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AW: Reviews!!! Longggg!

Ok everyone. Here are my reviews. Alot of them are brutally honest and/or not complete yet.  I am "for now" only keeping my review of Ocean Place short.  I did not have a great experience  with them at all - and hope to share the entire story with you all at some point really soon.
Anyways, I don't just give people A's for showing up - I gave them A's for hard work.

Reviews

 

Abella (A) -   This review is only for dealing with them up until now.  I have not even seen ANY pictures yet. So take this as a day of review. I will update this review and the videographer review when the time comes.   Dealing with Abella was a pleasure. They have one girl in the office I always seemed to speak with that was constantly organized and professional. She quickly responded to all of my e-mails. Their price seemed right for me. Around 2500 and the package includes engagement shoots, parent albums, rights to the pictures, our own album, and a couple of other things.  They also included a free engagement shoot which we decided to use for our rehearsal dinner instead. The man shooting our rehearsal dinner was extremely friendly, nice – and even though he only had to stay for an hour, I think he stayed about two.  Our day of photographer was also really nice, but I will say I didn’t see him around a lot. Does that make him an expert or unavailable? Only the pictures will tell. He was not available to meet us before the wedding, but to his credit – we live in Boston and are typically only home like one weekend per month.  Weekends are also typically when he is shooting other weddings.  My only annoyance with him was that he asked me a few times during the wedding to go into the hotel lobby to take pictures. I left 3 hours prior to the wedding open for him to take pictures. It annoyed me that even though we had MORE then enough time, he still wanted to pull me away from the wedding itself.  That said, he was very professional, never yelled at me, and I have a feeling his pictures will be wonderful.

Abacus (A+)  Again this is only a pre-video rating.  We actually already got our raw video at home that we get to watch prior to them making the edited video. This was a must for me. Our videographer Damian was awesome. He was available when we came home before the wedding so we met in the past.  He was there ahead of schedule and I know he was all around all night long.  Again, the value of Abacus is what won me over but I am positive Damian did an awesome job.  I’m VERY happy we decided to use them and would strongly strongly recommend to others.

Petal Beach (A+) Bonnie at Petal Beach is just wonderful to work with. She would call or email me with questions and was prompt in replying to all of my questions. This was important to me.  We had visited only one other florist before deciding to go with Petal Beach. The other florist pretty much wanted me to make all the choices. I calmly explained that I am not a florist and do not have an eye for what colors go nicely with what flowers.  They did not seem to care. Bonnie listened to our ideas and then came back to us with her ideas. Almost all of which I loved!  I told Bonnie I wanted things that were beachy and she came back with lovely beach ideas I never would have been able to think of.  I came in to her with a budget set in mind. All of my friends warned me that you might as well throw your flower budget in the garbage – because you always end up spending much much more. I do not think that was true at all with Petal Beach. I told her my budget and she stuck to it. She even warned me when ideas might be too expensive.  I loved working with Bonnie and would tell everyone on here to work with her!! What she did with our bamboo arch blew my mind, it was so beautiful.

Rev. Jill Dillner (A) Jill was so great!  The moment I met her I knew we didn’t have to look any further. She is like breathe of fresh air in your planning process.  Jill met my FI and I and told us what it is she does, gave us recommendations for different parts of the ceremony she could do, and calmed us down on many of our anxieties and nerves.  Our families didn’t get to meet her until the rehearsal dinner, but when our families met her – they completely understood why we picked her.  Her ceremony was beautiful and even though she had to deal with a faulty microphone situation (due to the DJ) she moved forward with poise and a touch of humor.  She was perfect for us and I really appreciated her coming out to Long Branch two nights in a row (she came out for the rehearsal dinner as well as the wedding!)

