ABCWedding

WEDDING DATE:

Mar 12, 2007

ABCWedding
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Todd Rafalovich Photography
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
Photographer - Todd Rafalovich, $6196.50, Grade: A+ Price: Todd is not cheap, but photography was a priority for us since we felt like the photos would be all we'd have left to remember the day by. The total cost came to $6196.50. Here's the breakdown: $5,000 for his shooting fee, half of which is due as the deposit when you decide to book him. The remaining half due closer to wedding date. $412.50 in taxes ($5,000 X 8.25%). $300 shooting fee for the e-pic session. $175 for e-pic film/processing/scanning. You get all the pics on contact sheets and a disc. But if you want actual prints, that's separate. $50 for one 11 X 14 print from our e-pics (used for display at the reception sign-in table). We ordered one, but the lab he used ended up printing two. $259 for scanning of the negatives from the wedding day. He took a total of 37 pictures, and scanning costs $7/roll, so 37 X $7 = $259. Pluses: Todd did a good job on our e-pics. Not the best e-pics I've seen, but we're very happy with them. His wedding pics have superb though, which is the real reason we booked him. We'll have to wait and see....... Todd is very easy to work with and gives good direction on how to pose, etc. Todd has a great eye for finding the right lighting, etc for some quality pictures. Todd is very detailed, noticing when a piece of hair is out of place, etc. You get your pictures back fast! In about a week! Deltas: Todd's e-pics are good, but not the best in my opinion. Todd seemed a little agitated during the family group shots. But I actually felt the same way as he did because we already gave Todd a big list of must-take family group shots (e.g. a shot with Uncle #1's family, Uncle #2's family, etc.), which was based on input from our parents. But on the day of, DH's family kept wanting to add more group shots with random people, making things a little crazy when we were trying to knock through the must-take list. Summary: I didn't count it, but we probably got 1,000-2,000 pics from Todd. Most on film, some digital. The ones he took on film are amazing. No touch-ups even required. I love that. For the pics he took on film, he scans it all onto a dvd for you, plus you get a boxful of 4X6 "proofs" of all the pics. He calls them "proofs", but it's not like they have the word proof stamped on them, so if you want to save money, these pics could totally be used for an album or something. And for the pics he took on his digital camera (not that much compared to the film photos), you get them on contact sheets and a disc. Best of all, you get all of this back super fast. We were gone on our HM for 9 days immediately after the wedding, and when we got back, we already had a message from him that the pictures were ready. Months after the wedding, I still love looking at our pictures, and am still struggling to narrow down the choices for an album. Todd's work is superb! Highly recommended!
Services used: Photography

