walletpuppy

WEDDING DATE:

Aug 12, 2007

walletpuppy
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Dianne's Old and New Estates
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
This is a great little boutique shop of estate jewelry with owners that really care about the pieces they sell. I found one here I liked in a rose gold setting - an usual color for an art deco piece. The only downside of Dianne's: there are hardly any engagement rings here under $4,000.
Services used: Jewelry

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April Paik
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
I called the Music Department at UC Berkeley hoping to find some inexpensive musicians for my wedding. They gave me a list of student musicians and I called violinist April Paik. First of all, her prices were extremely reasonable, and much lower than all the other musicians I contacted. She charged $50 per musician per half hour, plus $1 per minute after that. For that price I decided to also use the services of her friend on cello, Gabriel Trop, and to have them perform while guests arrived in addition to having them perform for the ceremony. (Note to April: I can tell you this now that the wedding's over - you should raise your prices.) Secondly, she was super professional. She was very responsive to e-mail (such a plus when dealing with vendors!). She also provided me with a list of suggestions for classical pieces for the processional and recessional, and identifed which would sound best on violin and cello. She and Gabriel wore professional attire and looked the part of professsional musicians, arrived on time, and obviously sounded great!
Services used: Ceremony Music

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Hakone Estate and Gardens
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
This would be a great spot for a wedding. I say this with authority since it was my number one choice of the 11 venues I visited. However, my boyfriend wasn't as enamored with it as me, so I withdrew it from the running The Good The gardens are simply beautiful. They would provide a breathtaking and magical backdrop for a wedding. Talk about a great theme! You could hang paper lanterns from the trees over the reception area, have your bridesmaids dress in kimonos. incorporate cherry blossom motifs into the invitations, and line the aisle with Japanese parasols. The Bad This was one of the most expensive venues we looked at. The upside is that if you spend over $2500 (and you will) you get a tax deduction on the rest. The Cultural Center only holds 40 people for a reception, so the reception would basically be held outside at night. Although I was assured that it wouldn't be cold in the summer months I had my doubts and was planning to rent some outdoor restaurant heaters. The dance floor would be inside the Cultural Center and the reception would be outside so there would be this weird separation of activities. Still I think it would be hard to have a more memorable wedding than one here.
Services used: Wedding Venue

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Davids Bridal
 
( 1.0 / 5.0 )
Wow. I've never seen so many truly hideous dresses. I sound like a snob, but I can't believe people buy dresses here. Are they blind? The dresses are sorted by size, and there really aren't that many to choose from - just about one rack full. And you're literally buying the dress off the rack. I need an ivory dress because white is an abomination on my pale skin, and there were TWO, count 'em TWO ivory dresses total. The beading and materials all look super cheap. If you want to spend under $1000 on a dress go to Forget-Me-Knots in San Francisco instead. You'll definitely get a quality dress here as opposed to these monstrosities. Here's a fun analogy... Forget-Me-Knots : David's Bridal :: Chiffon : Toilet Paper My only interaction with the staff involved me going to the counter and asking if they carried Oleg Cassini. The girl said, "yes." And that was it. No showing me where they were located or anything. Number of Dresses: D Quality of Dresses (Did I Like Them?): F Strapless Bra Quality: F (no strapless bra) Cost: B (yes they're cheap, but the price is higher than the quality warrants) Dressing Rooms: C Service: D Understanding of My Taste: F (salespeople? where?)
Services used: Dress & Attire

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( 2.0 / 5.0 )
This was the first bridal store I visited in the big wedding dress hunt. Beware though - the store has moved to Stevens Creek Blvd. so the address may be off on Yelp. As a result I went to the wrong location and then got crappy directions from whomever answered the phone at Bay Area Bridal (they couldn't tell me which way to turn on Stevens Creek from Wolfe). Anyway, Bellisimo was having a trunk show when I was there, and the designer of that line was pimping his dresses. He'd pull ugly dresses out for me to try on, and I'd weakly agree to a few of the marginally better ones, partly because while it's easy to tell a salesperson you don't like a gown, it seems more of a personal attack to tell that to a designer. I've grown a pair and wouldn't put myself through that again though. His gowns were a waste of my time. I went back a few weeks later to see what dresses I'd missed out on during the Bellissimo trunk show disaster. The same woman helped me and (as the visit before) she never ever got a feel for my style. We pulled about 7 gowns to try on. I zipped through those and started looking around for more, but she got standoffish. I sensed that and I asked if I could still try on more gowns. She said, "As long as it's a dress you're sure about" as though I was wasting her time otherwise. She wasn't helping any other customers so it wasn't like she was busy. I took that as a cue that Bay Area Bridal didn't want my business very much and left. Number of Dresses: B Quality of Dresses (Did I Like Them?): C- Strapless Bra Quality: B Cost: A- Dressing Rooms: C (large but looked like an amateur construction project) Service: D Understanding of My Taste: D
Services used: Dress & Attire

