Mandalay Bay Catering: A++
These guys were just a joy to work with-- everything about our reception in the Palm Foyer was beautiful and the food was fantastic. My Catering contacts even had some sweet treats delivered to our suite in THEhotel when we got there as a little congratulatory gift, which I thought was a really nice. The actual Palm Foyer space was stunning, especially when it got dark-- it overlooks the MB tower and the entire Strip and the view was killer. The bartenders were great and kept the booze (shots especially) flowing efficiently, which is exactly what we wanted. A lot of people took full advantage of our bar package, which led to a great night.
We had our own waiter who was assigned to just the two of us-- he kept checking on us at our sweetheart table every 5 minutes (no joke) to make sure we had everything we needed-- our glasses never got even halfway empty, and he even reserved a bunch of appetizers for us in case we were too busy mingling at cocktail hour to get any. The appetizers, in particular, we awesome, and there was a TON of food left over. I did eat a little bit of everything except for our s'mores nightcap "shots" (s'mores in shot glasses, essentially), but I'm told they were good. The best part, though, was our cake-- the cake was the one thing I gave them free license with. Every other detail of my wedding was planned but for the cake, I kind of said "surprise me", and boy, did they ever. It was stunning, and they totally nailed it. Also, I am particularly excited to get the points from our reception added to our M Life account, haha. Overall, an amazing reception experience and I couldn't have imagined anything better.
LTeventions (Linens and Centerpieces): A+
We brought our centerpieces and linens in through an external vendor and they were phenomenal-- we had large ostrich feather centerpieces with blingy linens, candle holders, and napkin holders and the whole room looked gorgeous. According to my wedding coordinator, they were set up early and everything was ready well in advance of when she needed it to be. I got so many compliments on the decor and though it was a lot more than we probably should have spent, it really made the look of the reception. Totally worth it, and LT had some really interesting selections and were great to work with to really make our party shine.
Glitter Lens (Photo booth): A+
What a hit! I initially didn't want a photo booth because I thought they were a bit cheesy, but my mom talked me into it and I'm so glad she did. Our guests, both older and younger, LOVED this and I actually found myself in there a lot too. We paid $695 for unlimited prints, props, and a border on the pictures that included the specially-designed wedding logo that was on all of our stationary. This was totally worth it and is also highly recommended-- it's awesome to see all of my guests posting their photo booth pics to Facebook now!
All Night Long (DJ): A+
We had Lantz as our DJ, and we also opted for some add-on DJ booth lighting, which looked really cool. Aside from 1 or 2 random songs, I thought Lantz was fantastic-- he kept the evening flowing perfectly, and once everyone got drunk the dance floor got full (it was a little slow initially) and people were getting down like none other. I felt badly because I didn't really get the chance to talk to him and thank him, but he was solid. We ended up ditching our first-dance surprise of doing "Poison" by Bel Biv DeVoe (we had a whole choreographed dance but we didn't get to practice enough the couple of weeks before the wedding so we get nervous), and we literally told him that right before we went out for our dance and he adjusted on the fly. Awesome DJ service for a fair price. Our biggest hit of the night was my request for "Call Me Maybe"-- everyone got on the dance floor for that one and it was such a blast.
Eyecandy Sound Lounge @ Mandalay Bay (Afterparty): A-
Our reception was over relatively early (10pm) so we had the DJ announce that we were bringing the party down to Mandalay's center bar, Eyecandy, for anyone who wanted to keep going. This was originally supposed to be an unhosted event but my Dad was so drunk that he bought most of the drinks for the 40ish people that came. This center bar functions more like a club in the sense that there's a great DJ and a full dance floor, and everyone got a kick out of seeing me in my wedding dress and FI in his tux in the club...it was so cool to have complete strangers toasting to us and wishing us well. My favorite moment of the evening was having my 69 year-old father dancing to "The Motto" on the dance floor with all of us. Priceless.
The only off issue here was that in order to sit in certain areas, you actually do need to buy bottle service like a real club (which, let's be honest, it is not-- it's a casino center bar, let's get real). My Dad doesn't really know anything about that and was about to commit to $250 bottles per 6 people (like I said, there were about 40 of us) before one of my other guests overheard his conversation with the waitress and thankfully flagged it to me. I talked him down from it and my sister-in-law helped negotiate a few bottles of champagne in exchange for a couple of tables so my Dad didn't get taken advantage of and our non-dancing guests still had somewhere to sit. Aside from the club-like prices, though, this was a perfect impromptu after-party.
Red, White and Blue @ Mandalay Bay (Sunday breakfast): B+
Meh, nothing special here. Had a quick breakfast with my parents here on Sunday morning but the service was slow. I got chicken matzo ball soup which was good, but my parents said their eggs weren't as good as other places they had eaten in MB (like Raffles or THEcafe).
Border Grill @ Mandalay Bay (Sunday brunch): A
FI and I had brunch with our Best Man and his girlfriend on Sunday at Border Grill, and it hit the spot-- it overlooks the Mandalay Bay pool, and for $30 you get unlimited brunch tapas that essentially just keep coming and coming until you tell them to stop. Really good value if you're in the mood for a buffet-like experience (in terms of quantity of food) with a Mexican flair. Also, they had really interesting lemonades (I got a Watermelon lemonade that was really tasty).
Lupo @ Mandalay Bay (Sunday dinner): A
I had dinner on Sunday night with a few high school friends that had come to the wedding--there were about 8 of us and this was a fantastic Italian dinner. I got a tasty pasta dish and had a sip of my friend's pear martini which was among the best martinis I've ever had. I think my pasta was around $24. Overall, the service was great and the ambiance was lovely and kind of soothing. I'd definitely go back.
Caitlin Arnold Weddings & Events (Day of Coordinator): A+++
Caitlin is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and I brought her with me--probably not super relevant for non- Bay Area brides, but in case there are any considering a Vegas wedding-- you MUST have Caitlin. I started meeting with her about 6 months before my wedding, and she did ALL of the vendor communication and confirmation starting about a month out so I wasn't scrambling to confirm details. She worked flawlessly with all of my vendors, including my MB coordinators, to ensure that all of the details of our day were exactly how I wanted them. She even made these killer, UBER-detailed timelines that were customized for our vendors, wedding party, and FI-- down to the very last minute (they were about 8 pages long). It helped everyone get on the same page and we had very few questions from our family and wedding party because Caitlin had prepped them so well. Initially I thought I couldn't afford a wedding coordinator (and I thought I didn't need one because I tend to be extremely detail-oriented and I partially plan events for a living), but I found the money by cutting some other things out and this was, by far, the best decision we made regarding our wedding. By miles.