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Florida-West Coast

I'm back with a Married Bio and Vendor Reviews!!! (LONG POST)

Hi there.  Dave and I just spent  8 wonderful days in Colorado and New Mexico.  We skiied 3 days at Wolf Creek, hung out at the Spa in natural hot springs daily in Pagosa Springs, cooked some great meals, explored some historic towns, slept in, hiked and went on long walks under a blue sky, read some books by the fire and overlooking the rocky mountains with out another soul in sight.... and just took it all in.  Our wedding was amazing.  It was perfect.  All the hard work paid off and the day went off with out any hitches!  I am now married to my best friend!

I'm posting some pictures here and my vendor reviews here as well, but everything and more can be found at my married bio: http://happilymarried.weebly.com/index.html











Wedding Vendor Reviews

Venue - Selby Gardens                                     A-

Picture The wedding was amazing, and the venue is simply spectacular.  Selby Gardens is breathtaking and our wedding guests couldn't stop commenting on what an amazing venue our wedding was at.   The facility director, Dan Johnson, knows his venue inside and out, but he just isn't the best man to be in charge of weddings.  Dan took over weddings when the previous wedding coordinator was out on sick leave and never returned.  It is obvious weddings are an addition to his already busy work schedule.  Dan doesn't return calls or emails as soon as I would like, but he does eventually get to them - just very slowly!  There were also a few mishaps along the way.  The first one was he told me a date was open for our wedding and held that date for us, only to call a few days later and say that he made a mistake and it was booked.  The second, which isn't his fault, was that there was a second wedding in a mansion booked for the same night.  When we signed the contract this was a possibility, but he said it never happens that two parties want to share the venue.  Well, it happened to us, which meant that we had to get ready in the great room in a storage closet turned dressing room instead of in the beautiful mansion.  It all worked out in the end though, as it always does, and we had the wedding of a lifetime.

Caterer - Milan Catering                                   A

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I found Milan Catering after inquiring about a vegan friendly caterer on The Knot.  I actually broke a contract with another caterer to go with Milan for our wedding food and event planning.  This was the best decision I made in the wedding planning process.  Milan's food was simply to die for, and they accommodated all of my vegan requests.  Most brides and grooms say the never get to enjoy dinner, but Dave and I made it a point to sit and eat.  Not only did we both clear every bite on our plate, Dave got to enjoy a few bits of seconds.  The food was simply amazing.  The biggest raves came in from the cocktail hour - the cheeseburgers in paradise, shrimp skewers, bacon wrapped scallops, man-n-cheese tarts, veggie rolls, boca burgers, spinach artichoke tarts,  and more! I heard from numerous people that the servers were basically mobbed so guests could grab food before others because it was that good.  Our sit down dinner was guest's choice so they could choose off the menu on the day of the event.  There was no need for people to RSVP their choice.  The dinner service was efficient and went off with out any hitches.  The crew was professional and attentive to the needs of guests.  Thank you Roberta, Kala, Steve and crew for working so hard and making our wedding food and event planning perfect!

Photographer - Dawn Haas           PENDING FULL EDITED PHOTOS

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Dawn did our engagement photos and wedding photos.  We loved the engagement photos and will cherish them forever.  Our wedding photos haven't arrived yet, but from the sneak peak, I can tell they are going to be amazing.  Dawn set up a slide show at the reception so guests could look at pictures from earlier in the night.  I thought that was a wonderful touch.  I can't wait to get the photos back and write my REAL REVIEW, but for now the sneak peek is worthy of an A+.

DOC - Kala with Candlelight Receptions              A

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I found Kala through our Caterer and after interviewing a few Day of Coordinators decided to have Kala for Week-Of wedding planning services.  I was not disappointed.  Kala literally ran around all night making sure everything was perfect.  Kala coordinated with all the vendors so I did nothing the week of the wedding to make sure people were supposed to be at the right place at the right time.  Seriously, everything was perfect.  Nothing went wrong at our wedding (except for a breezy cold front that swept in right at cocktail hour - but you can't do anything about Mother Nature).  The reception room was set up to a T, all the decorations were in the correct spots, and the normally bland and drab great room at Selby Gardens was totally transformed into a magical wonderland.  Kala even went above and beyond decorating the bathrooms with flowers and having bathroom baskets for the washrooms.  Thank you Kala for making my day run perfectly.   I truly appreciate all you did.

