We got married on April 9th in Mesa. The weather was really cold and kinda gray, but it made for some beautiful photos! Here are the reviews of our vendors that I've written so far.
Photography - Nelson's Weddings: John and Tammy were wonderful throughout the whole planning process and the wedding itself. Tammy always responded to my emails right away and didn't ever seem to get tired of me asking for more information. They were on time (actually I think they were a little bit early), fun to work with, and gave great direction. The pictures the took turned out really well, absolutely beautiful! The only negative thing I have to say is that I didn't get the only shot I specifically asked for, which was a shot of my husband's face the moment he saw me in my dress for the first time. I take some of the responsibility for this, because I only mentioned it once or twice. I guess I should have reminded them on the day. Still, I highly recommend Nelson's Weddings! If you want to see the pics from our wedding, go to www.collages.net
. The username is groves and the password is 14855.
Coordinator - Brandy Blackford @ Sweet I Do's: My husband and I cannot say enough about how amazing Brandy is!! She impressed us right from the very beginning. When I first started researching coordinators, I sent out a bunch of emails asking for pricing information via email. (I cannot make personal calls at work and I work long hours, so email is my preferred method of communication.) Brandy was the only one who complied with my request. All of the others either sent me an email telling me to call them or droning on about the general benefits to hiring a coordinator without giving me any pricing information. When pressed, the others gave me a quote that was well outside of my price range. When I said I couldn't afford it, they offered to haggle. I didn't have the time, energy, or patience for that nonsense. Brandy responded right away with exact pricing information, and her price was one third of what anyone else had quoted me! She did everything she said she'd do and more. She decorated the ceremony site. She put together all of our bouquets and boutonierres. She loaned us card boxes and mirrors and candle holders for the centerpieces so we wouldn't have to buy them ourselves. She ran the rehearsal. She picked up the groom's cake and the linen's I'd forgotten to pick up the day before the wedding. She even brought my make-up case to the hotel we were staying at and left it for me when it got left behind at the reception site. She was professional, courteous, and responsive at all times and always wanted to know if there was anything else she could help us with. She was a great liason with all of the vendors and kept everybody on track. No task was too large or too small and we certainly wouldn't have had the lovely wedding we had without Brandy. She took care of everything so that we and our family and friends could just relax and enjoy the day. She always responded very quickly to my emails and addressed my questions thoughtfully and thoroughly. Brandy is an all-around class act and a complete angel. I HIGHLY recommend hiring Brandy at Sweet I Do's! You will not regret it!
Cake - Graceful Cake Creations: Our cake from Graceful Cake Creations was beautiful and delicious! We're still getting compliments on it. Grace was wonderful to work with. I really didn't care whether we had a cake or not when we first walked into our initial meeting with Grace, but by the end of it I had a solid idea of what I wanted and was really excited about it! She was very helpful with ideas and flexible about making changes. Grace also offers a wide variety of different flavors, and she brings the unusual ones to the tasting, which none of the other cake places we tried did. We went with cookies and cream, pina colada, and orange creamsicle, because just plain chocolate and vanilla seemed boring. She even made a Butterfinger flavored cake for the groom's cake because Shaun loves peanut butter. :-) I strongly recommend Graceful Cake Creations!
Dress - David's Bridal in Ahwatukee: My dress is absolutely beautiful and I want to wear it everyday! The price we paid for the dress was very affordable. However, the service we received at David's Bridal was terrible. First of all, we had an appointment, but while we were waiting to be taken care of, people who just walked in without an appointment were served ahead of us. The salesgirl who was assigned to us had no respect for personal space and kept touching me (so not ok). Once we had found the dress I wanted, we needed to order it in a petite. The size 10 in the store fit me perfectly, but the salesgirl said I should order a 12 petite because petite sizes were made smaller. She also tried to sell me a tiara, a veil, shoes, whatever, but didn't even offer me a garment bag to protect the dress (they're not included). When the dress came in, I went in to try it on. First I had to wait while they paged for the salesgirl who had originally helped me, even though I told them I only needed the dress and a room and she was obviously busy helping someone else. I got sick of waiting and the manager showed me to a room, but not before harrassing me to signe a release form saying I'd inspected the dress and everything was alright. I told her I wasn't going to sign it until I'd seen the dress and she wasn't happy. I tried on the dress and it was way too big. I wanted to cry because it looked so frumpy being a size too big. I told them to send it back and get me the 10 petite. When that size came in, it fit wonderfully and I bought a garment bag to take it home in. I love my dress but I'm glad I won't have to go back to this store ever again.
