I can’t believe that my wedding has already come and gone! I am happy to say all the planning was well worth it and the day turned out to be all I hoped for and more. I know vendor reviews were extremely helpful to me when I was organizing my big day, so I wanted to be sure to pay the favor forward. I would be happy to share more details and prices if you want to private message me. Good luck to all of you as you continue your planning!
Venue – Lake of Isles, North Stonington, CT - A++
Lake of Isles was absolutely fabulous, I couldn’t have asked for anything more in a venue. The property is part of the golf course that Foxwoods owns. It has a beautiful large ballroom, which easily fit our 150 guests, and has a ton of windows overlooking the lake (a bright, airy ballroom was very important to me), and a beautiful curved wood ceiling. The property also has a huge outdoor deck that we utilized for our cocktail hour, but it can also be used as an outdoor ceremony space. Everyone at Lake of Isles are top-notch professionals. I worked with Sheila throughout the planning process and she was always available to quickly answer any questions I had and offer helpful suggestions. The package also comes with a day of coordinator, Bethany, who was absolutely fabulous. I didn’t have to worry about a thing on the day; she handled all the deliveries, vendors, setting up the room, etc. Both Sheila and Bethany are meticulous planners, so they ask all the important questions ahead of time so they know what you want on the day without having to ask you and can anticipate your needs. Additionally, the food was absolutely delicious; I keep getting rave reviews from all our guests. We are vegetarians and our entrée was just as delicious as the meat options we chose for our guests. Cake comes with the package and it did not disappoint. Also included (depending on the package) are dance floor, linens, and open bar. And I cannot rave about the service enough; it was amazing and included a personal attendant for the bride and groom. All the facilities are beautiful, clean, and well maintained. And the grounds are fabulous for taking pictures.
Church – Preston City Congregational, Preston, CT – A
Though Lake of Isles offers on-site ceremony options we chose to get married in a church up the street. Preston City Congregational was only a short 10 minute drive away, which was a plus. But what I loved about it was that everyone there immediately took us in as if we were family, even though we had never been to that church before. Reverend Stanley White did a fabulous job putting us at ease and performing a beautiful ceremony, and his assistant Sandy was always on had with any questions we had regarding planning.
Florist – Flowers by Danielle, Monroe, CT – A+
I had a strict budget in mind and a general idea of what I wanted for flowers, but I also wanted to be flexible and give my florist artistic license. Danielle was the first florist I met with and she immediately had wonderful ideas to compliment what I showed her. I wanted to use lanterns on half of the tables and she immediately knew what to do to showcase them, including putting flowers inside a small lantern on our sweetheart table, which really brought the whole look together. I felt most confident with her and that she understood what I wanted and would be able to execute it and she completely delivered on everything she promised. The bouquets were beautiful; mine especially was exactly what I had pictured. And the centerpieces were amazing; she was even able to do tall, elaborate centerpieces which I thought would be out of my budget. Before choosing Danielle I met with a few other florists and was shocked at how outrageous some of their prices came in. They offered me half of what Danielle did for more double the price! Danielle was able to get everything I wanted and more without compromise, and brought so many things to the table that I couldn’t have ever dreamed up. Definitely recommended!
DJ – Jay Free – Signature Sounds, Bristol, RI – A+
I was recommended to DJ Jay Free by DJ Melee because he didn’t have my date available. The two of them have worked together, and I am so glad he gave me his name. Jay was an absolute rock star. He is not just a wedding DJ and has consistent gigs at Foxwoods, Mohegan’s, and several clubs around CT, RI and MA so he is really knows how to get everyone up and dancing. My husband and I had very specific preferences when it came to music for the wedding and he was able to perfectly pick up on our style and make a playlist that was perfect for the night. The dance floor was never empty! He was wonderful with incorporating our requests but also adding in his own choices. He even helped my dad and I throw together a last minute medley for our father/daughter dance that blew everyone at the wedding away. He was very easy to get in contact with and was always willing to meet us somewhere in CT when we had to meet face to face, even though he is based in RI. His prices were also some of the best we found, definitely a great value and a great guy.
Photographer – HK Photography, Shelton, CT – A++
Hubert and Alka are a husband and wife photography team. Both my husband and I instantly felt at ease with them from our first meeting. They are both amazingly kind and funny, and were so fun to hang out with on the day. They have a lot of great packages available that let you pick and choose what is important to you. For example we wanted to include an album but not an engagement session, and were easily able to fit it into our budget. They work so well with each other, but both also bring their own perspective to different shots. They took the time to capture so many different moments in at least half a dozen locations. We purposely included some time between our ceremony and reception so they had the time to capture as much as they could. I haven’t even seen any of the pictures yet, but I am so confident in how they will turn out that I would recommend them to anyone. We don’t consider ourselves photogenic as a couple, but they made us feel like models and so unbelievably confident in what we were doing. I can’t wait to see the pictures!
