- 7 years ago
- Wedding: October 2010
When I started the wedding planning process, I kept a journal of everything so that I could look back and make informed decisions. I thought by cross-posting it onto this forum, I might be able to help someone else! It was really nice when it came to picking one vendor over another, to be able to look back on these initial impressions and to be able to compare and contrast the differences in what each included. So here are my “Notes on Vendors”! I hope they will help out some of the brides just starting to plan. 🙂
Here we go:
April 18, 2010
3 Tier Events – So today we met with our 1st bakers. It’s run by 2 ladies Eva and another lady who’s name is completely escaping me! I felt like we were fairly unprepared for the meeting today, but these ladies made us feel right at home and gave us some solid ideas of how things could be done!
Ok… so try to picture and 8 inch top cake layer holding a sculpture of the 2 ships. Underneath that on 2 or more tiers would be cupcakes (well actually mini cakes complete with 2 layers with filling and with all sides covered in fondant) shaped like squares (or maybe rectangles) that are alternating blue or red with either a plus or a minus on the top of them in white. Yes we are geeks and so very proud of it! lol But it’s how we met and I looooove the idea of incorporating that if we could! (please see http://www.projectwedding.com/biography/list/dodgercpkl/cake-dessert for a more detailed picture of this)
So we came to the meeting with this dream in mind and really nothing else other then knowing that we wanted a top layer of cake with tiers of cupcakes. The ladies we met, loved the ideas we had! They are actually the ones that came up with the idea of mini cakes rather then the typical cupcakes. We discussed having that top layer be plain on the top but with beading along the top and bottom edges with scroll work along the sides. The scroll work would be in blue with the base white. We could choose whether we wanted white or chocolate cake with whatever filling and could mix and match as we wanted.
The taste of the cake itself was pretty basic, but good. Moist, not dry, without being TOO moist. The fillings we tried were raspberry creme and chocolate mouse. The chocolate mousse was good but not “wow!”, but the raspberry creme was VERY good! It tasted fresh and didn’t make the cake edges soggy at all (which is great imo). They gave us 2 types of frosting to try, buttercreme and marshmellow fondant. Both were very good!! The marshmallow fondant does taste like creamy marshmallows but offers the ability to sculpt just like normal fondant and at a much lesser cost (according to them).
The cake topper (the sculpture of the 2 ships) is the question mark at this point. Eve has a BIL that is an artist. He’s just about to graduate and he works alot with modeling clay and is looking into a job with dreamworks and or pixar. She believes that he’d be perfect to make a cake topper for us and that he’d be very interested in doing so AND that he probably plays EVE and therefore would know how to do it fairly well! She thinks he might be willing to do it for the material cost (or very inexpensively) and rights to use pics of it in his portfolio. She’ll let me know what he says tomorrow. She mentioned using gum paste to make it an edible sculpture but Anton and I actually like the idea of him using modeling clay so we have a keepsake after the wedding! lol We’ll have to talk to them about it and see what we can work out – if he’s interested and IF the price is affordable to us.
Anton and I found both ladies to be very nice and personable. We had alot of fun talking to them and shared alot of similar interests in a variety of things. The cost of the cake + 50 cupcakes is very reasonable at a rough estimate of $170 including labor, delivery and setup! Anton’s words after the meeting were “Wow! Can all the meetings be like that?”
I figure that if this guy is willing to do the cake topper and willing to do it for $50 or less then this company will definitely be on the top of our list. I was really happy with the can do attitude and the problem solving way of looking at things.
I think we’d both like to just look at other places, ya know, to make sure there isn’t something better for a similar or better price and to gather some more thoughts and ideas. This company has impressed both Anton and myself so far though, so they will be tough to beat!
So for 3 Tier Events the website is: http://3tierevents.com/
April 20, 2010
A.Michaels Photography – This is the 1st photographer we’ve met with. We felt he was a nice guy and very much the professional. He’s been in business for 33 years and is understandably proud of that. The price he offered for the package was $1350 and included all photos on CD (we didn’t actually catch whether this was high res or low res but since I mentioned that I’d want to be able to print out for a scrapbook at whatever size, I’m assuming it’s high res), 2 photographers, 4 hours of coverage, an additional 1.5-2 hours for an engagement shoot and with no extra cost for the 2 days split that we are planning.
