Illinois-Southern Illinois

Vendor Reviews

Wedding Vendor Reviews

Southern Illinois / Alton Illinois

May 29, 2010

questions: [email protected]




Photographer – Dacia Miller

If you really want to see photos let me know!


I didn’t even need to see the photos to know that Dacia would receive an A+.  On the day of the wedding she was one of the only vendors who I did not need to stress about.  The day of the wedding we were supposed to be taking pictures of me getting ready, but we were running behind.  I was pleasantly surprised that when she got to the location, she took the initiative to find me and got right to work, taking the pictures I was hoping she would without interrupting our flow.


Her personality, professionalism and dedication to getting her job done went over and beyond what was expected.  Even though we had complications with our DJ that set us way behind schedule, Dacia was patient, understanding, and amazing just for the fact that she stayed longer than she was required and took the necessary steps to make sure our photos were finished.


At the very beginning she wowed me with her passion and dedication, and that followed through the entire day.  It was wonderful having such confidence in such a crucial part of the wedding!



Cake – Martha Bick

Send me an email if you’re interested; she is a family friend


I absolutely loved my cake, it was everything I dreamed of and asked for.  Plus it tasted awesome!  On that note I want to point out that I don’t like cake!  Plus I couldn’t have beat the price anywhere else!



Florist – RW Designs


Well um, when I had been planning my wedding my mother found this florist in St. Louis.  My mother was under the impression that this was an awesome florist in the area and she was extremely excited for me to have my flowers done by them.  I met with the owner at Panera Bread and we discussed what my flowers would consist of.  I left feeling great!  When I had been informed of the price I cut quite a few items from my list believing being an artist myself I would be able to save my mother some money and make them myself.


After about 4-6 months I still had not heard back from the florist so I sent him an email saying hi and asking if he had any photos of the centerpiece we had discussed for my reception; I also asked for a hard copy of our contract.  He responded saying he did not like my tone and that he felt it was best for the both of us not to work together.  This was after having a contract and a down payment.  I was stunned, shocked, hurt and confused.  I have never planned a wedding before but couldn’t believe this response just from checking in with the company.  I did not believe any of my emails had a tone; I had no reason to be upset prior to this occurrence.  After sharing all of my 4 or 5 emails to the company with my family to confirm I never had "a tone" it could only be assumed that he had scheduled two weddings on the same day and my wedding was the cheaper of the two. 


My fiancé and I tried to contact him and discuss his actions and received no response.  Luckily we did receive our down payment in the mail.  Though just this morning, I found it very odd that my IP address is blocked from his website now.  We never received a single communication after he decided to drop us.  It was basically that it was his decision and it was final, regardless of the contract. 


This experience rattled all my views on weddings and vendors.  There is really no point in a contract for our sake if anyone can just cancel for no reason without even allowing a chance for discussion on the matter!



Florist – Peg’s Flower Cottage

No website / located in Jerseyville, Illinois


This was a really hard vendor for me to grade because it was so personal to me especially with my previous experience.  Yes my flowers were beautiful.  As an artist I am very picky and find myself a perfectionist.  The grade is based on the quality of the flowers which were very nice, the lack of ease in which I was able to communicate with the store, the store using it’s artistic expression in ways I didn’t like after a photo was included, and the disorganization of the boutonnières. 


My altar arrangements, pew decorations and boutonnières were not what I asked for.  Actually the boutonnières for the guys weren’t even close.  The boutonnières had a white flower that dominated the whole thing, when the groomsmen were not supposed to have any white flowers.  They were supposed to be blue and chocolate with green accents.  I had provided a photo of exactly what I wanted for the guys in the wedding.  Only grandparents and women(singers, program passer, readers, etc.) were supposed to have a white flower.  The altar pieces were beautiful and different.  I believe they were changed based on the shortage of pussy willow at this time of year.  I just thank God I liked the choice made since I was never told they were going to look nothing like what I asked for.  The pew decorations were okay, I really don’t like bows, did not ask for a bow and got huge bows with a white flower and ivy.  Again I provided a photo of exactly what I wanted.


The centerpieces really turned out great.  Only complaint would be that my large centerpiece was missing the light blue organza streamers.  It was only willow branches with LED lights in the water. 


The bouquets were beautiful.  I just wished mine was a bit fuller.  It really wasn’t much bigger than the bridesmaids flowers.  I also did not receive the flowers for my hair that I asked for.  There were a bunch of silk flowers left behind. I guess I was supposed to assemble it and put it in my hair?  I had expressed to them I did not want silk flowers for my hair so I ended up just using a decorative bobby pin that my mother had brought with for a decoration.


Last but not least, all of the boutonnières and corsages were mislabeled so Keith had a hell of a time figuring those out on the day of with out me! 