Hair – Salon Margolis, North Haven, CT – A+
Lisa and her stylist, Kim, were absolutely wonderful. Lisa is a family friend, so she traveled up to Foxwoods to help get me and my girls ready the morning of the wedding, but she also owns a fabulous salon in North Haven. Between the two of them they had to get 7 heads of hair done by noon, and they did it with time to spare. All my girls brought pictures the day of and they were able to execute all the various hairstyles, some up, some down, without any issues. All of the girls looked fabulous and everyone’s styles lasted the entire day and night. I was especially happy with my own hair. I had done a consultation ahead of time and Lisa was able to take elements from several different styles and create something just for me. Her prices are great and I got so many compliments on how beautiful my hair looked!
Makeup – Bold Faced Makeup, CT – A+
Melinda from Bold Faced Makeup was incredible! I took a bit of a leap of faith because she doesn’t do her consultation until two weeks before the wedding (because it was in the summer she wants to make sure your skin tone doesn’t change due to sun). The original reason I chose her is because I was paying for all of my 5 bridesmaids, plus my mom’s makeup, and her package pricing couldn’t be beat. But now I can confidently and enthusiastically endorse her on her awesome talent. She airbrushes all the makeup, and I mean all of it, from foundation, to blush, to eye shadow, she even airbrushed my eye liner! During the consultation she really took the time to get to know my likes and dislikes and put together a look that was perfect for me. Because everything is airbrushed is last so much longer, over 12 hours. And she was able to match everyone’s skin tones perfectly the day of and made everyone feel beautiful. She also didn’t charge me a travel fee because she is located in the Foxwoods area. Definitely recommended!
Spray Tan – Sun Spray Tans, Milford, CT - A
I wanted to review my spray tan because I was so skeptical about getting one! I was not blessed with skin that tans, I burn if I am in the sun a minute too long, so I avoided it all summer. But I looked way too washed out in my dress, so on the recommendation of some friends I went to Sun Spray Tans and I couldn’t have been happier. They hand airbrush your tan, so it looks flawless! Their formula is organic and doesn’t have the chemicals in it that cause the awful orange glow some tans will. My tan looked natural and was the perfect color for me. The tan lasts up to 10 days if you take care of it right. If you are thinking about it, definitely give it a try a few weeks before to see how you like it!
Dress – Marie’s Bridal, Fairfield, CT – A
When I went to Marie’s Bridal I didn’t know anyone who had bought their dress there before, so I was a little nervous. They were one of the only stores nearby that carried the Mikaella dress I had fallen in love with and I am so happy I bought it from them. The store is very small, but the people who work there are wonderful. Every time I was there from my first appointment to my final fitting they made me feel like I was the only customer they had. I often had all three women there helping me and they were always so reassuring. The seamstress was fantastic, my dress was entirely lace with a scalloped hem and she was able to hem it without losing the scallops and made it look seamless! There prices are very reasonable and my mom even negotiated with them to get my veil for free, which was a huge savings! Don’t be off-put by the small space and overstuffed racks, those ladies know their stuff!
Photo booth – Top Hat Photo Booths – A
Top Hat was recommended to us by our venue. I knew I wanted a photo booth and Top Hat had great prices and were one of the only companies I found that were able to print the pictures as 4x6 rather than the classic strips. I wanted pictures that could easily be framed and added to a traditional photo album. The operator was fantastic, there were set up on-time and kept the booth running smoothly all night. They have add-on options like bringing props and a ton of different layout options for the pictures. The price was also very reasonable. All my guests loved the booth and it added a fun element to the wedding for those who weren’t into dancing.
Accommodations/Transportation – Foxwoods Resort and Casino – A+
One of the biggest benefits of Lake of Isles is that it is right across the street from Foxwoods Resort and Casino. This made is super easy to set up transportation and room blocks. The venue automatically sets up a complimentary shuttle to bring guests to the receptions and back to the hotels at the end of the night, which meant no one had to drive. They also give you 20 rooms each at two different hotels in the casino (we chose MGM and Two Trees) at great prices. They were also super accommodating when a few of our guests missed the cut-off date and make the whole room block process super easy. Part of our package included a suite at MGM for the night of the wedding. We booked it for the night before as well and it was a huge room, it made it super easy for all the girls to get ready, along with the makeup artist and two hairstylists and it never felt crowded.
We also ended up using the brand new Hilton Garden Inn hotel down the street for another options. They were also very accommodating, willing to price match, and also offered a free shuttle. Definitely would recommend them as well!