Hi girls, finally a spare moment to post.
Our wedding was fabulous, absolutely perfect and just so much fun. It really helped the both of us were relaxed and let the day flow, because so many people take their cues from the bride and groom. Nothing bothered me - except I did get a little heated when FFIL called me from his limo asking me to bring GMIL's gift to the ceremony and reception site with me. Umm...what? you want the bride to lug a huge wrapped gift with me in my limo ride, I said no, politely and told him to call his own son, FI. FI, now DH!, did it. I was just flabbergasted he would call my room with such a request as I was putting on my bridal gown. But, no one knows how to say no to GMIL.
Anyways - vendor reviews!
Venue - Zukas Hilltop Barn. A+. Absolutely everything was perfectly done, smoothly orchestrated and Alyson, the event planner, was so calm and smooth, she just handled everything. The venue is beyond gorgeous, the food was great, the guests were wiping their plates clean. Their prices are reasonable, especially compared to Boston, and they responded quickly to any questions, and handled any issues that came up, as I never knew of anything that went wrong. Alyson made sure we always had a drink and she told us when our food had been served. She brought out plates of apps for pictures and took drink orders. She was there waiting when I pulled up in the limo. She runs a great wedding. I cant say enough about them, just fantastic on all levels.
Flowers - Ladyslipper Design by Natalie -A+. Natalie is just the best, she is based in Sturbridge but does a lot of work in Boston. I loved Tangled Web designs but couldnt afford her prices. I took similar photos of the bouquet I loved, told Natalie briefly what I wanted and the bouquet was spot on perfect and just gorgeous. She did six bouquets, six bouts, 7 short centerpieces in silver buckets, 8 talls, a card table display, six shepherds hook buckets, an arbor garland, cocktail hour flowers, and a cake topper of peonies, hydrangeas, roses, hypericum berries and bells of ireland for about $2350, I believe. They were all gorgeous. She is the sweetest person to work with, responded quickly to emails, and was just right on in what I described and wanted.
JP - Beverly Cook - A - Beverly was so nice to work with, very thorough and did exactly what we wanted. She doesn't get the plus because my FI said she confused the boys before the ceremony on the order of who was walking with whom. I wasn't there, and tend to think it was because the boys weren't actually listening at the rehearsal. She was loud, clear spoken, and very accommodating to what we wanted in our ceremony. She makes it very clear that it is your day and your ceremony, and to do what you want and it will be beautiful. She gave us this booklet of sample ceremonies that was super helpful in piecing together our own. She traveled, and was the least expensive vendor by far we had, but the only one we really needed!
Photographer - Michelle Caucutt - A+ - Sadly, Michelle moved to DC, but she is still accepting work up here! She is so nice, so calm and relaxed and super talented. I got a slideshow of the wedding highlights yesterday - 2 weeks after the wedding! It was great to see them and she is just a great photojournalistic photographer. She does the formals quickly, cuts the no longer necessary people and then focused on getting beautiful, creative shots of you and DH. Exactly what we wanted, I cant wait to see the rest of the photos!
Dress - Bridal Trousseau, a CT shop - C. While I hate to give a negative review, I had nothing but trouble from this shop. They were the last shop in NE to have the sample of my dress. I was in school in CT when I ordered it, but then graduated and moved to Boston. The first time the dress came in, it was a foot too short, due to a gaf in their writing. They didnt even bother to check it before I came all the way down there, 2 hour drive each way. They ordered me a new one. My first fitting, they said everything looks great, come back two weeks before your wedding to pick it up. Great! I have a month in between this, plenty of time for a second fitting, but they said I didnt need it. I go back 2 weeks before the wedding, the hem wasnt done, the back couldnt close by about 4 inches (and I am a small person!) and my chest was popping out over the top. They say dont worry, we will fix it. I had a million things to do those weekends, and taking 6 hours out of my day to run back to CT the week before the wedding was not high on my list. But, what could I do? If they had told me I needed a second fitting, not a problem, I would have done it in the previous month when I had time. Now, it is unnecessary stress. We go back, it fits perfectly. Great. I had to ask them to steam it, and then wait another 2 hours for them to do it. Not great. Basically, it comes down to one of the owners not know anything, Jodi, and Lisa, the other owner is fantastic. Anytime anything was wrong, it was because of Jodi, and Lisa had to fix it. My MOH got her dress there, but not her alterations, and everything was fine for her. My BM ordered her own dress on a separate site (I just had them get black dresses)
The dress itself - Pronovias - A+ - gorgeous.
Veil - Creative Bridals in Braintree A+. They are lovely in that shop, not pushy at all. They have a great big store with reasonable prices. My mom got her dress there, Alfred Angelo, and they even steamed my veil and did my sister's alterations, even though she didnt buy her dress from them. They are fantastic. Lovely lovely people. My sister already said she is buying her dress from them.
Shoes - Shoes to Dye for - A+ - we know and love Shoes to Dye for, nuff said.
Tuxes - Mens Wearhouse - A+ - we had the calvin klein tuxes, everything was smooth, super easy for our out of staters, easy to pick up, easy to drop off. Just easy.