Florist - Beneva Flowers                                     A-

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I was very impressed with their communication through out the planning process.  The flowers were delivered promptly and it good condition; however, the first time I saw the centerpieces I thought to myself, "those were $30 each?"  All and all though, the flowers were beautiful and I was pleased with the results!

Affairs in the Air                                               A

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Simply put, Affairs in the Air turned an ugly room into a magical wonderland.  I got the full ceiling drape, panels all along the back wall behind the sweetheart table and cake table, and a decorated bathroom divider.  They came back the morning of the wedding to add a section that wasn't quite right and made the room perfect.  The one mishap I saw was a section of the ceiling drape that fell down twice in the night.  A ladder had to be brought out so it could be fixed.  No big deal though.  The room left everyone breathless.

Decor - Plant Parent                                          A

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I ordered 8 ficus trees with lights and ferns to place around the room.  This really made the room pop and brought the outside inside.  The crew arrived on time to set things up, and the trees were stunning.  Good last minute addition to the reception.

Ceremony Musicians - The King's Musicians      A-

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We hired a string trio from the King's Musicians.  The players are quite young, but can play beautiful music none the less.  I didn't hear much of the music as I was overwhelmed by most of the other stimulation, but we did decide to have a song play in the middle of the ceremony which both Dave and I got to enjoy.  They were affordable and lovely.  The only issue looking back now was their age.  I heard someone comment that they arrived and were like, "wow, they are young, but the did play nicely."

Cocktail Musicians - Herman                              A+

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I found Herman at Hotel Indigo playing during one of their cocktail hours.  He is a one man jazz show.  He plays guitar and sings to back ground tracks.  He was lots of fun and a great addition to cocktail hour under the Banyan Trees.  After we walked down the aisle, we got to hear a small bit of Herman playing and I was already dancing listening to it.  Our guests had great things to say about him.  Not only is his music an incredible addition to any wedding, he is very affordable. Thank you Herman.

DJ - Rob Sword with Sword Sounds                  A+

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Rob kept the partying going plain and simple.  He adhered to the "must play" list and asked me if it was okay to play some requests that came in that were on our "no play" list.  Since I'm game for anything to keep the party going, we rolled with the punches and went with everything and anything the crowd wanted.  Seriously, the dance floor was packed from the first slow dance song to the very last second before our exit.  What an incredibly fun dance party.  I haven't danced that hard in a very long while.  Our guests raved about him, and we were incredibly happy with his work.  Thank you Rob.

Hair & Makeup - Darla Stafford                           A+

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Darla simply is amazing and her work is superior.  It is no wonder she is the most sought after makeup artist in Florida's West Coast.  She has such a calm and collected demeanor which just soothes any stressful moment of your day.  Darla did 3 bridesmaids hair, the Mother of the Groom's hair and makeup,  the sister of the groom's hair, the niece of the groom and my hair and makeup.  Everyone looked stunning.  Even when  running behind, everything went off without a hitch.  She didn't stop once to take a break in the 5 hours it took to get everyone all dolled up.  She just kept going and going.  Darla even cleaned up some girls hair who didn't get it done by her and put hair flowers in my house party gals' hair.  My hair and makeup was perfect.  There is not one thing I could have changed to have looked any better.  Darla, thank you for your high level of professionalism and amazing work.  Simply stunning.

Videographer - Trinity Videos          PENDING FULL VIDEO

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David and Kristina were probably the one vendor that you hear from consistently through out the wedding planning process due to generated emails that are shot out every once in a while.  You can choose to ignore them, or use him as a resource in your wedding planning process.  David helped me a few times with vendor choices and wedding video related questions.  He was very professional, arrived on time, and worked his magic all night long.  You really didn't know he was there, and I can't wait to see the final product.  MORE REVIEW TO COME WHEN I GET ALL THE VIDEOS, but for now, this sneak peak is worthy of an A+

Cake - Missy's Cookie & Cakes                           A-

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Missy worked with me to make a vegan groom's cake and a vintage looking wedding cake.  I wasn't thrilled with the appearance or decorations on the cakes, but the taste was spectacular.  I heard many guests say they had two or three pieces of cake.  Yum. 

Dress - Elaine's Bridal Boutique -                        A-

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I probably would have given Elaine's a solid A, but after visiting CC's Boutique and experiencing what a real dress shopping experience should be like, I'll give Elaine's and A-.  There was nothing wrong with the experience at Elaine's, it just wasn't as elegant as CC's.  I did find a dress that I love at Elaine's and the prices were very good too!

