I would give them a B. It was a beautiful reception venue, but extremely expensive. When you rent the hall you also have to guarantee that all 13 rooms in the hall will be rented by your guests. Both sides of our family were traveling so we knew this wouldn’t be a problem. We got married on a Friday evening, and there was a lunch in after a funeral in the hall while I was getting ready in one of the rooms. This caused a little trouble because my florist couldn’t set up the centerpieces, and left without dropping off our flowers for the moms and all the men. They needed their flowers to take pictures before the ceremony. My photographer also was unable to get pictures of the empty room all set up with centerpieces, placecards, etc because she had to be with us at the ceremony while the BVI was setting up for our reception. They also were unable to set up all the chairs until that group was out. By the time they set them up and realized we were shorted 6 chairs, they did not have time to call the chair company to complete our order. On a positive note, most of this did not affect the guests. The food was amazing, and everyone really enjoyed themselves. We worked with Olivia while planning and she was always easy to get in touch with and very helpful in answering questions, especially when our wedding was 3 months away.
Limo- Black Tie Limo
I would give them an A+. They arrived early, offered breath mints and went above and beyond what was expected of them. I only have good things to say about Black Tie Limo, especially the driver named “Mickey”.
Florist- Linda (Forget-Me-Knot Florist) in Merrimack
I would give her an A-. Other than the minor confusion with dropping off the flowers at the BVI, which I blame on the BVI, she was great to work with. She did add a few extra flowers that we did not discuss into my bridesmaid bouquets to make them a little bigger, and change our centerpieces from cylinder to squares, but again, this did not affect our guests and no one knew the difference. In the end, she made the right decision to make those little changes. When we realized we didn’t have all the flowers we needed for our pre ceremony photos, she turned around in her car and came right back to make it all work. She had some great ideas for cost cutting too. Her daughter got married over the summer so she understands the high costs.
Dress- Marry & Tux in Nashua
I would give them an A. I went to the shop after trying on a few dresses at David’s Bridal. The quality is much nicer and the price is fairly reasonable. Including my veil, my dress came to $1075.00. We worked with a woman named Marie. I brought pictures of dresses I saw in magazines and she directed me to an area of the store where I could flip through the racks. I chose about 4 different dresses that I wanted to try on. She chose a few that were similar too. I ended up trying on no more than 6 dresses before I found the one that worked for me.
Seamstress- Dressmaking by Dolly
I would give her an F. Although the price was right, this was by far my worse choice in a vendor. Dolly works out of a store that is built right next to her house. She is approximately 75 years old and very flighty. I went for many fittings before she addressed my major concern, which was the bunching in the waist area. The week of my wedding I went for my final fitting and it was still a problem. She fixed half the dress when I was there and was going to duplicate the other half when I left. My fitting went until 11pm that night. I picked the dress up the day before my wedding (and did not try it on). When I put the dress on the day of my wedding, she did not make the appropriate alterations. It was still bunching at my waist. My photographer and my mother came in with safety pins and did the best they could do. Unfortunately the safety pins ended up digging into me throughout the day to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore. She also did not put the button for my bustle high enough because my dress was dragging all night. Everyone was stepping on it and eventually the button broke off. With about 1 hour left in the reception I had to change out of my dress. I was VERY disappointed.
Jeweler- Joann Bennett, Andover, MA 978-475-4150
I would give her an A. Joann was great to work with. She only works with gold and white gold. She has a lot to say, but in the end our rings came out beautiful. I actually had 2 rings made up because the first one did not work well with my engagement ring. When we simplified the design it worked great and she did not charge us for the second ring.
Cake- Chickadee Hill Cakes, Sandown NH
I would give them an A+. Our cake was delicious and beautiful! We went in for a tasting and tried about 14 different cake types. We had a smaller cake, but it was 3 layers, each layer a different flavor. She showed us with plastic layers exactly how tall the cake would be and what diameter the layers were. We also had kitchen cakes which were half the price and we could choose even more flavors. She had a tree stump that we used as a cake stand for a small additional fee, but you should ask your venue to see if they have cake stands before you purchase one or rent one. We worked with Melissa.
