Sep 19, 2008
I promise to post formal reviews in the review section once I get professional photos to add to each review but here are some informal reviews for starters:
Jekyll Island Club; Jekyll Island, GA - A+, I couldn't have asked for more from the staff. Everything was perfect. Beth Williams was my sales manager and handled our account from start to finish answering every little question. We didn't see the site until about a month before the wedding because of the military and being stationed in the middle of nowhere (three hours to a decent civilian airport...). Beth took the time to email me photos and contracts and made it almost too easy for me. Kristie Newsome was our catering manager. I loved working with her because we made so many adjustments to our menu in the week preceding and she rolled with each of them! She was so flexible and accommodating. Then our event manager, well we worked with different ones for the brunches but for the most part it was Darren. I didn't catch his name but he was so on top of everything. The weather threatened to rain on our cocktail party Friday before the wedding. I called his office to ask if we needed to move tables inside, he said he already had it taken care of! Then two guests had converted since college and decided to keep kosher without notifying me... Darren made the last minute change and got two kosher meals with moments notice! Then during our first dance, Darren coordinated the timing to be perfect so that the fireworks started once we hit the dance floor! It really exceeded my expectations in every way. The cake was phenomenal and the food was even better. The rooms were wonderful as well. Best decision I made in the wedding planning process! It was by some wedding standards extravagantly priced but not really considering all they did for me. And you really do get what you pay for. In the end our bill was way under my original budget.
Cargo Portside Grill; Brunswick, GA - A+, the food was incredible, the staff was knowledgeable and so friendly. We had a small, family-only rehearsal and they took care of everything. The food was even better than I could have expected. Wonderful atmosphere!
Katie Hill; Jacksonville, FL soon to be Honolulu HI - A+, Katie has phenomenal taste and can really make your hair look the way you want. She did all the bridesmaids hair and my make up. She was wonderful, easy to work with, really reasonable. My hair didn't move all night and she stayed through dinner to make sure it wasn't falling out. I was really pleased, especially since I was planning to DIY my hair but it was so much better with her help!
Faith Chapel; Jekyll Island Historic Authority; Jekyll Island, GA - A+, this historic chapel is just gorgeous, the stained glass windows donated by members Louis Comfort Tiffany and Maitland Armstrong were gorgeous during the ceremony. We really didn't decorate the chapel, its so beautiful in its own right, it didn't need it. Our contact was Meghan McKinney and she did a fantastic job helping time the ceremony, was very timely and very friendly.
Reverend Jim Kenney; Jekyll Island, GA - A+, Reverend Kenney was a great officiant. He had such presence and a wonderful air about him. He really organized and directed our rehearsal, I think it would have been chaos without him. The fee is a donation to his daughters work as a missionary. Couldn't have found anyone better
Anne Jennings; Pianist; Jekyll Island, GA - A+, Mrs. Jennings is an excellent pianist. I really didn't have to micromanage the music with her, she knew exactly what to play, how to time it, I mean it was really a blessing to have someone who could manage their own role. She played beautifully and it really added so much.
Julius Bridal; New York, NY - A+, the dress far exceeded my expectations. I was hesitant on choosing a gown since a endocrine condition had caused me to uncontrollably gain weight. I was so nervous about dressing myself in this foreign body, if you will. I spoke with Julius himself on a couple occasions and he was so helpful with deciding on a dress shape that is universally flattering. I ordered it a size too big and had it tailored to fit perfectly. I really was amazed by the quality of the material. Some of my guests included women who had bespoke wedding dresses from the big names (Vera, Ines, Monique themselves) and even they said the dress looked gorgeous and like it was made to fit like a glove. I would really really really strongly suggest that any bride (even those NOT on a budget) consider Julius, I couldn't have been happier. From orering to front door it was about 1.5 mos which was good since I ordered it only 2 mos before the wedding!
