- 7 years ago
- Wedding: September 2010
I posted some of these in the “Vendors” section but I couldn’t find a listing for all of them, so I figured I’d put them here, as well. I realize this post is ridiculously long, but hopefully this helps someone!
Venue, ceremony and reception – The Mansion at Maple Heights – When we booked the Mansion, they were just getting into the wedding business, so we got a really good deal; we reserved the entire mansion for Friday and Saturday nights, which allowed us to provide rooms for almost our entire wedding party. With their current prices, we would not have been able to afford them. The day-of execution was practically perfect. Everything was gorgeous and there weren’t any issues at all. Unfortunately, the lead-up to our wedding day was anything but perfect. We found out, a month before our wedding, that the Mansion was scheduled for the sheriff’s sale four days before our wedding day, leaving us with the fear that we’d lose our venue with very little time to execute a Plan B. Even worse – we found out about this not via the Mansion staff, but from reading it in a local newspaper. We contacted the owner, and were assured that everything would be okay. Fortunately, the sheriff sale ended up being delayed until after our wedding, but this was obviously very stressful. In addition, the venue has exclusive vendors, including the florist, tent rental company, caterer, and linen company. During the planning process, we had customer service problems with the florist, to the point where we needed to involve the venue owner. The entire situation was handled very unprofessionally, with no apology given by the owner. Overall, based on their day-of execution, I would recommend the Mansion, but with very strong reservations.
Caterer – La Crème – They rocked it out. During our tasting, we made some very specific requests – medium-rare red meat and no onions in the salad. Both were carried out, which was fantastic, since wedding steak is almost always overdone. Leslie, the coordinator, made some excellent suggestions in regards to planning our menu, and did a great job working within our budget. We had numerous guests compliment the food, which included the aforementioned filets as well as delicious crab cakes and vegetarian ravioli. Plus, contrary to what’s reported by a lot of brides and grooms, we both ate and thoroughly enjoyed our entire dinners. I would highly recommend La Crème Catering.
Cake – Cakes by Tammy – I don’t know how working with Tammy could have been more fantastic. When we first met with her, she had two cakes for us to sample. Not slices – cakes. She prepared two cakes the size of the top tier of our wedding cake. While they were delicious, a couple of months later, I was plagued by indecision, and asked if she could provide additional samples for us to try. She made three more cakes for us, which ended up being so much cake that I had to bring the leftovers to my work, where my coworkers promptly devoured them. Tammy responded incredibly quickly whenever I had a question. (In other reviews, I have read that her phone response time is slow; I only communicated via email, and I often received a reply within an hour.) The cake she delivered to our venue was exactly what we had discussed during our meetings, and it was gorgeous. Most importantly, though – It. Was. Delicious. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. If you have the opportunity to hire Tammy, do so.
DJ – Andy Booth – One of our wedding guests has signed a contract with Andy to DJ at her wedding this fall, which speaks to how highly I recommend him. Throughout the entire process, he was fast to respond to any of our questions, and he did a walk-through of the venue a couple of days before our wedding, to make sure he had everything he needed. A couple of weeks before our wedding, we gave him a list of songs we wanted to hear. He acquired the few he did not already own and managed to add to our list and make it even better, with the additional songs perfectly suited to our tastes. He also adjusted what songs he played based on the overall vibe on the dance floor, keeping the party going. Plus, on top of his fantastic DJ skills, he’s an all-around good guy. During the setup process, he helped my bridal party with all of the decorations, going way above and beyond the call of duty. Working with him was a wonderful experience from start to finish.
Florist – designSpace – The planning process with designSpace was a long and bumpy road, but their day-of execution was spot on. Unfortunately, while their designs are gorgeous, they book so many jobs that each client doesn’t receive a whole lot of communication until shortly before their event, which was quite frustrating. This florist was one of our venue’s exclusive vendors; had they not been, I’m not sure that we would have hired them. The budgets of their normal clientele were substantially more than we were able to spend. There were also several communication snafus throughout the months leading up to our wedding, including one particularly unprofessional email from a staff member who no longer works there. However, the flowers they delivered to our wedding were fabulous. If you are the type of couple who can tell a florist what you want and just trust them to deliver, I would definitely recommend designSpace, as the work they do is beautiful. On the other hand, if you are the type of person who needs to see examples of prior work that’s within your budget before you’re truly comfortable with a vendor, then I would approach this company with caution.
Bridal shop – MB Bride – I went to MB Bride twice during my search for a dress. My first visit was a positive experience. Terri, my consultant, managed to get closer and closer to what I wanted, but I eventually was so overwhelmed that I knew I needed to step back and regroup. I returned during a Maggie Sottero trunk show and started out with Terri again. Partway through my appointment, she was called away due to a family emergency, and I was left in the dressing room for almost 40 minutes before anyone bothered to tell me that she had left. I basically had to start the appointment over again with a new consultant, who didn’t listen at all to my requests: asymmetrical detailing, no dropped waist, fairly lightweight. The consultant kept bringing me everything except what I wanted, and my friend who came with me was the one who ended up pulling my dress. And then, I went back another three times before they managed to order the correct size, with each trip entailing a 1.5-hour round-trip car ride and a minimum 30-minute wait at the store. On attempt #1, they had ordered an 8, and when it was too small, their staff accused me of having gained weight. I told them to measure me again – the numbers were no different from when I ordered the dress. On attempt #2, they ordered a 12, which basically fell off of my body. On trip #3, they finally managed to order the correct size 10. Rather than being offered a discount, to make up for the two times I had unnecessarily visited store, I had to ask for one, and was given a minimal discount and told that the manager would call me. A month later, when I hadn’t received a phone call, I called and the manager told me that I would be provided with an additional refund. I never received the check. Overall, their selection is fantastic, but I would never recommend to anyone that they buy a dress from MB Bride.
