Jul 28, 2007
Classic Stories Photography
Do not recommend. Canceled her contract with me 2 weeks before my wedding, then refused to refund my fully paid contract fee. I had to come up with an additional few thousand dollars to pay another photographer. Had to sue her in LA Small Claims Court. After ducking service for quite some time, I was able to have her served while she was an inmate at Century Towers (for an unrelated felony charge). I won my case in December 2010, then won the appeal in July 2011 (after the defendant failed to appear at the hearing scheduled for May 2011). She subsequently filed for bankruptcy in September 2011, so I will never see a dime of my money. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Services used: Photography
Special Occasions, Inc.
We used Mistyka for our wedding. We hired her when she was with Dulce Events (check that listing for prior client raves), then she merged with SOI Events. Mistyka was pretty much amazing and I don't know if I could have pulled off my flawless event without her. We hired her for month-of coordination, but she helped us since November 2005 or so. She ran down some stuff for us when the Pasadena Fire Dept. was being irritating with their candle regulations. She picked up my dress for me the day before the wedding when I felt super busy and overwhelmed. She was responsible for setting up all of my DIY items and stuff that we brought into the hotel. There were some glitches on our wedding day and I never noticed because Mistyka handled everything so efficiently. All my vendors loved her and she worked really well with them. My maid of honor and mom commented on how fabulous they thought she was. I would definitely hire Mistyka again in a heartbeat. In fact, she was one of the best hires I made during the entire wedding process.
Services used: Unique Services
Kate Baker Floral Design
When I first got quotes on flowers, I really liked Kate and one other person. I decided to go with Kate because she seemed to "get" my vision more than the other person. We emailed back and forth with no problems for a while. I had noticed that on my quote, calla lilies were not included on the listing of flowers. I emailed her to make sure they'd be included because they fit in with the theme we were going for. She said no problem because our pricing was for premium flowers like peonies and orchids, so callas would be in the same category. As things went along, it seemed like she was not writing down anything we talked about. When it came time to create my sample centerpiece I asked about the callas again. She said it would make my centerpieces $10 more expensive a piece. I was shocked, but had no recourse re: the previous email because my computer had died and I lost all my emails in Outlook. I went to Kate's home for our meeting only to discover when I got there, she had MOVED and not told me! She moved in December and it was March when we had our meeting. I had spent HOURS in traffic from West LA to Sherman Oaks for that! Once I got Kate on the phone and got directions to her new home in Valley Village, I was on my way, but I was irritated about the lack of professionalism on that front. I forgot about all this when I saw my sample centerpiece and LOVED it so much that I cried a little when I saw it. I mean, I had the inspiration for it and told her what I wanted, but she created exactly what I'd envisioned. When we had our final meeting, I wanted us to go out to my church because she'd never worked there before. She told me that I'd be charged for her travel time and a babysitter for her daughter. She said she could work from pictures of the church. I was disappointed because her contract said that we could combine a visit to a site she'd never worked with the final visit, but I just let it go. At the final meeting, she pulled out the old, original quote from August (this was late May) and had no notes of anything we'd talked about. So we had to review it all again. Her daughter was there and while a lovely child, she really shouldn't be in on business meetings. She was basically destroying the ostrich plumes I'd bought to go in my bouquets and centerpieces because she was crushing and twisting them all around while Kate just sat and didn't notice or comment. My fiance had to leave the meeting and take Gracie (her daughter) outside into the yard to look at the birds and stuff because even he was peturbed at the destruction of our stuff. At the meeting, Kate also told me my set up fee would likely be significantly higher because I was asking her to set up bud vases and feather centerpieces (all pieces I bought) on the 8 cocktail tables. This was never said before...in fact, she'd always offered to just put them up and never said anything about charging. I also asked her to include the set up costs for some rice paper lanterns because I wasn't sure if the hotel was going to be able to do it (and then let her know later on that the hotel would be doing it, so she didn't need to bother). She also said that we may need to pay more for set-up because we needed her to drop off the personal flowers at the hotel first, then go to the church to set up for the ceremony, then back to the hotel to set up for the reception. However, it had ALWAYS been the case because we had ALWAYS planned to do pro pics at the hotel before the ceremony. Her description of the size of the bouquets had been specific (i.e. 11 inches in diameter) previously, but when we met again, her descriptions of the bouquets were much smaller, probably 2/3 or less of the size she'd previously stated. My mistake, I should have made sure it was in the quote to start. The bouquet size was important to me because I'm by no means a small girl and my bridesmaids are big booty girls, too :D I thought a small bouquet would look ridiculous against larger hips and had said so before. The meeting