Well, despite the rain & 40mph winds on Friday, we had a beautiful ceremony and a great reception.
Here are some of my initial vendor reviews:Photographer: Farrah Grant = A+++++++++++Farrah is amazing. She was incredibly flexible and unobtrusive, which is exactly what we needed her to be. We originally wanted some outdoor shots of us, but decided against it because of the weather. I also had planned on some "getting ready" shots, but I was so overwhelmed and frantic (we were running late getting to the church) that she just let me have some time to myself first, which I was so grateful for. She and her husband required very little direction--and I can't wait to see all the photos they took! She is also very easy to get ahold of, and was very good at making sure she understood our expectations. I loved our engagement photos (and I usually hate photos of myself), so I think I will be thrilled with my wedding photos.Ceremony: St. Vincent's Orthodox Church = A+++++++Obviously, you have to be a church member to be married here, but Father Theodore and Mat. Susan are kind, generous and supportive. Mat. Susan played the organ and sang at my service, and her voice was hauntingly beautiful. Perfect for such a traditional ceremony!Reception: Regency Lodge = A-I was mostly happy with my reception and service here. Trista Nelsen had replaced the original wedding coordinator that I had started working with, and Trista was great to work with! Everything seemed to go incredibly smoothly, and it helped that Trista--and the Lodge--had worked with my musician/emcee before. The food was wonderful--everyone loved the cheesy hash brown casserole, especially. I did have some complaints from family about the front desk staff being kind of rude/unhelpful when they tried to check into the hotel. Also, it was a little nervewracking to be told by my decorators right before the ceremony that my chaircovers & tables weren't set up yet, and no one was around to take the grooms' cakes that were delivered that afternoon.... but everything was ultimately completed before the guests all arrived. And I have to say, it is totally worth it to pay the extra $$ to have a venue take care of all the setup/cleanup for you!Wedding Cake: Gerda's Bavarian Bakery = AI love Gerda's bakery/restaurant, and I wanted a unique cake at a reasonable price. I ordered a 3-tier torte of chocolate cake with raspberry filling and chocolate ganache frosting. The cake was beautiful, but seemed a lot smaller (i.e., less servings) than what I thought I was ordering. I had about 170 people at my reception, and my cake was supposed to feed 150-200 people, but it ran out quickly! So, either I ended up with less servings than what I paid for, or people were picking up extra servings of cake--it's hard to tell, but ultimately not that big of a deal. I got a lot of compliments on the cake and was relieved to not have a bunch of leftovers. :)Reception Music: Michael Walker, Vintage Vocalist = A+It could be a little difficult to get ahold of him sometimes and it took a while to receive the contract, but I think he was well worth it! He is extremely experienced at the flow of wedding receptions, and it was a relief to have him time and emcee everything so I didn't have to watch a clock or keep track of the flow of events myself. Michael told us that his goal was to have the reception be fun and relaxing for us, and it was! He is an amazing performer, has a smooth voice, and everyone loved the music. He sings mostly "rat pack" songs and music from the 40s & 50s, and it was perfect. We specifically wanted him instead of a band or DJ because we wanted people to be entertained and feel free to dance, but still be able to talk and hear each other over the music. Chair covers/table runners: Elegant Presentations = A+http://www.chairlinen.com/home.htmlI
found this company online when I became discouraged by the cost of chair covers here in Omaha. I didn't originally care if we had chair covers, until the Regency Lodge had a mini bridal showcase that showed off how great the room looked with colored chair covers. Everyone in town wanted at least $4/cover for chocolate satin chair covers, but this company--based out of Chicago--only charges about $2/cover, including sashes (which I used as table runners). Even with shipping/handling costs, I still saved about $200-$300 by using this company for my covers instead of going local. And the Regency Lodge was gracious enough to be willing to do all the setup/takedown of them for me. ;)Dresses: David's Bridal = AI really didn't want to use David's Bridal because their service usually stinks and they tend to be overpriced for accessories and alterations, but I decided to try on dresses there so I could see myself in a dress that actually fits. I'm a size 22, so most bridal shops carry few, if any, dresses in my size, and it's difficult to decide how something really looks on you when it doesn't come close to fitting correctly. Angela, the saleswoman that helped me, was friendly and attentive, though, and I fell in love with my dress, though, and got a pretty good deal on it ($700 dress for $575 after taxes) during one of their sales. I loved the headband I tried on with it, but I wasn't willing to pay $150 for it! Luckily, I found it on ebay for about $60. The bridesmaid dresses were ordered from DB, too, without any problems. We did NOT use DB for alterations, though.Alterations: Karen Tangeman = A+++++++++++Karen is amazing, and her prices are jaw-dropping. I was a little worried about using her, after several knotties mentioned she seemed kind of brusque, but she was nothing but pleasant with me, and is extremely knowledeable about her trade. My dress required a lot of bustling, as it also had a jacket/overlay that needed bustling as well. DB would have charged me over $185 just for the bustling, but Karen only charged me $107-- and that included a 9-point bustle on my dress, a 5-point bustle on the overlay, shortening the sleeves, moving the clasp on the jacket, adding a "safety" loop at the top of the zipper and (my personal request and favorite detail) adding a hidden pocket in my dress for my lipstick, etc.! I was THRILLED with her work and her prices.Tuxes: Gentleman's Choice = A+DH was dragging his feet on looking at/ordering tuxes, as he generally hates clothing shopping, etc (and really hates shopping at Men's Wearhouse). Once I finally got him into this tux shop, the ladies did a great job at advising him and getting him into picking everything out (he originally wanted to have everyone--groom, groomsmen, fathers, ushers, etc.--in the same tux, with black vest & bow ties). They instead convinced him to pick out tuxes and accessories that complimented our fall colors. Then, when I called them the week of the wedding to add my brother to our party (as he discovered his suit no longer fit and it was easier just to get him a tux), they were extremely accomodating. We did have some problems with sizing/fit when the guys picked their tuxes up, but the ladies there worked quickly and resolved everything immediately.