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January 30, 2010 Wedding Review

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from Gonzo130. Show Gonzo130's posts

    January 30, 2010 Wedding Review

    We are back from our honeymoon, still fighting jetlag and I figured I should write my wedding review.  I didn't post a ton on these boards but lurked a lot and always found these very helpful.  I had a blast at the wedding and honeymoon and can not think of anything I would have changed.  We had the best time of our lives and are still getting raves from our guests.

    I'm a bit tougher as a grader but did not want to do varying grades of A+s.  I was delighted with all of my vendors and would highly recommend them all.  Thanks for all the advice.  I can't imagine planning a wedding without these boards!

    Church:  St. Ceclia's  A+:  Our ceremony was at St. Cecilia's Church.  The church is beautiful and Mark, the coordinator (and soloist) there was amazing.  He was so responsive and easy to work with.  We added a few Cuban traditions into our ceremony and, even though they are not common in this area, Mark enabled us to add these in very easily.  The music was also amazing.  Because St. Cecilia's is next to Berklee School of Music, they have a very strong group of musicians to use.  Our trumpeter plays with the BSO.  It was probably the most beautiful wedding ceremony I've ever been to (ok, I'm biased) and both the ceremony and rehearsal went very smoothly.  The church will be closed for a bit for renovations, as a heads up to the Boston brides.

    Venue:  The Harvard Club of Boston  A+:  Our reception was at the Comm. Ave. Harvard Club.  That venue is perfect for a winter wedding.  It has working fireplaces and we lit the main room with tons of candles.  On a side-note, the Candles4Less candles (which I tested at home) blew out before the guests arrived and the Harvard Club quickly switched them with votives they had in their stash.  We worked with Jen Sepulveda, the main coordinator there.  She was very easy to work and accommodating.  The food was amazing.  We are still getting compliments.  We had stations but put them together to form a long buffet.  That worked out really well because we had things like clam chowder and lobster pie, but also a roast and veggies for more traditionalists.  The service was also stellar.  You do not have to have any connection to Harvard (we don't) to have a wedding there.  They do make you join the downtown Harvard Club so you get "member pricing," which works out in your favor (the savings outweigh the cost of membership).  I'd highly recommend this venue.  It is not a "budget" venue but it is certainly less than the fancier hotels in Boston and I think is both a prettier venue and has better food than most hotels.

    Florist:  The Tangled Web  A+  I know Jen at the Tangled Web has gotten lots of raves here lately so I'll just add mine.  Jen is very reasonably priced and the flowers were gorgeous.  I'm not a huge flower person so just gave her some pics of styles I generally liked.  With minimal guidance, she made the perfect bouquet for me.  She even managed to get me peonies in January!  The centerpieces were fabulous as well.  Some of the flowers are still alive almost 3 weeks later.   We also had some cocktail tables and she made vases with floating roses, which is a cost-effective centerpiece.  She is very willing to work within a budget.  Jen is one of my favorite vendors and I would highly recommend her.

    Photographer: Bharat Parmar  Pending  I've edited this one from my original post.  We only have our proofs online and so far are happy.  There are tons of really cute pictures - more than enough for a fabulous album.  There are also some more artistic shots and photojournalistic shots that were what attracted us to Bharat to begin with.  He was really nice and easy to work with.  I'll report back after we see the album.

    DJ:  Mark Bloomstein of Boston PartyMakers
      A  This is one of the few vendors whose name did not come from these boards.  Jen, at the Harvard Club recommended him.  Mark was great.  Not cheesy at all and kept the dance floor packed all night.  He came to our house to discuss our likes and dislikes a week or so before the wedding.  It was very clear that he loves music and DJing.  He announced everyone well and generally did not speak except when we asked him to.  He checked in with us a couple of times too, which was nice.  He was also very reasonably priced and easy to work with.  A few times, the song choice was not the greatest but he quickly remedied that and was about to download/find specific versions of songs we wanted.  He's very tech savvy.  I'd highly recommend him.

    Videographer:  Bruce Cullen of Dream Images  This is another vendor we found on our own.  His sample movies are fabulous and easy to watch because he straps his camera to his body, making it less shaky (I got queasy watching some sample videos).  Bruce was with us all night - until the end, which was past 11 pm.  He said it would be months before we got the video.  I'm holding off on grading him until I see it.  But, based on the samples we saw and how easy he was to work with leading up to and at the wedding, I would recommend that you at least give him a look.  While he's not one of the budget videographers, he is within the same price range of other popular videographers that give a final product, rather than just raw footage.

