I forgot to mention that the disposable cameras on each table for guests to take pictures - skip it! The amount of useable pictures (and I am one to think useable pictures could be some of the hilarious ones), I could probably count on 2 hands. It's expensive to develop them considering how few pictures are decent. There were a lot of pictures that people took that were of Ian and I - and they were terribly far away. The purpose of those cameras is to take pics of your table. About 2-3 tables did a great job with them. But, in my mind - a waste of money. But that's just my humble opinion.
Today's topic will be the reviews of each of my vendors:
- DaVinci's Florist: B+ I loved, loved, loved my bouquet. It was the perfect size, shape, and the flowers used were absolutely fresh and beautiful. My bridesmaids flowers were also absolutely beautiful. The color of the hot pink had more purple in it than we had discussed, but wasn't off enough to really complain about. The reception centerpieces - loved them! As I mentioned yesterday, the only mistake was that the 2 MOH bouquets should've been all hot pink and green (no white). Here are some pics:
Tall centerpiece (this picture makes them look purple - they were fuschia or hot pink):
- Upper Crust Wedding Cakes: A+ I LOVED working with Liz. I am not a huge cake person, but have to say I am addicted to her cakes. She did our rehearsal dinner cake and wedding cake. The rehearsal dinner cake was a vanilla cake with buttercreak and wild blackberry jam. We had two flavors for our wedding cake - Vanilla cake with buttercream and fresh strawberries in grand marnier; and devil's food cake with vanilla buttercream. YUM to both! The design was very fun as well. Delivery was on time and she was very professional. Would HIGHLY recommend her! Here's a picture:
- Cherry Blossom Weddings & Events: A++++ I CANNOT RAVE ENOUGH ABOUT ERIN! Seriously - she was freaking amazing. I'm super sad she's taking a break from weddings for a bit but am so grateful I was able to have her be my DOC. Kim was also there on the day of and she rocked as well. Things went extremely smoothly and I really didn't worry about a single thing on the day of. A couple problems arose and I didn't even know about them. I swear I was as calm as I was because I knew she was on top of things. She was not only an awesome DOC - but she was the sweetest person - truly a pleasure to be around. She even bought a hot pink shirt for her suit to match my wedding colors. Love her! I don't think I have a picture with her - but she's in the background of lots of pics.
- Chris Laich: (Ray) A+ Our dance floor was packed and when the hotel was ready to close things up at 12:00 and the dance floor was still packed, we kept it going until 1:00am. It was truly a party. It was super important to me to dance the night away, and that's precisely what I did which explains why I am sweaty in lots of late night pictures. Seriously - he rocked. I would hire him again in a heartbeat. The music was perfect for our entrances, dinner time and dance time. All ages of people were dancing, from my little goddaughter who's almot 7, to Ian's grandmas who are in their 80's. And his announcements were completely professional. Would HIGHLY recommend you to hire them!
- Sairra Lax: A Sairra was so professional and really listened to what I was looking for. She made every single one of my girls and both moms look absolutely amazing. And I felt absolutely beautiful and elegant and fresh and didn't feel like I was wearing a ton of makeup. She doesn't have a website so message me if you'd like her contact info. She was wonderful.
- Michael Perez: A Michael has been doing my hair since I was 5 years old. He did not do what I consider "typical" bridesmaid hairstyles. Each person had a different style and he really worked to make sure it fit with their faces and hair types. They were fresh and looked fabulous on every single one of them. He also added a few touches - gave my MOH bangs, trimmed my Dad's hair, and gave two girls side bangs. He was awesome. Very expensive - but worth it to me. I really liked my hair as well - it fit me perfectly. It wasn't loose and pulled back and made me feel very elegant. And it stayed very well until 1:00am!
- Freed Photography (Russell): A Russell and Glen were so professional. Guests commented on how they didn't really notice our photographers which made me very happy. They blended in well and were super polite. I haven't seen all of our pictures, but from the brief slideshow, I am already very pleased. I can't wait to see the rest of them! Would totally hire them again!
- Atlantis Imagery: A (so far) Vince was very easy to work with. I didn't really notice him much at the wedding (except for the light he uses at the reception). I will have to repost about him after I receive our video!
- RMA: A- We rented 2 buses from RMA - one for the bridal party, and another for the guests. Considering how many horror stories we've heard about wedding day transportation, I am very happy that everything went very smoothly. They were on time and offered us the best price out of all the places we looked into. The only mishap was that the guest bus kept going in circles - was clearly lost. Luckily one of our guests is very familiar with the area and went and directed the driver.
