Hello! I am finally doing my vendor review. Most of the time when I see the vendor reviews on here I get a little down because I feel like most of the people doing them were not on a budget wedding like mine. Our budget for the wedding was 6k. That didn’t include the honeymoon or rings but everything else. I think we may have went over a little bit but we stuck pretty close. I thought it was important to do a vendor review and let you ladies know that it is possible to have an amazing wedding on a budget even though my wedding was almost a month ago and I am a little late. Hope this helps some local ladies and if you have any questions you can message me or ask on here. I try to check this board at least 2 times a week. Thanks!
Blue Sushi Sake Grill – Old Market (Reception Location, Food) – B+
Blue has been one of my favorite restaurants in Omaha for over five years. And when we got engaged on our trip back home we were debating places to have the wedding and I mentioned that Blue has a third floor that they had just opened for events. Their downtown location is the one we always go to and with the brick and old market feel of it we knew it was perfect. We set up a meeting with Ryan at Blue and loved the location. The nice thing is that they do not charge for rental but have a minimum of $1500 for food and alcohol which is pretty easy. Their menu was pretty simple and it is technically through their "Red White and Blue" catering not through the Blue restaurant itself. But they have Italian, Mexican and Asian cuisine. So if you did have a reception there it could be any of those types of food. The area is a bit on the small side so the max amount of people would probably be around 100. We had 87 and I think it was perfect because we still had room for our DJ and Photo Booth area and there were couches and cocktail tables around as well. Overall I had a good experience with Blue. My only problems were trying to get ahold of Ryan a few times and then when we decided to find out specifically what we were going to have on our buffet (Asian) he responded and told us the buffet option was no longer available and we would have to have plated meals. This was a pretty big issue considering we were not having assigned seating and we had already sent out our invites without any specifics on food. After a heated email I got a resonse back that he would check with the chef. After several days I emailed him back and finally got a response and it would be like the original buffet option. We set up a tasting and everything ended up great. We had this amazing salmon and chicken with a veggie mix (most of which I had never heard of!) and some mashed potatoes. It was delicious and I was really excited. A couple weeks before the wedding I emailed Ryan back and asked about a chart for the floor that he was supposed to email me. I eventually got an answer that he has switched responsibilities but Jake would be taking over for our reception. I had emailed Jake numerous times and got very swift responses. It was almost like a blessing in disguise. The day of the even Jake was there when we were setting up. He was able to help us with small things we needed like tape and a screwdriver. After the reception started he was continuously there when we needed him and was updating us on things up until he left. When he left he put the bartender in charge and they handled everything wonderfully. Honestly the night of was great. We received so many compliments on the food and the staff was amazing to work with. The only real problems I had were with the previous event coordinator/manager and those all were solved eventually. I would highly recommend them as a venue.
Hanscom Park (Ceremony Site) – B
This is what I get for waiting till the last minute. Haha. We wanted to book Heartland of America Park or Gene Leahy Mall but it ended up that the Summer Arts Festival was going on at the same time. So we booked Hanscom Park (The park, not the pavilion thingy). The only problem was finding a completely flat space, away from the rest of the park to set up chairs and all that fun stuff for the ceremony. We ended up finding a space near these trees up the hill that worked. Being in June we wanted to find a cooler spot with a lot of shade and lucky the park is full of trees. Our original plan was the gazebo but it is in really bad condition so we decided against that. Overall it was decent but I wanted to find a park closer to downtown. And after the ceremony we went up near the gazebo to take pictures and there was another bridal party there taking pictures and I kind of got a little irritated because we rented the park for our wedding. So I was kind of hoping they would say something to us when I stole the gazebo but they didn’t.