    Hair and Make Up:  Fisher Experience  A  My family and I go to this salon in Braintree so we got to use our regular stylists, which was fabulous.  I couldn't have been happier with my hair and make up and the BMs'.  The BMs had very different styles and I've never seen a wedding where all the BMs looked so good.  I had soft curls half back and my stylist managed to make them look nice - they always have looked messy, too tight, or too loose when I've tried before.  I got airbrush make up, which lasted.  At my trial, I brought a black and white picture of make up I liked, which the stylist was able to turn into soft browns, at my request.  I thought that was pretty impressive.  After I saw pictures from the trial, I realized I needed darker colors for photos and she was able to reproduce the look in darker colors.  We also had some breakfast and mimosas there.  It was well organized and fun.  It only about 15 minutes from Boston and I'd highly recommend going there.

    Wedding Dress:  Madeleine's Daughter  A  I LOVED my dress.  I searched at several shops (including Precious Memories, where I also had a great experience) but MD had my dress and Cynthia, who helped me, was very nice.  They have a pretty broad range of prices and my dress was about half of what I had budgeted.  I also liked how they brought the dresses into the dressing room instead of having to go through the racks.  That said, I had been to only places where you look through the racks yourself, which may be the best way to start so you can really see what's out there.  I am bigger than the size 10 sample size and they have dresses in larger samples, which was key for me.  I recommended it to my cousin's fiance, who is plus-sized, and she had a great experience there too.  It's a bit tough to get to Portsmouth from Boston on weekdays for fittings but the seamstress there did a fabulous job and the price was reasonable.  I bought a few sizes too big (lost weight) but ordered my dress with the shortest inseam possible (on MD's recommendation), which saved me hundreds of dollars in alterations since I did not have to take it up.  I would highly recommend this store, especially for women who are not a size 10.    

    BM Dresses:  Priscillas of Boston  C-  My cousin bought her bridal gown here last year and the only reason I did not look here for mine is because they do not have larger samples to try on.  Thank God because the BM dresses were a bit of a nightmare.  The dresses were v-necked and when everyone tried them on, they seemed a bit low cut.  They were also low-cut on the model on the website.  So, I asked at Priscillas if they would end up that low cut if the dresses were the right size (i.e., not a sample two sizes too big or two sizes too small).  They assured me they would not repeatedly.  Well, of course they were.  They were so low cut that you could see the underside of two of the girls' undergarments.  I then had to order fabric for $50 for modestly panels, which I was assured would come in well before my wedding.  Well, about 2 weeks before the wedding, I asked where the fabric was because the girls needed to have their alterations made.  They said it was due within days and would call as soon as it was in.  They didn't call.  I called 3 days later and the fabric had been in for days but they were waiting for the person who helped us to call.  They then wanted to charge me $50 to send it to me in Boston so I had my fiance pick it up (I couldn't get out of work early a week before my wedding), and then I had to Fed Ex it around the country to the girls who needed it.  In the end, they came out fine and I guess I should have known better but I was ASSURED that they would not be low-cut once they fit and they were beyond any normal range of low-cut.  This was probably the most stressful thing I dealt with.  The dresses were expensive and just not worth it.

    Invitations:  Accord Stationery  A+  We loved our invitations and save-the-dates.  This is our family stationer in Hanover, MA, though I hear they recently stopped working in their store-front so I won't waste much space.  Accord is great.  They give good advice and are very knowledgeable.  If they reappear, check them out.  I plan to still use them for invitations by emailing them directly at their home.

    Other Paper:  PeakABoo (Etsy)  A+  We used PeakABoo after an Etsy search. I wanted cheap programs that I did not have to make.  Kris, at PeakABoo was a godsend.  She has a special form for Catholic weddings so it is phrased properly (I never could have done it myself) and is very reasonably priced.  She created a "logo" for us that we ended up using on everything.  She was so easy to work with and reasonably priced that we kept adding more stuff, from escort cards to out of town guest bag labels.  She even mailed mock-ups to confirm everything was right.  She is incredibly responsive and got things done very quickly.  I'd highly recommend PeakABoo.  A lot of people commented on how our "logo" pulled everything together.  We did not plan on having one;  we only did because we liked Kris and her work so much.  And the price was less expensive than some DIY kits that I saw.

    Cake:  Konditor Meister  A  I know there is a lot of debate about Konditor Meister but I grew up on the South Shore and this is where we got a lot of their cakes.  It did not disappoint.  The price can't be beat and it was very easy to order a cake there.  I brought a picture of someone else's cake from these boards (I forget who) - I just wanted something VERY simple - and brought my own ribbon.  I was very happy with the cake and can't wait to eat the top layer next year! 

    Rings:  Freedman Jewelers  A  My husband bought my e-ring diamond directly from Africa so we could not really go back to them for our wedding bands.  I did not find one I liked already made so wanted to have one made.  A friend at work recommended Freedman, which is in the Jeweler's Building.  They were great.  Very nice and fair.  They made my ring and let me examine it at each stage of the process, from the wax mold to the loose diamonds.  My husband wanted a yellow gold ring and a sample fit him.  They sold it to him at 2007 prices (which was a couple hundred dollars cheaper than today's price - the price of gold is crazy!) since they had had it in their case for 3 years.  I would highly recommend them.