Our biggest concerns with him are not dealbreakers, but definitely things we need to consider. First of all we are trying to keep our photography budget around $1000, but we are willing to consider higher then that for the right person and offer. We want to make sure that we are getting a photographer who’s work we like AND who’s personality meshes well with ours. We felt that while Michael was definitely trying to work with us budget-wise, it almost felt like he wanted to make sure we knew that and that made us feel just a bit like we weren’t as important to him if that makes sense. He told us that he and his daughter would be the photographers for the wedding itself on friday, but that an associate or 2 would be the ones to take photos at the reception. This isn’t a dealbreaker because I’m MUCH more concerned with the photos for the ceremony then the reception, but that’s a part of what made us feel like we weren’t as important. Also the time given in the package is on the minimum edge of what I would ideally like. I want to make sure that all aspects of the wedding are covered, but I do also want a nice representation of the reception and I worry that alot of the 4 hours would be eaten up by the ceremony and the pre/post wedding shots. Last of all, especially coming from the perspective of having had 2 more meetings today, of all the vendors we met with, he’s the one that we connected to the least. Again not a deal breaker, because I do think he would do a fantastic job, but something to definitely consider.
For A.Michaels Photography it’s: http://www.amichaels.com
Kitty’s Catering – Anton and I both loved this woman! She’s a complete spitfire and we love it! We went into the meeting with very little idea of what we actually wanted and came away with a nice menu! She came prepared with what seemed like an endless array of menus that she had put together or was putting together for other events and that was such a help to us! You could tell from her attitude that she not only loves what she does but loves it so much that she wants to work with people as much as she can to make dreams come true for people! She was able to put together a menu for us that would include carved on site tri-tip, BBQ chicken, and a pasta bar, plus creamy mashed potatoes and a mushroom gravy sauce, PLUS wontons with a sweet chili sauce all and including herself and another server to stay for 5 hours (cutting the tri-tip and making sure everything stays hot and filled and looking nice), and setup and delivery for 50 people for only $780!! That’s about $13 per person before the setup/delivery and server charges! This was less then she would normally charge as she was doing her best to help us get what we want (and a nice variety at that) and keep the cost down to within our budget! If we wanted to we could add things like veggie trays for $1 per person or cheese and cracker platters for about the same. She also said that if we got something like those last 2 on our own, she would take care of setting them up with the rest of the food.
The only thing we forgot to find out about was the drinks. We aren’t planning to have anything alcoholic (if people choose to bring it that’s fine, but we aren’t providing it), but we do want to have water and soda, maybe some coffee or something as well.
Kitty was very quick to send us a follow up email with an example invoice showing what the prices would be should we stick to what we talked about yesterday. She offered us discounts for being clients of our wedding planner, and discounts on adding the tri-tip, and threw in a 2nd server for free! We were impressed with her enthusiasm and personality and her willingness to help us make our dreams come true! Our next step with her is to do a taste testing now that she has an idea of what we are interested in.
And for Kitty’s Catering it’s: http://www.kittyscatering.com
April 21, 2010
WDphoto – Our 2nd photographer. He offers a silver package that he modified fairly heavily for us to get what we wanted and fit it as close to our budget as possible. The package includes 1.5 hour engagement shoot (but he said he’d take longer if he needed to to make sure we all were happy with the shots) with all high res images on dvd in both color and black and white, all pictures color corrected, and 5-10 of our choice completely retouched. The wedding part would be 6 hours of shooting (however he advised us that because of our 2 day split, he would be happy to stay longer to make sure that we get full coverage. He also said he’d be happy to meet us at my house or a salon prior to the ceremony location for my makeup and hair sessions since it appears that we probably will have to do that elsewhere) with all images in high res on dvd in both color and black and white, with color correction of all photos and complete retouching of 5 photos of our choice. He also threw in a boudoir shoot for me for free! I don’t feel comfy with a true boudoir shoot, but Will and I talked and he loved the idea of doing a shoot with some of my renaissance costumes! All of this would be for $1100!!
So our concerns with Will are pretty few and far between. The biggest one is that he would be a solo photographer and therefore have a bit less chance of catching all the moments. BUT as he pointed out, the guys usually get ready last minute (since it usually only takes about 15 mins for them) while the girls are often ready a bit early and he more then makes up for that by a great personality and the fact that both Anton and I are impressed with his work. We loved the fact that he was so willing to work with us and make our photography dreams come true that he gave us nearly $1000 discount off his normal prices! I mean WOW!
After talking about it together and with my mom (who was also there for both of today’s appointments) we decided that if we were going to make the decision today, that we’d be hiring Will. However in the spirit of making sure we are making a wise choice and not missing out on something even better, we have at least 3 more photographers that we’d like to meet with.