Then my last complaint would be that with the distance making things difficult for me.  I was living in Nebraska while working with everyone.  Peg is not computer literate.  I never received a response to any of my emails giving details of things she needed to know.  I never called more than twice because she was never in a good mood over the phone.  She was always super busy and didn’t have the time to talk.  The price was great for the flowers provided.  I just believe the shop needs some fine tuning.



Reception Venue – The Beall Mansion


This review is based only on the appearance of the Beall Mansion in Alton, Illinois. 


I absolutely loved it.  Only reason it did not receive an A+ is I felt more time could have been spent cleaning and such.  If I remember correctly the grass had not been cut for what seemed like 10+ days, was over run with clovers and weeds.  There were a few pots with nothing in them also.  The plants that were growing were doing very well and were really pretty. 



Reception Owner – Jim from The Beall Mansion


Again the location is beautiful.  For me the location ended up being worth having to work with the owner.  But his grade is being kept separate from the location because I don’t want to taint the Mansion’s beauty.


Okay, working with Jim was very challenging.  He frequently made verbal promises and comments that didn’t hold up on the contract.  Also he takes nickel and diming you to the next level, to the point that he would not allow me to discuss financial situations with his vendors.  Tried contacting the caterer, only to have them tell Jim we called with questions on pricing.  I had picked cheese tortellini with marinara for my veggie dish for $10 on their menu to have it cost me $20 a person, made no sense what so ever!  Bottom line he will not assist you in lowering the cost of your wedding. There is no negotiating with him.  Also for some reason he feels that if you choose not to get married at his location and only have a reception you will still need to pay for the cost of the ceremony.  His reasoning was that we take up the opportunity for having another wedding…lessening his chance for profits in the process, but he hosted another ceremony there the morning of.  Basically his reasoning for us having to pay more was untrue, and was just another way to get money out of us.


On the day of my wedding while I was trying to take photos my mother comes to tell me that there is no water, only alcohol available until 4:30.  The lady of the house tells me that I scheduled for dinner to begin at 4:30 and drinks at 3:30.  Hello…its WATER!  It is not like you don’t have a tap in your kitchen…fill up some pitchers and serve some water!  They acted like I didn’t “order” water for my wedding!   Arrgghhhh, how the heck was I supposed to know I needed to order water for my reception when I was already paying for things like tea and alchohol?  Again…its water?!?


Jim also made me book my stay at the location separately from the cost of the reception.  Yes I paid for my reception at a Bed & Breakfast and I had to book two nights at the location, nothing was provided.  But I do remember when I booked my room a package deal offering a half hour massage complimentary was offered.  Definitely never saw that massage.  Not too surprised.  I really didn’t expect it to happen.  The bed was very nice though.


I was very frustrated with the owner of the mansion so I could go on, but I will just stop here.  Bottom line, he’s a salesman…he would tell us one thing early on, and then go back on it later.  I guess its our fault for not reading ALL the fine print as we were signing things.  That’s the sort of thing that happens when the vendor is verbally telling you what it ‘supposedly’ says as you are glancing through it though.



DJ - Impressive Entertainment

Filaoa Wedding Center, Bud Ramsay, Mike Schneider, Andrea Schaaf


Okay, everything seemed fine and on schedule until a week before the wedding.  At the time my fiancé and I received a phone call from family saying that Bud Ramsay was in jail and that you should call a number if you need a refund, blah blah blah.  So we looked into things and it appeared he was just having money trouble with another company he was affiliated with.  My fiancé got in touch with Bud and was informed everything was fine and on schedule and that he would be at our Reception. 


Well, the day before the wedding I received an email that Mike Schneider was going to be subcontracted through Bud Ramsay and would be our DJ for the wedding.  We were concerned at this point, given the information we received a week prior.  We contacted Mike Schneider though, and he guaranteed us everything was just fine, and that he’s done this once or twice before for Bud.


The morning of the wedding I receive a phone call from Mike that he doesn’t have a copy of my song list.  Trying to be calm and not freak out, but very frustrated at this point I inform him that I will print it off since I don’t have time for emailing. 


At 4:10 the day of our wedding, my husband’s brother asks us what time is the DJ supposed to get here?  Well he was supposed to be playing by 3:30pm!  So my husband and I dash up to my room to look up his phone number and call him.  I can tell the phone call is not going well. Now understand I’m supposed to be doing my Newlywed photos and family photos right now (part of the reason we didn’t even realize he wasn’t there!)  But instead I am in the bathroom bawling my eyes out!


When Keith spoke to him, he said that his hard drive crashed around 3pm.  Keith asked him why that’s a problem….its a business….you should have a backup and be prepared for the worst.  Well…he wasn’t.  He flat out said he wasn’t coming because he couldn’t do anything.  We paid the company to DJ our wedding, it shouldn’t be our responsibility to fix the situation….it should be their issue.