Chairs- Exeter Rental
I would give them a C. Other than shorting us 6 chairs, which they credited us for, they were just fine. If the BVI had notified them of the shortage, they would have corrected their error.
Invitations & Place cards- The Paper Store, Nashua NH
I would give them an A. We worked with Alicia who knew a ton about invitations and etiquette. She gave us a general idea of which brands were more costly, and what they would include. They have books at the store that you can flip through so you can actually feel the paper the invitation is made out of. They also do their own printing, so you have a ton of options. I never knew how many decisions we would have to make when it came to invitations.
Photographer- Catherine Morris, Manchester, NH 603-566-4000
I would give her an A+. Although costly, Catherine was more than a photographer for us. She helped me with my dress and was right by my side almost the entire day. She included a free engagement photo shoot where she teaches you a lot that I would have never thought of. She was open to suggestions but worked quickly getting the formal family shots everyone wants, along with candid dancing shots of your guests. She has sent us a website where our proofs are so our family can see them, and we now have a CD so we can print our own. We are in the process of getting albums made up.
DJ- Jeff Erwin 603-502-5886
I would give him an A+. Everyone at my wedding loved our DJ. He had us all (all generations) on the dance floor all night long. He was not cheesy (no group dances like the cha-cha slide). That is the one thing my guests will remember for a long time to come. He made them have a blast. He will probably offer up lighting which is a little extravagant. We did not go with that option, and I know that was the right choice for us. Out of all my vendors I would recommend Jeff the most.
Hotel- Country Inn & Suites, Bedford NH
I would give them a B. All our guests had to travel for our wedding. My family is from Connecticut, and my husband’s family is from Cape Cod. We made a room block at the Country Inn & Suites in Bedford. Guests paid a discounted rate if they mentioned that they were staying for our wedding. We had about 70 rooms booked. There was a small complication with my mother’s room, but they ended up going above and beyond to make it work.
Tuxes- Men’s Warehouse
I would give them an A. The guys looked great, and it was easy for everyone to get fitted, even though they lived in all different parts of New England.
Salon- Salon Bogar, Londonderry, NH
I would give them a B. I had my hair and makeup done at the salon on my wedding day with my mom, 4 bridesmaids, and mother in law. My mother and I had trials done a few months prior, and she was very unhappy with her make up. On my wedding day, she did her own make up because she didn’t trust them. It was extremely expensive and I probably could have gone somewhere cheaper for a similar look. I told all my bridesmaids they did not have to have their hair or makeup done, but they all wanted to. In the end, it was nice to have us all together in the morning at the salon.
Bridesmaid Dresses- Alfred Angelo
I would give them an A. All my bridesmaids have very different body types, so they chose their dress in the color and fabic of my choosing, but style that worked for them. Even though they all live in different states we were able to meet up to shop together. They ended up writing down the style number and purchasing their dress at their local store. Marry & Tux does carry Alfred Angelo.
Flower girl Dress- Macys
I bought my flower girl’s dress at Macys when 1st communion dresses were on sale. She looked adorable and I only spent $32 with my Macy’s coupons. I actually purchased the dress in 2 sizes and returned one as the wedding got closer and we know what size would work the best for her. Those little ones have growth spurts that are very unpredictable. I know her mom appreciated that it was not over priced.
Honeymoon – AAA
I would give them an A. We worked with the folks at AAA to help us plan our honeymoon. We didn’t know what we wanted, and they were very helpful. We ended up going to Costa Rica for 7 nights and 8 days. It was amazing! We stayed at the Westin in Guanacaste. Only a 1 hour drive from the Liberia Airport. They set up the transfer from the airport to the resort and then back to the airport after our trip. We didn’t have to worry about a thing. The food was amazing, the weather was amazing, and we can’t wait to go back. Lot of options for adventures types of people (zip lining, horseback riding, jet ski tours, volcano tours, etc.) they also had a beautiful beach and pools for everyone that just likes to lay around.
Hope this is helpful!