I posted these reviews on Yelp so I wanted to post them here too. All of my vendors were terrific, so these are detailed reviews for those of you that want specific info.
*Photographer: Mike Kane (http://www.mikekanephotography.com/weddings/)
When I was looking for a photographer for my wedding, I did weeks of research. My fiance and I needed to find someone within our limited budget, but I didn't want the run-of-the-mill cheesy photographer that would have us doing the standard (but awkward) wedding poses.
I finally came across Mike Kane, who caught my eye since he was formerly a photojournalist for the Seattle P-I. I love candid photography because I love seeing real, honest moments, and seeing Mike's portfolio, he's able to capture those types of moments while creating a beautiful image.
Mike was very responsive whenever I would email him with questions or details about the wedding. On the day of, I became even happier about choosing him as my photographer because he is so easygoing and friendly. He stayed in the background but my family and I would engage him in conversation, and he was very fun to deal with in all situations. The day after the wedding, my family kept commenting on how "cool" my photographer was. He arrived early to the venue, was very responsive to ideas we had for shots, but he also gently directed us to get the best shots possible.
I haven't seen the photos yet but I'm sure they will be beautiful. I cannot recommend him highly enough!
*Videographer: Lorbaniah Cameography (http://cameography.com/)
My fiance (now husband) and I were on a limited budget and weren't sure if we could afford a videographer, but after hearing from other brides that they regretted not capturing their ceremonies on video, we decided to tweak our budget to accommodate a videographer.
I'm so grateful we found Corban Cooper at Lorbaniah Cameography because for the quality of videos he produces, his rates are very reasonable. (I haven't seen our video yet but I'm sure it will be beautiful.)
Since the beginning, Corban was quick to respond to all my emails and phone calls, answering all of my questions. You can tell he's been doing this a while because his planning forms are so thorough - they cover all the possible details for the video, which is perfect for my OCD personality.
On the wedding day he showed up right on time and immediately began shooting. He was so easy to work with and was very sweet - he even helped carry my veil when it got caught! He stayed in the background but would occasionally make gentle suggestions for shots during our photo session. He even asked to download a copy of our slideshow so that he can incorporate it into the video (brilliant idea!).
Needless to say, I'm very excited to see our video and I'm so happy to have worked with Corban!
*Venue/Caterer: Ray's Boathouse (http://rays.com/)
Having our wedding at Ray's Boathouse was by far the best decision we made during the wedding planning process. We had very limiting criteria for our potential venue:
1) It had to have a view.
2) It had to be in Seattle (i.e. easily accessible) since we had a lot of out of town guests.
3) It had to have parking.
4) It had to have amazing food.
Ray's Boathouse met all of those criteria, which I thought impossible, and I dragged my fiance there within days of discovering them in order to book them for our wedding. I thought meeting those strict requirements was going to be enough to satisfy me with our choice of venue, but Ray's kept doing little things to surprise me and make me fall in love with them.
First of all, Amy Stevens, the Senior Catering Sales Manager, was the one person I relied on most during the wedding planning process. She was my point of contact at Ray's, and she was so sweet because she helped me plan every single detail of my wedding, from the timeline to the decor, etc. She would answer questions I had even though I'm sure it wasn't part of her job, and she was so nice and helpful (and very responsive!) the entire time. She put me at ease because she is so experienced and has seen it all. She contacted the vendors to give them details about set-up, she was my day-of coordinator and knew all the details and timelines. I couldn't have survived that day without her guidance and assistance, and she did it all with a smile.
Amy also added little touches that I really appreciated; my fiance and I were on a limited budget spent very little money on decor, but she set our tables with napkins in our wedding color, added coordinating centerpiece flowers, and put up lanterns in our ceremony space. I was very touched by these small details that made our wedding seem more elegant and expensive than it actually was.
Scott was the lead staff member during the reception, and whenever my guests or I had a question, he was always so helpful and on top of things. He kept the evening running smoothly and the service flowed so seamlessly - it felt like we were at a 5-star restaurant. He, and the entire Ray's staff, was so friendly and professional. The service and hospitality blew me and all of my guests away. Ray's is famous for its hospitality, but even knowing that, I wasn't prepared for how amazing the hospitality truly is.
