tineoak

WEDDING DATE:

Jul 21, 2007

tineoak
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Hilton Santa Clara
 
( 3.0 / 5.0 )
I have very mixed feelings about Hilton Santa Clara. A year before my wedding, I had visited the Hilton Santa Clara and then booked another hotel (which I thought was cheaper) 6 months before the wedding, that other hotel announced renovations and told me to find someplace else. Nele Taufutee at the Hilton Santa Clara was wonderful and honored their prices from when I'd originally looked there. They were really a godsend. Our tasting was nice and Nele is great about e-mails. They were quite accomodating to our requests, but sometimes I had to really ask for what I wanted. They set up the room just as we had requested. Food service was good and there didn't seem to be any lags and all food seemed to be of the right temperature. One dish wasn't really what I remembered from our tasting, but it was still good. I would have liked more service for us during the reception (I don't know if this would have been different if Nele had been able to stay the evening)...when I wanted more soda, it was sort of hard to find our waiter, but I was busy and it didn't really matter all that much. They did offer to put our entrees in to heat since we were trying to get in table visits, but I was afraid I wouldn't get them back. DH never got to his sorbet until it was all soup, so would have been nice if they'd kept that on ice, but I couldn't see the waiter to make that request. They also never cut our groom's cake. We didn't do a special formal cutting of it since it was the same cake so I guess they didn't know to cut it but they didn't ask. I also don't know if it was needed (it was supposed to add to the slice count of the main cake) but some slices seemed really thin even for wedding cake. Basicly, communication between us and the staff during the reception could have been better. We should earn Hilton Honors points for the whole reception, but it seems to not be done automatically so I've had to ask Nele to look into that again. The room block is handled by Dan Romero and I found it difficult to deal with. #1 they don't give a good rate for the room block. It was cheaper to book with your AAA card (and much cheaper to go through travelocity/expedia) than book in our block. He also would only let us block like 5 rooms a night...he was supposed to keep moving more rooms into the block as we booked but I had to keep e-mailing him after guests reported that the block was full and that they'd had to book outside the block. This meant most of our guests booked through expedia, etc because it was much cheaper to go that way. As I was planning our OOT boxes, I realized there were very few people in the block. I ended up e-mailing my guest list to Dan and he went through their whole guest list cross checking names and found most of our guests. Comps have also been difficult to get. #1 you have to have like 20 rooms for a comp room. After the wedding Dan had told us he'd look at the numbers and credit us. We waited. Finally 3 weeks after the wedding I e-mailed and found we qualified for 2 comps. I asked for the credit. So far we've been credited for one night, but not the other. I've put in another e-mail and I'm still waiting. The bottom line: It's a nice place and the reception was really a good deal, but you have to be a bit of a pest and keep tracking down every detail.
Services used: Wedding Venue

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Goldfield's Jewelers - Steve Chang
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
Steve is a master craftsman. I took him a sketch of what I wanted for my wedding band, we talked and he laid out stones from his collection and we discussed my vision. He made a wax mold of what he'd make, put in all the stones and I went for another consultation where I requested some changes that he made on the spot. I went back to see the casting he made and then he set the stones and polished it. It's gorgeous and fits perfectly with my e-ring. Best of all, he was able to work with my budget. We also bought DH's band from him and paid only about 10% more than we would have paid online.
Services used: Unique Services

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Robin Cortez
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
Robin Cortez was great. When we first met he gave us a HUGE amount of information and ideas. He called a week before when he still hadn't heard about our music choices and was still totally calm and reassuring. Everything was perfectly cued and he had a HUGE variety of music. He confirmed pronounciation of people's names before he announced them and did a great job emceeing. He kept things moving all night long and kept checking in with me to be sure everything was going well and for timing...even warning me that people were getting restless at one point. He took requests but was sure to get my ok before playing things that were on our sorta 'do not play' list. Definately very experienced!
Services used: Unique Services

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Si Arima Alterations
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
I can't say enough about how much I love Si! She did a great job on my alterations (although one of my bustle loops broke, it was because my MOH was standing on my skirt and I stepped away). She also did 2 of my bridesmaids...one the day before the wedding because she'd been out of the country until the day before the wedding and her dress didn't arrive until after she'd left. Her prices are also excellent! She's so nice and really knows what she's doing. Highly recommend!
Services used: Dress & Attire

