Wedding day coordinator: Celebrations To Talk About (Molly) (my rating: A): Molly was great to work with for our “day of coordinator”. I found her after searching message boards here on theknot.com and finding her website. They were priced right, so to me it made perfect sense! I like details and party planning, I could take care of all of my own details in the planning process, but, I didn’t want to worry about those details on my wedding day. I also didn’t want my bridesmaids or mother to worry about it. I wanted to just pay someone to do it so we could all enjoy our day worry free! This was my main reason for hiring Molly. About 2 weeks prior to the wedding I met with Molly over the phone (since I don’t live in Cincinnati) and we went through ALL of the details one by one for the day of the wedding. I put all of the details in a document that she provided, this way she knew everything from the appetizers that were being served vs. displayed to the phone number of all of the vendors to the seating charts/table names, etc. She came to the rehearsal at the church the night prior. I gave her any necessities she needed for the next day, including programs, etc. She basically made sure everything at the reception was decorated & set up as we wanted, made sure candles were lit, photos were displayed, flower petals were in place. She was there to add an extra chair at table when my cousin unexpectedly showed up, she continued to the cards/checks/money out of our ‘card box’ and locked it in my parents car, along with other valuable items we had, she went to get my mother to stop talking in the ladies’ room so we could have my our first dance… she was there to take care of all of those details that add up. I highly recommend her!
Lighting Goodwin: (my
rating: : The only reason I am
giving Goodwin a B is because they are PRICY.
They did work out a ‘special’ deal with me as typically their minimum
package starts at $1500. The lighting really gave the room the look I was going
for. Goodwin is the only lighting company that has
a contract with the Cincinnati Club, so this is your only option if you want
DJ: CSC (Daniel & Jimmy Jr.) (my rating: A): We met with CSC and really felt like we clicked. They were very professional and yet personable. I felt like they understood the music we wanted /our vibe we wanted for the evening. I spent a lot of time throughout our wedding planning thinking about the music we wanted. I had some very specific songs in mind, but also let it up to CSC to really decide how it would flow. You can indicate all of this through their online planning tool. ! The whole evening flowed wonderfully, from the entrance, to the opening welcome by my parents, the dinner, toasts and dancing. We met a few weeks prior to go over all of these details. I’m not sure what the music was like at the cocktail hour since we were outside getting our photos taken, but, all of the other music throughout the evening was superb! We all danced the night away, so much that I wish we had another hour to keep dancing. I highly recommend CSC!
Cake: Affordable Wedding Creations (my rating: A): I only met with a couple wedding cake / bakeries while I was in town planning. Affordable Wedding Creations, was yes, affordable, but also delicious! We both thought the cake was delicious, and I would say my husband is pickier than I am. We had Peggy make a 4 tier, square cake, stacked straight, decorated with ‘C’ motion on 2 layers & silver /icing dots on the other 2 layers, eggplant ribbon around base of each layer, with flowers here and there our monogram on the top layer of cake. We created our own cake stand: 18” cut glass 9 LED lights, 9 square vases, these LED lights were turned on before cake is set on top of stand, the cake was 12” on bottom sitting on a 16” board. see below image for example of the lighted cake display stand we used: Our flavors were: 12x12 bottom layer: white with strawberry filling; 10x10 layer: marble with Bavarian cream filling; 8x8 layer: white with icing filling; 6x6 layer: white with strawberry filling. Peggy also made a delicious sheet cake with the NY Giants logo for our groom cake. I picked this up the day of our rehearsal myself and delivered to our rehearsal dinner location.
Transportation: Your Chauffeur Limousine (my rating: A): we were able to get away with booking only 1 limo for the day, which really helped to save money. We kept all of our locations downtown, so the limo really was only within a few blocks the entire evening with the exception of the location of the bride & bridesmaids earlier in the day. I have no complaints, very affordable and friendly.
Suites (my rating: B-): When your wedding reception is at the
Cincinnati Club, how can you not check out the Garfield Suites? It’s on the same block, and their rooms (all
suites) start at $99 for a 1 bedroom! We
recommended the Garfield as our main location for our wedding guests. Since flights to Cincinnati are so expensive
(ARGGGGH!), the Garfield was a great way to give our guests a break on their
spending. 1 bedroom suites were $99, 2
bedroom suites were $129. Many of our
guests shared 2 bedrooms; some had children, so this was VERY helpful to have the
suites. Not to mention, the groom and
all of his groomsmen from out of town had a place to congregate throughout the
weekend and prior to the wedding. If you are expecting or wanting a luxury
hotel, the Garfield Suites is not for you.
