Caterer: Schierbrocks Catering – Neola, IA
Price: $10/pp (after tax)
Greg did an amazing job. He drove up the day before to find the place and scope out his space so that he was good to go on the wedding day, and when I arrived at the reception he had everything ready to go. Shortly after arriving we started going through the line. There was 1 table of self serve (plates, napkins, silverware, salad, rolls, etc…) and then you go to the next 2 tables which have all of the served hot foods. The corn and potatoes were amazing, normally they’re gross on a buffet, but they were so good. I only had the roast beef, not the ham, but I heard the ham was super tender, and the roast tasted sooo good. Overall, he did a great job!
Florist : Fleur De Lis Concepts – Eagle, NE
I didn’t originally think I would be able to afford flowers in my budget as I was being quoted anywhere from $800-$2000, and I just couldn’t swing it. Then I found Brandie, and she became my saving grace. I got my bouquet (2 dozen roses), 6 bridesmaid bouquets and 1 toss bouquet (1 dozen roses each), 12 bouts, 5 corsages and 3 bags of loose rose petals all for under $350. I only met with Brandie one time and I immediately knew she was going to do a great job. She’s so sweet, she knows her stuff, and you can tell she has a real passion for what she does. The biggest surprise was that I had decided not to do any crystals or anything extra on my bouquet as money got tight right at the end, and when I received my bouquet she had put a diamond wrap around the stems and put crystals and pearls in the bouquet itself. It was such a nice surprise. The flowers all looked so amazing, and she really did put the finishing touches on my day to make it perfect. If you’re looking for an amazing but decent priced florist around
Omaha, definitely use Fleur De Lis Concepts.
DJ: Showtime Music – Omaha, NE
Price: $550 (after discount I won at a bridal show)
Showtime was actually quite disappointing. I had asked them to set up a final meeting where we could meet our DJ. We had the meeting and were under the impression the guy we met with was our DJ. I get to my reception…totally different guy. That was strike 1. We had given the DJ a HUUUUUGE list of music that we would like him to use to play music throughout the night. We felt like we knew our guests pretty well, and we figured if they either played songs off the list, or like the songs on the list (I’m talking at least 200 songs on this list btw…) that the music would go off well. I think he played MAYBE 3 songs off my list (2 of them being after I had to go TELL him to play them), and the rest of the music was NOTHING like what I asked for. He played a bunch of kitchy songs that I asked him not to (Cotton Eye Joe, Macarena, etc…), and even at the reception I asked him to play a couple songs in between our main dances (first dance, father/daughter, etc) and the dollar dance as I wanted to take a break to get some water and such. He played one song and then announced the dollar dance. It was enough time for me to get a bottle of water from the bar and take 1 drink. I had told them we were not doing a garter toss, and I caught him right before he announced it and asked him not to. He already had a chair pulled out on to the dance floor and was about to have me come sit in it. It wouldn’t be so bad except we had ALL of this written down in a little “wedding guide” type thing that the DJ’s supposedly use the night of to make sure the night goes off without a hitch. It was fairly obvious our DJ didn’t even look at it. He did nothing to try and get people out on the dance floor so a bunch of our guests left quite early, most of them not getting on the dance floor but maybe once, and he kept leaving the DJ station to go talk to the security guard. At one point I went up to him (while he was talking to the security guard) and asked him to play a song, and he told me he had a playlist of about 5 songs set up and after those were done he’d go back to the table and play the song I wanted….Overall I am just extremely disappointed that I spent almost $600 on a DJ that did nothing that I asked, did a bunch of things I asked him not to do, and made the overall feeling of my reception a bit lame. I’ve even had guests come up afterwards and say the same things. I would not recommend Showtime Music to another bride.
Photographer 1: Amy Shaffer Photography – Omaha, NE
Price: E-Pics – Free Morning Of - $75.00
Our main photographers package that we booked was only for 8 hours. After booking her however, we decided that we really wanted an engagement session, and I really wanted a photographer to take some “getting ready” photos and detail type shots as we were getting ready (dress hanging on the window, hairpiece/jewelry beforehand, etc…). I found Amy through her sister-in-law whom I used to be friends with. I saw that she did some engagement pictures for her SIL and they came out REALLY good. I emailed her and asked about scheduling and engagement session and she was super happy to do it. She also said she was in the middle of building up her portfolio for these types of shoots so she offered to do the shoot for free! She was so generous! We got the pictures back and they were AMAZING! We got SOOO many compliments on them! So naturally when I decided I really wanted a photographer for the morning of my wedding I emailed her and she was again happy to do it. She charged me $75 to come take some pictures, and I know that they will be amazing. I haven’t gotten my sneak peek back yet, but I know her and her work, and I trust that she got some awesome shots. She doesn’t do full on weddings, but she does do photo shoots, so if you’re looking for family shots, engagement sessions or other small photo shoots, I would DEFINITELY recommend her.