This is his website: http://wdphotoinc.com/
Flour and Flower Designs – This was a cake and flower sister team. Davlyn brought us 4 different cupcakes to taste test and all of them were YUMMY! Let me see if I can get the 4 flavors right (I was bad on this and didn’t write down the flavors while we were taste testing), we had white cake with coconut frosting and filling, chocolate with a nice rich chocolate mousse filling and some sort of chocolate molding to help hold the mousse in, another white cake with real strawberries inside!!, and argh… I can’t remember the fourth but they were all delicious! My 2 favorites were the coconut and the chocolate ones, but the strawberries inside were soooo good too!
We talked to both of them (Davlyn bakes but Lara is more into design so with our ideas and hopes for the cake, Lara would be involved in making that part happen) about our thoughts and hopes for our cake and they are going to look into doing it the way we originally envisioned it, but they also came up with a great 2nd option that I’d actually be just as happy with as the 1st one! Their thought was to make the top layer a square cake and use that technique to transfer photos onto fondant with edible ink! We could make the 4 sides any pics we chose and then even have a topper with an additional double sided pic that would stand up from the top of the cake like a sign and have some flowers around it! We both really like that idea as a secondary choice especially since it would mean that we’d get our EVE cake! Cost wise, she guestimated the cake and cupcakes would be about $180 with the topper part not included, so that fits in pretty closely with the other ladies. Their cupcakes are $2.25 per cupcake and other desserts (like mini apple pie bites, and brownies and cookies) are $0.75 per item, but this seems to include setup and delivery and labor.
Lara is the flower lady and it looks like she’d be able to do our personal flowers (6 corsages, 6 bouts, 3 bouquets) for about $252! Maybe less since she gave me a range on the bouquets and the lower range would lower it by about $60, but I’d rather figure for the higher and be happy if it’s lower. lol She loved the fact that I’d come prepared with some of my inspiration photos and will be looking into some ideas for me to make it easier and make the bouquets last into the next day to use as centerpieces maybe. She also said that she could make fresh flower centerpieces with rose and delphiniums for about $25 per table. We felt her prices were pretty reasonable and if we stick with just the personal flowers then that $252 come pretty close to the budget that Erin initially guestimated for us.
We loved both ladies! They are a pretty dynamic pair and seem to truely love what they do! I really liked the way they thought outside the box to come up with another definitely viable option for us if our 1st choice doesn’t work out for the cake. I really like the fact that they also offer a ton of different flavors to mix and match. As for the flowers, this is our 1st meeting with a flower vendor so I have nothing to compare to, but after having looked at some of the packages online and stuff, this seems completely reasonable and totally affordable.
This is their website: http://www.flourandflowerdesigns.com/
April 27, 2010
FLOWER FUSION: This one is a bit hard to say. The meeting was supposed to be with the lady who makes the floral arrangements herself, but ended up being a lady who is basically a wedding plann er herself (but not MY wedding planner) and runs a building that homebased wedding vendors can use to meet with clients. She’s a bit of a mixed bag. My impressions of her were that she was VERY helpful, talked ALOT, and was very opinionated. I think she had some good things to think about, but it felt like she wanted to make the decisions for me rather then me and Anton deciding what WE wanted. I didn’t really like that feeling. However the price was very nice at $200 for 3 bouquets, 6 bouts, and 6 corsages with delivery included. BUT I felt also that I was being limited in the flowers that I could choose. I would have very much liked to talk to the lady that owns the business herself and get a feel for her as that could positively affect my thoughts on this ya know? Here’s her website:http://floralnflight.com/
PACIFIC BAKERY: I’m really excited about this! This was a last minute switch for another bakery vendor that is having severe neck issues and doesn’t know if she’ll be able to stand let alone bake come October. But Lupe at Pacific Bakery was very helpful and they had great prices! They quoted us $200. The $200 includes the 8 inch cake top layer with the 2 edible ink photos and fondant frosting with the flavor of chocolate cake with chocolate amarretto mouse, plus 40 cupcakes 1/2 red velvet with red frosting and white minus signs and 1/2 with chocolate with blue frosting and white plus signs, and the delivery to our reception venue. It is over our budget but not by enough to make us say no. It’s something we have to think about, and we’d like to get back with Flour and Flower to see what they can do pricewise for the same cake. If they can beat it, then GREAT! Here’s Pacific Bakery’s link:http://pacificbakery.net/
April 28, 2010
