AMELIA C & CO - 12/10
Oh my god, I love Melissa F. I want to be her friend in real life. I invited her to the wedding because she was so kickass.
We had about 6-8 people in room while getting ready, and Melissa was totally laid back and cheerful, she pitched in on the conversation when it was appropriate, but she was still totally professional and quick. She did my mom's hair (blow-dry & lovely curls) and HMU for me & the MOH. All 3 of us were done in 2.5 hours and looked AMAZING. I have never felt better than I did after Melissa did my makeup.
All the friends in the room were super-impressed with her professionalism and her sense of humor. My hair and makeup was just what I wanted. I'd sent her a interest board a few weeks prior, and she pulled it open before we started to walk through what I liked and didn't like about each photo. Hair & makeup both stayed 100% perfect the entire night … and? No headache from too many bobby pins! Would recommend Melissa a thousand times over.
THE PALETTE - 12/10
We all know that Pam kicks butt. I had a small floral package (2 bouquets and a handful of corsages & bouts) but she never made me feel like I was a less important client just because I didn't have oodles of flowers.
My wedding colors were blue & silver, so I didn't really want giant red/pink/white flowers. We came up with a few options in my price range that fit my color scheme--the final products included delphinium, blue hydrangea, kale (I saw some bouquets with the vegetable that looked gorgeous, and she accommodated my crazy request) and brunia berries (I'd never seen these before but she suggested them to match my silver tie-ins).
I also wanted to include my husband's grandma's handmade doilies as my "something old," so I sent out 2 doilies a few weeks prior to the wedding so she could see what she was working with. Not only did she successfully wrap my bouquet with a lace doily (which looked marvelous), she also used some of it in my husband's boutonniere and his mom's corsage.
Pam was super responsive and coordinated, and very warm and generous in person. A total class-act.
PLATINUM HOTEL - 15/10
We never did a scouting trip so we were a bit nervous, especially when we drove past and realized that it's tucked between a gas station and a Super 8. But then we went inside & met with Romie, the wedding coordinator, and all our fears were put aside.
Planning/staff: Romie was incredibly professional and had all her ducks in a row. She made the entire event run smoothly, from the moment that friends showed up to help with set-up until the last song. (A friend on the set-up team even heard her correct the staff to make sure that every single place setting was perfect.) Every person on the Platinum team was nothing but wonderful.
Venue: We were on the pool deck & [email protected] lounge and got tons of compliments from guests about what a great set-up it was. We got married on the deck, moved inside for dinner, then spent the entire night outside dancing. The ceremony was at sunset, so people loved that the lights on the Strip came on behind us as we said our vows.
Food: INCREDIBLE. SO MUCH FOOD. SO DELICIOUS. I have an aunt who is critical about almost everything, and she RAVED about the food. Loved every bite.
Bar: 4 hours of open bar, and the bartender was very generous with his pours. Everybody was really happy with the "Silver" level bar.
Overall: Could not be happier with our choice to go with the Platinum.
ELEGANT VEGAS WEDDINGS - 10/10
We LOVED Pastor Pete Starcyk. We'd emailed with him a bit and met him about an hour before the ceremony and ran through some of the details (readings, processional, etc). Guests had no idea that we'd just met him that day because he was so friendly and warm and seemed to know us very well.
However, we're Green Bay Packers fans and he sprung on us during the ceremony that he's a Bears fan. It was almost a deal breaker. Thankfully we are a forgiving couple, and we literally spent the rest of the ceremony heckling him. Haha … no, seriously, he was a total professional but he really made the wedding feel special and unique even though we hadn't know him very long. Very impressive!
TIERS OF JOY - 4/10
We ordered the most simple cake possible, because it didn't really matter to us--we only wanted the cake cutting as a photo op & to make our moms happy that we weren't cutting ALL the traditions. I said I wanted a chocolate cake with white icing and blue ribbon. Kathy kept trying to get me to add embellishments (since there was no up charge and she'd have to make/frost two cakes to get the tiers), so by the end of it, it was a chocolate AND vanilla cake with white icing, blue ribbon, and silver sparkles.
However, we were never informed that the silver part wasn't frosting--it was actual beads, like strung-together mardi gras beads. So the cake cutting was really awkward, as we also had to cut through a necklace … and half our photo-op cake-cutting pictures are me looking apprehensive/nervous because the necklace was dragging through the frosting and getting in the way of the spatula.
And even though the only thing I wanted was chocolate cake, I ended up with vanilla cake all over my face--the top tier was vanilla because she made me feel silly for not having two different flavors.
All this and the cake was pretty dry and bland.
JOY SQUAD - 12/10
I wanted an open air photo booth (with a big background, not a tiny booth to squeeze into), and as soon as I started emailing with Leslie, I knew that Joy Squad was the company I wanted to work with … she was engaging and quick to respond and even let me design our photo booth layouts so that they matched the programs and invitations. (I'm a graphic designer and take great pride in all the print materials we used for the wedding events.)
Then, about a month before the wedding, my arch rental fell through, and I really wanted to have something behind us during the ceremony, so I asked Leslie if we could borrow the photo booth display for the wedding. Not only did she agree, she also came over during setup to make sure that the ribbons that we were hanging looked great on the display and everything was set up before I arrived. She is a total class act.
