I didn't bother to 'grade' each one individually because they were all A+. I would highly reccomend any one of these vendors. They were easy to work with, fit my price point and delivered on the day of. Couldn't ask for more. I am happy to answer questions if it would help any future brides. Thanks!
Photographer: Third Floor Orchard - Julie did our engagement pics and we were very happy with them. We met again before the wedding to go over photos wanted and she was able to help me determine how much time I needed to set aside for photos. She came to our venue a little early on the day-of to scope out the area and the utter chaos of the last minute preparations didn't seem to phase her at all... which was comforting to me as I felt I was running in circles. While I was finishing a few last minute things, I caught a glimpse of her taking pictures of our dresses so I can't wait to see how she captured the wedding details. She was present when I was putting makeup on and when I first saw my groom but not at all in an intrusive manner. She kindly drove me to meet my groom and facilitated our first look, too. She was easy to work with and flexible about adding family photos or whatever we wanted. Our wedding party was a group of goofy friends and family but she was great at offering suggestions to arrange us and get the group photos done on time. Best part - CD with print release! UPDATE: We received our CD of about 400ish wedding images and the print release from Julie 2 weeks after the wedding! It was SO nice to see them since I've known friends who waited months to get their pictures back. They are great - she captured the details that I worked so hard to incorporate into our day as well as many candid moments that we wouldn't have seen otherwise! One of my favorite photos of the day is that she happened to capture a few of my bridesmaids reacting to seeing me for the first time in my dress. It wasn't planned, she and I were just walking to the car to head to the first look but she somehow managed to capture their priceless expressions.
Catering: Piper's Pit BBQ - Ben's food and homemade sauces are SO good. We had grilled chicken, bbq ribs, cajun turkey, (with his bbq and buffalo ranch sauces!) grilled veggies, roasted red potatoes, broccoli salad and grilled pear salad and rolls. He came early, set up the buffet line exactly as I had requested, set our plates out for us and even put out the cornbread and salad that we supplied. He hung around, adding food as needed, while all of our guests made their way through the line. We ordered 'pit chips' from him (homemade seasoned chips) for our appetizers and he brought them to us ahead of time so we could put them out. I knew it was going to be good because he kindly let us sample things before we booked him! While BBQ may be his specialty, he also does have more traditional menus on his website and is happy to do custom menus too. I am positive that his more traditional wedding fare is just as good. His prices were reasonable, he helped me check on which items were/were not gluten free, always responded to my emails quickly and throughout our planning process he always told us he would do as much or as little as we needed him -- so nice to have a flexible caterer!
DJ - Hinkledire Entertainment: I was having a hard time finding a reasonably priced DJ that would travel to my venue because it was just across the WV state line (I live in the Pittsburgh area though) so I posted an ad on Craigslist and received a response from Jason and his wife. He worked with me (due to the informal nature of the event) on price and I was so thankful for that. He was even flexible on timing for us because some of our event was weather dependent. He responded to emails quickly, arrived on time and did a great job supplying the type of music and atmosphere that we wanted. We were also very happy with his attention to our timeline and he kept things moving as they needed to.
Flowers - FamilyDriedFlowers (etsy shop) -- I went with dried flowers because they fit perfectly with our rustic theme and also because I could justify paying for them and putting them out in my house or something afterward. Laura took my custom order even though she wasn't really accepting anymore Sept. weddings and I was super thankful. I found her site a little late and should've ordered earlier. I ordered my bridal bouquet, she made custom boutioneers that were a combo of 2 of her collections and also a corsage for my mom. I also ordered several loose bundles to make my own little bridesmaid bouquets. She promised to send my order right after her family vacation and to my surprise, it arrived early meaning she really worked hard to get it done ahead of schedule! The flowers smell amazing, got a TON of compliments and held up really nicely!! I can't wait to put my bouquet out in our home.
Hair - Brodhead Spa (beaver county) -- I realize this is super out of the way for many downtown brides but I wanted to include it because they also offer on-location hair and makeup so it's definitely worth a look. I had my hair done here and they offered a free trial run which made me feel super at ease about everything on the day-of. During the trial run, the stylist helped me come up with an idea of what I wanted because I didn't come in with pics or anything and the entire salon staff helped me perfect the look. The even helped cut my birdcage veil on site so that it would lay and look the way I wanted!! My mom and I also had gel manis and a pedi done here the week of the wedding. It's been over a week and both still look flawless! They will travel so check them out.
Ambassador Tent Rental - I rented tables and chairs from them. I changed my mind between my initial inquiry/quote and my order about the style I wanted and they quickly sent a new invoice. The tables and chairs arrived ahead of their drop off time on Friday so I wasn't there to pay them the remaining balance but they still dropped them off and told me to just pay upon pickup! They picked them up on time too and everything was in good shape.
Pittsburgh Popcorn - I purchased their huge size bags for a popcorn bar that I set up. They even have bushels and scoops for rent if you need them. The popcorn (honey basil, Wisconsin cheddar and peanut butter cup) was a hit. The bags are enormous. They were ready for pick up at the time I asked for them and I was able to pay over the phone to make it easier for the friend picking them up for me.
Gluuteny - I made the 'regular' cupcakes for my wedding myself, but relied on this bakery for the gluten free selections for my guests. I got pumpkin and I have to say, I saw many many non-gluten free guests enjoying them!! I tried a piece and thought it was delish too. Again, they were ready for pick up at the specified time and I paid over the phone.