- 8 years ago
- Wedding: May 2010
Here are my vendor reviews for our wedding 5/21/10.
Venue: Piper Palm House
First of all, the Piper Palm House is a beautiful place to have a wedding. We knew right away that it would be perfect for what we had in mind. However, we were very disappointed with several things. The rental coordinator’s response rate to my emails prior to the wedding was hit and miss – sometimes she would respond right away, but there were some questions that she never responded to. I did not know who would be our contact person on the evening of the wedding until two days before, and I had to ask this question several times before I got an answer. Two days before the wedding, we happened to be in the neighborhood and decided to drive by the Palm House just to see how everything looked. As we drove up, we saw that there was caution tape and bright orange construction barrels around the fountain and the Ruins. I started freaking out, and we walked closer and saw that the area around the fountain had been torn up in places and that the fountain had been drained. There was also some construction machinery in the area. This would be highly visible during our ceremony (guests would be facing this direction in our outdoor wedding), and we had planned to do first look pictures at the Ruins. We attempted to talk to someone in the office right away, but it was after 5pm and everyone had gone for the day. First thing in the morning, Darling Husband called the office and asked what was going on and why we had not been notified. The coordinator’s assistant told him she would check with the rangers. She then called me and said that everything would be moved by 12pm on the day of our wedding. Later that day at our rehearsal, I again checked with her to make sure that no construction materials would be visible, and she assured me they would not. I told her we planned to do first look pictures at around 12:30 and she said everything would be moved by then. Of course, the next day the guys arrived with the second shooter and NOTHING had been moved. They had to go to the office and tell someone, and they finally got it taken care of, but it put us behind on photos by about 30 minutes. At the reception, the “coordinator” was not really all that helpful – thank goodness we had 2 friends that took charge of setting things up, and one of our friends said the Palm House staff were kind of rude to her. The evening coordinator also never even introduced herself to me or Darling Husband and never really spoke to either of us. I kind of got the feeling that they were only there to make sure we didn’t break anything. They had no idea where to find candle lighters to light our centerpieces (Really? You have receptions here every weekend and no candle lighters?) Also, the Palm House requires a $500 refundable damage deposit to be paid a month before the wedding. It was supposed to be refunded within 14 days after the wedding. It took 19 days for the deposit to be refunded to our credit card, and they did not return my original phone call about that either – we had to call them again. Overall, I would say it’s a beautiful venue, and we got lots of compliments on our choice, but their customer service is definitely lacking.
Photographer: Brigid Robeen, Wild Irish Rose Photography
Brigid was FABULOUS! She always responded quickly to my emails and questions and had some really great ideas about where to do location photos. She came to my MOH’s house while we were getting ready and then followed us to the Palm House for first look shots. She kicked the Palm House people into gear to get the construction stuff moved and wouldn’t take excuses from them. We had a blast doing our location photos with her. She had some really fun ideas and listened to ours too. She did the family photos really efficiently. We had our dog in our wedding and wanted to include him in some photos, and she was great with him. She had our photo gallery of over 600 edited proofs up about 5 weeks after the wedding, and they were fantastic pictures. I also did boudoir photos with her, and she put me at ease right away and made it really fun. They turned out great and Darling Husband loved them!
Caterer: Butler’s Pantry
Butler’s Pantry is the exclusive caterer at the Palm House, so we didn’t have much of a choice there. The food was really good, but I was a little apprehensive that they do not do tastings. They did, however, give us a free brunch at Café Madeline and the Palm House, with a few dishes the same (but we did not get to taste all our options). Leading up to the wedding, Bridget, our catering contact, was really helpful. She met with us twice to go over everything and responded quickly to my emails and phone calls. However, several weeks before the wedding I had asked her if we could get the napkins so that we could put napkin wraps that we were making on them (eliminating this work for her staff – I figured it would be easier and would allow them to devote their time to other things that day). She said that was fine, I could pick them up on the Wednesday before the wedding. That morning, she emailed me and said that she would call when they arrived from the cleaners, and that it would probably by around lunch time. At 2:30, I still hadn’t heard from her, so I called. They told me that she had left for the day to help at an event. I asked about our napkins, and they had no idea what I was talking about, but that they would call Bridget’s cell phone. Half an hour later, I still hadn’t heard anything, so I called again. They said that she hadn’t answered her phone and again tried to figure out what was going on. I finally talked to someone that figured out where the napkins were and we were able to get them. But the whole situation was stressful and I never received an apology from Bridget. The day of the wedding she seemed to be fine, I didn’t have much contact with her. The service staff seemed pretty good, other than the fact that I had to chase them down during cocktail hour to get hors d’oeuvres!