Makeup – Pittsburgh Makeup by Julie Marckisotto – My body rebels against makeup. My skin is so oily in some areas that it turns any form of foundation into a goopy mess, and so dry in others that it ends up literally flaking off. My eyes are sensitive to the point where eyeliner makes them itch and water uncontrollably. Basically, I don’t like wearing makeup. Except when it’s applied by Julie. The woman is a magician. She somehow conquered my skin’s ridiculously exuberant oiliness and managed to apply eyeliner and mascara that didn’t make me want to scratch out my eyes. During my makeup trial, I noticed that my eyeliner smudged after a couple of hours. I mentioned this to Julie, and she 100% fixed the problem and left me with makeup that looked gorgeous throughout the entire day.
Hair – Brooke Rockwell Hair Design – Brooke was so fantastic to work with that she has become my regular stylist. Therefore, I only recommend her to brides whose weddings will not interfere with my ability to get an appointment with her! During my hair trial, I brought about five different pictures, and Brooke managed to perfectly incorporate what I liked about each picture into a beautiful style. She and her sister came to our venue and styled my entire bridal party. One of my bridesmaids commented on how she could not believe that her hair actually had volume, and another couldn’t understand how her hair finally had the ability to hold a curl. My hair looked awesome for over twelve hours, from when Brooke finished styling it until the very end of the night.
Alterations – Catherine Batcho, Cut and Sew Studio – I knew that I wanted to work with an independent seamstress for my dress alterations, which included hemming it, taking in the bodice, and adding a bustle. Luckily, Catherine agreed to take on the challenge. Catherine is the owner of Cut and Sew Studio, and while her schedule has gotten so busy that she doesn’t have enough time to work with many brides, I would still highly recommend that anyone wanting to learn anything about sewing take one (or more!) of her classes. She’s an excellent teacher, a wonderful person, and a fantastic seamstress.
Linens – Mosaic – I was really happy with Mosaic. I definitely don’t have an eye for this sort of thing and had no idea what I wanted. During our initial consultation, their staff made sure to walk me through all of my options without pressuring me to upgrade anything. They sent me home with a half dozen swatches, so I could play around with them and figure out exactly what I wanted (and solicit opinions from friends who are way better at this kind of stuff). And on the day of our wedding, everything was beautiful.
Nail salon – Styles by Cardamone – I used to be a somewhat regular customer at this salon. I have not returned since the day before my wedding, when my bridal party and I got our mani/pedis. My pedicure was average. There was nothing wrong with it, but I’ve definitely gotten better ones. My manicure was awful. I specifically asked that my aesthetician file my nails into an oval shape, which she ignored, in favor of a more squared-off shape. When she applied the polish, it was uneven and all over my cuticles. When I complained and asked for another aesthetician, she practically yelled at me that she could take care of it, until a manager came over and pulled her away. One of my bridesmaids generously paid for my appointment, which was fantastic. And then, about 15 minutes later, my maid-of-honor also paid for me – the salon didn’t bother to tell her that my bill was already taken care of. At the end of the day, my new aesthetician managed to get my nails looking good and the bill was sorted out, but a day at the spa shouldn’t be a stressful experience.
Rings – Orr’s Jewelers – We got all of our rings (engagement ring and two wedding bands) from Orr’s in Squirrel Hill, and we were happy with both the level of customer service and the products they delivered. My wedding band was a custom design, and when it initially arrived, I was upset to realize that it wasn’t as awesome as I had imagined it would be. Fortunately, the staff worked with me to modify the ring until it was exactly what I wanted. Overall, I would recommend this store.
Rehearsal dinner – Sushi Too – For our rehearsal dinner, we needed a venue that was close to the Shadyside Inn and could affordably accommodate 22 people. Sushi Too, in Shadyside, fit both requirements. Overall, the food and service were excellent. We ate a truly ridiculous amount of sushi, and they provided additional options for non-sushi lovers. However, the room they use for large groups only has Japanese-style seating. So, if you have guests for whom that would be a hardship, you should consider another option.
NYC vendors (they traveled)
Photographer – PhotoPink – Working with Liesl and Randy was awesome. They’re both incredibly cool people, which was an absolutely critical trait, since we were with them for literally the entire day. Throughout our entire wedding day, they managed to be everywhere without being at all intrusive. In addition to full-day coverage, our package included a photobooth, which resulted in some absolutely hilarious pictures. We also received CDs with high-resolution images from our engagement shoot, wedding day, and photobooth; plus all of the pictures were available online for our guests to see. Rather than only taking pretty pictures (which they definitely did!), PhotoPink managed to capture actual emotions. Our wedding day flew by so quickly, and it means so much to me that I can remember how I felt by just looking at those photos.
Hairpiece – Etsy vendor whichgoose – This was my first ever Etsy purchase, and it was fabulous. Whichgoose responded really quickly to all of my inquiries and got my hairpiece in the mail right away. I had asked her if she could include extra butterflies for my bouquet, and she sent quite a few of them. And even though the hairpiece itself was fairly fragile, it arrived undamaged thanks to a well-padded package. Plus, it’s freakin’ gorgeous â˜º
Stationary – For the Modern Bride – Initially, custom invitations were not in our wedding budget. However, I won a contest and ended up working with Stella from For the Modern Bride. I gave her some fairly odd guidelines – my likes included shades of purple, a fun/funky look, and butterflies; his preferences leaned toward shades of blue and a mid-century modern design. Somehow, she managed to take those requests and create a design that suited both of our aesthetics. While the overall process was quite involved (we exchanged over 100 emails!), it was totally worth it. Our invitations were gorgeous and unlike any others I’ve ever seen.