Hi everyone! I never posted much, but I always found vendor reviews useful, especially since I had a rather long engagement…plenty of time for research J
Our wedding was on 12/7/13 (Icemageddon!), and all of our vendors came through for us and knocked it out of the park! So, they all definitely deserve a shout out. I saw another post about stories from that weekend, and probably the most interesting thing that happened to us was we had to change priests the day before the wedding. A family friend from another parish north of Denton was going to say the Mass, but as everyone knows, I-35W north of Denton was an absolute mess. Luckily, the wedding was taking place at a Catholic university, so there was an on campus chaplain who was available. The priest did a wonderful job, and had never met us.
Wedding Planner: Kelly Simants with Sweet Pea Events (A++++++) – I cannot say enough about how awesome Kelly is. She is worth about 10 times her fee. We used her full planning service because my husband and I both work full time, and I have to travel. I interviewed 4 different planners (all great) and decided on Kelly because our personalities meshed well, and I was really impressed with her business acumen. The whole wedding planning process was actually enjoyable because she handled the to-do lists, and she was very responsive. If I emailed her with a question, I would hear back generally within 24-48 hours. As it got closer to the wedding day, she would give me a heads up if she needed to be out of the office (i.e. for a destination wedding or vacation) just so that I wouldn’t be surprised when I got an out of office response. The day before the wedding, we had to change up a lot of plans due to the weather. For example, I was planning to go to a salon to get my hair done and then a makeup artist was meeting me at the reception venue. We realized that there was no way we would be able to make it to the salon on Saturday morning, and the makeup artist was worried about being able to make it as well. I was beginning to accept the idea of just doing my own hair and makeup with the help of my bridesmaids…not a problem. Kelly checked in with me on Friday afternoon, and when I told her what was going on, she found someone who could do BOTH my hair and makeup on Saturday morning.
Photography: McGowan Images (A+++++++) – They were the first vendor we booked more than a year prior to the wedding date…because they are awesome. ‘Nuff said. I found them on this discussion board, so thank you for posting reviews! I am just so glad they made it safely because the wedding just would not have been the same without them.
Florals/Décor: Branching Out Events (A++++++) – Debby is just awesome and so much fun to work with. I basically just explained my vision and showed her my Pinterest page, and she ran with it. She is so creative and passionate about her job. She drew up a proposal early on, and then she came up with even more ideas during the weeks leading up to the wedding after we had a better idea of the guest count and table layout.
Reception Venue: Noah’s in Irving (A) – They are extremely flexible and allow you to bring everything, which means that it would be kind of difficult to DIY your wedding unless you’re extremely organized. We used every room in the building, and it was nice to spread things out so that people weren’t stepping on each other when they were getting their food. The only slightly negative thing was our wedding planner contacted them the week of our wedding asking about salting the parking lot because we knew the ice storm was coming. They basically said that they weren’t equipped to handle it, so it was an ice skating rink on Saturday. By the time we got back to Noah’s after the ceremony, the parking lot was somewhat better because our wedding planner called (I think) their landscaping company to clear the ice. It was just a little disappointing that they couldn’t help out more with the ice, especially since we asked about it ahead of time. However, everything else about their customer service was positive, so I think they just underestimated how bad it would be.
Ceremony Venue: Church of the Incarnation at the University of Dallas (A) – I am an alum, so that is why I was able to get married here. They don’t do a ton of weddings, but they are more flexible than most Diocesan parishes that I’ve had experience with. Campus Safety also really came through with the walkways, parking lots, and tree branches. If you are an alum and are planning a Catholic wedding, definitely consider having your wedding here.
DJ: Colby Logan with Astounding Sounds (A+) – This guy is hilarious and so much fun to work with. He does fairly in depth questionnaires after he meets with you to get to know you and your fiancé better. He also asks you to send the questionnaires to your parents (if you want) to get their input as well. Consequently, there were songs that he played during the reception that got a lot of awesome reactions…like, “OMG! THIS SONG!!!” He’s also really professional when he makes announcements. I’ve heard cheesy wedding DJs before, and Colby is not like that at all.
Catering: Gil’s Elegant Catering (A+++) – We went to one of their monthly events to try their food, and then we did a tasting after we booked. I am so glad we were able to bring our own caterer because it really offered flexibility. The food at the wedding was just as good as the food we tried at the tasting, and we kept getting “thumbs up” from our guests during the wedding as well as plenty of compliments afterwards. Gil’s even provided large signs on easels at each action station so that guests could easily peruse the offering. Their staff was extremely professional when passing hors d’oeuvres and refilling drinks. They also brought plates of food to me and my new husband so that we wouldn’t have to carry anything. At the end of the night, they gave us a to-go cooler with snacks and leftover food in case we wanted a late night snack. We also used their bartending service, and they did a great job.