DJ - Desert Music Entertainment: I have some mixed feelings about Desert Music Entertainment. Throughout the research process and right up until a week or two before the wedding, all of my dealings were with JJ. He was very helpful and professional. He came out to the house where the wedding was held about a month beforehand to meet with us, the caterers, and our coordinator and discuss logistics. He saved us money on a projector renting it through him instead of the company I'd found to rent it from. JJ was great and I really didn't have any worries that everything would be handled the way I wanted. At the meeting at the house, I found out that JJ himself would not be our DJ, though. About a week before the wedding, I got a phone call from Vennie who would be our DJ. He didn't really seem to have a firm grasp on the details that I'd discussed with JJ (which probably should have worried me more at the time, seeing as how the instructions I'd given JJ were very clear and even color-coded, for crying out loud), but I was busy with something else at that moment so I just shrugged it off. The day of the wedding came, and Vennie was late. Not only late, but lost. JJ had found the place without any problem when we'd had the meeting, so it seems like they didn't communicate much about our event at all. Also, Google Maps provides clear and correct directions for getting to the house, and I don't understand why he wouldn't have mapped it before leaving. None of the other vendors had any trouble finding the place. Anyway, we had been assured that the DJ would be completely set up by 4:00pm (the ceremony started at 4:30) but he was still setting up during the ceremony and cocktail hour. He even announced my husband and I as "Mr. and Mrs. (My Maiden Name)." My husband was kinda ticked about that. All of the music was correct, but we felt Vennie was very unprofessional and it left a bad taste in our mouths. I emailed JJ after the wedding and told him we were disappointed in the service Vennie had provided. JJ very kindly apologized and sent us a pair of movie tickets. I guess I'd recommend the company, but I'd definitely request a different DJ and make sure that the DJ you get has all of your information correct.
Transportation - Ollie the Trolley: We hired Ollie the Trolley to shuttle our guests back and forth between the parking area and the wedding site as the wedding site didn't have adequate parking ot accomodate all of our guests. Our guests thought it was really cool. The trolley driver was on time and worked the hours we booked them for. He wasn't terribly personable, but we didn't hire him to be personable, we hired him to drive. Dan and Melissa in the office were responsive and flexible when it came to making changes. They didn't have any problems with my requests. It was a little expensive, but I would definitely recommend their service if you have need of it.
Transportation - Desert Rose Limousines: We had an outdoor wedding in Mesa in April and it turned out to be cold, windy, and rainy. Guests were leaving early and my husband and I wanted to leave early, too. Our coordinator called Desert Rose and they obliged us by coming 15-20 minutes earlier than we had booked them for. The driver was safe and friendly but not overly chatty (which was nice). My husband was the one who booked the limo, but he said that Desert Rose was about the only place that didn't have an hourly minimum charge or an attitude about providing a limo during "prom season." I'd definitely recommend them!
Caterers - Dad's Catering: First, let me tell you what we were happy with. Tim drove all the way out to the house before the wedding and figured out what kind of tents and how many we'd need and where we'd need to put them. The tent setup he arranged worked out very well for us. The service we received from Tim and Linda throughout the whole planning process was great except for being a bit difficult at times to get a response to an email. The service staff, on the other hand, were a HUGE
disappointment! First of all, the hors d'oeuvres that were supposed to have been passed to our guests during the cocktail hour were merely placed on a table for everyone to fend for themselves, which was not what we had discussed. Second, the food was cold. THE FOOD WAS COLD. I really feel that there is no excuse for this. They're caterers. It's their business to provide people with a hot meal and if they can't do that, then they shouldn't be in business. Several of our guests have said to us that the food would have been delicious if it had been hot. This was very
upsetting to us because we paid for a hot meal and didn't get one. There was also no au jus served with the roast beef (even though it was listed on the menu), and when we asked about it we were told that the meat had been sitting in the au jus for hours and had soaked it all up. Not only was that upsetting but extremely unappetizing as well. The food should not have been sitting out that long.
One of the servers eventually brought my husband a cup of au jus, but Shaun had to tell him to do the same for our guests. (The fact that there was still enough au jus to go around makes us wonder if he'd been entirely truthful about it all soaking into the meat.)
By the time the guests received their au jus, many were already finished with their meals.
We had only contracted the bartender until 9:00pm, but there must have been some kind of miscommunication because the rest of the staff disappeared at 9:00pm, too! They did not stay until the event was over and clean up like they were supposed to. I specifically remember discussing cleanup the first time we met with Tim. I asked if the servers would be the ones to clean everything up after the wedding and he looked at me like I was just a little bit stupid for even asking and said of course they would, it's part of the service they provide. We said that it was important to us that our guests not have to lift a finger, that they would be able to just relax and enjoy the wedding and Tim said that his people would take care of everything. That was one of the primary reasons why we went with this company in the first place. The catering staff left at 9:00 sharp and my mother, brother, bridesmaids, and other friends were left to clean up. We are very upset about this! Also, we had purchased our own wine and hired a bartender through Dad's to serve it. The bartender was just supposed to close the bar and leave at 9:00, but what he did was move the wine into the house, tell people where to find it, and then (rudely) tell my coordinator that we
were now liable. He also (rudely) told my coordinator that we were responsible for returning any items that belonged to Dad's Catering, when that was never mentioned to us or discussed. We had given the bartender a cash tip so that he wouldn't put out a tip jar at the wedding, but now I really wish that we hadn't tipped him at all. The equipment rental company was also a disappointment (Dad's Catering took care of the rental equipment for us). They did not bring enough linens for the tables we had rented, and the linens they brought for the cocktail tables were red. (My colors were black and emerald green.) I had specifically requested crystal glassware for the reception but what made it to the reception tables was just plain glass. In short, we were very disappointed with the way our wedding was handled by Dad's Catering. We were so excited about their service after first meeting with them, and we told everyone how wonderful it was going to be because they were basically taking care of everything. That's not how the actual event played out, though, and we don't feel that we got what we paid for at all. We feel like they made us all kinds of promises and didn't deliver on any of them. We are currently talking with Tim about a refund, but he doesn't seem to care too much about what happened. I'm not at all impressed with this company and I DO NOT recommend hiring them!!