Hello everyone! Here are my very long and detailed vendor reviews from my wedding way back on 10-17-01. I've also included some product reviews as well. Enjoy! I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about the vendors.
Church: St. Robert’s Bellarmine Catholic Church
Father Shane was excellent—very understanding and also encouraged us to look forward into our marriage.
Veronica, the church liturgist, was also amazing. I didn’t have any set ideas for music and no one to sing or play for the wedding, but she made choosing the music so easy! She just played for us, and we chose our favorites.
The church also has dressing rooms for the bride and groom. The church is recently remodeled and very beautiful—no décor or flowers was needed!
Rehearsal Dinner: St. Robert’s Mainelli Center
My husband’s family took care of all the details, but it was very spacious and looked great!
Wedding Caterer: Lil’ Willy’s
Dave Kolar, owner of Lil’ Willy’s, is my husband’s uncle, but the unbiased truth is that the food was amazing! He also priced the meal at under $10/plate, which was a huge savings for us! If your hall allows a caterer to come in, I would definitely recommend him!
Rehearsal Dinner Caterer: Eddie’s
Again, my husband’s family took care of the details, but the food was so good! My husband’s uncle recommended him to my husband’s parents to cater the rehearsal dinner since he was already doing the wedding food!
Hall: Legacy Hall, just north of 90th and Blair High Road
As soon as I walked into the hall, I knew I wanted to book the place immediately. The hall allowed you to bring in your own caterer and beverages, which helped to save money. We bought in our own décor mostly, but the hall will rent items to you. They will also decorate for you if you want them to. I rented a large ceiling decoration (which looked awesome with the lights down!) and the linens from the hall, which was cheaper than any other rental places. The staff was very accommodating—I called several times to ask questions about dimensions and timing, and I also visited multiple times to get decorating ideas. The only negative aspect was that a few of the tablecloths were dirty, but the staff changed them right away. Some of the tables had candlewax permanently stuck on them, and it showed through some of the tablecloths. This wasn’t a big deal because the lights were turned down so low. Overall, it was a wonderful evening, and I would definitely recommend looking into renting the hall!
Beverages: Cornhusker Beverage and Bridal
Jim was awesome to work with! He knows exactly how many beverages are needed for the entire evening. In the end, we had way too much since our RSVP rate was way lower than expected—and we got over $800 back! They will restock basically anything that is unopened, minus 10%. Definitely use these guys if you can!
Transportation: Omaha Fiesta Bus, Orange Crush
We were looking for a 2-hour ride of fun that wasn’t too expensive…and the Fiesta Bus did just that with awesome music and some stripper poles…ha!! It was only $85/hour to rent the bus. At first, the owners were very hard to contact, but everything worked out eventually. The driver was so friendly and funny and didn’t care that we had alcohol on the bus as long as it was in a bottle. We were also able to comfortably fit 25 people and a large cooler on the bus.
Dress 1: Madonna’s Wedding Belle, Norfolk, NE
The staff was mostly friendly and very helpful in bringing me dresses to try on. I actually found my first dress in another store but purchased it at Madonna’s since the customer service was awesome, along with the prices. However, they didn’t want to start alterations until one month before the wedding…not too convenient! And I actually ended up not liking my first dress because I didn’t know if all the alterations I wanted to make were actually feasible in that short month they scheduled for alterations…I guess I felt like they should have encouraged me to keep looking for a dress I liked better than really trying to sell me the one I bought. But they have a good selection and would still recommend you look there!
Dress 2: Pronovias Flagship Store, NY
I stumbled across my amazing dress at this store at a sample sale. My dress was dirty and ripped—but beautiful! I just knew it was the one. The 75% discount also helped too—it was actually cheaper than my first dress! So if you have a chance to check out a sample sale, do it!
Dress Alterations, Veil, and Pocket Squares: Linda Lee
Linda is super friendly and so talented. She “saved” my dirty sample dress by completely cleaning it and fixing the rips at the bottom and the huge 6 inch rip in the back zipper. It looked brand new when she was done with it! Since my dress had so many layers in the skirt, I had to have about 6 alterations appointments to get everything to fit perfectly. She even took out the gown slightly and added extra beading at the sides. The only thing that went wrong was the bustle broke…Linda also made my veil. I wanted a long, square cut, cathedral length veil with trim, but as Linda started making it, she didn’t think it went with the dress. So instead she made a hankerchief cut veil that perfectly complemented the dress. Linda also made pocket squares for all the groomsmen and ushers and altered the FG dress, mom’s dress, and several of the BM’s dresses. I only had to pay about $220: $50 for initial cleaning, ~$150 for all of the gown alterations at the hem, straps, and bustle and crinoline added, and $10 for 11 pocket squares.
