July 19--Wedding Reviews

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    July 19--Wedding Reviews

    Wedding Venue:  Seaport Hotel, Boston        A
    The Lighthouse Room and location is what initially attracted us to this venue, however we were extremely pleased with the warmth of the initial coordinator who we met with on multiple occasions to reserve the venue.  The Seaport was accommodating in every way:  They were able to re-structure the seating arrangements in the Flagship room to our liking, enabled us to personalize the reception to our liking, enabled us to come in for an additional dessert tasting (after our delicious formal tasting), enabled us to make substitutions on food items (although the entrée options do not necessarily reflect all dietary needs i.e. many options pair shell fish with meat) enabled us to sample each passed hors d’oeuvre during our ‘alone’ time, and cleaned up/packed up every article and item brought from home.  They were also attentive during the reception.  Overall the food was quite good.  On the flip side, this does come with a relatively high price.  For example, we were charged quite a bit extra for a scoop of ice cream when we were told “we can do that.”  And, the hors d’oeuvres seemingly could have been passed around more than they were.

    Rehearsal Dinner Venue / Brunch Caterer:
    Channel Café, Fort Point Channel (South Boston)    A+
    We were looking for a low-key casual place with good food that could hold about 50-75 people.  The Channel Café came recommended to us by a friend who works in this area and has lunched here in the past.  We tried it out for dinner one night on a Saturday evening when they have live music.  Since we enjoyed the food and eclectic atmosphere (in a gallery space), we set up a meeting with the owner, Ana.  The prices at first were a little higher than we would have hoped, but with some negotiating we cut out the passed appetizers (a big money saver) and went with an assortment of flatbreads that were situated around the restaurant.  These ended up being delicious and plentiful.  We went with their specialty for the entrée, make your own fish/beef tacos with all the trimmings (salad too).  We thought they were better than we ate in the restaurant and many of our guests seemed to agree.  All the ingredients were fresh and many even local.  We had a make your own sundae bar for dessert, also delicious.  We had pitchers of sangria at the bar, which cut the cost and limited the types of beer/wine that could be ordered.  In all aspects, the wait staff was first rate.  They were friendly, and helped us set up a video presentation using their equipment.  The only downside we saw was that even though their a/c was on it was still rather hot in there.

    We also used them to cater our post-wedding picnic brunch.  They were very accommodating for this as well.  If the weather was rainy, they were going to let us have the brunch in their restaurant.  However, since the weather was perfect, Ana herself delivered the food to our location.  Once again the food was appropriate and delicious.  May we recommend the freshly squeezed OJ.  We brought our own bottles of water to save money.  We also picked up boxes of Joe at a local Dunks because this was not something they delivered. 

    Wedding Invitations:  Unique Simchas, Newton        A+
    You don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate this local shop.  Judy, the store owner, does it all!  She is genuine, knowledgeable, personable, and has a great artistic sense.  On our first couple visits we sat for hours browsing her many books as she went about her business.  Although, when questions arise, she gave us her undivided attention.  Her turnaround time was outstanding, prices reasonable, and quality first-rate.  We got many compliments on them.  Additionally, she did a beautiful job on the addressing the envelopes via computer and did our place cards too.  Changes can be made to anything, even at the last minute.  As an added perk, Hershey Kisses are always available!

    Ketubah:  Kolbo, Brookline        A
    After spending time looking at wedding documents on-line, we were beginning to get a little overwhelmed at the array of options.  Our next step was visiting Kolbo.  Not only do they have a large selection of ketubot, they also have an assortment of other Jewish items including Chuppah poles, kippot, tallitot, and breaking glass.  In fact, we reserved poles and bought a tallit here.  As far as the Ketubah, they have binders describing the artists and their text options making it much easier to understand the process.  The quality of service and knowledge was overall very good, although it depends on who you talk to.  We recommend Elizabeth for all aspects.  Expect to pay top dollar, but given the quality, service, and importance of these items, it’s worth the money.  On a side note, we ordered our kippot at www.kippah.com.
         
