New Jersey

I'm married! Vendor Reviews (long)

Hey all!  Just checking into the knot like 3 weeks after the wedding.  We had an amazing day, weather-wise and everything else, and it really does go by in a flash!  We were very lucky with our vendors, most of them did a fabulous job and were great to work with.  We dont' really have many complaints - lots of A's to go around.   If anyone needs vendor contact info, let me know!  *I am copying and pasting from Word, so if it looks all messed up I'm going to DD and just post them in my bio** Vendor Reviews Ceremony & Reception Venue – Bridgewater Manor: A A very pleasant experience, from our first tour of the place on down to our wedding day. We worked with Michael as a banquet manager and he was very helpful in answering my many questions throughout the experience. You really can’t ask for a better value for your money, either, the food is delicious and plentiful for under $100 a person. The service charge is 8% as opposed to the usual 18% or so. They don’t budge much on the price, but they always have some kind of special running if you want a different “plan”. What sold us on the Bridgewater Manor was the food! Our tasting was delicious and the food on the day-of did not disappoint. We still get raves about it. The place will not wow you when you drive up to it. We were in the Hunterdon Room, which is the smallest room. It’s not the prettiest room, and doesn’t have any windows, but it can be dressed up very nicely. The staff was attentive, and our Maitre’d was almost too attentive. We found him to be a bit annoying, though helpful. The grounds outside for the ceremony are gorgeous and made for beautiful photo opportunities – we saved quite a bit of money on flowers for the ceremony location because they just weren’t needed. It would have been nice though if there were a direct entry into the place instead of having to go around the building from the ceremony area. They also can have up to 3 weddings at the same time there, though there was a wedding going on the same day as mine, I didn't notice it at all. Overall, a great place. Officiant – Reverend Rita Atlas: A+ I met her at a Bridal Show, and MH and I booked her on the spot when we met her – such a warm and wonderful personality. Reverend Rita specializes in ceremonies of all types, religious and non-religious, christenings, etc. and makes them very personal to the couple or family in question. Ours was very “spiritual” in nature. I can’t believe how many people came up to us after the ceremony saying they loved it! She used anecdotes and other little pieces of information we gave her to create the ceremony around MH and I, about how we met, and what we mean to each other. She engaged our guests and got the mothers involved in the sand ceremony and with a rose ceremony. It wasn’t your typical wedding ceremony, but that’s exactly what we wanted. Ceremony Music – Marie Stack: A Marie was very professional, prompt, and had great prices. I had the keyboard and violin due. She mentioned afterwards that she didn’t get to play one of the numbers due to a little mix-up, but to be honest, I was so focused on my new husband up at the altar that I barely heard the music! But what I did hear was nicely played, and MH commented that the music was very good. Photographer – John Gallino: A- (pending albums) John was very friendly, professional, showed up early, and was just everywhere taking pictures. He doesn’t have an assistant, so it’s just him. He’s just staring out on his own, so his prices can’t be beat – we got over 8 hours coverage, a DVD of all our images, our album, and 2 parent albums for way under $2500. We got our proofs online within three weeks, he works very fast. And our pictures are just beautiful , and we’re very happy with them! John has a real knack for capturing the emotion of a particular scene, we got a lot of great candid shots. I’m not very photogenic, but felt like I looked amazing in those pictures. They’re beautiful and photojournalistic, although not quite as artsy as some of the more experienced photographers. And he doesn’t yet (at least at the time of my wedding) have liability insurance, the reason for the minus. Our venue was tolerant of that, but others may not be. Videographers – Media Memories Productions - Middletown, NJ : A (pending video) It’s hard to rate them when we haven’t yet seen the video, but we got 2 videographers for a ridiculously good price. This of course was in part due to fact that they are fledgling company, so we were taking a bit of a gamble. With the footage, we also get 2 edited DVDs. I really can’t complain about their performance at the wedding, everything seemed fine to me. DJ – Sentimental Street, Piscataway, NJ: A You probably haven’t heard of them, but Sentimental Street is a husband and wife duo. Jim (co-owner) had many years’ experience in a band and in a large DJ company, and broke off to do his own thing with his wife/partner. They are both funny, friendly, and extremely knowledgeable about music. We only used Jim as our DJ though. He kept the crowd entertained, the dance floor busy, and kept the cheesiness to a minimum. He played all of my “must plays” as well. I liked that he asked me for permission to play the Cha-Cha Slide, which I had on my Do Not Play list, but a lot of people requested, instead of just going ahead and playing it. He’s also very prompt with communication. Florist – Bedminster Florist: A Beautiful flowers! My bouquet and my sisters’ bouquets were gorgeous and they complimented our dresses perfectly. Price was reasonable, and they were very good about the fact that I changed my order about one week before the wedding. They’re a bit hard to get in touch with, that’s my only complaint. My Dress – True Love Bridal: A- They have a great selection, and Gail (the owner) is extremely knowledgeable about her dresses. She may come off as brusque, but she’s not unfriendly. She also opens her store an off-hours to accommodate your needs if you can’t get there during regular business hours. Most of the