My wedding was on May 3rd and I'm finally getting around to writing reviews. These were really helpful to me so I figured I would return the favor
Venue: Pavilion on Crystal Lake, Middletown, CT
They have quite a few coordinators who work across the "CT Wedding Group" venues and they assign you one of them. We got to work with Meghan on the day of our wedding and a few days before. I was in contact with several people (Traci, Mary-Beth, Meghan and Irene ) throughtout the planning process. All of them were really helpful and answered all my questions. On the day of, Meghan and all the staff were great! We arrived halfway through the cocktail hour and they imidiately started to bring out food for us and the BP and taking our drink orders. We had SO much food! (probably too much ) and it was delicious (I heard many compliments from our guests), the bar staff was very nice and helpful, overall a great experience. I was very impressed with Meghan. The day before the wedding I had my final appointment when we went over the timeline of the day and I basically just dropped off all the things like seating chart, bird cage, candles, bathroom baskets, cocktail napkins etc etc. She assured me she would take care of everything personally and set it up as discussed. Now I know many brides would like to be in control of this (I wanted to for a brief minute, and then let it go). As we arrived for our reception I saw that everything was looking great! One thing I would like to comment on, is their decor packages. They do not allow you to hire anyone from outside to do ceiling decorations and the packages they have are a little pricey (eg. $750 for a fabric canopy hanging from the ceiling which I believe now went up to $850). After discussing it with my husband, we decided not to do any decorations.... to our surprise, we had lights and lanters hanging on the ceiling during our reception! Now, I loved these and they were actually exactly what I would have liked if we had the money lol I'm assuming the couple whose reception was there, the next day paid for these so we got them for free! It worked out in our case but I could see it being a problem if you didn't want anything and then ended up with something you hated.
Photographer: HK Photography
Hubert and Alka were great! We kinda already knew that, as our photo package included engagement pictures, and we loved those! I was so excited to see our wedding pictures! We haven't gotten all of them yet (it's only been 3 weeks since our wedding), but less than two weeks after, they posted pictures to their blog (they called them teasers, but I don't know if you can say that, there's about 60 of them!!!). I can't wait to see the rest The day of the wedding, they were great. They were willing to split up, Hubert was with me and the girls in Middletown, and Alka was with the guys in South Windsor. I did get a little annoyed when I was told not to get out of the limo at the church because they weren't ready (that's what I was told), and even though we were there 20 minutes early, we ended up being 10 minutes late! They definitely listened to us, and got all the shots we asked for. Even when our schedule was running a little late, when I told them I really wanted a few shots in another area of Bushnell Park (which I specified beforehand), they made sure I got my pictures! I would definitely recommend them, their work is beautiful. Also, they don't put a limit on how long they're there, so you have them the whole day! Here's a link to our post on their blog:
Videographer: MV Film Productions, Matt Van Ness
Matt was awesome! We are so happy we ended up hiring him. We haven't seen the video yet but we are so excited to see it! He was so personable and I got numerous comments on how great he was. He's young but don't let that discourage you, he knows what he's doing and he has a passion for it! His package comes with a second videographer, and Abraham went to the guys' location to shoot the morning footage and then met us at the church. He was supposed to stay through cake cutting during the reception and then leave. Well, my husband must have not been listening to this in our meeting because on the day of the wedding he came up with the idea of setting up a "confessionals" area (a la Jersey Shore) to shoot our friends and family give us advice make total asses of themselves he ended up staying til the very end! Like I said we just can't wait to see the video! I'm sure some of it will get edited but the best part is, we get the raw footage! Also, like our photographers, you get Matt for the whole day so he doesn't miss anything.
Lighting: October Entertainment, Jeff Vitti
We decided to hire Jeff less than a week before our wedding (he was recommended to us by Matt), and we're glad we did! Even though he had another job later that evening (he's in a band, and also does music/DJ for weddings), he came early to set up, and then hired someone to come and clean things up after.We decided on white and green lights to accent walls throughout the venue and they looked great (although I don't know why some of them look pink in pictures. It might have something to do with the wood on the walls as light changes depending on the surface it's being cast on).
