Reception Venue: Mercerwood Shore Club
Contact: Joy King
We got engaged with a little less than a year to plan everything. I was shocked to learn that this wasn’t enough lead time to easily find a venue. So, after finding out all my first picks were booked, I stumbled upon the Mercerwood. They were reasonably priced but very stiff on the 8 hour allotted time. Need more time-pay more money. It would have been nice to have the place for the whole day. Even with paying for the extra hours it was still very cost friendly. There is a large dance floor, bar and the best part is the view of Lake Washington from the large deck. There is access to the lake for pictures as well.
MC/DJ/Entertainment: Jeff and Rhiannon of Noteworthy Productions
I saw them at the Seattle Wedding Show 3 years ago, long before I was engaged and thought it would be so fun. They were the first vendors we booked, before we even had a venue. Super easy to work with and a really fun husband/wife team. They pass out request slips to the guests just like at a typical piano bar. The nice thing about a dueling piano show is that even the older guests that didn’t dance really enjoyed themselves. Some fun highlights: anniversary dance, Elvis dance- off, me on top of the piano with all the men singing to me, grease sing along, the list goes on. I didn’t leave the dance floor the whole night. Definitely not your typical DJ!
Catering/Cake: Pac Island Grill
We had a tropical theme going and I just couldn’t bear the thought of serving the typical chicken/salmon and potatoes fare that I was finding. Especially for some of the crazy prices caterers charge. The PIG is a Hawaiian restaurant in Federal Way that also does catering. Let me start by saying that their food is really good. Totally recommend the Huli Huli chicken if you check out their restaurant. Where they are lacking, however, is organization and communication. My wedding coordinator was very frustrated by their lack of response and a little too easy going attitude. She called to check on our cake order and they couldn’t find it. I made an afternoon appointment to finalize our order. When I arrived, the owner was out on a delivery. Their bartender wasn’t very friendly and mixed our cocktails in a beverage dispenser with ice in it. So, our signature cocktail was really watered down. Overall, they were there on time, the food was amazing and my guests were happy. For about $3000 for 150 guests I was pleased.
Photographer: Shari Kniseley of Luce Bella Photography
She is overpriced for her lack of professionalism. For the similar prices I’ve seen packages that offer second shooters and full day coverage. I thought she would offer up more pose ideas and creative shots. After hitting traffic she arrived 15 minutes late and I think she felt rushed/anxious because of that. This made our formal shots feel awkward and rushed. We were fine later in the day but I wonder if this could have gone better. She captured some beatiful photos but I wish we had some better bride/groom portraits. **As of December 7th I still don't have our wedding photos. The discs we received were late and missing half our wedding party portraits, all my family photos and all the reception photos. I didn't get a phone call or an apology. I get the vibe that she really doesn't care. I asked for a print credit for getting us our photos so late and she ignored my request. Disappointing for how much I paid!!!!!
DOC: Andrea Harrison through BreeAnn Gale of Pink Blossom Events
Andrea was a lifesaver. I seriously debated needing a DOC and it turned out to be some of the best money we spent. She was available for pre-wedding planning and thought of logistics that I never would have be able to come up with. With some help from family she set up our entire reception more beautifully than I could have imagined and made it to the church to get us all down the aisle. She kept all the vendors in line and I was able to dance the night away knowing she was taking care of everything. Seriously, hire a DOC!! I would have booked BreeAnn Gale of Pink Blossom Events but she was one of my bridesmaids. Whenever she can’t do a wedding she hires Andrea.
Makeup/Tan: Sequoia Leopold of My Flawless Makeup and Tan
Sequoia did my airbrush tan and airbrush makeup. I’m terrified of tanning beds so I was thrilled to learn this was an alternative. You get down to your skivvies and she airbrushes the tan on by hand. Much lower chance of streaky weirdness compared to the booths. She came to our house on wedding day and did all the bridesmaid’s makeup as well as mine. Everyone loved their makeup and it was really nice not having to drive anywhere to get it done. She is extremely sweet, bubbly and fun to work with.
Aside from a small two tier cake ($75-ouch!) our caterer made for cutting, we served Costco sheet cakes to our guests. You can’t beat $18 to serve 50 people and I thought the cake was really good.
Christina at the 320th Federal Way Store
Had an initial consultation and Christina had some great suggestions on my bouquets. The price was cheap compared to most flower shop quotes. They were packed nicely in vases and turned out better than I’d hoped. A few snafus with lack of communication and not being able to find my payment but it all got ironed out in the end. 6 bouquets of lilies, hydrangea and roses were ~$300.
Centerpieces/Aisle decor: Hawaiian Lei Company
For less than $550(includes shipping) we got 7 orchid leis, 8 ti leaf leis and 1600 loose orchids. Shipped on time and arrived in beautiful condition straight from Hawaii. It gave our reception the Hawaiian flare I wanted and I paid WAY less than if I’d gone through a local flower shop.
Rating: A+Alterations Rant: Some of you have already seen this from an earlier post…
Alterations: Barbaras Bridal Alterations/Bustle’s by BarbI purchased a dress at Cynderellie’s Closet in Edmonds after working with a sales person that only works there one day a week. She took my measurements and decided I needed a size smaller than the dress I tried on. Needless to say, I was very nervous at my first dress fitting. When I put the dress on for the first time it was too tight in the hips. The seamstress, Barb, didn’t reassure me at all that it wasn’t a big deal and she could fix it. Her solutions were: get a shaper to wear, maybe shorten the boning, or lose 3 pounds. After having tried for months to lose some weight this was very upsetting to hear. I felt like I’d failed. I had to ask her to let the dress out! My Mom called the owner, who said they ordered the smaller size knowing that it would be tight in the hips but would fit well on top. She was very nice to work with. That tidbit of info would have been nice to know and would have made me feel much better had I known that going in. Not sure why Barb didn't mention it.Dress try #2-Barb lets the seams out but now there is a weird crease across the middle. When I asked if she could fix it, she said she would try letting it out some more and move the panel in the back to give me more room. Final fitting a week before my wedding-Barb didn’t move the panel and the crease was still there. Her solution to the crease? Hold your bouquet in front of it there’s nothing more I can do!!!
My solution to the crease? I took my dress to Elizabeth Parks in Tacoma after a very reassuring phone call that she knew what the problem was and could likely fix it in time. Barb hadn’t let the seams out high enough and had only let out the underneath layers. There was also lace coming detached that I’d ask Barb to fix-Elizabeth noticed it right away and said it was fixable. Elizabeth made me feel SO much better! A little bit of kindness and understanding goes a long way for a nervous bride.Rating: F
Alterations: Elizabeth Parks-Tacoma Bridal Alterations
After a horrible experience with a seamstress that made me feel awful, Elizabeth was a breath of fresh air. With a little over a week before my wedding she reassured me that she could fix the crease across the front of my dress. She knew exactly what the other seamstress had and hadn’t done. I picked my dress up a week later and it was perfect.