Just a warning, this will be REALLY long, so sorry about the walls o'text!
I was married on July 2 at Lyndhurst Castle in Tarrytown, NY. I’m originally from NJ, (parents still live there), but I live in NY now, so my vendors are a mix of NJ and NY people. The day was amazing and I had so many great vendors. The following are the three vendors that stood out the most to me on my wedding day. There’s good, bad, and ugly in here, but I just want to say I tried to be really honest about everything. I don’t want to sugarcoat, and I don’t want to bullshiit. I hope these will be helpful to someone!
Jose Reyes Photography - A+ (probably add a couple pluses on when I get my final pics!)
Jose was my very favorite vendor. I could go on and on about him. From the start, he was so accommodating and easygoing. He let us personalize our package and we got A LOT for a great price. He was so enthusiastic about our wedding and just made us feel so comfortable, we knew we made the right decision. On the day of the wedding, he was just so amazing to have around. He wasn’t just taking pictures, he was making sure everything else went smoothly, too. He kept us on schedule, and he even offered help and advice to me and my bridesmaids. Since he’s been to so many weddings (duh), he always had a solution to whatever problem or question we had. He made sure we didn’t forget anything and he just basically made sure everything went off without a hitch.
We had plenty of time for pictures, and we got to go to our cocktail hour, which was AWESOME! We had a huge bridal party, but Jose and his two assistants directed us so well and we all just had so much fun together laughing and taking pictures. Part of our package was a slideshow of pictures from the day during dinner at our reception. He showed about 7 minutes worth of pictures, which was so much more than we ever expected. And they were unbelievable. All 221 people were glued to the screen and their reactions tell you everything you need to know about the work. Everyone was amazed. People were coming up to me ALL night telling me they needed his name because when they get married, they wanted to use him. So while I haven’t seen the final product, the pictures I did see took my breath away. (And everyone else’s too). I would recommend him a million times. Love him to death. Even my husband loved him, and said he was the best money we’d spent.
In the Mix DJs (A+) and Colorblind Productions (F)
This was my other favorite of the day. But let me start from the beginning. We had originally hired Colorblind Productions to be our DJ. (Dianne and Rob, a husband and wife team.) Most of you on this board are familiar with them because they get GREAT reviews. I wasn’t able to meet with them, but they met with my mom (more than once, I believe) and we had verbal confirmation from them and were waiting on a contract so we could send the deposit. Well we waited, and waited, and waited. Dianne friended me on Facebook a few weeks later, and I immediately asked her about the contract. She said she had no idea why we didn’t get it, and she would talk to Rob and get it out ASAP. A few weeks later, no contract. So I emailed Rob. He said, and I quote from his email: “No worries, we are still available for your wedding day. I will send out the contract to you by day's end.” Well weeks later, we still didn’t have the contract. I emailed and also called them again. Meanwhile Dianne is on Facebook updating statuses and Twittering and all that, so I know it’s not like they didn’t get my emails. Finally I emailed both Dianne and Rob back saying that, if I didn’t hear from them in two days that I was finding a new DJ, because at this point we were about a month out. I NEVER heard from them again. I was honestly shocked that they would just ignore me like that. Every time I contacted them I expressed how nervous it was making me that we didn’t sign the contract and I told them WE WANTED TO SEND THEM MONEY. So I know what happened was that they had another wedding that wanted a package for more than we were going to pay, and they basically screwed me. But the fact that they actually gave me the run-around for MONTHS was honestly unbelievable. They get such good reviews, so I figured they must be great. Well the fact that they never even bothered to tell me they weren’t going to do our wedding, they just let me figure it out on my own after blatantly ignoring my emails or and mine and my mother’s phone calls is wrong.
