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Vendor Reviews

I got married on December 18 at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in River Forest with the reception at Hinsdale Golf Club.  Below are some of my vendor reviews.  Feel free to PM me if you have questions about anything.

Simply Elegant  Floral & Event Co.
John Windisch, co-owner
Grade: B-

Overall, the flowers for my wedding turned out alright, but I was disappointed by a few things.  I felt that I was never exactly sure what I was going to get.

On the positive side, John is friendly to work with in person.  The flowers were all delivered on time and the arrangements for the church and the bouquets were gorgeous.

However, I was surprised by how some of the flowers looked on the wedding day.  I booked Simply Elegant after a consultation where John wrote down what I wanted for flowers, then about 6 weeks before the wedding we had a sample day where John showed me samples of the bouquets and different centerpiece designs we had agreed upon.  Unfortunately, the designs changed between the consultation, sample day, and wedding.  For example, I had initially asked for solid white bridesmaids bouquets.  At the sample day, John had some dark purple flowers in the bridesmaid bouquet he showed me.  I liked the way the white and purple looked together, so I didn’t request that he go back to all white and I approved of the samples he showed me.  Then the bridesmaids bouquets he delivered the day of the wedding were all white.  Similarly, I felt that the centerpieces at the wedding were a lot less full and lush looking than the samples John showed me. 

I was also bothered by the fact that John came across as very gruff in emails I exchanged with him.  Whenever I would send an email to set up a meeting, confirm table count, or arrange payments, I would get replies that were very short and written all in caps, such as “GOT IT”, “TALKED TO VENUE. ALL SET”, “GOT YOUR CHECK”.  I felt this wasn’t very professional and discouraged me from following up on details. 

 

Naperville Limousine
Grade: C-

We rented a stretch Excursion to transport our wedding party.  Ultimately the limo got us to our destinations, but was definitely the most stressful part of the wedding day.  I had three major problems with Naperville Limousine:

  1. Incorrect pickup location – We initially scheduled the limo to start off by picking the groom and groomsmen up at the hotel.  However, a week before the wedding the guys decided to get ready at DH’s parents’ house, so we changed the pickup location to their home.  Despite confirming the new pickup location, the limo went to the hotel instead, causing the first pickup of the day to be late.  By the time the mistake was figured out, the schedule of getting everyone to the church was thrown off.

  1. Poor driving and route selection ­ - Our driver had a knack for picking the worst routes from getting from point A to point B.  After dropping the guys off at the church, the limo picked me and the bridesmaids up at my parents’ home ½ mile away.  It should have taken the limo no more than 3 minutes to get to the house from the church, but ended up taking over 10 minutes.  Then on the way back to the church, the driver completely missed the turn (and several other opportunities to turn) for the church and had to be directed by the bridesmaids.  After the ceremony, the driver insisted on taking a ridiculous route to the reception which involved adding unnecessary distance to the drive and going down a street that is always incredibly backed-up.  This probably added at least 15 minutes to our trip and cut into the time we had for pictures.  The driver did not speak English well, so it was difficult to give him directions and figure out what his plan was.

  1. Nearly injured photographer and equipment – We stopped at a scenic location to take pictures.  The photographer had gotten out of the limo and was standing at the open limo door gathering her camera equipment.  Without warning, the limo driver started driving away, scaring the photographer and almost knocking her expensive equipment onto the ground.

 

Orchestra 33
Dave Farley, band leader

Grade: A+

Orchestra 33 was amazing.  I cannot rate them highly enough.

I’m so glad we chose this band over a DJ.  The dance floor was packed from the beginning of the evening until the very end.  We received compliments from our guests all night about how great the band was.  The music was great.  Orchestra 33 was dead-on for each and every song they played.  They have such a large repertoire and played everything from classic rock to Motown to country to current dance hits.  They did a great job of mixing different styles of music to appeal to everyone from our older relatives to our parents’ friends to our friends and cousins.

 They also did a great job of interacting with the crowd.  When deciding on a band, we saw lots of bands that played good music, but that’s it.  I think what sets Orchestra 33 apart is that they really get the crowd going.  The singers were walking onto the dance floor and interacting with the guests all night.  They really got the party going and knew how to get the guests involved. 

 

Marie Roesler (Wedding Cake)
Grade: A+

Marie made an amazing wedding cake for our reception and was great to work with.

Marie has been making wedding cakes out of her home in Western Springs for the last twenty years or so and was recommended to us by a friend of my mother-in-law.  I thought we had our bakery all picked out, but went to a cake tasting at Marie’s to humor the MOG.  Well we were absolutely blown away.  Marie made us three 6-inch cakes in the different flavors we wanted to try and packed up all the leftover to take with us.  She makes all kinds of unique and delicious flavor combinations that you won’t find at most bakeries.  We ended up choosing the turtle cake, which is chocolate devils food cake with chocolate chunks mixed in, with roasted pecan and caramel filling. 

The cake turned out fantastic.  I had multiple guests tell me that this was the best cake they have every eaten.  The cake looked amazing as well.  We chose buttercream icing since it tastes better, and Marie was able to make the frosting so smooth that it looked like fondant. 

I couldn’t be happier with the cake and Marie was so easy to work with.  I would highly recommend her to anyone in the Western suburbs

 

Aisle Style
Grade: A-
I bought my wedding dress and veil from Aisle Style.  The service was excellent.  The owner was great in recommending dresses to fit my budget and style.  There was no pressure whatsoever and everyone I met was incredibly friendly.  I also ordered a custom-made veil that I thought was very reasonably priced. 

The only downside is that I found it difficult to get in touch with the shop at times.  Their hours are by appointment only and I often found it difficult to reach someone by phone.  The owner had her second child around the time I was supposed to pick up my dress and veil, and the store seemed a little slow to respond to my messages to set up an appointment.  However, everything worked out fine and I would definitely still recommend Aisle Style as a great bridal boutique.

Deonna Caruso Photography
Grade: A (Pending)
I'll post a full review of Deonna when we get our wedding photos back, but she was great to work with.  She was very professional but also easy-going.  We loved the engagement photos she took of us.

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