Janice Henderson Tailoring; Jacksonville, FL - A+, Janice really made the dress fit my body perfectly. She has made, from scratch, several other wedding dresses including hand making the lace. I was very confident she could do it considering how she had worked with lace in the past. I was really pleased with how she sewed in undergarments which made it so much easier for me. She really made the dress my dress and her services were very very reasonably priced
Wilson Photography; St. John's/St. Augustine, FL - A+, I wouldn't hesitate for a second to suggest Mike & Jess. They have a way of making you feel so comfortable, they are the sweetest people to work with and they are really talented. I sent Jess a 17 page slideshow of sample photos, some photographers would be really annoyed by that but Jess was thrilled to see what I liked. They were really flexible in trying to get shots that we requested and really to get the feeling of what we liked. Mike has an eye for it and can capture the most wonderful light. Because of my medical condition, I was really nervous about my body and how it would look in photos. Mike and Jess did their best to capture the most flattering angles and while I haven't seen the entire final product, I've been really pleased with the samples thus far. I would absolutely not hesitate to send someone to them. Also, included in your package is a free engagement session which I thought was awesome, just as a chance to get to know them so you can be relaxed and really enjoy the wedding day. Also, they were very discreet and agreed to allow my videographer to put some of my photos into the video as a montage. Again, do hire Mike & Jess, you will not regret it and to top it off, they were reasonably priced so even a modest budget could afford them.
Fiftyflowers.com - D/D-, Before I get into all the things that went wrong with my DIY flowers that I ordered from them, I will say the quality of flower is superb. I was really pleased with my Giant pure white hydrangeas but that is a testament to the growers, C.I. American Flowers, more so than the distributor. Now to the good stuff. This was the WORST part of my wedding experience. The roses I ordered were bright yellow and green instead of white and cream. No they did not change color as the phone operator told me they would. When I called they refused to send new flowers and started lecturing me in a patronizing tone. After going back and forth and trying to be nice I just cut in and started tearing the girl to bits over the phone. She still refused to fix the situation in any way so I proceeded until she hung up on me. I made her cry and I don't regret it for one second after how rudely I was treated. I called back and they refused to answer. I called again and the manager picked up, again the same extremely rude treatment, refusing to do anything to fix the situation. I finally negotiated a $30 refund but considering that I spent $400, $200 or so on flowers I couldn't use, I would still give them a D. Plus the stress of having to scream on the phone two days before the wedding was not what I needed. Also, I spent that same afternoon visiting and purchasing white flowers from every floral department of every grocery store in my area. Something I DEFINITELY did not need before the wedding.
DIY Flowers - A, I loved doing my own flowers. It meant a lot to me to make my own bridal bouquet, hand selecting every flower. I had a team of two friends help me trim them all the day of the wedding and put ribbon around the stems, without them I probably would have run out of time. I put a little white vinegar and 7up in six Home Depot giant buckets. I really did not save much money because I had to rent an SUV to move them to the Jekyll Island Club (haha there was no way they were going to fit in the two seater Porsche!) so my costs added up but I really don't think a professional could have done quite the job for the price, the number of blooms I used far exceeded what I would have had if I hired someone. If you have questions about supplies or tips, please PM me!
Flowers & Supplies; San Diego, CA - A, great value, loved my silver trumpet containers which I filled with hydrangeas, really turned out beautifully.
JW Cake Tops - A, I loved our personalized military cake topper and this seller was by far the best price. I paid around low $70's where others quoted me around $100 for the same exact topper. It was a hit, so kitschy, people loved it! They were very helpful in answering my questions and shipped it out quickly.
MyPublisher.com - A, I was really impressed with the quality of our guest book and how quickly it was shipped out to me. I also loved how simple the program was to use and really, the price is right!
Calligraphy - I do calligraphy and I did EVERYTHING from the seat cards to table numbers to the seating chart to the envelopes to the little signs around, it was probably my most time consuming wedding project but it was really worth it, people loved it and I recieved so many compliments.
