May 09, 2009
Big Day Your Way
My hubs (then fiance)and I hired Charlotte-Ann as our DOC for our May 2009 wedding. She is an up and coming Event Planner who has several events under her belt, and her fee was very reasonable. Throughout the wedding planning process Charlotte-Ann was available to provide advise and to discuss details of the wedding via e-mail and phone. For the type of service we requested we had up to 3 in-person meetings with her. Since the hubs and I were pretty hands-on with the details of our wedding we only ended up meeting 2 times (initial consultation & walk-through of the reception venue 1 month before the wedding). As part of Big Day Your Way, Charlotte-Ann picks up all necessary supplies for the wedding day. She recommends to pick-up these items a week before the wedding so you have one less thing to worry about. However, several of our wedding items weren't going to arrive until the week of the wedding. So Charlotte-Ann was gracious to pick our stuff up the day before the wedding. On the wedding day, we were really pleased with all her coordination. We really had nothing to worry about, other than sticking with the schedule. The day went pretty seamless as far as scheduling and getting the details of how we wanted our wedding to look and be carried out. She pays attention to detail and really does her best to meet your needs and wants through the entire wedding process. Also she works well with others, we were a bit concerned since we were required to have a Church assigned Coordinator to ensure the Ceremony was carried out in a manner acceptable by our Church. My only gripe was that Charlotte-Ann told us early on that she was not going to be with me during my Pre-Ceremony prep. She stated that we wasn't really needed there and would be in the way. I suppose the only role she would play is to manage the photographer and videographer (i.e. make sure they're on time and know where you are in a hotel room), but I guess you can always get your MOH and/or bridesmaids to do this. Overall Charlotte-Ann was great and we highly recommend her to all Brides. Without her we can't imagine how our day would have gone. So Brides, I cannot emphasize enough that you will need at least a DOC. It may be an additional cost, but it's well worth it!
Services used: Wedding Planning
NetBride is a great vendor for bridesmaid dresses and accessories! I purchased 2 dresses for my bridesmaids and my veil, all were reasonably priced, arrived 2 months early and were in great mint condition. The dresses only need minor alterations to fit my girls perfectly. I recommend NetBride to all Brides looking for a good deal!
Services used: Dress & Attire
Great Concept. Several packages available and all are customizable. You can remove items in your package and use the cost for them towards other items or services. Definitely affordable. We looked at several companies and freelance photographers, but found Harvard would be able to capture our special day in the way we wanted (photojournalistic) and were within our budget. Great photographers, but book them early. Thats the one thing we missed out on. We were advised we could book the photographer at any time, but at least 2 months before the wedding. So we followed the advise, but by that time we had only 2 photographers to choose from and both were just okay. One was definitely better than the other, so we booked him. He ended up being our photographer for the Engagement Photos. We thought GREAT! That enthusiasm didnt last long since during our Engagement session we asked him about how excited we were to have him on our wedding date. He stated he actually is going to a friends wedding that day! Somehow this information slipped through the cracks at Harvard. So I called them about this the following business day and they informed me that they had only 1 photographer available. So we had no choice, but to book him. He was again OKAY. We found out hes a freelancer and is basically on call with Harvard as long as he doesnt already have a gig. I was not too fond of his work. There were some photos that werent taken, were blurry or over exposed. Yes, Harvard sends you a list of photos typically taken and you can modify it as necessary. It does state that they will try their best to take all those you list, but its not guaranteed. All I can say is make sure someone in your bridal party, a family member or your DOC has a copy and is in charge of at least the Pre- and Post-Ceremony photos. Not sure if its normal, but our DOC stated she would not be there during Pre- and Post-Ceremony Photos since she had to be at the reception to ensure the vendors were on-time and setting up. Theres nothing we can do now, but vent and let you future brides know of our experience. Despite our displeasure with the main photographer, overall it was a good experience. Just remember to book your photographer early and have someone at your wedding (i.e. DOC, MOH, friend or family member) have a copy of the Photo List to make sure all your shots are captured! Also having a second photographer is a MUST! We even think his photos were better than the main photographer.