But that leads me to In the Mix. They were recommended to me by both my maid of honor, who had seen them at a wedding, and my florist. I called them and got a call back right away from Dave, the owner. The first thing that struck me about the message he left me was that he started it by saying congratulations on my upcoming wedding. You don’t usually get that from wedding vendors. But anyway, we talked on the phone several times, and I finally met with him exactly two days before my wedding. (I live in NY so with so much going on, I couldn’t get to NJ until then.) We had about a two hour long meeting and he went over EVERYthing and I mean everything.
We finalized all the songs and he had awesome advice and suggestions. He even practiced with me how to say every single name in the bridal party, that’s how thorough he was. On the wedding day, everything was perfect. Our dance floor was literally never empty and he played just the right mix of music to keep everyone going all night. Every now and then during the night he would come up to me and ask me if I was okay with him playing certain songs, just as a courtesy, which was above and beyond. He improvised some things, like for our photo montage which was longer than usual, and he literally picked the song I would have picked. He was just the perfect DJ and I’m so happy it worked out. He was also one of the nicest people I’ve honestly ever met, so that helps. He’s not really talked about on this board, but if anyone’s looking, please consider him!
Laurelwood Designs - D
This one is difficult. I really liked my flowers, and if I had to grade Laurie from Laurelwood on that, I would give her a B+. To her credit, the flowers were beautiful. My only criticism is that she put tons of roses in my bouquet, even though I told her literally over and over again that I hate roses. But, the bouquet was still pretty and her other work was good. But, this is the one vendor that really made me feel like all I was to her was a dollar sign. In the beginning she didn’t seem that way. She was friendly and nice and had tons of suggestions and ideas, so were off to a great start.
We went with three different centerpieces of varying heights, and she agreed to do a sample of all of them for me (after I booked with her, of course.) First of all, all the other florists I met with did samples BEFORE I booked with them, and also did samples of my bouquet and my bridesmaids. Laurie wanted to charge me $200 for a bouquet sample, which in retrospect, if I’d have done that, she wouldn’t have put roses in my bouquet. Anyway, so things were progressing fine, we paid her on time every time, because a few days before the payment was due, she’d send you an email saying that if you didn’t get your money in on time, you would be charged $100 a day for every day it was late.
When it came time for my final payment 10 days before, we were still making changes on the contract. I got the final contract like 2 days before the payment was due. I mentioned before that I live in upstate NY, so to have the money to her on time, I had to drive down to NJ after work and get it in her mailbox and then drive straight back to NY because I had work the next day. It was annoying, but she’s a businesswoman and it’s her right to charge $100 a day if she wants to, but she was so adamant about it that it was weird and uncomfortable. I offered to put it on the credit card, but she charges you an extra 3% of your whole package to do that, which ends up to be quite a lot more than you would think. (And towards the end I didn’t have any wiggle room in the budget.)
So wedding day is here. We ended up having to add on more tables in between the time we made the final payment and the wedding day. She told me we could put it on the credit card. On the wedding day, she dropped off the flowers and asked for the money and I told her my husband would pay with CC. When she went to drop off the guy’s flowers, she told him he could NOT pay by CC, and then she left in a huff. Then she went to the venue to set up the flowers. (We still hadn’t paid at this point, but we obviously didn’t have any intention of not paying her.) Well by the time Laurie saw my mom, she was pretty angry. She yelled at my mom in front of our guests, who had already started arriving. She was ranting and raving and she made my mother cry. On my wedding day. In front of our guests. Several of my family members and friends approached me later that night and asked me what was with the crazy lady screaming at my mom. So it was embarrassing to say the least.
It was really just a misunderstanding, but by that time, my aunt just paid her with cash so we wouldn’t have to use the credit card since it’s apparently such a big issue for her. I paid my aunt back later. But this woman was so unprofessional that I could never recommend her to anyone. The flowers were nice, but definitely not worth it to deal with her. I know a lot of people have good experiences with her, but I truly couldn’t recommend her to anyone. All she cares about is getting your money, and it’s sad. To scream at the mother of the bride on her only daughter’s wedding day in front of guests is ridiculous and I wish I’d used someone else.