Flowers: Chic Events by Angie
Angie was AWESOME! She was by far the lowest priced of the florists I met with, and she really listened to what I wanted and made suggestions that I really liked. She did not try to pressure me into more expensive flowers or things I didn’t want like some of the other florists I talked with. On the day of the wedding, she delivered my bouquet and my bridesmaids’ bouquets to my MOH’s house where we were getting ready, then followed us to the venue to pin on the guys boutonnieres. I had forgotten to include a bout for our friend who was walking our dog down the aisle when I had met with her, and she put one together at the last minute at no extra charge. We were going to take all our pictures before the ceremony and didn’t have access to the venue until 4pm, so she came back at 4pm to deliver the family corsages and bouts and the flowers for our centerpieces and helped set them up, again at no extra charge. She gave us flower spray for the bouquets and 3 vases to keep them in while we were out taking pictures. I got several compliments on how beautiful and fresh the flowers looked from our guests. She also knew that I loved calla lilies, so she made a special centerpiece for our table with callas instead of orchids as a surprise. When the people at the venue couldn’t find a candle lighter to light our centerpieces, she hurried out to buy us two. We ended up giving part of the tip we had originally allocated for the catering coordinator to her since she was more helpful!
Our cake was beautiful and delicious! Their prices were pretty good, and they actually had just changed their pricing structure right before we placed our order, and we ended up paying about $100 less than we originally thought!
DJ: Tom Rotter, Block Rockin’ Beats
Tom was great both before the wedding and on that day. We liked him right away, and he totally got our “no cheesy DJ” requirement. He listened to what we wanted, made some suggestions, and checked in with us several times to confirm everything. Two nights before the wedding called me just to go through everything again after our final meeting and make sure we were on the same page. He kept people on the dance floor and was great at reading the crowd. He also checked in with us a few times throughout the night to make sure that everything was going smoothly. I would definitely recommend!
Ceremony Music: Serenade Strings
We used the string duo (violin and cello). I really don’t remember much of the music, but everyone said it was beautiful. They were pretty easy to keep in contact with before the wedding.
Rehearsal Dinner: Square One Brewery
The food was good, and we had a private room upstairs with its own bathroom. They also had some background music playing, which was nice. Our server was friendly, and overall we had a good experience here. Our only complaint was that guests could only use the drink tickets in the room upstairs, not at the bar downstairs prior to dinner.
Hair: Erica Kaminski
Erica did a great job on my hair and my two bridesmaids. After my trial, I slept on my updo just to see how it would hold up, and I was able to wear it the whole next day! My hair also held up great on the day of the wedding. She was efficient, friendly, reasonably priced, and she came to us on the morning of the wedding, which was a big plus.
Makeup: Erin Moore
Erin did my and my MOH’s makeup, and we both looked great! I did the false eyelashes, and I was a little worried at first since they seemed sooooo long, but she reassured me that they would be great for pictures (and they were!). Her prices are very reasonable, she was friendly, and she also came to us the day of the wedding.
Dress: Bridal Couture
My sister actually works at this bridal shop, so I was able to get a discount on my dress J They also did the alterations, and my dress fit me perfectly.
Tuxes: Savvi Formalwear
Overall our experience was pretty good. The guys all looked great in their tuxes. One of them did get an ivory shirt instead of white, but luckily you couldn’t really tell. They did give us a little bit of a hard time about when they were due back – we had a Friday wedding, and even though everything we had been given said they were due on Sunday, when Darling Husband called just to make sure, they said that that was only for Saturday weddings, that they were actually due on Saturday since the wedding was on Friday.
Transportation: St. Louis Transportation
This was the most reasonable limo company we found, and our rate included a getaway car after the wedding for us to go to our hotel, which was great. Our driver was friendly and drove us all over for location photos, and the limo was clean and well air conditioned. I thought I lost a charm from my bouquet in the limo, so we called them and the driver combed the limo looking for it (we actually found it the next day, but it was nice of him to look so hard). The only problem we had was that they charged us extra, claiming that we had left the wedding late and the car had to wait for us, which wasn’t true. Darling Husband cleared it up pretty quickly, but it was a minor hassle.
Dance Lessons: Dance Pizzaz
We live near this studio and I had seen a few other good reviews, so it seemed like a good choice for us. Don’t get me wrong, we did learn how to dance. We just kind of felt like we were being scammed while we were doing it. David was a decent teacher overall, but sometimes he was a little condescending with us. We originally signed up for 6 lessons, and he taught us several steps. He kind of kept trying to get us to buy more lessons, and also kept trying to get Darling Husband to buy special dance shoes. By lesson 6 we still had not learned a finale for our song, so we ended up buying another lesson. Each week, David spent the first 5 minutes or so of our lesson searching for and reviewing his info card about us, which I felt he should have done before we came in and that he should have remembered at least some of that info by a couple weeks in. He called me by the wrong name once. He told us we could come practice there anytime while we were taking lessons, but once we went around 8:45pm and after we had practiced for about 10-15 minutes, he said that they were leaving early (even though he had originally told us that they were there until at least 10pm every night, usually later), and the other time there was a class going on, so we tried to use the smaller back room of the studio, which should have been fine. There was another student in there with Nikki, David’s co-director, and they were working on a few steps. We did what we could until they were finished (they only danced for about 10 minutes), but then the two of them sat down in the room and continued to talk for another 20 minutes or so while we were trying to practice! We did not feel comfortable asking them to go to another area of the studio, and we felt it was rude to play our music over their talking since they were there first, so we just did what we could in the space we had. We eventually figured out another place to practice since it was a hassle to do it there. At the end of our last lesson, he told us that they had set up a computer with a wireless connection to write a review right then and there! We felt that was kind of inappropriate and said that we would take care of that in our own time.