Apr 07, 2010

( 5.0 / 5.0 )
I was nervous when looking for caterers for my wedding as I'd never hired a caterer before in my life. Therefore I was exceptionally meticulous when interviewing potential caterers. I wanted someone that was extremely detail oriented, had fabulous food, great presentation, communicative throughout the process, and budget-friendly. A tall order, yes- but I found all of this (and much more!) with Food For The Soul.

I can't begin to explain how wonderful the owners of this company are. It is so obvious that they truly love what they do and go above and beyond to make sure everything is perfect. The communication with Tina was unprecedented. She answered all (my millions of) questions promptly and walked me through the process so that I felt very comfortable. She made sure every aspect of the catering was covered and pointed out many things that I would have never even thought of.

Because I lived in NC, I wasn't able to do a tasting prior to the wedding- but this was not an issue. All of my guests said that it was the BEST food they'd ever had (wedding or not). From the cocktail hors d'oeuvres, to the salad, the the main course- everything was simply delicious! They even set aside a special package of food for my husband and I because we were too busy taking pictures to eat during cocktail hour. And the bar service was amazing! Their fresh-juice Mai Tais are certainly something to write home about! I still dream of them actually.

From setup, to breakdown- everything was flawless. They didn't need any direction from me on the day of our wedding and they happily implemented a few last minute 'special requests'. Another thing that sets this company apart from the rest is table/chair/linen rentals are included in the price. Since I had my wedding at a private estate, this meant that I did not have to hire (yet another) vendor. I was also able to order our scrumptious wedding cake through them.

All of this, and their prices were amazing! Tina was able to come up with some creative ideas to keep us within budget. No other caterer on the island could match them on price and at first I thought that it was too good to be true. But now that the wedding is over, I do know that all of this is possible for a great price. I cannot sing enough praises for this company. I honestly feel that everything was perfectly executed and our wedding was that much more special because Food For The Soul was there.
Services used: Catering

Melissa McClure Photography
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
As with many new brides, photography was one of the single most important aspects of planning our wedding. Pictures... they last a lifetime. These images are what we will be looking back on for all our lives. It's quite a daunting task- picking your wedding photographer. So I approached the task very seriously. I also knew I wanted a photo journalistic style with attention to detail and someone that I really felt comfortable with (a thing that often gets overlooked when selecting vendors). I spent months looking at photographers blogs & websites. When I found Melissa McClure, I stopped dead in my tracks. She had exactly what I was looking for! I contacted her immediately. She responded immediately.

Was it too good to be true? Did I just find an infinitely talented wedding photographer, that was great at communicating, on top of her game, willing to travel to photograph our destination wedding in Maui, and very reasonably priced?? I was wary but my gut told me to go for it. So we signed on the dotted line.

Since we lived in different states, we didn't get to actually meet her until we all arrived on island. So during the planning process, communication was key. Any and every question I had for her was answered very quickly and in full. I also felt like I got a good sense of her personality (which rocks!) during this time. Once we did finally get to meet, we were immediately at ease with her. She is such a fun, personable woman! I can't begin to sing her praises enough.

We all decided that it was best to to photograph our trash the dress photo secession before the wedding (I had a separate dress for this). That way we would all get used to working together before the wedding. Fantastic idea!! Her ideas, location scouting, and eye blew me away. And on top of that, we had a blast! I can say without a doubt, our TTD photos are jaw dropping and captured "us" in a most unique yet true way. And this just set the stage for our big day.

Then came the wedding. Never for a second did I worry about Melissa. She was where she said she would be and immediately went to work. Melissa has so much experience and such an artistic eye- I loved just watching what she came up with! Not only that, but she took the time to make sure everyone felt comfortable yet was never intrusive. Weddings can be stressful but Melissa is so at ease and takes everything in stride, that it's impossible for it not to rub off on anyone else. Guests and other vendors adored her!! She even helped with my veil, timing, guests... she did it all! Our day was perfect and having Melissa as part of it made it even more special.

Then came time to see the pictures. I've heard horror stories where newlyweds have wait for months to receive their professional photos. Not with Melissa. She sent us a few teasers almost immediately, then blogged us within a week or two, and we had all of our wedding photos in-hand in less than 2 months (and that was during busy wedding season!).

Our wedding was beautiful, magical, and one of the most special days of our lives. Melissa somehow captured every special moment, every detail, everything in such a way that each time I look at them- it brings everything rushing back. The way she uses light, the angles, the perspective- makes Melissa's photographs really stand above and beyond. What she does is really special. And what she provided us, is going to make us smile for a lifetime.

So if you live in S. Cal or are having a destination wedding *and* photography is really important to you, contact Melissa McClure Photography. It will be the best decision you make.
Services used: Photography

The Perfect Wedding Maui
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
It's nerve racking planning a wedding from so far away. You can't go about it the same way you would a wedding down the street or even in the next city over. It takes a lot of communication and... faith in the people you hire. And just finding those people, is a daunting task.