- Alabaster's Limousines: A- Our driver was on time, very professional, and we loved the 1959 Rolls Royce. The cost was a little less than what a limo would've costed us and we loved the idea of taking this car instead of a limo - it just worked better for us. Only negative was that the limo kind of conked out on us halfway there. He got it started within about 30 seconds and it was fine the rest of the trip. I think he was new to driving this particular car.
- The Westin Grand: C+ I have mixed feelings about the Westin. Our experience in terms of planning was not very positive. The actual night went off amazingly - but a ton of things happened before then that really left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. I think that things would have gone more smoothly had their transition of new employees been better. I've expressed lots of my issues with them up until this point. But the actual wedding week/weekend had some screw ups as well - The suite not being ready, not handing out many valet cards (we had provided them with little thank you notes to hang from each rear view mirror - but the majority of our people who valet parked didn't receive them), changing the price of something 2 days before the wedding, not serving both flavors of the cake, and who knows what else. Robin is their coordinator and while she seemed to do a great job, the hotel establishment as a whole was not up to par for the amount of money we were spending there. That being said, I loved the feeling of our evening, the food and they did try to compensate us in some ways.
- Men's Warehouse: A From all of the horror stories I've heard about tuxes being wrong, I am happy that everything went very smoothly. Every single tux was right! And I think the boys looked pretty handsome if I do say so myself.
- Boone & Sons: B+ We got both of our wedding bands from Boone & Sons (Chevy Chase location). Their service is great - very personal and they are incredibly kind and helpful, which is a rarety at most businesses. They also gave us the best deals we could find - and we shopped at several different jewelers. The reason I'm giving them this grade though is because the rings weren't engraved on time and I had to take 2 trips back there to get them. Any bride knows that the last few weeks before your wedding are incredibly busy, so it was inconvenient for me to have to go back a few times. The engravings were incorrect the first time so they had to redo them. They did however, knock off a bit of the price for the mishap which was nice of them. I would certainly use them again though!
- Distinctive Designs: B- I loved, loved, loved my dress. The day I went to try on dresses there was wonderful. I really liked the people I worked with. And it was not "stuffy" like I found several bridal stores to be. I special ordered an extra 12 inches on my dress which was going to require more money and more time for the hand beading. Also, my veil was custom ordered to end right past where the train ends. I went to my first fitting and my instinct told me that something wasn't right. The veil was WAY too long and my train didn't seem quite long enough. It turns out that the designer made a mistake and didn't add the extra lengthn (not DD's fault whatsoever). I was reimbursed for the extra length, and DD fixed my veil to be the right length. We could've requested the designer to make a new back panel but by the time it would've gotten to us, the alterations woman would've only had a few days to remove the current panel, put the new panel in, and do the rest of the alterations. It was a risk I wasn't willing to take. My issue with DD is that I basically had to fight them to call the designer because I just knew it wasn't right. They tried to tell me that I was wrong. Also - we would've had enough time to have ordered the new panel if they had checked the dress when it first came in. It worked out fine in the end, but was irritated that I had to fight them that much just to get to the bottom of the situation! Additionally - I think they need a new alterations person. She did a great job - but she had trouble understanding me and was tried to cancel an appointment 5 minutes before I was scheduled to be there - just not the most professional in my opinion.
- An Elegant Invite: D I would not recommend this company. I loved my invitations, but considering how many vendors carry similar (or sometimes the exact) invitations, I would get them from somewhere else next time. She happened to be out of town when our invitations came in. They were supposed to be delivered to my mom's house, but were delivered to the vendor's house. Because she was out of town, I was delayed in getting them (and also had to go pick them up from her house which is about 40 minutes from our house - not convenient whatsoever) Also - she was terrible with communication. She told us she would email us when our credit card would be charged. She never did that which startled us because we didn't recognize the company name that it showed up as on our statement. Also - the price ended up coming out to a lot more than she had quoted us. When I inquired, she gave me various reasons why - and I couldn't argue with her, but I wish she would've given us the full detail of the price when we first met with her. Additionally, we were supposed to have gotten clear stickers to seal our invitations but they weren't in the order. I wrote to the vendor expressing my dissatisfaction, and she never replied. To me, that is horrible business practice. I have several friends who are engaged who wanted me to refer them to our invitation vendor, and I refused to recommend her. Would not use her again.
Those are my main vendors. I know I'm simply blanking on others - and I'll get to them another time!