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Vendor Reviews Pt II: ceremony & reception, personal

The continuation of my vendor reviews - told you it was long.  Hope that someone can benefit from these.  I really lucked out in that, with one or two exceptions, I had super great vendors.


BEAUTY
 

Hair and Make-up
: 

GoGlamBeauty.com - The day started a bit behind schedule; JoAnn was stuck in traffic - guess not everyone was out of the city for the long weekend.  Fortunately, she got to me fairly quickly and we had factored in plenty of extra time so things worked out.  She was efficient and because we had a trial before, she knew exactly how to get my hair going and do my make-up as we previously practiced.
 My MOH didn't have a trial, but I did send her photos and allowed my MOH to decide what colors she wanted.  Being only 23, JoAnn incorporated a nice twist to the updo styles I was trying to achieve and my MOH loved it.  And the make-up was clean and age appropriate.  We made it all night looking great and got nothing but complements by everyone (and I do mean everyone).   The value far exceeded anything I feel like I would have gotten from the usual make-up and hair folks that get press here and elsewhere, and big plus - JoAnn can do all hair types (I am Black, my MOH is biracial).  I'd highly recommend and if I ever need an event do and/or make-up, she'll be my first choice.  


TRANSPORTATION
 

Charter Bus
: 

ExpressBusServices.com (Queens) -
My personal feeling is that many companies want to charge more for weddings than should be the case.  Be that as it may, I needed one way transport only, which was less than 40 minutes of work and while this was the best I could find that didn’t break the budget.

After several confirmations and making a note that the driver needed to be on time the day of, and having a contract with both the pick-up and drop-off locations, the driver was late the day of - she got lost (hello, map out your trip ahead of time). She was also erratic on the roads and then she initially took my guests to the wrong spot. After chastising them for not having the exact info on hand, once provided, she instead left them on the bus as she went to speak to some random person on the street - who btw wasn't helpful. One of my guests, having had enough, took the reigns and told her what turns to take to get them to the destination. They were late but I'm happy they got there to enjoy a good portion of the cocktail hour, and did so in one piece.

I did contact the company and a week later – nothing.  Doesn't surprise me, they were paid and simply could care less that consumers now have to worry that they may or may not get someone to show up on time (especially if time is of the essence).
 This is why I have a problem with vendors that put the tip in the price, because she certainly would have gotten a small one (if she got any) after her incompetent service.   Word to the wise - I'd skip Express Bus Services and pay a little more for competence and reliability. 

Limo
: 

NYExecTransportation.com
 (Brooklyn/NYC) - While I had a limo company in mind that I was going to use, I just couldn't wrap my head around the cost and I waited.  Less than 3 weeks out, I needed a limo; I somehow didn't see the review for NY Exec here before but when I did, I thought I might be saved.  Got a fairly fast response, great price, and contracted for my date. And the day of?  Awesome!  Limo was amazing - perfect condition, even bigger than we though for an 8 passenger, and our driver was amazing.  Unlike horror stories, he was timely, he knew where he was going, and his driving was impeccable.  He always opened and closed our doors (I've heard stories of drivers that don't), and he was just a very nice, polite guy.  I'd recommend in a heartbeat and plan to keep their info on hand for any future need.  


DÉCOR
 

Flowers
: 

FlowersbyRichardNYC.com -
One word - fabulous!  I knew exactly what I wanted my flowers to look like.  I went through several sites and really liked the samples of Richard's.  I emailed him introducing myself, what I wanted, and sent him a few samples.  We set up an appointment not too long after that and he knew exactly what I wanted.  We met up one final time a few days before the wedding just to finalize matters and to get a sneak peak of the centerpieces. The day of... I was floored.  Loved, loved my chuppah, how the entire sanctuary of our synagogue looked.  And I was just as pleased went we went to the venue - the cocktail flowers were cute and he did an amazing job on the petals on the cake table, and setting up the centerpieces.  I'd recommend Richard in a heartbeat; super nice, excellent skills, super flexible!  


