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Vendor Help-who did you like-even the ones you didn't book.

Hello Western Mass Knotties

I am hoping that you may be able to give me a list of venues and other vendors that you met with (phone/person) that you liked but didn't book. Everyone lists the vendors they selected (which is GREAT!) but I am wondering if you can supplement those lists with others that were on your lists- basically help to be my eyes and ears as I try to plan our wedding from Montana.

Venues we're interested in are outdoors and have a laid back feel (barn, farm, etc.)  It would be awesome to have ceremony/reception at same local, but not necesaary-cost is also important.  We've looked at:
Look Park, Ameila Park (in person), Stanley Park (in person), Shaker Farms C.C. (in person), Hartman's Herb Farm, Bucksteep Manor, (and lots more online, but most of this list represents our taste).

We're interested in farms or orchards-casual with the natural beauty speaking for itself-but the one that have websites don't really mention weddings.

We're planning for 100-120 guests and it would be great if we could book both venues for 3000 or so (not including food). 

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Re: Vendor Help-who did you like-even the ones you didn't book.

  • edited December 2011

    Hi Kristen!

    I'll try to help you out the best I can, but I've actually booked all of the vendors I liked... FI and I realized that if we get the right feeling about a vendor and love their work, and the price fits, then we book... no need for other vendors to complicate the decision.

    So here's what I can offer:

    Venue- The Salem Cross Inn- this is the only reception venue we saw, and we loved it. Probably too far east for your purposes, but to book the venue (rental) was only $1000, and the food is delicious and reasonably priced.

    Flowers- We're going to use Mark Henry Florist in Ludlow. He's worked for FI's family on any flowers they've needed through the years, and he was super helpful and knowledgable. We did stop at McClelland's Flowers in Chicopee, but the woman behind the desk was very rude to us, and I wasn't impressed.

    Photographer- We interviewed 4 photographers (after this, we decided to try to see less vendors for each category).
    Karen Geaghan- Loved her and booked her. She's been in the business for 20 years, she was super organized and professional, and I have total confidence in her. ($1845)
    Michelle Girard- She was very sweet, but seemed like she was just starting out. If we hadn't met and loved Karen, we would've gone with her. ($1700)
    West on Jade (Juliet Cannaci)- Never uses an assistant, very independent and artsy. I liked her portfolio, but it was limited and she didn't seem very put together. Her price was great though- $1200, but you get what you pay for.
    Portrait New England (Bill and Naome Bray)- They've been around for 5-10 years, had a pretty good portfolio, but we got a weird vibe from them, and FI didn't like them at all. They seemed like they would impose their ideas on us without listening to what we wanted. ($1100)

    DJ- Dave Costa, Ludlow, another vendor FI's family has used.

    Videographer- I'm not getting one, but I am very impressed by Creative Video by Nelson. My photog reccommended him and I met him at a bridal show and since then he's sent me a few flyers on specials (always hand addressed) and he seems to offer some good packages. Budget is keeping us from getting a professional videographer.

    Attire- Bancroft Bridal- I bought my dress from them at a bridal show, so I don't know how they are at their shop, but I am very happy with my purchase!
    Pearl Bridal- I saw them at the bridal show too, and might use them for accessories and alterations. They seem to have good deals often.

    Hope this helps, and I'll add more when I come across it!

    ~The Future Mrs. L~ Planning Bio Image and video hosting by TinyPic Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • edited December 2011
    Hi Kristen!

    Similar to Audreyjem I've had great luck with vendors and haven't met with many that I didn't end up booking.  So I don't have a huge list to offer but hopefully this is a little helpful!  I can imagine how difficult it is to plan a wedding from Montana.  We live in Boston and even the two hour drive can be prohibitive...good luck!

    We were also planning on a guest list of around 120 (although it has since grown), so our numbers are similar.  I'd say the vendor that we looked around the most for was our venue.  We looked at:

    Look Park (which is where we ended up booking):
    We almost didn't look at Look Park in person based on the website - for some reason it threw me off with all of the "park" like activities (train, petting zoo, etc.)  We ended up checking it out, and I am SO glad that we did.  We knew instantly that it was the venue for us.  They have two outdoor ceremony locations that are both beautiful, and the reception is held in the Garden House.  I like to describe it as a renovated log cabin - lots of beautiful, dark wood, a beautiful built in bar, lantern-type lights from the ceilings and on all the walls, and a fireplace.  There is a beautiful side room for cocktail hour and a nice patio if the weather is nice.  We loved that we could get married outside and not have our guests travel far for the reception.  They also have a tent that they keep up for certain months of the year in case of rain.  It was $2700 in fees, that is for the ceremony space and the reception space.  Your description of what you're looking for matches what we were looking for - outdoor, laid-back, but still elegant - so definitely check it out - I have a feeling you'll love it!