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Nicole Ha
 
( 3.0 / 5.0 )
Price: $2,183 with 20% due at time of booking, and the remainder due 1 week before the wedding. Here's the breakdown: 1 Bridal bouquet, consisting of pink peonies, garden roses, sweet peas, etc. - $160 6 Pink mini spray roses for bride's hair - $12 ($2 each) 1 Groom's Boutonniere with black satin ribbon- $10 3 BM bouquets, mini version of bride's bouquet - $225 ($75 each) 5 boutonnieres with chocolate satin ribbon for 3 GMs and 2 RBs - $40 ($8 each) 2 FG baskets with silk rose petals - $40 ($20 each) 2 wrist corsages for Moms, pink cymbedium orchid - $30 ($15 each) 3 boutonnieres for 2 dads and 1 grandfather, designed to complement moms' corsages - $30 ($10 each) 1 simple boutonniere for officiant - $8 8 stand rentals for ceremony aisle arrangements - $64 ($8 each) 1 Arch for ceremony, pink hydrangeas, roses, and hanging amaranthus. Reuse to decorate head table during reception- $414 ($23/foot) Rose petals and candles to decorate guest sign-in table - $20 8 tall centerpieces, seasonal flowers, used to decorate aisle during wedding ceremony then reused as guest table centerpieces during reception - $440 ($55 each) 14 short centerpieces, pink hydrangeas, vases decorated with pink, green, and chocolate ribbons - $308 ($22 each) Flowers to decorate 4 layer wedding cake - $96 ($24/layer). Delivery & setup fee - $120 Pluses: Our bouquets were very lush and beautiful. I loved my bouquet, mainly because of the gorgeous pink peonies. Too bad I couldn't keep it since we were flying out to Italy the next day. All flowers arrived on time. Boutonnieres and corsages looked great. Nicole decorated our cake beautifully. Deltas: I did not like the mini pink roses that Nicole suggested I use for my hair, but maybe this isn't her fault because I didn't really specify what I wanted. I just told her I wanted to put flowers in my hair during the reception and that the flowers could not be white (bad luck per Chinese customs). The pink roses were nice, but I just didn't like the way they looked as hair accessories. But it was all I had so I just went with it. In hindsight, I wish I hadn't used them. Lesson learned - if you're going to use flowers in your hair, know the type of flower you want, and if possible, test it out by putting one in your hair and photographing it to see if it really looks as nice as you think. Flowers that lay a bit flat looks a lot better than those that will protrude out of your head (like the roses I got). The arch for our ceremony was not as nice as I had expected. I don't know if it's because, according to Nicole, pink hydrangeas were not in season, so she ended up using white hydrangeas and then spray painting them pink. After seeing a photo of another arch she had done previously, I was disappointed that our arch wasn't as lush as the one I had seen. While I ended up loving my bouquet, my initial reaction wasn't Wow. I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. In the end, it grew on me though, and I loved the peonies. But when I look at flowers from my friend's wedding, or even flowers from my cousin's wedding that Nicole did (which turned out fabulous by the way), I'm disappointed with what I got. Summary I loved working with Nicole. She had some great ideas that weren't limited to just flowers. Nicole made me dream of a gorgeous wedding, and got me all excited about it. And yet she was very understanding when I came back later to say I was buying a house and had to cut the wedding budget. She didn't make me feel bad, and made me feel like, even with a smaller budget, the flowers could still look nice. She's so nice about working with your budget. She was super patient, despite my indecisiveness. One minute I wanted tulips, next minute calla lilies, then peonies, then orchids, etc. I could never make up my mind because there are just so many beautiful flowers out there. I finally just left it up to her to decide (in hindsight, maybe I should have been more specific)! Nicole has great potential, but unfortunately is not consistent. The flowers at my wedding were just okay. But the flowers she did for my cousin's wedding were gorgeous. Oh well. But she is definitely a sweetheart to work with.
Services used: Flowers

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Events with Flair
 
( 2.0 / 5.0 )
DOC - Mylinh Phan from Events with Flair, $775, Grade: C Price: $700 for DOC services, includes full day coordination for 2 Chinese tea ceremonies, wedding ceremony, and reception. $75 additional for ceremony rehearsal coordination. 20% of the total is required at time of booking-$155 Pluses: Low rates compared to other, more experienced DOCs. $700 for the day of, and $75 for the rehearsal. Detailed oriented. The wedding day went fine. No real problems occurred that I'm aware of. We stayed at a hotel the night before and the night of the wedding, and I think Mylinh called our hotel to ask for a room next to the terrace (in case we wanted to use it for our after-party) and got the hotel to give us some complimentary champagne and chocolate. She lent me a box of sample DIY invitations, programs, etc. so I could get some ideas on how to do mine. Deltas: In our discussions, she was not very organized and jumped from topic to topic. It made things pretty confusing. During our discussions, both she and I would take notes. But at our next meeting, I found her asking the same questions she had asked at prior meetings. I found the answers in my meeting notes, so she should have noted the same. It was frustrating having to repeat myself over and over. She didn't always call when she said she was going to call. But she would always call later to explain, although the stories got a little old. A real professional would call her clients at the agreed upon time. Thank goodness I was a patient bride. I just waited for her phone call, even if it was late. These things didn't bother me enough to ditch her, but I certainly noticed. She didn't always send me stuff when she said she was going to. Specifically, I'm thinking about the timeline. We'd talk on the phone, and she would say that she'd update it and email it to me that night, but didn't. This happened more than once, until finally I ended up updating the timeline myself. While nothing really went wrong on the day of, my family and friends were not impressed by Mylinh. Most family and friends just told me that while things went fine, they felt like Mylinh was not on top of things, or just didn't do anything spectacular to impress them. My brother had the strongest opinion about her, and his thoughts were that Mylinh treated him as if he were her little assistant. He understands that she would need some help on the day of, but he said for the amount of things he did, all the running around all day for her, he felt like he should have split her fee with her. He said that she should have done more to help, instead of just delegating everything to other people. Sadly, because of all the things he did, he felt like he did not get to really enjoy the wedding. The rehearsal was kind of chaotic. I did not feel like she had things under control at all. She kept calling people the wrong names, confusing everyone when she would look at Yvette and tell "Anna" to stand over here, when "Anna" was really Yvette. And she kept speaking English to DH's parents, when I told her before that they don't really understand English. And then MIL would come ask me what Mylinh said, so I would run over and ask Mylinh what she told my ILs so that I could then translate back to them in Chinese. She was not right on it, when Yank Sing forgot to turn on our microphone for the ceremony (officiant, DH, and I were totally oblivious to the fact that our guests couldn't hear us, because the 3 of us could hear each other with no problems, so we just kept talking!). Guests made a comment that when they realized the mic was off, they looked at Mylinh and expected her to do something about it, but said it took her awhile to react. Finally, a Yank Sing employee ran up and turned the mic on. But sadly, our guests had already missed most of what we said during our ceremony. =( Oh well, all you can do is laugh. Summary: IMO, there is a reason why Mylinh is not able to charge the $1,000+ rates other DOCs charge--she isn't that good. I won't say she's horrible because the wedding day went fine. If anything went wrong, I didn't really notice, nor did I really care at that point. We were just having too much of a good time. It's hard for me to believe that other brides raved about Mylinh, but I guess each wedding is different. I don't know if it's because she's busy planning her own wedding (which is in September 2007 I believe), but if that's the case, she shouldn't be taking on more clients than she can handle. She even admitted to me that she lost a client because the bride felt like Mylinh wasn't being responsive enough. I'd have to agree, but (1) I didn't not want to lose my deposit or pay more for another DOC, (2) I felt like I had enough time so that even if she didn't call or email me when she said she was going to, I could deal with it, and (3) the timeline I put together was pretty detailed so that if I just made sure all vendors had the timeline on the day of, then I knew that things would be fine and even if things got missed, I'm sure none of my guests would even notice. The worst part is that my own brother was not able to enjoy the wedding, and mainly because of that, I cannot recommend her. Not Recommended.
Services used: Unique Services