was on a Saturday in the late morning/early afternoon and really, it was just deleting and slightly changing some details on the original quote, something that literally takes less than 30 minutes because the document is already created in Word. She said I'd have the final quote soon. On Tuesday, my coordinator called her and left a message. She also emailed her to find out the status of the quote. Kate did not return her call or email. I tried calling her Wednesday with no response. I left Kate a voicemail on Thursday. All this time, none of us had heard from her. On Friday, she called me while I was in the middle of class and I ran out into the hall to speak with her because it had been a week since she'd touched base. She told me then that she had not worked on our final quote at all because she was busy with work. I was stunned because this convo could have been had before and I wished she would have told me earlier. She asked to have until Monday (Memorial Day) and I agreed, mostly because I was too shocked to say otherwise and was in the middle of class and didn't have time for an argument. During the conversation, she said that she had a floral designer out sick all week and she'd been really busy...but too busy to shoot me a 30 second email or quick phone call to give me a heads up when I'd been trying to get ahold of her for several days???? I emailed her on Saturday and said that I needed her to have the quote for me by Sunday at 8PM or I'd be looking for another florist. I was really concerned she was going to jack my prices way up, partly because I'd read the story of another bride who used Kate whose final quote went up by several THOUSAND dollars and that was just not in my budget. She sent me the final quote on Monday at about 3PM or so. I already had another florist appointment that morning. During this week, Kate emailed me THREE times...I couldn't buy an email the week before, but when she sensed there was trouble, she was overly persistant. I agonized over the decision and ultimately, we decided to use another florist and only have Kate create our bouts and corsages in order to use the $250 we paid her without cancelling and having to pay her another $1000+ with no product. This really was a difficult decision for me to make and one I was really upset about. Literally, I cried because I don't like to hurt people's feelings and upset them, but I didn't trust her to do a good, professional job with our wedding. That is when she went from slightly unprofessional but harmless, to wildly unprofessional, bordering on harrassing. She called my cell phone and left me a 5 minute voicemail where she accused me of stealing her ideas and taking them to another florist to create and basically just bitched me out. I couldn't listen to the voicemail right away, so my fiance listened to it. I could hear her YELLING from a couple of feet away through the earpiece as he listened. This voicemail was listened to by several people who can attest to the veracity of this. As I said before, there was no truth to me stealing her ideas since anything she created was all MY inspiration and guidance. An email followed that was erratic and went from trying to explain her poor behavior almost tearfully, mentioning how we were "friends" to threatening legal action. Kate wrote me an email on June 9 where she tried to explain herself (after her rude and unprofessional voicemail and email on June 3) and asked me to explain my rationale. She admits in this email that she hadn't even started on my revisions as of Thursday of that week and that's when her designer called in sick...so the excuse of being overwhelmingly busy due to a sick assistant for Sunday-Wednesday doesn't hold water. She alluded to us being "friends" and having a "friendship", but it was basically a guilt trip, as her first email back to me after finding out I wanted to cancel, she referenced taking legal action. Against the judgment of others who I'd asked for advice, I decided to write her an email where I basically explained the aforementioned concerns I had. In my email I started with, "Kate, I have decided to respond to this message because hopefully this issue can be put to rest after doing so." and ended with "Anyway, I hope this response helps you move on in some way and understand where we're coming from. I can't say that I'm completely confident that I will get my flowers with no hassle, but I am trusting you to be a professional in this situation." (this was in reference to her saying to trust that we would still get great flowers that we were paying for). She basically lost it at this point and wrote me back a really snippy and rude email. She ended with, "Okay, I'm so done. Your flowers will be gorgeous, of course I am a professional. Please direct any further correspondence you have with me through Mistyka or Denise. [my coordinator and her assistant]" So yes, she was refusing to communicate with me, her client. I really feared not getting a good product from her. She said in an email to me on June 11 that she was very angry with me, which is why she acted in an unprofessional manner. It wasn't beyond the realm of possibility that the unprofessionalism would extend to the end-product. In the end it didn't matter since we postponed our wedding, but her behavior was so far from professional overall that I would not recommend her to anyone. Also, I have an email from a former bride with her situation with Kate as well. In that case, Kate raised her prices by a large margin shortly before the wedding and when Christina tried to negotiate the prices down and change/eliminate items to fit her budget, Kate CANCELLED on her TWO WEEKS BEFORE HER WEDDING! Her wedding was on Memorial Day weekend, so it was tough for her to find another florist. So just be forewarned that it is not just one person who is/was unhappy with Kate's service.