    Red Barn at Amherst College:
    Didn't see this on your list, but this might work for you!  This was my front runner going in, based on pictures alone.  They have a tree where you can get married outside, and I saw pictures (can't remember if they were on their website or online) and it was breathtaking.  The reception is held in a barn, which definitely has a more rustic feel than the Garden House @ Look Park.  From my notes I have it written down that it is $1300 to rent the space (including the outside for the ceremony).  One downside is that catering is done by the school, since it is at Amherst College.  Prices are competitive for food, but if you want to choose your caterer that might be a negative.  It was a nice option but in the end we loved Look Park more.

    Hotel Northampton:
    Beautiful hotel, but it's more of a grand hotel style wedding, which wasn't what we were looking for.  Out of our budget as well.

    Eric Carle Museum:
    Really cool venue.  Really close to the Red Barn so you can check them out at the same time.  This was actually our second choice, and so different from what we ended up going with.  Very modern space, but really unique.  From my notes, I have it as $3,000 to rent the space.  Downside is that they have a short approved caterers list, all were out of budget.

    Log Cabin:
    Absolutely breathtaking views!  Downside for us was that our party would have been small compared to their capacity for some of their space, so we just weren’t comfortable booking knowing that someone with a larger wedding might get some of the “better” spaces – what we loved was the view, and without that, it wasn’t for us. Night Kitchen at the Book Mill:We didn’t check this place out for wedding purposes, but we did for our rehearsal dinner.  I haven’t eaten here, but I’ve been to the bookmill and it’s a really cool, funky, laid back space.  I hear the food is delicious.  They have a restaurant and big patio that you can rent out.  I remember the prices being comparable to what we were paying for our reception, which is why we didn’t book for our rehearsal dinner, but it may be worth looking into for your reception. Some other suggestions that were given to us but that we never checked out:  Northampton Center for the Arts, Blue Heron Restaurant, Summitt House at Mt. Skinner I hope this is helpful!  I still have some of the pricing info (food, drink, etc.) for these places so if there’s any in particular that you’re interested in, let me know and I’d be happy to send it to you. I know I listed my other vendors in the other post, and they are all HIGHLY recommended.  We have had great luck (and part of it is that we were engaged November 2009 and decided on an Oct 2011 wedding), and haven’t had to do much searching for vendors.  Another bakery that we did test was Greggory’s – we liked the cake better than Atkins (only slightly), but the price was much more expensive than Atkins, and it wasn’t worth it to us.  He was also a little more hesitant to do different flavors for different tiers, and do a sheet cake to cut down on our cost.  But definitely worth checking out if it’s in your budget!

    Good luck!  Let me know if you have any questions.

  • bpphoto785bpphoto785 member
    edited December 2011

    I've heard good things about Bucksteep but I seem to remember their ceremony space being a bit small for 120 (that's what we're planning).
    There's Stonover Farm and Winthrop Estate in Lenox. Sheep Hill in Williamstown, Santarella in Tyringham, Gedney Farm in New Marlboro
    Mt. Greylock State Park just opened a lodge on their summit, no clue if they do weddings, but the view is awesome! I also think Hancock Shaker Village does weddings.

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  • edited December 2011
    ladies, i can't thank you enough for the feedback!  some of these places i have looked at online but it is so much more informative to hear about places you've been to and to get pricing.  thank you thank you thank you for reaching out!  if anything else comes up along your way, i'm all ears.
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  • edited December 2011
    I don't think I looked at vendors other than those that I booked.  I am getting married at the Red Barn (located at Hampshire College not Amhert). Their max is 120 so it would suit your numbers, it is simple and outdoorsy and the fact that catering was included makes things easier. 
  • edited December 2011
    Glad it helps!!
    ~The Future Mrs. L~ Planning Bio Image and video hosting by TinyPic Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • chadandmattchadandmatt member
    edited December 2011
    We are going with Yaritza Colon for photography.  She is super sweet and has a wonderful portfolio!  We skyped with her a couple of months ago.

    We are also using Musical Dreams for DJing services.  He was very nice and will work with us on our eclectic music choices.
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