Northridge, CA 91324
David's Bridal (Northridge)--Final Grade: B
I was originally really pleased with the service at David's Bridal, but one incident lead me to drop their grade. The associate who helped me pick my dress was extreamly helpful and outgoing. My dress arrived in a timely manner and all alterations/cleaning were done as promised. The one problem I encountered was David's Bridal discontinued the dress I had originally chosen for my Junior Bridesmaid. They did not contact me or the mother of my JBM to let us know. We only found out two weeks before the wedding when my JBM went to get measured for her dress. They were able to get her a dress to match the other bridesmaids in that short time, but it still would have been nice to have been given some sort of notice. Other than that snafu, I was generally pleased. I got my entire ensemble there: dress, veil, shoes, plus the BM dresses.
Santa Clarita, CA 91350
Okay, let's talk about the cake. Jill's Cake Creations is THE authority on cake in the Santa Clarita Valley. Jill has been doing cakes for like, 20 years or something ridiculous like that. One of her cakes is included in the package at Kelly's Wedding Garden. I expected nothing but the best from this vendor. Up until the moment I cut into the cake, I was in love with it. Going cake tasting was one of our favorite moments of the planning process and we decided to go with the banana walnut cake with banana creme filling. I was so looking forward to surprising our guests with a tasty, fall-approriate flavor. The cake was beautiful and exactly what we ordered on the outside. To our dismay, when we cut into the cake, we discovered our cake was chocolate with chocolate creme. Not what we ordered. At this point, there was nothing we could do except keep cutting the cake and serve it. We later discovered that our cake was mixed up with the wedding cake for the people who were in our venue the night before! We had ordered cakes in the exact same size, but different flavors. Apparently, some sort of mix-up occured over at Jill's and the two cakes got frosted and they sent our cake to the reception on Friday night, and we got their cake. Now, I understand that mistakes happen, but I think I should have been informed on Friday night that the people before us probably got our cake and we should be expecting a different cake. If the venue knew about the mix-up, they should have informed us. Their only response was they could bake us a new top tier of our cake in the flavor we orginally chose at no charge since the cost of the cake was covered in the cost of the venue and has already been paid in full. The cake was still beautiful and delicious, just not what we orderd. It's unfortunate that this had to happen not only to us, but the poor couple the night before. Blah.
San Fernando, CA 91340
This was not my first choice for florist, but my dad insisted we go with her because she has been selling him bouquets for my mom for the past fifteen years. She was only a few hundred dollars cheaper than my first choice (I'm Blooming Crazy in Stevenson's Ranch), so I'm kinda sad we ended up going with her. She made us a sample centerpice that I really loved which included dark burgundy mini calla lilies, Stargazer lilies, dark red roses, dark red gerber daisies, burgundy carnations, and burgundy amaranthus. The greens included eucylptus leaves with berries, and the natural greens from the flowers. While I loved the bouquets she made for me and my bridesmaids, the flowers on the cake, the bouts, and the white arrangements at the church, the centerpieces looked totally different from what we saw in our sample centerpiece. The stargazer lilies did not look fresh--they were already wilting. Also, there was no eucylptus leaves/berries, and she replaced the amaranthus with some ugly bright magenta fluffy flower that certainly was not amaranthus. For this reason, she gets the grade of B-. If the centerpieces looked like the sample ones, she would have gotten an A.
LeAnn and her assistant did my hair, my mother's hair, and all four of my bridesmaids' hair. I got exactly what I wanted with my hair style because she really worked with me during my trail-run to fine tune the style. LeAnn also does awesome manicures. She has been my mother's manicurist since I was in elementary school.
Two photo-facials and eight microdermabrasions: I entered into a raffle at a bridal show and I won $1500 worth of free services from American Laser Centers! I went in for a consultation and was blown away by the knowledgeable and friendly staff at the West Hills ALC. I booked $2220 worth of services and only paid $260 because they gave me an additional 20% off for booking during my consultation, as well as using the $1500 gift certificate.
Pasadena, CA 91101
My best friend/MOH is a photgrapher, so she was the first person I went to when I started looking for a photographer. Of course, she couldn't shoot the wedding herself since she was the MOH, but she works for a wedding photographer who has plenty of talent and experience. Based out of Pasadena, Duke has been in the industry for several years. Most of his clients have a lot more money to spend than we had, but because I was friends with his trusty assistant, he gave me a significant discount. Usually, his packages start around $3500. We payed $2500 and got coverage for the entire wedding (just one photgrapher), a minimum of 400-500 images shot over the course of the afternoon, an online webshow for two months, a leather craftsman album with 30 5x7s inside, plus 250 4x6s. Reprints are super cheap, too. Duke is super professional and really NICE, so he was great to work with. He doesn't need a lot of direction. I never gave him a "must take" list, but he got everything I wanted. I highly recommend his service. Check his website because his work is amazing. And, like I said before, his normal second shooter is my best friend and she is also an amazing photographer. You can check out her personal website at www.tanyakechichian.com.
Rexburg, ID 83441
Ordering on-line was super simple and they show you a "mock-up" of the final invitation to make sure your spelling and information is correct. They arrived in a timely manner and we had more than enough extras to account for mistakes.
I picked this DJ because he was a friend of one of my bridesmaids and he was cheap. He was willing to travel 3 hours to make it to our wedding and only charged $100 an hour. He has done weddings before, but mostly traditional Mexican weddings. He typically works as a club DJ in the San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara area. While he played all the songs/genres I asked him to, I can't recommend him to others. He seems nervous behind the mic and many of our guests complained they couldn't hear when he announced important things like our grand enterance, father-daughter dance, or the cake cutting. His final grade reflects that yes, he did what we asked him to do, just without the flair you might expect of a more experienced wedding DJ.
Santa Clarita, CA 91321
I fell in love with this venue because so much was included in the package: food, drinks, linens, cake, the actual space, the gardens outside, the ample (and free) parking, set-up/clean-up service, etc. The owner is also really sweet and gave us a discount because we have mutual friends. I was really excited about this venue up until the day before the wedding, where the service fell short of my expectations in a few areas. The owner told me I could get into the space at 11pm the night before so I could set-up my favors, place cards, table runners, and guestbook, but when me and my friends arrived at 11:20pm, they still were not ready for us to start our set-up (they were still taking down a wedding from that night). This kept us up later than we would have wanted to (and my wedding was at 10am the next morning!). My other major disappointment has to do with our cake, which will be discussed in futher detail under the "cake" section. Kelly's Wedding Garden includes a cake from Jill's Cake Creations in their package, and there was a mix-up with our order that led to us getting a cake we didn't order. Other than those two issues, however, the service was fantastic.
Kellyann went to high school with me and we graduated the same year, but we didn't really know each other that well. She is best friends with DH's younger sister, and she VOLUNTEERED to be our flautist for the wedding as a wedding present to us. Of course, we couldn't have been more thrilled. She played during the prelude and seating, so I didn't actually get to see her play, but I heard her during the rehearsal and she was good. She has quite a repertoire (she showed me her books). She plays weddings regularly, but I don't know her prices. If you're interested in a solo flautist , let me know and I'll get you her contact information.