Keith calls another DJ company I had a card for but gets no answer.  So it feels like were giving up and my reception is over before it has a chance to start. 


Luckily, we had a few family connections at the wedding that were able to save the day.  However, the schedule for other things got screwed up and delayed as a result.  Photos went further into the night than necessary, and our food, which was cooked and ready to go at 4:30, had to sit in warmers for another 30-90 minutes while we got everything arranged.  That isn’t a good thing when you’ve got steaks that are supposed to be served done a certain way.


Update on the DJ, we stopped by the courthouse to look into a refund. We were informed that it would be a waste of time trying to get our money back from Bud; that there was a long list of names ahead of us.  We did get contact information for Andrea Schaaf though and after a few weeks did receive a refund directly through her.




Caterer – Tony’s

Tony’s Lounge Incorporated, Alton IL


Due to our reception being at The Beall Mansion we had to go with Tony’s for our food. 


The food was great, everything was served hot and delicious.  I ordered the fruit stuffed pork for myself and felt they gave way too much meat.  I was only able to eat about 1/3 of it.  I tasted everything else though, and everything tasted great....even the cheese tortellini, which was supposed to have marinara on it, but instead had Alfredo.  I felt this was a big mistake because people ordered marina and received Alfredo.  I personally really don’t like Alfredo sauce usually. So what were the people supposed to eat that didn’t like Alfredo?  I guess they were just out of luck.


My major complaint was the service.  We had paid for 5 servers and one bartender; we had one bartender and two servers.  Though guests along with me would argue that only one server was experienced at working a large event.  The second server appeared to just follow the other workers around. 


I had asked the event planner at Tony’s and they had informed me that I had more than enough servers needed to get the job done.  We had 4 different entrees, steak being served first and the cheese tortellini being served last.  With only 100 guests total, the guests that ordered cheese tortellini didn’t receive their dish until an hour after the steak was brought out.  I was very upset about this.  People who had ordered steak were long done eating before people at their table who ordered pasta even got their entrée.


My only other complaint is that they did an awful job of clearing tables I must have had 20 glasses on my table when I sat down to eat.  The tables only had 8 people and most of the glasses were empty.  I have been a waitress and a server for restaurants and events and thought the service was just awful, thank god the food was awesome!!!!


I sent them an email with my complaints and they never responded to my issues.



Hair Stylist – Roxy @ West 708 Salon

Jerseyville, Illinois


My hair was perfect I provided a photo and did a trial run for $15 bucks, and my hair the day of was $25.  As far as where to go to get your hair done this seems like an obvious choice to me!



Make Up – Merle Norman

Alton Mall


The make up was beautiful and the price was awesome!  It lasted all night with the humidity and tears!



Ceremony – St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Father Jim

Alton, Illinois


I absolutely loved the church and absolutely loved working with Father Jim. The combination really made my day truly special!  Sadly Keith and I will be living in Nebraska.  I would love to be a member of Father Jim’s parish.  I will really miss him!



Equipment Rental – A-1 Party Rental


I did a vas amount of research for linens and centerpieces.  The price for the quality of the items at this rental store blows all competition out of the water!!!! 


It was my dream to have affordable overlays for my tables in light blue and this location made that happen and they were beautiful and a wonderful shear material.  I believe they cost me a bout $7 per table.  Every other location I tried for the exact same thing had to be about $25 a table. 


We had one table cloth rip that we had to pay to replace for about $20; but I get to keep the ripped table cloth!  I will probably use the material to make a memento from the wedding. The rip isn’t super large so I have quite a lot of material to work with. 


We also had to pick up our rentals a day sooner for the florist.  A-1 gave us no hassle whatsoever in this situation!  I rented candelabras and 30” vases.  This made my centerpieces from the florist heck of a lot cheaper! 


The website truly doesn’t do the store justice though.  I feel the store has far more options and supplies in person.  Some items I found hard to locate on the website.  Meeting in person was just so much easier and then I could pick everything out while I was there and see it first hand.  They also have pre-set up tables at the location that you can play with to see exactly what your final look will be!  


I was very picky about the candelabras. I really didn’t want plastic, fake, cheap candelabras.  A-1’s options were exactly what I was looking for.  They had such a variety and they looked great!




Transportation – St. Louis Carriage Company


They were there and on time. The carriage color was the blue and white which we asked for.  The horse was black, which I found a bit surprising for a wedding. I had requested their dapple grey.  A white horse with grey spots on its shoulders and hips. 


The carriage didn’t know where to go. Luckily our location was only a few blocks away.  I also thought the price was a little outrageous for 20 minutes of their time.  They charge $300 for the hour, though they don’t really stay and hang out for the whole hour.


My last complaint would be that through the whole carriage ride our driver’s thong was very visible.  She was very friendly; though was I supposed to ask her to pull up her pants?


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