10/13/12 Wedding Reviews
Our wedding on October 13, 2012, was flawless in every possible way. Please don’t discount the reviews I post below. They may seem unrealistically high, but our vendors really did do a fantastic job. I’ll try to criticize where I can…
To see photos, click here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjCMqoqs
The Irish House (Rehearsal Dinner): A+
Impeccable. Delicious. Fun. We loved our rehearsal dinner. From the beginning, The Irish House was extremely easy to work with. After contacting a zillion potential venues with absolutely no flexibility in the food or drink menu, it was so refreshing to have the Irish House say “whatever you want.” We literally customized our entire menu. From the appetizers and sit down menu to the drinks – everything reflected our love of food, wine and beer. Throughout the process, the coordinator was wonderful to work with and very quick to return calls or emails. The Irish House has the entire second floor dedicated for private events, so we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. I was also surprised to learn that the chef, Matt Murphy (who just recently won Chopped, btw) was actually preparing our dinner. If there was one flaw I would have to find, it is that the venue isn’t very well equipped for a slideshow presentation. We thought we would be able to run the audio through the house speakers, but the connection was too far away from the computer. Not a big deal at all, but it’s literally the only potential negative I could find. We also worked with our florist, Meade Wenzel, for the event and had Liz King with Matthew Foster Photography capture the event.
Seriously. Just go here for regular dinner. The food is spectacular.
C. Whimsy Designs (Rehearsal Dinner Invitations and Place Cards): A+
Our good friend Courtney, who owns C. Whimsy, designed and printed our rehearsal dinner invitations. We basically just tossed suggestions and an overall idea to her, and she worked her magic. She is incredibly affordable for custom designs and is easily accessible (we coordinated everything entirely by email, phone, or snail mail). I believe she is on a brief hiatus (Based on her etsy shop status) while she catches up on orders and prepares for her own wedding in the Spring.
St. John Lutheran Church: A
Our ceremony was beautiful. Our officiant, Pastor Babin, did a wonderful job of mixing in personal and humorous elements. During the planning stages, he was very open to some of the less orthodox requests that we made. Overall, the church and its staff were easy to work with and they helped make our ceremony a success.
Audubon Tea Room: A+
The Tea Room did a wonderful job of making our vision for our wedding come to life. I was initially worried that, without a day of coordinator, I might be overwhelmed. Instead, the Tea Room took care of everything. Our coordinator, Vivian, was very helpful in the initial menu planning stages. We were able to customize a few options and bring in some minor outside items. She was also great with last minute details and questions. They accommodated his and hers drink selections without additional cost. Since the wedding, I keep hearing about how amazing the food was – the few things I ate were delicious. We had a personal attendant, who ensured that we did get a few things to eat, kept our drinks full, and ushered us to the cake cutting and second line when it was time. All in all, our reception was very well coordinated and flowed smoothly. We had an enjoyable planning experience with everyone at the Tea Room and the venue itself is beautiful. Highly recommended.
Matthew Foster Photography (bridals, rehearsal dinner, wedding) A+
Amazing. So amazing. We worked with Matt and Liz for our wedding and we truly couldn’t be happier with our photos. Liz shot our rehearsal dinner and both shot the wedding. I am amazed at the quality of the photos and can’t stop looking at them. Both are so easy to work with. My favorite thing about them is that they work seamlessly with the rest of the event. I didn’t even realize they were there taking photos during the ceremony and the reception. All of the photos in this post were taken by them. Also, you can check out our wedding photos on his facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.518970181466273.127463.350141028349190&type=1
Dyle Films (videographer): anticipatory A+
Although we haven’t seen our trailer or video yet, I know that Chad and his team are going to do an amazing job. Chad actually sent one videographer, unplanned, to shoot the boys’ prep, which I am very excited to see! I’ve been watching his work for the last year and a half during planning and I know that our video will be outstanding.
Not that the quality of the work wasn't good, but it took SO LONG to actually get our video. Also, we had a videographer present when my husband was doing his prep and we were excited to see the video of this. But, once we got the final video the footage was missing. I emailed a couple of times asking about it, but never got a definitive answer. It was disappointed that we didn't get that video at the end of the day. Again, the video itself is wonderful, but I wish we had gotten it sooner and with all of the video...
Flawless Bride (makeup & hair): A+
I’ll admit, I was a bit leery about hiring them, given the negative reviews all over theknot.com. However, I was so so happy to have chosen Flawless Bride. My trial run for my bridals went very well, especially considering that I hardly gave Heather any direction! I brought in a few sample photos and she was able to run with it. On the day of the wedding, Heather arrived with two other girls, and the three managed to do hair and makeup for me, 6 bridesmaids, a junior bridesmaid, and my mom. The amazing thing was that each person looked independently amazing. We got SO many complements on our hair and makeup. They did an amazing job and I know that our pictures and video wouldn’t be nearly as amazing without their ability to make us look so flawless.
