My wedding was this past weekend and everything was PERFECT!! I wanted to pass along my vendor information and reviews for you girls who are still hunting for local vendors.
Ceremony: Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church; Holland, MI
Our coordinator Helen Mantooth did a great job of getting the group organized at the rehearsal and going through every single detail of the ceremony. She spent over an hour with us at the rehearsal until everyone was comfortable with what they would have to do. She also showed up before the wedding party on Saturday to help make sure we all got ready and she stood at the door "directing" us and made sure the processional was perfect.
The officiant Father Charles Hall also did a wonderful job. We had several meetings with him prior to the ceremony to talk about what we wanted; and he delivered flawlessly. His homily was beautiful, and relevant both to H and I as well as the readings we had selected.
I had originally booked an outside musician to perform the ceremony music; however he had to cancel at the last minute due to a conflict in his schedule. The music director at OLL - Carol McAndrew - stepped up and quickly found an extremely talented pianist (Chris Janowiak) and cantor (Lisa Homik) who did a wonderful job. Both Chris and Lisa are parishoners and are available to perform other weddings if requested.
Final grade: A
Reception: Alpen Rose Restaurant; Holland, MI
Jerry Hill is the manager and event coordinator at the Alpen Rose. He was amazing. During the planning, he met with us as many times as we needed, answered questions, had tons of great ideas to share. He was truly a joy to work with. He was present during the entire set up of the reception, and stayed until the reception ended. He mingled with our guests, and provided incredible service to anyone who needed it. (i.e., my MIL wanted a Strawberry Daiquiri and our bar package didn't cover that... he went to the kitchen and made one for her himself.)
The waitstaff at the Alpen Rose was quick, efficient, and attentive to all of my guests. We had 1 server assigned to the Head Table; and 1 server assigned to every 2 guest tables.
Final grade: A++
Florist: Diane Gietzen; Holland, MI
Diane is a friend of my mom's and she was the only florist that we interviewed for the wedding. She did an incredible job of listening to my thoughts, and turning them in to a reality. I even went so far as to go to JoAnn's and buy spools of ribbon in the exact colors that I wanted, so I could give her (and other vendors) pieces of the ribbons. The flowers were absolutely perfect. The bouquets were exactly what I wanted and they held up beautifully! My parents are going to preserve my bouquet for me; I was at their house yesterday and it was just sitting in some water. It looked exactly the same as it did on Saturday when she brought it to me. The floral arrangements and centerpieces were creative and unique. I would highly recommend her.
Final grade: A
Photographer: Kelli Wiseman (Clever Creations Photography); Comstock Park, MI
Kelli was amazing. I booked her in January and in our initial meeting, she gave me several pages worth of "worksheets" to fill out with information about our family members, wedding party, who is who, and what kinds of pictures we want. She also had a 4 page list of "must take" photos and wanted me to add as much as possible to it. We had her for 8 hours - along with a second photographer (her assistant, and he was also very talented) - and I saw that she had her list with her at all times. She checked off all the photos as we went. She did a great job of moving through the photos quickly, with not a lot of "down" time between shots. She was fun and kept us laughing throughout all the shoots. My H was very skeptical about "having to smile" for so many photos - and even he was raving about her by the end of the night. I plan to use her for professional photos for a long time.
Final grade: A++
Limousine: Crystal Limo; Grand Rapids, MI
These guys did a great job and delivered exactly what I asked for. I was originally planning on using another limo service but there was a conflict in schedule about 2 months prior to the wedding. I thought for sure I was screwed. I called Crystal (at the suggestion of the other limo company who wasn't available); they had a car available for me and booked me over the phone. They called me the day before to confirm the details. The limo driver showed up early; he was dressed in a tux; he was so helpful getting drinks loaded in and helping the girls step up in to the vehicle. My only complaint was that they sent a driver who was not at all familiar with the geography we were in (Holland... the company was from Grand Rapids). But luckily my brother sat up front and was able to help direct him where to go.
Final grade: A-
DJ: DJ Sound Solution; Marion, IN
Jason Carpenter and his partner James Hoving were good friends of mine from High School. They started their DJ service while we were still in school; and their first paying gig was actually my 16th birthday party. So of course, I called them for my wedding reception. They were incredible! They run operations in all of Michigan, and all of Indiana - and are also willing to travel in the MidWest. The music was perfect; and they delivered my special requests exactly as I asked. Jason got up and danced with the wedding party members, and he even got my 94 year old grandmother on the dance floor. He performed a hilarious break dance. He did a great job of motivating all my guests. I saw people moving on the dance floor that I never expected.
For you girls who know me, I've mentioned before that my H is a huge Peyton Manning/Indianapolis Colts fan. Jason lives near Indianapolis; and also works for the radio station that sponsors the Colts. When we did the garter toss, Jason presented an authentic Peyton Manning jersey (that Peyton had actually worn during a game) and gave it to my H. He was thrilled!! He wore it for the garter toss (and H actually did a mock quarterback play call before he removed the garter haha).
Final grade: A++