Hair, Makeup, Manicure, Eyebrows, and Massage: Turning Heads Salon and Spa
I paid $79 for a bridal package that included hair, makeup, consultations, and a manicure. I also had my girls get their hair and makeup done for $60. My mom and mother-in-law also had their hair done, and we got a discount on their services since we had so many people—about 12! The salon opened one hour early to accommodate our schedule and let us bring breakfast in. Everyone was very happy with their hair and makeup. The staff was very good!
Gina did my hair. A consultation is free, but to actually have a practice hair trial costs $25. I had one trial, and my hair looked awesome! On the wedding day, however, my hair just would not curl in the back like it did in the trials. Right away I let Gina know I was not completely happy, and she was very nice about re-doing. Actually, we had to re-do it 4 times before we were both happy with it! The only bad thing about my hair is that the comb was falling out at the end of the night—so just make sure you push a hair comb in completely!
Mary did my makeup. Again, a consultation is free, but it costs $20/each makeup trial. I brought in my own foundation and powder, but the rest of the products were TIGI. The first time, my makeup was very heavy, and I did not like it at all. The next time I went in, I explained what I liked and didn’t like about the makeup. The second time Mary did a cleaner, more classic makeup look with false eyelashes (as my own eyelashes mysteriously fell out a week before the wedding!). The makeup lasted all day. The only touch-up I needed was a little more blush!
My manicure only lasted one week. It looked okay.
Mary did my brows. I hadn’t planned on having her do my eyebrows as I am the only one to touch my eyebrows, but they needed a little shaping. Mary went to work on them, and five minutes later, it was like magic!!! They turned out perfect!
Massage and hydrotherapy—B
This was my first professional massage. The price was good, massage was ok, and hydrotherapy wasn’t too great—the water/jets were so strong that I thought I was going to drown if I tried to relax in the tub!
DJ: Matt Everson, Complete Music
Matt was awesome! He was great! He was the most involved DJ I have ever seen, and you could tell he just loved his job. He kept us right on track throughout the night—I didn’t have to worry about anything! He also did the bouquet toss and garter toss right away, which was a good idea since we could get to the dancing as soon as possible. Matt lead us in the “Thriller” dance too—he’s a great dancer! We got so many compliments on our DJ and music.
Cake: Linda Tills, North Bend, NE
A+ for taste, B for design
Linda is so reasonable at only $0.75/slice. She has so many good flavors for cake filling—we had strawberry, snickers, amaretto, caramel, and chocolate. Everything tasted wonderful. The design wasn’t exactly what I had asked for, and the florist gave us the wrong flowers, so the cake was nothing like I had pictured. But Linda is very pleasant to work with. I would recommend giving her an exact picture to replicate.
Flowers: Frank at Mulhall’s
A for beauty, D for following my instructions!
Frank was great in planning the flowers for my wedding. He has been in the business for so long and has several recommendations for flowers. He helped me decide on some beautiful fall flowers that were supposed to be deep orange and dark purple including the two flowers I specifically asked for, orange dahlias and deep, dark purple calla lilies. I visited one week prior to the wedding to finalize everything and make sure that the colors of the flowers and ribbon were dark purple and orange to match all of the other decorations I had chosen. Well, when the flowers arrived, I could not believe it—they were almost all the wrong colors!!!!! I got yellow roses, bright purple ribbons, pink in my bouquet, and none of the calla lilies were dark purple, they were very light purple and white instead of the darker fall colors I had asked for. There were NO dahlias in my bouquet or in the flowers for the cake—instead we got bright orange daisies and tons of greenery, which I had NEVER asked for! I couldn’t believe it. Everything looked summery. The only thing that looked somewhat correct were the girls’ bouquets, but they still weren’t what I had asked for. I tried to contact Frank, and he wouldn’t call me back at first, but eventually we talked about the flowers. He basically admitted that they had made mistakes reading the order sheet (and gave us daisies instead of dahlias…). I accepted his apology, and I would recommend others to use him since I have never heard of anyone have bad luck with Mulhall’s, but be very clear about what you want. Make sure the sheet Frank makes about your order is readable, and don’t be afraid to be specific. It is your wedding and your money!
Rings: Brodkey’s in Bellevue, Hwy 75 and Cornhusker
Everyone here was wonderful. My husband had purchased my ring at Borsheim’s, but we couldn’t find exactly what we wanted for bands. We went to Brodkey’s, and I told them exactly what I wanted, and they created it for me! My husband chose a brushed titanium band while I choose two rose gold bands with sapphires, one for each side of my band. The rings together were only about $1200—such a good deal!