Party Rockin’ Entertainment (DJ) – A++ (402-320-1655 - Anthony Tirendi)
I absolutely loved our DJ’s. They were amazing and it was a pretty crazy story as well. We had a different DJ originally (John Tilley out of Bellevue) and ended up finding out just like 3 weeks before the wedding that he was unable to DJ for us. He didn’t contact us or anything because he didn’t have our ‘information’. It was kind of a bull crap excuse and I was pretty stressed out. We were 2 ½ weeks out from the wedding and didn’t have a DJ. I ended up looking and posting on Craigslist because we were on a strict budget and found Anthony of Party Rockin’. We met up with him and his cohort (I can’t remember his name…) and they were awesome. They asked all the right questions and were amazing to work for. We ended up putting a deposit down and getting our DJ booked two weeks before our event. We were in communication with him pretty consistently up until the wedding. When we were getting ready the morning of the wedding they were there setting up too so it was great to see all of their equipment and for being a lot cheaper then the huge corporation DJ’s in the area their equipment was very nice and fancy. As we were setting up the centerpieces and decorations they were playing music for us and taking requests. It was great! The reception went off amazingly as well. They were incredibly professional and everything went off without a hitch. I highly recommend them for people looking for a down to earth DJ. They were incredibly affordable and we met with the actual people who would be our DJ not just some random person that will set everything up for us and send a complete stranger to our wedding. They came through on such short notice, had all the songs we requested and played the music that we liked. Couldn’t have asked for a better DJ and I think again our old DJ backing out was another blessing in disguise because we came across these two and they were awesome. J
j. selander photography (Photographer) – A+ Honestly the most important thing for me in regards to the vendor was our photographer. I did tons of research made a huge spreadsheet went to like 100 different websites and asked everyone I knew. I had originally planned for a budget of around $1000 for a photographer and realized pretty fast for what I was looking for that wouldn’t happen. I wanted something a little more original and not traditional wedding photography. I wanted it to be artistic and have some flare in it. When I came across Janna and Chad’s website I was in love but I was a little put off because the price was still above my revised price point. I ended up emailing them and Janna answered and said she would be willing to work with my budget and we put together a custom package for us and made it within our price point. The nice thing is it included both Chad and Janna so we had two photographers instead of just one. When we met with Janna we just knew they were the ones. J So we set up our photographer before we had anything else set up except the Date and our reception location. I honestly do not regret going above my price point on this though because they were so important to me. We haven’t got our pictures back but I know they are going to be amazing and I am really excited. We should get them back within the next couple weeks and I will post some of my favorites on this board for you ladies to see. The day of the wedding the girls in the bridal party met up with Janna downtown to do some pictures and the boys met up with Chad. It ended up allowing us to get all the pictures done much faster and for us to see each other for the first time on the actual walk down the isle. This was something I was wrestling with and decided to keep it kind of traditional. We ended up having a very windy ceremony so those pictures should be fun. But Janna and Chad were very vocal and helping us figure out how to stand and who to get with and all of the fun stuff that photographers should do and don’t always do. They were great at looking at the pictures that had already come out and saying "Oh that lighting isn’t working lets move over here" or something along those lines. They were a ton of fun to work with too and joking around and just having a fun time. We absolutely loved them and I can’t wait till I have more friends getting married to suggest them! Overall they were amazing and completely worth it to splurge on the photography because that will be the one thing from the event that you get to keep forever (besides your husband!)
Bridal Traditions (Wedding Dress) – C
My best friend got married about 9 months before me and I was engaged the entire time she was as well. We ended up looking through several stores in the Omaha/Lincoln area for dresses and found hers at the Wahoo Outlet (LOVE THAT STORE) and right after her wedding we started looking more for mine. We ended up looking at a couple different stores but went to Bridal Traditions first. We were pretty good at the whole process of trying on dresses and I grabbed 8 dresses and put it on the rack (my favorite thing about this store) and going to the dressing room. Since my bf was there we didn’t need help from a consultant but she did check in on us several times. I ended up finding a dress that I really liked and debated if I wanted it or not. It was the closest I had to ‘tears’ although my best friend ended up tearing up (even though she probably saw me in like 40 dresses by that point). We decided to ask them to ‘hold’ the dress and ran out to the Wahoo outlet and didn’t find anything out there that even matched it. And at one point I referred to the dress at Bridal Traditions as ‘my dress’. The dress was from the ‘outlet’ rack and had been a floor sample but at $800 it was still over my budget. When we went back I found my consultant and she had me try it on again and I knew it was the dress. I changed out of it and went up to her and asked her if there was anything they could do with the price since it had some work that needed to be done and she instantly went into b!tch mode. I don’t remember the name of my consultant but she may have been one of the owners or the owner because she literally freaked out on me. She was so pissed that I wanted to negotiate on the dress. She just got super mean and snappy and told us that we shouldn’t get a better deal because it was half off. I told her about my concerns with needing a new zipper and having to fix the bow and she said they would take care of that in their alteration department. I said it would still cost money and still tried negotiating it down. I ended up getting about a hundred dollars off but it ended up ruining my entire experience. I understand not wanting to cut out profits or commission but you would think they could negotiate in a little nicer manner. It was just a bad experience and I at that point wished I hadn’t found my dress there. I paid by check and they wouldn’t let me pick up the dress until the check cleared and they would give me a call when it cleared. A week later and several days after the money had been taken out of my account I called them and received a snotty answer that the dress could be picked up and I should have known that. Lovely customer service this company has. I ended up picking it up and when I did I checked to see if there had been any damage done to it, that was how bad they treated me. Overall the experience was decent until I decided to buy the dress and considering it was off the rack and had a lot of repairs that needed to be done asking for a little discount should not have offended them so much. I would not say to go there but they do have a good selection. I would check out the other stores in Omaha before going there though.