The rooms are a bit outdated, in our room, some of the blinds were
hanging off of the windows incorrectly, a chair was missing a wheel on the
bottom and stood crooked, those types of things are definitely not perfect. The staff is very friendly and accommodating, however,
from what I understood, a bit slow. Speaking of slow, the elevators were also
slow. I was waiting for one of my
bridesmaids because she was stuck waiting for the elevator for 10 minutes! There is a restaurant connected to the hotel which
is convenient… and really it’s all about convenience and budget for this hotel!
Westin (my rating: : I didn’t stay at the Westin myself, but I did tour it and, of course some of our guests stayed there. The rooms were higher, starting at $129, $149 for a view of Fountain Square. The location for the Westin is more in the heart of what’s happening near Fountain Square, where as the Garfield is closer / more convenient to the Cincinnati Club.
Dress: LaSposa Bridal, Newton, MA (my rating: A): Not a huge selection, but decent. I tried it on and LOVED it. Had no idea who the designer was since they label was cut out, which is not uncommon because they don’t want you to online and find the dress and ultimately purchase it there. Talked them into allowing me to take my photo in the dress, since I LOVED it, and my mother lives in another state. I felt like I needed to show my mother before buying my wedding dress! They said I could purchase the dress off the rack and receive 20% off. Turned out the dress was Maggie Sottero, Tuscany, she confirmed this once I was serious about the purchase. They kept the dress there for me until I was ready to pick up a week prior to the wedding. Margarite, the owner, was excellent with the alterations. Yes, they are Italian and very opinionated, but also very accommodating. I also purchased my cathedral veil here. all in all I was very happy with my dress/alterations and veil!
Bridesmaid dresses Alfred Angelo (my rating: A): I went to the Alfred Angelo store in Dedham to select our dresses. I was all set to order the dresses for our bridesmaids, however, they would offer no discount at all since I did not by my dress there. LaSposa, where I bought my dress, was able to get the same Alfred Angelo dress at a lower price. So, I opted to purchase the dresses through LaSposa Bridal. We got the eggplant color for our dresses: http://www.alfredangelo.com/collections/productdisplay.aspx?productID=80b57910-62e4-406f-8dbc-9d31eadb4835&categoryID=772f03c9-de43-4942-bfa0-da77e21ebd65&pg=1&colorId1=
Flower Girl Dresses, JC Penney (my rating: A): We did not want to spend $100+ on flower girl dresses. We found a cute selection of dresses at JC Penney and were able to get all of the sizes needed. I think the dresses were $29 each.
Jr. Bridesmaid Dresses, David’s Bridal (my rating: A): we found a great dress at David’s Bridal for the 2 jr. bridesmaids I think they were $109 each. http://www.davidsbridal.com/Product_Satin-and-Chiffon-Ball-Gown-with-Flower-Detail-JB4062_Bridal-Party-Bridesmaids-Junior-Bridesmaids we got them in lilac. They looked so cute on the girls (my nieces, 11 and 10 years old).
Tuxedos: Men’s Warehouse (my rating: : (Burlington, MA & Kenwood, OH locations) We needed a national vendor for this as we had men in 4 cities total. At men’s warehouse the guys pick up the tux a few days before the wedding at a location nearby and can return it to any location in the nation. This was a selling point for us, as it made it EASY and convenient. We had to pick up our tux in Boston along with some groomsmen; other groomsmen & Grooms Dad were in NY, one in Austin and my family in Cincinnati. We returned ALL of them in Cincinnati the day after the wedding. We choose the Vera Wang tuxedo, we both thought it was the nicest with the flattering cut of the suit and pants. The price is about $200 per tux. We put a $50 deposit down for each groomsman because we thought it was a little pricy and wanted to help them out. My husband received a $500 voucher for our business, can only be used 30 days prior to the wedding date, or something inconvenient like that, but we actually did use it. we went a couple weeks prior to our wedding and he picked out a new suit, only paid about $100 out of pocket.
Rehearsal Dinner, Nicholson’s Pub, downtown Cincinnati (my rating: A): Nicholson’s has 2 rooms in the back for private dining. We chose the room all the way in the back connected to the patio. We had approx. 45 people for the rehearsal dinner. This location was super convenient to walk to from St. Xavier church. We opted for buffet style, and the food was delicious. Our menu included: Roasted Chicken, 1/2 Chicken, White wine Herb Sauce & Shepherd’s pie with braised lamb and beef, root vegetables, mashed potatoes on top, Red Wine & Mushroom Bordelaise & White Wine Herb Sauce (Served on the side). Sides: duck fat fries, green beans, Caesar Salad, Garlic Crouton, Parmesan Dressing, hamburger/ fries for the kids.