Well, I'm married, and I can't believe it. This weekend went by so fast!!
Ceremony/Reception Venue: Sunridge Canyon Golf Club, Fountain Hills - A
The venue is beautiful, the prices are so reasonable, and the venue coordinator, Brian, is fantastic and so easy-going. If you want a well-priced venue in the northeast Valley, DEFINITELY check it out. My tiny, itsy-bitsy qualm was that if the bar tab went over our predetermined amount, they were supposed to go to my father. Instead, they went to my husband, who came straight to me, and I stressed about it for the rest of the evening (we kept it open). Brian specifically asked who they should go to, and they didn't follow instructions, and it kind of put a damper on my reception for me.
Rehearsal Dinner/Guest rooms: Radisson Fort McDowell Resort and Casino - B+ (rehearsal dinner)/A+ (guest rooms)
The Radisson gets two grades ... one for the rehearsal dinner by the pool on Friday night and one for being our home base for the guests and myself. The rehearsal dinner location was BEAUTIFUL, but the prices were incredibly high, I thought -- $25 per person for pizza, tacquitos, salad, empanadas and chips and salsa. That, I could probablly deal with (though I had to negotiate it down a lot), but the cocktails were ridiculous -- $100 per gallon of sangria (we have 55 guests and went through 4 gallons in 3 hours) and $75 per keg of beer. Maybe it was just wedding sticker shock. My family was also a little disappointed about how little they refilled the buffet, most of the trays seemed mostly empty all night. Also, the event coordinator, Amber, was a lovely woman, but hard to get a hold of through email.
However, as a hotel, it is a FANTASTIC space. Everyone from the front desk staff to the pool bartenders recognized us as the wedding couple, even though we weren't getting married there, and were constantly asking us how it went and offering congratulations. The resort itself is beautiful and offers so many amenities...gorgeous pool, mutliple restaurants, golf course, casino .. that it was perfect for all our out-of-towners.
DJ - Jon from Starz Entertainment - A
He was awesome and great at entertaining the crowd. My mom got kind of mad at him for not playing the song she wanted when she requested it, but he moved it up to the next song when I asked (geez, dont' make the mother of the bride angry!!) Compared to other DJ prices, it seems that maybe it was a little high ($1,300), but I think he was worth it. He showed up way before the ceremony started and took care of everything.
Ceremony Music - Daniel Tekunoff - A+
Daniel is an acoustic guitarist and so incredibly talented. He really brought something special to our ceremony. AND he's such a sweetie because I COMPLETELY forgot to pay him the day of the wedding, and he didn't make a fuss...I realized it the next day and called him so I could put a check in the mail, and he was so nice and gracious about it. I felt horrible!!
Cupcakes - My Goodness Cakes - A++
Brian from My Goodness Cakes was AMAZING!! We had four flavors of cupcakes (120 total) -- chocolate cherry, lemon, chai latte, and hawaiian -- plus a top cake for cutting for less than $500, which included delivery and cake stand rental. I did tastings at two places, the other one of which is really popular here on the Knot and cost more, and I really really thought My Goodness Cakes were MUCH better. I would recommend him thoroughly.
Flowers - Amanda Johnson, Butterfly Petals - A-
Amanda worked in my budget and I LOVED my bouquet. She also delivered the flowers to two separate locations for me and created an additional corsage at the last minute without charging me. However, most of the groomsmen's boutinnieres had fallen off within an hour into wearing them, so I'm not sure what the problem was there. The bouquets seemed to hold up beautifully, and she was willing to come pick up the vases we had rented back in Fountain Hills, which is kind of a drive for most people.
Bridesmaid Dresses - Wedding Accessory Superstore - B+
I really liked their prices -- $108 for an Alfred Angelo dress that I chose - but I had bridesmaids all over the country, so many dresses had to be shipped and then altered. We built in a month of cushion time and said we needed the dresses by March 30, and they were not shipped to the bridesmaids until April 1. It all worked out OK, but make sure to build in a lot of extra time if you plan to order from them.
Hair - Hair by Hannah Lee - A
I found Hannah on Craigslist and booked her because she offered a free trial and had really reasonable prices (less than $400 for 7 of us, plus she traveled to the hotel). She brought an assistant along and was there for about 4 hours. I didn't LOVE my hairstyle, but I think I'm being overly critical of myself because the styles on my 6 bridesmaids were beautiful.
Makeup - Stephanie Nault - A+
I couldn't believe that Stephanie was available when I booked her a month in advance, but she came to the hotel and did makeup for five of us. She has a boatload of Mac Cosmetics and did a beautiful job on all of us. She charged $55 per person because we had 5, it would have been $65 for less than 5.
Minister - Rev. Philip Waring - A
Phil Waring did a great job, everyone said they really loved his ceremony. I was nervous because I felt like he didn't know us at all, but it didn't matter in the end, it was still a great ceremony. He charged $350 for the whole she-bang (not including rehearsal).
Limo - Destiny Limo - C
We only paid for a transfer from the resort to the wedding, but the driver apparently didn't know where the golf course was and had to backtrack when he took the guys over first. We girls asked if he had an ipod attachment to listen to music on the way over, and he said no. My husband told me later that there was a dock in the back of the limo, but they couldn't get it to work. The transfer was only $150, but I feel like it was kind of wasted money.
My photographer was a friend who lives near me on the East Coast and my dress is from a store on the East Coast, so I'll skip reviews on those two. Overall, amazing weekend!