**I apologize if you're reading this twice - I realized after putting it in "Details" that it should probably go in "Vendors"!! Also I had to add some things so figured I'd just transfer it all here!**
Hi girls! I'm excited to be able to write my wedding reviews - hopefully they will be helpful to some!
DRESS: ALLEGRIA BRIDAL, BELMONT, MA - A
Allegria happened to be having an Augusta Jones trunk show the day of my appointment. I had been to about 5 other bridal shops and none of them had the style dress I was looking for (off-the-shoulder, or "portrait" style). It turns out Augusta makes several! The shop was crowded, but I was helped right away, and my family were given chairs to sit in. The girl who helped me was adorable and very helpful. I ordered my dress that day. Because my bust and hips are not petite, they ordered me a really big sounding size, so I was worried that when it came in it would be huge! When I went in to try in on after it was in, the girl told me that they actually asked the Augusta Jones people to custom-make it according to my measurements, rather than just ordering the generic size. So it fit pretty well and only needed a bit of taking in at the waist and hem. I was very happy with my whole experience with them. My only beef with them ended up being with their "recommended" seamstress...
SEAMSTRESS: JANETTE TAILORING AND ALTERATION, ARLINGTON - B-
I feel like I can't give Janette a terrible review, since the actual alterations she did were great. She was difficult to deal with, however. At first she was fine, however on our first appt. when my mom asked "how much" Janette seemed to just pull a number out of the air, not based on anything. And it was quite a large number. I had 2 or 3 appointments (can't remember) and at the end said, "ok, I will pick up the dress next week" and we made an appointment for me to pick up the dress. My mom drove from Walpole to Arlington to meet me so that she could take the dress home with her. We got there and had to wait, then Janette told me the dress was not ready. I wasn't happy, since that was the whole point of the appointment! She didn't seem to get this, even though we had specifically talked about it. So we had to leave without the dress, and she wanted us to pay her in full that night! My mom and I were like, "um, we're not paying for a dress that isn't ready". So we left without paying. When we went back to get it, it was ready, looked beautiful, but the whole experience was marred by her bizarre behavior.
VENUE: WILLOWDALE ESTATE, TOPSFIELD, MA - A+
DH and I had looked at probably 12 other venues before happening upon Willowdale. We both fell in love instantly. Briar is a good businessperson and did all she could to seal the deal. She was straightforward with her offers and opinions. Everyone we dealt with there we liked. Emily was wonderful during the details meeting, and after with all of my (i.e., my MOM's) questions regarding the alcohol order. She was great with our indecisiveness on a bunch of details, never pressuring me to hurry up. Colleen was the wedding coordinator; she didn't get involved until the final 2 weeks before the wedding, which was the way it works there, but it worried me because I wasn't sure if that meant I wouldn't be able to ask any questions until then. Not the case. I asked Emily lots of things and she was very straightforward - answering them if she could, otherwise saying that Colleen would be discussing things with me. Colleen was great - extremely friendly and easy to work with, reassuring and had great intuition. I think all of us worry about whether all of the details are going to come together so that our vision is played out just right on the day. Colleen made sure that happened. I didn't have to explain every little thing - she just made everything look pretty! She spread rose petals on our cake (which didn't have any flowers), all over the front table and the table with the guest cards... she moved candles around during the different parts of the wedding... just little things she did to make things look and feel beautiful. The rain on the day of the wedding was disappointing, not only to me but to Colleen as well. I know she was disappointed for me that we couldn't have the ceremony outside, but she made the tent look so pretty, it didn't matter at all! They waited until the last possible moment to make the call to have it under the tent, which I appreciated. Everything was beautiful, organized and delicious. We stayed over that night and they put candy and candles all around our room, and there was always a pitcher of iced water and glasses. Breakfast the next morning was a gorgeous display of fruit, deli meats and pastries (also cookies!). They were very helpful packing everything up and getting it loaded into the car. Everyone had nothing but wonderful things to say about the venue - I'm so glad we had it there! It was like a fairytale.
PHOTOGRAPHER: BHARAT PARMAR – A+
Bharat was amazing, as was his assistant, Jeff. They got there early and stayed until the very end. They were fun, professional and creative. The photos were online within about a day, and I received the discs in the mail as soon as we returned from our honeymoon and I emailed him to say it was ok to mail them. The pictures are gorgeous, they captured every important moment, many unplanned. My only regret is that I did not do a group shot of the entire wedding (a friend of mine did that and we all love looking at it) and that I didn’t do specific shots of a few groups of people. But those things were my fault. I HATE getting my photo taken and at the end of the day Bharat was like, “Were you kidding when you said you didn’t like getting your photo taken??” He made me so comfortable that after the first few shots of the day, I didn’t mind. We haven’t done our engagement session with him yet (too busy before the wedding!) and can’t wait to work with him again!
