I live in Ohio but got married in my hometown of Kansas City. For the most part, we had a lot of luck with our vendors. Happy planning!
Day of Wedding Coordinator: A+++
Vaughn Events, www.vaughnevents.com
We hired Stephanie as a Day of Coordinator and she was the best decision I ever made in the whole wedding planning process! Stephanie thought of every detail and would ask so many questions about things I completely overlooked. I can’t tell you how many times I said, “I didn’t think of that…you’re right! It’s so important.” We had an in-person meeting, phone calls, and several emails before the wedding. She really got involved the few weeks before the wedding and was an amazing help in building a timeline, confirming with all of my vendors, etc. She basically took over at the point where I was too flippin’ tired to care anymore. On the day of the wedding, she kept every thing on track and she was calm, which calmed the rest of us. She even made sure we ate and that our drinks were always full! There were things that occurred that I didn’t even know about until the next day because Stephanie handled them and knew that I didn’t need to be bothered with them. I really appreciated how friendly she was, she was easy to work with, and I had full confidence that she would take care of my day….and she did! A LIFESAVER! And she had much better prices than other planners in KC….I feel like I really got a deal for the service she provided.
One Tree Photo & Cinema, www.onetreephotocinema.com
Matt Frye is amazing! His work is very photojournalistic capturing all of the “natural” moments whether it’s the tenderness of the first look or the laugh you shared with your new hubby during the cake cutting. He uses interesting angles, loves color, and is anything but the stand-pose-smile photographer. For e-photos, he was very flexible in the various locations we wanted to shoot in and had the perfect balance of giving direction for a great shot but also letting us just be ourselves. On the wedding day, I seriously forgot he was even there. When I got my photos back, I couldn’t believe all the moments he captured! Also, his flexibility and dedication to listening to what you want and then delivering were unmatched. Matt was very responsive via email/phone making the distance from Ohio to KC seemingly nonexistent.
Make Up: A++
Jolie Artistry, www.jolieartistry.com
After researching a few make-up artists and the same old recommendations on The Knot, I chose Jolie. She was the only artist that had women of color in her portfolio which told me she had skills to work on any skin color and type, important for my bridal party and me. Also, her prices were better than most! We first met when I booked her for a trial when I did my e-photos. She came on time, totally prepared and when we started running behind (my fault), she was able to finish the job with top quality. I booked her for the wedding and she came to my bridal suite, did all my bridesmaids and mother. By the time she got to me, I was a nervous wreck. She had an amazing way of staying calm herself, despite any kinks in the schedule, and really calmed me down. The best part – I was so nervous that I yelled, “Someone give me a beer!” and Jolie instantly popped up a little tray for me to set it on. She even let me take drink breaks during my make-up application. HA! That makes me sound like a lush but it felt like Jolie really cared and was doing everything in her power to make sure the day went as planned. The make up lasted all from 2pm – midnight and I received a million compliments.
Bloom 47/Adria Hunter, www.bloom47.com
I had looked into flowers at Hy-Vee Mission, KS which had competitive prices and good service. However, when I met Adria, I was sold. She works out of her home and I loved the personal, 1:1 service she was able to provide. We met and she went through lots of images and asked many questions to get an idea of my vision for flowers. She worked with me on my budget and came up with various options that helped me save money without making me feel embarrassed. She was patient through some of the wedding planning drama that caused my flower order to change a few times. On the day of the wedding, I almost cried when the flowers were delivered. She captured everything I wanted! Her attention to detail was impeccable and I could tell that she worked slowly and purposefully with the highest quality. She was working on my wedding that day…not sticking flowers in a bunch and then getting them out the door only to work on the next 20 orders.
Dotte Cakes, www.dottecakes.com
We decided to go with Lori who is a part of a 3-person baking team who work out of their homes in KCK. While they make all kinds of cakes, we were looking for someone who could make a variety of cupcakes. As soon as I sent an inquiry via email, I got a call back within 24 hours to talk about my vision. Lori was always on top of things. She asked detailed questions about exactly what my wedding colors/flowers were so she could match the cupcake stand and had me send her images I found online for cupcake wrappers in damask, etc. I loved the variety of cake flavors they offered ranging from Amaretto to Pumpkin Spice! She was completely flexible in our budget and cut me a sweet deal that made 120 cupcakes so much less than a big wedding cake. Our guests loved the cupcakes and at the end of the night, family and friends were arguing over who got to take what flavors home.
Cupini’s – Westport was a vendor with permission to cater at our reception venue, Boulevard Brewery. Eddie Cupini was so easy to work with. We had a great first meeting with him and sampled so much food. I loved that he and his father cared so much about the quality and taste of their food…we knew they were going to do the best job possible for us. The servers, menu, linens and silverware were all handled by Cupini’s. The display of food (buffet) at the reception was elegant and colorful. Our guests were absolutely impressed with the food and kept asking who we order it from. They made the process amazingly easy.
Boulevard Brewery, www.boulevard.com
We loved the idea of Boulevard Brewery because we wanted something very Kansas City-ish. What we liked most is that their package was much more inclusive than other venues….it included tables, chairs, dance floor, AV, mics, bar with wine/beer. Also, we saved 2k off the regular package since we got married in the winter. All we really had to do was find a caterer, cake and DJ. However, if you use Boulevard, I would say be clear on exactly what is in the package as some items weren’t conveyed to me until a bit later. I wasn’t aware that a groom’s cake was included (very cool one with Boulevard beer bottles in a cooler) so in a way, we felt like we wasted money on cupcakes. Also, they only offered two kinds of wine in the package. You can buy more bottles and more varieties separately but I didn’t know this until a bit later in the process and it impacted my budget. Otherwise, we were satisfied with the facility, their serving staff, and overall were very happy with our experience.
DJ Chara, www.djchara.com
Chara Ingrassia was a family friend and I am so glad we hired her to be a DJ. If you want someone who has the ability to keep the party going, is a fun, outgoing personality, that is Chara. I think she was dancing behind the DJ booth having just as much fun as our guests. We didn’t use “typical” wedding songs for the ceremony and she was completely cool with it. For example, for our reception entrance, our guests draped the hallway in a soul train line and our wedding party came out to an instrumental of 50 Cents “In Da Club.” Then the hubby and I came out to an instrumental of Notorius BIG “Hypnotize.” Chara was all about our creativity and was open to making sure the ceremony and music truly represented “us.” She was on time, professional and overall had the perfect personality for a DJ.