Jul 17, 2010

Ceremonies Remembered
( 1.4 / 5.0 )
Carole served as our officiant, coordinator, and florist. We had doubts about the ability of one person to fulfill all three functions, but she assured us that with the help of her assistant this was more than achievable. In retrospect, we should have sought out separate and more professional vendors. We'll break it down one thing at a time:

The flowers were beautiful, but we felt disappointed with the business behind it. She ordered them from a wholesale place and promised she'd give us a better price than they would on making the bouquets. She told us the flowers that would be in them--picasso cala lilies, daisies, tulips, roses, hydrangea...the estimate she provided was $75 for the bridal bouquet, $45 for bridesmaids. She ended up charging us $185 for the bridal bouquet and $65 for bridesmaids. She also gave us flowers lining the aisle of the ceremony that were different from those she told us she'd be getting--she sprayed some potted campanula and put them in baskets. The boutonnieres, while attractive enough, were very flimsy and my husband's had dropped to be flopped upside down during our ceremony. Multiple groomsmen's flowers fell off the boutonnieres and had to be pinned back on. Finally, we asked for a small sprinkling of rose petals lining the sides of the aisles, and she put a thick coating of them straight down the center, charging us $150 for those petals. All in all, for the bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, baskets lining the aisles, and rose petals on the aisle, she charged us $1255. We felt very happy with how the flowers looked, but unsatisfied with the communication, quality of boutonnieres, liberty she took to change things without asking us, and price.

This was the worst. Carole's assistant is her son, Frederick, and he did very little throughout the day. As Carole was officiating, Frederick was supposed to direct us down the aisle. My husband ended up having to coordinate all his guys while Frederick just watched. Frederick told my dad and I to wait behind some bushes so we wouldn't be seen as the rest of our parties walked down the aisle, but then he never signaled us to come out. Finally, after all our bridal party had walked, I told my dad, "I really think we should go, everyone's waiting on us." He said, "No, Frederick said he'd signal us." I made him walk anyway, as the guests had been waiting in silence for a minute and Frederick was nowhere to be found, and finally we saw him as we were walking down the aisle giving us a subtle finger wave.

When the ceremony was over, Carole or Frederick were supposed to coordinate the family photos, getting everyone in order. We couldn't find them anywhere. My bridesmaid ended up running around coordinating the photos.

Dinner time. Carole was seen walking around mingling with our guests, but that was it. At one point in the night she came up to me and said, "the guitarist hasn't been paid, you need to take care of that." Right in the middle of my wedding I had to start running around for that. Then at the end of dinner she asked me to get some of my friends to help her clean up the colored stones she had placed on the tables for us (definitely a job that could have been done by her and Frederick) so I recruited some to help her.

I shouldn't leave out that she LOST OUR WEDDING CONTRACT during the evening. She said it was with a box we gave her and had disappeared. I asked, "what do we do if you cant find it?" She said with a calm smile, "you'll have to buy a new one." Luckily she found it by the end of the night, which she only told us after we asked her by email.

Downstairs for cake cutting, my husband and I couldn't find her (again). We stood by the cake asking the hotel employee nearby "what do we do?" He told us to just cut a piece and he'd take over from there. Some direction would have been nice. We felt equally lost for the bouquet and garter toss--luckily our photographers told us what to do for that. Again, where were the coordinators? Over in the corner socializing.

One more thing--during the planning process we met with Carole twice at her house, which was about 45 minutes from us. We asked if she could meet us halfway and she said no. We're paying, planning a wedding, and working--some flexibility there would have been very nice. Our photographers, who live in Newport Beach, came to meet us halfway...good customer service. Carole couldn't do the same.

We really felt we were left hanging high and dry and ended up handling a lot on our own during our wedding day. I hadn't realized how important the role of day-of coordinator was until we were left pretty much without it.

