Sep 12, 2008
Professional Makeup Artistry
Booking Maria for my wedding was the best decision I have ever made! She is AMAZING! During the wedding planning, I was dreading about finding the right hair and makeup artist. When it comes to having my makeup done, I usually end up being dissapointed - mainly because I find it difficult to get my big brown Asian eyes done right without looking like a raccoon. I figured if I'm going to pay someone to do my wedding makeup and hair, they better do it right! I didn't want to look at my wedding pictures 25 years later and say "Ugh, what was I thinking?" I found some reputable artists (some only did makeup, some only hair) and contacted them. Some were not available for my date and some never responded back. I was able to get a hold of a very popular hair & makeup artist but her unprofessionalism & excessive travel fee of $350 from the South Bay to Pleasanton was ridiculous. I found Maria on Project Wedding & several publications. I heard nothing but praise for her professionalism, quality of work (particularly on Asian makeup), & how she stays with the bride for hours after getting made to make sure that her day goes by smoothly. Even if her rate seems pricey, it's actually a bargain compared to the other artists I contacted, plus she stays with you for a couple hours to help out. With my chaotic life and family, I knew I had to have her. Apparently her policy was that she only books 6 months prior to your wedding. Since I was 8 months shy away, I had to wait 2 more months till I could try to book her (It wasn't even guaranteed that I would even get her since she's in high demand and only does 3-4 weekend weddings a month). When my 6th month mark came, I immediately contacted Maria. I repeatedly sent emails, called and left messages. My persistence paid off and I was able to book her. It felt so good, I felt like I just landed a new job. Maria was nothing but professional in her emails. It seemed like she was well experienced and knew what she was doing. When it came time to meeting her for my trial, she really impressed me with her knowledge of the industry. She even asked me questions that I thought was awkward at first but turned out were really important elements for her to prep for the day. Maria is a perfectionist and understood the importance of day down to the littlelist details. I knew then that I was really in good hands and that all the reviews about her in project wedding were true. I really liked the fact that after the trial she took a bunch of photos of me from different angles so that both of us would have an idea on the day's look. The trial took about 4 hours which gave us a chance to really get to know each other. On my wedding day, I expected Maria to be alone since she only had to work on me. When she arrived, I was surprised to see her bring two additional assistants with her. I was impressed on how prepped she was. She had a bunch of gear with her from a ginormic trunk case and director style chair. I was like, "Wow, all that to get me made up?" From there, I totally felt like a celebrity. As I was getting my hair and makeup done, one of her assistants voluntarily helped get my nails done (at no additional charge) since I didn't have the time to get them done. I didn't expect the additional service at all. As for my hair and makeup, I was very happy and satisfied. I have never felt so beautiful in my entire life. I loved how she was able to keep the look classic, elegant, & natural looking. Maria was all I expected and more! Totally worth the investment. At first my parents and bridesmaids couldn't see why would I spend $$$ for a hair and makeup artist. On the day of the wedding, Maria impressed them all! She went above and beyond. Besides getting me made up, she stuck around for hours and basically became our assistant. She bustled my dress, tied and secured my corset, and helped some of the bridesmaids out with their makeup. She also helped some of the ladies tie sashes as they weren't sure how to do it. In addition, she kept making sure that I was well hydrated prior to the ceremony. She'd basically bring me water with straws so that I wouldn't mess up my makeup. She also came to the rescue when one of the long ties from the inside of my dress had accidentally fallen in the toilet. Maria had scissors on hand to cut that thing off from my dress. Minutes prior to the ceremony, one of my hyper flower girls had knocked off one of the altar arrangements causing it to shatter into pieces across the aisle. Maria and the florist quickly took care of clearing it out and helped put the arrangement back together in a backup vase (I had no idea this happened until days after the wedding). When it came to pre-and after ceremony pics, Maria followed me around and constantly touched up on my hair and makeup up and assisted the photographer by doing crowd control and acting as the translator for the Spanish speaking guests. She did so much for us and made the day go by smoothly. I highly recommend her! You will not be disappointed!
