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North Carolina-Raleigh-Durham

Post Wedding Vendor Reviews

Hi Everyone! I got married on May 20 and wanted to go ahead and post the majority of my vendor reviews! I'll try to post this on the NC general board as well.

Reception Hall: The Carolina Inn: I think they are generally a favorite with a lot of recent reviewers, and for good reason. My. reception. was. perfect. (well, minus my dad swelling up thanks to a new found shrimp allergy, but that was obviously unrelated to CI). I had always wanted to have my reception here, even before I met DH, but started getting nervous when one but two of the social coordinators we were assigned left (we were not assigned to Devin, but rather to Katie, and then Ashley). Finally, we were assigned Tracey. She seemed very experienced but I was still a little nervous given the various passing around that we'd gone through. She made fantastic suggestions for set up, linens, etc and everything ran very smoothly. On the day of, she had a family emergency, but her catering partner Sarah seemlessly stepped into Tracey's shoes after Tracey made sure we were introduced and everything ran perfectly. Everyone keeps raving about how great the food was, etc. I would DEFINITELY do it all over with the CI if I had to replan this whole this tomorrow (which I'm thrilled that I don't, once was enough :))

Ceremony: The Newman Center: Obviously, this is not a church you can use unless at least one of you are Catholic, but we decided to use them based on sentimental reasons (we went there as students, we're both Catholic) as well as practical (they are right across the street from the Carolina Inn). Father John made the entire marriage preparation very easy for us, and gave us plenty of cues during mass so that we wouldn't forget what to do. Jeannie was very helpful with the music, and Clare, our assigned wedding coordinator, was fantastic and made sure to fill in everyone who couldn't make it to the rehersal. Father John and Father Bob (from Blessed Sacrament) were also the life of the party at the reception!

Cake: Lorie, Simply Cakes: One of the first compliments we always get about the wedding from our friends and family is "that red velvet cake is SO DELICIOUS." Lorie created a BEAUTIFUL white on white red velvet cake to which our florist added purple hydrangaes. Hands down the best cake I've ever tasted. I have a friend who is a health nut and normally won't eat dessert, but she had two pieces! My MIL froze some of the left overs for us and they thawed wonderfully, which is great, since we can savor it for a few more weeks. Lori's wedding orders include a free first anniversary cake, so I already can't wait to order more on May 20, 2012. She also did a spectacular Gator cake for my dad's birthday which we surprised him with (his birthday was the day after our wedding). The florida gator on the cake looked like THE florida cake, and my dad almost cried.

Florist: Tre Bella Florist: None of my vendors were difficult, but Tre Bella was one of the easiest to work with. Since our wedding was done in the Old Well Wing of the CI, we actually had a four rooms that needed floors (1 ballroom, 3 side rooms), and I wanted them to be a little different from room to room. I brought in pictures of what I wanted, and they turned out even better than I imaged, particularly the bouquets. The altar arrangement was one thing we thought we were compromsing on budget wise (we'd opted for a slightly smaller arrangment for budget reasons), but it was tasteful, large, and beautiful. If you're looking for a florist who is willing to work within your budget without sacrificing everything you want to get you there (I don't think i really had to sacrifice anything I wanted) and have it turn out beautifully, this is your florist.

DJ: Jason Huggins, Island Sound: One of the best decisions we made was to hire Jason on our photographers's recommendation. Jason was fabulous. He's young, tons of fun, and encouraged us to choose music that we really loved but wouldn't have necessarily picked out for our wedding off the tops of our heads. There was no cheese but a ton of crowd pleasers (songs that were big when my friends and I were going to prom, etc), and the party never died down. He's one of the first people my parents always bring up when talking about how smoothly event went. He even had the florida fight song ready to play as soon as we were done singing happy birthday to my dad, which he loved. My sister does not even have a steady boyfriend, but my mom says he's the one vendor she knows she wants to pay to travel down to Charlotte for it.

Hair & Make-up: Stef Seville, the Makeup Culture: I was originally drawn to hair and make up by Stef because a) she does beautiful work & b) she doesn't charge a minimum to travel. Stef showed up to our suite and did my hair and make up, as well as one of my bridesmaids. She was very sweet, friendly, and easy to talk to, and my Bridesmaid and I looked great! It was a major stress relief not to have to run around to various salons on the day of.

Nails: Aveda Salon & Spa, Chapel Hill: STAY AWAY. We should have known, since it's a teaching salon. We decided to go here because it was within walking distance of the CI, where we had our bridal luncheon the day before. Aveda is set up for hair (which it normally does poorly anyway). We walked in to be sat at 3 chairs with glass table in front of us. Nails were clearly an after thought added to the program, given the layout. Our nails were literally filed jagged and irregularly, they didn't give the paint enough time to dry between layers, and used an aerosal can of spray to dry our nails. End result? My nail color literally peeled off an hour later. I painted my own nails the day of, and I don't think anyone noticed.

Photography: Sweet Life Photograph, Elizabeth & Frank: This is kind of a half review, since we haven't actually seen our pictures yet, but I can say that Elizabeth and Frank were fantastic through the whole process. They recommended a lot of our vendors to us (we would have never known to use Jason otherwise), helped us create a very comfortable schedule for the day, and were generally really amazing, friendly people to talk with. One of the best suggestions they made was to have a "first look." I know some people have their hearts set on the groom seeing them they minute they walk down the aisle, but unless you think you'll die if you don't go through with that tradition - DON'T! We saw each other privately ahead of time, and I can't even tell you about all the emotions it brings up (and I'm glad were private). Since we saw each other ahead of time, we were able to have a relaxed shooting schedule around UNC campus, and were able to go join the fun with our guests very shortly after our ceremony ended. I can honestly say that because of this suggestion I had a very fun, relaxed, enjoyable wedding day. I'll let everyone know more about them when the pictures come back!

If anyone has any questions, just post a comment below and I'll try to get back to you (I don't usually check my messages, but I'll try to). Otherwise - happy planning!
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