The day of the wedding, the draping behind the band and the wall in the cocktail hour space were beautiful. It was absolutely stunning! Additionally, she included additional lighting to wash the walls at no additional cost. It was gorgeous!!
Instead of pinspotting the centerpieces, Deborah opted to pin spot the head table. She said that she made the decision based on her work as an artist. I wish she would have followed up with me after the wedding. When I saw my photos and realized that the centerpieces were not pinspotted, I assumed that I had paid for serviced not rendered. After an email and a phone call, Deborah explained that she made the decision to change the lighting design slightly. I feel that a change like this warrants a conversation with the customers.
Lingerie – Trousseau
Photobooth – Photobooth Express
Additionally, we’re only mildly pleased with our formal shots. We agreed to a 15-20 minute shoot with families. The photos are decent but the angle is not perfect. The location was a last minute change. If the photos weren’t coming out, I wish that she would have moved us to a new location. I love Sally. I love the engagement photos that she took. I love the photos that she did take… I just wish that the other photos were taken, per our request.
Transportation – La Salle Limo
My husband purchased his tuxedo from Jos A Bank during a Thanksgiving sale in Indy. He exchanged the pants for a flat panel cut up in Chicago without a problem. He did not use their tailoring services. He was very pleased.
My husband was adamant that he wanted a real bow tie for him and his groomsmen. Brooks Brothers was having a January sale so we bought 9. One small problem– my husband forgot to practice on how to tie a bow tie. Instead of asking the DOC for help, the guys were googling about 10 minutes before they were supposed to be ready. This is after a day of sitting around watching the Cubs play and drinking beer. I’ve gone completely off topic here. I would recommend Brooks Brothers. I would not recommend getting real bow-ties unless your fiance is positive he knows what he is doing.
My high fashion husband loves Thomas Pink. He always looks so handsome in their shirts. For our dating anniversary gift, I bought him a tuxedo shirt. They are ridiculously expensive. If he didn’t love them, I would have just gone to Brooks Brothers or Jos A Bank.
Weddings 826 will schedule an hour long appointment for you with your dress so that you can try on veils to match your dress. I found this to be very helpful because I didn’t realize that I wanted a veil until I purchased my dress. While it is possible to get a veil slightly cheaper online, I feel that the customer service was well worth it. Besides, I was able to wear my dress again! I would highly recommend.
Wedding– The night of the wedding, everything was perfect. More than that, the week of the wedding, we had absolutely no problems. Let’s start with the good. The hotel was amazing when it came to food. For the entrée duet, we changed the salmon to a crab cake. We also added a pasta course and supplied our own recipes. We also came up with some more unique hors d’oeuvres and they were totally willing to do it. I really appreciated it. The service was outstanding.
Things that I didn’t like– I wish that Kerry could have gotten back to us more quickly during the planning process. I don’t know if she is under-staffed/over-worked but 10 days for a reply is far too long. I loathe the draping in the Music Room and the Walnut Room. If I had the money, I would have brought new drapes in for my event. They are absolutely hideous. I would recommend the venue. Overall, we really enjoyed the Allegro.
My in-law’s were the first to check in on Thursday night. When I went to visit them on Friday, I realized that their room was on a floor with construction. I was livid. I specifically had a line added to my contract stating that I did not want any rooms to be booked on floors with construction. To top it off, my mother-in-law said that it was loud. Sarah was on vacation. Kerry was away that day in training. After speaking with the front desk, my in-laws were finally moved.
When my Maid of Honor and I went to check into our room at noon, I was unable even though Sarah had assured me that I would be able to check in early. We tried to check in again around 5PM. The room was still not ready. Luckily, I had rented out the Stardust Suite so we were able to get ready in that room while guests were drinking and socializing. Not ideal, but it worked. When we did go to check into the room at 10:30PM, the front desk associate told us that he had bad news for us. The only room that was available was the room that my in-laws had vacated. Great. I am having my wedding at the hotel and I get the crappy suite. I even asked if we could get a regular room but there was none available.
I was even unhappier when I found that there was a second hotel block under the name of Jacobs that had received our suites. While the chances of two hotel blocks with the same name are slim, I was still very frustrated with the entire situation. We were having our wedding there. Therefore, we deserved first priority.
Additionally, I was frustrated that my husband and I were unable to check into our bridal suite until 5PM because the room was not ready. Surely, one would assume that the bride and groom would prefer to check in to the bridal suite long before the reception commences. It is extremely disappointing customer service. The silver lining of the situation is that my guests did not have to experience any of these problems.
