Long story short (if you don't want to read it all!!) Ceremony Venue: Cornerstone Church - A+++++ Reception Venue: Seven Oaks A-/B Cake: Sweetest Perfections A+++
Dress: Weddings by Design - B
Hair: THESalon in Ames - AFlowers: Ames Lincoln Center Hy-Vee C/D Photographer: Moonwell Photography A+++++ (if there was anything higher than that he'd get it!) Videography: Complete Video - CCatering: Hy-Vee and Hickory Park - B - tasted great and was hot, but they didn't do anything "above and beyond". DJ/Photobooth: Steve's Mobile Music A+++ Wedding Planner: Perfect Events - F (if there was anything less - she'd get it)
What we're happy we splurged on: Photo everything (The Photographer, Photobooth, and videographer) and ski lift rental - everyone LOVED it)
What we should have splurged on: Extra photographer time
What we're glad we didn't splurge on: Food, and more "free" alcohol
What we shouldn't have splurged on: Our wedding planner - absolute horrible mistake!!!
Ceremony Venue: Our ceremony was at Cornerstone Church in Boone. We used pastor Nate Yoder who was amazing. We had several people tell us how impressed they were with him. The entire church is extremely welcoming and they worked really hard. It was "free will donation" so we didn't know exactly what to expect!
Reception Venue: Reception was at Seven Oaks. We LOVED that we were able to rent the ski lift for our guests since the wedding was in Oct, it had gorgeous views. We were scared no one would use it, but we ended up having to extend the time because so many people wanted to ride them! Only disappointment here was they wouldnt let people off at the top and walk around like we were told. No one realized it though and still loved it! The staff and bartenders were awesome and accommodating as well. They drew up about 100 floor plans for us as our guest count kept growing!!! Also, some grease dripped on my dress from the ski lifts which wasn't a big deal - I kinda expected it, but they offered to pay for the cleaning - which I thought was awesome! Cake: Our cake was done by Elizabeth with Sweetest Perfections. We chose her because she was the most creative out of anyone we met. She went out of her way to make up several flavors for us! We ended up using dark chocolate with cherry for 2 layers and Carmel apple for 2 layers. It was delicious!!! At the end of the night we had TONS of cake leftover and I was bummed thinking no one ate the cake! After listening to my voicemail that night, I found out that one of her employees couldn't tell her with complete certainty that she got carmel into one of the layers with carmel apple. (which there ended up being!) So, for no charge she made 90 extra servings on a sheet cake just to make sure we had it!! She didn't call me to alarm me, just took care of it
Dress: Weddings by Design was awesome - but only if you go when it's slow. Otherwise, you may be left to fend for yourself! When they're busy, you're lucky to get into a room, even with an appointment! My BMs and I started just picking out dresses However, the 2nd time we went and they were slow, you get 1 on 1 time with the consultants - and it feels much more stress free! Lastly, the dress they ordered me was HUGE (probably 3 sizes too big). This WAS what their "chart" said would fit, so I don't think it's their fault? But I understand this is a common problem. So, if you get your dress there - go with your gut for the size!
Hair: Went to THE Salon in Ames who had just opened up about a year prior. The place is fun and the stylists are awesome! They were all talking with us and getting excited for us. I got extensions put in (that I brought in myself) and had a tiara, with 1/2 up 1/2 down curls. Emily did my hair PERFECTLY and spent time with every curl on my head! lol! It turned out beautiful
Flowers: We used Hy-Vee at the Lincoln Center in Ames. I gave them a picture of what I wanted and drove up there to see it 3 days before the wedding. It was HORRIBLE! The colors were wrong, the flowers were wrong. They told me that red dahlias were "special order" and didn't know if they could get it in on time. We talked to the store manager and he made it happen. They turned out beautifully - but was very stressed for a few days!!! Photography: We decided on Moonwell Photography for our pictures and couldn't be happier. I swear he was EVERYWHERE. Im psyched to get them back, but he was climbing railings, laying on the ground, up on tables... everything. We had so many people come up to us and ask who he worked for because of all the effort they put in! We paid for 1-9 but he got there early to "scope out the place" and ended up just starting to take pictures. They even got in our photobooth and left us a cute note in our scrapbook. I'll post pics when we get them! Videography: We chose Complete Video for our videography because they were the best priced, and their demo videos online made me cry (when I didn't even know the people!) He showed up early, got interviews, and stayed late. HOWEVER now that we've seen the video - it doesn't look professional at all. The sound cuts in and out, very blurry at times. I'm just not all that happy with the quality. I'm happy to have a video, but I wonder if anyone could have done the same thing.Catering: We used Hy-Vee for appetizers and Hickory Park for the meal. Overall everything tasted great and they were really polite. We liked that Hickory Park gave us all the leftovers in the fridge -- yummm!! We will be eating it for a while!!! DJ/Photobooth: We used Steve's Mobile Music for our DJ and Photobooth. The booth came with an attendant and he did a great job of showing people how to use it, and get memories in our scrapbook! One thing worth mentioning is that the owner created a strip customized for us! Our "theme" was traveling and he made it look like a mailing envelope! It was incredibly cool!!!! The DJ was awesome! We gave him a timeline and he had no problem with us making changes at the drop of a hat. He just kept saying "it's your day!!" At one point I was slow dancing with my new hubby and it was nearing the end of the song but we weren't ready for it to be over. So, we asked him to play another slow one and he switched gears to get it done TONS of people danced, which we didn't think would happen either!!! We got many compliments on both! Wedding Planner: Bonnie from Perfect Events didn't follow through with a thing. She left for California 4 days before our wedding and handed it off to someone who she assured us would be on the same page. I gave her a diagram of our centerpieces and many things were missing! They lost our mirrors and votive candles, the screen behind our cake table actually fell into our cake, several vases they rented for our ceremony were the wrong size and wouldn't fit our candles, the glowing blocks in our aisle were turned backwards, the list goes on and on. I was so mad that I called her ON our wedding night and she told us she would give us a full refund. We went to her house to pick up our items, things were missing - and she offered to give us 1/3rd of what we paid her. She was yelling at us and cursing saying everything we gave her is there - told us to prove that we dropped these items off. The next day, she emailed me and AGAIN said she would give the full refund of $xxx and she was sorry. 3 weeks later we got a box delivered with all of our missing items (that she never had) and check, which was $300 short of what she said she would give us! We are still going through court to get the rest of our money back.
Side note: Throughout planning I emailed her pictures of things we liked that I found online. She put these pictures up on her web page as ones she'd done! I don't know how she expects to run business like this - but we are so bummed about the things she messed up, and MAD about how she's treating us!
No formatter is installed for the format bbhtml