San Francisco, CA 9410
My then-fiance (now husband) is a very creative guy, therefore it was only natural that he wanted to design my engagement ring. He spent a long time researching diamonds, settings, and jewelers. He visited both the Jewelry Center and the Gift Center/Jewelry Mart and talked to many people about custom designs. He ultimately went with Steve Padis because the man gave him a GREAT deal.
Because my husband is so awesome, he got to sift through their diamonds (which they normally don't allow), and hand-pick the ones he wanted for both the engagement ring and wedding band (yes, he designed a band to match!). He worked closely with Maria (who was AMAZING and so patient), who served as a liaison between my husband, Steve, and the jeweler who would be hand-making the rings. There was a lot of negotiating involved, but the diamonds on my rings are better quality than those you will find at Tiffany/Cartier/etc - for a very, very, VERY small fraction of what those stores would sell.
The result? Two beautiful, sparkly, one-of-a-kind rings on my finger, with a hearts-and-arrows center stone. I'm so lucky.
San Francisco, CA 94123
I got all my wedding bling at Haute Bride, and I couldn't be happier! I initially fell in love with their red cuff bracelet when I saw pictures that my photographer, Jennifer Skog, took for HB's promotional use. I made an appointment, visited the cute store, and they had the cuff ready for me to look at!
They were about to have a sample sale on their website, Cocktail Bling, so I waited until then to find other accessories. I trolled the site on the first day of the sale and scored earrings and shoe brooches that matched my red cuff (I used them on my bouquet)! However, when I got everything in the mail, I noticed that the brooches were a different, darker red. I immediately emailed HB and explained my mistake - they looked brighter on the website. Lindsay, the owner and designer, emailed me back and said she would swap the stones for ones that matched my cuff...at no additional charge! I also asked her about making a hair piece for me - I saw one I liked, but wanted it in red. She also said that it wouldn't be a problem.
So, two more trips to the store - first to drop off my brooches, and the second to pick up my FABULOUS cuff, brooches, earrings, and hair piece. I felt so glamorous on my wedding day, and every item from Haute Bride added a perfect little detail to the whole ensemble.
San Francisco, CA 94108
We visited Dragon Seed twice - the first time to take a look at chipaos (we went with Ling's in Oakland). We didn't talk to anyone about custom dresses, just looked at what they had on the rack. For the most part, they were pretty blah. Lots of sequins, old fashioned, and kinda fobby.
We returned about a week before our wedding because we needed a silk signing cloth. We figured a store as specialized as Dragon Seed would have them - and they did. We asked, received, and were out of there fairly quickly.
The signing cloth wasn't great quality silk, but it was pretty, inexpensive, and did the job.
We waiting on our video still, so I'll update this when the actual product comes.
I booked Alex fairly late in the game, and I'm so glad I found him! He is very prompt, responsive, professional, nice, and fun to be around! I was pleasantly surprised by how great his packages were, and how much they cost!
Alex and his crew are a lot of fun to be around, and I enjoyed having them around during all the girly wedding prep! During the actual ceremony, they disappeared into the background and were SO ninja, I totally forgot they were there!
He was pretty quick in giving us the preview video, which was just a few minutes of video highlights from the big day, which our vows and some music as the audio. Needless to say, the little video made me (and a lot of other people) cry.
Alex is very good at what he does, and I can't wait to see our video!
Louise is amazing. My bridesmaid dresses had a sizing issues, but she was able to fix three of them with my wedding only 2 weeks away! Her handiwork is amazing - she's obviously very, very good at her craft. It will cost you, but her prices aren't outrageous.
People say she has attitude - I got a whiff of what they meant, because my bridesmaids and I weren't always on time to our appointments. However, I think that she is just being a shrewd businesswoman and won't let people take advantage of her - which is awesome! She's a one-woman show, super busy, and very high in demand. Of course she doesn't want to waste her time waiting around for latecomers!
She's also very sassy, which I dig.