Services used: Photography
City of Commerce Flowers
Eddie is GREAT! He really sees your vision and will give recommendations or advise on how to make your flowers look better. He definitely will work with you to make your vision come true on budget. At Commerce Flowers, even though your on a budget they have great prices on wonderful flowers! Just remember to pick flowers that are in season, otherwise youll pay more. Luckily I already had photos of the bouquets and centerpieces I wanted (Thank you The Knot) and they were going to be in season so this task wasnt too difficult. On the day of the wedding the flowers looked AWESOME! From my bouquet to the Bridal Partys bouquets and boutonnires and the dcor for the reception. I only wished I had a vase of water with me all day to keep my bouquet fresh.
Services used: Flowers
Booking a reception location was one of the harder decisions since that is where most of your money will go. We were at a point where either a location had the vintage feel we wanted, but was too expensive or vice versa. So we were losing hope on a reception location, until we finally listened to our co-workers recommendation of ATCC. It definitely was a pleasant surprise! And we booked that day! The staff is friendly and accommodating. We definitely recommend Elvia! She was our Catering Rep and was AWESOME! We booked the Victorian Ballroom, which is the biggest ballroom at ATCC. We just loved the hard wood floors, wood beam ceiling and huge bay window that faced Mt. Baldy. Reasonably priced for food, and linen and chair upgrades. Each with various options so you cant really go wrong. Food was yummy and good portions. Im sure you could find linens and chairs for less outside, but the convenience and quality was worth it. Nice location & views. Its just north of Pasadena among residential homes and a golf course. Highly recommended if you like the country club atmosphere!
Services used: Wedding Venue
We were not impressed by Brian D. as our MC/DJ. First, he cut our first dance short, so we didnt get to do our final dip at the end of the song. That was a BIG NO, NO! I mean we worked hard at nailing our choreographed first dance! Second, he let the Friendship Circle last too long. We chose Little Help From My Friends by The Beatles, and yes it is a long song. However, we didnt realize hed play the entire song! Youd think it would be played long enough to get the idea across, but not played in its entirety. Plus it was supposed to segway into the open dancing. Considering after 2 mins people started to leave the Circle, the concept of this even leading to open dancing was not as effective. Third, he didnt announce events at reception loud enough or often enough so our guests were a bit lost. Lastly, they said they have a library of over 30,000 songs, but how come we had to provide them all the music for the evening (except for open dancing)? I would think they would have Eric Benet ft. Tamia Spend My Life with you, it is a Wedding Song. The good side, the LED lights were a good upgrade. They positioned them at key locations and were on point for using the color scheme we wanted. And they were reasonably priced.
Services used: DJ
Jaqkis Cake Creations
Since we had our reception at the Altadena Town & Country Club the cake was included in our reception package. So they provide you with a list of cake vendors and we went with Jaqki. We did a bit of upgrades (i.e. added a tier for our 1-year anniversary, fondant, and cake riser), so we had to pay extra, but it was worth it! The cake was YUMMY! I actually want to reorder a smaller version of the cake, just to taste it again. I think I took only 2 bites of the cake at the reception. Its a reality ladies and gents, you really dont eat at your own reception. The only thing that we were not too pleased with is having Jackie replicate our monogram (designed by our friend and used on all our wedding stationary) on the top tier of the cake. We provided her with the image 2 weeks before the wedding, but on the wedding day it just didnt meet our expectations. Im sure she did her best to copy it. However, it bugged the hubs more than me since his initial was the one that was messed up. Overall it was a good experience, but just be aware any custom designs may not be exact.