I am a planner by nature, but I knew I needed a point person on the island to help me with my April 2010 wedding. I had a list of pretty strict requirements when I set out on my search for a wedding planner: 1) They couldn't break the bank (I had a strict budget) 2) They had to *respect* the budget I was working with even after I hired them (I've heard horror stories about this) 3) They needed to be very prompt with their correspondence (I timed them all), 4) They needed to be even more organized than I was (no small feat) 5) They couldn't charge me a percentage of each vendor they booked (that's a racket and gives coordinators no incentive to keep to your budget) 5) They had to be fairly open with vendors I wanted to work with (no strict lists with only certain people I could hire, and 6) I had to get a good "vibe" from them (after all, I was going to be working with them a lot in the following months). I interviewed a lot of coordinators and not a single one met all my requirements. That was, until I met Cherise at The Perfect Wedding. Even once I hired her, I was still dubious because she seemed too good to be true. However, now that everything is said and done and I'm happily married, I can officially say that this business is out of this world and (even with this strict list of requirements) FAR exceeded my expectations.

The first thing that really set this business apart from the rest was Cherise's communication. There was never a time when she didn't respond to one of my phone calls or emails within 24 hours. Or, if she had a few events that took her away from the office- she would let me know ahead of time. I always received answers to my questions throughly and promptly (and for any of you that have had to contact vendors in Maui- you know was a rarity this is). I already had in mind a few vendors that I wanted to use and Cherise was open to that. Though, when I needed help with selecting others- she provided me with some AMAZING referrals. In the end, I firmly believe that I had the Maui-Wedding-Dream-Team of vendors working for us on our big day and Cherise was the driving force behind it all.

I had an intricate idea of what I wanted our small (25 person) Maui destination wedding to be like. When I explained this to Cherise, she immediately "got it" and really stuck to my vision the entire time. We rented a private estate which meant that all vendors (from chair rentals to caterers to audio equipment) had to be organized and brought in. Even though I thought I already knew what all went into planning for a wedding (like I said, I'm organized to a fault), more than a few times Cherise alerted me to things that I hadn't even thought of. It's this attention to detail that made our event flawless from the very beginning.

So planning everything was a breeze- but how did it all turn out? In a word: Incredible. It was amazing to have her there from the first day of planning (9 months in advance) all the way to the day of our wedding. We had the wedding of our dreams. Every detail was attended to with such care and insight. In the end, not a single thing when wrong on our wedding day and I was able to sit back and really enjoy all of it. I would have never been able to do this had it not been for Cherise. Cherise is such a sweet woman, but she also knows how to run a tight ship. There is an amazing amount of people and things to coordinate on the actual day but because Cherise was there, I was able to take in every special moment with my friends and family. That fact alone made hiring The Perfect Wedding worth while. But factor in the millions of other things Cherise did for - priceless.

There were NO unexpected "fees" or hidden costs- I received a nicely organized Excel Sheet that broke everything down so I knew the exact cost of everything. Every interaction I had with The Perfect Wedding was a positive one- which made the entire process FUN. I also felt as if my wedding were just as important and special to Cherise, as it was to my husband, our family and friends, and myself. And at the end of the day, The Perfect Wedding far exceeded my expectations (which were pretty high to begin with). There aren't enough mahalos I can give to show our appreciation.
Services used: Wedding Planning

Brides by Damselfly Studio
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
My jaw literally dropped when I received my veil today. It is just... stunning. Expertly crafted, amazing attention to detail, and perfect execution. The seller was extremely prompt with communication & shipping. Turn around time was also very fast. The thing that sets Elizabeth apart was that she clearly has a vast understanding of her craft and is able to offer expert advice on aspects that I had not previously thought of. I am beyond thrilled with my veil. It is even more beautiful than I ever imagined. Thank you!!! *See my bio for pictures and more information on this seller. Update: 2/24/2010 I couldn't keep away, and ordered my bridal earrings through Damselfly Studio as well. The dangle is 2" long from the leverback finding, which has a 4 mm CZ. The finding is Sterling Silver. The beads are a stardust finish sterling, which have a really neat finish that almost looks like white gold. I can't sing Elizabeth's praises enough. She is the single best seller on Etsy I've found (and I'm an Etsy junkie!). She has SO much talent, puts so much thought into her pieces, and really takes pride in her work. And it shows. I *highly* recommend you check out her shop if you are in need of wedding jewelry, hair accessories, veils... you name it!
Services used: Dress & Attire, Jewelry

The Cookie Jar
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
If there were 6 or 7 stars, I'd give them to Cookie! She is an AMAZING Etsy vendor and just a dream to work with. I was wracking my brain trying to find something fun, cute, and appropriate for the kids at the wedding. I also wanted something unique and thoughtful. That's when I happened upon The Cookie Jar on Etsy. Surprise Balls! Perfect! These were exactly what I'd been looking for! When I contacted Cookie, she was thrilled to work with me on a custom order. Not only was she quick to respond, but she kept me updated through the process, and I could just tell she was having fun with it. In all, I ordered 4 "tropical themed" surprise balls. Cookie even let me select the color crepe paper for each! They arrived quickly and are just precious! They are decorated and have the cutest little tropic flower on the top of each. The detail is great! The kids are going to have a blast with them (and it'll keep them busy as well) and I can't wait for the fun to unravel! I'd recommend The Cookie Jar a thousand times over for fun, creative gifts!
Services used: Unique Services