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Michigan-Grand Rapids

Vendor Review - 4/30/11

So I'm a little late on this, but I always found these vendor reviews useful, so I figure better late than never! Feel free to contact me if you want specific details about vendors :)

Reception Venue: GVSU Eberhard Center - A-
The Eberhard Center was the perfect location for us - right on the river downtown so guests could walk to bars/hotels afterward. Cindi was our coordinator and she was amazing - quick to respond to e-mails, willing to meet with us on short notice, and above all she was extremely nice and caring. The only complaint is that their food/drinks are overpriced in my opinion - but I think you are paying a premium for the location, which we were willing to do. The food was good (what I actually ate!) and you can bring in your own non-perishable food for cocktail hour or late night snacks.

Ceremony Location: St. Adalbert's Basilica - A
We chose this church because my in-laws were married there and the current priest is a family member. It is a GORGEOUS church - the fairytale wedding church with marble columns and stained glass. Kate Davis is the wedding coordinator and she is fantastic - super organized and helpful. Peter Kurdziel is the organist/pianist and he was a little difficult to get a hold of, but he was helpful in helping us choose our music and booked the violinist for us which was really great, and he is a wonderful musician as well. The Basilica charges a boatload for non-members, in addition to the various fees we owed, we made a $1000 'donation' - ouch...

Violinist - Amanda Dykhouse - A
Our organist recommended and booked her, in fact I never even talked to her! But she was reasonably priced and did a great job playing (from what I recall of the ceremony!).

Photographer - Capturing Subtleties Photography - A+++++!
Sandy is the world's most wonderful person to work with! I cannot say enough for her and her work - she takes absolutely beautiful photos, has unique and fun ideas, is very quick with responses, and the best thing is you can tell how much she loves what she does - she is super enthusiastic and it's clear how much she cares about making you happy. If I could only keep one thing the same from our wedding - it would be Sandy, without a doubt!

Flowers - J's Fresh Flower Market DIY - A+
We put together all of the centerpeices, bouquets, bouts, and corsages with the help of Jeanette and Lois from J's. They were both beyond helpful - giving us suggestions and tips, while still making sure you got exactly what you wanted. The way it works is you set up a meeting to go over what you are picturing and they come up with the flower order based on what you will need. The flowers are ordered and delivered to their shop, then you can rent a table to do all the arranging a couple days ahead of time (we did it on Thursday afternoon for a Saturday morning wedding). Lois and J were there to help us when we needed it and are really just fun to be around! The finished arrangements get stored in their cooler, then we had a couple family members pick them up Saturday morning and bring them to the church and reception hall - J's doesn't deliver. We also rented vases from them, which was really nice. It was really fun putting everything together and we also saved a lot of money - we paid about 1/3 of what I was quoted at other full service florists! Wonderful people with a wonderful business :)

DJ - Rick Ruether Music Host Productions - A+
Rick was exactly what we were looking for in a DJ - professional, lots of experience, good equipment and song selection, and he was a wonderful emcee. He kept the dance floor full for the entire night and was able to avoid the songs we didn't like. We didn't do the "Jazz Pack", but we did have a pianist play during the cocktail hour, which Rick set up for us. Rick kept the evening moving - speeches and specialty dances, etc. - but never made himself the star of the show. Rick is also a great singer - he sang a few of the jazz standards during dinner, which was a really nice touch. Overall - a great experience, I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a DJ you won't need to worry about - he knows what he is doing and does it very well!

Transportation - All American Sedan & Limo - A
We rented their limo bus (26 passengers?) for 3 hours for the wedding party and dates for between the ceremony and reception. This bus is awesome! Very modern and well taken care of - great music, two tvs, several bars and a mini fridge. We had lots of room for everybody and their stuff and food and drinks. Very easy to deal with, we gave the driver the list of stops and we didn't worry a bit about it after that! We had so much fun on the bus - we wanted something we could stand in - not crawl in! - and big enough for everyone and their significant others, and this was perfect for us.

Dresses and Veil - Bridal Gallery - A+
We got my dress, the bridesmaid dresses, my veil, and the alterations all at Bridal Gallery. They have a HUGE selection, but not overwhelming. Shelley was my consultant and she was great - she would ask what I liked and didn't like on each dress and then went and picked dresses that fit that, which was wonderful. Easy to work with - very friendly when placing orders, etc. Aubrey made my veil and did the alterations for me and she did an AMAZING job - the veil was exactly what I wanted and the dress fit perfectly. She also put a sweetheart neckline on my dress, something I didn't even know they could do - but it looked great. She is great at what she does and is super nice too :)

Hair - Amanda A. - A++++
Amanda is a family friend - she does beautiful updos and is very modern and has great ideas, but she can also do exactly what you describe to her. She can come to wherever you are getting ready, which was super convenient, and she has great prices. Everyone commented on how great all the girls hair looked - I LOVED mine! Contact me if you want to get in touch with her.