Photographer 2: Christine Burright McGuigan – Omaha, NE
The photographer was probably the hardest part of planning my wedding. I knew that my pictures were going to be the only thing I had left after the day was over, so I wanted an AMAZING photographer, but I didn’t have a huge budget. I searched and searched and searched for photographers that had the quality and style of photography that I wanted in my price range, and I was coming up with nothing. I found Christine while doing some google searching, and I saw that her package price was about $1600 but that it had a few extras that I didn’t necessarily need/want at the time (engagement session, photo album, full day coverage, etc…). I emailed Christine, told her my situation and my budget, and she was happy to adjust her package to meet my needs! We ended up settling on an 8 hour photo package with a CD of all the edited images with full copyrights for $975. I haven’t seen any sneak peeks yet, but I’ve watched her pictures get better and better on her website over the last year or so, and I know that she did an amazing job. She’s so sweet, and just blends in with the crowd while taking pictures. I’m so excited to see some shots, and I would definitely recommend Christine to other local brides.
Cake 1: Jamie Hall – Council Bluffs, IA
Jamie is actually the little sister of one of my bridesmaids, and she is currently in school for culinary and works part time at the Hyvee bakery. We decided to have her do our wedding cake because we knew it would be more then just another cake to her. We knew Jamie was going to put her heart and soul in to the cake, and she did just that. We had sort of a damask theme going throughout the wedding planning process, and she took some wrapping paper from our cardbox and our invitations and remade one of the damask designs and painted it on to the cake. It looked AWESOME. She did such a great job, and I’m so glad we chose to go with her for our show cake.
Cake 2: Cake Gallery – Omaha, NE
Price: Approximately $90
Our show cake only served about 75 people, so we had sheet cakes that we served out of the back as well. Jamie said it would cost just as much (if not more) for her to make the sheet cakes as one of the local bakeries, so we decided to just get 2 sheet cakes from The Cake Gallery. We had one chocolate cake with white buttercream and one pink champagne with whipped icing….oh my gosh. They were to DIE for. We had so many compliments on the pink champagne cake. Luckily my mom snagged me a piece so I could take it home, and they were right. DELICIOUS. I wasn’t too fond of their prices for show cakes, but their sheet cake pricing was very competitive and I’m definitely glad I went with them.
Reception Hall: Legacy Hall – Omaha
The second most difficult part of the planning process was finding a venue. We knew that we wanted a place that would allow us to bring in our own catering because 1) We knew Greg and knew he’d do a great job, and 2) the price would be significantly lower by going with our caterer. There weren’t a lot of halls around town, and I was about to give up hope and go with a different overpriced venue and caterer, until I found Legacy Hall. From the outside of the building, it doesn’t look super promising. The parking lot could definitely use some updating, but once you walk inside the atmosphere does a complete 180. For one, this hall is HUGE. They can fit up to 450 guests in the hall and still have a dance floor. That’s amazing. They have a bar window, a warming kitchen for the caterer (also huge), an awesome dance floor with mirrors and a disco ball, another area with mirrors and spotlights for the cake, a men and women’s bathroom, a foyer with coat racks. The place has it all. They let you do whatever you’d like in regards to decorations with almost no restrictions, and they also have a ton of stuff you can rent from them. All of the tables and chairs come as a part of the rental. This place had everything we were looking for, and the price wasn’t bad either. By going with this hall and our caterer, our cost came in right at $3000, while every other venue we looked at with catering was coming in anywhere from $4000-$7000. This venue gave me the exact look I was going for at a price I was going for. Definitely recommend this hall.