Services used: Beauty & Health
I had my wedding here on September 12th and had the time of my life! I wish I could re-live the moment. My guests and I had a blast and it's all because of the entire Casa Real team for making it work. They are the ones that helped worked their magic in transforming the ballroom into a wine and chocolates wonderland. Everything was great from the food, drinks, lighting, and etc. My huge family was able to feel warm and comfortable since the venue was large enough for us (the place is large enough to comfortably host a party of 500+ people and the great thing is that it's one party per day so you get the entire place and not have to worry having to share it with other parties). There are not enough words to describe my experience working with the Casa Real team. All I can say is that they are AMAZING, very easy to work with, and are the nicest people to deal with. Even my vendors and their friends have wonderful words to say about them. Alyssia, Andrew, and Kara were very helpful throughout the planning process. They kept me on the loop on updates on the venue and checking to see if I needed any assistance with other things. Despite having a death in the family a week before the wedding, the entire team was very understanding, sympathetic, and quickly took the initiative in assisting with most of the reception details when I couldn't because I needed to be with my family. They kept insisting on focusing with family because they didn't want me to stress even more. They saved me a bunch of headaches and tears. Some of my relatives and guests not only raved about the food and how the venue looked, but raved about the staff as well. After the wedding, my Aunt told me her daughter and daughter's bf arrived late after everyone had eaten. There was still food left on the table but it was cold. One of the servers saw her reaching out for the food and quickly stopped her because he had another server go into the kitchen to get a fresh hot plate of food so that they didnt' have to eat the cold leftovers. I had no idea about this till I was told and it gave me the warm fuzzies knowing that the staff really does care for their guests. I can go on and on about how amazing this place is but will leave it to the rest. Because the wedding is already over, I honestly miss working with the team and getting email updates from them. I'm now trying to convince friends and family to have their weddings or hold other events at Casa Real so I can re-live the experience vicariously through them.
Services used: Wedding Venue
I love love love love loooove my wedding video and can't help watch it over and over! Andrew truly captured our event as well as the emotion we all faced during the day. He doesn't film the typical cheesy wedding video which is long and boring. His approach is more artistic which I truly liked. Each time I watch the video, I want to re-live the moments. The quality is also amazing. I recently showed the video to my bridesmaids and they all watched it in awe. They said it looked like an actual movie as the film quality is so crisp, clean, and smooth. Hiring Andrew is one of the best things we ever did. His professionalism is what drew us to him. He has a great personality and was so easy to work with. He was also very good at communicating with us and answering the many questions we had. Thanks to him, we can share our moments with friends and loved ones which is truly priceless.
Services used: Videography
Karen Alumno of Freshbloom is a very talented florist. Hiring her was a bit of a splurge but she was definitely worth it! I was very impressed on how my centerpieces, bouquets, and all the arrangements turned out. I admit I wasn't the best client at keeping in touch due to work, family stress, and a recent death in the family. Still, Karen was patient with me and was able to come up with fabulous arrangements based on pictures and examples I had given her. Being that there were no trial bouquets or samples shown due to the lack of communication on my end, she definitely wowed me the day of the wedding. My bouqet and centerpieces were very lush and vibrant. In fact I loved my bouquet so much that I couldn't stop looking at it. Everyone had complimented how beautiful it was. It had become the centerpiece of the sweetheart table as I wanted to keep tabs on it. I had planned to get it preserved. Sadly, I was so devastated to find out that my bouquet had been stolen towards the end of the reception while we were doing our last dance. Even to this day, I still wonder who had taken it as I want to tell them to their face what they did was evil and traumatizing. Anyways Karen is amazing. She definitely was able to put everything together the way I had envisioned it, but even better. The moment I met with Karen for a consultation, I definitely could tell that the woman is very stylish and classy. She was very well prepared with examples of the work she had done as well as explaining what type of flowers would work well with the look I was going for and my budget. From the consultation, I already knew that I could trust Karen as I truly felt she understood my style and personality. I recommend future brides and event coordinators to check Freshbloom out. One more thing, Karen and her husband, Curtis saved the day as one of my flower girls had knocked over one of the arrangements prior to the ceremony. I had no idea until my videographer had blogged about it. Karen was well prepared and Curtis was quick at clearing it up. She re-arranged everything in a spare vase. You can read it here: http://msv.typepad.com/msv_news_and_web_log/2008/09/casa-real-wedding-update.html Karen & Curtis of Freshbloom rock!
Services used: Unique Services
Pink Design Events
Nicole of Pink Design Events is AMAZING (I had originally purchased my monograms through her on Etsy)! She is a graphic designer that specializes in creating monograms for birthdays, weddings, businesses, and more. Not only does she create monograms, she designs banners, logos, invitations, programs, address labels, thank you cards, and more. I had her design a couple of monograms for my wedding and they all turned out great! Nicole is very easy to work with and has quick turnaround. Her prices are awesome for her services. I'm so impressed with her work and customer service that I am definitely going to have her design my logo and banner for my upcoming business venture.I highly recommend Pink Design Events for all your business and events needs. You will not be disappointed.