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Expressions Floral
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
Lisa McGhee-Filice was great! I met with her twice and she really absorbed my vision. Her price was great and her flowers were gorgeous. She even made my DH a second 'back-up' boutineer and a flower for my MOH's hair at no extra charge. She did a great job pulling together all my bridesmaid's dresses (4 different colors) and even wrapped them each in a different color. She was so nice to work with (and actually came in under budget)
Services used: Flowers

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Meg & Michael Weddings
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
Oh how blessed I was to find Meg and Michael!!! I had originally booked with Bella Pictures but was not happy with our engagement photo session or the customer service I received (see my Bella review). I was able to hire Meg and Michael for not much more than I would have probably ended up paying Bella for the same coverage (2-3 photographers for 11+ hours) and far less than I would have had to pay Bella to color correct and fix each of my photos. It was such a relief to have Meg and Michael meet with us and get to know them! They worked like hounds from the moment they stepped into the room taking pictures until late at night. They were up on ladders and crawling down in ditches trying to capture just the right shot and my husband and I just had to enjoy ourselves. I HIGHLY recommend them! Some of their pictures are in my bio.
Services used: Unique Services

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Trudy's Brides, Prom & Special Occasions
 
( 3.0 / 5.0 )
I shopped wedding dresses here which was ok but the dress I bought (elsewhere) was EXACTLY what I kept describing and the clerk at trudy's didn't show it to me. I shopped with my 2 local BM's here for their dresses because they have such a good selection and the service was really good. I had to go back 2-3 times to coordinate color because I had 4 different girls in 4 different designers and then I tried to coordinate the colors and they were very helpful with the process. The 2 dresses ordered from here arrived as expected.
Services used: Dress & Attire

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Pacific Land Yachts
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
They arrived on time and made the runs back and forth. The girls were late to the church but I'm not sure if that's because the guys got late, because I didn't schedule enough drive time, or because there was some delay based on the bus. The Limobus we got was very plush and we got to sip champagne and sodas. The price was very reasonable ($950 everything included) for 5 1/2 hours and the driver was nice.
Services used: Transportation

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Bella Mia Bride
 
( 1.0 / 5.0 )
I was disappointed in Bella Mia. The dress I tried on was mis-marked and they refused to honor the price on the tag...even after we'd been assured by the sales girl that it was the correct price. They ended up matching the lowest local price I could find and threw in a free veil but that was after I walked out on them. It was seriously like buying a car. When my dress was in I went to try it on and didn't realize they'd want me to take it with me I had no place here at home for it but they refused to keep it for me. I just was less than impressed with their service.
Services used: Dress & Attire, Wedding Planning

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Jim Avila Consulting Services
 
( 3.0 / 5.0 )
Jim was very good! I had a wonderful trial with him at his house in SF where we sipped tea and chatted. He came to our hotel at 7:30 and by noon had done hair and make-up for the mothers, 4 bridesmaids, me, helped me get into my dress, and done a little something for the flowergirl and jr. bridesmaid. His calm and self assuredness was exactly what we needed on our wedding day. He was very professional (even as drama was occurring around him) best of all, he kept to a tight schedule so we were all ready to go when the photographers got there. He did not do my hair and makeup the same as my trial and didn't discuss the changes with me. Everyone agreed that the half-up he did was even better than the all-up trial, but my hair doesn't hold curl and by the ceremony, the part that was down was straight and after the first dance, it was hot and uncomfortable and I had to put it up. He also didn't use the same make-up as the trial and I'm not sure how it held up since I didn't keep looking in the mirror all night but just trusted it. Follow up: Some of my photos show the red marks on my face. My normal make-up covers better than that. He has everyone come in their normal hair and make-up so he knows where they're starting point is so they still look like themselves but I know that at least one of my maids would have really liked to have more input into her style. I first met him at a bridal fair and he talked all about putting hair up so it looks nice and doesn't get in your way and then he styled all of us with our hair down. My mom loved him, he made her feel like a queen and really brightened her up and made her look great. I think Jim was her favorite vendor in a very crowded field. Jim is also VERY expensive. I paid $1750 including $250 for him to travel to Santa Clara but having someone I could really trust for hair and makeup was REALLY important to me (and that included my trial and 5+me on the day of...AT the hotel). I also needed someone to tell me what would look good, I'm no good with picking hairstyles from magazines that will be flattering and work on me. If I had it to do all over again though, I may have looked at some of the cheaper options who still have really great reviews.
Services used: Unique Services