Makeup - Julie Strating - A+
Julie did my hair and makeup for my boudior shoot - and I had to book her for the wedding. She does airbrush - which makes you look flawless and actually lasts all day - none of us needed a single touch-up all day! She was a little bit of a splurge, but it was wonderful to not have to do our own makeup. She also came to the hotel where we got ready. She is so sweet and easy to talk to, and she will make you look your absolute best!

Boudior Photos - La Dolce Vita Photography - A++
Jen is so great! I did these photos as a gift for my husband on the wedding day - and I am SO glad I did it! I would highly recommend it to anyone considering it - even just as something for yourself! Jen will put you at ease from the moment you meet her, and her photos will make you look like a stunning vixen. Her pictures are sexy and sultry, but never cheap or vulgar. You will not regret it!

Tuxedos - Bunny Tuxedo - A
They were easy to work with and have a good selection as well as being reasonably priced. Not much else to say!

Linen Rental - ele3 Events - A
We rented table runners and chair covers from them (altough they also do full event planning). The linens were gorgeous - very clean and not wrinkled a bit. Jen met with me to go over options and was really helpful in making suggestions. She also went above and beyond by dropping off everything on Friday and picked it back up and Monday - we didn't have to do a thing!

Cake/Desserts - Cakes by Kate - A+
We had just a small cake to cut and then had tons of different desserts - cupcakes, cookies, brownies, cheesecakes, eclairs, etc. Katey made us some samples and we couldn't narrow it down - so we got everything! It all tasted wonderful and she made a gorgeous presentation at the reception. She followed our wishes as far as decorations, etc. She also has really great prices for her desserts - I would highly recommend her, especially if you aren't looking for a traditional wedding cake :)

Invitations - ExclusivelyWeddings.com - A
We ordered our invites from this site - you can customize everything from font to size, to colors and envelope liners. We had very simple invitations, so they were very reasonably priced. They also regularly have codes on the site for 25-30% off. Great quality, shipped quickly.

Rehearsal Dinner - Sazerac Lounge - A+++++!
This is a bit of a hole in the wall bar on the northeast side - but it is a hidden gem! We wanted a really casual place - basically pizza & beer - and Sazerac was perfect. Brett is the owner and he was great to work with - helped us come up with a menu and was very conscious of our budget. The food was a great price and tasted amazing and their drinks aren't astronomically priced either. Great beer selection and an even better waitstaff - everyone had a great time!

Honeymoon - Exellence Riviera Cancun - A+
All inclusive, adults only - it was perfect! We escaped reality for a week and did nothing but eat, sleep, drink, and *ahem* other newlywed stuff :) It is a beautiful resort, tons of food options, wonderful bars and pools. We are already talking about going back with friends!!

Well... as you can see, I had a great experience with all of my vendors! It was really great to not have to worry about the little details on the wedding day - I knew everyone was going to come through for me. I was actually able to enjoy the day without having to give orders or directions or instructions or anything.

That being said - a little unsolicited advice: Your wedding day will fly by - I'm sure you've heard it before - it was a blur to me, a wonderful, fun, gorgeous blur. My one regret - we don't have any video. If you have the money, hire a videographer. If you don't, have someone tape at least the ceremony. Because as much as you can try to be present in every moment, you will miss things and I wish I could hear our vows one more time... ok, I'm off my soapbox now :)

I hope everyone's weddings go exactly as planned - and the things that go wrong make for a funny story :)

Re: Vendor Review - 4/30/11

  • akhensley81akhensley81 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Congrats!! :) I'm glad everything went so well!

    I'll ditto your rec on a videographer. We didn't do it either, and now I really wish we did.

    Make sure you copy & paste this in to the Vendor Recs sticky at the top of the board, so other brides will be able to find it later (like in a few weeks when this thread is a few pages back)!
  • jazzybaccjazzybacc member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I would take the information for Amanda, for hair.  I'm still looking for a hair stylist and while I have a while, I can't find anyone that speaks to me.

    So glad your wedding went well and you had a good experience with all the vendors!  Congrats.
    BabyFetus Ticker
  • jaempkiejaempkie member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    jazzybacc - i sent you a private message with her email address :)
  • jazzybaccjazzybacc member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thank you!
    BabyFetus Ticker
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