Colorblind Productions (B-)  I do NOT want to say that Colorblind was bad. Not at all! So don’t take the B- as meaning they were bad…. I thought Dianne and Rob were great people, but there were some bumps along the way. They are both very busy people which often made them hard to get a hold of leading up to the wedding. I really appreciate people who respond to me somewhat quickly. On the wedding day there were a couple issues. Mostly minor, but still issues. I’d been assured there would be no problem with the microphone on the beach for the ceremony. Lo and behold, during the ceremony, the microphone was constantly breaking up  - making it hard for most of our audience to understand. Dianne is meant to act more as a day of coordinator, and in many ways she did  - but in some ways she did not.  I had warned her that many people would not understand the tradition of the Jewish Hora. At the wedding, when the Hora was played I found that I actually ended up having to try to teach people to dance in a circle.  I had to tell the men lifting me that they had to put me down (they thought they had to keep me up on the chair the entire song!) I also needed to find the parents to get them on the chair. At this point the chair was already put away and Dianne was nowhere in site helping me with this task.  Rob, as a DJ, was trying to appeal to the entire crowed. So for example, at one point he began a row of oldies songs.  After the 2nd song, when absolutely no one was dancing – he probably should have tried to switch it up a bit.  Instead he played about 5 oldies songs in a row, of which, not many if any people danced.   At the end of the night, when many of the older people left –he finally began playing current music from about 11pm – midnight. I kind of wished the whole night had been like this one hour.  Also, Colorblind had to deal with the fact that the Ocean Place kept cutting them off at awkward moments. Totally not their fault.  On the positive sides – our package included a candid photographer who shot pictures for the screen. He did an excellent job! He was not in our way at all and the pictures looked great (hopefully I can get those pictures?) Also, they made us a gobo and used different color lights all night that made it really feel like a party.  Rob acted as a DJ and not someone who yelled at people to get on the dance floor – this was a good and bad thing. Good because he wasn’t annoying like I find many other DJs to be. Bad, because instead I was the one asking friends/family to get on the dance floor.  As a whole, I am still really glad I picked Colorblind.  The DJ was the hardest thing for us. I think we saw about 15 DJs before picking Colorblind. I think we made the right choice, but there was room for improvement.  With Colorblind it is really an amazing VALUE you are getting.

Aquamedica Day Spa –  Long Branch, NJ (B-)  We used Aquamedica for our hair and makeup on the day of the wedding. There were 12 of us total.  Whew.  The salon is pretty small but it is located across from The Ocean Place, so I’ll honestly say it was convenience that drove me to this place.  My hair and makeup trial was only so-so, in my opinion.  But, the same girl (Adrianna) did my hair and makeup for the big day and it blew my mind. It was amazing!!   This said, I repeatedly warned Aquamedica leading up to the wedding that we all needing to be done at 1pm the latest. I even gave him a spreadsheet with the timelines and breakdowns.  On the big day, he told me they were down a makeup artist, but not to be worried.  From 9am to 11am things moved fairly quickly.  I made a personal mistake of waiting for my hair/makeup to be done on the later end (around noon) which made things feel a little rushed.  At 12:30, my makeup wasn’t done yet, my mothers airbrush wasn’t done yet, and one of my girlfriends tattoo covering wasn’t done yet.  The girlfriend with the tattoos was seriously there until 3 o’clock.  I didn’t leave there until about 1:30pm myself.  I did feel like everything was getting rushed at the end.  They did a great job on our hair and makeup, but it wasn’t for cheap either. It averaged out to be about $150 per person.   The other shocking thing with this salon was that I called a few days earlier to remind them we would all be having fake eye lashs, and they didn’t even carry them! So here I was 2 days before my wedding running around trying to pick up 12 sets of fake eye lashes (not very cheap either!). I though this was crazy – I mean, it’s a beauty salon, isn’t it!?  Anyways, I like what they did but did not like them being unable to stick to my schedule.

Alor Café (A+)  This is a Café in Staten Island where I held my engagement party.  Just wanted to throw it in here because I loved it!  The café probably only seats 30-50 people, but they shut down the entire place for our party. They have won awards on Staten Island for their food and you can see why. The food was great. They gave me an excellent price and unlimited beer (all the things I need in life!) would strongly recommend checking it out for Engagement Partys, Bridal Showers, etc…

 

 Ocean Place Resort and Spa (D)   - Stories to come soon....The only reason why I am not giving them an F is because I did absolutely love the location on the beach and also found that their food was of a very good quality.  Sneak peak of stories to come: There was an ATV that a staff member road on the beach through our ceremony during our Vows. Now do you begin to understand the D?