COORDINATION
 

Day-of-Coordination (DOC)
: 

MyBridalBudget.com - I'm not one that likes to delegate; but having the ceremony and reception in two separate locations (Brooklyn and NYC respectively), I knew I needed some help and wanted to do it at a reasonable cost.  Fouzia and her staff did not disappoint.  She is very, very detailed oriented and made sure that we touched upon each and every portion of the day so that she and her staff knew what to do and where things should go.
 I was stressed because of family issues (ie. rsvps, other drama) and just worrying about everything/everyone running on time, etc., but she assured me everything would work out and it did. 

Her staff picked up all the items for both locations days before the wedding; they got everything set up exactly as I'd hoped, and the day of things ran smoothly and efficiently.  She even kept on the charter bus driver, who was running late, and made sure all my guests got to the reception.
 Whether you need a full planner or DOC, and especially if your wedding involves multiple locations or a very large guest list, I'd highly recommend Fouzia and her staff at My Bridal Budget.  

VENUES 

Ceremony
: 

FlatbushJewishCenter.org (Brooklyn) – My husband and I are active members here.  We originally were looking to have our wedding somewhere else, since our wedding was a bit too big to have the reception on-site.  But after being so disappointed with many places we saw, we just decided that we’d have the ceremony here and then just look to have the reception elsewhere.
 We got nothing but complements about our synagogue, which made us proud.  Our rabbi is the synagogue’s rabbi and we had a good friend, also a member, serve as cantor the day of.  Anyone can use the facilities for a small fee if you aren’t a member; and if your wedding is small enough, you can certainly have a tish and b’deken on site, and then also have the reception (or do like us and go to another site).  One slight drawback is that all parking is street, but on a Sunday it’s generally not so bad and everyone was able to find a spot okay. 

Reception
: 

PrinceGeorgeBallroom.org (NYC) - We had a place for the ceremony, but we needed a site for the reception.  I'd checked out quite a few places and they either just weren't aesthetically pleasing, or we needed to guarantee numbers in order to book.  That wasn't the case here.  Downside is that you do have to get rentals, but they have some on-hand, which we were able to use and kept our rental costs low. 
 The space itself is amazing.  It can fit up to 299, but you can do so many things to make a smaller room if that's needed (we had about 100).  The cocktail space was slick and modern in that NYC sort of way, and the ballroom left folks speechless.  We got nothing but compliments on the space and the facilities were up to par.  And, the money on the space goes to support homelessness - so you can have your party and be charitable at the same time.  On site manager, Jonathan, always answered my emails and he went above and beyond to make sure I could get into the space when needed and that the day would run smoothly.  


MUSIC
 

Ceremony
:

JenniferGirone.homestead.com (Brooklyn/NYC) - 
I just wish this part of the day could have lasted longer.  I hired Jennifer, who is a cellist, for a trio and she and her fellow musicians were just great.  We mixed classical, popular/modern, and Jewish pieces and it was wonderful; every piece sounded perfect and exactly as I had hoped/desired.  I hope to be able to need music again in the future - I'd contract for the services again in a heartbeat.  

Reception
:

PopshopDJs.com (Brooklyn/NYC) - I got nothing but compliments on the music.  Colleen had a great mix of music for our crowd and we were pleased.  She went above and beyond and her first and only priority was what we wanted in order for the guests to be happy.   It just so happens in our case, our wedding served as more of a reunion than a reception/party, but those of us (including myself) danced as much as we could, when we didn't need a break to munch and drink.  I'd definitely use her company's services again and highly recommend.  


FOOD
 

Catering
:
 

MainEventCaterers.com (NJ/NYC) – Hubby and I keep kosher and while we can be somewhat flexible when we go out (eating only veggies), this wasn't going to do for our wedding.  I contacted quite a few caterers and narrowed it down to a handful.  After some positive reviews by brides I spoke to, I decided to go with Main Event.
 Although we didn't get to do a tasting, we weren’t disappointed - the food on the wedding day was spectacular.  Many of our guests were non-Jews and aside from deli food, not familiar enough with how fancy kosher food can get.  Our event didn't look much different than any other.  The portions were hearty; the flavors just burst into your mouth.  We received nothing but compliments on the food, the staff, and the set up (our venue only provided some pieces, so Main Event provided the linens and tables; the cutlery, plates, and glasses was included in the catering price).  I highly recommend and would use Main Event again for a party or other catered affair. 

