- 2 years ago
- Wedding: June 2014
Hi fellow Bees!
It’s been exactly 2 weeks since my wedding! I haven’t posted much on the forum but have been a frequent lurker for the past year, and these boards were my primary resource throughout the planning process. I’m happy to report that after everything, I had the most WONDERFUL day of my life and a wedding that surpassed everything I dreamed of!! I wanted to pay it forward by writing about my experience with the vendors I used – I hope that it’ll be as helpful to some of you as all of your posts and insights and advice were to me! If it helps, I can come back and add professional pictures later 🙂
We had an intimate wedding in Manhattan with around 60 of our closest friends and family. The day was absolutely perfect, straight out of a New York fairy tale. Much of it was by the grace of God – the weather, for example, was picture perfect after a day of severe thunderstorms, and our guests (most of whom were flying in), made it despite delays and cancellations at the airport. Aside from that, our vendors played a big role in making the day. If you’re looking to do a wedding in the New York area, you know that there are a lot of options, so making all of these decisions is definitely stressful, but I was beyond delighted/positively giddy that I lucked out into working with these particular vendors. I cannot emphasize enough how important they ended up being and how PHENOMENAL they were!!!
Wedding Dress: Berta (13-02), from L’fay Bridal
My search for THE wedding dress was long and often frustrating. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted, yet I was extremely picky. My very last stop was a Berta trunk show at L’Fay. The moment I stepped into THE dress, I knew I’d found it. It had the perfect balance of everything I wanted – unique, dramatic and sexy but at the same time effortlessly elegant and timeless, with a touch of fairy-tale.
Throughout the process of trying on, buying, altering and picking up, all the ladies I interacted with at L’Fay were wonderful. They made my experience easy, authentic and personal. They were accommodating, knowledgeable and friendly. This level of personalized service, approachability and authenticity is not often what you’ll find on NYC’s wedding dress scene! The seamstress, Amy, was so sweet and did a flawless job altering my dress and being patient/understanding with all my little requests.
Photographer: Agaton Strom
Agaton is a brilliant photographer. He loves what he does and is extremely talented, with not only an amazing eye but a rare wit and thoughtfulness to his work/images. Throughout the whole process and on the day of, he was a calming force, with a laid-back, steady and sure manner that put us and our guests at complete ease. He was responsive, organized and knowledgeable. He listened carefully to our ideas and vision, and once he had a feel for who we were and what we wanted, came up with fresh creative ideas for shots.
As I’m now learning, photos not only keep your memories of the day sharp, but actually help shape them in your mind. In a preliminary set of images, I saw that Agaton had captured moments that had flown by or moments we hadn’t realized were occurring. Looking at these images brought back the range of emotions I experienced on the day, from joyful and exuberant to sweet and meaningful. The images were authentic and beautifully rendered, nothing cheesy or overly stylized. It told OUR story in the most clear, gorgeous way.
Florist: Joy’s Flower Pot (also known as Joy’s Flowers and Gifts)
Joy’s shop (and Joy herself!) might be small, but don’t be fooled! She has HUGE talent and an unbeatable eye and touch. She did all the flowers for my wedding, from bridal/bridal party bouquets to centerpieces. Our wedding was a pretty formal affair, with an “old New York elegance” theme. I wanted big, elaborate, unique and memorable centerpieces to go with it. A tall order, but Joy totally blew me away!
Working with Joy throughout the process was a joy (puns aside, it actually was!). She was knowledgeable and happy, and very accommodating as she listened to my ideas and came up with ideas of her own to execute my vision. I could tell she genuinely cared about making our wedding dreams come true: she put so much heart into all the work she did for us, and even stayed up all night before the wedding perfecting our arrangements.
On the big day, my bridal bouquet was intricately detailed, wrapped in lace with tiny pearl buttons mimicking the pearls on my dress. When we walked into the New York Athletic Club reception venue, my jaw literally dropped. The room, thanks in large part to the centerpieces, was nothing short of spectacular. Elegant, dramatic and glamorous. Each centerpiece was fresh and beautiful. Our head table centerpiece was a showstopper: Joy had engineered an ingenious way to hang clear globes, each with an orchid floating inside, from the floral arrangement. Even some of our least-florally-inclined male guests took note!
My husband and I stumbled across Joy’s shop quite accidentally, and we discovered a true hidden gem!!
Band: Full House
Full House totally rocked our wedding! We first heard the band at a David Burke event and based on that knew we had to have them at our wedding at the New York Athletic Club. They not only sounded like a professional recording, but had an authentic vibe in the way they performed rock and party classics that other bands just couldn’t replicate.
Even with these high expectations, we were still surprised by how great they were. During our cocktail hour, they created an elegant, old New York jazzy atmosphere. They emceed the reception and made sure things were moving along smoothly and classily, right on schedule. They got the party going and kept it going from the first song (Journey’s “Faithfully”) to the last (“New York, New York”). When the sun set, they lit up our dance floor with their lights. They got people who have NEVER danced before in their lives, out onto the dance floor!! They created the soundtrack to our wedding, and we received numerous rave compliments from our guests. Not a small investment for a 6-piece band, but worth it all and more.
Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Sissi Chan
Sissi made me feel beautiful and glamorous, setting the stage for the rest of the wedding day.
Leading up to the day, she was professional, flexible and reassuring, offering guidance and advice to my many questions. On the day of, she arrived on time and quickly set up, and soon I was sitting in front of the mirror chatting away with her as she teased my hair. She was engaging and fun to talk to, and helped keep the mood light and stress-free. I was a bit nervous; I hadn’t done a trial, and I wanted to go all-out with makeup and hair for a formal, elegant and timeless look – a departure from my everyday, as I generally don’t wear a lot of makeup and wear my hair naturally straight and down. I hoped I wouldn’t turn out looking overdone, fake or rigid.
Two hours later, Sissi turned me around and had me look at my finished look in the mirror. She had managed to highlight my features and bring them out dramatically while keeping the look clean (according to her, a “soft smoky eye”). My hair was beautifully elegant. And even through a long day, which included a hike through Central Park and hours of dancing, my hair and makeup stayed in place with no shine and minimal smudging.
Bridal Party and Mother/Mother-In-Law Hair/Makeup: Cherry Le
Cherry did the hair and makeup for my wedding party (2 bridesmaids) and the mothers. On the day of, she showed up to our hotel right on time at 8am. For the next 3 hours, she worked tirelessly to stay right on schedule and beautifully re-created the hairstyles and makeup looks that my bridesmaids, mother and MIL wanted. Friendly and upbeat, she put all of them at ease as she worked with them. All four of them had different visions of what they wanted, and all of them left the seat very happy with their look – a testament to Cherry’s skill and range. From start to finish, Cherry was a sweetheart and helped set the tone that morning – relaxed and worry-free, smooth and happy. Her rates are crazy affordable – especially given the outstanding quality of her work.
Groom’s Tux: Saint Laurie Merchant Tailors
These guys are old school and real masters in the art of the tux. All I need to say is that my groom looked like a million bucks in his custom navy tux. So, so sharp. Unbelievable workmanship, fit and quality.
Ballroom Dance lessons: Arthur Murray Dance Center
Videographer: Nicholas Guldner (still have to see the footage)
Transportation: NYC Executive Limo