Save the Dates: Vistaprint, www.vistaprint.com
Very easy to use and cheap! If you sign up for their emails, you can get 100 postcards for free (+ shipping). If you upload an image, it costs $5. I got 100 save the date postcards for about $15.
Invitations: Michael’s, DIY
I used one of the Brides invitation sets. They were very easy to put together and reasonable. Normally they are $40 for $40 invitations, but we used 40% or 50% off coupons to get the invites for a great price. You can find coupons in the Sunday paper ads or just google them.
Programs: DIY with clipart from weddingclipart.com
I initially tried to use some fancy cutouts for the cover of my programs, but it took too much work. So a few days before the wedding, I decided to print the covers out using clipart from this site. You can get a free trial with two or three downloads, but then you have to pay for use beyond that. They have plenty to choose from. I found one I liked and downloaded it for free to use.
Thank Yous: Vistaprint, www.vistaprint.com
Again, I used the same deal that I used on my save the dates to use for the wedding thank yous. I got 250 postcards with an awesome picture of us for only about $30ish, I think. Shipping was super fast!
Photographer: Farrah Grant
Farrah and her husband Nick did an amazing job. She has been great to work with for both the engagement pictures and the wedding day. The package we got with her was only about $1100, but I think the prices and packages have changed since we booked her. The only recommendation I have is that you bring a very complete list of pictures that you want to any photographer you get. I thought I had brought a complete list, but now that I’ve been looking through my photos, I realized we missed some shots! The day goes by so quickly you might not remember to ask for those shots the day of….
Foundation: Make-up Forever High Definition Foundation, from Sephora
This is amazing! Very lightweight yet provided amazing coverage. I found this product about one month before the wedding. I went home to my future hubby, who, without prompting, actually commented on how great and smooth my faced looked! I’ve been wearing this as my regular foundation, and I absolutely love it.. On both of my makeup trials and the wedding day, the makeup lasted all day, no touch ups necessary! Just make sure to completely rub in and have moisturized skin.
Powder: Make-up Forever High Definition Powder, from Sephora
Again, another amazing product! This is such a lightweight powder that really sets the foundation. I also made sure to have enough powder around my eyes so that my concealor wouldn’t crease.
Concealor: Laura Mercier Secret Concealor Pot, Sephora
This product includes a concealor, under-eye brightener, and translucent powder to set the concealor. When I tried on the MF foundation, the saleslady paired it with the MF concealor, which did nothing to cover my dark, dark under-eye circles. I then tried Benefit Erase Paste, but it was very gloopy and also didn’t work well on my very dark eye circles. So I stayed at Sephora until I found something that worked! (The saleslady was so nice!) This product truly covers my circles, and I don’t need to use a lot of makeup. I love it!
Self Tanner: Fake Bake Bronzy Babe, Ulta
I think this is the right name of the product…I have very pale skin. I originally wasn’t going to do anything to tan, though, because I love my skin the way it is! But, unfortunately, I had some tan lines on my back from a snorkeling trip to Mexico…in May!!!! Fake Bake was recommended to me, and I purchased the product, thinking it was a gradual tanning lotion. Instead, it is more of a bronzer with the color lasting for a few days. The color looks very dark when you apply, since the lotion is brown so you can see where you need to rub in any streaks. I also combined the product with lotion to make for an easier, smoother application. One application a few days before the wedding provided just enough “glow” for me and covered my tan lines. It was the most natural looking tan I have ever had from self tanning products. This product may not be the best for others looking for a deeper tan as the bottle is pretty small.
Bride’s Jewelry: Lulusplendor, etsy.com
This jewelry is beautiful! I wanted some vintage-looking jewelry, and I searched all over for it! I looked in downtown Omaha, antique shops in Gretna and Council Bluffs, Manhattan, and online but couldn’t find anything I really wanted. Her jewelry is very lightweight and beautiful. Be sure to keep it wrapped up safety as it is very delicate.
Bridesmaids’ Jewelry: foreverafterjewelry, etsy.com
This seller did great! I wanted something simple for the girls that they could wear again, and I ordered gold chains and earrings with a tear-drop pendant (clear with one orange bead). It only cost about $15 for each girls’ necklace and earring set that came with a personalized box stating “Thank you for being a part of my wedding!” Check her site out and don’t be afraid to ask for customized jewelry.
Thefind.com—great for finding competitive prices!
Jewelry—overstock.com, tejani.com, christinagarcia.com, emitations.com