We were married on July 13th at Bearpath in Eden Prairie. I was so sick of wedding planning by the time the day came, but I'm thrilled to say everything went as planned and it was the best day.
Ceremony and Reception: Bearpath Golf & Country Club - B+
Kim at Bearpath was really great to work with. The venue is beautiful and we ended up with perfect weather for our outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour followed by the reception in their ballroom. The only downside is that they nickel-and-dime you for every little thing but I don't know that they are different from any other venue. They just updated their chandeliers and bathrooms and they look so much better. My guests have been oohing and aahing about the venue for the past month they loved it so much. They could charge a lot more than they do for the luxurious feeling of the place but it's in line with most other venues in town. You also don't need to be a member or know a member to have your wedding here.
Cake: Queen of Cakes - A+
We decided to just do sheet cakes (carrot cake and white cake filled with strawberries) in the kitchen and bypass the tiered cake completely. It was a great move since we didn't have to take time to cut the cake, yet everyone got served cake. Queen of Cakes was great to work with to get a quote and they had much better tasting cake than the most popular vendor in town (no names).
Day-of-coordinator: Simply Elegant Bridal Consulting - A
Ashley from Simply Elegant prides herself on saving brides as much money as they spend on her services. I came close. I saved over $700 on my linen/candelabra rental and paid $1100 for her services. I had decided to hire a day-of-coordinator so that me and my family wouldn't have to do anything set-up or takedown related on the wedding day and she fit the bill perfectly. She contacted all of the vendors the week of the wedding and worked out delivery times, etc. It's worth the money if you can fit it into your budget.
Ceremony/Cocktail Hour Music: Bel Canto Four - A+
Elizabeth and the rest of her string quartet were amazing. She was the easiest person to work with in picking out songs and they played beautifully during the ceremony and cocktail hour. They are reasonably priced so definitely check them out if you are in the market for a string quartet.
Reception DJ: Ray Seville - A
Ray is a friend of my husband, so this was an easy choice. Ray does a great job and knows how to read the crowd and play music accordingly.
Florist: Violet's Flowers - A++++
Jean was one of the two vendors that I loved. Not only does she do amazing work, but she's a joy to work with. She's got an infectious positive attitude and works with you until you have exactly what you want in a price point you can afford.
Photography: La Vie Photography - A++++++
This was my favorite vendor. Sally is simply the best. She tailors your package and pictures to what you want and really gets to know her couples. Don't hesitate, just book her ASAP before she is booked for your day. Here is a link to the blog post with our pics (http://laviephotography.com/blog/bearpath-erika-tony/
Guest Accommodations: Marriott Southwest in Minnetonka - A
This was a surprise. I figured any old hotel could do a room block but was pleasantly surprised at the amount of attention the staff at the Marriott Southwest gave me and my guests. I wouldn't hesitate to use them again. They are very responsive to requests and extremely organized.
Alterations: JenMar Creations - A
I had my dress converted from a keyhole back to an open "V", it taken in all over, hemmed a bit and bustled. I paid less than most would pay just for the hem and bustle. They are perfectionists and also very nice ladies to work with.
Videography: Capture the Moment Productions - B
We decided to hire a videographer only a month before the wedding and we lucked out that Jason was open. He's significantly cheaper than some but gave us what we were looking for. We got a great highlight video out of it (he even included some of my Randy to the Rescue footage) and the full ceremony/toasts on a DVD. It was a great deal. Here is a link to our highlight video: http://ctmoments.typepad.com/blog/2013/07/tony-erika-71313.html
Hair/Makeup: Makeup by Mici - A
Mici did our makeup and Pauline did our hair. They were both great to work with and they made everyone from my mom to my 15 year old stepdaughter look beautiful. They are more reasonable than most people in town but they do a terrific job. I wish they could come to my house every morning to do my hair/makeup!
Decor rental: Apres - A
I worked with Katiee from Apres and she was so helpful. I didn't have a design for the decor when I walked in and she helped mock up something for me until we got it. She also advised me on what items I might be able to buy cheaper than rent from them! I did so and was able to sell them right away after the wedding. She's responsive and just overall very helpful. Plus, the items I rented from them were high quality and nicely done.
Dress: Mestad's Bridal - B-
I was on the Randy to the Rescue show back in summer of 2012. After picking a dress with Randy, I ordered it from Mestad's since they were the supplier for the show locally. It took almost 10 months for my dress to come in and I had to call them to ask about the status. Part of it may have been because they knew my wedding wasn't until the summer so they had 4 more months buffer. I'm not sure, I just wish they had kept me informed. But in the end, the right dress was ordered and they got it to me. I didn't do alterations with them since they are down in Rochester and it just wasn't convenient.
Invites: Tate Stationary - F
I worked with Jean to get invites designed for at least 3 months before abandoning her and doing them myself. I couldn't get her to produce a design I liked, an estimate for the work, etc. If you like what she has done in the past, then it might be easier to just have her copy it for yours but I went through hell trying to get her to do something different for mine and in the end, I wasn't successful.
Photobooth: The Studio MPLS - D
Thankfully, I won the photobooth through a FB contest, so I didn't have to pay. I had to pay for the "custom backdrop" which I'm sure will be used for future clients and that set the tone for my interactions with them. The pictures themselves are terrible. The focus isn't right, so you can see the tripods holding up the backdrop on each side of the picture and the bottom half of each pic is really dark. The focus is on about 3 ft from the ground so everyone had to bend down to even get in the picture until finally set up a chair for people to sit on. Again, I didn't pay for the booth itself but if I had, I would be asking for a refund.