Dress/BM Dresses - Bridal & Formal - C
I wasn't crazy about Bridal & Formal. It felt kind of rushed when I first went in for my dress, and then when we went for the BM dresses they didn't help us at all and after we picked the dresses and the girls wanted to see me in my dress, they told us they would go look for it and it took about an hour of waiting for them to let us know they had sold the sample dress. Also, they didn't call me to tell me the BM dresses were in, I just happened to be in the area that day so I stopped by and surprise, they had them.
Alterations - Stitches by Pauline - A+
Pauline is so nice, her prices are very reasonable, and she did a great job. I loved my bustle. She spent a really long time at the second fitting working to get it just right. Definitely a good choice!
Makeup - Michelle Marx, Marxey Makeup - A+
Michelle was AWESOME! We hired her to do makeup for me, my mom and my 2 sisters (the other 2 bridesmaids didn't want to pay for it) and our makeup was fantastic! What's even better was that she stuck around a little longer and added some bronzer to my other bridesmaids who didn't have her do their makeup to correct their tan lines, and added some anti-shine stuff to my dad/grandpa/brother, and didn't charge us for all that. How great is that? Her personality is fun and she had a chill/relaxed presence when other people were freaking out which was greatly appreciated.
Photography - BH Photography - A
Brett and Jessica are a married couple working out of West Chester and while I have not gotten the pictures back yet (I'll post those when they are up on their blog so you guys can see what you think) they were really great the day of. They were easy to get along with, and since Brett's style is more posed stuff and Jessica's more candid/photojournalistic you get a nice mix of both. The reason they get an A and not an A+ is that I had expected they would send me a time schedule for pictures before the wedding day, which they didn't, so I ended up not having enough time to make a schedule for our wedding party/families and people were asking me where to be and when the day of. I probably should have been more direct about asking for the schedule, but I just kind of assumed they would let me know after I sent them the list of photos we wanted.
Flowers - HJ Benken - A+
Our flowers were just beautiful, and we also hired Jeff Green as the day-of coordinator which is a really great value ($150). So he took all the stuff up to the reception (place cards, table numbers, etc.) and made sure everything was set up perfectly at Ault Park (which it was).
Limo - YC Limousines - A
The driver wasn't particularly warm or nice, but the limo was in good condition and they had glasses and ice inside for us to have champagne. They were on time with pickups and drop off.
Reception - Ault Park/Premier Park Events - A/C+
A for Ault Park because it is just beautiful, although it was freakishly humid that night which made it slightly uncomfortable, and weather is always a risk there. But that didn't stop anyone from dancing and many of our guests came up to us and told us it was the most beautiful wedding reception they had ever been to. As for Premier Park Events...ehh. The nice thing about them (Cincinnati parks recently changed to them as management from Historic Properties Management) is that they charge less for rentals and they are more flexible over the awnings than the previous management was. The bad thing is that they are IMPOSSIBLE to get ahold of. There were several instances where my dad and I both had to call multiple times to get them to get back to us after we had left messages. It would be a couple weeks sometimes before they would respond, and even then it would be only because we called six times in two days. Unacceptable. But everything turned out fine the day of.
DJ - Party Pleasers (Maurice) - A+
Maurice was so nice and he did a really great job watching the crowd and playing the right music, and he definitely stuck to our must play list. He also went to some effort to find a couple more obscure requests we had. I got kind of nervous because I hadn't heard from them much before they assigned us a DJ about a month before the wedding, but after they assigned Maurice to us he was really easy to get ahold of and stayed in touch frequently.
Lighting - Cincy Lighting Services - A
We went with them for their wireless LED lights and I am so glad we did! The lights were perfect and they didn't heat up right next to the dance floor or have ugly wires running all over the place. Kind of expensive though.
Catering - Jeff Thomas - A-
The food was AMAZING. We served white cheddar enchiladas and chicken mole and it was so different from typical wedding food that we really enjoyed it. Again several guests commented to us that it was the best wedding food they had ever eaten. Lori was great to work with in planning the menu and service even though I felt like I must have been really annoying sending about a million emails to her asking about every little detail. On the other hand, the reason they don't get an A+ is because: my family has a lot of vegans/vegetarians (I'm a veggie myself) and I worked really hard to get them to come up with an equally good meal for the vegans and vegetarians. At first they just wanted to take away the chicken mole for the vegetarian plate, and take away that and the cheese enchiladas for the vegan plate (which would leave...rice and beans and veggies. This is my immediate family and bridal party we are talking about, we can't just serve them half as much food as everyone else!), but they finally agreed to do tofu mole instead of chicken mole and vegan enchiladas, which I was very happy about. But then we got to the reception and while the vegetarians got the normal enchiladas and the tofu mole, they only served the vegans the rice and beans and the veggies! They had no vegan enchiladas to serve, I had to personally ask them to serve the vegans the tofu mole as well, which they did after I told them to (but wouldn't when my sister who was a bridesmaid and one of the vegans asked for it oddly enough).
Cake - Jeana's Great Cakes - A+
Oh my goodness...the CAKE! Soooo good! It was wonderful and moist and delicious and probably the best cake I've ever had. I'm not even exaggerating. Go to a tasting with her and you will see. Not to mention Jeana is like the sweetest person on the planet. It was more expensive than like, Servatii's but I'm not sure about compared to other places because I didn't look into them. Definitely worth the extra money over Servatii's though, and their cake isn't even bad!