Walt Disney World
Jodi & Victor's Walt Disney World Wedding
Minimum Stress, Great Value
We (Jodi Bucknam and Victor Nazarian) got married at Walt Disney World on Sunday 18 April 2010 at the Gazebo in the Rose Garden at Disney's Yacht Club resort and had our reception at the Atlantic Dance Hall.
The bride & groom laughed and cried and danced.
The critics raved:
It couldn't have been any better. - Bride's Mom
I want to do it all over again. - Groom
The best wedding I've ever been to. - Our minister, Tony Guida
If you've seen Molly Ringwald in "Sixteen Candles" or Steve Martin in "Father of the Bride" you may understand my state of mind in early 2009. I was worried and I wasn't sure we knew what we were doing. Marrying Jodi was a rock solid sure thing. I couldn't have been more positive of anything in my whole life. HOW do we get married?
HC SVNT DRACONES... (Here Be Dragons)
I asked Jodi to marry me on the Royal (pipe organ) stage at the Maryland Renaissance Festival on the last day of the Fall 2008 season. I was just back from an airborne Coast Guard Auxiliary patrol, still in my uniform flight suit. We'd been dating since the previous February and had known each other from swing dancing for about a year before that. She said yes, my friend Gary played Ode to Joy on the pipe organ and I was walking on clouds. Now we had to start walking those clouds in the direction of a wedding, somewhere.
We spent months, buying magazines, doing Internet research and talking to friends. We must have put in 200 hours on our MacBooks looking up details and reading reviews and comments on weddings and we probably put over 5,000 miles on Jodi's Honda Civic Hybrid traveling to interesting wedding spots. We wanted to stay out of debt and pay for it mostly on our own. It had to be fun, include dancing and have as many of our friends and family as possible. We knew we could save some money by doing our own invitations and ceremony programs and providing a few of our own special touches. We even got our friend Slash (Eric Dunn) to draw up some special graphics we could use in our invitations. We knew we'd probably spend quite a bit if we wanted a memorable event and we wanted to do it RIGHT, get a good value and have lots of fun for our money.
We had lots of ideas for themes including Victorian formal, steam punk, zoot suits, island/tropical and Jazz Fest in New Orleans, etc. I even suggested getting married by a ship's captain in period garb - a pirate wedding.
Jodi wasn't into the pirate wedding theme but getting married on a ship (in non-pirate clothes) stayed on the list. We considered several cities close to the water and also maybe staying close to home.
Even though Washington D.C. is beautiful in the Spring the sprawling nature and inflated costs of the D.C. metro area would have made staying close to home expensive and complicated.
Also, because Jodi's family is somewhat dispersed and would have to travel anyway it only seemed fair to have the wedding somewhere worth traveling to. This made a destination wedding much more appealing, at least to my logic.
We visited, Baltimore, Portland (Maine), Tampa, Orlando, New Orleans, Charleston and several other cities. One of the pilots in my Coast Guard Auxiliary aviation flotilla, even flew us out to Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay. Then we talked it all over, did the math and searched our hearts. All in all it came down to what would make the maximum happy with the minimum stress at a reasonable cost? Walt Disney World came up on top. It was more than just choosing a location, it was more like choosing a project management team with romantic show business experience.
I had just one tiny concern...
"I don't think I want a Mickey Mouse wedding."
Looking back that might seem silly. We had just about the best time anyone can have getting married. Before-hand however I had some real concerns. I didn't want to spend the price of a small, used airplane on something that might feel plastic and be regarded as cheesy. I love Disney and Pixar and I'm fond of the Sorcerer's Apprentice. We own every Pixar film and we both love The Muppets. Even so, I wanted to make sure our wedding would be a Jodi and Victor focused affair, special in its own right.
I was also worried I would talk Jodi into something she wouldn't love. I can be a real bulldozer when it comes to decisions. When the little voice in my heart expressed concerns about "Mickey Mouse wedding" I listened to it. I made sure to say something to both Jodi and the Disney folks. I also made a point of listening to everyone. I'm not always the best listener but for this, I tried to listen extra hard.
Here's where the Disney folks really impressed me, Telepathy. Yup, Kristi Davis one of Disney's wedding sales representatives over at Franck's can read minds! She showed us the wedding chapel and the beach near the Grand Floridian and then, perhaps reading my body language or looking inside my skull suggested we go over to the Yacht Club and look at the rose garden and gazebo. Long before I met Jodi my best WDW trip ever was back in the early 2000's when I stayed for several days at the Yacht Club. It's cool, retro and wonderful and it's right by the water. Also, it's walking distance to both Epcot and MGM (now Disney's Hollywood Studios). Somehow Kristi must have known I love all of that. I love mind readers!
We were still not sign-on-the-dotted-line just yet. We made sure to finish up visiting the other sites we had planned and we double checked our hearts. We looked at numbers and talked with friends. We asked family members what they thought and then we did the smart thing. We talked with Jodi's mom.