To thank her for being awesome, we upgraded our package to include the second staff member and the scrapbook to record the photos … and it's totally worth the upgrade. The photo album is super high quality and our guests had a great time with the stickers and sharpies, writing funny messages. If you're thinking about a photo booth, Joy Squad is totally the way to go.
BELL TRANS - 6/10
I hired two shuttles--5-6pm and 11pm-12am. They were easy to book and definitely the most affordable option.
At 4:30, the first driver called me to tell me that he was there. Great, we'll send people over early! So I texted guests to let them know that the shuttle was there (and they got to the venue earlier than it was ready for them, but as always, Platinum was awesome and opened up the cash bar early).
The bridal party hopped on the shuttle at 5:15 to head over to Platinum, and as we got off, the driver asked me, "So this is my last loop, right?" I had to explain to him that just because he arrived early doesn't change the fact that I told my guests that the shuttle would run until 6, so he had to keep working till 6. He seemed a bit disgruntled, but the fact that he started early didn't make up for the time that I had booked him for. I have no idea when the last pick-up was, but I had two guests arrive 5 minutes late because they were hoping to catch the last shuttle at 5:45 and didn't see one so they took a cab at 6.
At the end of the night, the guests were ready to leave at 11pm and couldn't find the shuttle. I think he arrived around 11:15. He'd left a message on my voicemail (on my almost dead phone) even though I'd given them another contact number for the night, so guests were texting me to get his info. I Forwarded them his cell phone number from his voicemail, and apparently everything worked out … though I'm blissful unaware how people got home.
What was frustrating is that the shuttles had no signage to say which wedding they were working for or where they were going. The first driver told me on the phone that it was a "blue divas" shuttle, but there was no easy way to explain to my guests that that was THEIR shuttle without sending giant group texts … not something I want to worry about an hour before I get married.
ALL NIGHT LONG ENTERTAINMENT
DJ - 8/10: This was the DJ included in our package with the Platinum. Immediately I e-mailed them to see if we could add in karaoke, and they were quick to reply and get the contract together for the add-on. The karaoke went over like gangbusters--Noah & Ryan really kept the list going along and mixed up the different genres really well.
Only 2 complaints are that there are no current songs from the past year, which was a major bummer to our 11-year-old niece who just wanted to sing some not-so-new Taylor Swift, and there's only one mic for karaoke, which makes duets/harmonies awkward.
Videography - 10/10: About a week before the wedding, the groom's mom got sick and couldn't come to Vegas, so we scrambled to get a videography package together. My MOH & I emailed about 5 people each, and landed with All Night Long because they gave us a great price break due to the circumstance and the fact that we already had a contract open with them.
The videographer Clint was extremely professional--he captured a lot of great moments, interviewed friends & family, and moved stealthily during major moments so he wasn't distracting to the events happening. We were really on the fence about videography, but so incredibly happy that we pulled the trigger. It's hard to give a real review without seeing the video (which should take 2-3 months to arrive), but from a night-of-event perspective, he was great to work with.
BRILLIANT IMAGERY PHOTOGRAPHY - 20/10
Aside from choosing the groom, choosing Rachel was hands-down the best decision of the wedding planning process. Again, hard to really provide a thorough review without seeing the finished product, but so far she has always been professional, quick to respond (sometimes within minutes to text messages), personal, engaging, funny, and down-to-earth.
On the actual wedding day, after the First Look we took a trip down to the Strip to get some photos. My poor husband wasn't looking forward to that part but put up with it because i want it, as as we left he said, "Wow, that was so much more fun than I ever could have expected," because Rachel was just so easy to work with and creative ... at one point we were walking through Crystals and she saw a stairwell that she liked, so obviously we took photos on the stairwell and the escalator and other cool places that we saw that weren't necessarily "Vegas-y," but just provided cool backdrops along the way. After that we met for family pics, and Rachel & I had e-mailed weeks before about the smoothest process for different family-halves + divorced parents, so I was able to say to people, "Hey, this is what's happening" and Rachel got the pics in record time.
She helped keep us calm and laugh with us during the wedding, and even pulled me a few times to say, "Hey, you know that elevator photo that you sent me on Pinterest and said that you wanted? This would be a good time to sneak away and do that." She remembered my preferences and flagged when appropriate, but mostly, she just documented the day.
Rachel also includes either an engagement session or trash-the-dress session in every package, so that people get some relaxed photos in not-wedding clothes. We opted for the trash-the-dress package and two days after the wedding, we found ourselves in the Mojave Desert at a dry lake bed. Rachel & I had pinned a lot of ideas back and forth and eventually landed on using holi powder (often used in Indian festivals, and more recently in "Color Run 5Ks" throughout the country) in a color fight. By the end of the session, we were both covered head-to-toe and even Rachel was covered in powder. We also love the TV show "Breaking Bad," and once we decided on the desert location, we decided to add in a "Breaking Bad" shoot, recreating iconic images from the show. Rachel went so far as to order us gas masks from eBay (and her son appreciates that he'll be able to play with them soon!).
My husband is not much of a photography person--he had like 3 photos on facebook before we met--but every day since we got married, he asks me when I think we'll get the photos from Rachel because he is DYING to see them. That to me is the most ringing endorsement of them all.