I'm just now getting through the last of the boxes of decorations and stuff we brought home from the reception, and wanted to offer a few reviews.
Voice of America Gazebo/Lodge - West Chester - A
Very reasonably priced. We booked the smaller Trophy room and the large lake-front gazebo for the Friday for $350. Reservations were easy to get, but you always have to leave a message for the on-site coordinators. The tables and gazebo were set up just as we had requested, although we'd had to remind them to blow the cobwebs from the ceiling of the gazebo. Our room host/ bartender was great, and very helpful. We had plenty of time to decorate early in the day, and it looked great inside and out.
Officiant - Karen Dulle - A++++
Karen is a realtor by day, so we had to be creative in our scheduling. She sent us some ideas and we built our ceremony mostly by email (fine for me!) We did a celtic hand-fasting and wrote our own circle ceremony (our guests formed a circle around us for our first kiss) and she was totally up for it. Our ceremony was totally us, and her presentation was smooth, professional. She can do a religious (Lutheran, I think) or secular ceremony - or anywhere in between. She had great suggestions for how to use music, and guided our readers, etc. in such a way that nobody realized that half of them hadn't been in town for the rehersal. Totally lovely, and wonderful to work with.
Cincinnati Catering - A
We did a variety of hot appetizers instead of a sit-down meal. We had awesome cheese puffs, baked mac&cheese bites, carved meat sandwiches, baked ravioli, fruit and veggie trays. They were great in accommodating a couple of special requests (special trays for guests with allergies) without making it obvious. They were on time, dressed professionally, friendly and polite. Only issue was that we ran out of plates, and they had to run to the nearby store. They estimate only 2pp, our guests took a hot and a cold on their first trip, and came back for more. It was handled without a panic. The cake-cutting was also a little messy.
Cake - Grandma Donna Owens - A++++
Super reasonable pricing. For $100, she made two round cakes, frosted simply and decorated with flowers, charms and ribbon I had provided. They were adorable and DELICIOUS. The frosting wasn't as smooth as I'd have liked (I wanted a fondant look), but the moist, scrumptious chocolate more than made up for it. The second cake was layers of lemon, orange and strawberry with raspberry filling - Triple YUM. She added an airbrushed cookie-cake grooms cake at the last minute (2 days!) as a surprise, and delivered it all to the venue. All in all, everyone raved at the moist, delicious cakes and amazing buttercream frosting. They scraped their plates! 513-895-3351 in Fairfield.
No videographer, and we haven't seen photos yet.