Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Vendor Reviews

So, my next post is definitely going to be a wedding highlights post! There were so many wonderful (and a few not-so-wonderful pre-wedding) things about our big day! I keep reliving it over and over in my mind! It was the happiest day of my life! I just loved it. However, I decided to post my vendor reviews over here. Some of my vendors asked me to write reviews of their services and I wanted to do this for the ladies on the Dallas Knot Boards. I used the Knot to plan my entire wedding. I found so many resources and saved a ton of $$. I hope other "knotties" can do the same!

Ceremony & Reception--Dallas Arts Center A+++++

Could not have asked for a more perfect venue. Shari was there for my every need. She had tons of decorative stuff for us to borrow for the ceremony. For example, our centerpieces were all from her. She coordinated our rehearsal and made sure everything was exactly how my husband and I envisioned. If you are looking for a unique, urban location, this place is it!

Guest Accommodations, Bridal Suite, Honeymoon Suite, Rehearsal Dinner--Hotel Indigo A+++++

Our guests loved staying at Hotel Indigo. It is walking distance from DAC and close to many other locations such as the JFK museum and Old Red Courthouse. the people there were so accommodating. they helped my father up and down the stairs. My parents' room was a little too hot and they immediately checked out the situation and moved them to a cooler room when they couldn't fix it. The doorman, Lawrence, was awesome. He even surprised my HUSBAND and I with a bottle of wine, chocolate covered strawberries and a card! This unique hotel is the original Hilton Dallas Hotel. It has been renovated and includes a fresh color palate. My photographer got some awesome shots of me and my bridal party as we headed over to DAC. our rehearsal dinner included chicken marsala, salad, grilled vegetables, rice pilaf, cheesecake and wine for 35 people. the chicken was delicious! My husband and my mom still rave about it. They also gave us a complimentary upgrade to a larger room for our dinner.

Catering-- Black Eyed Pea Catering A++++

services included catering, serving, bartending. for appetizers guests munched on cheese, crackers, fruit and shrimp. we had a dinner buffet of steak, salmon, salad, steamed broccoli, green beans and new potatoes. their staff was awesome! they made sure my husband and I had a plate to eat that night and they packed up all the leftovers for us to take home. we will have steak, broccoli and potatoes for a whole week! heather, jesse and the team are awesome. They are so down to earth as well. BEP's costs are a fraction of what most caterers charge in Dallas. there was one server who interrupted the speeches to pass out cake, but other than that, their staff was very professional and courteous.

Florist--my momma A+++++ we did silk flowers. say what you will about silk, but I think they turned out excellent. My mom added little charms to my girls' bouquets that said "best friends"

Engagement Photographer--A++++++--Kathryn McLaren for Novella Photography

She is my best friend and matron of honor. She took awesome pictures of us in downtown Dallas, Deep Ellum, Rockwall and in Richardson. She has a great vision and gets those unique shots that not everyone can find. She is truly gifted and I'm so happy that we were able to be her subjects. She made us look damn good! She even made a slideshow set to music of our pictures. She also designed a welcome sign/collage for our wedding. She lives in Kansas, but is willing to travel for business

Wedding Photographer-- Manuel Crespo A++++ I haven't gotten back our pics yet, but I'm sure they were spectacular. Manny was great, but he's a little soft spoken. I wish he would've been a little more directive with where he put people. Sometimes, he just said things like "file around her or stand around them." there were many times our wedding party was very confused. however, he did get my vision about non-traditional pics. We took pics in front of the majestic theater and municipal building, as well as throughout hotel indigo. we only did a few posed pics for the family, which is exactly what I wanted!

Cake--Cakes by Joyce A+++++ her cakes were delicious! my only regret is that we didn't order more carrot cake. It was the hit of the night! I had people who had never tried carrot cake (because it's usually dry) try hers and love it! Our wedding cake (white cake with raspberry filling) was delicious and beautiful! I can't wait to post pictures!

Harpist--Carole Kaney-Francis A +++++ she did an amazing job. her music was pefect with the simplicity and elegance of our wedding. I absolutely loved it. I could hear her playing while I was waiting to go in and I was so impressed! I recommend the harp over any instrument for a wedding! I highly recommend Carole!

Vocalist--Amber Renae Bush A+++++she was a last minute addition to our wedding. she recently won Eagle Idol (UNT's American Idol), so my husband took the opportunity to ask her to sing at our wedding. She agreed and arrived at our rehearsal and ceremony with such a positive vibe! She really wowed our guests with her version of Ribbon in the Sky during our Unity Sand ceremony.

Officiant-- B- Reverend Diane Robertson

Diane is great. She is very personable and she definitely is a family woman. However, she tried to take over our rehearsal on Friday night and she really stressed me out. She changed things from the program I sent her and from the ceremony outline. Luckily, Shari and my husband were able to fix the problems and our ceremony was a success. I think she is a great minister, but she has her ideas about how things should be done and doesn't like to budge. She also tried to convince my family and wedding party that Shari was the one who wasn't open to new ideas and that was not the case. I also did not think that was a very professional way to handle the situation. However, once we (re)-explained exactly how we wanted the ceremony to go she was fine and made our ceremony beautiful. On Saturday, I could not have asked for a more perfect ceremony and that is all that mattered!