Services used: Favors & Gifts, Invitations
Gabrielle's is a small cute little bridal boutique. Though small, they carry an incredible line of bridal gowns from Melissa Sweet, Vera Wang, Kenneth Pool, and a few other high end designs. I came in for an appointment during the summer time. When I arrived, there was only one other bride there for a fitting. The lady that assisted me (I forgot her name) was very cute and pleasant. It was fairly quiet in the salon, which I liked because I felt that I was given a lot of attention. The assistant had me try on serveral beautiful pieces. Some of them really captured my attention and some didn't. Still, she was very patient with me and never pressured me at all. Being that it was the first time I went shopping for a dress, I wanted to shop around more since it was the wisest thing to do (plus I honestly couldn't keep my mind off a Monique Lhuillier piece - even if I wasn't sure I could even get it). The only thing about the boutique is that I had wished they carried Monique Lhuillier so that I didn't have to drive to San Francisco or LA to try on a dress. Even if I didn't end up getting a dress here, my experience was very pleasant. If I were to get married again, I would definitely come back to Gabrielle's. The service and attention they give you is impeccable and they have a great line of designers. If within your budget, I highly recommed Gabrielle's for that one of a kind dress of your dreams!
Services used: Dress & Attire, Jewelry
Encarnacion Photography is made up of Jonathan Encarnacion, the photographer, and his lively wife, Joanne, the scheduler. Jonathan is very talented and personable! I hired him to shoot my Catholic ceremony in August. Working with him was fun! Even my bridal party had an amazing time shooting with him. His easy going personality and humor made us feel comfortable throughout the shoot despite all the stress that was going on that day. In addition to being talented and personable, Jonathan is also artist. He was able to capture our moments in ways I couldn't have imagined. He never rushed us and took his time to perfect some shots in different locations. He's also very professional, from being on time for meetings and shoots. Despite not being in the business that long, Jonathan really has the potential to be one of the most sought after wedding photographers in California. His techniques and lighting skills are awesome. When he forwarded me my slideshow a day after the wedding, I was really impressed. The images he captured were not only natural, they were vibrant and edgy. I started to imagine all the future family, dog, and children photoshoots that we would like to have him do for us. Overall, I had a wonderful experience working with Jonathan and Joanne from booking through the actual event. Throughout most of the wedding planning, I was stressed out to the max because of work and issues with family. They were understanding and even listened when I had to vent about the wedding planning at times. They always assured me that everything would be ok. Their show of concern and ability to be patient with me showed how much they care about their clients. In addition to being patient, they are very easy and flexible to deal with. Since I wasn't sure which photo package suited me based on the menu, they gave me the option to customize a package based on my wants, needs, budget, and hours of coverage. I find those qualities important when you're dealing with vendors. Wedding photography is an investment and its important that you're comfortable working with people you can trust. I highly recommend Encarnacion Photography for your wedding or family event! You should book them ASAP since their prices are unbelievable for the quality of images you get. I wouldn't be surprised if their prices increase any day now. Hurry up and book them now!!!
Services used: Photography
I'm totally in love with Monique Lhuillier gowns, especially the ones with Alencon lace. Some of the bridal lines are classy, modern, and classic. With a Monique Lhuillier gown, you can expect sky high prices. Monique has made dresses for Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears, Ashlee Simpson, Eva Longoria, and other celebrities to name a few. Dresses here do not run cheap. They usually run around 5K starting to as much as 20K and up. I had dreamed of owning an Alencon lace gown by Monique for my wedding but because of the outrageous prices, my dreams had fallen flat. I knew there would be no way my parents would let me purchase a dress between 6K-9K range. In addition, just having the thought of buying a dress that cost that much made me feel guilty and selfish. It wasn't practical at all especially with the way the economy is right now. Luckily, I was able to get a gown here for a special price during one of their rare sales. It was the last one available in store and in my size. The dress fit me perfectly and it was also made of Alencon lace. I couldn't believe it! What I thought would turn out to be a disappointment, turned out to be a dream come true. Kudos to the staff for locating the dress and making sure that my parents got it since they were the ones that picked it up for me while I was back in San Jose doing the Livestrong Marathon. According to my mother, the staff treated her well and she had no complaints at all. Thanks mom, dad, and the staff at Monique Lhuillier Salon for making one of my dreams come true.
Services used: Dress & Attire