Wedding Cake
:
 

Chatilly.com (Brooklyn) - World of Chantilly isn't your run-of-the-mill bakery - in fact, it's not a bakery at all but a warehouse where the output of cakes each year is phenomenal.  Of course, I didn't know that ahead of time so I was disappointed not to have those cake tasting moments.  But the final product was great - delicious, fluffy pareve cake (it's a kosher out fit).  My only complaint is that although it looked okay and folks didn't know any better, having gone over the ribbon and outline of the cake layers, it wasn't what I wanted so I wasn't happy. 
 In all, good value for the cost and I'd definitely order on a large scale from them again. 

Alcohol
:
 

TopsLiquor.com (Brooklyn) – Just did a Google search to find kosher wines.  I found a few in the area, but the drive just didn’t seem worth it.  I stumbled onto Tops Liquor, conveniently located in Brooklyn and decided to contact.  I supplied my of the wines and spirits I needed for the wedding and asked for a rough estimate.  Jeff Cohen promptly responded and was kind enough to price out each item, and gave me a great price for my bulk purchase.  They were out of the champagne but ordered it and it came within a few days.  They also recommended a beer distributor just a few blocks away (Thrifty Liquors), so in one stop we were able to buy all our alcohol for the wedding.
 They have a great selection of kosher wines and also liquors that you can’t get at regular stores, if you keep kosher (ie. amaretto, etc.).  I will go back for all my future kosher liquor needs.  


PERSONAL
 

Photography
:
 

StellaviewStudios.com – Bill Walsh, owner/proprietor, and I clicked right away when we spoke.  He listened to what I wanted and had to say, made some suggestions and observations, and always discussed options with me so that we were always on the same page.   
 On the day of, he did not disappoint.  He made us feel super comfortable and there were many times we even forgot he was around (like all those kissing shots). 

He is super personable and made us laugh; my husband couldn't believe I found someone so cool.  We got all our pre-ceremony done timely and he was very good at navigating the families during the formals (we, essentially, had three families to deal with).  He definitely has the personality for shooting weddings – some photographers could learn a thing or two from him.  And he was totally within budget; he was a great find - past brides spoke highly of him and I’m happy to do the same. 
 I certainly will keep him on my list for any future events that I’d like shot.  I will update once I receive prints in about 6-8 weeks. 

Videography
:
 

StardustVideos.com (Bklyn/Queens/NYC) - When I decided that I did in fact want to have our event taped, I did lots of searching and just didn’t see anything that suited my taste or budget.  Every person I spoke to just didn't under how I wanted my day to be recorded and made it seem as if I didn't know what I was talking about.  I finally asked my photographer (Bill Walsh, owner/proprietor of Stellaview Studios) for a few recommendations; he gave me three and Khach Turabian (owner/proprietor) by far was my favorite. 
 I told him want I wanted and he sent me some samples and we were exactly on the same page.  Plus, he has a good working relationship with my photographer, which I think having that rapport is a great thing. 

The day of they both worked seamlessly; and he didn’t have a bunch of bulky equipment like many do and he was able to get around and get footage without being in the way. 
 I highly recommend Khach and very much looking forward to seeing the final product (I will update my review then).  

Re: Vendor Reviews Pt II: ceremony & reception, personal

  • Options
    edited December 2011
    I am so happy you reviewed Go Glam beauty! I have my trial and July and I have spoken to her a few times, but till now I hadn't read a knottie review. Yay! Now I am excited :)
    Warning No formatter is installed for the format bbhtml
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    edited December 2011
    She is really quite good.  I can't recall how I stumbled upon her info, but it was refreshing to find someone outside the usual recommendations here.  And for my needs, she was excellent.  Both myself and MOH got nothing but compliments - she was great.
  • Options
    edited December 2011
    sounds great! i have done events at the Prince George Ballroom and it is indeed lovely.
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