Wedding Vendor Review: I wanted to take the time to comment on each of my vendors we had for our wedding on April 27, 2013 in Cincinnati, OH. I have made a point to be very thorough as, reading online reviews helped me in selecting these vendors, so I in turn, hope this helps some brides out there too!! I live in Boston, but our wedding was in Cincinnati, so most of my vendors were in Cincy, but a few were in Boston (dress, invitations). Since we were planning from afar, I did most of my planning online, via email and phone. Through searching and reading many reviews, I only met with a few vendors once we were in town for planning, as that’s all we had time for. To give you an idea on numbers, we invited around 212 guests, approximately 170 attended, and our budget was $35,000. We spent about $32,000 total. Feel free to reach out to me directly if you want any pricing on the vendors.
Club (my rating: A): We only looked at reception locations in downtown
Cincinnati. I have always wanted a
wedding in the city, plus we had lots of travelers, so it made sense for
us. The Cincinnati Club ballrooms had
the features was looking for: unique rooms, elegant ambiance, high ceilings. Even better, the staff was helpful and there
for you every step of the way, plus the catering is on site. Beth & Diane worked closely with us to
choose the right food: we had a cheese/fruit display, passed hor devours, a
served dinner with 2 options and open bar.
We did fly in to Cincinnati to attend a tasting which was very
helpful. They did not have any fish on
hand to try as it gets dry sitting out through the evening tasting. This was
disappointing because we defiantly wanted a fish as a selection. Beth suggested the mahi-mahi, we trusted her
judgment, and we were very happy with the end result. There are 3 tiers for the open bar selection
(we chose the middle option), plus they will add any special bottles you’re
looking for. We tasted and selected our
wines too. There wine selection is decent. They worked on setting up the foyer and the
tables as we wanted, they even made sure that everything went on schedule
throughout the evening. I personally
think the Cincinnati club is one of the best (if not the best) reception
locations in downtown Cincinnati!
Ceremony location: St. Francis Xavier downtown Cincinnati (my rating: A-): Even though I don’t currently live in Cincinnati, I wanted to be married there because it’s my hometown, and my family is living there. Getting married in a Catholic Church downtown was my ultimate choice. St. Xavier church is a gorgeous well taken care of church. I understand that the parish is thriving, and we were lucky enough to be married there even though we are not parishioners. We worked directly with the Deacon there, who was great to work with. The coordinator of the church was also very responsive and helpful via phone and email since we were not local. Our wedding was beautiful, the church doesn’t even need flowers because it’s gorgeous the way it is. The donation /fee is quite hefty, but we were willing to pay. The organ music director is there as part of the fee. We also hired a violinist and vocalist. I was lucky to have a cousin play the trumpet. All of the music was beautiful! The only issue here was that our vocalist, that we hired in addition, never sang the introductory prelude music we selected before the ceremony. Even though I had communicated all of our selections well in advance, and it was all approved and confirmed by the Music director, together, they were not prepared and therefore, the 5 songs that we selected and listed in the program, and we were expecting to hear were never played/sang. This was a disappointment (the music director admitted to my Mother a week after the wedding that they indeed were not as prepared as they should have been). But, in the gist of it all, this was very minor, and the ceremony was lovely!
Videographer: Light Parade Films (my rating: A): I wanted to capture our special day on film. it was important to me to invest in this as i wanted to have it for myself, but also for my family and future family. Growing up i LOVED watching the short homemade movie of my parents wedding. I decided on a budget for the video, and my husband was in agreement. After spending hours upon hours searching online, reading reviews, watching other couples' videos, i came upon Light Parade Films!! The website was very informative. Soon after, i spoke directly to Susan and she answered all of my questions. i was thrilled, i had found my videographer. There were several tiers to choose from, with options that fit in our budget!! As our wedding got closer we communicated on timing and what we were looking for in a video. The day of our wedding came and everything moved so quickly. She was there catching it all, but i didn't even realize it, as I was enjoying everything in the moment. While we were on our honeymoon we received our 'sneak peek', i watched it at least 10 times, i loved it. We received our video on blue ray weeks later... she really incorporated our tastes into the editing, and i loved watching so many special moments now captured forever.... my dad walking me down the aisle and handing me off to my husband, exchanging our vows, the toasts, our first dance, seeing friends and family having a great time. I highly recommend Light Parade Films.