The sales assistant that helped us was very kind and not pushy in a any way.  She let me go in the back and pull dresses with her, which I liked.  They were not secretive about prices or designers.

All and all, a solid dress shop - just nothing fancy!

Alterations - Daisy Penaranda                              A

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After falling in love with my dress and then picking it up and wondering if I made the right choice, I went to visit Daisy to see if she could make the dress fit like I envisioned it.  Leaving my first dress fitting, I was again jazzed up at the possibility of my dress.  I went back two subsequent times in the dress fitting process, and as they say - the third time was a charm.  Daisy is a perfectionist and turned my A-line dress into a Sweetheart with a trumpet bottom.  Because of the intricate lace work, this job was quite tedious and hard to match, but with Daisy's work you can not even tell the dress had major work done to it.

I would recommend Daisy to anyone looking to get their dress altered.  Her prices are better than at the dress shops, and she is the sweetest lady.

Alcohol - Total Wine and More                              A

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We wanted good quality and highly rated wines to serve at our wedding as well as some fancier beers to serve, so Total Wine and More was our savor for a one-stop shop.  We went in there, frustrated, just wanted some advice on what to serve our guests.  We were matched with a "wine manager" who laid everything out for us and spent about 45 minutes with us talking about the different wine selections.  We went for 2 whites and 2 reds, as well as 4 beer selections for the wedding and 1 white, 1 red and 2 beer selections for the rehearsal dinner. 

After the 10% case discount on wine, we didn't end up spending any more than we would have at Sam's or Costco AND we got all our alcohol in one spot.  This is crucial for our sanity two weeks before showtime! 


Rehearsal Dinner Vendor Reviews

We had a huge rehearsal dinner at Mote Aquarium on Lido Key for about 120 guests.  It was a blast and a great way to kick start the weekend!  I highly recommend having all out of town guests, or all guests, for that matter at the RD.  It is a great way for people to meet and mingle before the actual wedding... making the day of, that much more fun!

Mote Aquarium - Hendry Room                           A-

We rented to the Hendry Room at Mote Marine for our rehearsal dinner for approximately 120 guests.  The room was just perfect in size.  Enough room for our guests to spread out and enjoy their first night in Sarasota.  There is a dolphin tank outside which sure makes for an interesting conversation piece and a great way to get people in the Florida mood.  There was a rental special in 2009 that we got a small price cut on the room, which made the rental a great value.  With a crowd size like this, a room rental and catered event was so much nicer than being in a restaurant.


Steel Drum Band - CXP Experience                    A+

Floyd's CXP Experience Steel Drum Band and  his partner Perez were an amazing addition to our rehearsal dinner at Mote Marine.  We were going for an island experience that was laid back and fun, and Floyd brought exactly that!  CXP Experience plays every Sunday at Hard Rock Cafe's pool, so they know how to entertain.  The communication was prompt and professional.  Thank you Floyd and Perez.


Catering - TooJay's                                           A

The food was yummy, the staff was professional, the event was a smashing success.  The only hard part was the planning process.  We were looking for more event type planning which Too Jay's doesn't' normally provide (i.e. we had to hire our own bartenders and had to work very hard to get them to set up tables and other aspects of the event).  In the end it all worked out perfectly.  The buffet was great way to entertain 120 out of town guests the night before our wedding.  It seriously was like having two weddings.   Thank you Jodie for working extra hard for Dave and I's Rehearsal Dinner.


Re: I'm back with a Married Bio and Vendor Reviews!!! (LONG POST)

  • edited December 2011
    congratulations!!!!!!! I am so gald it went perfect for you. you look absolutely beautiful!!
  • lproutenlprouten member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011

    Welcome back and congratulations!!!

    Glad to hear everything went great. I know everyone on here was thinking about you!!!  Wow married for a week already, time sure does fly.


    Enjoy the married life.

  • edited December 2011
    It sounds like everything turned out wonderful! Congrats!
  • ufsweetiebearufsweetiebear member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Welcome back!
  • edited December 2011
    Congrats! And welcome back!
  • edited December 2011
    beautiful pictures! and thanks for the tips!Smile
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  • navybride02navybride02 member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Congrats and welcome back! Who did you use for wedding day transportation? We're still trying to figure something out for just us two, any ideas? 
  • jen812jen812 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Yay!!!!   Congrats!!!  I'm glad everything was perfect & that you're back.  Thanks for the reviews.
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  • edited December 2011
    Congrats!!! You looked stunning and I'm so glad everything went so well!!!
  • edited December 2011
    Carolyn, your wedding was sooo beautiful!!

