Reading reviews was my favorite part of being on the board! Now that I’ve rambled on thru mine, I feel like I’m not doing my favorite vendors justice but hope you’ll get the idea. Happy Planning!Even though I made sure I had a little to do as possible the day before, with just 4 errands to run with my sister, it still took up majority of the day, we picked up my dress from the bridal shop and moved it to the venue along with my bridal bag (it gave me a chance to grab some things the morning off that I forgot to pack) and favors, then did our nails and body scrubs, buy shoes for my sister because she injured her foot so we had to pick something she could deal with…. so with driving all over and traffic, we had enough time to get to rehearsal dinner. So my advice is to go really delegate and get 99.9% of everything done two days before because things always come up last minute. Like my brideman’s suit didn’t make it with him from Atlanta, good thing he’s H’s size so he just borrowed one from us. But it would’ve added extra time shopping…The day went without a hitch; I started the day with hair and makeup at 9am, photographer showed up around 11, did our first look around noon. The 6 minute ceremony which was to start at 2pm, was only delayed by 10min and was followed by an hour long shoot with our guests ‘Vogue’ style, while we sipped on champagne and cocktails with appetizers. Lunch/dinner started around 3:30, 8 courses lasted for a few hours, then cut the cake and hung out with guests. As it was Sunday, I didn’t expect people would want to hang out long, but nobody seemed in a hurry and we ended up partying till midnight. Thank god for thinking about taking the day off afterwards. HA! Some say the day flies by, mine didn’t. I mean it did go by fast, but I had a small enough party to be able to enjoy it and remember all the details: the H’s cologne-he wore my favorite, the jokes guests told and the conversations we had around the crazy cake.It was really nice, I’m super glad we kept it small. My wedding was tiny; 16 people total. So we splurged on a few things like: cake and photographer. Looking back now, worth every penny and then some.
Venue, Flowers, Planner, Music – The Ruins, A++++I can’t say enough about how amazing everything worked out. The chef worked with us on the menu and catered to every little whim. My hubby was a totally groomzilla when it came to food and alcohol. HA! We had some picky eaters, so it was a relief to see them licking their plates, course after course. Leah, the planner at The Ruins, truly took care of everything! Nothing went outside the plan lines, if it did, she never let it show. She printed our little menus, ‘eat me’ and ‘drink me’ signs thru the place…She coordinated the music, when we told her we were lost with our choices, since we went the IPod route, she picked retro 1930’s French music- she picked the song I walked down that aisle to: ‘Barcarolle’ from‘The Tales of Hoffman’ which was really cool because there’s a minute long buildup to the piece, so we had the groom and guest worried there for 37 seconds! HA! She also was there to fix my dress a few times when I needed it. Overall, I couldn’t be happier for everything they did for us. The place isn’t cheap, so being a member helped a little with room rentals, but at the end of the day, worth every penny. The flowers were breathtaking! I was one of those brides who didn’t have a specific vision, which can frustrate vendors because more things can go wrong. The florist at The Ruins really pulled the theme together; antique, garden ‘Alice’ party very well, while still keeping the décor classic enough not to date the pictures. My bouquet is still alive in a vase at home. They even packed the flowers in foil at the end of the evening and gave them out to the ladies as we were leaving. It was a nice touch since the girls were gushing over the arrangements all night. Boutonnieres (white, single orchids) for my 3 guys didn’t look perfect enough so they didn’t charge me for them- how nice! The flowers ended up overpowering their ties, so we took them off. Nobody missed them. J
Hair and Makeup; Pacific Artistry – A Shanell was pleasant, ready to roll and on time, it was nice to have some positive energy around while getting ready. I found it reasonably priced- I paid around $350 for my hair and makeup and for my MOH. She was really fast with my hair and it held up for TWO DAYS along with my airbrush makeup. Once my MOH showed up, she started bawling so Shanelle’s first reaction was ‘ girl, I’m worried about your MOH, I’m going to airbrush her for free!’ It was before she opened my ‘thank you’ envelope so it was a really nice gesture on her behalf. We laughed around all morning, I hope she wasn’t stressed, because she made up feel at ease!