Jodi's mother Anita is a saint. Really! She's a super smart, ultra cool professor over at Ohio State (Go Buckeyes) and not only was she happy to let us do the wedding any way we wanted but she also said she'd help us if we needed it. She agreed with us that WDW was a good idea and was very supportive. Likewise Jodi's father was very supportive as well and also offered to help if needed. Although we wanted to do this ourselves as much as possible we were relieved to know that help would be there if we needed it. We did "tap the rents" a little for money for photography, etcetera and my own mother even put up some money for the rehearsal dinner. They were all comfortable with Disney and helped keep our stress down a lot.
The due diligence and teamwork really brought Jodi and me closer together and made us more confident in our decisions. Some people have buyer's remorse about their wedding (the place, hopefully not the partner). I didn't want to ever have any feelings whatsoever that we could have done it better. By personally visiting lots of locations together and talking to lots of people face-to-face we bonded and we assured ourselves we were doing the right things. Then we chose Walt Disney World and Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings. Smart move, they were able to make it all happen with lots of happiness and without stress. They have, or can arrange for, almost everything you might need.
Walt Disney's company is much more than cute media icons and cultural fluff. He and his brother Roy established a creative business culture that revolves around family, friendship and taking good care of people. Disney has what it takes to make a wedding into a celebration:
1. Professionals who are capable and motivated to make things happen.
2. Customer service - feeling pampered should be part of any wedding.
3. Happiness, fun and smiles, for everyone - key to a good wedding.
4. Low stress!!!
5. Resources that are all close at hand.more »
BUYER BEWARE: Do not put your ring setting in the hands of Brilliant Earth - as you will see from my review (among others on yelp) they have an awful track record when it comes to quality of their rings along with the customer service in dealing with these issues
Starting from the beginning: started shopping with my then fiance for rings - stumbled upon Brilliant Earth as I wanted a sapphire and they had a good selection, Gloria was great in helping me pick the setting I liked and catering to all my needs. About a week after having the ring, I realized the sapphire was loose (could tap and hear it moving but not serious enough to com off) - I put off taking it in until we went shopping for our wedding bands a few months later. They took it, tightened the prongs and apparently replaced one of the diamonds in the band for it had turned yellow (never got any clarification on why this happened at the time) and returned it to me at no cost.
Unfortunately, a few days later the sapphire was again loose in the same way (frustrated at this point that the problem wasn't fixed but in the middle of wedding planning and I had moved out of SF so I had no time to bring it in again).
Finally a few months after the wedding, one of my little diamonds in my wedding band fell out/disappeared, and again one of my little stones in my ring had yellowed. I decided to bring everything in to take care of at once. I was directed to Bridgette instead of Gloria and this is where things turn ugly.
I asked Bridgette if there was going to be any cost in these fixes since I assumed them to be ring issues and not something I had done (considering 2 of the 3 problems had occurred before), also noting my concern that I only had the wedding band for 3 months and stones were already falling off. She couldn't give me a straight answer in person and kept saying the charges would be "fair" - whatever that means. She called me the next day to say she had the jeweler look at my rings and assessed what had caused the problems. Big Surprise: nothing was their fault in the ring design and it was all blamed on me. Apparently my band rubbing against my engagement ring had caused the diamond to pop off - really? after 3 months of wearing the two together - that's great craftmanship. The yellowing diamond was "due to me washing it with some type of Clorox cleaner and it getting underneath the diamond" (I work for Clorox - interesting how they jumped to that conclusion) - I told her that the only product I used to clean my rings was the "Brilliant Earth" cleaner so if you're suggesting that is creating an issue please tell me to stop using that - Bridgette dodged herself out of those questions. And then the reason my sapphire was loose was wear and tear - no concerns about the fact that it's been like that from day one pretty much and no willingness to assess the fact that the prongs were not designed to hold my ring. BUYER BEWARE: Do not put your ring setting in the hands of Brilliant Earth - as you will see from my review (among others on yelp) they have an awful track record when it comes to quality of their rings along with the customer service in dealing with these issues
Starting from the beginning: started shopping with my then fiance for rings - stumbled opon Brilliant Earth as I wanted a sapphire and they had a good selection, Gloria was great in helping me pick the setting I liked. About a week after having the ring, I realized the sapphire was loose (could tap and hear it moving but not serious enough to com off) - I put off taking it in until we went shopping for our wedding bands. They took it, tightened the prongs and apparently replaced one of the diamonds in the band for it had turned yellpw (never got any clarification on why this happened) and returned it to me no cost. At this point I was happy with the customer service. Unfortunately, a few days later the sapphire was again loose in the same way (frustrated at this point that the problem wasn't fixed but in the middle of wedding planning and I had moved out of SF so I had no time to bring it in again until after the wedding).
A few months after my wedding, one of my litlle diamonds in my wedding band disappeared, and again one of my little stones in my ring had yellowed. I decided to bring everything in to take care of at once. I was directed to Bridgette instead of Gloria and this is where things turn ugly.
