acted as place cards). I contacted Renee Polcher (calligraphywithstyle). Her prices were right (about 1/3 of the price of anyone in the city) and her work was beautiful. In addition, she had an awesome turnaround time. I would definitely contact her if you need any calligraphy work done. For signs I contacted Lynsey Taulbee of Decadent Designs. She prepared a custom sign for my flip flop basket (BIG HIT with the ladies at my wedding) and signs for my bathroom emergency baskets. Again, another very reliable vendor. I also used Etsy for my latest endeavor....personal thank you cards. We wanted to give personal/handmade thank you cards to our parents, MOH and the two Best Men for being so awesome! I ordered them from MDCardsandGifts. Maggie was able to personalize the colors so they matched the ones I used for the wedding. They came out beautiful. I loved my wedding colors!
For the Modern Bride: My sister ordered our money box from this website. We were both a bit afraid that the box would look cheesy but the end product was absolutely amazing! They incorporated every single detail we requested and the box was sent securely and was received quickly.