Venue - Benham’s Grove – A+ Our wedding was held at Benham’s Grove in Centerville. It’s a beautiful 1900 century farm house that’s used as a gathering place and very popular for weddings. We started looking in October the year before our wedding and by that time, every Saturday was already booked for the following year, so we selected a Friday evening. Benham’s has a lovely gazebo and we had our hearts set on an outdoor fall ceremony. Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not cooperate and the wind, cold, and rain, pushed us inside. Luckily we had a backup plan with a tent rental. Rental of the house at Benham’s includes the Gazebo and while the house does have a decent sized covered patio for a smaller group, we were very lucky to have rented the tent on top of that. It was perfect to accommodate our 90 guests, the DJ, buffet, cake, and bar all in one place. I feel that if you have more than 70 people at Benham’s, you need the tent. They have a brick plaza for the tent to be placed on and brick walkways to the tent from both the gazebo and the house. The plaza will accommodate a 40x80 tent. The staff at Benham’s that we dealt with were all wonderful – Margo, Sally, and our day of coordinator – Randy. I felt really bad for Randy because of the weather and last minute changes leading up to the ceremony. Originally the wedding was going to be outside at the gazebo. Because of the changing weather we moved it to the tent, back outside, and back to the tent. No one told Randy that it was going back in the tent, so he was still outside cleaning off chairs – bless his heart. I felt really bad about that. Overall, Benham’s did a great job accommodating our wedding and reception and I highly recommend them as long as you have a backup plan for bigger groups – rent the tent.
Caterer - Little Miami River Catering (LMR) - A LMR provides great service and food for very reasonable prices. They handled all the setup and cleanup for our reception. Lynn was a joy to work with. She was very responsive to my requests and questions and was there the day of the reception to ensure everything was handled correctly. My one complaint is with the serving of the cake. We had a cake that served 100 people – if we cut the top layer. I specifically requested that the entire cake be served because it was more important to us that everyone get cake than it was to save the top for us. It wasn’t until the reception was over that I found out guests who wanted cake didn’t get any. It was only a week before the wedding during my final meeting with Lynn that I told her about the cake situation and I probably should have reminded her the day of the reception as well. However, I feel that even though this wasn’t communicated to the serving staff, they should have alerted me to the fact that the cake was gone and asked me if I wanted to save the top layer or serve it. Other than that, we were very happy with our choice of LMR.
DJ - Tyler Entertainment – A Michael Tyler is the owner of Tyler Entertainment. His company holds live trivia events at many Dayton area bars which is how we learned of him. Michael was the DJ for our reception. Michael is fun and entertaining and keeps the party going all night. The only thing that were disappointed with was that he missed our last dance song. When we met with him we told him that we couldn’t decide on a first dance song – my husband wanted one song and I wanted another. So as a compromise, we agreed to do one for a first dance, and one for a last dance. Before we knew it, the reception was over and he was playing “Closing Time.” At that point, it seemed silly to ask him to play the song, so we just skipped it. Other than that, we were very happy with our decision and loved working with Michael. His prices are extremely reasonable which is another reason why we picked him.
Bar - Bourbon Street Bartending – A+ John Faler is the owner of Bourbon Street Bartending and was our bartender for the reception. We are so glad we found him. There aren’t a lot of mobile bars in the area that provide the service as well as the alcohol. It was so fantastic to pay a set per person price and not have to worry about a thing. They are fully insured and extremely professional. John was consistently responsive to my questions and special requests. Every email I sent him was responded to within 24 hours – unlike several other vendors who didn’t respond at all. He exceeded all my expectations. The prices can’t be beat - ONLY $6.99 per person for beer and wine (in addition to the reasonable $30/hour service fee). He brings a lighted bar to the event and handles all the setup and cleanup. Everyone I talked to was very pleased with the bar service. I read an unfavorable review of him on Wedding Channel and I was shocked. All I can say is that if John didn’t meet your needs, you’re an exceptionally needy person and were difficult to work with yourself, so I can only assume no one would make you happy.
