I thought ETOS did a great job at my wedding and it was a definitely worth the reasonable fee I paid. I booked a violin/cello duo which was very economical (compared to a DJ!) and they made a great contribution to the wedding--we had traditional songs during the ceremony and more show-tune sort of stuff during the cocktail hour, then we switched to the ipod. Also, unfortunately I don't know his name but the male violinist was also really nice. Also, they learned a hymn that I requested a month before the wedding, which my cousin sang to during the ceremony, which I thought was a nice touch.
We were thrilled with our invites from Sally Ann and Kathy at Invited Ink! They were a pleasure to work with and the end result was so beautiful. I will post photos on my profile soon, but basically Sally Ann met with us and then communicated with us over email to create a gorgeous, colorful floral/lace design for us. The prices were the best around for letterpress, particularly given the care that was taken and the freedom we had to design a custom invitation suite. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a beautiful, unique invite.
Woodside, CA 94062
I had my wedding a few weeks ago and the setting was really lovely. I was very happy with the venue and the day-of service we got, and our guests really enjoyed the location. We also lucked out because there wasn't any traffic/motorcycle noise during the event, which is an issue with that venue since it's located at an intersection that serves as a congregation spot for many bikers, and when they drive away the revving engines are really loud. Overall the venue is not too ridiculously priced (for the Bay Area, it's still a lot of money) and has a lot to recommend it.
However, leading up the day I found it very difficult to communicate with the owner/manager about purchasing my beverage package, getting a seating chart, and this caused a lot of stress surrounding the finalization of my wedding plans. I used a lot of vendors that were not listed on their preferred list, which meant I had to do more coordinating and proved to be somewhat stressful, although I ended up being more of less pleased with the outcome.
I haven't had my wedding yet so this review is temporary. The Mountain Terrace is a *beautiful* spot, not showy and full of wonderful redwoods. It is a bit expensive (~$3-4.5K) but not insane to rent, but there are also a number of other restrictions associated with having your wedding/reception there that sort of detract from the venue, like no amplified music (not even a boom-box playing some Mozart during the ceremony) and limited catering options if you want to go beyond their in-house (which I haven't tried yet, more soon), otherwise you pay $1K "kitchen use fee". The other cost is that you need to purchase your alcohol through them, which is much more costly than a place that will let you BYO. Anyway, I am remaining optimistic about the place since we are locked in, and it is beautiful. This review is just temporary because my wedding isn't for another 6 months.
Campbell, CA 95008
I decided to add Margaret's to my tasting line-up because it was one of the highest ranking cake places on PW, but I was really disappointed with the cake. The bakery specializes in wedding cakes, and it sounds as though their decorations are really impressive, but if you are after a high quality, fresh cake you are out of luck. Their cakes are baked 4-5 days before your event to allow time for decorating, which means that by the time you actually eat them they taste pretty dry and stale. The Tiramisu cake is yummy, but that's because Tiramisu is supposed to be made out of lady fingers which are essentially stale, dried-out cake, so it works. Unless this is especially what you want I would go with a cake from a bakery that has more staff available to bake and decorate your cake the day before/of your wedding!
UPDATE: cake and tarts were delicious at our wedding, but our cake was WAY LATE. Very stressful on the wedding day itself to have stuff not show up when it's supposed to. It ended up coming just as I was about to walk down the aisle, and the florist, who was to arrange the flowers on top of the cake, had already left so some random cake delivery person did it instead and they put them in sort of a strange way. Anyway, minus a star for that issue.
I can't comment on wedding-day service since this review is based only on cake-tasting, but Satura was by far the best wedding cake I have tried. They pride themselves on freshness and their cakes are made the day before and decorated the day of your event (this strikes me as just plain essential when it comes to cake). Their cream-based frostings were not too sweet and they had a wonderful variety of cakes on offer, from a spicy dense carrot cake to a light airy vanilla cake that is used in their strawberry short cake (which is not a short cake at all). Satura is a bit pricey (~$7/serving) but they have some great sheet-cake options (definitely try the dense chocolate "yuna" cake--amazing!) as well which can cut costs ($2.50-3/serving) and provide more flavor offerings. Overall I was very impressed and plan to go with them for my wedding!
Palo Alto, CA 94306
We just had a cake tasting at the Palo Alto Baking Company. I have enjoyed other tasty baked treats (great croissants!) from this store before, but this was my first experience with their cakes. The owner, Charles Whelan, handled the tasting and was really nice and helpful. Apparently he has just taken over the bakery this past year, so the business is somewhat in flux, but this hasn't seemed to affect the quality of their products.
We tried 6 types of cakes: 2 chocolate and 4 vanilla cakes; and several types of fillings and frostings: chocolate ganache, white chocolate fondant, sugar fondant, vanilla buttercream, chocolate buttercream, whipped cream, passion fruit custard, lemon curd, and raspberry filling. The mini sample cakes were garnished with fresh strawberries, mango, and raspberries.
The cake was very fresh and extremely light and fluffy. I prefer a denser cake but this was very good if you are looking for a light airy dessert. We were very impressed with the freshness and depending on the time of your wedding and how elaborate your decorations are, they may bake your wedding cake on the day of your wedding.
My fiance and I both found the lemon curd and raspberry filling to be too sweet for our taste, but LOVED the chocolate ganache which was the perfectly chocolate-y, sweet and rich. The buttercream frosting was delicious too. We decided that if we go with PABC we will order a cake with buttercream frosting, with one tier of chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache, and another tier of vanilla cake with whipped cream and strawberry filling.
The fresh fruit in/on the cake was excellent, and they seemed to be capable of many different sorts of decorations, but we are looking for something really simple so didn't ask much about that.
Also, they have carrot cake but we didn't try it.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
My finance and I recently did a cake tasting at the Prolific Oven in Palo Alto and we were very pleased with the cakes and service overall. I have had their cakes before for birthday parties, etc., and have always been impressed with the freshness of their products. Their cakes are always moist and a bit more dense than other cakes I've had. They also have a good selection of cake-types, including lemon-poppy-seed and carrot (our favorite!) However, Prolific Oven doesn't seem to have as many options for fillings/frosting as other bakeries specializing in wedding cakes. All their cakes use cream cheese frosting (which comes in vanilla, chocolate, mocha, or rum-flavors), which is delicious but *very* sweet. Also, the decor options are limited to fresh flowers and their delivery fee was steep ($100 to go to Skyline Blvd).
Anyway, we are tasting cake from 2 more places, but right now our plan is to go with Prolific Oven for a cake, and supplement our offerings with some other slightly less-sweet dessert options.
This review is based solely on email interactions, I did not end up using Jack Ip as my photographer.
Due to budget constraints I was looking for a photographer in the $600-800 range. Jack initially responded to my inquiry saying that he could shoot my wedding for 2 hrs for $600 and suggested that we arrange a time to meet in person. I emailed him back and then after several days received a reply stating that he would get back to me in a few days, then six days later received an email saying that "something came up" and that he wouldn't be able to meet in the coming few weeks and that he'd get back to me, but that I should go ahead and contact another photographer if I had one in mind. ?!?
This whole exchange struck me as vaguely rude, and very unprofessional and did not encourage me to give my money to Jack. Upon doing further exploring for photographers (there are a ton listed on Craigslist) I found several people that were willing to shoot my wedding for 4-to-unlimited hours for $800, which is a much better deal. I think most places will lower their rates if they don't have anything booked for that day already, FYI.