Let me start off by saying that I planned a wedding in Houston from Huntsville. While 100 miles may not seem that far, it proves very challenging in the process of wedding planning. Many of my vendors I was unable to meet with and had to communicate via phone or email, this just further shows their helpfulness and dedication to their jobs.
Also, I am giving each vendor a grade on the scale of A+ to F. I don’t want to put A+++ next to the vendors I really like, because I feel that it is hard for a bride to see who the really good vendors were and weren’t. Just because somebody got a B doesn’t mean they did a poor job (at all) it just means they weren’t as amazing as the A+ people. F means they sucked. Lol.
Kristen Stewart Photography: A+
Long story short, Kristen is an amazing photographer and an amazing person. There was one thing that Chris and I knew when we were setting our budget for the wedding, and that was that we were willing to spend a large portion of our wedding funds on a good photographer. I know that we got our monies worth with Kristen. We did engagement pictures with her back in September and we knew that her wedding services were going to be amazing. I don’t have the professional photos back, but simply her fervor and attentiveness on the wedding day is enough for me. Kristen and her accompanying photographer covered every angle of the wedding and did so without being obtrusive, bossy, or in the way in any sense.
Kristen is also just an amazing person. She has sound morals, a great personality, and was happy and joyful the whole day even though she was surrounded by the normal stress, chaos, and confusion that are often pairs with a wedding day. Overall she is one of the best choices we made during the whole wedding process.
Space City Entertainment – A+
Johnny was awesome. We booked him about three months before the event and he was incredibly helpful. Again, this was a vendor that we did not meet until the day of the wedding. We coordinated everything via phone and email which I know is a challenge for a busy vendor like Space City Entertainment. Also, Johnny is an incredible person. Our DJ budget got cut due to some family circumstances and Johnny was more than willing to accommodate and let us know what he could do for us within our financial guidelines. Many of the other DJ’s I contacted and told my budget were a bit rude and were unwilling to edit their pre-designed packages to entertain my needs.
Not only was Johnny a nice person, which I learned is a rare quality with wedding vendors, but he was a REMARKABLE DJ. We had a bit of a weird playlist during our cocktail hour and during dinner, but he was happy to include our personal tastes into the playlist. He understood that we wanted a bit more of a rock angle and totally went with it perfectly. Secondly, he was able to lace in all the songs that we had specifically asked to hear. Third, he made the reception go so smoothly by announcing when events were going to happen, getting people on the dance floor, even making a joke here and there. He really made the reception go smoothly by understanding the flow of a wedding and the events that were to follow each other. Johnny also did a great job transitioning songs from one to another. After the wedding Chris said “I always thought DJing was kind of an easy job, but now that I have seen Johnny do it right way and how they have to know the music, transitions, and beats I can see that it takes a lot of skill”. If that isn’t a testament to somebody’s knowledge and skill, I don’t know what is.
Johnny also got everybody on the dance floor in a circle around us for our final formal dance which was the perfect way to end the night. He was even awesome enough to remind everybody to grab sparklers before they left the reception. Honestly, Space City Entertainment and Johnny Black are probably the reason the reception was able to go so smoothly and the reason that our guests had so much fun.
Brady’s Landing – B+
I love Brady’s Landing. I have had numerous events there when I was in high school. The reason I am giving a B+ is because at times it was hard to get a hold of people, and the two event coordinators I worked with often told me different prices/rules. Also, the bar prices were a bit expensive. The open bar price was too high and the guests told me that a drink at the regular bar within the restaurant was quite high as well. Other than that everything was absolutely amazing.
I mainly worked with Paula who did a great job helping me plan everything from so far away. The flaw with price confusion was never with her, everything she ever told me was right, but another coordinator that I worked with when Paula was not in was the one that told me the wrong details. When I initially talked to Paula about setting up, she told me I wouldn’t be able to get in until 11, but when I told her my circumstances, she pulled some strings so that I could set up an hour earlier at 10am.
The day of everything went fairly smoothly. Whenever we needed anything we talked to Pablo who was in charge of our event for the day and he took care of all our needs. When we needed an extra table for place cards he got it, and as soon as we realized they had set up too few tables, they fixed it in less than five minutes. The guests are still telling me how great the food was and how the service was fantastic. Overall Brady’s Landing was perfect the day of the wedding, and that is really all that a bride could ever really want.
A.D. Bruce Religion Center – A
I love this chapel. It is big and bright, the red carpet matched my colors and it was affordable. They were also extremely accommodating when we had to change our date…twice. The chapel was clean when we got in and they were usually very quick to respond to my requests and questions. I also paid the extra for the organist who I felt did a great job. She even played Tocatta and Fugue in D at the rehearsal at the request of Chris which completely made his night.
