Hello everyone, we got married Saturday August 27th, in Pearl River NY. We wanted to share with everyone our reviews of each respective vendor we used, as well as our experiences with them. When we were selecting vendors, we always looked for reviews as they were the one of the most important factors in our decision making process. For the most part, every vendor delivered exactly what they promised and then some, so we were extremely pleased with them. We will post photos as they become available, but we wanted to post this thread ASAP so anyone who was in the planning stage could see the reviews before making any decisions.
A little background…our wedding happened to fall on the same day as hurricane Irene was supposed to make landfall in the NY/NJ area. We had a total of 320 guests coming to the reception, but about 50 didn’t show up or left after the ceremony due to the weather conditions. Nonetheless, our wedding coordinator (Rose Events) held everything together, and made sure we had the most kick-ass day possible. We truly believe that without them, the day would have gone to sh*t (excuse our language!), and wouldn’t have been anywhere near as memorable. Feel free to email us with ANY questions about specifics, we are happy to help. We hope your planning and wedding is as memorable as ours was…
Decorator - Shadi Paradise/Design House Décor (Nauman & Aziza) - http://www.designhousedecor.com/
WOW. Nauman and Aziza were amazing. They made the day into something extraordinary. We read a few horrid reviews about them after signing, but had a hard time believing them. They were both so helpful, and no matter when we called they would take time out of their day to sort out whatever question we had. If they didn't pickup. our call was promptly returned. They were very professional, but also quite friendly. Our ceremony set up consisted of a canopy that would cover the guests overhead, and a draped mandap. Once they finished setting up the mandap, I noticed that they had mixed flower petals in the basket that were to be thrown at us during the ceremony. I had specifically requested red ones. I made a quick mention of this to Aziza, but didn't dwell on it as it wasn't the end of the world. But, about 30 minutes later, the basket was changed to being filled with red flower petals. Here are the photos they posted from the ceremony setup in the afternoon: http://designhouseblog.com/?p=1553
Since the ceremony had to be held inside now, the decorators were not able to start early as originally planned. They busted their butts in order to have everything ready for the start of the reception, which they did. Instead of starting at 10am, they had to start at 4pm. Kudos to their team for getting everything done in a timely manner. Our reception decor included two types of centerpieces (a low moss base with calla lilies coming out, and large manzantia branches with a moss/flower base with orchids and crystals hanging off the branches). Also, we had two very large manzanita trees on each side of the reception hall in the center of the guest tables on its own table. We surrounded these two tree with frames of our friends and family filled with photos of them on their own wedding day. The decorated these tables so nicely, it looked amazing. The reception stage included a live waterfall backdrop with a cabana in front of it. They added quite a few things that weren't included in our contract nor did we pay for. They really did a phenomenal job, and many of our guests were quite amazed with all the decor. In the effort to keep this review as unbiased as possible, the flowers on the bridal bouquet were a little wilted, but so were the boutonnieres which we received from an entirely different vendor/florist. We think it may have had to do with the humidity on that day. We will post pics of the reception decor as soon as we have some.
Photographers - Wrinkle in time (Charles & Tatjana) - http://wrinkleintimephotography.com/
LOVE. That pretty much sums up our review of them. Like video, we took photography just as serious and spent pretty much the same amount of time finding the perfect photographers to capture our big day. And WIT was more than perfect. I found them after looking at hundreds of different bogs. I stumbled upon their photography blog and instantly fell in love. I loved how pure and crisp their shots were. They capture events and emotions so well you feel like you're actually there. I avoided all the regular photographers because I didn't want cookie cutter images that I would probably look at a few times and toss into a closet. I wanted a time machine. I wanted to be able to travel back to my wedding day and feel what I felt, see what I saw. I knew the moment I saw their work, my search was over.
Initially we felt really odd and awkward in front of the camera, since its not everyday you have people snapping photos of you. But they really made us feel really comfortable, and gave us great direction. It all started with the engagement shoot, which kept on getting delayed and postponed by us until we couldn’t hold it off any longer. It was shot 10 days before the wedding and they worked extra hard and put together a slideshow for our wedding day.
