Pasadena, CA 91107
Holiday Inn gave us good rates through the Priority Club, but had to call back 4 times to get our member #, and then they gave us the wrong #, so I had to call when people were getting in to find our REAL priority club #. They were very nice, though, and placed smokers away from non-smokers, and even smoking divorced people in different areas of the hotel so they wouldn't run into each other much. Our parents had breakfast together every morning in the lobby.
Pasadena, CA 91107
Best Western gave us a good price off the bat. It had a pool. Most of our young'un friends stayed at the Best Western, and we hung out at the pool together the night before the wedding. Very relaxing, and nothing fancy. Best Western just gave us a good rate, no questions asked.
South Pasadena, CA 91030
We got the Gauguin room for our wedding night. We only got in around 11 pm, so it was late, and they asked us to please not use the jacuzzi (in the bathroom) from 11 - 7. That was fine. They left us a small bottle of port wine and two chocolates (5 star, so good!) We spent time together,
and then went to sleep and used the jacuzzi in the morning. It was a beautiful room, 4 post bed, and the decor was great. We had breakfast in the morning, and except for the fact that everyone else was about 65 years old, we had a nice quiet breakfast together. (Muffins and egg and salmon and hollandaise sauce on english muffins, fresh fruit and juice.) Gorgeous area.
Pasadena, CA 91105-2027
GREAT! We didn't get our own room, but did get our own table, and from 5:30-7:00 it was pretty easy to talk to each other. It got louder closer to 6:30.
The food was wonderful, and a great price. They gave us family style food -- big platters of pork, steak, pasta, for $17.95 per person plus $2 per drink. (Less for kids.) It was a classier Buca Di Beppo. I would definitely recommend them! Talk to Alfred, the manager for their family style menu --
they're just starting it and we were a "test".
(I actually found this lady through e-bay.) I didn't want a tulle veil.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
5 stars: dress and service
I got my dress for $125. It was exactly what I wanted. It was a last year's model, off the rack, perfect size, $249, and it was half off.
I went in on a Thursday, found the dress, brought my parents in the next day (they were flying in for a visit by coincidence) and bought it. They were extremely friendly, and the whole thing was very easy.
3 stars: alterations in store by Mary
Mary, the seamstress was very nice to me, even when she'd been double booked, but was sometimes rushed, and the alterations (8 bustle loops and a hem) cost around $230.
She was only there Sunday and Wednesday, and when I went in for my 2nd fitting, she showed by bm how to lace up the back, but didn't let her practice it. Also, when she showed me the bustle, I thought it looked weird. I went home, thought about it, looked at pics I'd taken, and decided to talk to her about it. I made an appt for a Wednesday, got off work early, and she didn't have my dress there because she keeps them somewhere else, and had forgotten to write the appt down. (She'd taken the appt on her cell phone.) She asked me to come in any time the next Sunday and she'd see me whenever I was ready. We worked everything out, and when you folded the bustle a different way, it was exactly what I wanted. She said, "I'm glad you came in to ask me about it instead of worrying and stressing out about it." I was supposed to pick it up on the Sunday before the wedding, and I FORGOT TO PICK IT UP! Luckily, she left it at the store for me to pick up, and I picked it up after I picked up my folks from LAX.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
The flowers for the front of the aisle were GORGEOUS, heavenly, PERFECT!!!! The bouts were PERFECT, the corsages were good, and the bouquets were not what I wanted. She DID include lots of herbs and berries, exactly like I wanted, but didn't use the flowers she said she would -- bluebird roses, no white flowers, and purple/lavender flowers like hydrangea and lilacs. If you look at the pics in my bio (which are pics I gave her), and then the pics of my bouquet, you'll see they aren't the same at all. I at one point (although she may not have it on record) said I DIDN'T want calla lilies at all, and there were lavender callas in my bouquet. The color families are basically right -- lavender and pink, but I didn't want white, and there was plenty of white hydrangea in the bouquets. I liked the herb stuff she put in the bouquets, but was slightly disappointed in both the bouquets and also the corsages, which were white with pink berries. This may have been a problem because this was the day before Mother's Day, but who knows?
Quick note -- even though the bouquets were kept in jars in ice, they still wilted quickly with the heat. I had to pull several pieces out of my bouquet because they flopped over. Also, I don't know who was setting up the flowers, but it wasn't Amanda. She did deliver to north LA county from Orange County, but I had to have my aunt take the iron stands back down to OC with her. She didn't stay to move any flower arrangements around or take the stands back. (Even though she charged me for delivery.)
Still waiting for the video, but they showed up for both our bachelor/bachelorette party where we did a "when we met" interview, and of course, the wedding.
The guys were very nice and non-intrusive.
Our pictures are beautiful, but I wish there were better ones of me and my family. (He only took ONE of us and my family, us and DH's Mom and sis, and ONE of DH's Dad and us.)
DH's dad (who was once a wedding photog to put himself through college) said they should have taken more pics of us with family members -- I didn't get any with my Grandma, didn't get any with just me and my bro, didn't get any with the readers -- my aunt, etc. If I'd remembered to ask, it wouldn't have been a problem -- I found all my cousins and took a pic with them later in the night, but he's a very non-traditional photographer, and some pics he didn't take unless we asked him
specifically. He focused mostly on DH and I and the bridal party, and not so much on family. I must say again, though, that I LOVED them taking my pics,
Doug and Chenin (his wife and assistant) were both GREAT! They were so comfortable to be around, and very available to play around and do lots of FUN pics.
Still waiting on the album, which I bet will be GORGEOUS.
Very prompt, I got back from the honeymoon, and the pics were ready to proof, and two days later, they've sent me the draft for the album.
Teddy was very good at playing music, and the actual announcements. He wasn't cheesy, and got people out on the floor really well. However, he had the info sheets from our first meeting, which had our OLD MOH's name -- the one who backed out 2 months ago. Luckily, he went over everyone's name just before the reception. He couldn't pronounce Griglak (bm's last name -- and it's not hard -- Grig - lack). So, we just introduced everyone by their first name.
We asked him to not do the anniversary dance, and he didn't do it in a dance format, but had the couple who was married the longest (my folks -- DH's family has a lot of divorces) get up and give the last speech. We specifically didn't want more focus on my folks (who are together)
than his folks, who aren't.
Also, he played the wrong song for our last dance. I'm SURE I e-mailed him the list of songs I wanted played, and he got the rest of them right, but played the last song on our cd favors instead of the song I told him to play. However, he didn't play the songs I told him not to play (the electric slide) even though people were bugging him to. He did mention it to me, but didn't push it. He also got the guys to sing "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling" which we didn't really want, but didn't specifically tell him not to.
There were a bunch of things we did differently, -- bow tie toss instead of garter -- and Teddy didn't completely understand what we wanted. We gave him a list of songs that we liked, and he played almost ONLY that list, even though I said general stuff like, "Please play some slower songs for the older couples" and I don't think he did.
However, the dance floor was almost always occupied by SOMEONE. I'd say he was pretty good, but not great. He might be a good candidate for someone who wants a good DJ where there are no changes, and nothing complicated.
He gave us a light show and had an extra dj helping him, and only charged us $785 for 6.5 hours, two set ups (one for the ceremony, one for the reception). His equipment worked really well, and except for a few things, did a good job. He told me his prices will be going up though. (I didn't need/want the light show, though, but didn't tell him not to bring it.)