Daniel Michael (my rating: B+): Aaron Gibson (plus 3) shot our wedding
The team we had was so much fun and so lively on the day of our wedding! From the start Daniel was so enthusiastic and friendly. The pricing was right for us, and we read the other ratings, so we decided to go for it. He recommended Aaron for us based on our conversation about our style and tastes. We met a few weeks prior to finalize the timing/ schedule for the wedding day. I had been obsessing about this already for months, and Daniel had the perfect suggestions to make all of the timing/ logistics work out! We went over all of the details on who we wanted photos of, where we would all be located on the wedding day, etc. The day finally came and their team was so on top of it all, they were always there to adjust the girls, get the right photos at the right time. They were definitely working coherently as a team to get everything just right for us. My only two gripes: We booked the team for 10 hours, but in hindsight, maybe I should have booked longer, as I felt like we could have had more photos taken at the reception (only 1 photographer was there at the reception). Also, I wore my hair down, at one point, some of my hair was out lying/stuck on my neck awkwardly (I think because I was HOT) and it is like this in some of the photos. I just wished someone would have noticed/ fixed it. .. Nothing that can’t be edited in Photoshop if needed. Overall, we love our photos & were not in the process of finalizing our album. The album designer met with me to get an idea of tastes and style’s I like. We provided photos to them for the album based on the categories. They suggest how many photos to choose per category for the album (bride, groom, family, ceremony, etc). This was very helpful.
Make up: A brideFace (my rating: A): I was skeptical about paying for make-up application the day of my wedding… as I have had my make-up done before and didn’t think it was that great. However, friends of mine swore by brideFace make up and had worked with Nancy on their wedding day.. so I decided to do my own research. I signed up for a trial while in was in Cincinnati visiting for a friends’ wedding. It was a 95 degree day and I tried the airbrush. I loved the way it looked, but once I got outside and started to sweat I also started to pat down my face with a tissue… soon enough I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the airbrush on my face and started to wipe it off, big mistake.. this ruined my make up for the day. I did my own fixing up and went off and attended my friends’ wedding with mixed feelings of my trial. I went ahead and booked Nancy for the day of my wedding, but I still needed some time to think on if I wanted to have airbrush done on my wedding day or go with ‘regular’ make up. as I investigated and talked to friends I did decide to go with airbrush on my wedding day and I loved the way it looked and felt. What I had to come to terms with is that the airbrush make up may not feel like the make-up I normally wear, because I don’t normally wear much make up on my face except for eye make-up. so for months leading up to my wedding day I took time to experiment on my own and get used to wearing more make-up, how it felt on my skin and how I looked. I also researched online and read how the airbrush make up looks really good to pixels on the camera taken by the photographers the day of the wedding.
Flowers: Nature’s Nook (my rating: B+): I had the bridal bouquets, flower girl baskets, boutonnieres, reception centerpieces and flowers for the cake created by Nature’s Nook. I loved working with Lora at Nature’s Nook. She was SO helpful and responsive. At our initial meeting we discussed what I was looking for and she used flower ‘flip book’s to show me the picture of the actual flower and color, which was very helpful for me to visualize the flowers. She had many recommendations on how to save money on the centerpieces and bouquets. I trusted her expertise and I was not disappointed. She worked with me via email to make several adjustments to my quote. I was thrilled with the bouquets and flower girl baskets they were beautiful! I chose a ‘cheaper’ route for the centerpieces, which looking back, I may have opted to spend a bit more money and give the centerpieces a bit more. I opted for a high vase with white hydrangea’s and curly twigs coming out of the top on half of the tables and low round ‘bowl’ looking vases with water, submerged lights & orchids floating on the other half. I didn’t realize the high vases would be so thin, I thought they would have been wider, and the low round ‘bowl’ vases didn’t look as exciting as I would have hoped. I cannot blame Nature Nook, but I think it would have been nice to see photo of what it would look like ahead of time. These are little details that in the end were not a big deal, I just wish I would have explored the details more thoroughly. The pricing was good, and we did save some money as we purchased the submergible lights separately and I had our wedding coordinator add them to the low ‘bowl’ vases. All of the vases were rented & Nature’s Nook picked them up after the reception. She coordinated all of the delivery for the bridal bouquets/ boutonnieres and also the reception centerpieces. One thing to add to.. i purchased glass votive holders at Factory Direct Candles & Glasswareon Glenway Ave. in Cincinnati. this place is GREAT. so cheap. I purchased the actual votive candles and surmergable LED lights online at 100candles.com... we actually tested how long the candles last.. and these lastest the longest.
I have more vendor reviews in a 2nd posting (it wouldn't all fit here in 1 post).