THEcafe @ THEhotel (Friday and Saturday breakfast): A
Kind of outrageously priced, but the food is really good and the ambiance is very soothing. Had breakfast here with family on Friday and with DH the morning of our wedding.
Pick Your Poison Cupcakes (Friday night Meet & Greet): A-/B+
The good: the owners are really nice to work with and were great over e-mail, and the cupcakes themselves were fantastic-- there were some really unique flavors and our guests got a kick out of the alcoholic flavors. That said, I got really stressed out about the delivery because in my original e-mails to them, I asked for 4:45 delivery since our wedding rehearsal was supposed to run from 3:30-4:30 that day. They had mentioned that 4:45 might be too early but we'd work something out. Fast forward to about 2:30pm that day and I'm checking my e-mail on my phone before heading to my wedding rehearsal-- thank god I did, because they wrote me a note (I *think* it was that morning, but I can't find it now so I'm not sure) saying they would drop the cupcakes off at 3. As soon as I saw the note I tried to call them to see exactly where they would drop it off so I could maybe have someone else get them since I had my wedding rehearsal at 3:30, but no one picked up the phone in the office so I had to scramble to shower before my rehearsal and try to find a couple of other people by 3pm to get over to the Mandalay Bay tower from my room in THEhotel to grab them. It stressed me out in a major way and I wished they would have confirmed a drop-off time earlier, but that was probably my fault too since I should have firmed up a time with them beforehand.
Mandalay Bay Vista Suite #32135 (Friday night Meet & Greet): A+++
This was just kick ass. The suite was baller as hell, and our views were outta control (side note: it was ready by noon so we were able to check in then and start getting set up). We had Domino's pizza and wings, Pick your Poison cupcakes, a bunch of booze we had bought from Costco (thank you, THEhotel bell staff, for bringing 2 carts' worth of liquor from THEhotel up to our suite in MB) and a bartender from Absolute Beverage (review below) and this was easily the biggest hit of the entire wedding week. We had the basketball game going on on one of the big screens, and people were mingling, stuffing their faces, and admiring the view. I was initially worried about the noise but we propped the front door to the suite open with a towel (so folks could come and go) and we still had zero problems at all. It was supposed to run from 6-9 but most people ended up staying until about 11:30 (we let the bartender go at 9 and my drunk sister-in-law and aunt started playing bartender after he left) at which point we kind of had to kick them out because it was the night before our wedding and I was a zombie. This was a HUGE hit and if you're having an in-suite Meet & Greet or reception, it's a great way to go.
Jason's Deli: A+
Ordered some croissant sandwiches and coffee cake for lunch on the day of our wedding for the gals who were getting ready in our suite, and they were super tasty. Delivery guys was prompt and sweet, and he set up the platters for us in the room. Good value and an easy way to get your ladies fed come wedding morning.
Harmony Medina (Hair/MUA): No Score
I should caveat by saying that Harmony didn't actually do my hair or makeup so I can't give her a "score" per se, but I do have a relevant experience here so I thought I should share anyway. I had originally scheduled her to do hair/MUA for my BMs, FG, moms, and myself-- 8 people total. I booked her early and was really excited about it, but a few months out, my date twin (@nycheryl)
mentioned that she had Harmony too-- on the same day. Thank GOD we were friends on TheKnot and this happened to come up through Knot conversation! Cheryl and I both freaked out because we thought Harmony accidentally double-booked us for the same day, so I reached out to Harmony to see what was going on. Apparently Harmony thought she could get us both done if she did my girls from 8am-noon and then went over to Cheryl's place to get her girls done (a timeframe that was never mentioned to me when I booked). Sorry, but trying to squeeze my 8 gals in (that's over $1K, mind you-- not bad for a day's work) by having them get up at 7am and sit around for 3 hours before my wedding is unacceptable, and to be honest I was sketched out by this so I cancelled Harmony and went with Storybook Brides (below). I know Harmony does great work and everyone here loves her-- sharing this is more of a cautionary tale to just triple-check when you book your vendors and ask exactly when you'll be getting their services.
Storybook Brides (Hair/MUA): A+++
After cancelling Harmony, I scoured the internet and tried to find someone I could afford that was available on my wedding day for 8 girls. All of the usual suspects (Francesca, Amelia C, Lori White, Glamsquad etc) were all booked at this point so I turned to WeddingWire and saw that Storybook Brides had great reviews. I was a little nervous because no one on TK has ever used them (that I knew of), but I took a chance and went with them. I have to tell you that they were my FAVORITE vendors of the entire wedding week. They came to my suite on Thursday for my hair/makeup trial and I swear to you, I never felt so beautiful in my entire life. They did exactly what I asked them to do, and when they came back on Saturday they recreated the trial look perfectly. Our moms and the BMs were gorgeous (and they worked miracles on our moms' short hair), and I honestly tear up a little bit when I watch my wedding video to see how beautiful my BMs looked. All of the girls LOVED what they did for us, and they were quick and amazingly friendly. My hair/makeup stayed well into the next day and they did airbrush and fake lashes for everyone. They're also super affordable (Harmony-level prices as opposed to Francesca-level prices) and quick. If I could recommend one vendor over all the others, they would be it. Highly recommended.