Services used: Flowers
Dress: A++++++ RKBridal: D My dress was set to be into their New York store on April 2 and in their initial email to me, I was told to expect the dress to my apartment in LA about a week to 10 days after that. Around April 20, I got concerned and called the store. They said the dress was shipped and I should call back for a tracking number. I call back for the tracking number the following day and was told that the dress had NOT shipped and they did not know where my dress was! Mind you, they are under the impression that my wedding is July 9, 2005 (our original date when I ordered). After a couple days of calling to harrass them (because they never called with status updates), they finally figured out the dress got sent back to Christina Wu. I finally got the dress, it's in good condition...actually, it's absolutely GORGEOUS and MUCH prettier than the ad pictures. The only reason RKBridal gets a D instead of an F is because they price matched the lowest price I found plus gave me an extra 5% off.
Services used: Dress & Attire
I went into Bridal Elegance knowing what dress I wanted (Jasmine H338). I looked up Jasmine trunk shows and Bridal Elegance had one that would allow me to get my dress just in time. Being a plus sized bride is usually very disconcerting with dress shopping because many dress shops are known to actually be rude to their larger customers. Bridal Elegance was the complete opposite. Christie and Stacy were so sweet and down to earth and helpful that it truly didn't feel like they were trying to hustle you for money and there was none of that uppity snobbery like you get at some bridal shops. My dress came in and I didn't like the modifications I had made to it. Christie suggested alterations to the gown that would be very flattering...so she essentially redesigned the neckline and bodice of my gown and it is truly amazing. I highly recommend Bridal Elegance for any bride who wants a low key shopping experience with friendly and knowledgeable owners/staff.
Services used: Dress & Attire
Ephemera - Letterpress Stationery, Calligraphy + More
If I could give Tara of Ephemera Letterpress six stars, I would. She is fantastic! I contacted Tara in March after our original letterpress designer got sick and would not be able to do our invitations. The only guidelines I gave her were that our wedding "themes" were vintage and incorporating ostrich feathers, as well as our wedding colors. She responded within one week with a proof of the invitation design. It was perfect on the first try -- a cream cardstock with a pale pink feather-esque swirl in the background with chocolate ink text. We had our invitations almost exactly in one month after we first agreed to work together!!! Tara is exceptionally talented and, IMO, a great deal. I did not want to spend $20+ per invitation as some letterpress designers were asking. Our invitations are beautiful and were approximately $8.50 per invite. The invitation set included the invitation itself, the RSVP card, two color printing, pink RSVP and inner envelope, and outer envelope. If you want quality work at a fair price, Tara is the way to go!