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Mark Phinney
 
( 2.0 / 5.0 )
I don't actually know how good of a DJ Mark is because we didn't book him, but he was a top contender because of his low rates. Unfortunately, I found it very difficult to work with him. He said he was available for our wedding date, but it seemed impossible to schedule a meeting with him. He never offered to come down to see us. So we tried to be flexible, were willing to go to him, or meet halfway, and schedule around his events, but when things weren't progressing, my fiance finally told me to move on. I did, however, check out his references. So I'll share what I learned.....One bride mentioned to me that there was a slight issue with the microphones, but she still thought he did a good job and would still recommend him. However, the mic issue bothered me because I didn't want the mics screeching in the middle of us saying our vows or something. So the other brides that I talked to, while they didn't initially mention any problems with the mic, when I specifically asked them about it, then they confirmed there was an issue. However, all seemed to think it was just a minor glitch and all still recommend him. One even made a comment, you get what you pay for. He's good, but not the best.
Services used: DJ

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Professional Makeup Artistry
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
Maria Chang is not only an incredible hair and makeup artist, but honestly, she is a bride's best friend. I have no idea what I would have done with Maria and her team on the day of. They arrived early, got all the girls' hair and makeup done on time (me, 3 bridesmaids, and my mom)....Maria was there when the girls couldn't figure out how to tie the sashes on their dresses. Maria was there when no one knew how to pin the corsage on my mom's dress. Maria was there to clean the mysterious stain on my then-fiance's tux. Maria was there to sew the button back onto my fiance's tux when it came off. She and her team were there to remind me to drink some water, to help me in and out of the bathroom (not an easy task in a wedding gown with a layer of crinoline), to ensure I get a bite to eat..... Maria and her team are total professionals, super nice and helpful, and definitely my favorite vendor! Well worth the money!
Services used: Beauty & Health

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LeGrande Affaire
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
We booked Le Grande Affaire for our April 2007 wedding. As promised at the time of booking, our driver called us the day before the wedding to introduce himself and to confirm the details--time of pickup, location(s), etc.) He showed up on time, and took us where we needed to go. I didn't get a chance to talk to the driver (Oliver, I believe)--actually, he looked so serious. But he opened/closed the door for us, held our bouquets for us as we got into the limo.....No complaints here. They did what we paid them to do.
Services used: Transportation