Davids Bridal (Bridesmaids Dresses) – C After having a terrible experience with Davids Bridal for my best friends wedding we decided to buy our bridesmaids dresses on their website instead of in person at their store. We originally wanted to go with a different store but all other stores had bridesmaids dresses starting over a hundred dollars and all my girls were on a pretty strict budget. We ended up going through the outlet website on Davids Bridal. With two girls it wasn’t that hard to find dresses in their sizes in different dresses of the same color, but with more girls it probably would have been hard. Overall my experience with the website is great, I just really hate Davids Bridal and the experiences we have had there.
Linda Lee (Seamstress) – A
We had used Linda Lee before at my best friends wedding for her dress and for the bridesmaids as well. So we knew she was great at her job. She does like to chat a lot so have a premade excuse for why you have to leave but she does a great job. I ended up having to have my gown taken out a couple inches and it was silk and fancy fabric and originally a 2k dress so it was a lot of work. She was great and did an amazing job. We ended up going to her right in the middle of prom season and I would not recommend that at all. I think she was a little overbooked and by the end I had 4 appointments and finally picked it up on the 4th appointment. The dress on the inside looked a little Frankenstein because of all the cutting and weaving that she had to do but it ended up turning out great. It is really hard to assume how a dress is going to fit without it actually fitting during the first couple try on sessions but she did a great job and the dress fit like a glove which is difficult with my body type. Overall I plan on using her if I ever need any dresses altered.
Coupe Miville Photography (Photo Booth) – C-
Over the past year and a half I had been scanning the wedding ads on Craigslist for good deals on everything. I ended up finding our Officiant, Dj, Photobooth and several accessories through that amazing website. One day a few months before the wedding I came across an ad for a photo booth. It was apparent after several emails with Michele that she didn’t have any experience but she told me about several things she had set up and would send me samples. Over the next couple months it seemed like most of those photo booth opportunities for her fell through. I kept asking for samples or something to see and never really got anything. Overall though she seemed very eager to make everything work and book our date. Overall if this fell through I didn’t worry because it was more of a bonus. Our set up through email was $75 an hour for three hours. I told her I wanted it for the three hours so it would only be about $225. She didn’t have any props because of ‘sanitation concerns’ so we ended up picking up about $15 worth of props from Target and using a few hats we had on hand. She was advertising for a photo booth and when I explained the whole photo book idea with the signatures she seemed a little confused but willing to try it. I ended up buying the photo book, the paper, the pens and everything needed to make the book. The night of the printer was going really slow so a lot of the guests did not get a chance to sign their pages and completely forgot about going back to sign. Some guests she didn’t even ask to come back to sign. I had just assumed that her printer would print it off and she would ask them to stick around to sign it. The set up was pretty cool because Blue set a couch back in the corner and a table with all the props on it. My friend made a sign for it as well and somehow the sign ended up on the buffet table instead of the photo booth table. Not sure how that happened. Overall though I think she was just not prepared. I ended up getting a stack of pictures at the end of the night and a stack of pages with some signatures on it. Around 10 that night I realized she was still there and at this point the reception was starting to wrap up. When we went to pay her though she told my husband that we were short the $75 because she stayed an extra hour. Personally I think that it was her responsibility to pack up at 9 and leave because that was what we had agreed on. I didn’t want to worry about it though and just had him pay her the extra. Overall though I think she was unprepared and a little unprofessional because of this. I think in a year or two maybe when she gets more experience it might turn out better but overall I was very disappointed. Her pricing plan was overpriced for what she provided. After we got back from our honeymoon I had been trying to get ahold of her to no avail until I tried another email. Finally I got ahold of her and she responded about getting the CD’s ready that were included. I just got the CD’s back and the collage photos were a little messed up. A few of them have different people for the last picture which makes for an odd print off of I wanted to do that again.