    Florist:  Lotus Designs, South End        A+
    Lotus came recommended to us by a friend who lives near the store.  From our first visit, we were always given wonderful service.  From the first phone contact it seemed as if the wedding organizer, Honey, wanted to accommodate us.  She always asked us, “when would you like to come in?”  The small storefront shop was always bustling with activity and the flowers in the shop vibrant and unique.  Honey worked with us very closely to make sure we were getting what we wanted, while sticking close to our price point. On various occasions we left the shop with complimentary bouquets!  She had great ideas and really gave good visuals as to what the arrangements would look like.  The various sizes, styles, and textures of arrangements looked gorgeous on the wedding day.  We received many complements on the flowers.  And, my parents were more than satisfied with the final cost.

    Band:  K2    A+
    (now it’s the husband writing)…To me, this was the most important decision when it came to vendors. As a former (amateur) musician I had particular tastes in music and have always felt that this component can either illuminate or detract from a wedding – I’ve seen it many times. K2 instantly attracted us at their “showcase,” a mini-performance used to advertise their services, which though you may think is staged, actually sounded far better than any other prospective band that we saw live (visiting a handful of weddings in the search process). The manager, Chris, is knowledgeable, accommodating, and professional, and in our meeting was able to discuss tailoring the program to the needs, likes, and even ages of the guests. Of course, the band itself is absolutely outstanding! The vocalists, Amy & Ryan are quite talented and versatile (especially Amy); the horn players (be sure there is a sax and trombone) hit all the right notes; the rhythm section is spot on! The band was able to accommodate every one of our requests, which included altering the lyrics to our first dance, learning parent dance numbers that were not on their song list, and generating an extra-long hora. On many occasions throughout the night we received compliments from guests indicating how much they enjoyed the band. I should also mention that Chris facilitated our communication with an additional musician (flute player) who would be performing traditional Jewish music at the ceremony. This, too, worked perfectly and sounded lovely.

    At 11:30 the morning of the wedding I received a call from Chris, telling me that Amy would be out sick that evening. I was told, however, that there would be not one, but two award-winning replacements / understudies. Needless to say I was disappointed and worried about when/how to convey this news to the bride. As it turns out, not only were the substitutes very talented, but Amy too was able to perform giving us a total of 4 vocalists – at no extra cost – for the entire evening. This no doubt contributed to an even richer sound from the band!

    Photographer: Tirado        A+
    Melissa and Rene, this husband and wife team, do beautiful work.  They came recommended to us from a friend’s cousin.  We were very impressed with their previous work and studio, so hired them on.  Melissa is very personable and bubbly, while Rene quieter and gentle.  The idea that they understood each other and the fact that we knew exactly who would be working with us on the actual day was very appealing to us.  Also, having one man and one woman for different perspectives on the day was appealing too.  While a bit hesitant, we had them do engagement photos.  Neither of us had ever had an experience like this before.  They honored our desire of location very quickly and they were so much fun to work with.  They made us feel so comfortable, even in the midst of the rather busy streets.  We didn’t have a whole lot of time on the engagement day, but the photos they managed to shoot were perfect.  And, it was a great perk to be able to order various sizes to frame and use on the wedding day.  They were very professional and always low stress.  I know that I have seen many aggressive photographers and they were not in any way!  We also received many compliments on their performance during the wedding.  One part overlooked, which could be partly our fault, is that they had told us that they would pull us out during the reception to have some more intimate pictures taken in the twilight with the Boston skyline.  While they did ask at the end of the night if there was anything else that we would like (and I did pull them to take some extra colleague pics), this was not something that anyone thought of at the time.  The day/night went by so quickly.  It almost felt as if there wasn’t even an extra minute to spare!  We anxiously await the proofs, but are positive that the photos and albums will be beautiful. 

    Cake:  Montilio’s, Quincy/ Brockton    A-
    First off, the four flavors of chosen cake were delectable.  Specifically, we got many rave reviews about the carrot cake, the bottom tier, though my husband and his family absolutely loved the chocolate third tier.  Actually, the final cake may have even surpassed the cake tasting in flavor and consistency.  Initially, we went to the Quincy shop with a picture in hand (and the wedding coordinator drew an exact replica) and they immediately told us that this could be accommodated with just a small fee.  This was a lesser charge than the competitor. We finalized the details at the Brocton factory location.  When we saw our cake at the wedding, the color and décor were exactly as pictured.  The only problem was that the shape of the cake was supposed to be square, but they made it round!