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1st Class DJs.org
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
Kerri was our dj at our 4/21/2007 wedding. My husband and I loved her! She has a great voice and fabulous energy. Guests made the same comments and also loved that she paid attention to their reaction to the music. If a song drove people off the dance floor, Kerri was quick to change to another song. But the bottom line is, we and our guests had an awesome time at the wedding. We definitely recommend Kerri!
Services used: Unique Services

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Sunset Bakery
 
( 5.0 / 5.0 )
Contact Info: 1490 9th Ave (cross street is Judah) San Francisco, CA 94122 (415) 759-6538 Price: A mere $263! Includes a delivery charge and $20 deposit for the cake pillars and plates (hidden inside the cake) to be refunded upon returning the cleaned items. A 4 layer, round, buttercream cake with alternating layers of chestnut filling or mixed fruit filling to feed about 200 people. No fancy designs, just simple dots and we provided them with chocolate ribbons to decorate each layer. Pluses: The price! We ordered a cake meant to feed 200 people, even though we had between 220-230 guests because we figured after a 10 course meal (typical Chinese wedding banquet) that included dessert, not everyone would be eating cake. So the cake costs us about $1.20 per person! Cake looked great, although I should mention we wanted something really simple so they would have to really suck to mess it up. The bakery was also very honest about what they could or couldn't do. Delivered on time. Deltas: Cake was a little dry, but we got what we paid for. Cake just wasn't a priority for us. Summary: I'm giving them an "A-" despite the fact that their cake is not the best because (1) we knew they weren't top notch and they were also very honest about their abilities, (2) we essentially got exactly what we paid for, and (3) they gave us an excellent price. No complaints here! If cake isn't a priority for you, and you'd rather save some money to put towards something else, then definitely consider Sunset Bakery. Recommended.
Services used: Wedding Cake

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Si Arima Alterations
 
( 4.0 / 5.0 )
Price: $372. My dress was HUGE on me. I'm normally a street size 0, but Trudy's told me to order a size 4 because my hip size of 34 may not fit a size 2 according to their measurement chart. Well, the 4 turned out to be way too big, so Si had a lot of work to do. She had to take in the dress from head to toe, including removing some of the beading from the sides and putting them back on after the dress's been taken in. She shortened the hem, sewed in cups for the bust area, and added a 3 point bustle (I think that's what you call it), and added a bit more crinoline to hold up the bustle more. Pluses: The dress fit like me like a glove. Snug, but not too tight. The bustle held up all day! I wore the dress from 8am-12am. I bustled it through 2 tea ceremonies, then pictures with the bridal party along Embarcadero, unbustled it for our 5 min wedding ceremony and pictures during the cocktail hour, then bustled it back up for the rest of the night. Deltas: The dress was too long. When I tried it on at Si's, it seemed perfect and walking didn't seem to be an issue. But on the day of, I felt like the dress was dragging too much, making it a hassle to walk or dance in. I still managed obviously, but it probably should've been shortened a bit more. When I look at pics of our first dance and parents dance, I'm disappointed because the bustle doesn't look right because the dress was too long. Summary: While the dress was too long, I'm not holding it against her since I didn't notice it being too long during my fittings. Had we felt this way during my fittings, I'm sure Si would have taken care of it. Overall, Si did a great job, and I'm amazed by how the little pieces of thread used for the bustle were able to hold up all day. Highly recommended!
Services used: Dress & Attire

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JENNIFER SKOG PHOTOGRAPHERS
 
( 3.0 / 5.0 )
After seeing some great wedding pictures from Jennifer, and knowing how much brides love her work, I decided to book Jennifer for a boudoir photo shoot. I have to say, I'm disappointed. Considering the high price (I believe it was $500 for the shoot, and another $800+ for the book), I was expecting myself to LOVE the pictures. But sadly, I just think they're okay. I'm sure my husband will like them, and I guess that's what's important since this is a 1st year anniversary gift. But basically, I felt like some of the pictures looked too photoshopped. I know I don't have great skin so some editing is needed, but when I look at my pictures, I feel like it doesn't capture ME. I'm definitely not an expert on photography, but I would think...a really good photographer will capture great pictures (with the right lighting, etc.), so that little editing would be required. Don't get me wrong. The pictures are still nice. But not worth the price in my opinion.
Services used: Photography