Hayward, CA 94545
We weren't really big fans of wedding cake and were considering going the cupcakes route for our wedding, but I convinced my husband that we should at least go on cake tastings - that's how we ended up getting our wedding cake from Sugar Bowl Bakery.
From the beginning, Michelle, the wedding cake consultant, was very easy to work with and prompt in responding to my emails. We were able to tweak our choices and design, as well as the delivery time, without any problems. I even asked her to add extra info to our contract (to make me feel more comfortable), which she took care of.
We were able to choose 5 different flavors (raspberry dandy, strawberry rum, strawberry ganache, princess, and strawberries, bananas and cream) for the tasting, which were presented as 5 mini-cakes (the leftovers of which we took home and ate throughout the following week!). She didn't pressure us, at all, and gave us estimates for a couple of different designs.
Because having an extravagant cake wasn't really a priority, we chose a simple design. We had two square cakes stacked asymmetrically with a tiered round cake on top and each layer was a different flavor (strawberry rum - nice light flavor, princess, and strawberry ganache). On the bottom of each layer, we had a ribbon with piping around it (we had yellow, pink, yellow for the ribbons). Our florist also provide some flowers with which to decorate the cake. We decided on buttercream frosting (which wasn't too buttery or too sweet) instead of fondant, which was embellished with simple swiss dots. We also ordered 1/2 a sheet cake.
People really, really enjoyed the cake, which was nice and moist. Instead of freezing the top tier of the cake, we shared it with our families, and finished it on our "week-i-versary."
Fairfield, CA 94533
About 3 weeks before our wedding date, the catering manager, Doree, with whom we'd been working informed us that she would no longer be working for the Hilton, which could have been a nightmarish experience. She, however, made sure that she got all of our information squared away and passed us on to the new catering manager, Christian, who took great care of us in the weeks leading up to our wedding.
Both of them were really good about answering our questions and making sure they had all the information they needed so that we didn't have to worry on the day of the wedding.
Through Doree, we were able to reserve the venue, select our hors d'oeuvres, view a wedding setup and take pictures and to have a complimentary food tasting (we decided to go buffet style with salmon and prime rib).
A couple days before the wedding, Christian met with us to tie up loose ends - including helping us with our reception timeline - and made sure we met with the banquet leader, Lissa. Because he saw were going to change for a surprise dance, he had a room across from the ballroom made available to us for the day to also use as storage and as a "break room." They helped us figure out the best way to set things up. Christian and Lissa did an excellent job of calming my nerves, and they took great care of us on the day of. Lissa even made sure to pack up the top tier of our wedding cake and put it in the fridge for us to take home and have the front desk hold some of our arrangements.
I took a star off for two reasons:
1) the champagne wasn't out for the toasts, but I think it may just have been off timing, since everything else went so well. Maybe I should have asked everyone to sync their watches ;). They did start pouring not long after the first toast ^_^.
2) sometimes it would take a while for Doree to respond to my emails, and because it took Christian a while to get our correct numbers - once he did, though, he was very good at calling us back and responding to all our questions.
Overall, though, I think this a great venue, and we are really happy that we decided to have our reception here. The people were great and really took care of us.
Flowers by Anne was actually one of first floral designers I contacted (via the website's awesome online estimator tool), but when I didn't hear from her, I assumed that she was booked. After several disappointing experiences with florists (one who said my floral choices were not good, one who no-showed for the consultation, and one who had a family emergency), I decided to follow up with her again and emailed her. I am so happy that I did, as sometimes things get lost on the net (that was a good lesson in following up!).
From the follow up email, Anne has been amazing! She expedited our estimate and held the date for us until we could meet with her for the personal consultation. At the consultation itself, she really understood our personalities and aesthetics and was able to translate it into really gorgeous designs. She was very helpful in making suggestions (e.g., adding green gladiolas to the ceremony decorations), guiding our decisions (e.g., using colors that pop instead of using white in the bridesmaids bouquets since their dresses were so bold), and offering us the best options for our budget (e.g., floral arrangements instead of floating flower heads). Her enthusiasm and passion for flowers even got my husband, Louie, excited about flowers - especially when she introduced him to Kermits (green button mums), which became the connecting element of our design.
Because we had a big bridal party (a matron of honor, a maid of honor, 2 best men, 10 pairs of bridesmaids & groomsmen, 6 pairs of sponsors... etc. etc.) and over 200 guests, we were worried about our floral budget, but Anne was able to get us *under* our 3K budget with 11 bouquets, a pomander, 13 corsages, 24 boutonnieres, 2 large ceremony arrangements, 2 medium ceremony arrangements, 11 low centerpieces, 10 tall centerpieces (in pillar vases), 2 small toss bouquets, and cake flowers - that also already includes 3 delivery locations, tax, and setup.
It was really easy communicating with her, and she was always prompt in responding to my emails and answering all of my questions. I just looked at my email box and I have about 30+ emails between the two of us! That is a true testament to how dedicated, patient, and awesome she is =).
The most amazing thing about Anne is that she really cares about meeting her clients needs and is very flexible with changes. In my particular case, she even allowed us to change one of our deliver times the week before the wedding, which saved us even more money. We had originally scheduled her to deliver the flowers to our reception later because of an event going on before ours (which was cancelled).
Here is a picture of one of our centerpieces: http://www.flickr.com/photos/t-bet/2910289925/in/set-72157607713953733/.
Here is a picture of the bridesmaids bouquet: http://www.flickr.com/photos/t-bet/2910289697/in/set-72157607713953733/
In this picture, you can see a boutonniere on my dad, my bridal bouquet, and a corsage on my mom: http://www.flickr.com/photos/t-bet/2911136366/in/set-72157607713953733/