Just wanted to go public on this, ladies. It’s long but if you're looking for recommendations, here they are:
Our caterer, Peter Schneier at Regal Caterers. I was very leery of kosher food for my wedding but my fiancé said it was important to him so we did it. I've tasted "Kosher Food" before and was worried friends would walk out to get some McDonald's. We had our tasting last week. I haven't eaten so much cumulatively in MONTHS! EVERYTHING was delicious! And he is SO working with us on everything!! We have several special dietary needs and there was nothing we could throw at him that he didn't say "no problem. We've done it" or "no problem we can handle it." He's SO accommodating. I'm a tough customer and he's been completely unfazed by any of my requests/visions.
My florist, Flowers by Rosemarie in Sayville. Rosemarie has been doing this for many many years and she’s just incredible! I came to her with very little thought and then became very specific over the two times we've met. She offered suggestions when I had NO ideas and has run with the ideas I've brought to her since. My mom passed away 6 1/2 years ago. When I brought Rosemarie my mother's very yellowed (not preserved properly) wedding gown, she immediately went to figuring out how to spray paint, powder, color, etc. the lace and material to ensure my vision of using the gown in our bouquets would come true. Plus, she offered a few improvements of her own - requiring her to go to even more lengths but said she didn't care because this was important and the amount of time it would take her to do things was not nearly as important as me being able to honor and have my mother with me on that day. She has worked with my very limited budget and people are going to be BLOWN away when they see what she's going to do for us!
Pete at Wedding Cinema Videos is our videographer. We haven't been coordinating much with him yet but we met him, had another person or two to contact but stopped after we met him. He was recommended by two different photographers and my fiancé and I immediately understood why. There, too, I had specific things I wanted and expectations that are no longer part of the standard package (my parents used to do video and what they did 15 years ago is no longer done). Pete heard how important it was to me and, again, I heard "no problem. We'll adjust.” By the way, we viewed Pete’s sample work and it’s fantastic (just in case you thought we’re only going with him because he’s a terrific guy!).
Tommy Myers at Studio 790 is our photographer. We have had one engagement shoot with him so far and everyone is gushing over the photos. He likes to do at least two shoots so he really gets to know the couple and when we asked, said he would be happy to include my fiancé’s children in the second shoot, recognizing how they are the three most important people after us. The only complaint I have is he can be a little flaky about getting back to us. But we've been assured by those who know him that he is completely reliable and will be just as terrific on our wedding day as he has been since I met him at a bridal show a year ago.
Jocelyn at Lady J Designs in Mount Sinai has taken care of our invitations and, among other things, has been an incredible support – emotionally and creatively. Jocelyn has favors, invitations, gifts, etc for weddings/bar mitzvahs/sweet 16's, etc, personalized individual gifts, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Jocelyn helped us design and ordered our wedding invitations, etc. I happened to have my wedding gown in the car when I went to pick up our invitations and she and I started talking about some of the modifications I was thinking about making, my veil and my headpiece. She told me to bring the dress in (I was picking up the invitations when the shop was closed so, in order to accommodate me, she had me to her house which is not far away). We spent an hour trying to figure out how to incorporate my grandmother's engagement ring, my mother's pearls, and a few other things I wanted to do. Then she had some other ideas of her own. She's incredibly talented and creative. Of course, no charge for the consultation. It's just what she does. She is also going to be doing some wood flower bouquets for my girls to take home with them (so they can have a memento forever since the live flowers will eventually die). I was thinking about having her do their actual wedding bouquets but decided to go with live flowers. But I'll bet when people see the wood ones (as I did with a sample when I met with her), they're going to take a second look or might not even know the wood ones are not real. Jocelyn has also done several baby gifts for me and did the favors for my 40th
birthday party. I've received highly appreciated raves from everyone who sees her work.
Cleo in Babylon is my seamstress. She's doing all sorts of modifications to my bridal gown. Long story but I bought my gown as an extra when I got married 8 years ago. Since then, I've put on a few pounds but I picked it out with my mom and since my ex-husband never saw it and it was never a part of my first wedding, my fiancé agreed to let me wear it for our wedding. Cleo worked some magic and the dress looks FANTASTIC with a panel added (of course, now, the original would have fit but I didn't know if I would be there when I first went to her). She is also going to be making my veil. Her prices are VERY reasonable and she, too, is HIGHLY accommodating. She works in a bridal shop (and has for 30+ years) during the day and works out of her house in the evenings.
Tommy's Tunes is our DJ. We haven't had much interaction with them yet, either, but Dominick did my dad's second marriage a few years ago and he was VERY sensitive to a very difficult situation. When we talked with Tommy, we said we only wanted Dominick. Tommy made that happen for us. Whenever we've called with questions, they've been terrific and my dad was very happy with them when they did his wedding.
We’re getting married at the Dix Hills Jewish Center by their resident rabbi, Rabbi Buechler. We were originally being married by another rabbi. When that fell through, we decided to meet Rabbi Buechler as his presence was officially part of our cost to use the sanctuary anyhow. He has not only encouraged us to make the ceremony our own but pushed us to do so, giving examples of other weddings at which he has officiated and helping us to think of ways to incorporate special family heirlooms. We have seen him several times (twice in individual meetings and twice because of other business we had at the synagogue) and he is always friendly, warm and welcoming. He’s a true gem and I’m sure that if you aren’t interested in using the Dix Hills Jewish Center, he would travel to wherever you were getting married.
I worked with Marguerite Cosmetics the first time I got married so I’m booking her again. I have my trial next week. I’ll post again and let you know if she’s still terrific. She works out of a salon in Syosset. Anne at Rapunzelle’s in Mount Sinai is my regular hairdresser and she’ll be doing my hair and she and a colleague will be doing my girls’ hair.
We have explained a few difficult family dynamics involved to each of these people and I have had a few behind the scenes requests so no feelings will be hurt but I can be happy on the day. Every one of these people has told us it's no problem and they discussed ideas for ways to handle things in their particular area of our wedding.
Florence at Zion Lion in Huntington has been terrific for all of our Judaica needs. Again, very involved and very attentive.
Sorry for the length but I figured you’d all want the details. Please feel free to email me for phone numbers if you’re interested in speaking with anyone.