I must say this was Carole's strength. The ceremony was beautiful and she gave us liberty to design it ourselves. However, while Carole advertises as an officiant who does non-denominational, civil, religious, or non-traditional weddings, she herself is very religious. We did feel her pushing her religion onto our ceremony quite a bit, but she took our "no's" when we repeated them. My parents are culturally Jewish but consider themselves aetheist, my husband's parents are Catholic, and my husband and I both consider ourselves spiritual but not religious. We explained this to her several times. I really thought she got it, especially after we gave her the ceremony written out. But on our wedding day, she gave me a large packet and said "this is your wedding material--vows, ceremony, etc." In it, there was a bible. Yes, she delivered a bible to me just before my wedding. That felt very pushy and offensive--especially since she knew my heritage and spiritual beliefs. Outside of that, the ceremony itself came out beautifully.

Overall, if you are going to use Ceremonies Remembered, I recommend only going with Carole as an officiant and then, only if you are okay with religious components. We felt that her voice and tone was warm during the ceremony. Otherwise, we felt very disappointed with the services we received and felt misled around flowers and left hanging high and dry for coordination.
Services used: Officiant, Wedding Planning
Ceremonies Remembered
Dear Pam and Matt,
A few months have passed and I just read your review on wedding wire, and feel I must write to you. I truly cannot believe what you wrote as a review I am astonished and feel it is so unfair of a review.....Why you would write something so unkind and not tell me, I cannot understand that, you do not seem like people that would do that. I am so,so sorry you feel that way, it does make me feel so terrible almost in tears. I had no idea you were disappointed in any of my work. I try so hard to make sure all details are done and all goes smoothly. All night you told me everything was just perfect you loved the flowers and you couldn't have asked for anything more, the ceremony you both told me so meaningful, and beautiful, the dinner was delicious and the reception was perfect. You both hugged me and thank me several times and assured me it was a perfect wedding day you couldn't have asked for anything more, those were your words.

Your parents and Matt's parents all said how happy they were and everything was on time. Your father commented it was perfect, not like your sisters and all the money he spent and they are not together anymore, your family used that word perfect, many time through the night and even after when we were cleaning up.
I had so many of your guests come up and tell me how enjoyable the ceremony was, so full of love and laughter, and the flowers were beautiful, the food was good, and everything at the reception was going wonderfully and they thought I was doing a suburb job. Their words....

The photographers commented to Frederick and I when we were having dinner they especially love the flowers with the Hydrangea's in them very striking, I told him I did the flowers. They thought that was wonderful.
Your DJ after receiving the time line and later in the evening said all was going well with no glitches thumbs up he said.

The manager of the hotel commented to me it was beautiful and all was being handled so professional and running smoothly.

Matt's boutonniere coming unpinned, maybe from putting his coat on and off I don't know, but that could have been fixed. I am sorry that it came unpinned, all the other boutonniere's seem to be on, and I had brought a couple of extras in-case something happened, and no one mentioned anything going wrong, I left the two extras in the room with all the flowers with you.
Rose petals down the aisle they were spread over the entire space, with grass showing through, from chairs on one side to the other side, medium coverage, just what you asked for.
I didn't think I changed anything on the flowers and of your bouquet, and you gave me a list with several to pick from and said you didn't not
care which ones I used, but definitely wanted the calla lilly, lisianthus and hydrangea, and I believe I replied, I would try to use most of them on your list.
The flowers price sheet that we went over in person was for flowers in season very basic and I did explain that to you, and you said you understood, and wanted more expensive flowers. and it was a few months later that you asked me to design your flowers, and you took a couple of months deciding what you wanted.
You asked if you both could see the flowers so I mentioned you could go look at the wholesale flower store and you decided to do that, and gave me the list of flowers I could pick and I gave you the cost of designing your bouquet, and I thought that is what was in the bouquet, and the rest of the flowers. If that was an unfair price why didn't you mention it then I gave you a list of each item months before your wedding and their total cost. At the wholesale flower store they have a design team and your bouquet alone with would have cost well over three hundred to have them design it with only lisianthus, calla lilly, and roses, I asked them their cost. I figured you did too, since you went there in person. The flowers on the chairs you said you did not care what I used, wanted some purple.

