Aug 23, 2008
Lisa Zomer - Makeup Artist
Lisa was one of my favorite vendors. She and her assistant Robert handled hair and make-up for my four bridesmaids, my mom and myself. Since our wedding had a full day of activities they came over at 6 AM to get us ready. Lisa said that they would be over a little early to set-up and she was true to her word. Everyone was done at about 10 AM, give or take 10 minutes which was pretty much on schedule. Lisa is extremely easy-going and a great personality. She does good work too! My sister had a sudden breakout the week of the wedding and Lisa was able to cover it all up and still make it look natural. (Gotta love the airbrush!) She definitely helped ease my sister's worries and made her feel pretty. My hair and make-up was done around 9:30 AM. My day did not end until almost midnight and my hair and make-up still looked great after 14 hours! I only needed a little touch-up of lip gloss (Lisa provided me with a little case of the color she used.) here and there and I was fine. My hair stayed in place the entire night which is saying a lot especially since I stood in some pretty strong winds up in the Berkeley hills and then out along the bay. (My veil was flying all over the place.) Also, as an Asian bride there is always a concern about having stylists and make-up artists who know how to handle the Asian look and hair. I got compliments the entire day from family, friends and complete strangers! My maids looked great too. I highly recommend Lisa. My only word of caution is that she does do non-wedding work during the week so she can only book 3 months in advance. She may also not be super quick to respond to e-mails since her jobs may keep her from accessing her computer as easily. Just be patient. :) I enjoyed Lisa's work so much I asked her to do my hair and make-up for a special photo session my photographer had for us on the Monday after the wedding. My only regret was that my hair and make-up was done in the afternoon so I didn't have as many hours to show it off like on my wedding day.
Services used: Beauty & Health
Ceremonies and Celebrations
We chose Irene from a list of recommended vendors from the Faculty Club (even though we did not get married at the Faculty Club). Our main consideration when choosing an officiant was that we wanted someone non-denominational who could help us create a ceremony that was touching and light-hearted. When we met with Irene she had a very pleasant demeanor and didnt make us feel like we were just another cookie cutter couple like another officiant we met with. She gave us some sample ceremony selections from which we could use to help us create our own unique ceremony. One item I especially liked about Irene was that she gives each engaged couple a questionnaire to fill out to get to know the couple better. She included information from our answers to personalize our ceremony. I liked the items she picked to include and it got a great response from our guests. Irene also helped to conduct our rehearsal along with our coordinator. They worked really well together. I highly recommend having them both at the rehearsal if you can. The bridal party got to meet them before the wedding so they knew who to look to for direction besides the bride. Also, since both Irene and our coordinator were there, they took care of lining everyone up and pacing everyone out so the most complicated thing I had to remember was the hand-off between my dad and (now) husband during the ceremony. I highly recommend Irene!
Services used: Officiant
Stems and Petals
Stems and Petals was another Faculty Club recommended vendor. I had contacted many florists but few would work with the budget I had. Pierrette not only worked with me, but she gave me a range of prices and options for the bouquets and arrangements so I could decide if I wanted to go high-end or low-end or somewhere in-between. Having done a lot of events on the Berkeley campus, she was quite sure on how to pull off the blue and gold theme we were looking for. The pictures of her past work were gorgeous and her flower ideas for my wedding sounded so beautiful, I hired her shortly after meeting her. Also, included in her price was a free tossing bouquet, an extra groom boutonniere and free use of her two vases and stands for the ceremony. I thought our flowers turned out gorgeous. I loved my bouquets. The flower girl bouquets she made were the cutest things! She delivered our personal flowers at my house right on time and the ceremony flowers were set-up well before I arrived. Another big factor in hiring her was that she was located the next town over from my parents in Pinole. Her house was a little over 10 minutes away so it made returning the vases and stands a snap! I love local vendors. Her bouquets are still sitting in my house looking almost as fresh as the day they arrived - four days later!