Meade Wenzel (Florist): A
I’m sure almost everyone on this board has heard of Meade. Yes it is true that she only communicates via phone, snail mail or in person. Yes it is also true that she is a fabulous florist and is very reasonable in her prices. Meade did the flowers for both our rehearsal dinner and our wedding. Our approach was to give her general ideas as to what we wanted, and to let her run with it. We were very pleased with all of the flowers. The only reason she hasn’t been given an A+ was because we were supposed to have long stem roses to give our mothers during the ceremony, which were forgotten. It didn’t make a big difference to me, but I know other brides would be upset. The flowers on the cake were also beautiful, but they were supposed to match my bouquet. Small mishaps. One of my favorite things about Meade was that she didn’t ask for our budget off hand. In fact, in our first meeting, we described everything that we needed and explained the types of flowers we liked, and she suggested a very reasonable budget. At the end of the day, we were under budget. I loved working with Meade and look forward to being able to work with her again.
Ambrosia Bakery (Wedding and Groom’s Cake): A+
We searched high and low throughout New Orleans for a bakery that used flawlessly smooth buttercream icing. We were unsuccessful, which is why we went with Ambrosia Bakery in Baton Rouge. Ambrosia, with the delivery fee that they charge for coming to the New Orleans area, was actually on par with some of the “boutique” bakeries that I’ve seen rave reviews for on here. Ambrosia’s cakes are SO. FREAKING. GOOD. Our wedding cake was a four tier almond cake, with ivory buttercream. We had two kinds of fillings – turtle and raspberry cream cheese. For the groom’s cake, we did a motif that mirrors us. I’m from, LA and he is from MS, so our groom’s cake was both states. For Louisiana, we had Ambrosia’s famous (and my favorite) fresh strawberry cake. It’s a yellow cake with sliced strawberry buttercream. On the Mississippi side, we did their double chocolate cake with the chocolate poured icing. Around the cake we had chocolate covered strawberries. Everyone raved about our cakes. We actually had enough left over to try a few days after the wedding. Anyone looking for a beautiful and delicious cake – try Ambrosia!
The Boogiemen (Band): A
The Boogiemen were so FUN! We ended up picking the Boogiemen because of their heavy brass emphasis and we had a great time at our wedding! They do a great job of making the reception flow. They started with “cocktail” type music, like big band, Frank Sinatra, etc. After we did our first dance, they moved into some more Mo-town, classics, etc. By the latter end of the night they were playing line dances and we were belting out Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” By the end of the night, we were second lining and wishing we had more time to party.
Big Easy Limos: A
We gave lots of opportunities to Big Easy to mess up, but they were great! I actually heard some iffy things before the wedding, so I emailed them a detailed itinerary for each vehicle and maybe that helped smooth the process. One of the limos was actually an hour early, which was great. The limo bus that the boys used to get to the church (and then the bridal party used to get to the reception) was apparently one of the nicest limo buses they’ve been in. The boys said it was like a party bus. I think the word “pimp” was used to describe it. No real snafus with the limos at all – at the end of the night we had a sedan picking up my parents, but he was in the way of our limo. So my mom just asked him to move so the limo could pick us up. No big deal at all. Actually, our limo at the end of the nice was brand new and super nice! I would use Big Easy Limos again, easily.
Yvonne LaFleur (Wedding Dress): C (but A+ for the seamstress!!)
Ugh. What a headache. We looked at dresses here because we heard they did free alterations. I fell in love with a dress, but didn’t love the straps. I went back and forth, and the saleswoman told me that they had made the dress strapless before. After confirming and reiterating that it would not be a problem, we felt good with our decision and decided to buy the dress. Once the dress came in, the problems began. We had about thirty thousand fittings. During the first fitting, it was suggested that I shouldn’t change the straps at all. Then, after rehashing that we were TOLD that it wouldn’t be a problem, they agreed to make the dress strapless. We had about 4 or 5 more fittings just to try and get the dress to fit right as a strapless dress. Our concern was that the dress was so heavy and the cut so low, that I was going to have a Janet Jackson moment at my wedding. I expressed that concern and it was suggested that I shouldn’t be dancing crazy anyway. Yeah. Right. So, THEN, we asked them to get us straps that matched the lace on the dress. A few more fittings and we finally felt okay with the dress. In all, I feel that the girls who helped during the later part of the fitting were doing their best to make right by me. We actually were at a point where we considered just going to buy another dress. But in the end, the wonderful, fabulous, talented seamstress at the shop made it all come together. I had so many complements on my dress and the headaches were very much worth it. But, the shop should not have promised to do something that clearly was not as easily done as was indicated.
Town & Country (Bridesmaid and Mother of the Bride Dress): A-
We ordered the bridesmaid’s dresses and my mom’s dress from them. They were very friendly and helpful. They coordinated receipt of sizing information from my bridesmaids, who are situated all over the south and east coast. The only downside was that they lost their seamstress for bridesmaids dresses within a few months of my wedding. However, they at least did my sister’s dress. My mom says that her dress was sewn wrong, but that is the manufacturer’s fault, not the shop’s.