Catholics Without a Church – Father Milton – B
Father Milton did a great job. If you want someone 100% by the book, then don’t look to Father Milton. He has his own flair and ways of performing a ceremony, which was fine for us because we are both pretty open people. My only complaint is that I wish he had informed us a bit more at the rehearsal dinner. He told us he would be telling us what to do and when at the ceremony, but I think everything could have been more fluid if we had spent five minutes explaining the little details such as which side of the unity candle the bride/groom stand at, what to do when we blow out the candles, etc.
However he officiated the ceremony wonderfully, added a little tid-bit that we wanted in there and was more than willing to modify his ceremony for our needs. Also he is employed by donations, so he doesn’t have a set price for his services which was great for two college kids on a budget. We were given the option to pay him based on what we felt his services were worth, not some weird set price.
University of Houston Hilton – A
Chris and I stayed here the night before the wedding and got ready here. The rooms have recently been updated and are quite modern. The AC didn’t work as well as I would have wanted it to as the rooms were a bit warm, but still was great. The front desk even gave us late check out at 2, and when we weren’t able to check out by then, he checked us out and then let us back into the rooms to get the rest of our stuff.
Florist - A
One of my co-worker’s moms did my flowers for me. She did all the flowers in silk except for my bouquet and Chris’ boutineer. She did an amazing job and her help was sooo appreciated.
Pearl’s Place – B
I ordered my dress through Pearl’s Place which is a bridal shop in Louisiana. By ordering through them I was able to save almost $600 on my dress. Instead of my gown being $1,000 I only paid $400 which was a godsend. I was EXTREMELY paranoid about buying my dress from a private separate vendor, but it saved me so much money that I am so glad I decided to take the plunge.
I give them a B instead of an A, because I was charged 100 for rush shipping which I felt was a bit overpriced considering that the dress was simply placed in a box and shipped. I feel that the pricing for this was a bit expensive, but since I saved so much on the dress I was willing to pay it.
Princess Bridal – B
I went to The Princess Bridal in Old Town Spring for my alterations. They did a great job, but it was expensive. Like it ended up costing me $370, which is thirty dollars less than I paid for the dress. This price included by bustle which was I think 25 points and taking in the bust a little bit. I understand that bustling is expensive based on each point, but I was never asked what kind of bustle I wanted, or how many points I felt it needed. The seamstress simply pinned it, asked if I liked it, and then once I had the dress off, finally told me how much it was. I feel that I would have gotten a less complicated bustle if I had been given the option, but the option was never presented to me nor was the price for that matter.
However, price aside they did a great job with the alterations. An original button for the bow on the back of my dress broke while dancing, yet every point of the bustle sewed on by the seamstress managed to stay put. While I wish it would have been cheaper, the end product was very well done.
Hotel Icon – A
We stayed here two nights after the wedding. We showed up to the door in our wedding clothes still and they upgraded our rooms for us since we were newlyweds. We went from a basic room to one of their penthouse suites which had an awesome Jacuzzi tub. The beds were comfortable and all the linens were clean. We essentially paid $99.00 a night (14-day advance purchase discount) in downtown Houston for a penthouse suite, which is unheard of.
My only complaint is that their parking was RIDICULOUSLY expensive. Each night was 28.00 for in and out valet parking. Parking your own car in their garage was not an option. It was either street parking, or parking in one of the other parking garages near by. Since our car was full of wedding gifts we didn’t want to just park the car on the street so we paid the sixty dollars for two nights, but this was WAAAYYY overpriced.Various Etsy Sellers:
My garter was perfect and exactly how I wanted it, but I feel it was a bit overpriced. I wish I had looked into making it myself before I purchased it, but it was exactly what I had asked for so I have no real complaints except for the price.
Cake Topper: Mudcards – A+
Our cake topper was perfect and everybody loved it. Chris has long hair so we could not find a cake topper that looked like us. So we turned to Etsy and found Keren. She made the cake topper exactly how we wanted to it, and even made the minor corrections that we asked. Not only did she make the corrections we asked, but she also met us in Austin to pick it up, rather than risk having something go wrong when it was shipped to us. She gets an A+ for being super nice, creative, and accommodating!
Veil: glamorbydesign – A
The price was decent, and I wasn’t about to DIY it because I have no idea how to make a veil. I know I could have made it for cheaper, but I don’t think it would have been what I wanted. The product arrived within a week of my order and exactly what I wanted, even with a metal comb. No real complaints.
Chapel Rental: 350.00
Cake Topper: 75.00
DIY Items: 200.00
Total: 7310.00 for a Sunday Houston wedding planned in Huntsville