Services used: Flowers
Dream It Events
With the size and scope of my wedding, I knew I wanted to hire a day-of-coordinator. Our wedding had two separate locations for the ceremony and reception with a big chunk of time in between where I would be at a tea ceremony at the groom's house and not available to get the ceremony site cleaned up and the reception site set-up. Our ceremony had approximately 190 guests and approximately 270 guests for the reception. Melissa and Kasey were the fourth DOCs we met with. Immediately after we met them, my (now) husband and I sat in the car shocked and amazed that we could hire coordinators as personable and organized as them for such a reasonable price... and there were two of them! We hired them as soon as we could get to a computer to print out the contract. Our pre-wedding meeting was also extremely organized. Both my husband and I are engineers so we are pretty thorough, but Melissa and Kasey found areas that we forgot about. They had a checklist to go through so nothing would be forgotten on the day of the wedding. They helped us go through our timeline to make sure we added some time where the married couple could rest and eat so we could be energized for our guests. I had been extremely stressed before we had met, but after our meeting I felt soooo much more relieved knowing I had them in my corner. For our rehearsal and wedding day, Kasey could not attend due to health reasons and doctor's orders (and they let me know as soon as they could) but Melissa was ready with an intern to help out. The rehearsal went great. Melissa had suggested giving her as much of my decorations as I could on the day of the rehearsal so I would not have to worry about trying to get it to her on the day of the wedding. Great suggestion! The day of the wedding went beautifully. Melissa made sure everything was set-up and kept us on track. There were times where we slipped a bit on schedule and she laid it out how we could get back on track. She was my go-between and handled any hiccups that arose that I didn't know about. They stuck around until everything was packed up in all the cars ready to go. (11 AM to 10:30 PM) They took care of a lot of the little things that need to be done for weddings so that I could be free to talk and visit with guests. Melissa and her intern Maria were fantastic for my wedding and they were short one person. Imagine how fabulous they could be for your wedding with two healthy coordinators! I cannot recommend Dream It Events any higher.
Services used: Wedding Planning
Lawrence Hall of Science
This was a beautiful place to have a wedding. You honestly cannot beat the view from here. We looked all over Berkeley for a place that was available and was a large enough venue - and would be willing to only hold the ceremony here. As soon as we looked around, we knew this was the place for us and asked for a contract before we left. Emma is the events coordinator at LHS and was a dear. She always had a cheery demeanor even though we were a little late in our meetings with her (which I felt horrible about - never misjudge the traffic on University Ave!). She was always quick to respond to our questions and e-mails which was much appreciated. Weddings are actually held on the lower lawn outside of the building away from the main thoroughfare. I know my mom was a bit apprehensive about us having an outdoor wedding, but once she saw the site with a pine tree in the corner (so lucky!) and piece of a 1000 year old tree (1000 - even luckier for the Chinese!) she was sold. Another thing that was awesome about LHS was that all our wedding guests were able to view all the exhibits for free that day which helped take care of the big time gap between our ceremony and reception! The one catch with an event here is that you have to take care of your own chair and table rental. I used a company off their list of past rental vendors and it turned out great. After the wedding we had some fun going through LHS in our wedding clothes taking pictures. The Science Park and the view made for some beautiful photos. The special exhibit for the summer was "Engineer It" which couldn't have been scripted better for two engineers who went to Cal. :)
Services used: Wedding Venue
The Exeter String Quartet
This quartet was recommended from an officiant that we met with. My favorite part about this quartet was that instead of having listening samples posted online where you wonder if thats them really playing, they invite you over to a house and they play their repertoire in front of you. There is no question or doubt what they would sound like on your wedding day. Their listening session was my favorite part of the wedding planning process even more than the cake tastings! It was so relaxing and soothing and as they play the songs you can almost picture the groomsmen walking in here, the bridesmaids walking in there, etc. The quartet all have day jobs and play together as a hobby which helped make them more affordable. I thought it was pretty cool to see a guy playing a cello in scrubs at the listening session. (Of course, they were all in tasteful black suits and dresses for the ceremony.) There are also two Cal grads in the bunch so the Big C is in their repertoire. We asked them to play it after our ceremony and knowing it would be a hit with the large number of Cal grads in the crowd. :) They would be great at any wedding, and an awesome find for any Cal couple who plans to tie the knot and can't afford the Straw Hat Band.
Services used: Ceremony Music
Bill's Chairs for Affairs
Their address actually changed to: 3503 Pacheco Blvd Martinez, CA 94553 I rented chairs, umbrellas and a canopy for them for my wedding last weekend. I had originally been looking for rental places that were closer to Berkeley, but none of them came close to the price and service that I got at Chairs for Affairs. Most places charge you for setting up and take down, but they INCLUDE it in the price! I had so much trouble believing it I asked three separate times to confirm. The prices and deal they offered seemed so good to be true that I went to their showroom on my day off to place my order in person and confirm. They were $300 to $500 cheaper than the quotes I got from other rental companies. Ronnie who handled my order and subsequent changes was extremely nice and made it all a breeze. The coordinator I hired for my wedding could not have been more impressed at their timeliness and professionalism. They reminded me a lot of the infomercial where you "set it and forget it." You set your order, then you don't have to worry about it because they'll take care of the rest! Chairs for Affairs seems too good be true, but it is true! You may also be thinking - For that price difference, their stuff must look super old and beat up. It's not! Hire these guys!
Services used: Rentals & Photobooths