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Testarossa Winery
 
( 2.0 / 5.0 )
There's a picture of this place that's in all the local wedding magazines, where the wedding ceremony takes place in a wine cellar shaped like a tunnel. It's very dramatic and really cool looking. Because of that photo we decided to check out Testarossa Vineyards, located up a windy road in Los Gatos that leads to an historic winery. You pass through the tunnel cellar room when you enter the winery, and in person it's not nearly as impressive. It would look great for photographs (if taken at just the right angle), but in reality it just empties out into a gift shop. The tunnel cellar room also only can hold up to 80 people, with 3 people on each side of the aisle. You pass through the gift shop to get to the reception room, but it's sort of a gloomy room without a whole lot of light. I think there's an option to have the ceremony or reception on the patio, but that's faced on one side by a chain link fence. From the fence we saw a tiny pond down below next to the drive with a duck and a swan inside. We rushed down and discovered the swan to be plastic! What a cruel joke. The prices here were probably the highest (in the $5K - $6K range) of any of the venues we checked out. We immediately knew when we saw it that it wasn't even under consideration. Definitely not worth the price.
Services used: Wedding Venue

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Simayof
 
( 3.0 / 5.0 )
This store is bigger than it looks from the outside - with a downstairs display room as well. They only carry new (not antique) jewelry. I thought the selection was okay - nothing special.
Services used: Unique Services

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Corinthian Event Center
 
( 3.0 / 5.0 )
At first when you enter this place it looks like it's a gym, albeit in an old Greek-inspired building. That's because there are many signs for the Athletic Center which is housed in the basement. The reception room is very grand and dramatic. There are several lit palm trees inside, and they give the room a bit of a Vegas feel. There are cool separated areas on the sides for dining as well. Unfortunately, since our wedding will have fewer than 100 guests, we'd look awfully tiny in this room. There's also a stage, which works well for a different sort of event than a wedding. With a wedding it just looks slightly out of place. Vegas Night for a local charity, however, would be a perfect fit. The outside architecture is nice and some of those architectural elements can also be found inside the building. I loved the trio of arches that formed tiny balconies in the reception room. As for the ceremony, I'm not sure which other room to use other than the reception room. The other rooms are okay but nothing special. This was one of the more costlier venues we checked out, but we wouldn't have received much bang for your buck. If you wanted to stage a big wedding with dramatic floral arrangements this would be a good place.
Services used: Wedding Venue

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International House
 
( 3.0 / 5.0 )
My boyfriend and I met while we lived at I-House, so recently when it was time to look at wedding venues, I thought it would be sooooo cute to get married here. But then he reminded me, "Didn't we hate living at I-House?" Oh yeah, that. Actually we didn't *hate* living at I-House. However, the food did suck hard. My grad school friends declared it to be much worse than their various undergrad universities. The sad thing for me was having gone to Berkeley for my undergrad years, I knew this food was much better. Good Things About Living at I-House: -Crown Prince of Norway lived on my floor -Coffee/Cookie Night -Great Hall -Sunday Suppers (though you get over it after one year) -Ample supply of phonebooks to "phonebook" someone into their room (basically creating a wall of phonebooks for someone to wake up to in the morning when opening their door) Bad Things About Living at I-House: -Did I mention the food? -Room and board money going towards alcohol-fueled parties where people would get drunk and destroy I-House -Where to park on move-in day? -Too many blowhard law students -International students who move here just to commit suicide (we had two in one year and at one point I figured any one person's odds of doing that were 1:200) -Too much international friendship propaganda -Easy to start making stereotypes about whole nations after meeting a couple people from that nation -Drunken Brits who can't hold their liquor -French pukes whose only activity is smoking Anyway, back to wedding planning... The catering here is done in-house, which given my past here is frankly terrifying. I was reassured that the catering department is separate from the student cafeteria, but how I can I be sure? Also, I tasted the "fancy food" from the catering department on Sunday Supper night on several occasions and was never blown away. The Heller Patio is a decent spot for the ceremony, the Chevron Auditorium is nice though too large for some parties. Good prices though.
Services used: Unique Services