The food was incredible too, which was important to me since I am a chef. (Special thanks to David, the banquet chef I met while my family and I were setting up. He was so warm and welcomed us, and he made sure our flowers were taken care of and that our favors were set up as I wanted, which I'm sure isn't one of his normal job duties.) My guests keep telling me how wonderful the food was and that they were so sad they got full because they wanted to keep eating. This made me so happy because for many of my guests, the food is the most important part of the night, and Ray's legendary food made me proud!
I can't say enough about my experience at Ray's Boathouse. My fiance (now husband) told me that he's going to tell everyone he knows to get married at Ray's - and I have to agree!
*Officiant: Rev. Mary Calhoun (http://www.windowtothesoulministry.com/)
I didn't anticipate that one of the most difficult parts of planning our wedding was finding our officiant. I am Christian and attend church every Sunday, and my fiance (now husband) is a non-practicing Jew. We first approached 2 pastors then a rabbi about officiating our wedding, and to make a long story short, they all basically discouraged our interfaith marriage and I ended up in tears.
Then I found Rev. Mary Calhoun on theknot.com, and during our first meeting with her after I described our experience with the other officiants, she said it was ridiculous, that there was no reason our interfaith marriage couldn't work. And from then on, she's made both my husband and I feel so loved and confident in our decision to marry.
At first, hiring Mary was a little out of our budget, but actually she deserves so much more! She handled the rehearsal seamlessly, making us feel at ease with what we needed to accomplish on the wedding day. She also made sure I had all the details regarding ceremony seating, the processional, etc., and she had me write up short bios on my "important people" so that she could know them better during the process. She is also handling all of the paperwork for the marriage license.
One of things I loved best about working with Mary is that she got to know us as a couple, and by doing so, we were able to create a ceremony that truly reflected who we were and what vows we were making. As we finalized the ceremony, she also guided us in our decisions on what kind of couple we wanted to be and what we wanted our future marriage to be. Our ceremony didn't feel impersonal or standard - Mary made sure to get to know us, that we knew each other, that we knew our expectations for the wedding day and our marriage, and all of that together made the ceremony beautiful for us and our guests. Our resulting ceremony was intimate, memorable and touching, and unique to us as a couple.
*DJ: Sean Denard (http://www.denardproductions.com/)
My fiance and I were working with a limited budget, so finding an affordable DJ was a challenge. What made it even more difficult is the fact that an affordable DJ won't necessarily be a good DJ, and a bad DJ can ruin a wedding.
Sean Denard was highly recommended on theknot.com and his rates were very reasonable, so I booked him immediately. He made a great first impression on me because before booking him, he offered to meet me at the venue so he could get an idea of the space and what his set-up would be like, at the same time giving me the opportunity to get to know him a little.
He is extremely responsive; when I would call or email with questions, he responded within minutes. He also has planning tools on his website that allow you to plan your wedding, the way you want it, down to the smallest detail (I loved this since I am an OCD control freak), from the songs you want (or don't want) played, to the timeline, etc. He also provided the necessary cord so that we could hook up our laptop/projector to his speakers for our slideshow. He's so experienced and well-prepared that it put me at ease.
The day of the wedding, he was incredible. He brought an extra person to help (thanks Jeff!) with no extra charge to me, and they were both dressed really well in suits even though I told them they could be business casual. I gave him free reign to choose the music during the cocktail and dinner hour, just telling him to keep it laid back and easy, and he chose the perfect songs (I had guests keep telling me how great the music was during our meal). He kept us right on schedule the whole night without rushing us or being obnoxious.
He had great energy when we started dancing and kept us on the dance floor. The music flowed so well - there were no lulls and he mixed up the old and new, slow and fast, really well. When one of my guests had a special song request, he made sure I okayed it first before playing it.
Sean and Jeff were so sweet throughout the night that I felt like they were one of my guests. I could not have been happier with having Sean as my DJ!