Todd Wilson of Bentley & Wilson (Photography): A+++
Even without having seen a single photo, I can confidently say that Todd is the MAN. Like everyone else says, he walks into the room shooting and THEN introduces himself, haha. He was super friendly and we had an absolute blast with him on our Strip photo tour between the ceremony and reception-- he's super creative with positioning you for shots and gives great direction. He also rolled with the punches when things didn't go exactly right (for some reason Bellagio security cracked down on us in front of the fountains, and Todd quickly got us herded back in the limo and on to the next stop so we could make the best use of our time). He also worked really closely with the limo driver to pick us up at the right places so our wedding party didn't have to walk too far in their heels, AND I felt super guilty because he stayed an extra half hour at the end of our reception (we only had him contracted until 9:30 and he stayed until 10). He said he'll get us the shots in about 3 weeks, and if that's true, that's the most amazing turnaround I've ever heard of for wedding photography. Will share Todd pics when I get them!
Mandalay Bay Valley of the Falls: A++
Overall, this was absolutely wonderful--I really don't have any complaints. Our floral was stunning (and honestly, the floral prices are high but I didn't think they were unjustly high), our officiant (Rev. Adam Duckro) was so amicable and nailed our ceremony (there were a lot of little detail things--no pronouncing us "Mr and Mrs DH" since I'm keeping my last name, no "Love is patient love is kind" because I can't stand it, having him work in a reading from my MIL and a ring warming ceremony from my mom) and all of the little details within. The A/V for our ceremony was solid and they played the music I gave them perfectly (I provided a CD and skipped the pianist), and the two wedding coordinators that helped us on the day of were very sweet and one even recognized me the next day and came over to say hi and greet me by name. The space looked stunning and I think my guests were pleased, despite the heat (it was about 92 degrees). I did find out later that there weren't enough ceremony chairs (despite us having confirmed with them for the right number and layout of chairs) and that they had to scramble to bring in more chairs as my guests were being seated, but in the grand scheme of things, not a big deal. My WC Jaimie wasn't there on the day of, but she was REALLY patient in going back and forth with my external wedding coordinator over all the details. Initially I was nervous that a wedding factory like MB wouldn't work with us on the details to get the day exactly how I wanted it, but they totally did. Can't wait to come back someday and do a vow renewal.
Cashman Photography @ Mandalay Bay: A+
Based on previous reviews, I was prepared to HATE Cashman-- I went in being really antagonistic toward them and vowed not to buy a single print or photo right that wasn't included in our package. Right after the ceremony, our photog asked me if I wanted to do family formals and I dismissed him because I wanted Todd to do them instead. He was totally cool with that, and Todd did a few quick family shots in the back of VoTF before we headed out for our Strip Tour. I went to our Cashman appointment the next day to pick out their shots and I have to say, they were STUNNING-- our guy did a great job. Yes, they do try to upsell you by having all sorts of stuff (framed 8x10s, an album, a video montage) all pre-made for you so you buy it right on the spot, but I didn't find our saleswoman to be overly aggressive and I didn't feel uncomfortably pressured to buy anything I didn't want. That said, despite my earlier resolution to not buy a single damn thing from them, FI and I cracked and bought a few 8x10s and some extra 4x6s, and I have a feeling we might buy some more too now that we're home. They really did a nice job so I can confidently say that my experience with them was wonderful, so they're not all bad!
Presidential Limo: A-/B+
Actual limo service was great-- our driver was super sweet and she met up with us exactly where Todd asked her to be at each stop on our Strip Tour. We got a 12 person stretch Escalade (enough for us, our 7 person wedding party and Todd to fit comfortably) and there were 2 bottles of champagne on ice as soon as we got in. The reason for the lower score is that when I booked the limo a few months ago, I specifically asked them to charge my card in full at the time of booking and they said they would (apparently that's their "standard practice" according to the salesperson with whom I interfaced). However, DURING MY CEREMONY my external wedding coordinator got a voicemail from them saying that they were heading back to the office and cancelling our reservation unless we provided a new form of payment because the card on file had expired. It seems they tried to charge my card on the day of the service instead of the day I booked, like they said they would. My poor wedding coordinator freaked out and put the limo on her personal card and told them to come back. It worked out in the end, but less-than-ideal communication here.