    Hair:  Davis Salon, Newton        A
    This is my normal hair salon, so it seemed only natural to have my bridal party’s and my own hair styled here.  And, they are open on Sundays!  They were always very organized with the planning and gave me a detailed list of times, stylists, and styles for each member in the party.  I met with the up-do specialist for both a free consultation and then a rather pricey trial.  While I liked the personality of my stylist, I was a bit disappointed with the trail day.  She only tested out one style, which was not at all like the picture that I had shown her.  But, she always said if I was dissatisfied or wanted something different on the wedding day then she could do something new.  On the wedding day I described to her more of what I was thinking and she found the perfect look for me, very much like what I was visualizing!  She always shared her opinions and asked the opinions of others.  I was very happy with the final product, although I can’t say that by the end of the night it fully held.  The bridal party looked great too!  All the times were stuck to and all the girls seemed to be pleased with their appearance.

    Make-up:  MakeupbyNancy        A
    Nancy was very easy to work with.  Her prices were reasonable and since I had a large party she even cut the cost of the mothers’ application.  I had her do my trial on the morning of my engagement photo session; she was always accommodating and always checked in to make sure everything was as planned.  Her make-up and work was very good.  She worked carefully and valued opinions.  She also made my mother-in-law not fret about germs as she had disposable tools and always sanitized her hands after each person.  She made everyone look great for the photos.  She arrived early at the venue, having to wait around for the room to be ready.  She was still all set-up by the time the first person was ready to be made-up.  I was a bit worried about the timing of it all due to only 2-3 hours for 9 people to be completed.  She appeased me by telling me she would bring along an assistant.  While she did bring along a helper, this person did not help with the application process.  Therefore, a couple of the bridesmaids weren’t quite ready on time.  In the end it didn’t matter because we still managed to have enough time for all the photos.  She made both make-up wearers and non-make-up wearers look great! 

    Wedding Gown:  L’Elite, Boston        A+
    I had tried on many dresses in many other stores, but still had not found the one.  I had seen a wedding gown fashion show that L’Elite dresses were portrayed in.  My mom was hesitant to go here thinking that the dresses would be out of our price point.  After little luck I ended up on the ‘off the rack’ floor of L’Elite.  I was early for my appointment, but the woman working on the floor enabled us to browse before the attendants came back from their lunch.  Instantly my sister and sister-in-law, who had yet to shop with me, saw this dress.  Both said something like “try this on!”  The girl working with me was low-stress and very nice to work with.  I tried on only a couple before trying on this one.  While it was a bit difficult to fathom, me being a size 00 and the dress being a size 12.  And, the style was ‘mermaid’ and I wanted A-line.  She clipped it and pinned it up so I could get a better idea.  I loved it and the girl assured me that the alterations woman could definitely make it work.  I brought my mom in and she loved it too.  It was in great condition, even though it was the floor sample. And it came at a great cost--about half the cost if it were bought new.  Although, if I had wanted it new they would have been able to easily get it for me.  The gown designer was a Spanish designer, Manuel Mota, was one that I had never seen at any of the other bridal boutiques.

    Gown Alterations:  L’Elite Alterations    A++
    While I give L’Elite credit, the alterations department really came through.  They literally re-made the dress in every way.  In the end, it fit my body exactly and the tailor was so easy to work with.  Throughout the process, she always valued my opinions.  I met with her on four occasions and each fitting was perfect.  The lace and chiffon work was very intricate and she always made the job look easy.  She also picked out a perfect veil for me.  It was simple, elegant, and inexpensive.  For $1000 my gown looked like it was made for me and, I had a new veil.

    Bridesmaid Dresses:  Yolanda’s, Waltham        A+
    The selection at Yolanda’s was the best and the girls in the bridesmaid department were so nice to work with.  They always stuck to what was vocalized to me and communicated very well.  The girl who I worked with the closest sent various notes in the mail thanking me, etc.  They gave me various samples of the dress fabric/color.  I ordered the dresses on the later side, but they assured me that they would be in by a certain date.  This date was adhered to without any issues.   While most of the dress sizes needed additional alteration, this goes without saying.  It’s a shame that Yolanda’s has closed/is closing their doors after many years of good business.

