Aug 27, 2011

Hansen's Cakes
( 4.8 / 5.0 )
We decided to go with Hansen's because several friends had mentioned they had good cakes. (The cake was included in our wedding with our venue and we had 2 bakeries to go with.) Our overall experience with Hansen's was good. All three flavors of our cake turned out amazing and all of our guests who had the cake loved it.

When we went there for our first tasting, the gal who helped us with the tasting was great. She was really nice and had a lot of tips for us about popularity of flavors. The gal who helped us with the order (don't remember her name) could not rush us through the process any faster. We went on a Sunday about an hour before closing so maybe that's why she had so much attitude and was in a rush to get us to leave and make a decision. Needless to say, I went back a week later and thank goodness the same girl wasnt' there. Another girl, (I think her name was Jennifer) helped us and she was super sweet and understanding of me "changing my mind" on the cake flavors and colors of the ribbon. We saved our top layer and I hope it's just as good on our 1 year anniversary. :)
Services used: Wedding Cake

( 5.0 / 5.0 )
We worked with Ida Gardner for our wedding in Redondo Beach last August for day of coordination. Our wedding would not have been a huge success without Ida's help. She is a star and will be a great resource for you and your wedding process.

We met Ida at a wedding showcase and loved her right away. We were still in the early planning phase of our wedding and she was able to give us so many tips on the spot. I talked to another gal who was already using her and was assured she would do a great job. Even though our package was day of coordination, Ida had two meetings with us prior to our wedding and was always available via phone and email. (She also coordinated rehearsal day.) Each time I called her, she was very responsive, courteous and professional. As brides, the entire wedding planning process can be extremely stressful, no matter how much "help" you get from friends and family, or service providers. With Ida, I never felt like she was someone working for us. I always felt like she was a friend giving me great wedding advice and guidance. She also offered great tips on where to save money. We were upfront and honest about all costs so she helped us stay within our budget and she has great contacts too. She actually came with me to my first official dress fitting because none of my bridesmaids were able to make it (on a Thursday afternoon go figure). She didn't have to come along for it, but she did and it made a world of difference to me.

On rehearsal day Ida managed it successfully. She kept the entire bridal party, including the kids all listening to where they were suppose to wait/walk, etc. We had 2 flower girls (3 1/2 and 6) and Ida made them feel so comfortable (wedding day for them was a breeze). Everyone knew Ida; she was the go to person for anything and everything - which is exactly what I wanted esp. on wedding day. She also reached out to all my other vendors prior to the wedding so they all knew to check in with her on wedding day. I didn't learn about this until after the wedding, but apparently there were a couple of issues: first, ballroom carpet was filthy, my mother in law pointed it out to Ida on rehearsal day and she had hotel take care of it asap. Second, with our wedding cake, apparently it was lopsided. Ida got on the phone with the bakery and had them come back out to fix it. She never once mentioned any of this to me because it was something she was already working on to resolve and I suspect she didn't want me to worry about it. And funny thing, I misplaced my ‘something blue’ garter and she had an extra one to give me. I don’t know what I would have done without Ida’s help.

I could go on and on about how great Ida is, but I will eventually run out of space. Just know that if you're in need of someone spectacular to help you coordinate your wedding, I would definitely not hesitate to go with Ida Gardner. Even if you're the bride that's got everything under control and on top of everything (like I thought I was), Ida is an amazing partner to have. My husband and I still talk about how wonderful Ida was for our special day.
Services used: Wedding Planning

( 5.0 / 5.0 )
I went to La Soie in Torrance a few months before we had our venue booked, so I was just "browsing" at this time. I showed Melanie (my original sales gal) pictures of dresses I thought I wanted to try on. She was able to pull almost all of them and actually pulled another dress she thought I'd like. When I first saw it, I thought, "it's okay, but I'll try it on." It was the first of six I tried on. I didn't absolutely love it until I tried on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th dress. I kept going back to this first dress which I just fell in love with. Silly me I walked out of there without buying the dress, a) because it was the first dress...I thought there'd be more dresses out there even more spectacular and b) I wanted to shop around for a better price. Needless to say, neither worked out. I went back to La Soie a few months later and bought my dress and veil there.