 

 

Excellence Playa Mujeres (B+) –  The Excellence Playa Mujeres was everything everyone says it will be, excellent.   What really blew my mind about this place wasn’t how amazingly beautiful it was (it was absolutely stunning – even better then any of the pictures can portray) but was how nice all of the servers were. All of them repeatedly thanked you for your business and asked you to come back.  We had a bit of a snafu at the beginning that could have been handeled better. Our travel agency screwed up and promised us a few upgrades that we did not get.  The hotel kept telling us, no we can’t help you. Although we realize this was completely the Travel Agencies fault,  in my experience in the hospitality industry, I feel that the hotel should have tried to just help us – and then maybe sorted it out with the travel agency on their end.  We spent the first day or so going back and fourth with the hotel and travel agency until things were sorted out.  It was not the best way to spend my first few hours of my honeymoon.

There are 8 restaurants. We got to try every single one except for one of them for dinner. My favorites were Chez Isabelle (French – and delicious!), Toscona (Italian), and Barcelona (Meditteranean).  They had lunch and breakfast buffets also at Toscona which I thought were amazing for buffet food!  So much better then any buffet quality food I can remember.  Currently I live in Boston and the  Lobster House was definitely sub-par from any lobster up here. All they give you is the tail – and it is cooked kinda differently.  The Grille, from what I heard, is not the same quality steak as you would get at a NorthEast steakhouse. 

I was not crazy about the fact that every restaurant shared the same exact house wines. After 9 days I was really sick of their wines.  They frozen drinks at all the bars are delicious and amazing. Big shout out to Miguel at the Pool Bar who all of us wanted to take home. 

I do have a recommendation that the resort maybe open up a snack food area or something. Classy snacks.  We found if we had breakfast brunch around 10am then around 3 we were hungry, but didn’t want to have a big lunch. A lot of times we made great use of the room service at that point – which was always on time and tasted great, but it would have been nice to just grab a snack by the pool.

The evening entertainment ranged from boring to amazing.  Boring being the night they had Carribbean night and amazing ofcourse being Michael Jackson.  Everyone loved the karaoke nights they had at the club as well.   The resort tries to keep a lot of activities running all day long to keep you occupied. I really appreciated this as sometimes you need to take a break from laying around in the sun all day. 

The resort claims to provide free scuba on their website, but the only free scuba they have is off their own coast, and it’s more for beginners – so divers beware. We did do a trip with the company on the resort though and we found that to be ok at best (since Cancun’s reefs are beat up). 

I am a harsh critic, but I can not have imagined a more beautiful place to have our honeymoon.  It was romantic and the weather was amazing.  Every day it was between 80 – 90 and it never once rained all nine days! Awesome!!  We met so many amazing people on the trip and had so much fun with them.

I would definitely recommend this location to others – everyone deserves to relax after getting married! J

Tuxedo Den, Howell NJ (B) The people at Tuxedo Den were extremely nice but a little hard to deal with.  The first time we went in they quoted us a fairly high price for the Tuxedo’s.  My mom had actually called in a week or two prior and received a much lower rate for the same tuxedo. When I called them back about my mom’s phone call, they were willing to drop the rates of the tux’s down to the quoted rate.  They were very patient with our many groomsmen/fathers calling in whenever the heck they felt like it.  My frustration with them arose when they kept showing us tie colors that didn’t really match our bridesmaid dress colors. This didn’t turn out to be a huge deal, but I wish that they would have been able to match Turquoise. Didn’t seem like such a hard request.  In any case, all the boys went in three days before the wedding for the fitting. My FI had set up an appointment for the time, but the shop was still busy with other people. Thus, getting all 12 of them done at once took over two hours. It seemed kinda long but then again, everyone was their at once. Finally, they were extremely helpful in that – there needed to be a few changes to shirts and ties after the fittings and they sent this directly to our wedding location.  They also picked everything up for us at The Ocean Place. We greatly appreciated that.