    Tuxedo Rentals:  Classic Tuxedo, Newton        A-
    Overall the experience was positive and everyone looked good, which is the bottom line. The manager, Brad, was particularly helpful in selecting various options and was able to coordinate the tie with the bridesmaids’ dress color. With the other employees you take your chances on the quality of service and competence. Prices here are quite reasonable and fair since some men needed partial attire and other families needed both adult and child sizes. The groom’s pants were initially too long, but they were able to get him a shorter size the next day (with still one day to spare before the wedding). To be picky, the jackets were a tad bit wrinkled, but this was negligible and went unnoticed during the course of the wedding – everyone looked great! Because the venue is small, it was fun to run into other members of the wedding party when trying on and picking up.

    Videographer:  Cost Effective Alternative
    In an effort to save some money, may I recommend a low-cost alternative to a professional videographer. We asked a high school student (son of a friend) who does this as a hobby and he was more than glad to take on the project. With specific requests, he was accommodating, responsible, and unobtrusive. We just watched the finished product (DVD) and really enjoyed reliving the memories.





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

    Re: July 19--Wedding Reviews

    Congrats!!!! Sounds like you had a great day.. and your cake sounds really yummy!!  As I sit here eating a yogurt parfait!!!

    Question for you.. I'm also thinking of using Lotus designs.... I've herd great things about them as well as Honey... did you just bring pics... and your budget... I'm not sure exactly what we will need!!!

    Thanks
    Staci

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from jad222. Show jad222's posts

    Re: July 19--Wedding Reviews

    In Response to Re: July 19--Wedding Reviews:
    [QUOTE]Congrats!!!! Sounds like you had a great day.. and your cake sounds really yummy!!  As I sit here eating a yogurt parfait!!! Question for you.. I'm also thinking of using Lotus designs.... I've herd great things about them as well as Honey... did you just bring pics... and your budget... I'm not sure exactly what we will need!!! Thanks Staci
    Posted by staci1[/QUOTE]

    Hi Staci,
    Initially I may have brought a picture or two, but in the end that didn't really matter.  What is good to bring though is a swatch of the bridesmaid fabric and perhaps even a swatch of your gown.  I was not as picky about the specificities of the flowers--i did know i wanted varied texture and varied sizes of arrangements (i.e. a mixture of tall vases, clusters, etc.).  Let me know if i can help in any other way!
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from jad222. Show jad222's posts

    Re: July 19--Wedding Reviews

    In Response to Re: July 19--Wedding Reviews:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: July 19--Wedding Reviews : Hi Staci, Initially I may have brought a picture or two, but in the end that didn't really matter.  What is good to bring though is a swatch of the bridesmaid fabric and perhaps even a swatch of your gown.  I was not as picky about the specificities of the flowers--i did know i wanted varied texture and varied sizes of arrangements (i.e. a mixture of tall vases, clusters, etc.).  Let me know if i can help in any other way!
    Posted by jad222[/QUOTE]

    p.s. our budget was in the five thousand range, but she will work with you at whatever you feel comfortable with.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from jasmine09. Show jasmine09's posts

    Re: July 19--Wedding Reviews

    Congratulations on your marriage!  Sounds like everything went well. :)
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: July 19--Wedding Reviews

    WOW, congrats on an A+ day and continued blessings on your marriage!!!

    ~kar
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from staci1. Show staci1's posts

    Re: July 19--Wedding Reviews

    was that just for flowers!!!!

    Thanks

    Staci

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from heatherv1211. Show heatherv1211's posts

    Re: July 19--Wedding Reviews

    Congratulations on what sounds like a wonderful day!
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from jad222. Show jad222's posts

    Re: July 19--Wedding Reviews

    In Response to Re: July 19--Wedding Reviews:
    [QUOTE]was that just for flowers!!!! Thanks Staci
    Posted by staci1[/QUOTE]

    Yup...unfortunately, all for the flowers!  In the end we were a bit under than though.  she really can work with you though.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from staci1. Show staci1's posts

    Re: July 19--Wedding Reviews

    ... thanks... glad you had a great day!!!

    Staci

     

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