Francesca was the gal I worked with mostly after I bought the dress and she was so sweet. I have to say, the entire sales staff was never pushy to get me to buy the dress and they were always very professional and really made you feel like a bride when you were there. Even the gal who did my alterations was amazing (I don't remember her name). She was defintiely a pro with her work and knew exactly what she was doing. Brides, if you end up going with La Soie, rest assured you will get excellent service from everyone there.
Services used: Dress & Attire

( 5.0 / 5.0 )
The Portofino is a beautiful place to get married. It's definitely a hidden gem in the heart of the South Bay. Our on-site coordinator was Shelley and she was great to work with; very responsive and professional through the entire process. We got married at their wedding garden along the peninsula. They provided a wedding arch and our florist decorated it beautifully. We had about 150 guests, so with all the chairs on the lawn, it was a bit of a squeeze but very intimate feel to it. (Keep in mind there will be small boats going by, and sea lions on the rocks.) Our cocktail hour was held in the same area. The hotel staff moved chairs out and put in cocktail tables. It was done pretty seamlessly from what I hear. It turned out to be a really pretty location for cocktail hour. Note, there's a terrace that is along the water (south side of the building) you "might" be able to use only if there isn't another wedding reception going on in the Pacific Ballroom. Our reception was held in the Bayside Ballroom - amazing views of the water, Redondo pier and the PV Peninsula.

On wedding day, the hotel provided the Harbor Room for my bridesmaids and I to use (pretty much all day until about 7p). It was wonderful! We ordered breakfast and they had it setup for us with a large round table and had high tables set up with high chairs for hair and makeup. And they provided garment racks for us to hang the wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses. All super helpful! The room also has a lot of natural light which helps the hair and makeup team and has a restroom (no shower) so a very functional space. Also useful for the bridal party who didn’t stay at the hotel, they were able to keep their personal things in there. Room has a room key, so it’s like having a private extra room for the day. It was a great addition to our package esp. since it had so much room for all the ladies and family come in and out...and definitely a bonus because we didn't have to pay extra for it.

We did most of the bridal party pictures in hidden garden areas along the hotel. Family wedding photos were taken in the "Living Room" through the lobby. It's very elegant and takes great photos. The only thing was it was quite popular and we had to wait to use it. There was another couple getting married that day (they married off-site and had their reception in the Pacific Ballroom) and they were using the Living Room after they were back from their ceremony. (Our wedding coordinator was great in stepping in to let them know we were waiting to use it and they were very courteous.) We knew there would be another couple getting married that day, but we were assured the "Brides" would not see each other. At the end of the day, it was not an issue. Funny thing, there was actually a 3rd bride who was at the hotel waiting for the Living Room for photos (she did not get married there or had their reception there...they were at a venue nearby). From what the hotel told us, the hotel is popular for brides to stay, prep, and take photos. So don't be surprised if you run into more than 1 other bride there. It will still be your special day no matter how many other brides you run into.

Now to the wedding reception and the food...We were able to taste the selections before making them at a showcase the hotel offered. The hotel invites couples getting married there to come and taste the different dishes (including cake, yum!) and meet vendors. I met two other brides there and we kept in touch to exchange ideas and vendor contacts. The showcase was a great resource so definitely sign up and go! Just make sure the food they have you taste is within your package. We ended up going to two showcases because the first one they didn't serve us any of the options from the platinum package. Though what they did serve us, (from the silver and gold package) was just as good. After the second showcase, we ended up going with the strawberry/arugula salad, sorbet intermezzo, and option of the filet & lobster or sea bass. (Vegetarian is always a third option.) Everyone loved the food. I can't pinpoint the appetizers, because I forgot to try them, but we received a ton of compliments about them as well...including on the cake. We went with Hansen's bakery. The hotel gives you an option of two bakeries.

During dinner and with the speeches our guests in the very back couldn’t hear very well because of the music in the other ballroom. Prior, the hotel did make a point to tell us it would not be a problem with the sound, but turns out it was, but only during the speeches. So make sure your DJ or sound people do an extra check on that. Not a huge issue for us; by the time dancing came around, the sound was fine and everyone was dancing and having a great time.

Our wedding was incredible and The Portofino really did a great job in having it come out perfectly for us. I read several reviews about them prior to making our decision and actually spoke to someone who used to work there so we were very comfortable with making our decision. But I’m sure it all depends on who you have working with you. Shelley with the hotel was great and we were lucky to have wonderful vendors including our day of coordinator who was also on top of everything for us. The Portofino is definitely worth checking out if you’re in search of an amazing venue.
Services used: Wedding Venue