dresses are under $2k, so if you’re looking for a high-end couture dress, look elsewhere. Alterations – Lydia’s Magic Touch: B+ True Love’s seamstress. My alterations were done in a timely fashion, and came out great. Prices weren’t too bad. I got my bridesmaid dress done there too for my sister’s wedding last year, and they mixed up the tags on our identical dresses, but that was easily fixed after we tried them on. But for my experience this time around, I didn’t like that when I went to True Love to get fitted, she took in another bride before just because she had a small child with her. I had to wait an extra 20 mins for someone who didn’t have an appointment! I am not patient like that. But she does a good enough job. David’s Bridal – Bridesmaid Dresses: B My girls’ dresses came in on time, and were very pretty. Mediocre selection in store, much more in catalogue. Average in price. They didn’t need alterations, so I can’t comment there. I really can’t complain about the service except that the store was crowded with other vendors on that day who kept coming up and trying to get me to sign up for their mailing lists, and David’s Bridal keeps calling to check in if you go there to try on dresses. It stopped once I told them to, but they are a bit overbearing to deal with. Tuxedos – Forum Tuxedos, Hazlet, NJ: B They had a nice selection and good prices, and the owner/proprietor was very nice and helpful. The tuxes looked great and seemed to fit well, I didn’t hear any complaints. They lose points because when MH returned the tux the next day, he lost his deposit due to a small hole in the pant cuff, and the girl he dropped it off to was nasty to him as well. Hair Perfect Salon: A A little salon I found in a shopping center, they did mine and my sisters’ hair. They did a great job, even though I wasn’t thrilled with my trial a few months before. Much better on the actual day.  They don’t normally open on Sundays but did it just for us. Makeup – Expert Makeup Artistry: A+ Lauren was fabulous! A lot of fun to work with, and she had great prices, especially for the quality of her work. My makeup came out beautifully, there, but very natural, just like I wanted. Even though I was the only one who got her makeup done, Lauren went the extra mile to help my sister do something with her hair when she was having trouble deciding what to with it on the big day - completely unasked for.  Favors – Chocolate covered pretzels -The Bride Organizer – Michelle: A+ I wasn’t going to do favors. After agonizing over them and a botched DIY attempt, I came across Michelle about 3 weeks before my wedding day during a web search in an attempt to find affordable, edible favors. She had no problem with my late order, they came out really cute, and were very tasty. She banged all 75 favors out in about a week, and didn’t charge me the rush fee she’d normally charge either. She got married at my venue so she had lots of good advice about it. There were very few favors over by the end of the night. Monogram Design – Design Girl: A+ I got a beautiful and stylish monogram at a great price, which I used on my DIY menu cards and wine bottle table numbers. I wasn’t going to do a monogram, but really glad I did because it helped tie together the look of my paper projects. Jen is very creative and friendly and had lots of advice about my venue, which she also got married at. Cardbox – Creative Custom Cardboxes: A+ My cardbox was gorgeous and very well done. I got a pretty basic design as far as cardboxes go, yet it was simple and elegant, and held a ton of cards. It's doubling right now as a cute box to store wedding stuff in. Marni, the owner, was a pleasure to work with. Jeweler – The Jewelry Exchange, Woodbridge – Erdmann Jewelers: A+ MH went to them for my e-ring, and we both went back for our wedding rings after he had such a great experience there. It’s family-run, and the guys there are very friendly and helpful, and you will probably know their life stories by the time you’re finished. Their counter is always crowded, and yet they remembered MH when we walked in over a year later when we got our wedding bands. The prices seemed great, though I don’t know how they are compared to other places, this was the only place we looked. They basically “threw in” MH’s wedding ring when he bought mine. Highly recommended! Rehearsal Dinner – Angelo’s Brick Oven Pizza & Café, Freehold, NJ: A- Great BYO place, much bigger and nice on the inside than it looks from the outside. The food was good and there was lots of it. There was live music as well, which was nice but a little off-putting because we couldn’t really talk to each other over the loud music. They did lower it when asked though. MH’s family knows the owners so we were taken care of. I accidentally left my sisters’ BM gifts there with $100 spa gift certificates inside, and they were returned intact with nothing missing from the bags. A nice place, but you won’t get much rehearsing done. Boudoir Pics – Kamila Harris: A Something I’m so glad I did! Kamila takes beautiful shots. We shot in a fancy, modern-looking hotel, and the pictures came out great. I got my hair and makeup professionally done, you just have to supply your own outfits. Kamila was great at making me feel at ease, I’m normally very camera-shy. MH absolutely loved the pictures, he said it was one of the coolest gifts he’s ever gotten. My only regret is that I wish I’d worked harder to get in shape before the shoot…Kamila does great work, but she can’t perform miracles. Hotel Sierra, Branchburg, NJ: A Great hotel, very clean and comfy rooms. Free hot breakfast in am. All were suites with at 1 bed and 1 pull out couch. Only 1 other couple besides the BP and MH and I stayed over and they still honored their free shuttle, despite what I'd heard about needing to book 10 rooms before getting the free shuttle. The only real downside is that there's no actual bar, but you can order drinks from the counter by the front desk and sit in the lounge.

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