Services used: Invitations
I initially contacted Danny way back in about November 2005 for our wedding which was then scheduled for June 2006. We met because we felt Danny had very reasonable prices for the two speaker set-ups we wanted (both in the courtyard for the cocktail hour and in the reception room). However, after meeting with Danny, we were impressed with his style and personality. After we postponed our wedding, Danny was really very sweet about it -- he didn't charge us a penalty or anything, just agreed to show up on our new date. I was really bad about giving him the forms he needed and had a lot of changes I made at the last minute. All of our music was perfect. We didn't have long or extensive must play (or do not play) lists and trusted him to select music within the genres that we liked. All of the choices were on point. He got people dancing of all ages -- from 7 years old up through guests in their 70s. In fact, some of our older guests were talking about how much fun they had dancing a week after the wedding. I highly recommend Danny's service. He is a true professional and a good person.
Services used: DJ
We hired John from Schnack Studios about a week before our wedding because our original photographer backed out. Naturally that's enough to make any person freak out, but we felt that we liked John's style more than other photographers we met with that were available. We never met with John, just relied on email and his website and crossed fingers! Since we were flying by the seat of our pants, I didn't get a chance to identify key people and ensure they were in pictures. On the wedding day, John was prompt and attentive, but unobtrusive. My husband and I really wanted a photojournalistic style with few posed portraits. During the time we took our family portraits, John was so patient and funny in dealing with the kids in the bridal party (and the whole party in general) in the uber hot mid-day July sun in Pasadena. At the end of the day (and between the day and when we got our pictures), I wondered if we had enough picture varieties. When we got our pictures back, my husband and I were both floored. They are GORGEOUS!!! I also noticed John took note of important people or asked my coordinator because there are some great pictures in there that I would have wanted and forgot to ask for (my grandmother, picture of both of our mothers, etc). I think John is a great photographer and also is an outstanding deal for the quality of pictures he provides. I highly recommend him to anyone looking for a fabulous photographer with a great eye.
Services used: Photography
Our cake was AHHH-MAZE-ING!!! After visiting a couple of different bakeries, we found Rosebud. When we visited the cake studio, we saw them making a cake in the shape of Buddha. It was incredible! We were worried about how much they'd want to charge for a replica of a chocolate fondant Martha Stewart. We were surprised to find that their pricing was very reasonable. We also purchased the cake during their July discount period and saved an additional 15%. We got 2 tiers of chocolate cake with "The Most" filling (chocolate Bavarian cream, chocolate chips, fudge, and raspberries) and 2 tiers of white cake with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Everyone loved the cake! I usually hate fondant and went with it just for aesthetics purposes. Their fondant is actually delicious! I highly recommend Rosebud to anyone looking for a quality, delicious cake at a fairly reasonable price.
Services used: Wedding Cake
I got my bridesmaids' dresses from the Burbank location. One BM and I went on a particularly busy Sunday afternoon with no appointment...but since we were just there to size a dress we'd already picked out, they let us hop into a room and get it done without waiting for hours. The dresses were scheduled to come in 2 months, and they came in one month. I had nothing but a fabulous experience with the Burbank store for BM dresses.
Services used: Dress & Attire
On Location Beauty
What else could I say about Sherry that hasn't already been said? I was nervous about finding a hair and makeup artist because, as an African-American female, there aren't many pictures of people with my complexion in people's portfolios and I had no idea if they knew how to handle African-American hair. I had my hair and makeup trial with Sherry about a week before our wedding. I went in with an idea of how I wanted my hair and makeup. While I liked my makeup, I didn't like the style I picked with my face. On the morning of the wedding, I planned to talk to Sherry about changing the style. It was a pleasant surprise for her to bring it up -- and know exactly what I wanted to change before I said anything. It was like she read my mind! My makeup was amazing and gorgeous. I felt beautiful all day. My hair was perfect and stayed put all night. Sherry's assistant that day was Marilyn and she was outstanding. She did the hair and makeup of my maid of honor and my flower girl. My MOH looked beautiful. My flower girl's hair normally never holds a curl, but her curls stayed in tact until the next day. Sherry and Marilyn were both so sweet and fun and got us all ready in time. They were wonderful and I highly recommend them.
Services used: Beauty & Health