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Vendor Reviews - December 10, 2011

Vendor Reviews from Dayton Wedding, December 10, 2011

Thank you so much to everyone that offered help and suggestions. We had a budget of $4000 (including every expense related to the wedding) and were able to stick to it by making compromises and really doing our homework. I couldn't have done it without the help of others on this board and reading everything I could find!

Flowers - The Flowerman Centerville, OH       B+
I opted for the DIY option and it ended up being so fun. I went in for an initial consultation and put the initial order together. My mom and I went the day before the wedding and assembled everything and we had a blast. They had help there that walked you through step by step on what to do with each flower. I got so many compliments on my bouquet and it was awesome to be able to say - "Thanks, I made it myself!"

The only issues were that despite requesting NO carnations, they included carnations in my quote. I asked that they be taken out and they were but then on the day of assembly, they had a bunch of carnations for me but no red calla lillies (that I had requested). They were very nice and provided me with white callas and the option to tint them if I wanted - the rest of my bouquet was all red so I left them as-is and they looked great. A small splash of ivory in a sea of red flowers. I ended up happy and they did help me rectify the situation. They also let me take home a bunch of flowers out of the cooler due to the error and another small overpayment.

Location - Benham's Grove  A+

Since it was COLD, we did the wedding in the main house. For the 30 guests we had, it was the absolute perfect size. We set the tables up for dinner and had the guests sit where they wanted during the ceremony. We got married in front of the fireplace and it was absolutely beautiful. The cake was in the middle room and the bar/buffet was set up in the back room. There was just enough space for people to spread out and do what they wanted without it feeling too big for us.

Randy (the Benham's staff member who worked during our wedding) was AMAZIING. He was so helpful and anything we asked was done in seconds. I have to say, I read a bad review prior to booking that specifically mentioned Randy. I know that every wedding has different circumstances but I can't imagine anyone having an issue with any of the staff because they were accomodating and helpful at every turn.  The location was really beautiful for photographs...we even braved the cold for an hour or so to get some photos outside!

Dress - David's Bridal    C            /       Stitches by Pauline   A

The dress was exactly what I wanted. It was beautiful and amazing. I had a lovely sales person. None of that was an issue.

For anyone who has upper arm issues or doesn't like strapless, this dress was lovely and I got nonstop compliments on it. I ordered it in ivory and the color was beautiful.


Food - Creatif Catering   B-

We selected Creatif because we were on a tight budget. We wanted a full service caterer who would provide linens, china and servers on a shoestring budget. Creatif definitely accomodated but not without some issues.

Todd (the owner) is very difficult to get a hold of and he's a very brief communicator. He frequently would send 3 word responses to emails with 4 questions. We still haven't received a bill for the bar portion of our reception (over two weeks later). The invoice he provided us for the actual food was not exactly what we had agreed upon and we still need to work that out (he billed us $6 pp higher than the agreed upon rate which to someone on a small budget is a lot). I don't think he's really very detail oriented - which even for a super low maintenance bride like me was hard to deal with. If I was really Type A and super concerned about details, he would have driven me nuts.

The staff (2 servers and a bartender) were very lovely and helpful. They really went out of their way to take care of us and our guests. My opinion about the food was that it was adequate. However, that being said, we got GREAT feedback from the guests on how wonderful everything was. I consider myself to be kind of a foodie and I thought it was all perfectly nice catering food but nothing really special. Also, they gave us all the leftovers which was a TON of food and we had everyone over the next day and they were all still raving about how delicous the food was.

The menu options lean towards the low rent side but we were able to come up with great choices for our guests - vegetarians included. We paid extra to have hot appetizers which the guests loved. The prime rib and turkey got rave reviews as well as the twice baked potatoes.

Photographer - Rachel Spears Photography   A

Rachel was awesome and such a doll. She went out of her way to accomodate our (admittedly low) budget and work out something that fit our needs. She also was very sensitive to anything we wanted and was very friendly yet unobtrusive during the actual wedding. She's emailed me a deadline for getting all the pics to me and from what I've seen, I'm sure we will be ecstatic.

Bridal Party Hair/Makeup - Eye Do Hair & Makeup (Crystal)   A

Crystal was also a sweetheart. She was very attuned to giving me exactly what I wanted and flexible about locations and timing for everything we needed. She was very understanding about some changes we made in the weeks before the wedding. She was also very straightforward about how the makeup would show up on film and everything she said was spot on. (Makeup looks at least 2 shades lighter in photos! I felt like I had a lot of makeup on for me but in the pics it looks awesome).

Minister - Linda Stevenson  B+

We had a hard time finding a minister to fit our $100 budget. We wanted a short (15 min) non-religious ceremony and had a heck of a time finding someone. Linda was very friendly but did not budge on her $200 fee. That is the only reason I didn't give her an A, but everyone needs to make a living! We ended up going with her because we needed someone and she was very nice. She did a really beautiful job with the ceremony - it felt like us and was casual yet meaningful. She also didn't complain when we opted not to have a rehearsal - she just came early and talked everyone through what we needed to do.