CINDERELLA CAKES: I loved this place! Hands down if I could afford it, I really would have jumped on the chance to do my cake with them. They have a mini-showroom at the front of their store and the cakes just look picture perfect and soooo detailed! They can truely do anything you want them to. Their price for the cake we wanted started at $350 and if we had them do the models of the ships in chocolate, it would add another $300! So while I love their work and wish I had the money to afford them, it’s just not in the budget. Here’s their website (and really it’s worth looking at and drooling over their cakes and designs!): http://www.cinderellacakes.com/index.php
FLOWER FUSION: Jan met with us and had this wonderful southern accent and charm! Her arrangements all looked fabulous and in talking with her, she REALLY knew her stuff. You could also tell that she really wanted to make sure you were happy, got what you wanted, AND had flowers that would last as long as you needed them to. There were no worries about potential color differences with her. She was willing to work with us as much as she could without compromising more then she felt comfortable with on her work and offered us a great deal! But, it would be $575 and just too far out of our preferred budget. Again this is a lady that I would love to work with, if only my budget was higher. Here’s her website: http://flowerfusion.info/wedding-flowers/
April 29, 2010
LOVE AT FIRST BITE: John was a great guy and very accommodating and interested in finding a menu that would best suit us. They had a very nice menu selection for us to look at and get some great ideas from. Their prices are definitely reasonable, but they are over our budget. Here’s their website: http://www.lafbcatering.com/
MELROSE CATERING: The thing that 1st drew me to them is the fact that they have what’s called “stations” and in each set they offer you a choice of 3 different types of foods, from mashed potato bar with all the fixings, to asian fusion with california rolls and wontons etc. This really appealed to me because it would accommodate a group with fairly widely varying tastes. They also offer some very nice prices on full meals that stick to a single theme (like Italian etc). With what we talked about with them, the price quote they came back to us with was over $3k! I’m sure that’s partially because it’s easy to agree to things when you don’t know what the price is going to be… lol if we went with the Italian meal for instance, it probably would have been about 1/2 the price. But as with Love at First Bite, they are just over all more expensive then Kitty. Here’s their website:http://melrosecatering.com/
Events Taylormade – After those 2 meetings, we met with Erin and talked over things – what had changed, what our thoughts were about everyone etc. She offered to do our flowers to save us money (just the cost of the flowers with no fee for labor or delivery) and showed us some pics of her work. She does good work! I think she’s definitely an option for us to think about especially if we end up deciding to add flowers to the centerpieces for the reception! We talked about how the wedding reception guest list has grown from our initial 50 to closer to 90!!! I didn’t even know I KNEW that many people! lol We told her that we were considering looking into a cheap venue like a senior center because of the numbers concern and also because of the concern of rain. I mean I have a pretty nice sized backyard, especially when you consider most of the others in the area I live in, but it’s not big enough to hold 90 people all that comfortably and certainly not with everyone seated! Then what happens if it rains? OMG! My house would be packed like sardines! She really liked the idea of us looking into another venue and also pointed out that it would take some burden off my folks in having to get the yard ready and a bunch of other things.
Chapman Chapel – So after our meeting with Erin, we headed over to Chapman Chapel and got our contract signed and our wedding time set (ceremony will start at 2pm!) and everything finalized with them. They gave us some homework to do, but we have until August to have it done and into them. We made sure they took a photocopy of our marriage certificate so there is no confusion later when we don’t have a marriage license. lol
Norman P Murray Center – We got done with Chapman Chapel at 330pm (earlier then we expected) and decided on a whim to call my folks and see if they wanted to take us by the senior/community center that they had been telling us about. They agreed, so we picked them up and off we went again! The location is GORGEOUS! I need to get back there and get some photos of the outside, but it is very well done. It sets next to Oso Park and overlooks Oso Canyon and creek. I’m thinking that this would be a fantastic spot for e-pics when we have them! Then we went inside. We saw a couple of rooms and decided that the size on 2 of them was good even if a bit big and saw 2 other rooms that if they had the divider opened so they were one big room would be a nice size as well. We grabbed a brochure that showed the layout of the place and the pricing list and my dad snagged someone to show us around. Turned out they had ONE room left for October 16 and it is perfect! It’s just the right size and it’s off to the side so we wouldn’t have to worry about having a party across the hall from us and it’s got it’s own bathroom (male and female so right off the bat at LEAST as many toilets as my house would have if not more) and kitchen with warming oven!