My Dress--my momma-- A+++++Words cannot express how much I love this dress. I want to go grab it and put it on. I think my only regret is that I can't wear it more than once! My mom put a lot of love and labor into this work and it shows. Most people could not believe that she made my dress. It really looked like something from a bridal salon. This dress is my most prized possession right now. I absolutely love it!

Bridesmaid Dresses-- F--David's Bridal

I really do not like David's Bridal! I originally planned on buying a different dress from a different designer, but for some reason I ended up switching to David's Bridal. I knew all the horror stories and my mom even tried to warn me, but I went for convenience (they have locations all over the nation and my bridesmaid are scattered across the nation). However, my experience was anything, but convenient. First, they discontinued the style of dress I wanted after two bridesmaids already purchased theirs. So, I could only pick out a new dress for everyone as long as it was the exact price or more than the discontinued dress. However, they had very few dresses in the champagne color available. they said it was a spring color (it was fall when I ordered them) and I should try a more fall or winter color. if my wedding is in spring, why the hell would I want a fall or winter color? three of my bridesmaids had no problems with their dresses at all. However, one bridesmaid had $85 worth of alterations and they ordered the wrong size for my maid of honor. She did not get her dress until March 13th because they had to make hers specially for her, however she still had $85 worth of alterations. Ridiculous. Stay far from David's Bridal. I'm so glad I didn't purchase my wedding dress from them because I hear that is a nightmare.

Tuxedos--C--Men's Wearhouse

their selection was great and matched exactly to my bridesmaid sash. I don't know much about my husband's experience with them, but I know they did end up sending my brother's tux and the best man's tux to the wrong store, making it a hassle for both of them.

Liquor-- A--Goody Goody Liquor in Addison

great selection and they helped me pick out the cheapest alcohol for our wedding. they also accept unopened bottles, so you can make money back if your guests don't consume it all. I have a lot of bottles to return, so I can't wait for the cash! my only complaint is that my order wasn't ready when I came to pick it up, so I had to wait for 10 minutes while they got it all together, but other than that, they were friendly and helpful.

DJ--A DJ Connection

Our DJ was Luke and he was great. He had a great personality and our guests loved him. However, he didn't play all of the songs I sent him and he mixed up the father of the bride and first dance song. However, DJ Connection is a great company and I'm really glad we went with them.

engagement ring-- A+++ my husband told me he was saving for an engagement ring and instead of trusting him to pick it out, I helped him. I knew he had looked at the more traditional stores, but he was on a budget and couldn't find what he liked. We did some research online and found Whiteflash. I told my fiance what shapes of diamond (oval and pear) I liked and he picked out the metal (platinum). He looked at a couple of diamonds and within a week, they had a design and within two weeks they delivered it to my parents' home in KS (he did that to avoid the Texas tax). He actually ended up being under his budget! I wish we could've bought our bands through whiteflash, but their prices have skyrocketed since he bought my engagement ring. we both plan to upgrade to diamond & platinum bands in a five or ten years, so hopefully they'll still be around.

wedding bands --

we needed wedding bands and they had them. we went into Sam's to get sized and then ordered them online. My band was delivered in a few days and my husband's in a a week. I have a thin wedding platinum band and he has a thick (manly) platinum band.

invitations and other paper products--me! I can't really grade myself.

I used a template from the Paper Source website to make the invitation design. I ordered the text sheet, outer envelopes, and RSVP envelopes from I ordered the backing from I ordered stamps from I bought the paper for the sash from Michael's. I had a blast making the invitations and they came out to be exactly what I wanted. I also saved a lot of money on them. I also made the programs with paper from discount and menus from I used publisher for everything.

flowergirl dress --C --Flower Girl huge selection and cheap price! my stepdaughter's dress matched perfectly. My only complaint is that they sent the wrong size and so I followed the directions to do an exchange and I never could get in touch with them. Luckily, the dress fit her perfectly, so it wasn't an issue.

Unity Sand--A++ Moon Glow Candles

cheap and beautiful! the sand "matched" David's Bridal's champagne & periwinkle, so it worked out perfectly.

Hair & Make-up--- A+++++++ Arriayanna Ware with Git Yourself by Yani
She is my friend and stylist! My hair was beautiful beyond words. I was a little weary of weave, but she made it look so beautiful! She also lightened the mood and made a few wedding errands for me! She is an awesome woman with a gift for styling!

we plan to honeymoon in March 2010. Ideally we'd like to travel to Punta Cana, DR for 5-7 days to an all-inclusive resort. we'd only like to spend $1200 per person including airfare. If you can help us out, let us know!

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