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Thousand Islands area reviews/recs

I recently got married and none of my vendors were on the Knot's list, but they all did wonderfully! I wanted to leave some notes in case anyone is looking in the future. My goal for the wedding was that it would use as much local flavor as possible, with everything from in-season flowers and locally grown food to playing up aspects of the unique local culture.

Venue: The Antique Boat Museum (5/5)
Margaret Hummel at the ABM was an extremely helpful and competent event coordinator. She will help out with any facility-related questions/issues you have, any be very accommodating within other events' timelines for trials, rehearsals, etc. The ABM does not do any direct coordination for you however, so you're on your own as far as making arrangements. Margaret does have a good listing of vendors they regularly work with, or who have worked at the ABM which was helpful to get started. My only complaint was that when I booked in early February for an August wedding is that I was told there would be roll-down canvas siding on the porch I was using. Over the course of a few months, they should have been able to take care of this. One of the trustees was hired to make the siding, but has yet to deliver. This was a factor beyond Margaret's control, but I am disappointed that someone higher up at the museum hasn't made it more of an issue with the person they contracted with for timely delivery. We were also able to coordinate with the boat museum to use one of their wooden boats (with captain) for the arrival of the bridal party and for guests during the cocktail hour+, and for us to either sail or row on a wooden skiff. This was easy, the staff was more than willing to accommodate us and were thrilled we wanted to get into a wooden rowboat!

Flowers: Sherwood Florist (5/5)
Sherwood Florist was a great florist for my event. I had a simple flower plan: I had 2-3 stems of hydrangeas on each table, which doubled as aisle decorations for the ceremony (my ceremony and reception took place about 50 ft apart), 3 bouquets, 1 hair comb, 3 corsages and 6 boutineers. All were very artfully done, and the florist I worked with, Kevin Kitto, was extremely helpful and knowledgeable at our appointment. I described my vision to him of what I generally wanted and colors I was going to use (for the whole picture, not just flowers specifically). He picked up on details and played up tones with the flowers. He told me when I was being unrealisitc in my desires for out of season flowers, etc (I wanted to use all in-season flowers), and gave excellent guidance. The man really knows his flowers. We may have been short one boutinerre, but it may have gotten pinned on someone else...we never figured that one out. My dad was the last man there and ended up wearing an improvised boutinerre from my bridesmaid's bouquets! I highly recommend Sherwood Florist.

Caterer: The Farmhouse Kitchen, Boo Wells (4/5)
I worked very well with Boo at the Farmhouse Kitchen to design a menu that would work well at an outdoor reception at a venue with no kitchen facilities, and would use only local foods. I was very pleased with the result, but wasn't knocked off my feet by the food. The hors d'oveurs were served while we were taking pictures, so I had to ask for a plate to be brought to me and my husband after the photos--if I am paying that much for food, I want to eat it! The menu was simple, but a bit pricey. We worked out a menu at $60/person, but this didn't include 18% service charge and tax. When we were developing the menu, I told her I wanted the final price under $50/person, but maybe I needed to negotiate the menu a little better.

Bartender: George Kittle, Kittle's TIPS (5/5)
George was a great bartender, very quick with service and is a real character. He and his wife tended our bar with wine and beer only. We didn't have champagne, which kept the cost down a lot. His pricing was up-front and fair. We requested specific wines and beers be present, which he took care of, and had an otherwise very well stocked bar with just the right number of choices. It even looked beautiful! He gave me the best piece of advice as well: use plastic cups for bar service! I hate plasticware and would prefer glass for aesthetic and trash-generation reasons, but he said he has never been to a wedding where a glass wasn't broken. It turned out to be my groom and 5-year-old step-son that broke the one at our wedding!

Photographer: Robert Kaussman (5/5) contracted through David's Bridal (3/5)
I was not impressed with David's Bridal to contract my photographer. They seem to have a very JV-level operation. It wasn't really personal, I thought I was tossed into a meat grinder as soon as I signed up. Somehow though, I got an awesome photographer. He matched my desires for a photographer very well. Although I have not seen any proofs, we worked well together to get the types of images that I wanted taken at my wedding. I wish that I would have hired Robert diretly for my wedding to bring his associate photographer to capture more of the moments happening that weren't around what I saw.

Officiant: Judge (Ret.) Cary Brick (4/5)
We didn't want a religious ceremony. Judge Brick did a great ceremony, allowed us to choose what we wanted or make any special requests and he accommodated us well. My dad walked me up the aisle but was waiting for his cue to say he and my mom were giving us away...but it never came! I finally interrupted him to ask if my dad could sit down. It wasn't a big deal and we proceeded with a bit of levity, but I could see how this would really throw certain brides off.

Rental equipment: Amazing Occasions (3.5/5)
I was happy with the final result for what I rented, but it was difficult getting in touch with anyone from Amazing Occasions. They are very busy, but didn't have anyone available even to answer the phone. I emailed a list of changes to the list and didn't hear back for 2 weeks after I called 5 times and left messages with everyone I had spoken to. Two days before my wedding, I was scrambling to find a grill for my caterer, and finally heard back around noon that I would have everything I needed. There was quite a bit of extra equipment left from a previous event, and we made use of extra tables, linens, and chairs but if we didn't have the room I'm not sure where they would have been tossed. In hindsight, I would have looked into Party Rentals from Watertown more closely. Both have competitive prices with each other, but I feel like I may have gotten better customer service with them.

Jeweler: Ben Gioelli (Las Vegas, NV), Perrywinkle's (Watertown, NY)
We bought our rings from a jeweler in Las Vegas (Ben Gioelli) and had them shipped to NY state, which was great for tax purposes. No complaints. Perrywinkle's polished my engagement ring, and did a beautiful job. I am very pleased with their customer service as well and will continue to use them as my local jeweler.

Bride's dress, jewelry, accessories: Sewly Yours, Burlington VT (5/5)
This bridal boutique was blown away by any others I visited in terms of knowledge, having a good eye for everything perfect and all-around good sense. I bought the perfect dress, a gorgeous vintage necklace and my unmentionables here. They knew immediately what would fit and what wouldn't, were very discrete and helpful in the fitting room, and very friendly. Debbie will do your alterations but doesn't make you feel guilty if you choose not to (it's a 4 hour drive from my house to Burlington, so I got alterations done closer: the Fashion Garden in Schermerhorn Harbor, great performance). My mom went temporarily crazy and they dealt with it with grace and made sure to call me before mass confusion ensued. I was thoroughly impressed and would recommend them to anyone.
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