Southern Charm & Swing; Savannah, GA - A, We loved our band. We signed them through East Coast Entertainment. We got so many compliments and saw everyone dancing. They really were able to manage themselves, they didn't need to ask me anything when it came to playlists or setting up. They played our requests and were really talented. It was such a relief to have vendors that could manage themselves! They really captured the atmosphere of what we wanted. I'm so glad we decided to have live music instead of DIY ipod. It really contributed to the feel of the party and while it was a percentage of our budget, it was a lot less than I originally thought it would be and was worth every penny.
Sarah Yarborough Nanny Services; Jacksonville, FL - A, I was really happy to find her since we were not sure how many children would show up. We originally though five or so but it ended up only being one. Sarah watched movies, kept them entertained and was really responsible. It was really worth it considering it was very reasonable and ended up being only a couple hundred for the night. I know it enabled the parents to really enjoy themselves at the party and even the little girl had fun watching movies and "hanging out" with Sarah!
Okay, more to come but I'm exhausted now!
I love this photo of whokilledkimmy! This will be FI's uniform for the day. I was never a "uniform" swooner but I do love this uniform, haha. Plus he already owns it so another wedding to-do that never had to be on my list!
Jennifer Connely's make-up
Or Catherine Zeta-Jones make-up
Reese Witherspoon Hair
More random photos!
A lot of people seem to have trouble finding beaty inspiration but try fashion magazine sites, runway shots from style.com (Vogue's site) or these links from Sephora:
We're putting these on either side of the chapel doors. There are walls on either side of the stairs leading to the chapel doors and those little walls have hooks underneath the flower box so these will go on either side. I bought two hydrangea stems for $3 ea at Walmart, actually I bought way too many but only used two. I bought these 10" letters from Hobby Lobby, they're MDF and were $3 ea as well. I used a trusty hot glue gun, $1.99 and the ribbon was Martha Stewart Crafts ribbon. Total project time was really 30 min.
These will go on the back of our seats. Our seats are covered banquet chairs so they'll tie around the whole back of the chair. Ribbon was $3.99 Martha Stewart Crafts, $1.99 cardstock cut with my handy dandy $11 paper cutter (I've used it for everything) and the letters were transfer letters from Martha Stewart Crafts $4.99. I put his rank "ENS" and obviously "MRS."
We have a fireplace in the ballroom (I use the term loosely since it was a 1920's mansion, its a smaller private ballroom) with a sailboat model on the mantle. I'm putting some pottery barn garland on the hearth, I picked it up on sale for $25 ea, I have two so they'll wrap around the stair railing and one on the guestbook table.
We'll have family wedding photos as far back as my great, great, great grandparents in her black Victorian dress on the cake table! I also have a photo of my great grandparents from the 1920's in a flapper dress! I'm so excited about it!
Table numbers are aviation letters as FI is a pilot. I calligraphed them and punched the edge with a Martha Stewart Craft punch. The stand is a place card holder from Oriental Trading, bell holders that were something like $3.99 per dz, just absurdly inexpensive. I took place cards from Michaels and calligraphed them.
I hate hate hate the floating hand ring shot. So I found some props. We're taking four ring photos, excessive I know but it just shows how many ideas you can come up with if you try! First is with chess pieces, like the inspirational Tacori ad, another with the FT because FI reads it everyday, another with his sword because it has engravings on it and another on this overpriced wedding rock! I found it at the Bibelot in St. Paul, Minnesota on a recent visit.
Some other creative ring ideas :) I've been collecting them! They don't require the animals, maybe just high quality photos or art paper?
I made my own programs (see "Invitations & Stationary") and cut them to size. I'm displaying them on a table with a table cloth outside of the chapel. I grabbed one of my tea trays. I grabbed two of our crystal bar bowls, one for tissues, one for bells (to be used in the recessional, family tradition). The tissues came from the Michaels $1 bin and the bells were $3.99 for a pack of 50 at Michaels. All the ribbon is Martha Stewart Crafts.