Hotel Block/Rehearsal Dinner - Publick House, Sturbridge - A+. I had zero issues with them the entire 18 months I had them blocked, which is really saying something as we know how hotel blocks can be. We also had my shower there. The food is awesome, Tavern is fun, bakeshop is awesome, service is great and the layout offers several types of rooms for different prices. They do weddings too!
Cake - A+ we didnt have a big cake, just a small one to cut, as we had a large dessert display. The Publick House bake shoppe made it. A one layer, big one layer, carrot cake with scalloped cream cheese frosting. It was very pretty. I hate cake, especially carrot cake, but FI wanted it and as I dont like cake anyways and was getting the dessert display, what did I care? However, I had several people remark it was the best carrot cake they have ever had. The bake shoppe is great, I ate about a dozen of their cinnamon buns while we were there. We called up the shoppe a week in advance, put in our order, they dropped it off. No sweat, no problems.
DJ - Dan McCarthy of Boston DJ - A. Dan was great, he really was. He played music the whole time, nothing cheesy. His dinner and cocktail hour mix was perfect, people were already remarking how great the music was. He kept the crowd dancing the entire night. He had them chanting "One more song" at the end of the night, seriously. The ONLY reason he doesnt get the Plus, is because both my FI and I thought the 30 songs we gave him, and which he really liked were going to be the playlist but we did say we just wanted people to have a good time. He veered seriously from the type of songs on the list and from the list itself for like two songs. Nothing bad. I was like - what the heck is playing? However, as I said this to myself - one of my cousins or friends would scream out - Oh I love this song! and start dancing up a storm. Also, we picked a last dance song, two in fact. I loathe "Last Dance" by Donna Summer as a last dance song, so cliche. So, I didnt pick it, but I also didnt put it on my do not play list, as I thought it was a moot point, having picked two last songs. When the crowd chanted for one more song, he obliged nicely, by playing that song. Ugh, I hate it. HATE it. However, it gave FI and I a moment to sit back and watch our guests having a blast, which was one of my favorite moments of the night. So, was it enough for me to complain about, no way, since everyone was having a fantastic time. I just wish he had been more direct about his game plan, which was a good game plan.
Ceremony musicians - Alla Breva A+, a guitar and flute husband and wife team. They were great, so I heard. Unfortunately I dont remember hearing them at all! They plated my processional and recessional song, but for the rest of the hour they played, I wasnt there. A lot of guests remarked how wonderful and different they were, compared to a strings ensemble. They were super easy to work with, we did everything over email, never met, they sounded great and even learned a song I wanted special and for free! They are pricey, but well worth it, and still less expensive than a string quartet.
Invitations - Invitations by Dawn.com - A+, super easy, all done online and for a fraction of the price. I got beautiful invitations, envelopes with return addresses printed for both the rsvp cards and regular envelopes, lined inner envelopes, rsvp cards and speciality cocktail napkins that my mom had to have - all for $210.00, including shipping. I priced the exact same ones out at a store for $750. I also scored a deal by waiting until everything was 25%. My mom didnt like the way the envelopes looked -we put Rd instead of Road, a major miss by all of us proofreading it. They redid it for free, and they really didnt have to!
Table numbers, escort cards - Invites by Jen. A+, I found her on Etsy. She does just beautiful work, I had a custom designed table number and escort card done for me to match the invitations. She printed out all my names and numbers. People thought I had a calligrapher do them. I had 18 table numbers and 120 cards, all done for $125. Everything is handmade, with the utmost care and heavy, expensive materials. They were exquisite, seriously, so beautiful. Everything was done over email, I sent her my list, she packaged my things beautifully and they arrived early.
I think that is it! Did I miss anything?
ETA - Yep I missed two
Makeup by Brea A+ - such a nice girl! She does absolutely flawless work too, everyone looked great and we all felt like we looked like ourselves. We aren't big makeup wearers. She did everyone from me and my bridesmaids to my brothers girlfriend to my grandmother! Everyone requested different styles, and she acommodated it without a hitch. She even brought her Ipod speakers so we could listen to music! She is very reasonably priced and super easy to work with. I loved my fake eyelashes and all the makeup!
Hair - Gina Joubert - A+ - Gina is so funny and relaxing to have around. I loved my hair and so did my bridesmaids, who got a fancy blowout and an updo. I really loved my hair and it stayed up all night.
I always have frizz issues, but Gina kept them at bay until I started dancing and "glowing" lol. More than I could have hoped for.
Limo - Status Limo A - they picked us up on time, dropped us off, limo was very nice, they didnt get lost. I dealt with them sparsely and only on email. Only issue that I didnt like, being legal minded, is that the contract they had us sign was illegal. It included a completely forfeiture of all money paid, including tip and gas charge, if you canceled at any time. I had to pay in full in February. That's illegal to do that, a full inclusive penalty for such a long time, but most people wouldnt know that. I spoke with the owner, who agreed to all my contract changes, only after he found out we were both attorneys, lol.
God/Weather peoples/Mother Earth - A+++ we had SUCH a beautiful day, amid weeks and weeks of rain and cold. It was gorgeous for our outdoor ceremony and pictures. Thank you thank you thank you!