Dec 11, 2010
ABC Seafood Restaurant
I kind of like the food here, but that could just be me. The decor is very "Chinese restaurant" if you know what I mean. Probably not the greatest place for a reception, but I could see it being a pretty good place for a rehearsal dinner where decor might not be as big of an issue.
Services used: Catering
Really beautiful grounds. Lots of open space and grass and the mansion looks nice in the background. I would come here for pictures. The inside ballrooms are fairly plain so you would have to probably bring in your own decor if you want to spruce things up a bit. However, the plus is that they're very large and have a lot of room.
Services used: Wedding Venue, Rehearsal Dinner
Auberge du Soleil
I visited here with my fiancee and I was very impressed with the location. I like food and I think it's almost the most important thing at a wedding, so let's start there. The food here is AWESOME! When I first arrived, I was starving so we had breakfast even though we had lunch reservations as well. I ordered a salmon and scrambled egg pizza which I could have eaten several of. Then we had lunch and we had a wonderful scallop dish and an awesome lobster dish. I'm not sure that you will be able to get better food for your reception. The view was beautiful. Auberge is on a hill so it overlooks a valley. The grounds are beautiful as well. We met with the coordinator while we were there and my impression of her is that she would do a great job. I thought she was professional, attentive, and genuine. Some people you meet are a little over the top in their patronization. This place is perfect if you're having a smaller wedding and want to treat your guests very, very well! Unfortunately, we weren't one of those people.
Services used: Wedding Venue, Rehearsal Dinner
Thomas Hughes Films
Thomas Hughes seems to be a pretty safe choice as your videographer. They have many videographers and it seems like it's run like a normal company with many people in charge of different areas (cameramen, sales, editing, etc.) as opposed to your typical 1 or 2 person operation. The sales people are responsive and we got many demos to watch. They were flexible on the terms. We met our videographer Nick in person and I thought he was a nice, honest guy who would do a good job. UPDATE: We haven't gotten our video yet, but I just wanted to write my impression of them during the wedding. We had 2 videographers for both the ceremony and reception. They were not invasive and I only noticed them a couple times here and there. They were on time and warned us before they were going to leave. Obviously, the final video is the important part, but I'm happy with their professionalism during the wedding.
Services used: Videography
The view here is awesome. You have a great view of the Bay, that triangular building (sorry, don't know what it's called), and both bridges. It's the best view I've seen in the city. While the view outside is unparalleled, what's inside the Carnelian Room is not as impressive. We had dinner here and the food was just mediocre. I had a steak and my FI had the fish. The steak was ok, but her fish was better left uneaten. I found the host and waiters to be somewhat condescending. Maybe they're trying to create a high class atmosphere, but I would rather have someone who's friendly. I think it would be a good setting for a rehearsal dinner if you're willing to spring for $50-$60/person and it would be ok for an intimate wedding. UPDATE: We ended up having our rehearsal dinner here and it was great! We reserved the Belvedere Room and we had plenty of space for our 50 guests. The view was spectacular, especially at night. For food, we just had appetizers, fruits, water and soda. The appetizers were pretty good and I recommend this approach instead of a sit down meal for Carnelian Room b/c (as I noted earlier) the sit-down food is just mediocre. The cost came out to about $65 / person. One note on food quantities: I initially ordered 35 of the 10-piece appetizer packages, one fruit platter, and one vegetable platter and that wasn't enough food. The vegetable platter was basically untouched. I had expected the veggie platter to have roasted peppers and the like, but it was basically raw vegetables and not particularly appetizing (although very healthy!). The fruit platter was pretty good and about half of it was eaten. I had to order 10 more of the appetizer packages for there to be enough food. So, stick with about 1 appetizer package per person and 1 fruit platter and you should be good. Overall, I thought Carnelian was a really classy setting for a rehearsal dinner and I had a great time!
Services used: Wedding Venue
Lisa Lefkowitz Photography
We booked Lisa Lefkowitz and we're really happy with the choice so far. We met her at her studio in San Francisco. Everything is first class with Lisa and she is very easy to work with. I really liked her albums (nice, thick pages) and they are worth the money. I'm looking forward to seeing our pictures.
Services used: Photography
Laurent was extremely responsive in my emails with him. We had contacted him initially about booking him for our date, but didn't make a decision. A couple weeks later, he let us know that someone else wanted our date and gave us a weekend to figure out if we wanted to book him. I thought that was very courteous of him and fair for all involved. We ended up not booking him because we wanted a slightly different style, but I thought he sounded great. You can see a bunch of his videos on YouTube if you want a preview. I can't give him 5 stars since I didn't actually book him, but my guess is he would be a 5 star choice.
Services used: Band
I came with my FI here to see some of the dresses and offer my "opinions" which I'm sure were *carefully* taken into consideration by her. It was a preliminary trip (one of many she would take) so we figured it would be ok if I saw her in the dresses since she probably wouldn't pick them anyway. A lady named Jean helped her try on dresses. I thought she was really nice and gave good advice (but what do I know?). My only complaint is that the rooms are kind of cramped.
Services used: Dress & Attire
All-Outdoors California Whitewater Rafting
I love whitewater rafting and I think All-Outdoors is a great choice. They have a lot of different rivers of varying difficulty/chances-of-falling-into-the-river-and-drowning. Our trip with them went off without a hitch. Our guide was funny and got us through the river unscathed. They have some interesting multi-day trips if you're interested in that as well.
Services used: Unique Services
Real Action Paintball
This place is great for bachelor parties! It's an indoor paintball facility and I liked the setup. They have lots of different rooms and objects throughout so there's plenty of variation. They also had us play lots of types of games (instead of just capture the flag) which kept things interesting. I don't know if there's anything much funner than shooting your friends. It is much better than getting repeatedly shot by 12 year olds and one of their dads who is a police officer, which most certainly did not happen to me..
Services used: Unique Services
Yank Sing Catering
Yank Sing is perfect for the typical large, Chinese wedding as it can hold it a ton of people and the food is delicious. I don't know if other Chinese restaurants will be able to beat Yank Sing in those two regards. They have a nice waterfall that comes down in the middle of the atrium and gives a nice, cool atmosphere to the setting. UPDATE: I would say that Yank Sing was everything I expected. As far as I know, it's probably the nicest place if you want a Chinese banquet. The downside is that it is quite expensive, but the upside is that you can rest assured that they'll do a great job. You should expect that they will not be too flexible with changes to their normal arrangement and if they do allow you to change it, there will be a hefty fee. I'm sure this is normal for a place as unique as their's, but it's best to be aware of this ahead of time lest you get unhappy and frustrated during the process. The food was very good here. We had a ten course meal. I'd say the two dishes that stood out for me were their supreme sharkfin soup (sharkfin + crab) and their chilean sea bass. We also ordered 25-30 bottles of their cheapest wine and I think it turned out well. I don't think there were many wine experts at our wedding so they probably couldn't tell. The service was excellent throughout the night. At the head table, we were well taken care of. Our lead server was very helpful throughout the night - she followed us around while we toasted the tables filling our glasses and she instructed us during the cake cutting b/c we were a hesitant at first. At the end of the night, they gave us a gift certificate for their restaurant since we did not get to enjoy much of the food during the reception. If I were to sum up Yank Sing in one sentence, I'd say top notch Chinese food with Western-style service.
Services used: Catering, Wedding Venue