- 9 years ago
- Wedding: June 2009
Hi ladies! I know there’s another thread listing who people will be using, but I thought I’d post a separate one with more detailed reviews of my vendors (who were all amazing!). Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions!
Ceremony date: June 6
Ceremony and reception venue: Dallas Arboretum Camp House
I know that the Arboretum has historically gotten a bad rap. They’re a very busy place with lots of weddings (I think three were going on my night) and a large staff. It’s not really the venue to go to if you want to get a lot of personal attention. However, I knew their various restrictions (no red wine, only having access at specific times, issues if it rains) when I picked the historical site, so I went into it with my eyes open. The contact that I worked with there, Kathryn Thomas, was very friendly and helpful and generally responsive to my emails (moreso than the previous person who had been there — they have pretty high turnover rates, I think). However, when it came down to the nitty gritty details, I was very happy to have a day-of coordinator familiar with the site to help me out. My wedding and reception were absolutely gorgeous, but I definitely recommend having some outside help when it comes to coordinating the reception and your vendors. Like I said, our wedding was ridiculously beautiful and Kathryn was great, but don’t depend on the Arboretum for a lot of extras. Treat it more like a blank canvas.
Officiant: Ari Gray with Alternative Wedding Services, http://www.altweddingservices.com/
We loved Ari. We are not religious people and originally planned to go with a Justice of the Peace. However, we found that they cost around $300, wouldn’t attend our rehearsal, and wouldn’t let us customize our ceremony. We found Ari via weddingwire and couldn’t have been happier. She was personable without being over-the-top and helped us customize our ceremony to be 100% "us." She also specializes in unique traditions (we did the German Wedding Cup), which was a nice way for us to personalize things. We got lots of compliments on her and on the ceremony and would highly recommend her.
Reception Caterer: Two Sisters Catering, http://www.twosisterscatering.com/
I loved Two Sisters!! We worked with Monica Wilson and she could not have been more helpful or responsive to questions. Two Sisters is one of the Arboretum’s recommended caterers, but I would recommend them to anyone. We got so many compliments on the food (mashed potato martini bar, jumbo shrimp, a great assortment of fruit/cheeses/crackers/olives, beef tenderloin) and enjoyed the heck out of the leftovers they kindly sent with us in our getaway car. They also helped us coordinate alcohol purchases/delivery, linens, and other rentals. Monica was a lifesaver and the food was awesome. ‘Nuff said. 🙂
Coordinator: Roxie Benatar with Sociey Affairs, roxie at societyaffairs dot com
Roxie and her partner Susan were fantastic. We hired them at about 3 months out because we wanted to be able to enjoy our party and not worry about things like confirming vendors, who gets leftovers, how to get gifts home, etc., and they took care of all of that. They were professional and friendly and very responsive to what we wanted or didn’t like. They offer a variety of services, both in package form and a la carte, and our wedding would not have gone nearly as smoothly without them.
Photographer: Cesar and Tanya Perez, perezweddings.com
I can’t say enough great things about Cesar and Tonya. We haven’t gotten our wedding photos back yet, but I took my bridal photos with Cesar and was blown away by how great he made me look. : ) He was fun to work with and made me feel really relaxed in front of the camera, even though I felt very awkward at first. They’ve got a very photojournalistic style and don’t do much posed photography, but that’s what we wanted. As of when I booked, the packages also included digital images with reprint rights, which was a huge bonus. Definitely check out their blog at perezblog.net. Highly highly recommended.
DJ: Pat Hester, hesterp at cfbisd dot edu
Pat was such a great find. Although he’s not a full-time DJ, he’s been doing music at weddings and parties for decades now because it’s something he enjoys. Music is definitely one of his passions, and it was so much fun just to sit and talk to him about what we liked and what we wanted him to play. We were originally just going to go with an iPod and a sound system, but having Pat there was great. He invited people onto the dance floor without being cheesy about it, he listened to all of our requests about songs not to play, he was there early to set-up and test the system, etc., — he clearly does it because he enjoys a good party, not because this feeds his ego (which is the sense I got from some others I contacted). His prices are ridiculously reasonable and he’s a super nice guy, to boot. Definitely shoot him an email if you’re still looking for a DJ.
Florist: Juan Gomar with Apples to Zinnias, http://www.applestozinnias.com/
I just loved Juan. He’s a sweetheart and brilliant with flowers. He really respected the fact that I was on a budget, listening to what I liked and making suggestions without pushing me to spend more than I was comfortable with. I gave him a lot of creative freedom and he came up with some beautiful pieces. He even added some wonderful personal touches, such as putting some seed pearls in my bouquet (which I had wanted but couldn’t afford) and upgrading some of our centerpieces at the last minute. I never worried one second about the flowers.
Cake: Panini Bakery, http://www.paninicakes.com/
Loooooooooooooooooooooved our cake. Loved it. They only use buttercream, they charge by the layer instead of by the slice, they don’t charge you more for using different flavors or fillings, and the cake is so moist and delicious. It went so fast that my own mother didn’t even get a slice! Sophie was great and really let us take our time at the tasting. I dragged my fiance (now husband!) along and he enjoyed it so much that he ended up designing most of the cake himself (which was fine with me — I didn’t have strong feelings about how it looked, just how it tasted!). They also bake you an anniversary cake for free if you send them a photo of your cake at your wedding.
Dress/Alterations: Lasting Bridal Couture of Addison
I actually bought my dress at their old location and moved with them into their new space, which is much larger and more brightly lit. I found their staff to be very hands-off, which I really enjoyed. At some more mainstream boutiques the staff literally had their hands up my dress, but here they let me try things on by myself until I asked for help, which was great. They also didn’t try to push dresses out of my budget on me and offered a wide variety of price ranges. The alterations were really expensive, which was a little shocking to me, but my dress fit me like a glove so they were definitely worth it.
Veil: My mother’s
Shoes, jewelry, bridesmaid dresses: Nordstrom
Hair stylist and makeup: Salon Pompeo @ the Hotel Palomar, http://www.salonpompeo.com/
I loved my hair and makeup. My artist, Corina, was highly professional and really listened to what I wanted. She also had no problem changing things that I didn’t like; for example, on the wedding day, the strand false eyelashes really made my eyelids feel weird, so she took them off and applied individual ones without hesitation. The salon was well equipped to handle my bridal party and the moms, and they let you bring in your own food (they have their own full bar).
Groom/Groomsmen attire: Men’s Wearhouse
We had the usual problems here: shirts not delivered, tuxes in wrong sizes, etc. Just go early to try things on. All the issues were resolved by the wedding day and we got a great deal on the tuxes thru a discount at a bridal show.
Invitations: DIY printed Brides invitations from Michael’s
Wedding rings: eweddingbands.com — turned out great, very cheaply priced