Cake - Ele Cake Company  A for the actual cake, C for the overall experience

The cake tasting at Ele was very nice. They give you full pieces of cake with a wide variety of icings and fillings to sample. We were so excited when we left after the tasting and were able to make all of our selections immediately. The downhill slide began after we dropped off our cake topper. We noticed several blanks on the form that should have included all of our details. We met with another person and gave her all the details she needed (details we had already provided once). Then I went to drop off the fresh flowers the day before the wedding and they were unsure of the delivery time. We had already specified the time on two occasions so that was concerning. At the wedding, guests raved about the cake, the fillings and the icing. And we agreed - it was delicious. The lemon cake with blueberry filling and buttercream icing was perfect. Our larger tier was chocolate cake with buttercream icing - it was supposed to have white chocolate mousse filling but it was regular chocolate instead. No one knew except us that is was wrong but it was just one more thing that leads me to believe they're not as organized as they appear.

Music - None   A!

We did the music ourselves - Benham's Grove has a sound system where you can plug in ipods, iphones, computers, etc. We opted to make some playlists and invite our guests to bring their ipods as well. Several people took a turn as a "guest DJ" and it was perfect for the size crowd we had. A DJ was another expense that we didn't feel we needed - and we didn't! It went perfectly and I highly recommend that any other bride with a small budget and small wedding do the same.
BabyFruit Ticker

Re: Vendor Reviews - December 10, 2011

  • Sounds awesome. Rachel Spears is our photographer too.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • do you mind me asking how much your flowers were and how many bouquets, centerpieces, etc you had? I was thinking about booking the flowerman (same thing, tight budget) and didn't know how much they actually are? You can PM me if you'd like.

  • Lis799Lis799 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Sure, no problem! I have no issue discussing the money side of things because I remember that being the hardest part when I was planning!

    To save on money, I opted not to do floral centerpieces. I used sales and coupons at Michaels to buy (for each table) one large apothecary jar, one charger plate, 3-5 tealight holders and christmas ornaments in red, gold and ivory. We filled the jars with ornaments, set them on the charger and surrounded it with candles. It was beautiful and cheap. The final cost was about $15/centerpiece. I couldn't have come close to that with flowers.

    I wanted things pretty simple because at Benham's Grove, the venue was already decorated for Christmas (which saved a ton of money on flowers and other decorations).

    I initially asked for a quote for a bridal bouquet, two bridesmaid pomanders (the floral balls that hang from a ribbon), fresh flowers for the cake tiers and 3 bouts for the groomsmen.

    They have had a special going on for a discount off the DIY pricing (I can't remember the exact amount but I think it was 20%). I requested no roses or carnations. I ended up with a mix of red alastromeria, red winter berries, red gerber daisies, and ivory calla lillies. They were really helpful about telling me which flowers I could afford - and providing me the pricier ones (like callas) in smaller quantities. I had 2 bridesmaids & 2 groomsmen.

    I was quoted (they gave me the pricing for designer and DIY):

    Bridal Bouquet
    Designer cost: $130           DIY cost: $100

    2 Bridesmaid Pomanders
    Designer cost: $160          DIY cost:  $130

    Cake Flowers
    3 bunches of fresh flowers for the cake (this was a LOT, I probably could have gone with less)
    DIY cost: $72

    Designer cost: around $10/each              DIY cost: around $5/each

    I opted out of the bridesmaid flowers because I thought their pricing (even for DIY) was high. I ordered everything else DIY and got the discount and I think my final price was around $155.

    I was planning on running to Kroger the morning of the wedding and picking up some flowers to make the bridesmaid bouquets. Instead, I got some things out of the cooler with the credit I had and made them myself anyway. I felt super comfortable doing it myself at home after the great lessons I got at Flowerman - I just picked up some ribbon, pins and floral tape for around $10 at Joann Fabrics. they ended up being on the small side but they looked great and they were really all I needed.

    Hopefully that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions - I'm happy to help out my fellow budget brides!
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • edited December 2011
    I am having my wedding at Benhams Grove also in the barn and gazebo next July. I am so nervous. Someone had already rented the house on a Saturday so I got a good deal but hoping I dont have interruptions since there will be 2 parties that night. I have read bad and good reviews and hopefully mine will be good too! Do you mind me asking how long did it take to do your makeup there? Since I have to pay for extra hours there I am trying to get a timeline together. And I think I may go with Eye Do makeup. 
  • It really depends on how many people you have - to keep the budget in line, we opted to have Crystal come to my apartment to do the bridesmaids & my hair/makeup. That way, we didn't have to pay extra to Benham's to have the space for longer. She came at 10:45 and I think we were finished around 1:45.

    We didn't book any extra time - our guests arrived at 4 and we all arrived at 3 (along with the cake delivery and the caterer). It was plenty of time to get set up!

    There were also 2 parties the day of my wedding - we were in the house and there was a large Christmas party in the barn. We never even knew they were there!
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • so glad it went well! rachel IS a doll! congrats on everything going smoothly!
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