Jos A Bank (Men’s Tuxedos): B-
This was the groom’s realm. He had a particular idea of what he wanted as his tuxedo, so he picked the vendor and negotiated all the details. Jos A Bank coordinated getting sizing information from groomsmen and ushers from all over the country. Actually, everything went smoothly up until the wedding. On the DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING, my poor groom found out that they didn’t have the tuxedos. Like, not there. Didn’t have them. Thankfully, he’s a ball buster and Jos A Bank scrambled to pull together the right tuxedos. The only downside was that the boys had to go pick them up on the day of the wedding. I think this could have been avoided with a phone call to them earlier in the week, confirming that they have X number of tuxedos in this style, etc. But, my groom saved the day and Jos A. Bank came through. The boys looked sharp. The tuxedos were much nicer than the traditional wedding rentals.
Shutterfly (Save the Dates): A
We just used one of our engagement pictures to create a photo save the date. It was great quality material and we waited until we got a sale + coupon. Great deal!
Wedding Belles/Smock (Invitations): A for both
Wedding Belles was great and easy to work with. Smock has excellent quality paper items at a really affordable price. We got so many complements on our wedding invitations. Beautiful hand calligraphy courtesy of my mom.
Janice Hornsby (Dance Lessons): B
Janice was great to work. We had about 4 or 5 lessons over the course of a few months. Instead of a dance choreographed from start to finish, she taught us component parts of certain dances, which we strung together in the end. We also learned a few side dances, one of which we actually used at the wedding. If I had to find criticism, it’s that she is located in Metairie or Kenner, depending on the day. During our sessions, which is the height of wedding season, she is very busy, so if you have to reschedule it can be hard. Overall, we were so glad that we decided to take lessons, because our first dance was more meaningful (and nicer to video).
Second Line Umbrellas
My mom and I made them ourselves using Jazz Fest umbrellas. I just wanted to give an A to Jazz Fest for having kick ass designs on their umbrellas!
We ordered the boas from Cynthias Feathers (www.cynthiasfeathers.com). They were good quality and inexpensive.
Brenna Larson Photography (engagements): B+
We had the opportunity of winning not one, but two engagement photo shoots at bridal shows. This was the first one, taken in City Park. Brenna was very fun to work with and so talented. We were happy with the way our photos turned out. She was able to take advantage of various kinds of lighting and was great at staging photos on a whim. Because we had the opportunity to work with several different photographers for our wedding, we simply preferred the style of others slightly more.
Eye Wander Photo (engagements): A
Aaron Hogan owns Eye Wander Photography, based in Baton Rouge. He is extraordinarily talented – I can’t believe we were lucky enough to win our engagement photos from him! Aaron spent much more than his allotted time photographing us in the Marigny and Warehouse District. He captured some amazing photos and proved his talent in the ways he was able to reflect or capture light to make sure the picture turned out perfectly. His talent is on par with the wedding photographers based out of CA or NY who show up in all the wedding blogs. Highly recommended.
wiredcreations1 (personalized dress hanger): A
Great quality. Wire was easily maneuverable, but that was expected.
sustyle88 (bridal comb): A
Beautiful. I toiled for months on this decision and in the end it was worth it. She also sent some smaller rhinestone bobby pins, which were great added embellishment
Poetry Jewelry (bridal earrings): A
Another tough decision, but so worth it. The earrings actually came from Australia and they are great quality. I’ll end up wearing these earrings again.
Luxe Deluxe (bridal bracelet): A+
They actually customize your bracelet based on your wrist size. The clasp was great and I didn’t have to worry about it falling off all night. I loved it!
nanarosedesigns (bridal garter set): A
Great set made of stretch lace, fabric flower, and glitzy detail. The plan is to save it to use as a baby headband in the future
hotmixcold (bridesmaids’ earrings): A
The girls LOVED their earrings! They were simple dangle pearl & rhinestone earrings, but they were made very well. Great buy.
shopmemento (bridesmaids’ monogrammed robes): A+
Probably my favorite “wedding gift” purchase. I have one for myself and truly, the robes are great quality. I’ve already washed and dried the robe at least twice and the sewing is staying put just fine. Excellent gift and even better photo op during the wedding prep!
Heart JCreations (men’s shave kits):
A for the shop; D for the quality (badger brush fell apart within 1 month of purchase)
Sweetolivesoapworks (men’s shaving soap made in NOLA): A+
We actually visited her shop in NOLA. She makes everything by hand in her house. The soaps are excellent quality. We will repurchase from her in the future as gifts and for ourselves!
linenwhites (monogrammed men’s and women’s handkerchiefs): A+
Another favorite purchase. We bought monogrammed ivory handkerchiefs for each of the groomsmen and fathers, and personalized ladies handkerchiefs for the moms. They all turned out beautifully. In fact, the seller was incredibly understanding in the face of my multiple mishaps in getting the monogramming correct on one of them!
craftupyourfile (ribbon wands): A+
We purchased our exit ribbon wands from her and she was FABULOUS! We sent her a swatch of the precise teal color that we were looking for. She ended up shopping around to find us JUST the right color. She even mailed us swatches back. Everyone loved the ribbon wands at the end of the wedding. Most guests even used them impromptu in the second line! Highly recommended!