Wedding date: August 20, 2011
Ceremony Site: Lakeside Beach: A+++
The ceremony site was ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!! Everyone was commenting on how gorgeous the ceremony was. The snow-capped mountains in the background, and the sun was just glistening off the water. Amazing! I was originally worried about the public beach being next door but I didn't even notice it the day of. No one on the public side ventured over to where our ceremony was (They had signs up and and attendant keeping on-lookers away). They let my friend come & decorate the arch & set up the sand ceremony kit an hour before the ceremony. The site was groomed, all chairs set up and they provided the table for the sand ceremony. And they roped off parking so we didn't have to pay for a limo..All for $900.
Officiant: Rev. David Beronio: A
Rev. Beronio did a great job of acting as a coordinator in addition to minister so that was SUPER helpful. He did sort of start going into our sand ceremony early by accident, but no one but me noticed and it worked out ok. He was very nice and very good about customizing our wedding to make it feel very personal.
Reception Venue: Embassy Suites Lake Tahoe: A
The venue was in a very good location a short walk from the ceremony site, the wedding coordinator was extremely helpful however she sometimes tried to push her ideas on me a little too much. For example, I let her influence me on how we wanted to do the bar, she kept insisting that based on her experience she KNEW we wouldn't reach our bar limit and convinced me to add a signature drink. I listened to her experience even though I was hesitant and sure enough we reached our bar limit only 2 hours into the reception so that was a bit of a bummer. But they don't have a site fee (only a food & drink minimum) and the food was very good! Overall, I was very happy with using Embassy as my venue. I don't think I could have found a better venue w/in our budget.
DJ: Last Resort DJ: B+
Likes - They kept everyone on the dance floor all night, which is the most important thing! They kept a low profile, which is what I wanted. They didn't do the whole cheesy DJ thing...
Dislikes - Their introductions were bad (they didn't have the wedding parties names written down, even though I had asked them ahead of time about it and they assured me that their way worked great). So there were big pauses as they asked each person their name etc..And the music at the ceremony was waaay too quiet. I basically walked down the aisle in silence because I couldn't hear the music. My guests on one side said they could kind of hear it, and the guests on the other side couldn't hear it at all.
Cake: Safeway Bakery: A++
The cake was DELICIOUS, gorgeous, and only $187! Enough said!
Hair & Make-up: Sessions Salon: A++
Wendy at sessions was awesome. She was like an artist working w/ a canvas while doing my make-up. She convinced me to do fake eyelashes, which she custom cut for me. And I was so happy w/ how my hair came out. Just like the picture I gave her. My mom & bridesmaids that got their hair done were all happy w/ their stylists as well. Plus the salon offered us Mimosas, snacks, coffee. They were great all around.
Flowers: FlowerExplosion.com & Safeway: B
I ordered most of my flowers online, then purchased some extra filler at Safeway. The flowers I ordered online were pretty good but I wish I had ordered the next bunch up to get more flowers because some of them were still buds. The purple tinted roses I ordered looked more blue than purple so I was kind of bummed about that. Safeway had a nice selection to add for filler. Overall, the bouquets came out beautiful because my Matron of Honor (who is a former florist) was amazing at making it work. We had a "bouquet party" the day before the wedding w/ mimosas and pastries and it was alot of fun. I highly recommend this because it saved a ton of $ (I only spent $250 total including all supplies and made 7 bridesmaid bouquets, 2 junior bridesmaids, my bridal bouquet, and 2 MOBs). But go with a different online vendor if you go this route.
Photographer: A friend of a friend amateur photographer: A+
One of the best decisions I made for my wedding. For much less than I would have spent on a pro, I had a photographer all night. She took BEAUTIFUL photos, she is editing some of the best ones then giving me the disc w/ all the photos. Plus she did a boudoir shoot for free.
Host hotel: Montbleu: B+
The room was nice, the location was great, but they didn't offer any good options for blocking off rooms (you had to guarantee 25 rooms or they charge you..). Staying at the Embassy probably would have been better, but the price was right at Montbleu. The spa in Montbleu gets an A+ though. My morning of the wedding massage was perfect.
After-party: Opal Ultra-Lounge, Montbleu Resort: B
The after-party was sooo much fun...once we got in! The VIP service wasn't too impressive. We literally had 30 people lined up and they were trying to charge us ahead of time for the bottle service & demanding one credit card to pay for it all (which is not what they represented to me ahead of time). Plus the bottle prices were quite a bit higher than they originally e-mailed to me. In the meantime we were all waiting while the regular line of people got to go in. It was very frustrating & stressful and I finally yelled to everyone "Forget it, we are leaving & going somewhere else" at which point the door guy said "Ok - we will bring you in and you can pay as you go". Once the drama of getting admitted was over though, the club was alot of fun and we got the whole upstairs area to ourselves.
I think I covered everything. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have questions or want other suggestions or pictures. My wedding day turned out to literally be the happiest day of my life...and I'm so happy to have those memories. My husband & I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out.