FI liked the idea of offering some cigars so here's a little inspiration photo:
I still can't believe how little I paid for these gorgeous invites. I ordered them from Invitations by Dawn after my handmade calligraphy invites were crushed in a cross-country move and I needed to send them out the next week. The service there was incredible and they show you a mock up online before you submit it. It was perfect because we wanted classic invitations and I think in total the cost for two inserts, inner & outer envelopes with lining and printing was $170. Also the paper quality was excellent. I do calligraphy and the way the ink flowed on the envelopes was just beautiful. We decided to use the Tiffany stamps even though we had to do added postage because the chapel where we are getting married has stained glass windows designed and made by Tiffany that Louis Comfort donated as he attended church there.
Before this I ventured into the DIY invitations and printed some equally lovely ones on the computer for $30 ($15 for cardstock and envelopes and $15 for decorative paper belly bands) but we decided they were too cutesy with the decorative paper and too plain without. They're in my photos though if you are thinking of DIY'ing some invitations.
My Save-the-dates were simply printed cardstock. I designed them in powerpoint to print three to a sheet and then fed them back in to print travel information on the back. We put them in simple common envelopes from any store and included a brochure for the club.
The invitations for the weekend events cost around $40. $10 for the notecards I used for GM croquet from Office Max, Gardner Studios I think. The envelopes were lined with this grey chalkstripe, like a nice suit, and the front of the card had an embossed fleur de lis. The yellow cards, yellow insert cards (not pictured but used to request people to attend the mini rehearsal) and clear vellum all came from Michaels and cost the remaining $30.
I should probably explain what went on each invitation piece for the weekend since it is kind of confusing with so many parties. The main invitation was the main invitation, one insert card had the reception information, RSVP information and dress code. The second insert invited people to the Morning After breakfast and the Southern Nightcap cocktail party.
The seperate invites were for the BM Brunch or GM Croquet, each had inserts requesting they attend the rehearsal before the Southern Nightcap party and the third card was for family only inviting them to a small dinner party, again with the rehearsal inset cards.
I also made our programs. I used a paperterie image and recolored it to the right tint of purple and then pasted it into a powerpoint. I printed two programs a page and then fed it through for the back which has the actual program information. They're really simple but they get the job done, I just used the information suggested on about.com. See "Decor & Details" for more info.
Our Save-the-dates were a partial DIY on cardstock. I used these Felix Doolittle Save the Date Stickers.
Other inexpensive invites:
Its technically a "destination wedding." We planned a few events for the weekend for guests.
Here are the invites using colored cards from Michaels and the white one has an embossed fleur de lis and came from Office Max. I used clear vellum to print the information out with our trusty inkjet and cut them to fit the cards. The bridesmaids' brunch favors are lemon drops in cello bags, tied with satin yellow/white striped ribbon and a stamped tag with a lace punched edge using Martha Stewart Crafts punches.
Friday family dinner - just parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and my little cousin. My little cousin is 13 so I have a little gift for her of a copy of Emily Dickenson's collected poems, lip gloss, an Italian glass ring, stocking stuffer type puzzles (like rubix cube) and nail polishes. She's a little tomboyish so I'm not sure if I should add some more sporty gifts but for now, that'll do.
Rehearsal cocktail party - "Southern Nightcap" We wanted to feature mint juleps and arnold palmers and some other southern drinks. Playing country music, we're not big country music fans but we thought it would just be appropriate.
Bridesmaids Brunch - just a nice chance to give out bridesmaids gifts, yellow roses, lemon drop favors, yellow card invites with vellum inserts, mimosas. Centerpiece will be inspired by this ranunculus bouquet but with roses from a grocer. It will be a garden brunch underneath this huge magnolia tree.
Groomsmen croquet match - we hired a club pro and will have a table set up with ice tea
Morning after brunch - more yellow roses, pastries, fruit and breakfast sandwich buffet.
Only the main reception has a live band so for each party we created a little different playlist and we'll be using our ipods and a portable player.