MUSIC: MURRAY HILL TALENT, MALDEN; DJ – PAUL NATALE – A+
Paul was wonderful. He was very communicative, fun and professional. He was exactly what we wanted. Nothing cheesy, great taste in music – played what we wanted, but also infused songs he knew would get the crowd dancing. The only glitch was that the song that was supposed to play when we were introduced didn’t play, due to a technical issue. But no one even noticed except us!! He was completely mortified – I felt worse for him than I did about the song not being played! I really could have cared less. When I asked my friends if it was awkward when we were introduced without music, they were like, “Huh?” We went right into our first dance (“Thank you” Led Zepplin) so it was only a couple of moments of no music. Everything else was perfect. I gave him kind of complicated instructions for the ceremony music – asking for only certain parts of certain songs to play at certain times – and he handled it perfectly. He’s very nice, and very cool and I would absolutely work with him again.
FLOWERS: JEN CAHILL, THE TANGLED WEB – A+
Jen was awesome. We met once, waaaay back, and emailed constantly for months because I kept changing my mind. She had many great suggestions and was super friendly and easy to work with. She never seemed annoyed by my constant questions and changes. In the end, I didn’t even see her on the wedding day and everything was perfect. I loved the bouquets and the centerpieces. Everything was great quality and delivered on time, and correct. Nothing bad to say about her at all!
HAIR AND MAKEUP: SHEAR ILLUSIONS, WESTWOOD: A++
Myself, my mom, my aunt, and 3 of my BMs all had our hair/makeup done at my aunt’s good friend’s salon in Westwood. It is not a salon I had ever been to before my hair and makeup trials, both of which were a little iffy, and I was REALLY worried about this, mainly because on my wedding day I wanted to feel beautiful! Well, they were AMAZING. Sara, Deb and Jenny all came in on Sunday (which they never do) and the owner, Tricia, stopped by and brought yummy fruit salad, muffins and coffee cake. We put on music and everybody was fun and friendly. Sara, who did my hair, had to deal with me not being quite sure what I wanted, and even telling me that what I was describing she didn’t think would look the way I was thinking it would. So I let her do her thing and my hair came out GORGEOUS – it was exactly what I wanted and didn’t even realize it. I was a bit unsure of the make up as it was a brand I never use, so I brought my own foundation and Deb was fine using it. I was very happy with the makeup. Everyone else looked gorgeous as well. It was so much fun and distracted me from being nervous! I can’t thank them enough.
TUXES – MEN’S WEARHOUSE, BURLINGTON – A+
I don’t have a whole lot to say… they were easy to work with, friendly, on top of things. I made a change about a month before the wedding, and it was fine. No complaints, they were great!
ALCOHOL: KAPPY’S – A+
We had to order our own alcohol since Topsfield is a dry town. I really had nothing to do with this – I told Emily at Willowdale what I wanted, and she dealt with numbers and communicating with Kappy’s. Everything was correct and on time, and they bought back everything we did not open. Worked out perfectly!
CAKE: KONDITOR MEISTER, BRAINTREE – A
The cake tasting was where I actually got to eat some cake… but the few bites I had at the wedding were yummy! The cake looked exactly as I wanted it to, and tasted great. My only complaint was that they were a bit hard to communicate with. I wanted to buy a groom’s cake as well and couldn’t get anyone to respond to my questions. I ended up just having Willowdale make DH a giant cookie (which is his favorite anyway).
SHOES: SHOES TO DYE FOR, NATICK – A+
My mom and I bought our shoes there and had them died. They were great, no problems. Nothing eventful to say!
NAILS: KELDARA SALON IN DEDHAM – Theodora – A+
Keldara is rather pricey, but it is a very nice salon, and I loved Dora! She is adorable and very talented. Getting my nails done was a very pleasant experience (usually I don’t like it). I would definitely go to her again.
JP: BEVERLY COOK - A+
Beverly was very sweet and friendly when we met her several months ago - so much so that I worried no one would be able to hear her on our wedding day! Not so - she was great! She was definitely "in charge" and was very funny joking around with the guys. During the ceremony she had to stop several times saying she was "choked up" which was very cute. (It was mostly after DH and I each read our personal vows). I really liked her manner and am glad we went with her!
WEDDING JEWELRY: MY MOM!! A+++
My mom has been doing some jewelry making recently and she made my earrings and bracelet for my wedding. They were gorgeous! I had been shopping for jewelry and had in mind what I wanted, but couldn't find anything anywhere that I really liked... She put together exactly what I wanted and it went perfectly with my dress! And was free! (for me...). It was beautiful and was also very special because she made it. She also made my veil by cutting all of the lace out of her veil and sewing it onto a new piece of tulle! She is far more talented than I in that arena...
Hmm… is that all? I feel like I’ve forgotten something… It’s actually nice to write these because it brings me back to the whole experience! It went waaaaaay too quickly!!