Services used: Wedding Cake
Wilshire Bridal Salon
After 20 dress shopping visits, I finally decided on a dress. However, I didnt just settle on the bridal store I tried on it on at, I shopped around for the price too! I was able to get my gown for $300 less at Wilshire Bridal since they didnt have the sample in the store. So they advised me to try it on elsewhere to make sure I wanted it. I do have some gripes about this store: LOCATION - its in Koreatown on Wilshire and Western. So its a bit of a pain to get to. FITTINGS - They advise you to do your fitting during the weekday since Saturdays are primarily for dress shopping. This was annoying since I work full-time, had a regular gym schedule and was planning a wedding. So I had to take several half days or entire days off to go there. PAYMENT: For some reason every time I tried to pay with a debit card, they would come back and say it didnt work. I know for sure it was good since I used it before and after my appointment there. So I either paid on a credit card or had to pay in cash. Really whats the difference, a debit card is just as good as cash or check without the hassle of carrying either. My biggest compliant is that information was lost in translation. It was difficult understanding my sales rep, who was also the seamstress. Basically when my gown came in it was 4 too long. The shop tried to blame me that I wasnt wearing the heel height I originally wore when I was measured. NOT TRUE! So in order to wear that heel height (2) major alterations had to be made, which would cause the lace trim at the bottom to overlap the other lace appliqus on the dress. I did NOT want that! I would sacrifice wearing taller shoes than having the overlap! So for the rest of the fitting I wore their sample shoes that were 3.5 so that alterations could be made accordingly. The seamstress stated 3.5- 4 heels would be good. So I returned the 2 Nina shoes and bought 3.75 Nina shoes (Thank goodness Ninas are so COMFY!). Then to my surprise when I went in for the following fitting the dress was too short cuz the lady said I told her I wanted to wear the shorter heel! NOT TRUE! After showing my discontent and literally crying about this ordeal did she finally gave in and dropped the hem to the desired length for the new shoe. Why did it have to come to me crying for her to realize I was NOT happy with my gown? She even tried giving me a guilt trip saying she spent 8 hours on the alterations! All I can say is my dress was one of the most stressful points in my wedding planning process, it had its on drama! I cant say I would recommend Wilshire Bridal to other ladies since my experience was not that great. So I got a good deal, but the experience was something I would like to forget.
Services used: Dress & Attire
Having a photobooth is an added bonus to any wedding thats worth the cost! Cheesy is very affordable compared to Red Cheese Photobooths. You get just as much as Reds bigger package, but at a lower cost. The quality is just as good and you get more room in the photobooth. Plus you can customize your banner for the photos and the background color of the booth. Our guests loved it and we got some funny photos to look back on to remember our wedding! Basically after our guests took a photo 2 copies are printed, one for them and the other they placed on a scrapbook page (8x8) with decorations and well wishes. Chessy collects them at the end of the night and puts them in a photo album that you receive in the mail. It was a great keepsake and served as our Guestbook.
Services used: Rentals & Photobooths, Unique Services
For our wedding we were going for a vintage feel, so renting a vintage car was a must. However, we soon realized it is a bit pricey to do this, but it was worth it since completed our theme. We couldnt be more pleased with our driver, Myk. He was so charming and a very cautious driver. Both Mel and Teri were also wonderful to work with. We rented the white 1962 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud and it was truly a beauty that is in pristine condition! Just be aware the ride is a bit bumpy since it is an older car.
Services used: Transportation
Makeup by Hedda
Hedda is an up and coming makeup artist. She is always learning and mastering new techniques, which just shows her passion for makeup. She attentively listens to your requests and makes sure you look FABULOUS on your special day!!! I've already booked her for my wedding in May 2009! UPDATE: So it's almost 5 months after the wedding and I'm finally getting around doing all my vendor reviews. Hedda was great! And after several mock-ups she perfected my wedding day makeup. I went with a natural look using neutral tones, so I looked like me only better! My makeup lasted all day and needed just a few touch-ups to keep my look fresh throughout the day. I was extremely pleased with her professionalism and skill on the day of the wedding. I highly recommend Hedda for all of your makeup needs!
Services used: Unique Services