I asked Bridgette if there was going to be any cost in these fixes since I assumed them to be ring issues and not something I had done (considering 2 of the 3 problems had occurred before), also noting my concern that I only had the ring for less than half a year and stones were already falling off. She couldn't give me a straight answer in person but called me the next day to say she had the jeweler look at my rings and assessed what had caused the problems. Big Surprise: nothing was their fault in the ring design and it was all blamed on me. Apparently my band rubbing against my engagement ring had caused the diamond to pop off - really? after 3 months of wearing the two together - that's great craftmanship. The yellowing diamond was due to some type of household cleaning solution getting underneath the diamond (I work for a household cleaning consumer company - interesting how they jumped to that conclusion) - I told her that the only product I used to clean my rings was the "Brilliant Earth" cleaner so if you're suggesting that is creating an issue please tell me to stop using that - Bridgette dodged herself out of those questions. And then the reason my sapphire was loose was wear and tear - no concerns about the fact that it's been like that from day one pretty much and no willingness to assess the fact that the prongs were not designed to hold my ring. Bridgette didn't do or say anything to ease my concerns (like you are taught to do in a customer service setting) - she basically acted like me being charged for anything was out of her hands and that the "ring tells a story".
They want to charge me to fix all these issues now which I refuse to do. I'm really regretting having them do my settings and am planning on taking both of my rings to another jeweler to be assessed although like the others on here I think I know what the answer is going to be (they are designed and crafted poorly). So there goes more money down the drain to fix their errors.
The customer service has been awful since I paid them for my 2 rings - it's literally been night and day (they got their $ and now don't care to keep me happy). I'm sure these issues are going to keep happening, and I'm not going to risk paying them more money when they don't know how to fix the rings and will keep blaming the issues on me.
Yes, they have pretty rings, yes the staff is great in helping you design what you want, but at the end of the day - the quality of the rings is awful and you should spend your money elsewhere. They are nice to you until they get your $ and could care less afterwards. Go somewhere else - you know those other jewelers that do cleanings for free, yearly maintenance, fixes, etc without trying to nickel and dime you. I have 5-6 friends who have gotten rings in the bay area over the past year and none of them are having any issues with customer service or their ring quality - if you want a reco for these places let me know and I will be happy to pass along their information.
I gave Brilliant Earth the opportunity to fix these issues at no charge to make things right with me but they refuse. I advise anyone to avoid this place at all costs.
Check out yelp for other similar reviews as well as another woman on this site - this is not the first time this has happened.more »
Winnie Couture Bridal Salon Beverly Hills
My experience shopping for my wedding gown was a bit hectic, it didn’t start off so great. I had to deal with super pushy sales girls, they kept saying every gown looked great, looked amazing, that it complimented my figure. I could see right through them, some of the gowns did look good but not that great and for them to tell every gown looked good, I knew they just wanted a sale. I wanted my experience to be something special. I kept researching online and then I came across Winnie Couture and see how close it is to my home so I call right away to make an appointment. I was blown away whe I walked inside, this boutique is to die for. The entire boutique is stunning, there is nothing that I didn’t like. It is absolutely gorgeous and you just feel the love as soon as you walk in. The staff was so friendly and so sweet. I meet my stylist and she gives this wonderful tour of the boutique that made me just fall in love with it even more, she was so knowledgeable. She worked with me the entire time, she gave me all of her attention but still managed to keep my party entertained. She was so much fun. what I really appreciated from her is that she was so honest, I knocked out so many dresses out that I thought I liked but in reality didn’t look all the great on me but she let me know her honest opinion and I took . Winnie Couture gave me the best experience. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I found my dream dress and it was easy. I walked out a happy girl, by far the best investment. more »
Atlas Floral Decorators
Kiriba Logan, the designer extraordinaire of Atlas Floral Decorators, delivered all he promised and then exceeded our expectations for our wedding on October 23, 2011 at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers. My husband and I could not be happier with every element Kiriba provided, from the bouquets to the centerpieces to the magnificent Chuppah that our friends and family are still talking about as the most beautiful one they have ever seen. I knew immediately that Kiriba was "the one" to design our flowers. Kiriba came warmly recommended to me and after meeting with him, I knew we would work well together to create the design I was looking for. Before our meeting, Kiriba asked me to do some "homework" and find pictures of what I liked and was looking for. Kiriba totally listened and came through with flying (Autumnal) colors. Kiriba took the design to another level that really made the flowers more than I could have hoped for. We went with an Autumn color theme and so we were surrounded by seasonal flowers, berries, branches and leaves.The colors and shapes he chose--chocolate calla lilies, red coxcomb, brown/red hypericum berries, hydrangea, birch bark, red/golden roses (just to name a few), had movement and charm and created a veritable Fall Wonderland. I wish I could attach photos to show the magnificent work Kiriba did. Since ours was a daytime wedding, a great deal of the color and decoration was going to be represented through the flowers and their colors. When I showed Kiriba a photo of leaves on the ground I took while visiting Vermont, he suggested scattering some foliage on the floor along the entranceway that people walk down to get to the ceremony. I was a bit skeptical at first, but trusted Kiriba's judgment and was delighted with the results. Atlas Floral Decorators and Kiriba Logan did an incredible job and I would recommend them to anyone and everyone who wants a beautiful, memorable, flawless floral decoration for their wedding or event.more »