We just got married yesterday and the honeymoon starts tomorrow super early, but I wanted to write this up while it's still super fresh in my mind. Everything was wonderul and I could not have asked for a better wedding.
Venue: Texas Federation of Women's Clubs Mansion - A
I have been in love with The Mansion since I first visited for swing dancing in the summer of 2010. When we first started looking at venues, I remembered it and thought it would fit my vision perfectly. It absolutely did and we decided on it pretty quickly. The space is lovely if you like more a more vintage (Victorian era sort of) feel. Two things though. One, with lots of people in the ballroom it gets VERY hot. It was cool outside, but inside it still got overly warm. Two, you really are paying for the space for a certain period of time. You also can't go past midnight and that includes getting everything cleaned up. It did work out ok though since everyone was very ready to go home and rest by the time it was over.
Cake/Desserts: Sweetish Hill Bakery - B+
The cakes, pies, and cookies tasted amazing. Our cake was demolished pretty much. It was definitely the best cake we tried and Leila was very sweet. They also added lemon tarts and special cookies for us at the last minute. However, my cake was not the right color and my husband's cake was not right either. Mine was supposed to have two layers that were white with lavender piping and a middle layer that was lavender with white piping. My cake was completely lavender with white piping. It was still pretty, but not what I had asked for. My husband's cake was suppoed to have chocolate covered strawberries around the edge, but they were not there. Also, the other people besides Leila who worked at the bakery were not super friendly which was just unpleasant.
Caterer: Catering with a Twist - C
Sigh. I had felt really good about choosing CWAT until I got an e-mail saying that the person I had been working with no longer worked for them. This was so far into the whole process that I figured that it was still the same place and it would be fine. Everything I had heard and read about them was good so I didn't worry. We did the contract and then I delegated everything to be handled by my parents and in the last month my coordinator. Well...despite both my mom and coordinator confirming that the salad would be pre-set for everyone they did not do it and then said that it wasn't in the contract even though it actually had been added in. I also heard that the staff was taking our alcohol and drinking it in the kitchen. Not cool at all. There are other things that I know were bad that I don't even know about because my people rightly chose to not tell me. The only good side was that they did make very tasty food that all of our guests loved. Also, the people that I interacted with were friendly to me and my guests (not necessarily true for my parents or coordinator though).
DJ: Spacecraft Entertainment - A+
Jeff did a fabulous job. Everyone thought he was wonderful, he played music that everyone liked, and he kept the volume at a good level for dinner and then turned it up for dancing later on. He found all of the music we asked for if he didn't already have it for us and he went above and beyond to help my parents get our slideshow set up. He even facilitated the strange Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion dance to Time After Time for us (that is an entirely different tale). There were a couple of song that people requested that he didn't have, but I can't expect a person to have every song in the universe. Overall, highly recommended.
Rentals: Premier Party Central - A
Basically, they had what I needed at a good price. We got their linen sale so it wasn't too expensive. They also offered to order napkin rings that we liked special for us (we didn't end up doing it, but it was nice that they offered). When I completely changed my mind about what I wanted, they were very accommodating and let me go through every option I had in my mind until I found the perfect linens.
Photography: Chelsey Schrader Photography - A+
Chelsey was absolutely awesome. We both loved her right away and she did an excellent job. We of course haven't seen the pictures yet, but her attention to detail was amazing. She and her assistant took tons of photos of all the things we asked for and more. She was also just very pleasant and professional the whole time. Additionally, she was super sweet about me not sending her our shot list etc until the night before the wedding. She wrote me back and told me not to worry and that we would figure it all out the next day (and we did!).
Dress/Alterations: David's Bridal - A
My dress was perfect and everyone told me how beautiful it was. I felt like a princess in it, too. The purchasing process was easy and they helped me try on what I wanted. They called me to let me know when my dress came in as well as when each of my bridesmaids dresses came in. Their prices were very reasonable as well. The alterations process was fine. Not my favorite part of the experience and I know that it was a hard dress to alter because of the long train and pickups. But still....it wasn't as good as it could have been. All they do is alter wedding dresses and formal gowns. You would expect them to do an excellent job at it. My first fitting took forever and I think they could have done less ties on the bustle and still made it look as nice. The second, the bustle came out uneven as did the pickups in the front. They redid part of it and it looked better. I was never happy with the way the bustle came out, but I guess it could have been worse. Overall, I loved my dress and my girls loved theirs, too.
Flowers: Verbena Floral Design - A+
Verbena did everything in their power to give me what I wanted in my budget. They worked closely with my mom and created beautiful arrangements for us. My bouquet was lovely as were the bridesmaids' bouquets. Plus, they smelled really good. LuAnn was extremely sweet and made me feel like ours was the only wedding she was working on.
Paper Products/Invites: Magnet Street and The American Wedding - A for both
We got our save the date magnets from Magnet Street. We got to choose our design and colors which was awesome. They had a wide selection and we were able to choose the perfect design. The magnets look wonderful and they arrived quickly. For our invites and other paper products we used The American Wedding. They were the only place I found that had the kind of design I wanted in the colors I wanted. Again, we had some choice on color. Not as much as Magnet Street, but still better than having all the colors set in stone for each design. They arrived in a giant box and looked perfect. The only thing is that in hind sight I wish I had gone ahead and spent the extra money to have them assembled. It took me about a month to put together all 130 invitations.
Alcohol: Wiggy's - A+
Very friendly and local! They helped us find exactly what we needed and figure out how much we would need. They did a tasting for us and made lots of recommendations. Good selection and friendly people.
Tuxes: Men's Warehouse - A+
They did a great job helping us pick out tuxes as well as making sure that all of the men got fitted. They also were very quick to make any needed changes. They did give a groomsman the wrong vest, but it was fixed right away and wasn't an issue at all.
Hair/Makeup: Bella by Jenn Salon - A
Jenn was very easy to work with. She gave me exactly what I wanted and even came to my house to do everyone's hair. She was flexible with the time we needed her to be there as well as with all the changes one of my bridesmaids made at the last second. I do wish that there was a way to have the makeup not smear off so easily or run when it got wet. I kept having to dab at it after drinking or when we were dancing and I got overly hot. I'm not sure if that is just an unavoidable part of event make-up or not, but I wish I hadn't had to think about it. Also, one of my paler bridesmaids had a line from it not being completely blended into her neck. The hair was absolutely amazing though and she did save my mom's hair (she went to her own stylist who didn't do what she had asked) without charging us which was very nice. So, I'd go with the hair and maybe do your own makeup.
Day of Coordinator: Yellow Umbrella Events - A+++++
OMG. Cheryl was incredible. From the very beginning she made everything easier and went above and beyond on everything. I think that we could have had homemade flower arrangements and a cake from a box, picnic tables and possibly held the ceremony in a random park and it all would have been ok. I would have lived and still have been married. But, I don't know if that would have been true if I had not hired Cheryl to help with all the day of stuff. And even then, she did more than I ever dreamed. When we didn't know if we could get the flowers in our budget she worked on it and found someone to do it, even offering to help put it all together to save on the cost if need be. We ended up with Verbena, but if that hadn't worked out we would have had a great plan through her. I know that there were many things that probably went wrong along the way that I will never know about because of her. I actually got to relax and enjoy my wedding day and so did my family. I cannot express how much she helped us and how much we loved her. I oringinally wasn't sold on the idea of having a coordinator, but I am so thankful that I realized that I needed one and that Cheryl was available to help us out. Seriously. Hire her. It was the best thing we did (besides getting married of course).