Tatjana and Charles are incredibly friendly, easy-going and all around awesome to be around. I can't tell you how many guests told me how much they loved our photographers! They were there for everything. They will do anything, go anywhere to get the perfect shot. They aren't just interested in taking your picture, they want to capture your moment in a way you never thought somebody could. Unlike other photographers they were not pushy and obtrusive at all. They captured moments I didn't even know they were there for! They are incredibly passionate about photography and it really shows in every image they take. They have a truly unique vision and I am so grateful to have found them.
Day of Coordinator - Rose Events (Ruchir) - http://roseevents.com/
Initially we were not going to hire a day of coordinator, but decided to just to have the extra piece of mind. We made all our vendor selections etc. on our own so we didn't think it was necessary to pay someone to run the day. Boy, were we wrong! We are so glad we decided to hire someone as there is no way the day would have gone anywhere near according to plan if we didn't have Ruchir and his staff's help on the day of the wedding. He made sure everything was going according to schedule, and helped with quite a few snafus we had (some weather related). He also made sure both of us were comfortable, calm and stress free the entire day. This was especially important as you don't want to be frowning in any of your pictures! If you are considering one, believe us its worth it!
Videographer - Imagique (Daniel Boswell) - http://imagiqueweddings.com/
Another AMAZING vendor. We chose imagique after many months of researching. We decided not to use a traditional videographer and opted for a cinematographer after watching countless same day edits, highlight reels and trailors. Everytime I have to watch somebody’s boring wedding video I cringe. Admit it, you get bored too after the first half hour. The difference between a videographer and a cinematographer is huge. A videographer basically just tapes the event and often it kind of looks like a slightly better home video. A cinematographer, on the other hand, captures emotions and transforms events into movies. This involves complex camera angles and movements, not to mention special equipment. Most of the work is done during editing where they apply cinematic elements and creativity to produce a work of art, that not only captures moments, but feelings as well.
Imagique does all this brilliantly. Daniel and his team are amazing at what they do and are really fun to be around. They worked really well with all the other vendors and we had no issues whatsoever. As we mentioned before, our wedding took place during Hurricane Irene. As a result of this, we had a few time issues. We originally wanted to play a same-day edit during our reception, but due to the hurricane we had time constraints. Instead of canceling the video Daniel came to the rescue and suggested we show a “trailer” instead. They worked extra hard during the very brief downtime they had in order to produce a brilliant movie trailer out of event footage from our mehndi, sangeet, and ceremony (which took place only a few hours earlier!!) Our guests were amazed by the trailer as were we. The video actually looked like a movie! Daniel is now working on a highlight video for us which we cannot wait to see. We LOVE LOVE LOVE imagique and highly recommend them!
Venue (Ceremony/Reception) - Hilton Pearl River (Paulette Scatassa) - http://www.hiltonpearlriver.com/weddings
One of the main reasons we selected this venue was because it had a gorgeous open backyard where an outdoor ceremony would have been perfect. However, because of the weather this was not possible. The inside of the venue is absolutely gorgeous; the entire place is decorated with a certain old world charm. In addition to all of this, the staff was an absolute dream to work with. They denied not a single request that we threw their way. On the day of the wedding the staff was very attentive and made sure we never went hungry or thirsty, and also worked very well with Ruchir (day of coordinator). If you do decide to visit the venue,speak with Paulette Scatassa in catering as she was extremely helpful!
Jazz Duo (Piano & Sax players) - Florencia Gonzalez - http://www.florenciagonzalez.com/
Our venue had two pianos, so in lieu of having a DJ play music during cocktail hour we hired Florencia to play the saxophone. She also brought someone to play the piano. Our guests said they did a wonderful job, and even played a few Indian songs which we sent them beforehand. She traveled to the location, and was also very fairly priced.