    Transportation:  Old Town Trolley and J&B Livery  A  My mom took care of these.  My husband and I paid for the wedding and did not intend to have transportation (not in the budget and the church and Harvard Club are 3 blocks apart).  My mom insisted on transportation so took care of and paid for them.  Thank goodness because it was really cold on our wedding day.  She thought they were both easy to work with and reasonably priced.  The drivers were both very nice.  The limo driver even helped "floof" my train before I walked down the aisle.

    Chiavari Chairs:  Be Our Guest  A  Again, my mom insisted on this so took care of it.  I thought the red ballroom chairs were fine but was really happy to have chiavari chairs when all was said and done.  They made the room look nicer.  I think my mom found this company easy to work with, as well.

    Favors:  Yummy Mummy Brownies  A+  These are the most delicious brownies ever.  We had two stacked brownies in a cello bag, tied with a bow as our favors.  Our escort cards were tied to the favors.  Melissa was so sweet and even tied the escort cards on for us.  The prices were reasonable and it's always nice to support a local business.  Highly recommended.

    Dance Lessons:  Out to Dance  A+  A bunch of people here recommended Liz at Out to Dance and I recommend her as well.  We took just two lessons.  We are both pretty comfortable dancing.  We didn't want anything choreographed but just wanted to look a little better than usual.  The lessons more than accomplished that (we got applause and surprised looks at a couple of moves).  More importantly, we took our lessons a few weeks before the wedding.  It was so nice to go out and do something fun at that time when all we were doing was wedding-related stuff.  You get to have a calorie-free fun time while not feeling guilty since you're officially doing something "wedding-related."  We hope to take more classes from Liz now that we have more free time!  She makes the lessons fun and makes you feel very comfortable around her.

    Honeymoon:  Gone Tropo  A+  My husband took care of our Australian honeymoon with this travel agent.  It was the best trip of our lives.  We went to Australia for 2 weeks and I can't imagine not using a travel agent.  Diane at Gone Tropo was awesome and we had a blast in Australia (can't wait to go back).  We went to Sydney, Palm Cove (north of Cairns - this was the Reef portion), and Kangaroo Island, which was our favorite part by far.  We stayed at the Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island, which was a splurge but well worth it.  

    Phew, I think that's it.  Our wedding was perfect for us and we had a blast in Australia.  Thanks again to all of you who have posted over the years.  I hope others find this helpful. 

  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from staci1. Show staci1's posts

    Re: January 30, 2010 Wedding Review

    congrats.... sounds like you had a perfect day...... it goes by sooo fast!!!!  I'm also having the same photographer.... and I'm a little concerned.... did you discuss with him prior what pics you would like..also did you have some of the artistic styles that we saw in his studio for some of your pictures?  Are you sharing... I'd love to see his work..... here is my email...................!!!!

    Thanks... and again congrats!!!!
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from Gonzo130. Show Gonzo130's posts

    Re: January 30, 2010 Wedding Review

    I just edited my post, which I planned to do even before I saw your post.  I feel bad I made you concerned because we really are happy and I would still highly recommend him.  I think I was judging too harshly based on the proofs.  There are more than enough fantastic pics in there, including cool artistic ones.  There are definitely a lot of really cool ones, like some shots through a window and others from above, looking down the aisle.  He did some of the cool things where he rounded out the view, too.  And plenty of artistic ones, like a really cute one of all the BM's shoes.  I was too harsh in my initial review.  It's really hard when you look at all of the proofs at once because, as with anything, some are better than others but all in all, we are really happy and I'm sure you will be too.  Don't be concerned.  We really are happy. 

    Thanks for the congrats.  Let me think about whether we feel ok with sharing.  I'll email you if my husband and I agree it's ok.
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: January 30, 2010 Wedding Review

    Congrats, Gonzo!!!  Best wishes blessings on your marriage!  Too bad about the BMs' dresses, but it sounds like everything else was fabulous.

  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from staci1. Show staci1's posts

    Re: January 30, 2010 Wedding Review

    Great.. thanks... I guess I feel a little better now.... his pics we're amazing... not the typical shots... so I'm hoping for the same!!!

    I'll keep them crossed for sharing!!!!

    Thanks again and congrats!!!
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: January 30, 2010 Wedding Review

    Congrats, Gonzo!  It sounds like you had a wonderful day.  We also used Bharat and Jen from Tangle Web - loved them both. 

    Wow - Australia!!  What a fantastic honeymoon!!
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from trex509. Show trex509's posts

    Re: January 30, 2010 Wedding Review

    I'm confused... was the original photographer review negative?  Just curious!
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: January 30, 2010 Wedding Review

    congrats, Gonzo. What a fabulous wedding you pulled off! please do share some pictures when you get them
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from Gonzo130. Show Gonzo130's posts

    Re: January 30, 2010 Wedding Review

    Thanks for the congrats. 

    The initial review wasn't bad but it wasn't accurate or fair either so I revised.  I'll try to post pics when I get them.