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Dream It Events
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
I was so lucky to find Melissa Franco and Kasey Ross! While I had coordination for the ceremony at the church, we weren't allowed to set up the reception until 2pm (when I was walking down the aisle). I met with Kasey and Melissa a few weeks before my wedding and described my vision. They picked it up right away and helped me think through some of the details. I sent them diagrams of the reception venue and how I wanted things laid out and got everything delivered to the hotel and then went to my wedding. When we arrived at the reception, it was like walking into my dream. Everything was PRECISELY as I had envisioned! (Later I learned that the hotel staff had started to set things up before they got there and had gotten things wrong and Kasey and Melissa had to undo their work...there was also drama about a limit on the number of votives and they had to negotiate with the hotel to put out more candles than the hotel wanted.) During the receiving line, someone told me they had a large heavy package for us in their car. I told them to talk to Melissa and Kasey...they moved the package to our car. During the reception they also moved all the other wedding gifts into our car. When my MOH stepped on my train and broke one of my bustle loops, Kasey and Melissa fixed it while I chatted with guests. At the end of the night, they packed everything up that needed to be brought home and transported it all to my car. They even took the risers from my cake back to the baker! I didn't have to worry about a thing, everything was just done! I dreamt up my wedding, but Dream It Events made it a reality!
Services used: Wedding Planning

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Men's Wearhouse
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
We made our selections in the store from a catalog and took the groom's measurements. I do wish they had samples of the tuxes in the store because it's hard to tell from the pictures...make sure you ask to see the swatches for the vests, it made things much easier. I had a special deal from a bridal show over a year before and they were very good about figuring out how to handle it since they don't offer it anymore. They did a great job keeping me informed about which guys had gotten fitted as we drew close to the deadline. When we went to get the tuxes, the groom's needed an alteration but they were good about doing that quickly. Another groomsman dealt with the Moutain View store. He needed a rush order since his size had changed since he was measured and they did that efficiently although his vest was not a full vest. The tux and shoes were in much better shape than rentals from other companies I've seen. FYI-to get any replacements, they need to know by 3pm to have them the next morning. I would have made that more explicit to the groomsmen had I known that, but all turned out well.
Services used: Dress & Attire

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Jen's Cakes of Los Gatos
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
Our cakes from Jen's were all we wanted AND more! We had a gorgeous 3 tiered cake with buttercream and swiss dots. AND a groom's cake shaped like a baseball diamond. Our cakes were a tuxedo cake with white and german chocolate layers. Our wedding cake had a raspberry cream cheese filling and our groom's cake was supposed to have the same filling but it actually had something else (maybe German Chocolate...it had almond slivers) it was very good even though it wasn't what we'd actually ordered. Both cakes were beautiful and very, very yummy. Moist cakes and frosting that was sweet without being overyly sweet! We wanted buttercream but with smooth icing and Jen's was able to do that, it was flawless. We keep getting comments about the groom's cake. The grass even had texture to it and they put our monogram in the outfield. Like the previous review says, we met with Anthony in their home office and tasted the flavors. There was a handy map to help us remember what everything was and we made a combination from the various flavors and fillings. Shortly before the wedding, Anthony called and e-mailed to confirm the details and our gorgeous cakes were delivered and set up without a problem. Pictures of our cakes in my gallery
Services used: Unique Services

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Now&Forever
 
( 3.0 / 5.0 )
I bought my invitations, response cards, and RD invites from Now-and-forever.com I was very happy with the quality once all was said and done but their website sucks. Call to order and e-mail your text. I got a sample of my invitation first and the sample came folded. The product I actually received was not folded and these pocket folds took hours to fold. My DH and I spent about 11 hours folding and gluing the 100 pocketfold invitations. The thermography was very nice and I got a lot of compliments on my invitations and they were EXACTLY what I wanted. I used coupons every time I ordered which meant I was in a time crunch as the coupon was expiring and the offices aren't open much on weekends so I did a lot of ordering online on the weekend and then called on Monday morning to make my order right because there was no way to do it the way I wanted online. The customer service people were very nice but it took a couple tries to get anything right. I went through 2 tries to get blank envelopes for my RD invites because the card I ordered was supposed to be a response card with our address pre-printed on them. When the calligrapher messed up on a bunch of invitations, they rushed a new order to her without a problem which was great. They're a good for the price and dealt with all the issues I had but give yourself plenty of time. Pictures of my invitations in my gallery
Services used: Invitations