    I am trying to convince FI to let me hire Affairs in the Air for our wedding d I'm going to show him your photos tonight to show how beautiful it looks.
  • edited December 2011
     Carolyn,

    I am so happy for you...it is so great to see that all your hard work and dedication to the wedding paid off:)  Great pics!!! 
    On March 13, 2010 I reaffirmed the LOVE that I have for the MOST important man in my LIFE! And now it is Happily ever after...forever!!!!! Image and video hosting by TinyPic
  • babybchbumbabybchbum member
    1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Welcome back. You got your Married bio done quickly, it was a joy to look at
  • edited December 2011
    So glad everything turned out so well! You looked beautiful, great pictures! And thanks for the detailed vendor reviews! We're using Rob Sword also as our DJ also, glad to hear he really kept the party going!
    Anniversary
  • babybchbumbabybchbum member
    1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Loved your video. I hope the full length is just as wonderful as this sneak peak.
  • Kee0425Kee0425 member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Welcome Back & congrats!
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: I'm back with a Married Bio and Vendor Reviews!!! (LONG POST):
    [QUOTE]Congrats and welcome back! Who did you use for wedding day transportation? We're still trying to figure something out for just us two, any ideas? 
    Posted by navybride02[/QUOTE]

    For $65 we used....
    PrimeTime Limos
    PrimeTime Limos
    Joe Russo 
    Office 941.792.3400



    The ride was literally like .75 miles and took 3 minutes, but it was  anice way to exit!  The driver was early and the exit went off perfectly.  Expensive, yes, but reliable and nice.
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to Re: I'm back with a Married Bio and Vendor Reviews!!! (LONG POST):
    [QUOTE]Carolyn, your wedding was sooo beautiful!! I am trying to convince FI to let me hire Affairs in the Air for our wedding d I'm going to show him your photos tonight to show how beautiful it looks.
    Posted by aallenba[/QUOTE]

    Thank you Amber.  Affairs in the Air did a great job, and it really made the room pop.  It isn't cheap, but it really helped the atmosphere.  Since our ourdoor rehearsal got rained out we had to have it in that room on Friday.  People were probably thinking "what an ugly room," and then on Saturday they actually commented to us that they can't believe how great the room looked and they were skeptical on Friday night!!! 

    GL convinving FI!
  • edited December 2011
    jet2paris - thank you.  I'm glad the day went smoothly too!

    lprouten - yes, married a whole week... and now moving in with FI.  So much fun!

    homecookin81, ufsweetiebear, lisanunez, christinapayne, jen812, kellyw09, aallenba, julieNflo, babybchbum, fallen4ever84, Kee0425 - thank you.

    In Response to Re: I'm back with a Married Bio and Vendor Reviews!!! (LONG POST):
    [QUOTE]We're using Rob Sword also as our DJ also, glad to hear he really kept the party going!
    Posted by fallen4ever84[/QUOTE]

    Rob was GREAT.  The party was going ALLLLL night long! 
  • navybride02navybride02 member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Thanks so much, I'll definitely give him a ring- we're only going 4 miles down the road so I hate the idea of spending huge amounts on something we'll barely use. Your wedding looked beautiful- I hope you're enjoying the newlywed life!
  • signingjuliesigningjulie member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I'm so glad everything went so smoothly! you looked beautiful!
  • edited December 2011
    Sure did miss your words of wisdom while you were gone! :)

    I saw a couple of your pics on Dawn's blog and they were beautiful.  You looked stunning!  I also booked David at Trinity and saw your sneek peek vid which turned out really well.  I am so excited to use his services!  He has been great so far!

    Congrats to you and Dave!  May you live a long and blessed life together!
    Brooke + Chavis
    est. 10/10/10


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  • edited December 2011
    congratulations!!
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  • edited December 2011
    Congrats! You look beautiful!! Im glad everything was perfect and it sounds like you two had an amazing honeymoon! How did your husband like his wedding gift?!
  • edited December 2011
    Wow!  Love the pics and thank you for the helpful reviews.  Best wishes to you and your husband for a long and happy marriage!
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