The coordination,
it is not proper to correct the groom, Frederick rounded all the groomsman and had them all there. Matt took it upon himself to line up the guys up, Frederick was not going to tell him that was his job, Matt seemed very nervous. We practiced at rehearsal and the guys all said they know how to line up and understood where to stand. Matt walked down and was standing with me and Frederick ushered the groomsman and bridesmaids, not Matt since he was with me at the front.
As you and you father were waiting to walk down the aisle, you were a distance away standing by the street with traffic and probably could not hear the guitarist playing the music for seating all the guests. Frederick was patiently waiting for the guitarist to finish up the song and for her to start playing your song to walk down the aisle. He was standing about 40 feet at the back, at the end of the isle and to the left (so not to be in the pictures when you are walking) where your father was suppose to be watching. Frederick could not be over with you since he would not be able to hear the music either. We (Frederick and I) went over that with your father where to look for Frederick we showed him where he would be standing, before we sent him to where you were.

After the ceremony, we did tell all family members to meet with the photographer where he was standing, as I dismissed the guests, I asked the family members in the front rows to go to the photographer after walking down the aisle. They were stopped and were congratulated by guests so it took them several minutes to get over to the photographer. When I introduced myself earlier to your photographer I asked him if he needed any assistance, and he replied he and his wife would take care of everything no, he did not need assistance.
I walked around to all the tables and groups of people and asked that family to please go over to the photographer for family photos.
I introduced myself to all your guests as your wedding coordinator and if they needed any assistance for the rest of the evening to please let me know or Frederick.
Many guests brought gifts and set them on the table where the water was so after the ceremony Frederick made three trips to carry gifts to the hotel while I was circulating to get family over for pictures. When Frederick was finished carrying the gifts he returned and said the hotel still did not have all the vases on the table but the manager assured Frederick they would be there before the guests arrived. Some vases had broke and they sent someone out to buy more, is what the manager told Frederick.

Paying all the vendor's you mentioned to me you would have envelopes ready when i arrived and you wanted me to pay them. Then somewhere along the line you changed your mind and the day of your wedding, when I asked you about the envelopes, you said the bridesmaid is taking care of that. After the guitarist was done for the evening she came to me and asked where is her pay, she was suppose to receive it before she left. I asked one of the bridesmaids and she said she would ask you. I declined her offer for her to ask you. I asked your father and he didn't know anything about it, and said he left his check book back in the room, I said I would ask you. While the guitarist was waiting she said she would continue playing while I was finding out how to pay her. . So I asked you as a last resort, and as you had instructed me to ask you if something came up. That would not be a problem to disturb you on your wedding you said prior since we went over that in the coordination list on who to talk to if I could not take care of a situation. You said you were handling all details. I suggested someone else to be a contact and you said possibly your father.

The lost marriage license, one of the hotel workers, I'm guessing moved the box from under the table at the reception to under the cake table downstairs or maybe it was the cake decorator. I do not know how it got there. I did not know the contract was in there from the beginning. It is a valuable piece of paper and you left it for anyone to take. On our contract it says you would have the license and you would give it to me when I arrived. When I ask you for it you replied it was in the box of decorations, and then you asked me, if I could not find it what would happen, and I replied you would have to purchase another one. What else could I say. It took a half and hour through out the dinner to finally locate it under the cake table down stairs. Your adjectives describing my reply "with a calm smile, you'll have to buy another one". I was trying to not make you upset and keep you calm on your wedding day. I didn't think anyone would take it on purpose.

