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Florida-South Florida

VENDOR REVIEWS- MIAMI BEACH

Below is a list of all the vendors that I used and my review of them...

LOCATION: Miami Beach Botanical Garden
Gorgeous location and easy to get to.  I used the great lawn for 2 hours (5-7) and then the Banyan room for the rest of the evening.  This was insted of paying the fee for the entire garden but essentially it was the same except in price.  Pros- gorgeous and fun. Cons- MBBG staff don't have a whole lot of information and you have to bring in everything.  Great for a non-hotel based wedding but not the cheapest venue.  I would have done it any place else because it was such a unique event.

CATERER: Catering by Alyse
Food was FABULOUS and the presentation was beautiful.  Alisa was exceptionally helpful in the planning process.  We had steak, paella, and a stir fry station.  Her prices were reasonable and she was able to bring in all the rentals we needed.  However, in terms of coordination, it was a little rough.  The set-up for dessert was not as planned and we did not move the cake table to the dance floor for the cutting.  I expect that this event is larger in scale (130 people) than what she is typically used to, though I would recommend her without exception.

FLORAL:  Flowers by Tony
The chuppah and centerpieces were gorgeous and the bouquet was exactly what I asked for.  We had a natural look and he stuck with the concept.  However, the bridesmaids bouquet and the groom boutinier was not what we discussed and instead he used old roses that fell apart easily.  It was disappointing that the centerpieces did not last long either.  He has great reviews on this site because he does great work and the prices are good but he does cut corners and this was one area that I was upset that my directions were not followed exactly.

COORDINATION: LisetteLauren Events Inc.
Lauren came on last minute and she did everything that I asked of her.  We customized a coordinator plan that met my needs exactly and she stayed with me until the last guest left.  I have no idea what I would have done without her.  She is talented in so many areas... when I went to put my hair up, she made it look so professional!

HAIR/MAKE-UP: Andrea Castro and Carla Barrios
These ladies are the real deal.  They are so professional that their day job is tv and award shows.  They came to the room and set up fast.  Their rates were average and they made everyone look fabulous.

DRESS: David's Bridal
David's has a great selection of low priced wedding gowns.  I didn't want to go with too formal of a gown since it was a garden setting and I bought the first one that I tried on.  I'm even going to shorten it!

BRIDAL PARTY ATTIRE:  Skipped the stuffy outfits...
I had the bridal party wear the following and it looked great plus they can wear it all again (mostly).
The girls wore black dresses of their choice plus a pashmina bought on Jenlis.com in the wedding colors.  The boys wore white shirts, black pants, Adidas sneakers bought on Zappos and ties purchased on SolidColorNeckTies.com

PHOTOGRAPHY: Shira Yudkoff
Shira is a personal friend and she came down from Philli.  She did such an amazing job from top to bottom.  Her style is photojournalism and she was so creative with her shots. WE even did a morning after shoot on the beach and I got in the pool with the dress on!  You can find her in the PA area and she may even travel for work.

DJ: Ubi's Music- Rollie
Ubi was great with consultation though he is hard to reach Thursday - Sunday.  The DJ he sent- DJ Rollie played exactly what we asked.  He kept the crowd moving and impressed all our guests from our friends to our parents.  I think it helped that we gave him an outline and a list of our top 40 songs.  We also requested that he not play stuff like the chicken dance though they only do that upon request.

MUSICIAN: Carlos Abanto
Carlos has amazing reviews on gigmasters and I can see why.  He plays guitar with a very portable amp and he is very accomodating.  He played for our guests upon entering the garden.  He then played some rock songs without vocals plus the traditional Here Comes the Bride in the ceremony area.  He then had a bongo player join him for the cocktail hour.  He created a great vibe for our guests.

INVITATIONS: YourStyleInvites.com
The invitations/save the dates set the tone of the party and YourStyleInvites has fun and traditional options at great prices.  We ordered custom made flyers from nextdayflyers.com and sent them as a post card to our guests.  We then purchased pocket envelopes in our color and theme from YourStyleInvites.  They addressed the envelopes for a small fee and that was sure worth it!  I spent a lot of time printing, cutting, and stuffing inserts with information for our out of town guests including a map of South Beach.  We loved YourStyleInvites so much, I used them for my programs.  I did the DIY option where they printed the front and we did the rest and they came out awesome!

CUPCAKES:  Mighty Fine Cakes
These folks are really impressive and well priced.  We went for a fun event instead of a traditional cake and they did cupcakes for us in our wedding color and theme.  They also do cakes but more like Betsey Johnson style than Ana Paz or something like that.  They gave us 3 different flavor cupcakes, they delivered to the venue, and they came back to pick up the cupcake stand after for a very small fee.

PHOTOBOOTH: Shutterbox
This was a highlight of our event.  It made it a party and the pictures are of everybody having a great time.  We designed our own photo strip and folks got doubles of their photos upon exiting the booth.  We bought our own hats/glasses/masks and everyone couldn't get enough of it. They could go in as many times as they wanted and I wish that I had gone in there more frequently.  It was worth every penny!

HOTELS:

Hilton Bentley- very impressive location right on the water.  My parents and grandparents loved staying there.  They gave us a bridal suite and our guests all had partial ocean view rooms for a very discounted rate.  The only down side is that there are only King rooms and the room service is kind of lame.

Sense- very chic and stylish.  They have a roof top pool and chairs/towels to go across the street to the beach.  It is very European and our friends loved staying there.  After staying there for one night, we are going to get our own memory foam mattress.  The only down side is the new restaurant they have there kind of sucks though it is pretty.

Doubletree Biscayne Bay- so close to Miami Beach and right on the Bay.  Very inexpensive rooms and they are very accommodating with the room block.  Lots of quality restaurants inside and nearby.

REHEARSAL DINNER: Fogo de Chao
Wow!  This was so much more than I expected.  There was a beautiful buffet followed by endless meat walked around by servers plus a gigantic dessert. They gave us a flat rate for our guests that included tax and tip and a discounted rate for vegetarians.  We also brought our own wine and paid a reasonable corkage fee.  This was a luxury dinner for 45 people that did not break the bank and everyone was so impressed and stuffed!

Feel free to contact me for consultation on this location or any of these vendors.  I have collected too much information over the last year to let it go to waste!!
[email protected]

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