Manhattan Bridal, Dedham MA (A-) I had gone to several dress locations in MA and had found a dress I liked for about $1400.00. Manhattan Bridals had this same dress for about $1100.  Wonderful!  I also ordered my bridesmaids dresses through them. Everything came in stock much quicker then expected. I had my BM dresses about 5 months early which was great. There was a tiny bit of confusion as to who was going to ship them to my BMs but this was no biggy at all.   My dress came in about 6 months early as well. They also worked with my schedule for fittings and visits.  I give an A- because I think that the dress could have been worked on better. I was having issues with my chest just not being in the right place, and this never really got corrected, thus I do have wedding pictures where you can see parts of my bra. As well, the bustle was a bit of a mess to do at the wedding.  It was not easy to deal with in any way. That said, the women who work here - work HARD and are extremely nice. I would recommend using them to everyone!  They do a ton of proms there too and had a great variety of dresses.  

 


 

 

 

 

Re: AW: Reviews!!! Longggg!

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    edited December 2011
    We had a terrible experience with Ocean Place for our room block, but honestly I didn't review b/c I didn't want to freak you out. So sorry to hear they weren't any better for your wedding!
    *~allie~*

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    goaliegirlgoaliegirl member
    First Comment Combo Breaker First Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    sorry to hear about all the issues you had with different vendors.   I have heard so many great things about Ocean Place, so I am curious to see what could be so bad.   
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    yeager2yeager2 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Congrats on your wedding! Sounds like you had a great day! Two of our friends were married at Ocean Place this past October and were not pleased at the final result either.  I know they spent a lot of time writing letters to let them know... So sorry you had to deal with that, too.
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    smw42smw42 member
    Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-jersey_aw-reviews-longggg?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:90Discussion:bc1b4930-895a-4e0f-b47e-a490a9e3d223Post:1ea843d5-4e9d-45b9-8c48-9cf210c7f53e">Re: AW: Reviews!!! Longggg!</a>:
    [QUOTE]We had a terrible experience with Ocean Place for our room block, but honestly I didn't review b/c I didn't want to freak you out. So sorry to hear they weren't any better for your wedding!
    Posted by akmackay[/QUOTE]


    Isn't that where Felicia is getting married?
    Anniversary Photobucket
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    edited December 2011
    Let me also say that our day WAS wonderful.  It's just that, this is my business. I work in hospitality.   Ocean Place should not be in the hospitality business. They lie to people to get their way, which is awful. I would never do that to my clients. Also, I'm extremely picky since I'm in the industry.
    In any case - Allie, funny you say that - one of the many reasons I'm not posting my full review here yet is because I do not  want to freak out Ms. Felicia - because I know she is going to have a fabulous weekend. They did a good job during the actual wedding for the most part - it was dealing with them that was extremely difficult for me. Sometime in the next few weeks I promise to post the entire story :D
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    edited December 2011
    good point. let's keep it to ourselves until felicia has her day :-)
    *~allie~*

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    smw42smw42 member
    Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I have faith in her adorable dad :)
    Anniversary Photobucket
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-jersey_aw-reviews-longggg?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local Wedding BoardsForum:90Discussion:bc1b4930-895a-4e0f-b47e-a490a9e3d223Post:b6a96081-1144-4b4d-bcb1-9059c9a70526">Re: AW: Reviews!!! Longggg!</a>:
    [QUOTE]I have faith in her adorable dad :)
    Posted by smw42[/QUOTE]

    as long as he has the napkins I think they'll be good to go!
    *~allie~*

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    Reilly626Reilly626 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Congrats, glad u had a great day!  Sorry about your venue, I know that place is expensive, what a shame!
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    felicia220felicia220 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-jersey_aw-reviews-longggg?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:90Discussion:bc1b4930-895a-4e0f-b47e-a490a9e3d223Post:51bd7eb4-39c5-45a8-a060-466d46119133">Re: AW: Reviews!!! Longggg!</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: AW: Reviews!!! Longggg! : Isn't that where Felicia is getting married?
    Posted by smw42[/QUOTE]
    Hahahaha YES!  But Honestly, everything has been pretty good with them.<div>
    </div><div>I truly love you girls, I needed a good laugh, Allie 2 for 2 haha</div>
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