Ceremony Site: Mt Vernon Gardens – Omaha, NE
Price: $300 (6 hours)
We had a really hard time deciding where we were going to get married. Neither my husband nor I are members of a church for different reasons, and I was not going to go against my beliefs and join a church just so we could get married there, but there are practically NO churches that will allow you to get married there if you are not a member, and the ones that do charge you upwards of $700! I was not going to pay $700 just to use a room for 30 minutes. So we started looking at alternate ceremony spots, and we found the website for City of Omaha online, and saw they had a tab for weddings. We clicked on it and they had 4 different city parks that you could rent out for $99 per 2 hour slot for your wedding. It was perfect! We went to all 4 and looked at their ceremony space and fell in LOVE with Mt Vernon Gardens. It had a beautiful monument to get married under, gardens to take pictures in, flowers everywhere. It was perfect. About 3 weeks before the wedding we went up to the ceremony spot and noticed someone had put graffiti on the monument and there were about 15 bee hives on the monument. I called the administrator for the parks and she promptly had their maintenance man go out and clear the graffiti and check to make sure they weren’t honey bee hives (they’re currently endangered) and remove the bee hives after determining they were not honey bees. I had a lot of respect for the fact that they checked what kind of bees they were before removing them, and also for taking care of the issues so quickly. I loved having our ceremony outside (thank goodness for no rain!) and I always recommend Mt Vernon to any couple asking for advice on an outdoor ceremony space!
Uplighting: Theatrical Media Services – Omaha, NE
My Mom and I were making different plans on decorating the hall and trying to figure out exactly how we were going to get all the decorations up and it just seemed to be a hassle. I started researching for decorators in the area and I came across the idea of doing uplighting. So I started searching for uplighting companies and I came across TMS. I started emailing back and forth with them and they agreed to light the entire hall for $750, which was pretty close to what we would’ve ended up spending on decorations. I scheduled a meeting to go pick out colors and patterns, we met at the hall one day, and then I left it in their hands to transform my reception hall. When I walked in and saw my hall, I was blown away. It looked AMAZING! I got soooo many compliments on the lighting, and I really think it pulled everything together. I’m so happy we decided to go with them, and I would definitely recommend them.
Dress: NE Bridal Outlet – Wahoo, NE
Price: $344 (after tax)
I heard about the NE Bridal Outlet through a couple people at work. They told me that all of the dresses there were under $300 (now $350) and two of the girls had both bought their dresses there. Seeing as how I was on a budget for the wedding, and I couldn’t fathom spending upwards of $1000 on a dress I would wear for one day, I obviously decided to check it out. When I first pulled up outside, I wasn’t expecting much. It looked quite small, and fairly dated (as did their website). But I stepped inside the doors and my mind was immediately changed. This place is HUUUUUGE. While it’s not very wide (as you can see from the outside), it goes on for what seems like miles. We were immediately greeted with smiles from the ladies up front and they explained how the store worked. The dresses were all sorted by size, all of the dresses were $300 or less (now $350), the dressing rooms were located throughout the store and you were welcome to try on any dress you’d like and as many as you’d like, all of the veils, jewelry, accessories, etc were up front and you were welcome to try them on, and if they weren’t busy then a retail associate could help you in and out of the dresses, but if they were busy you had to that yourself (it’s how they keep costs so low, I didn’t mind at all). We came on a busy day, so my Mom and I went back to the section that had my size and just started pulling dresses. She helped me in and out of my dresses and it worked out just fine. I ended up buying the very first dress I tried on (although I tried on about 15 of them), but all of the dresses were lovely. There were so many different styles that I knew I would find a dress I loved. I definitely recommend this store to any bride, and especially a bride on a budget!
Rings: Brodkeys – Council Bluffs, IA
My husband had bought my engagement ring at Brodkeys Mall of the Bluffs, so we decided to go there to look for our wedding bands. I had been to jewelry stores previously looking at wedding bands, and I felt as though the ladies were constantly just pushing me towards the biggest and most expensive rings in the store, even though I said I like simple, and big rings aren’t my taste. When I went in to Brodkeys, I didn’t feel like that at ALL. They took my thoughts in to consideration and helped me pick out a beautiful wedding wrap that I fell in love with, even though it was only $300. They then helped my husband (then fiancé) pick out his wedding band, which was only $200. None of the ladies made us feel like we were picking out rings that were too cheap. We both found rings that we loved that happened to be on sale, so we got a great deal and got treated wonderfully. That’s the kind of service I wanted to get. I would definitely recommend them to other brides and grooms.