Apr 08, 2006
Los Angeles River Center and Gardens
We LOVED our venue! We knew from the moment we saw it that it was the place for our dream wedding. The venue doesn't provide anything beyond the actual location (and 150 chairs), so we brought in our caterer, rentals, alcohol, coordinator, etc. It was a lot of work, but well worth it! Zenia, the site manager, was easy to work with and very responsive. TIP: The Los Angeles River Center & Gardens books up really quickly, so you have to book early!
Services used: Wedding Venue
Valley Beverage Company
This company will deliver a full bar and all the alcohol you need for your wedding (including wine). They charge you for everything and then they refund you for any unopened alcohol, typically 1/3 to 1/4 back. They were easy to work with and met all our requests for specific kinds of drinks (lots of different kinds of martinis) and kinds of beer. This was perfect for a venue like mine as we didn't have to deal with lugging our own alcohol, ice, etc.
Services used: Unique Services
Very, very easy to work with. They price-matched another online bridal vendor. I was lucky enough to order from them before Maggie Sottero started cracking down on discounted prices. Jessica, the woman who handles internet orders, was really nice and super responsive. The dress arrived exactly on time in fabulous condition (along with a garment bag and a blue garter).
Services used: Dress & Attire
we really enjoyed working with Icing on the Ring. Their prices were great and this family-owned business didn't make you feel like you were doing them a favor (like some of the other jewelers in the downtown jewelery district did). We went during one of their 20% off sales. The only issue we had is that they ordered the wrong size for Brent's band, even though they had measured him. So they had to order another one, which arrived quickly. I'd definitely recommend them!
Services used: Jewelry
Easy to work with and all the dresses arrived to the four separate addresses with no problem. The designer is Dessy, style #2018 in Cotton Candy. My hubby had a groomsmaid and she wore the same dress as my girls but in black.
Services used: Dress & Attire
Next Exit Photography
Next Exit are absolutely AMAZING! They were the first photographers we met with and we instantly clicked, but we interviewed three other photographers just to make sure our choice was solid. Next Exit - with their photojournalistic style and our chemistry with them - had raised the bar so much that the others we interviewed didn't even compare! We had a blast taking engagement photos with Cat & Adi (Next Exit) on the beach back in September, which was great practice for the big day. Along the way, Cat was super, super responsive to all my questions. On the big day, they were so great to work with! Chemistry with your photographer really does make a big difference. They made it easy for everyone to relax and everyone thought they were great! When we saw the pics from our wedding, we about died because they were so beautiful and EXACTLY what Brent and I had hoped for! All my married friends who have seen them have commented that they wish they could go back in time and hire Next Exit instead - they're really that great! We'll continue to use Next Exit for all our photography needs - pregnancy photos, kids' portraits, family portraits, serously! TIP: Don't skimp on the cost of your photography! It's an everlasting record of your big day and something you shouldn't regret!
Services used: Photography
Kerim exceeded my expectations! He was so great to work with the entire step of the way. Even Brent was thoroughly impressed (and that doesn't come easy). I didn't have a specific floral vision in mind, although I went in not wanting tall centerpieces - until Kerim invited us to swing by his wedding (also at the LARCG) to check out his amazing, beautifuly, tall centerpieces. I changed my mind to tall centerpieces then and there! Kerim made all my floral wedding dreams come true! He provided gorgeous bouquets for me and my gals, boutonnieres for the guys, flowers for the mothers, petals for the aisle and flower girls, a floral arch for the ceremony (which we put over the cake during the reception), centerpieces, cake flowers, and an arrangement for our lounge area - and everything was GORGEOUS! Kerim officially expanded his floral business into a more full-service wedding business, including rentals and a day-of coordinator (named Ana), just in time for us to try them out. All the rentals we got from him were great, especially the chivari chairs and the furniture for our lounge area! Brent and I had so much fun taking pictures on the lounge furniture. And the lounge area was a bit hit with the guests, especially those who weren't into dancing but still wanted to be close to the festivities. TIP: Consider keeping an open mind with your flowers, maybe just a color palette and a few flowers you definitely don't want (like no carnations, for me). Ana was definitely one of our best wedding investments! Because LARCG doesn't come with a coordinator (like a hotel would) and because you have to arrange everything yourself (ceremony and reception set-up), Ana was invaluable as she dealt with all of that. Ana provided a great timeline for me and another version specific to the vendors. She constantly checked in with me during the planning process to see if I need anything. (She got a quote for me from our alcohol vendor, which was really above and beyond her day-of duties.) She's also done more than 20 weddings at LARCG (including Kerim's!), so she knows the place (and its rules) inside and out. The only question I had to answer all day was how to pronounce someone's name. Ana took care of EVERYTHING! She made sure that the set-up and teardown happened without a hitch. If there were any fires, I certainly didn't know about them. TIP: If you can afford it, DEFINITELY consider getting a day-of coordinator. Despite all the planning you put into your day, you don't want to act as a planner ON the big day. Let someone else take care of the hassles while you enjoy your day!
Services used: Flowers
I focused on the dinner time music (our quartet played during our cocktail hour) and only gave him a few must-plays for the dancing, along with DO NOT PLAYS, which he really stuck to. My brother (he and I aren't close) really wanted Tom to play some country song for us, but country was on our do-not-play list. (Brent and I loathe country, as do most of our guests.) Tom had promised he would only play anything on our do-not list if I personally told him it was ok. So Tom wouldn't play the song and I told my brother that we did not want to hear any country. I really appreciated Tom sticking to his guns! He was exactly what we wanted - there for the announcements and not cheesey at all! Even my very proper FMIL said he was great! (And she's hard to impress.) One of my BMs, who is a country FANATIC, said that for a non-country songs wedding, she really enjoyed all his dance music. The only thing I'd do differently is I would have paid him ahead of time instead of putting my FFIL in charge of it. He hadn't given him the check yet and it was almost the end of the night (I had promised Tom he'd be paid before the night was over), so he had to ask me who was paying him. I think FFIL was waiting to see how big of a tip he'd deserve. So, if I could change it, I would have paid him ahead of time and then had my FFIL give him another check for a tip at the end of the night. I don't blame Tom at all for asking - I can only imagine how burned he's been by not knowing who was supposed to pay him but didn't. TIP: I collected all the songs I wanted to hear during dinner (from my iTunes collection) into one playlist and did a screenshot of that for Tom. I listened to that playlist again and again on our honeymoon (while lounging by the pool), which was like a mini-time machine back to our big day.
Services used: DJ
Brent and I tasted cake at like 6 different places (Susina, Porto's, Rosebud's, Bee's Knees, Cakery Bakery, Jackie's) and Susina was BY FAR OUR FAVORITE! We saved a couple hundred dollars by having the cake tiered instead of stacked. (The bakery doesn't have to insert rods to hold it up, etc.) Jenna, the bakery owner, is sooo, sooo nice and down to earth - an absolute pleasure to work with. We chose the Raspberry Lemon Dream (although we were torn between that and the Berry Blossom, Susina's most popular flavor). On the day of, we had so many of our guests tell us that not only was the cake the best wedding cake they ever had, but the BEST CAKE EVER (in general)! We will celebrate every wedding anniversary (and possibly other celebrations) with Susina's Raspberry Lemon Dream cake. TIP: We tried to cram as many tastings into one day as possible. Anything more than 2 in one day is probably too many.
Services used: Wedding Cake