Cake: Kim's Cottage Confections, Durham CT
The Pavilion works with Kim, so if you pick her to do your wedding cake (you are not required to), they will put the cost of the cake on your final invoice and you pay them. For some reason my husband was more picky about the flavors than I was, but Kim was great. She sets you up for a free tasting and then if you want to try something else (which we did) you can call her and request what you would like to try. The reason I have her a A- was because when I showed her the picture of the design she said she would make it exactly as pictured, well it wasn't. It really didn't matter in the end, but I could see someone getting upset if they wanted to be really specific.
Flowers: Just For You Flower Design Studio, Jane Ryanski, Middlefield, CT
Jane was great. She was so easy to work with and so nice! I showed her several pictures of what I had in mind for the centerpieces (I didn't care for specific flowers, more for the overall look and feel) and she understood completely! I had calla lilies for mine and the girls' bouquets and the petals were a little beat up around the edges but it didn't really matter! I'm sure no one notices but me
Music: Jeff Ladd Dj Plus
Jeff, in addition to being a DJ, plays the saxophone. Throughout cocktail hour and the dinner, he played to accompany the music and he might have played a couple solos (details are a little vague in my mind, it was hard to remember everything). I was told by numerous poeple how much they liked him and how much it added to the atmosphere. He was very nice and acommodating (we changed our minds about things several times).
Make up/hair: Your Bridal Suite/Lisa B Salond, Manchester, CT
Lisa and the girls came to my parents' house where we were getting ready (they can travel to your location). I thought this was great, and saved us a lot of time and stress! I would definitely recommend getting ready at home/parent's house/hotel. Lisa did my hair and make up and I loved it! One of my bridesmaids wasn't exactly happy with how her hairstyle came out, and the girl doing her hair had no problem changing it. There is a travel fee if you want them to come to you, but they don't have a minimum number of people they require and will bring an appropriate number of hairstylists/make up artists depending on your needs.
Hotel Block: Inn at Middletown
I worked with couple people at the Inn (Katelin at first, and then Marisa). Katelin was great in helping me set everything up, she provided me with a link for reservations and info cards that I included with my STDs. There was one drawback, my deadline for making reservations was 45 days before the wedding (I think that's pretty far out). I gave them a B+ because they did put my deadline in the computer wrong (Monday instead of Tuesday), and when one of my guests tried to book a room, the hotel was full. After I talked to Marisa, and figured out what happened they soleved the problem and got us the room (it did cause me a little stress though). Another comment, we booked a bridal suite for us and it didn't come with a fridge. A couple of our guests, who got upgraded to a suite (they had an issue which actually wasn't the hotel's fault but got upgraded anyway) had a fridge and we didn't! Make sure to ask for one! (I'm sure if we did, we would have gotten one I just didn't think of it). And why did I want a fridge? Our venue packed my leftovers (I ate very little of my meal since I stuffed myself with the hors d'oeuvres) and it sat on the table all night. Needless to say, I threw it out the next morning.
Transportation: Premier Limo
We got two limos, one for the girls and one for the guys, going from two different locations to the church in Hartford. After the ceremony, they took us to Bushnell Park for pictures and then Middletown for the reception. The drivers were great, I later heard that the guys asked their driver to make a pit stop at the liquor store! I got a pretty good deal from them, because my dad works there part time (driving smaller cars), and he also knew the drivers we had, so maybe my experience is a little different from others. The limos were clean and nice, they provided a booster seat for my two and half year old niece, they showed up on time (if not a little early), and were very nice overall.
Shuttle: Lindsey Limo
We hired a shuttle to take our guests from the hotel to the reception at the beginning, and then back at the end of the reception. Lindsey Limo had the best price I could find. I was very happy with the choice. The guests had no problems with the shuttle, and the driver checked in with me when we arrived at the venue. We ended up taking the last shuttle with several of our guests to the hotel. I'm not sure how many times the shuttle ran before the reception, but at the end it came around 10:30 (we had it from 10:30 to 12:30) for the older folks, and then twice at the end. The driver made sure to tell the DJ that she was there so he could made the announcement for our guests (or it was the venue staff, I'm not sure )
Overall, I am extremely happy with all of our vendors and choices. We couldn't have asked for a better day! It was warm and sunny (nothing like today! brrr) and everything went off whithout a hitch! I realized that all of those details you stress about really don't matter... I didn't notice/pay attention to a lot of them the day of the wedding. If you have any questions about any of my reviews, let me know and I would be happy to give you more info.