Vendor reviews 2/5/11

Just wanted to do my part on the vendor reviews for our board since I relied on them so much in my planning! I had my wedding in Austin on 2/5/11. Sorry, this is very long, but we had awesome vendors and they deserve great reviews! Our day was perfect!!

Church: St. Austin Catholic Church. A
This was my parish when I lived in Austin, and I miss it so much! It's right on Guadalupe, across from UT. The location is awesome for out of town guests to see more of the city, and there's great photo spots around, too. Pat, the wedding coordinator at St. Austin was a huge help. I felt like I didn't have to worry about anything because she is very organized and keeps you on track. We had a last-minute priest change, but Fr. Kullman was amazing! Everyone kept telling us what a beautfiul ceremony we had, and he was the reason.

Reception: The Driskill. A-
What can I say, it's the Driskill! It's a beautiful place and a Texas institution. No bargains here, but you get what you pay for. The atmosphere was perfect--we were able to personalize it but still maintain that Texas vibe, which we wanted for our many out of town guests. The food was delicious and everything looked absolutely beautiful. They set up everything exactly to my specifications. I will say our planning with the Driskill did not always go smoothly. Our first catering mangaer was not responsive to us, even in the month before the wedding, and was rather rude. We switched and worked instead with Scott. He is the man! No detail was overlooked and he was so fast in communicating. Very professional, too. If you do the Driskill, ask for Scott in catering. Oh, and the guest rate for the hotel is half the regular room rate, so it's actually a great deal for guests.

Photography: Daniel C. Photography. A
I've raved about Danny on this board before, and I'll do it again. He is awesome. I felt so relaxed because Danny is so experienced and will make sure you get all the pictures you want taken. He's very knowledgeable about weddings and is great with families. My family was so impressed with his professionalism. Our engagement pictures were amazing, and from what I've seen of our wedding photos, they will be, too.

Videography: Waterloo Films. A
Jorge was a pleasure to work with. Everyone in my wedding party kept commenting about how they hardly noticed he was there, but whenever they spotted him, he was filming! He was so so so nice, and not in the way at all. He even brought an assistant with him to our ceremony, and didn't have me pay extra. He had amazing prices when I booked him, but they may have gone up a tad now. Still, he is very affordable and does great work. I can't wait to see our video!

Reception band: The Original Recipe Band. A
I cannot say enough good things about ORB. They rocked!!! My biggest wish was to have a packed dance floor all night, and they made that happen. They learned our first dance song just for us, and it was perfect. They were flexible with last-minute changes, and played exactly what I told them to play and not play. At the end of the night, they brought their horn section out onto the dance floor and played. The guests loved it. There was so much energy at our wedding, thanks to ORB. They were simply awesome. Very affordable too. I think we paid under $3000 for 5 hours of music. You can't go wrong with them!

Flowers: Bouquets of Austin. A
I worked with Stephanie at Bouquets and she was so wonderful. I always got a response promptly from Bouquets when I added or changed something in my order (and that happened a lot!). My flowers were gorgeous, and it seems like I got more than what I thought I would, which is great. They weren't the cheapest option, but they worked with my budget and did great work. It was worth the money for sure.

Cakes: Classic Cakes by Lori. A
 Wow. My cakes were absolutely perfect. Lori was so sweet, and so excited to deliver to the Driskill. Our cake was the centerpiece of the room, and it deserved to be. I went with something traditional yet intricate for the bride's cake, and it looked and tasted amazing. The groom's cake was probably my favorite part of the reception. I had her do a chocolate cake, in the shape of the Notre Dame stadium. It was a show-stopper. Everyone thought it was so great, including my husband for whom the cake was a surpise! Check her out on facebook...I'll post some pictures to her page. Both cakes were soooo delicious too...I ate 2 huges pieces after the receptions was over!

Transportation: R&R Transportation. A
We provided buses for the short trip from St. Austin to the Driskill and back for our guests, and used two charter buses. We also had two limos and a town car. R&R was the most afforadable option, and I'm so glad we went with them. They were on-time, professional, and flexible. Our town car and one of the limos waited for us to take pictures after the ceremony for over an hour. We didn't have too hard a job for them, but they were just what we wanted.

Bridesmaid dresses: Customary Couture in Cedar Park. B
My bridesmaids' dresses were gorgeous, and turned out exactly as I'd hoped. Tiffani helped me order a dress in a fabric and color that was different from anything in the store, so since I'd never seen it before, I was nervous. But they turned out beautiful. My only complaint is that they were ordered way big. I know that's common practice, but these were HUGE. Way too big and could have been ordered smaller. Alterations got them all fixed up, but that part was a little disorganized. 3 of my 5 bridesmaids were from other states, and Customary Couture shipped right to them, which was so nice.

Tuxes: Jos. A. Bank on Congress. C
Eh. Not the best service, and they forgot a tux. Yes, they forgot one of the groomsmen's tux. But it all got straightened out, and they all looked fabulous. From what I've read, there aren't many affordable tux rental options that have good service, too. So they were fine, I guess.

Bride's dress: Stardust Celebrations in Plano. A
I LOVED everything about my dress. The price was reasonable, the creativity my consultatn Marianne used in helping me make the dress my own, and the organization, perfectionism, and professionalism of the alterations were wonderful. It's a very Dallas experience to buy  a dress there (re: over the top!), but hey, it's your wedding dress...it's important!

Hair/Make-up: Aziz Salon. A-.
The minus in the grade is only because of a few issues of rudeness my MOH had with the manager, regarding nail appointments. We had about 8 mani-pedi appointments on the day before the wedding, but Aziz closed due to weather. So we went elsewhere and they got mad on Saturday when they brought in all their nail techs just for us. But really, that's not our problem. Other than that, they were great. Holly did my hair and it was amazing! She is so great--I really trusted her throughout the whole process. She's trruly one of Austin's most talented stylists. Rain did my makeup and she is so sweet. It was exactly what I asked for. My bridesmaids all looked gorgeous and they let us bring in coffee and pastries to set up on Saturady morning for our large group.

Rehearsal Dinner: Lambert's. A.
My mother-in-law planned the dinner, so I don't know much about that part, but when I did talk to Fallon myself, she was very nice and professional. I was a little freaked out on the day of the dinner...there was snow that morning and she called me and said we might want to make back-up arrangements just in case they can't get to the restaurant. Not a good idea to call the bride like that! But in true Texas fashion, the snow metled by noon, and all was right with the world. The food was delicious, and was great for all our out-of-towners. Very authentic Texas BBQ. We had a private room upstairs, complete with our own bar and our names on the marquee! It felt like we had the whole restaurant to ourseleves, but there were tons of patrons downstairs. Great set-up.

Bridal Brunch: Whole Foods Lamar. A.
I have to give Jamie and her whole team at the Culinary Center a great review. We had a bridal brunch for about 30 people on Friday morning before the wedding. Well that was the day it snowed and everything was closed and people were freaking out. I was too. But they called us first thing in the morning and let us know they were still on. What a relief. We had our brunch in the culinary center kitichen. They set up a big table for everyone to sit around, flowers, and an omelette chef. Yum. We also had pastries, fruit, and coffee. It was delicious, laid back, and intimate. It felt like we were in a big kitchen. My guests also enjoyed seeing the flasghsip WF store...we Austinites know how impressive it is! It was perfect.

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