Our cake was DELICIOUS and gorgeous. We had a 4 tier fudge icing cake with fondant ribbons. The cake was white cake with strawberries and whipped cream filling. Simple and tasty. We labored for months over finding the right cake baker- someone whose cake we loved, who understood our vision and who came at a reasonable price. Michele was the fifth cake tasting we attended! I didn't think our requests were that outlandish- fudge icing and a square cake. Apparently, that combo can send some traditional cake bakers off the wall, either price wise or otherwise. Many people commented that it was the best cake they had EVER had and the next morning I had it for breakfast. I am seriously commissioning Michele to make us an anniversary cake every year just so I can relive the deliciousness!
To be honest, I was very concerned about my hair up until the day of the wedding. I had 2 separate trials with Stella, neither of which were that impressive. I hired her beacuse she worked in the same salon as my normal hairstylist and I felt sort of obligated. However, once I started seeing the bridesmaids hair on wedding day, I was impressed. All of my girls looked beautiful! I made a few changes to my style on the day of and was SO happy with the results. I wish I didn't have to pay for 2 trials, but oh well. It worked out in the end. Audrey (above) even mentioned how she had never seen such great looking wedding hair, and that means a lot coming from her!
Audrey is the best! If I could give 10 stars, I would. Booking her was an easy decision because of her incredible reviews on The Knot and PW. She is also very affordable when compared to other Bay Area make-up artists, which was great (she is probably too affordable- she could easily charge double!). I had my trial with her about a month before the wedding and wanted just a few minor adjustments. The day of the wedding went so smoothly and the make-up was incredible. I felt like a beautiful bride because of Audrey!
ATL was one of the more difficult vendors to work with, although by no means was it a "bad" experience. We used them for lighting (Chinese lanterns on the deck, uplighting around the dancefloor, custom gobo and a cake pinspot). I thought they were on the expensive side, but it is my understanding that lighting is pricey in general. Overall, we were happy with the lighting on the day of the wedding, except that the uplighting around the dance floor was supposed to be fuschia and it was a soft white light. This bothered me but DH (the lighting guru) did not mind. Also, it was not always easy to get in touch with Sylvia, our sales contact. She was often out of the office and since I was planning from out of town, this made things more difficult for me. I would recommend them, but would suggest that you are more aggressive and make sure that you get what you pay for!
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
707 328-5791 Carlos (707) 548-5072 Freddy
I didn't get to enjoy the music of Trio Nuevo de Amanecer (a Mexican trio- actually consisting of 4 guys), but I did hear all of the rave reviews from our guests afterwards! I was in hiding during the pre-ceremony entertainment when they played and taking photos after the ceremony, but I heard bits and pieces and they were fabulous. They are an excellent alternative to a Mariachi (they are a quiter, more tame type of Mexican entertainment). The trio definitely created an excellent atmosphere and contributed to our fiesta wonderland.
AMS Entertainment is definitely on the pricey side of Bay Area DJ's. They were the first vendor I booked, after my venue, because Paradise Ridge raved about them and said that they were the best around. Our DJ was Roger and he was excellent the day of. Before the ceremony he kept checking up on me to see if there way anything I needed and handled last minute order changes beautifully. He is also the anti-wedding DJ in that he was not cheesy at all, which was very important to us. All of the correct songs were played and our dance floor was full until the last dance. He made it a great party.
I love Laura! She was awesome to work with throughout the whole process and when I was having serious bouquet doubts the day before she was supposed to place the order, she talked on the phone with me for an hour to make sure she understood my vision (or lack thereof). She was so comforting and confident and after that conversation I knew I didn't have to worry anymore. When our personal flowers arrived in our hotel room, I was stunned. They were GORGEOUS! The bouquets far surpassed my expectations. The ceremony manzanita arrangements were gorgeous, as was everything else. Laura also provided extra flowers for unforeseen touches- such as putting blooms on the fireplace mantle and in the alcove where our framed engagement picture was. The cake flowers were also incredible. I hope I get to throw another event in the Bay Area just so I can hire Laura to do the florals!
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
I could not be happier with our decision to have both the ceremony and reception at Paradise Ridge Winery. When my parents first suggested it to me, over a year ago, I was skeptical (to say the least). I was raised about 5 minutes from the winery and had never been, but was positive that nothing that nice could exist in Santa Rosa. Boy was I wrong! In the past year, Paradise Ridge has completed fairly extensive renovations that have completely transformed the winery. The view from the terrace is amazing (it was voted the best place in Sonoma County to have a sunset picnic).
Regarding price, when we booked Paradise Ridge we got the best of both worlds- their previously inexpensive prices and the benefit of the renovation. However, they have since raised their prices and it is about double the cost to get married there than what we paid. Still, it is competatively priced for the wine country. We got married on a Friday night, which saved a lot of money! Another sneaky cost is wine. At Paradise Ridge, you can only serve their wine, which runs from about $22-$35 a bottle. This cost can add up quickly! Also, they do not have a liquor license so only wine and beer can be served unless your caterer has a liquor license (you also have to select from one of 6 caterers unless you want to pay a $500 premium to go off the list).
Petaluma, CA 94952
Overall, I am very happy with the Preferred Sonoma Caterers (PCS). We had a cocktail reception, so the food consisted of 2 stations and about 8 passed appetizers, along with a pre-ceremony bread, cheese and drink bar. The guests said the food was great, and much to my happiness, that there was enough! One of my biggest priorities was making sure that guests did not leave hungry, even though it was a cocktail reception. Everyone said there was enough food and the leftovers that we took home proved it. There was one appetizer that I did not care for, but I take full responsibility for it. I tried the torta at our tasting back in October and did not like it, but was convinced by everyone else that all of the guests would like it. They didn't. I should have listened to my instinct and taken it off the menu, which is why I don't fault PCS. In addition to the great food, the service was fantastic! I think that there was a waiter assigned to me specifically, because the same wonderful guy kept coming back to me and insisting that I eat and making up little plates of food for me. I felt very well cared for.
We also hired Amber, the owner of PCS, to act as our day of coordinator. She was a STEAL and I would have paid double for her. Amber has a type A personality that is easy to get along with, but gets the job done. She took over at the rehearsal and I didn't look back (ok, well maybe I looked a little, but I felt very confident in her). I didn't have to worry about a thing (including the guest who got sick all over the deck- Amber is full service to say the least!).
Pasadena, CA 91101
626-628-5842 or 626-696-3913
I decided two days before I was supposed to mail out my invitations that the outer (and only) envelope desperately needed calligraphy. I found Katrina on my local Craigslist board and was impressed by her reasonable prices and promise of a speedy turnaround. For an additional 10% above her normal prices, she could get my envelopes back to me within 5 days! And that she did. The calligraphy was beautiful and I have already received several compliments. Also, when some envelopes were missing (due to miscommunication), Katrina was more than willing to re-do them. She even went so far as to buy the same envelopes at Paper Source so I wouldn't have to mail blank ones to her! I highly recommend Katrina. She is very professional and responsive and her work is beautiful!