Cake- Le Petit Gateu - http://www.alittlecake.com
This was the bakery which our venue has contracted to do all the wedding cakes. The cake tasted really good, but they forgot to put on the cascading row of flowers along the entire side of the cake. Also, some of the icing started to run a little. Perhaps due to the humidity?
Dhol Player - RVM Sounds (Ravi) - http://www.rvmsounds.com
Ravi did a wonderful job. He was on time and also very skilled with the dhol. During the bharat, he matched the beat very well with any song that was played, both Indian and American. Definitely highly recommended!
Horse - Rose Events (Ruchir) - http://roseevents.com
The horse arrived promptly on time, and was decorated in the usual Indian garb. The horse was very tame and didn't jerk or anything. Also, very dependable and no qualms with this vendor!
Garlands - Hawaiian Lei Company - http://www.hawaiianleicompany.com/
We wanted to do something a little different than the norm for our jai malas, and saw photos online where people used orchids instead of roses and carnations. We found this vendor online who had great reviews, and ordered the garlands directly from Hawaii! They arrived when they were supposed to, and lasted for another 2 days after the wedding. They were cheaper than any of the local vendors, and were also much fuller. They were constructed very well also, as none broke during the ceremony or even after! The groom liked his so much he wore it the entire next day also!
Stationary & Logo Design - Belletristics (Sarah) - www.belletristics.com
Sarah designed all of the printed signs for us. She made the blank sign templates, escort card templates, buffet card templates, table number cards, thank you program cards, various different monograms, and even a favor box which we didn't end up using. She was fairly priced, and had a very fast turn around. The results came out beautiful, everything looked so uniform and professional (not to mention fancy!). She is great, and really helped us add a nice personal touch to everything on our wedding day!
Printing - Downtown Printing (Juan) - http://www.downtownprint.com
This is the print shop where we had all of the signage that Sarah designed printed. They were able to get us a really nice heavy weight pearl finished paper. Their prices were great, and their turnaround time was great too! Highly recommended as they are really easy to work with!
Sangeet Venue - Ramada Inn North Brunswick (Minesh/Ana) - www.ramadanorthbrunswick.com
This was the perfect venue for our Sangeet. The food was great, instead of having a normal sit down dinner we had a bunch of different stations open all night. The guests loved the food. The hall was great too, and the staff was very accommodating and easy to work with. The upstairs hall is a great size for a garba/sangeet night. The decorators did a great job with the stage setup, everything was nice and colorful. The hall has a big selection of colorful linens and napkins, so it added a nice pop of color to the event. No complaints whatsoever with this venue, and the price was more than fair in our opinion!
Boutonnieres - Avenue Flowers (Nathan) - http://www.avenueflowerspc.com/
This florist did all of our boutonnieres. Their prices were very fair, and they know that. Nathan was very helpful and patient during the process of designing/selecting the boutonnieres. Unfortunately, on the day of the wedding, many of the boutonnieres fell apart shortly after being put onto the groomsmens jackets. Perhaps this was also due to the weather that day?
Tent Rental - Taylor Rental - http://ww3.taylorrental.com/12156/Home.aspx
The tent rental company did a great job. They were timely and fast, and set the tent up exactly how we wanted it. They were priced among the best of many vendors we contacted, and they also had a decent selection of table linens (cloth, not plastic) to use. Highly recommended!
Photographer for other Events - Rob August
We used this young photographer to capture the moments from my mehndi, sangeet and our vidhis. At first I was a little hesitant as he hadn’t shot any Indian weddings before but we figured something is better than nothing. So we gave him a shot, and boy were we glad to have him! Rob is extremely professional and was always on time (even if we weren’t). He captured everything and did not miss a single thing. He gave me over 2000 edited images about a week or two after the event and I love them. The pictures are very crisp and sharp. Even the pictures that were shot at night with very little light came out amazing! I have attached a few sample pics from what he shot if you are curious. He is a very sweet guy and I highly recommend him as well for any event photography. You can contact him at robaugust.com
We have a few more vendors to write about, they will be up soon!