Edgewood Inn Bed and Breakfast, Woodland Park, CO- (Grade B+) Both the house and the view from this place are absolutely breath taking. My guests raved about the location and how nice the place was. The Inn Keeper James is amazing and very accommodating. The owners(Dean and Kathy) did everything they could to make sure the property was perfect for the wedding including adding/building a wedding pavilion that was inspired by my wedding. However they did not get an A, because we felt that Dean was a little too hands on during our event, and jumped in/freaked out/involved me (the bride) whenever something didn't go as smooth as 'he' wanted it to. The venue also stated they can accommodate up to 150, and with our 120 guests, the place was packed like sardines with no room to move between tables. We were only the third wedding at this venue and the largest at that, but I would recommend this venue for weddings of 100 or less.
Picnic Basket, Colorado Springs, CO- (Grade A-) Michelle at Picnic Basket was amazing! Our original caterer cancelled on us 2 1/2 months out for a bigger event that offered more money, (Don't use Summit Catering- You've been warned) and Picnic Basket stepped in and took over everything. The food was great and they were very easy to work with. We did feel as though we should have had more staff, but we are not sure if that was a result of them recommending too little, the tight quarters of the event room, or the owner freaking out because it was taking too long. They were also supposed to bring a table for our cake that ended up being forgotten. However, I would definitely use them again for another event.
Springs Sounds, Colorado Springs, CO-(Grade A+++++) We can not say enough good things about Brian at Springs Sounds! He definitely went above and beyond for us. While we were taking pictures he hand delivered drinks to us, he kept us on track as far as time and let us know what to expect every step of the way. Not only this, but he kept our guests entertained and had a great selection of music. To say we were more than impressed and happy with his service is an understatement. You can find cheaper (not by a lot), but you can't find better!
Gathering Light Photography, Golden, CO- (Grade A++) Meghan is great to work with! She knows what she is doing, and the pictures she takes truly capture all emotions. We still only have a few of the preview photos from our wedding, but they are so good I can't stop pulling them up and looking at them. She doesn't get in the way of the event, and is super patient with the children and other photo takers. A couple days before our wedding she informed me her photo booth was not working right, but she had contracted out a photo booth from another company, and everything was seamless. She was a little more expensive than some of the other photographers, but in our opinion we got a lot of bang for our buck and do not regret hiring her.
Bite Me Cake Company, Pueblo, CO- (Grade C) We hired this cake company because we tried their cake at a bridal show, and it was delicious. The cake was delicious on our wedding day too, and looked beautiful. I give them a C because they are not friendly to work with. Anytime I had to talk with one of the owners, they were extremely dry, short, and seemed annoyed that I would dare take up some of their time. Not only that, but I purchased an expensive cake stand for the cake that they insisted I needed to leave with them so they knew how to create the cake. The cake stand was forgotten when they delivered the cake to my wedding, and they didn't even offer to go back to get it. After the wedding when we went to pick it up from them and explain again what happened, the girl running the counter just laughed and said oh I would be so mad too. Great Cake.... Bad Service!!
A Wildflower Florist, Colorado Springs, CO- (Grade A) They did an amazing job on my flowers. They were some of the most beautiful flowers I've ever seen. I had to do a combination of silk and real flowers, because some of the flowers I wanted were not in season. I provided the silks and they made the bouquets beautiful. Only 2 minor complaints were that the ribbon on my bouquet kept coming undone and the 'real' flowers fell out of my grooms boutonniere.
Day of Coordinator/partial planning-
An Eventful Eye, Colorado Springs, CO- (Grade D) We originally hired them because in our initial conversation we were promised that she would help us save money and come in under our budget and that on the day of if anything went wrong I would never know, because she would be handling it. I begged my FI to hire a day of coor. specifically because I did not want to have to worry or stress about a thing on the day of my wedding. I did not want to have to deal with anything going wrong, nor did I want my family/guests to.
As for our budget, we were never once asked about where we were on our budget, or how much we had spent on each area. She knew how much we wanted to spend but that was it. She tried to push, no force, several vendors on us that would have cost us quite a bit more than ones we could find on our own. Most of the vendors she had us meet, had very poor customer service skills at that. Even though she insisted she wasn't, we felt she would get spiffed if we hired who she recommended since she pushed us so much to hire them. If we chose to go with someone other than who she recommended she would make snarky comments about them not being as good. At several of our meetings she would make suggestions about things that we 'needed' or additional vendors we 'needed' to hire, even though I told her we were over budget and could not do more. The only thing we ended up saving money on was our venue, and we still ended up over budget. So much for helping us to be under budget.
She never made a timeline for the day of. I made my own to give myself an idea of how everything would play out and figure times/hours for catering and DJ. When I showed it to her, she scoffed at it and said you can't expect to go exactly as planned. A few days before the wedding she asked me to send her my timeline again?!?!
On the day of the wedding, every issue that came up was brought to my attention by either her or her assistant/daughter. When I say it was brought to my attention, I mean "SO this happening or messed up, what do you want me to do about it?" I had hired her to make those decisions and figure it out without involving me. When the caterer and florist were running late, I had to remind her to call them and see where they were instead of her just doing it. Towards the end of the night I was so stressed that I wasn't even enjoying the wedding, and wanted to go change in to my sweats and take over for her. Before our guests had left she came up to me and told me the decorations and everything were put away, and that she was exhausted and leaving. Come to find out that by the decorations being put away, she really meant thrown randomly into one of our guests rooms instead of organized and put in the closet. So for my maid of honor and her husband to go to bed that night, everything had to be reorganized and put away.
I truly felt that she was a waste of my money, and the one night I'll never get to relive is now a stressful memory. My advice on this one is to meet with multiple planners and call their references and ask as many questions as you can, because we really felt the only positive things we got our of our $1000 was our venue recommendation, our website, and a little creative advise, but promised the world.