Late Night Snack: The Snack Box (A) – Towards the end of the night, we offered fresh mini donuts that The Snack Box made on site. I couldn’t eat much because I was so full, but I did try a few bites and they were delicious! They had standard toppings like cinnamon/sugar, chocolate, and powdered sugar, and it went well with the hot chocolate and coffee bar that Gil’s provided.
Cakes: Sugar Bee Sweets (A) – Everything we tried at the tasting was awesome, so it was really difficult to choose flavors. I didn’t eat much cake at the reception because I was so full (and too busy dancing), but what I did have was just as delicious as the tasting. Because we kept our cakes relatively simple (no fondant or sugar flowers), we came in under budget.
Videography: Splendor Films (A) – We obviously haven’t seen the results yet, but Jeff and Amanda were extremely professional and easy to work with. They were also troopers during the icy mess. I can’t wait to see the final results!
Ceremony Musicians: Meridian Strings (A) – We obviously used the pianist at the church, but we also wanted a string trio. Because we had a full Catholic Mass, we really needed to use musicians that were approved by the music director at the church. Obviously, this can be a bit worrisome because choices are limited, but Drew with Meridian was very responsive, checked in during the wedding week to verify a few details, and the musicians showed up on time and performed well. The Mass was just beautiful.
Transportation: Choice Luxury Limo (A+++++) – Holy cow, am I glad we hired these guys!! We requested a 24 passenger bus to get guests from the hotel to the ceremony, then to the reception and back to the hotel. We had a lot of out of town guests, so this was really more of a convenience when we hired them. That shuttle bus was an absolute life saver on the wedding day! The driver grew up out of state (somewhere up north), so he was comfortable driving in the weather, and because the shuttle was heavier than your average car, it could handle the ice much better. The driver was named Cyrus, and he even helped me walking down steps after the ceremony when I was making my way back to the bus. We also hired a sedan to pick up my elderly grandparents from Ft. Worth. The driver, Ken (very nice man), made a valiant effort trying to get them, but in the end, they just weren’t comfortable with all the ice and asked him to turn around. He was our driver at the end of the night and got us safely to our hotel.
Wedding Guest Hotel: NYLO Las Colinas (A-) – There was a lot of confusion during the wedding weekend because reservations were being canceled and rebooked just about every hour due to flight cancelations and guests deciding they didn’t want to drive home after the wedding due to the weather. They lost some reservations and couldn’t get people checked in quickly (because people wouldn’t leave their rooms), but they remedied the situation as best they could. In the end, anyone who needed a room got one, but it was a little chaotic. In addition, they ran out of food the night before the wedding and Saturday morning, which meant people were trying their best to get to nearby gas stations and restaurants (most places were closed). The problem was their supply trucks couldn’t get there, so apparently the chef was running to local grocery stores to try to get supplies. We provided a breakfast buffet the morning after the wedding, and I think they had enough food by then.
Wedding Night Hotel: Four Seasons Las Colinas (A+) – The suite we got was awesome, and their service was great. We stayed Saturday and Sunday night because we weren’t flying out until Monday morning. When we had dinner Sunday night, the waiter found out we were newlyweds and gave us complimentary champagne and dessert! Our wedding planner was able to get us a ridiculously good rate, so definitely ask your planner to make the reservation for you if you’re interested in staying at this hotel.
Wedding Dress: Neiman Marcus (A) – I got my dress at a trunk show, so there was a nice discount. Otherwise, it’s pretty expensive. Their customer service is great, and I was able to contact my bridal consultant directly anytime I had a question.
Furniture Rentals: Period Charm Rentals (B) – We only got a few pieces like a cake hutch and a few tables, couches, and chairs. The warehouse is a little disorganized and Lisa, the owner, is very sweet but a little flighty. Luckily, our wedding planner could “translate” for us and knew what we needed. I don’t think I would work with Period Charm on my own because it would be too confusing. The pieces were absolutely beautiful, though, and fit our décor perfectly.
The wedding party attire was pretty DIY to keep the costs down. The groomsmen all wore black suits that they already owned or bought, and my husband got their ties and pocket squares from The Tie Bar as part of their gift. The other part of their gift was custom cufflinks from frenchcuffed.com (very reasonable and good quality). The bridesmaids all wore pencil skirts and patterned tights that they already owned or bought, and then I ordered their tops from Ann Taylor when they were running a big sale. Their pashminas came from Tom Thumb (What?! Yes).
I hope I didn’t forget anyone! Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions.