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Reviews/Recommendations/Thanks Loooooooong!!!

Alright ladies, I'm here "helping" DH pack for us to move...which means sitting here staying out of his way. I thought I'd take the time to write some reviews/recommendations/thanks from our 8/27 wedding.

Reviews:
Venue - Chesapeake Beach Resort (Islamorada, FL) A-
For the wedding weekend everything at the resort was perfect. It's a beautiful resort, very laid back, and our friends and family very much enjoyed staying here. They don't really do much for events - you just pay the fee and certain areas become yours for the day, so if you want a place with a hands-on wedding coordinator, this is not the place to go. (I appreciated them being hands-off). They did offer us to hire some staff on to do whatever we needed for a very reasonable fee, but we did not do this. The problem with Chesapeake was getting a contract going and completed. The events manager was not very quick or responsive, so I finally just made DH take care of working out the contract so that I wouldn't have to be frustrated. Once the contract was in place everything was fine, and as I said, it's a beautiful resort and our guests loved it.

Catering - Paella Tropical A-
The food was great and the staff were VERY responsive every time that I emailed them or spoke to them. They are based in Miami but for a reasonable travel fee they traveled to the Keys for us. During the reception their staff were all nice and polite. They would have gotten a straight A, but I gave them a minus because they arrived 1 hour before the ceremony as they were supposed to, but insisted on setting up all the tables for the reception first, rather than setting up the chairs for the ceremony as my family was asking them to do. - I would understand if they simply wanted to unload the tables and all the reception supplies first, but they actually insisted on completely setting up with linens and everything before they would go set up the chairs. As a result our ceremony chairs were not set up completely when the ceremony was supposed to start and we had to start our ceremony late. Granted, it was a 30 guest casual beach wedding, so that's not really a huge deal...but it's just annoying that they wouldn't follow my family's instructions.

Cupcakes - Sweetness Bakeshop (Kendall area) A+++
I love these guys so much! We had planned to use some groupons for Cupcakes Nouveau, but they went out of business, so at the last minute I found Sweetness. They have over 100 cupcake flavors, it's locally owned, and every staff person I interacted with there was super nice. They are also more reasonably priced than the other bakers I considered - $2 for regular-sized cupcakes. I'd recommend them for your wedding, or if you're in the Kendall area, stop by! All of our guests loved their cupcakes!!! I think they're the best cupcakes that I've ever had. They also have a food truck where you can get deep friend cupcakes, which are also delish!!!

Floral (DIY) - globalrose.com A-
For some reason amongst the DIYers on TK, many people tend to use Sam's Club, Costco, and fiftyflowers. But Global Rose has better prices than all of these and a better variety than Sam's Club or Costco. I took a chance with them, even though I couldn't find any knotties who had used them. I got 100 roses for less that $100. The flowers were delivered on the day that they were supposed to and were gorgeous...I followed the care instructions that Global Rose had emailed me and was amazed when they started to open up and look great! The only problem I had is that when I placed my order, Global Rose said that they would email me the day before they were delivered with a delivery confirmation number. They never emailed me with that...this frightened me into thinking that my flowers weren't coming. When I contacted them on the day that the flowers were supposed to be delivered, they apologized and said that the flowers were on the way, and they gave me a confirmation number over the phone. I'm not the type of person who would want a delivery confirmaiton number, but because they said they'd send it and then didn't, it got me worried. Like I said though, the flowers arrived on they day that they were supposed to and were gorgeous!

Also, I would recommend to anyone who is slightly crafty to DIY your flowers! For less than $100  we made the bridal bouquet, 2 bridesmaid's bouquets, some ceremony decorations, and centerpieces (submerged roses). It's really not hard to do if you just use one type of flower, and it saved a LOT of money!

Manicure - Fresh Beauty Studio (Fort Lauderdale) B-
Okay, this is the CUTEST CUTEST salon ever in the history of salons. It feels fancy and amazing and they give you champagne while you get manicured. I LOVED the environment. The problem is, while I was excited for the environment, I also wanted a nice manicure for my wedding photos. When they had finished the manicure there were air bubbles on several of my nails!!! My bridesmaid asked her manicurist if she could trim her cuticles...and that's when she admited that, no, she couldn't trim her cuticles because she isn't actually a certified manicurist. I suspect that I could have gotten a better mani/pedi in the strip mall down the street from my house.

Dress - MIL
I will refrain from grading this experience, but my MIL did not finish the dress in time for me to try it on when I visited CA in June (as she had promised), so I didn't even get to try the dress on until the day before the wedding. And there it was. With a lace up corset back (I didn't want this), and beading (didn't want this), and a skirt much fuller than we had discussed. But the worst, the absolute worst part of the dress? The huge ass bow. I still get upset when I see any photos of the back of that damn dress. What can you do when your MIL puts an ass bow on your dress but doesn't show you this until the day before the wedding? Nothing. You wear the damn dress, and you cringe whenever you see your behind. My MIL is a professional seamstress...she made the dress really well. Unfortunately she did not make the dress that I asked for. On the bright side, from the front it looked alright. My recommendation? Do not have your MIL make your dress unless she is a reliable person.

E-Pics - Megan Scheidler Photography A+++
Okay, so she's based in Los Angeles, so this probably won't do you South Florida girls much good. But she's my friend and was an amazing photographer. I don't have a lot of experience with photographers, but I was really impressed with her ability to direct then-FI and me in a clear manner. Our photos are super great!

I'm not going to review our wedding day photog now, since we haven't gotten our photos back yet.

If I could do it over again, here are my recommendations:
We were having a very budget wedding and couldn't afford a wedding coordinator, hair stylist, or makeup artist. I had to rely on my family as my coordinator. They were amazing and helpful, but I felt bad having them work so hard on the wedding. I really wish that we could have afforded a day-of coordinator, and if you can fit it in your budget, I'd recommend it. I feel the same about hair...I have frizzy hair and I'm not hair expert. I would have loved to have a hair stylist. However, I do not feel the same about makeup! I had a lot of fun learning about makeup for the wedding, and was pleased with how it turned out on the day of! I also was perfectly pleased with not having a DJ. I'm a loud mouth and it was a small wedding, so I just directed the crowd myself.

DH and I had a sweetheart table rather than sitting with our bridal party, and I would recommend this to every bride!!! I decided to do a sweetheart table for the comfort of our guests, so that our bridal party could sit with their significant others. In the end both DH and I were happy with this decision, because it gave us time to sit and enjoy eachother during our meal. We both agreed that this was one of the nicest parts of our wedding day.

I'd also recommend writing your own vows! It was really special to write something meaninful for DH and to hear his meaningful words back.

My final recommendation is to make your wedding yours! Do what fits you and FI and make sure it's what you want!

My Thanks:
I just want to thank all you knotties for being my friends this past year. Those of you who know me in real life know that I was only in South Florida for 1 year. It was very lonely at times, and I appreciate your friendship! Having the knotties to turn to after a hard day at work made a huge difference. I truly appreciate your friendship! I want to wish everyone happy healthy marriages, and hope that your wedding days are fun as well!!!!

xx

Becky


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