Hi ladies! So I'm so sorry this is so late but it has been a crazy busy summer!
My wedding was May 28th in Ames, IA.
First of all, the weather was gorgeous!!! It was around mid-seventies and just barely cloudy. So it made for great pictures and no one was overheating in our non-air-conditioned church. After the ceremony was over, the sun came out and it was beautiful for our carriage ride to the reception.
Church: First Christian Church -- A+
This isn't my family's church but they were so amazing to work with. They provided a wedding coordinator and decorated the pulpit area and hung banners of my choice around the sides of the church. They also provided candles and a music/lighting person. Just wonderful!
Reception Hall: Scheman Building -- A+
Loved, loved, loved our reception! They also provided a coordinator for us and the combination of the two coordinators meant I didn't need to hire a day-of coordinator so I saved money! Melissa worked really hard to make sure all the details at the reception were exactly right and the food was running smoothly. The only drawback to this reception site is that you have to use Iowa State Catering, but the food was absolutely amazing so I don't really consider it much of a drawback, although it did add to the cost.
Flowers: Mary Kay Flowers -- B-
The flowers from here were absolutely gorgeous. That being said, they were not great to work with and we had a lot of communication problems. It started out as a great relationship. I got a quote over the phone, decided it was within our budget, even if we went over the actual quote by a bit and put down a deposit. A couple weeks later I went to meet with the wedding person there and gave her my ideas as well as pictures of what I wanted. I was very specific and said exactly I wanted and gave her a list of all the arrangements I would need. The amount she totaled up for me was almost double what my quote had been over the phone (I was talking to a different person over the phone). However, it was pretty comparable to some other quotes I had gotten so I decided to go with it.
About a month later (she said it would be a week) she emailed me with the list she had made from our meeting. It was wrong. The arrangements had been written down with wrong flowers and colors and she had forgotten three of them. I went back and met with her again and double checked everything she had written down. It all seemed to be correct. I asked if I needed to provide candle holders for the tapers on the unity candle. She said no, they would provide everything necessary.
Day of the wedding: She arrives at the church and brings the flowers in. The bridesmaid bouquets were gorgeous, but really small considering what I paid for them. My bouquet, which I had asked to be ivory with some pink accents was pink with ivory accents. Gorgeous but wrong. (I will post pics below). The cake flowers didn't at all look like what I had asked for (except for the fact that they were roses). All in all, I wish I had changed places after that initial red flag. But the flowers were very pretty.
DJ: Ultimate Entertainment -- A+++++++++++++
These guys were amazing!!! They seriously made the whole night awesome and kept everybody dancing all the way through the last song. They played all of my requests and made sure to check with me if they changed anything or wanted to play something different (even though I told them that they were in charge and I trusted them to know what was best). They even played some of my more bizarre requests like video game music during dinner and an aquabats song that I love. Everything they did was just perfect. This is even more amazing considering I didn't ever meet with them before that night. They have an online program that allows you to make playlists, requests and payments online. I talked to them on the phone twice (although not with my actual djs) and that was it. I was nervous about it, but it ended up being one of the best decisions of the night! I seriously cannot say enough good things about them. I would recommend them to anyone and everyone!
Horse and Carriage: Iowa Carriage Service -- A+
This was me and H's favorite part of the evening. We rode from the church to the reception hall which was about half an hour and stopped at a park for a couple pictures. It was a nice breathing moment for us and a good chance to be alone and take it all in. The horses were wonderful and the carriage was beautiful! The drivers were awesome! Punctual and professional and they were very nice to chat with as well! I would definitely recommend them. I'll post some pics of it below.
Photographer: Craig Carroll -- F
This was the biggest disappointment of the day and unfortunately it was one of the most important things to me. My dad works for Craig so he did our pictures for free, which was awesome!!! However, it was very clear from the beginning that he knew he wasn't making money off of our wedding and so he wasn't giving us the same attention he might to a paying couple. (At least I hope that's not how he treats a paying couple). He told us 3 days (yes 3) before the wedding that he was leaving at 7 to go photograph a fundraiser. Our wedding started at 6. So he wouldn't be doing any pictures at the reception at all and all photos needed to pretty much be taken care of before the ceremony. Besides that (although that's enough), he missed a lot of awesome shots, messed up the two shots I asked specifically for and didn't take any pictures of us up close at the ceremony so you can't see our faces at all. The first time I saw my pictures I cried... and they're still not edited. Obviously am not going to recommend him to anyone, paying or otherwise.
Overall, even though things went wrong, the day was perfect and we had an amazing wedding! And it's so awesome to be married! Feel free to ask me questions about vendors or anything! I'll post some pics below!