Kole Snodgrass – Elegance in Imagery – (Officiant) – A
Our officiant I also found on Craigslist. I was looking for a male (I don’t know why!) that was not ridiculously expensive. I couldn’t imagine spending $300 on someone that is just going to stand there for 10 minutes saying a few lines. I know it is more than that but I still don’t want to pay someone $30 a minute. And honestly the actual ceremony was the least important part of the wedding for both of us. So I had looked around for a while and found a few but when I emailed Kole he seemed to just stick out. We set up a meeting and his energy and enthusiasm was very evident. We ended up booking him and putting our down payment down. During the rehearsal the day before his wife Amanda ended up being equally as useful and helpful. She helped us out a ton by letting us know when to walk because where we were standing we couldn’t hear the music. These two were great and it was awesome to have them a part of our ceremony. Kole sent us a few ideas for our ceremony knowing that neither of us wanted anything overly religious. He met us at a different part of the park to sign the marriage license and everything was great. When we got back from our honeymoon we had the marriage license and I haven’t heard from him since but that is perfectly fine with me. He did a great job and he was very affordable.
Ameristar Casino (Cake #1 ) – A
Long story short, I used to work at Ameristar 6/7 years ago. They had this amazing cake they would sell every spring that was a strawberry short cake cake. I absolutely loved it. A few years ago they stopped making it. I was devastated. We ended up speaking to the pastry chef Curtis and he told us he would make us a wedding cake of their amazing cake for the wedding. Yaaay! We ended up just getting a sheet cake and it worked perfectly. I was so excited about it I even told everyone at the wedding that it was my favorite. I am hoping that my wonderful husband continues the tradition and gets it for our anniversary every year. J
Hy-Vee 25th and Broadway in Council Bluffs (Cake #2) – C-
We ended up getting a cake from Hy-Vee because we wanted a more traditional cake as an option as well. And every time we walked by the bakery we looked at the cakes and I loved how they looked. They had this one boxed cake that had ribbon that I loved. So when we ended up sitting down with them we came up with flavors and I was very adamant that I did not want Fondant on the cake. A week before the wedding my husband dropped off a ribbon so they could use it to match our wedding colors for the green cake. It was going to be a green cake with brown ribbon. Great fun! Let me tell you, I was so incredibly disappointed by the cake. It looked terrible. I honestly think if I would have made the cake it would have looked about the same. The green was not even close to the same color we wanted and it was not very well iced or in very square of shapes. My sister got her cake from them for her wedding 4 years ago and the cake was amazing. I was very disappointed and to me it just sucks. I didn’t call them or anything because at this point I just don’t care. I was not overly control freak on anything wedding related and it is over but It was just disappointing. I would just think for a wedding cake they could have tried a little harder.
Flowers: I ended up getting my flowers online through Etsy. The seller I went to was :
http://www.etsy.com/shop/kottonkandy52 They turned out amazing and I was so excited about them. I had something unique and different and absolutely loved them. She ended up putting a package together to match our needs and it was $120 plus $20 shipping for 2 Bridesmaids Bouquets, 1 brides , 1 toss and 2 boutonnieres. Great deal and we had so many compliments!
Invites: I got out invites on sale at Target for half off. I didn’t even know that target had invitations. Someone was talking about how they got their invites printed at Office Max for pretty cheap so I started looking for those "Make your own" kits. I didn’t want a lot of DIY but they were super simple and they were a fraction of the price I would have even payed if I went to any online website including vistaprint. We got two boxes of invites for about $35. That is 100 invites. We payed about $30 to get them printed. So overall we had 100 invitations that were pocket fold with a pretty ribbon on them for $65. And it took me about two hours to put them together while watching a movie so I was distracted. I am not a DIY type person so this kind of work really scared me but it ended up turning out amazing and for so incredibly cheap. Highly recommend doing them yourself.