Cake - Elé Cake Company - A+ Our wedding cake was exactly as expected, beautiful and delicious. They give you so many choices to try during your cake tasting so you get the exact combination of flavors you like. We had two layers of chocolate cake with peanut butter cream filling and one layer of yellow cake with chocolate truffle filling. Both were fantastic. One of the other vendors we interviewed provided a couple of very small pieces of cake – very little variety. Even though both companies had delicious cake, we felt Elé went above and beyond by allowing us to sample many different cake flavors and filling combinations in addition to trying different frostings. They easily earned our business.
Florist - Jeff Martin’s Florist – A+ We were trying to keep expenses down, so it was just not in the budget for a lot of flowers. The first florist we reviewed quoted as around $1,100 for the flowers we wanted (bride and groom, bridal party with two attendants on each side, two father’s boutonnieres, three mother’s corsages, cake flowers, and centerpieces for 12 tables). Jeff was the second florist we met with and he quoted us just under $500 for the exact same flowers and setup. The big difference was that he didn’t charge for the rental of glass cylinders and marbles he used for our centerpieces. The other company had a rental charge and a higher delivery and setup fee. This was a wonderful surprise!Our flowers and centerpieces were amazing. We received many wonderful compliments on how beautiful they were. The centerpieces consisted of a large glass cylinder filled with water. They had marbles in the bottom with a floating flower and floating candle in each. Jeff only charged us for the flowers and the candles. We were extremely pleased with the results. He was so accommodating in trying to save us money that he even suggested that we use the bridal bouquets as décor for our head table. He supplied us with vases with decorative ribbon to place our bouquets in – again, no charge!My ONLY criticism would be handling of emails. I sent him a couple of changes through email and he eventually responded to my questions/changes, however, the day of the ceremony a couple of minor things were not handled. For example, I asked him to add a toss bouquet a week or so before the wedding and he said no problem and no charge! The toss bouquet did not get delivered, however, after a quick phone call; the bouquet was delivered in plenty of time. Fantastic service and quality – highly recommend!
Makeup and Hair - Eye Do Makeup and Hair Design by Crystal – A+ Crystal is the owner of Eye Do and did my onsite bridal party makeup as well as my own hair. Crystal is fantastic. From the first trial to the finished product, she was so wonderful to work with – professional, sweet, patient, and very accommodating. I have an allergy to the red dye used in some eye makeup colors. In the past I only had a problem with purple shadows, but because of the pigment intensity of MAC makeup, I was having a reaction with the copper colors we wanted to use as well. Crystal made repeated complimentary trips to my home for eye makeup application to determine which colors could be safely used without a reaction. I felt really bad about all the time she invested because of my difficult eyes, but she took it all in stride with determination that we would get it right. In the end, she got it exactly right and the look (makeup and hair) was everything I had hoped for my wedding day. I highly recommend Crystal and her team for your wedding day.
Photographer - Pam’s Photography – A+ We didn't have as much money in the wedding budget as we would have liked, so many of the wedding photographers were out of the question. Most of them won't even show up at your wedding for less than $1,200! We found Pam at a bridal show and are so happy we chose her. She has a “budget” bridal package for $600 that includes all digital photos and four hours of coverage. She took over a thousand pictures! Pam was a doll to work with. Everyone really liked her. Our pictures were published online in less than a week and when we returned from our honeymoon our CDs were waiting for us. There were so many beautiful photos that we have had a hard time deciding which to print. So we now have all of them running on a slideshow in a digital photo frame.
Videographer - Secure Video Productions - B Bob from Secure video (along with his assistant) was our wedding videographer. Bob is very professional and easy to work with. They managed to catch all the important parts of the ceremony and reception and the quality of both audio and video was great. Three copies of the edited video were returned to us with music we selected in less than two months.
Alterations – Colleen Curry, It’s Sew Amazing – A+ Colleen did the alterations for my dress as well as my bridesmaids. She did a fabulous job at a very reasonable price. Colleen has over 25 years of experience. Her shop recently opened in The Wedding Connection.
DAYTON BRIDES TAKE NOTE, this place is like a shopping mall for brides; a bridal show that’s open year around. It’s a one-stop-shop for all your wedding needs in one convenient place. I didn’t find out about it until I met Colleen and she opened her shop here. I believe it just opened late summer this year and wish it had been there when I started planning my wedding. It’s a very cool place worth checking out http://www.daytonweddingconnection.com/.
92 Are ready to party!
24 Will be missing out!
2 Can't find the mailbox!