The great part about this is that this room that ended up being available was the EXACT room that I’d been thinking would be the right fit for us! It has a piano in the room that we can ask for them to leave there if we want and it’s got a big flat panel tv in the room that is probably about 50 inches that we can also use if we choose! We’ll still be able to do the music that we want, just on CD’s rather then on iPod, and the room rental rate includes tables and chairs setup however we ask them to! Here’s a link to the site and at some point when I’m feeling better, I’ll go take pics of the outside to show you how gorgeous it is:http://cityofmissionviejo.org/Depart…e.aspx?id=1572
We went ahead and secured the room right on the spot. All of us just saw it and knew it was right for us and would just save us so much headache and worry! Besides, at $40/hour, you just really can’t beat that price! Erin’s really happy with our choice and is familiar with that venue as well, so she’s excited to start thinking about how to decorate it!
What’s even better is that IF we should change our minds, we have until 30 days prior to cancel with only a $15 cancellation fee!! $15 is SOOOO worth my peace of mind!
May 6, 2010
A Perfect DVD Gift – Today we met with Demille and Andrea from A Perfect DVD Gift. http://www.perfectdvdgift.com/ They are a married couple that does videography together and they seem to be a fun couple with a good sense of humour! They offer us a videography package for $350 that would cover the 2 hours we have the chapel, all raw footage on DVD’s plus a professionally edited DVD as well. They require no money down, just us saying we want to hire them. They’ll give us an invoice showing that they’ve agreed to shoot our wedding video and if something changes then we let them know. They use 2 video cameras plus they take some pics as well so they can add more info and fun to the wedding video. They took a look at our venue (that’s where we met them today) and loved it! They said the lighting and ambience was perfect.
I’m working to keep an open mind about this, but this was my favorite on paper before we even met them (because they offer the best bang for the buck in that we get both raw footage AND an edited copy), and both Anton and I came away from the meeting feeling like they would be our videographers. We’ll see what happens with the other 2, but we really like this couple.
May 7, 2010
A Timeless Event – The 2nd videographer was A Timeless Event (http://www.atimelessevent.net/weddin…ers/BAsic.html). Stephanie was nice, …but… we just didn’t get the same connection feeling we did with Andrea and DeMille. She seemed in good spirits and had a decent sense of humor, but she was fairly quiet and down to business. I guess I don’t know how to define it very well. We liked her, but didn’t feel she was right for us. She was also willing to offer us a really good package, especially if we added on photography with them, but it would mean that we would only have one videographer (one camera) and one photographer (granted we currently only have one photographer), but do the ceremony AND reception, give us an edited DVD, engagement and boudour all for $1100. Maybe this sounds wrong or mean, but that just almost seemed a bit… desperate? lol Or maybe we are already just too sold on the 1st couple to really give Stephanie a fair shot.
lol ok… that post probably represents how much my brain power for today is lacking. Anton and I both woke up feeling dead tired and dreading an hour long drive and a full day out and about. That feeling was followed up by the fact that I left my purse (with my credit card, drivers license, passport, Anton’s wallet, and his passport WITH the visa stamp) in front of a Vons store that we ate lunch at… luckily someone nice found it and turned it into the Vons store’s lost and found and nothing was missing, but OMG!
Pacific Bakery follow-up – We finished the day off with a meeting with Pacific Bakery to taste test their fondant. We’d liked them when we first met them, and we loved that they could make the cake we wanted and it was in a price that we felt was affordable (even though it was a bit over budget). Today when we tasted their fondant it was YUMMY! We still haven’t heard back from our other contender regarding a finalized price on the cake, so I think at this point we are going to take that as a sign and go with Pacific Bakery. I loved that the SAMPLE they gave us was this perfectly made slightly larger then twinky sized cake complete with whip cream frosting decorations around the bottom! Showed really a lot of class in my opinion that they took the time to make it nice (and for that matter allow us in essence a 2nd cake testing) for people that hadn’t signed a contract with them yet. We’ve been impressed with their service and we very much like their work that we’ve seen and tasted.
May 11, 2010
Kitty’s Catering follow-up – On a HUGE note… we signed our caterer today! We had our taste testing and O.M.G.! Her food was DIVINE! She made us nearly our whole menu, so today for lunch we had tri-tip, BBQ chicken, garlic mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, and 3 kinds of pasta!!! The only things we didn’t get to taste are the salad, rolls, and wontons with sweet chili sause. The tri-tip was seriously about the best I’ve ever tasted!!! And the rest was very very good as well. So we signed her on the spot.
A Perfect DVD Gift follow-up – Our videographer is chosen as well. We never got a chance to meet up with the 3rd group as they asked to push us off again to next week. We had really wanted to make a decision on it this week, and asked them if there was any way they could squeeze us in, but it was a no-go. We really really liked Andrea and DeMille, so we decided to bite the bullet and just go with our gut feeling.