Men’s Warehouse (Bellevue) – A+++ It was hard to find ivory shirts so I was happy to see them at MW! The guys own an array of suits so I asked them to wear dark ones so I could just buy them the ivory shirts. Customer service was good, they were fast and polite!Since my bridesman flew in on Saturday morning (the day before the wedding), we knew we’d cut it close. But the shirts were pressed and tailored and ready for pickup before they closed. Cake: Mikes Amazing – A+++We had a sculptured cake; 3 stacked teacups. 3 flavors: salted caramel, peach schnapps, and raspberry champagne. I wanted a huge cake, the wedding was only 16 people, but I ordered over 120 servings, so it was nice that they played along with my crazy ideas. I sent them a few pictures of our teacups that we gave out as favors, so they replicated the design. It looked great, tasted amazing. They called a week before the wedding because Mike had a few questions on colors so I felt I was in good hands. I hear mixed reviews on Mike’s Cakes. In my case the customer service was great: I knew what I wanted, came in, tasted, paid for it, and got out. They don’t like to babysit, so if you tend to ‘think out loud’ and revise your designs a lot, you won’t feel taken care of. They have a solid business from ‘regulars’ so they don’t kiss up to the brides much.
Photographer: Laurel McConnell Photography – A+++We really love her style and when we met in person it was love at first sight! I also did my sexy shoot with her and couldn’t be happier with results. Our Engagement shoot was so much fun, we laughed the whole afternoon. Wedding day: she was amazing, showed up early with her assistant, scouted out the venue and got some great ideas on shots. Kept us all at ease, the whole time. After the portraits with guests were done ‘Vogue’ style, she blended in so we never really noticed her. From what we have seen of the pictures, really love the results! She is by far, our best investment for the big day.
Favors:http://www.lomonosov-russia.com/drinkware/tea-cup-and-saucerMy sister was in St. Petersburg a few months before the wedding, so she picked up the cups from the factory. It ended up way cheaper that way. We gave each couple matching teacups wit saucers, every couple had a different design so it gave people something to talk about. One couple that was ecstatic enough to take a picture of the teacups when they got home and printed us a thank you card thru Papyrus. It reassured me that the $ was well-spent on favors.
Dress: Marcella’s : F- I picked a Vera Wang, and this store is the only one I could buy it from. Once I paid half down, I instantly knew I made a mistake. The owner came out with her sleaziness on steroids; I felt like taking a shower as I got out. My mom said she overheard them marking my file ‘has big ring’, so I’m sure that’s why they kept extorting money for every little thing. I REALLY REALLY regret not walking away from my deposit. I could’ve easily hopped a pane to LA to see Vera in person and still save money. The alterations were a whole different set of problems; charged me over $700 to hem the dress, and add tulle cap sleeves (not even symmetrical). The whole job was just botched! Very poorly done and those cups you pay extra for? Didn’t even get sewn in, just tacked on inside, in my case, I have scars so it made it painful to wear, when I pointed it out, I was promptly ignored. The dress didn’t fit correctly, so they tried to slap on a few charged on top to get those done. I truly believe you get more done with a carrot instead of a stick, but at that point, I lost it. I channeled my inner bridezilla and threw a gigantic fit in the middle of the store while a few people were shopping around, needless to say, those sales were lost. And I wish I felt bad for it. I don’t. Only then, they had me sit and wait while the dress was done in front of me. I was sure it would bust at seams during the ceremony, so I had a backup, but man that ruined my confidence for the day! It ended up ripping in a few spots, but nothing my regular tailor can’t fix. Before I sell the dress, I’ll have it redone to proper quality because I’m embarrassed to sell it as is!