Minneapolis, MN 55402
I ordered my bridesmaid dresses from NetBride, and it was relatively non-painful. They do offer the cheaper alternative than salons and ordering was very simple. Everything came exactly as I ordered.
The sizing on the dresses were weird, but NetBride provides the manufacturer's sizing charts, so it's not NB's fault.
I had to rush order the dresses, which brought the cost up, and the dresses didn't come early - they came right when they were scheduled.
Men's Warehouse is a no-frills place. My now-husband already had a tux for our wedding, so we went here to pick out rental tuxes for our five groomsmen. We chose MW because the best man lived in Boston, so at least he could go to a store over there to get measured.
The choices are very limited, but we were able to find items we liked - and the package comes with everything - tux, vest, shirt, tie, shoes, suspenders, cuff links. The price wasn't too shabby for a rental package, and the way they operate is convenient.
The sales people here were a little clueless. We saw several signs in the store that said "rent five, get one free OR $300 towards a purchase." So we decided to use the credit to get a suit for my daddy. When we placed the order, we reminded the sales lady of the deal, who brushed it off and said it was no longer valid. We said we saw a sign in the store window, to which she replied "oh, I guess someone forgot to take it down."
My husband then said, "How about that big sign behind you?" The lady had been sitting in front of one of those signs all morning, literally 2 feet behind her. Did SHE forget to "take it down"? In any case, we got our free suit purchase. Yay!
San Francisco, CA 94111
My husband and I are fairly creative people and were set on hand-making our invitations. We found the perfect paper at H2 Cards and asked who their vendor was. They wouldn't tell us. Sadness ensued.
After a couple weeks of searching and moping, we went back to H2 Cards. We asked if it was possible to just print the text inserts, as we already had a design for our invitations. Lucky, they were very flexible! We ended up ordering the text in English and Chinese, and their RSVP cards. Our proofs came in a timely manner and everything was accurate. The actual product came earlier than quoted and the quality was superb! The bonus - the sweet floral scent of "Chinese paper." Yum.
We seamlessly incorporated H2 Card's product with our hand-made invitations, and they turned out wonderfully! We couldn't be more pleased, and got many complements from our guests.
***This review is solely for my wedding chipao, as I had everything else taken care of already.***
I already know how crappy the cheap chipao in most Chinatown stores are (especially since I own one already). For my wedding, I wanted a silk chipao that would look high-quality AND would last me for years to come. After doing some research, I decided to go with Ling's. Connie is wonderful to work with. There were plenty of fabrics and trimmings to choose from, and I was so happy to have a custom-made dress that fit me perfectly! We had several fittings and Connie's workmanship is flawless! Remember though, you definitely pay for what you get. Every extra trim or modification will cost you extra.
Mr. Ling is a very nice man, but also extremely pushy. My initial consultation was with him, and he kept trying to push trims that didn't really match with my dress fabric. I was adamant about what I wanted, but he didn't seem to hear me. He also kept pushing my husband to order a tux from them - when we said he already had one, Mr. Ling told him to order suits for work. He also kept pushing their photography service, and actually sat us down at his computer to show us their sample works. I was clear that we had a photographer, but he insisted that we keep Ling's in mind - "just in case."
Um, no. I already put hefty deposits on the photographer I LOVE. Stick to the dresses, please. In any case, Connie is wonderful and my chipao was lovely!
Emeryville, CA 94608
We held our wedding reception here, and HKEO was so wonderful! We took up a little more than half of the main dining room (with the beautiful bay view!). Michael Xie and his staff were very responsive via email and phone calls. He arranged for red tablecloths and napkins, custom table numbers, a head table, extra tables for the cake and guest sign-in, and a private dressing room upstairs that we used for outfit changes.
We looked over their many banquet menus and were able to create our own custom menu, drawing on items from different menus. We also had one vegetarian table. Michael was so accommodating and receptive to our ideas.
The actual food was amazing. My only regret is not sitting down to enjoy my food, but I was too busy being a bride. :)