After dinner, picking up the stones on the table, I never asked you to have some of your friends help, When I was getting the bridal party and you and Matt ready to make your entrance down stairs, I asked Matt how to get in the room where the gifts were to go since it was locked, he said he would have someone take them up and have them help with the clean up. Then some of your younger guests asked me if they could help and I replied yes of course. They picked up the stones at their table. Also some of the hotel staff helped too since they were trying to clean up fast. You did not mention to me during the planning that you wanted me to save decorations. You left me a note in the decorations box with things you wanted done, which was not on my list to do. The list was time consuming and not in my time line so we were trying to do both. After dinner Frederick stayed up stairs and I was downstairs directing guests, making several trips to usher guests down for the reception. Then when I thought all guests were down I went up stair to make sure all was finished. A few guests still lingered having their drinks and I encouraged them to join the festivities downstairs at the reception. Since the hotel manager informed me they wanted to finish cleaning up. Also that is one of the questions on the coordination list I asked you who would help with moving gifts and cards and personal things, and any clean up. Usually it is not done till after the reception, but your gift table was upstairs at the dinner. The hotel manager mentioned to me they were not responsible for your personal things and made it clear not to leave anything of value out and I needed to have someone watching it at all times. So Frederick was staying upstairs most of the time. Also they told me the same thing about the room you were in, not to leave valuables in it as the maids may go in there, or anyone since it was not locked. I did mention that to your bridesmaids.

Moving on to meeting you half way, I don't ever remember saying no, I do sometimes meet half way if people ask. When you came to my home, you never mention
it was too far. You said the drive was fine. I offered you something to drink and cookies and you seemed very happy.

The cake cutting I was right there, on the time line we were running a little behind and I had to locate the photographer to let him know we were going to cut the cake,while Frederick asked the DJ we need to announce the cake cutting, and then the hotel manager wanted to know so he located him. I went and got you both off the dance floor for you to cut the cake and when you were standing in front of the cake, I was right behind you on your right side and you asked me how to cut the cake, you looked right at me and talked to me and as I was replying the hotel manager stepped in and gave you direction on what to do. I stepped back so your elder guest, great grandparent, or aunt,not sure, she was sitting behind me and could not stand up to watch. The manager later informed me that was his job, thats why he wanted to be notified when the cake cutting was. to instruct bride and groom. He was back in-forth in the kitchen, after your cutting he said he will take the cake and cut it up. Frederick and I did serve some of the cake, since the manager said you did not opt for servers. As people saw Frederick and I serving the cake some of your guests went and got their own.

The bouquet toss and garter toss, I did tell the DJ it was time on the time line and he announced each event, he is suppose to have all the single girls and then guys gather, as he did, he has the microphone, that is his job. The photographer usually tells you where to stand so he may capture the best picture. And my socializing in the corner, I was standing four feet from the DJ to make sure he stayed on top of the time line and your guests were coming up to me and talking as well as the hotel manager. i circulated around the room many times through out the evening asking if there is anything I could get for your guests.
I don't understand your comment "We really felt we were left hanging high and dry and ended up handling a lot on our own during our wedding day. I hadn't realized how important the role of day-of coordinator was until we were left pretty much without it." What did you have to do? Such unkind words....

The bible I gave you, you did not tell me your parents believed in Atheism, you said you did not want a religious ceremony because of two faiths, you were raised Jewish and Matt was raised Catholic. That is what I performed. Truly a beautiful ceremony with a ceremony of your choosing non-denominational. You told me you believed in God.
I am truly sorry the bible made you so upset, it was a gift to you and Matt not to your parents. It is a non-demonimational bible, I was not trying to push any faith or my religion on you and I truly believe you know that in your hearts. It was a blessing to you both on your wedding day a gift from your Minister, a gift of many blessing and hoping the two of you will have many beautiful years and the rest of your lives together may it be everlasting.

When the President of the United States takes office he puts his hand on the bible and they are of all different faiths.
Truly, I thought Jesus was Jewish and the Catholics believed in God and Jesus, and you told me you believed in God but do not go to church.
My mistake in the gift. Please forgive me.

I am at a loss for words now and feeling distressed, I have never had any person ever write such unkind words, especially when all night long you were offering me praise on how perfect everything was. I just do not understand.
Please, help me to understand.
Warm regards,