Got married yesterday and it was great!! We aren't leaving for our quasi-honeymoon until tomorrow, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to write some reviews while things are fresh in my mind.
Venue/Catering/Cake - Le Chateau, South Salem, NY: A
Beautiful location, excellent food, event smoothly run by Jean Luc (the expert maitre d'), The event coordinators there are very responsive and easy to reach. It poured rain the day before the wedding, but they were able to find a company to put a tent up for us at the last minute so that we could keep the ground dry and still have our wedding outside. They accomodated every one of our special requests for the food and wine, and created a beautiful and delicious apple wedding cake for us as well. Overall the whole experience with them from beginning to end was awesome! Would highly recommend - especially for a daytime wedding like mine (you and your guests can take in the breathtaking views for the entirety of the event, plus their daytime pricing is shockingly reasonable for all that you get!).
Flowers - Lee Vazquez Floral Design: A+++
Lee's flowers were sublime. People were fighting for the centerpieces at the end of the day! I loved all of the bouquets (especially mine, hehehe), and the boutonnieres were beautiful as well. She lined the aisle with beautiful petals, too, and once it was decided that stabilizers would be necessary underneath the aisle runner because the ground was still a bit mushy after the previous day's rain, she went back and added more petals to make sure you wouldn't be able to see anything but petals and the runner. Lee also built a custom arch for us out of branches, grape vines, and flowers that was just stunning. What she created was better than anything I imagined, and she was a dream to deal with in the preparation phase. Her prices are excellent, as well. If I were to do things over again, I would still choose Lee in a heartbeat.
Hair/Makeup - Wedding Hair By Annaliese: A+++
Annaliese herself did my hair, and her mother Frann came along to do my makeup. Having Frann involved was a happy accident - I had a makeup trial that went terribly the day before my trial with Annaliese, and I mentioned how stressed I was about having to try to find someone different for makeup during my hair trial. Annaliese mentioned that her mother did makeup, and her mother happened to be there with her at the time and could do a trial on me if I liked. I said sure, and Frann created exactly the look I wanted without even looking at a single sample photo! So of course I booked her on the spot. Annaliese and her mother are very friendly, fun women who get along very well, and I would definitely recommend booking them as a team if you need both types of service. I had a fantastic time the morning of my wedding thanks to them. They showed up exactly on time and finished everyone exactly when they were supposed to. And most importantly, my hair and makeup were AMAZING. I've never felt so beautiful in all my life, and probably never will again. Between my trial and the wedding I changed my mind a million times about exactly how I wanted my hair done, and Annaliese was very patient and helpful during the process. I knew I wanted a low curled bun with a french braid on one side, so I sent her a bunch of different pictures over the course of the last few weeks before the wedding and she took the time to explain what would work and what wouldn't based on what she knew about my hair type from the trial. In the end, my 'do came out even better than I had dared dream of. And for the first time in my life, the dang thing actually stayed! All day, from 7:30 AM until late that night!! My makeup was beautiful, too - even better than it had been in the trial, and again, it stayed all day long with nary a touchup needed - and it wasn't even airbrushed! (Frann uses Bare Minerals products, for the most part.) I couldn't have been happier with my experience, and I would highly recommend Annaliese and Frann to anyone.
Dresses - David's Bridal (ceremony) and Priscilla of Boston (reception): A
I know people have had mixed experiences with David's Bridal, but honestly mine was very positive. I didn't buy my dress from a David's in this area, though, so I won't bother going into detail about my experience with them in this forum.
Unfortunately Priscilla is going out of business, so I won't spend too much time discussing them either, but they were awesome - they let me come back in and try on shoes with the sample dress four different times after I had ordered it! They were happy to accomodate me every time, too. I am sorry to see them go. :-(
Tuxes - Men's Wearhouse: C
Again, we are from Boston so we didn't deal with any of the Men's Wearhouse stores in this area, but we did have a few significant problems in the process and we weren't terribly thrilled with the experience there. When we went in to choose the tuxes/vests/ties/etc., everything went great, but on the delivery end things got messed up pretty badly on a few different occasions and for a few different people. We were able to get almost everything fixed in time for the wedding, thank goodness, but not without some yelling and some headaches. My recommendations would be to deal with them as EARLY as possible, do not wait until the last minute to pick things up, and most importantly, have your groom/groomsmen/father/etc. try everything on in the store when they go in for pickup - I cannot stress this enough.
DJ - Turntable Events: A
Spencer is awesome. A very friendly, professional young man (though not TOO young) who wasn't cheesy, intrusive, or overbearing. He found and played every single one of our many requested songs, and didn't play anything on our do not play list. He was able to get a good feel of what we would like based on our lists and somehow managed to throw in some favorites that we had forgotten to include on our must play list! We were very impressed with that. :-) He also was happy to accomodate a few different changes and special requests that I made on the fly at the reception. We were worried that no one would dance at our daytime wedding, but more people were up dancing yesterday afternoon than I have seen dancing at many evening weddings I have attended! We were thrilled with Spencer and would definitely use him again.
Photography/Videography - Bill Fredericks Studio: B+
We have not, of course, seen the photos or the video yet, so this review might change depending on the results of those, but he gets a B+ for now based on our experience dealing with him during the planning process and on the big day itself. Bill himself shot our wedding, and while he's not not the most congenial guy I've ever met, he is efficient and isn't afraid to take charge when necessary (which was good in the case of my wedding, for reasons I won't get into here). Bill left an hour and 45 minutes before our reception was over, which didn't thrill us, but he did warn us about that in advance and assured us that his assistant would be more than adequate to cover the remainder of the event. The assistant (Jonas) was very friendly and a pleasure to deal with, so it pretty much worked out fine. He also allowed us to convince him to throw in a free set of high-quality 4x6 proofs of the every image he shot, which was cool. Two major things I didn't like, though, were that he orchestrated a shot I specifically told him I didn't want (my divorced and remarried parents alone - i.e., without their respective current spouses - in a pic with me), and he seemed a little annoyed when I asked him to shoot a few other specific things on the fly. So, it could have been better and it could have been worse. As for the video, a gentleman named George shot it. While I didn't speak with him much, my husband (still weird to call him that, haha!) says that he was very nice. The videography services were a little on the expensive side, but my future mother-in-law booked that part of things without consulting us and she didn't bargain with him at all, so I'm not sure how malleable the final price might have been. Anyway, we'll see how things come out when I get them back in 8 weeks. I'll let you guys know!
Officiant - Judge Marc Seedorf: A-
Definitely all business, but easy to reach and very professional. He did not attend the rehearsal, but we did not ask him to either. He showed up about 10 minutes before the ceremony was due to start, had our witnesses sign the marriage license, and collected his honorarium (only $100 - very reasonable). He was there at the end of the aisle when I walked down, he performed the ceremony (brief and concise, but pleasant and religion-free - which is just what we wanted), and he disappeared immediately afterward. All in all a good experience, but I kind of wish we had been able to spend a little more time with him.
My ceremony musicians, limo company, and hotels were all in Danbury, CT, so I won't review them here (unless requested). All in all my husband and I had an amazing day - let me know if you'd like any more details about any of these vendors and I will be happy to provide!!