A few days later, I emailed her to see if she saw the problem. Apparently, the cards were destroyed in the mail. Maybe I am overly sensitive, but she never accepted the blame or apologized. While I see her point of view (she didn’t get proof of the mistake), I wish that she would have been a little more regretful about the entire situation.
I love Welcome Bags! As a guest, there is nothing better in my mind than checking into a hotel and finding a package to welcome you. While not a must for all Brides, I feel that they are a Must If Affordable.
For my wedding, I was torn by having something visually stunning (but utterly worthless) or something practical (and a little boring). I think my Welcome Bags (aka OOT gift bags) are somewhere in the middle.
Although gable boxes are all the rage, I opted for something reusable. I ordered reusable scarlet totes from Cheap Totes. They were fairly inexpensive and are great for the environment. I thought about doing an iron-on for our wedding but I figured that most guests would be less inclined to re-use a bag branded with my wedding logo. Instead, I attached these cute vintage postcards to the bag with a piece of satin ribbon.
The Goods: I love swag but I also wanted to make the bag practical. In the bags, we gave guests items all made from the City of Chicago:
- 2 bottles of water – a luxury in Chicago as we have a plastic bottle tax
- Jay’s Potato Chips
- Melissa & Denton Word Puzzle
- Welcome Materials from the City of Chicago
- Quaker Oats Snack
- Tootsie Roll’s
- Fischer Peanuts
- Wrigley Gum
- Jelly Belly’s
- Our Awesome Welcome Letter
Since I wanted to add a cohesive look to the bag, the DIY Champion of our Household – my husband, Denton – made labels to package up the Jelly Belly’s and the Fischer Peanuts.
He also made the labels for the Water Bottles. Adding a label to a water bottle is the easiest DIY ever. Simply buy some bottles from CostCo, rip off the old labels, and then attach the new ones. Denton bought the labels from Labels by the Sheet.
The best part of the bag was our Welcome Letter. Much more than a letter, we had 8 pages that included information on our favorite sites, a timeline for the weekend, a map, and a short note from us.
My husband had this printed on a heavy resume paper and cut at Office Max. He whole punched the paper and assembled with braids from Paper Source. They are simply gorgeous. We received many compliments on our bags.
My lovely maids decided to combine a few of my favorite things: italian food, champagne, hotels.
The four of us started the night out at the James Hotel. We hung out and then got ready for the big night out. What better way to start out the night than to drink some champagne? (This will be a reoccuring theme for the night!)
Around 6ish, my friends arrived for a personal shower. My bridesmaids had the most fun goodie bags! They included all sort of fun things including nail art. I put on some stickers that spelled “M + J”. Since my husband’s name ends with J, this is a sign of the state I was in my 7pm!
Since I was really adament about not wanting to wear anything “bachelorette party-esque”, I was told to wear something in a really bright color. It turns out that everyone else wore black. It was much more chic than the group of girls we saw that evening in matching fuschia T-Shirts with boas, in my opinion.
After the shower, we headed to Quartino’s for dinner. Quartino’s is a great place for a family style dinner. I would highly recommend this venue for group dining.
Once dinner was finished, we headed to Pops For Champagne, a great lounge for champagne, of course! We had a toast at the beginning of the night- which was probably one of the highlights of the evening for me.
Just as more things are being accepted across the board for weddings, the same is true for bachelorette parties. I am so glad that we did something that was very “me” than a more “traditional” bachelorette party.
When I contacted Accolade for a string quartet, they gave me pricing for a trio or a quartet. I didn’t realize that my contract was for a trio until the week of the wedding. My bad. Luckily, they were able to find a fourth performer. They went above and beyond because they took the time to learn some songs for us. I wanted to enter to Coldplay’s Clocks and we wanted to exit to Enya. They learned the songs and they sounded PERFECT. I would highly recommend.
Ring – Fredrick M. Gottlieb & Co.
67 E. Madison St. Suite 1921
Before I write my vendor reviews, I would like to talk about reviews again.
- It is really important to give reviews as well as vendor feedback. As a vendor, I love hearing from Brides.
- That said, if you read a review, keep in mind that you are not that Bride and you may not have the same opinions as her. I have seen some brides rave about things that I thought were hideous. I have also seen some Brides complain about things where I could find nothing wrong.
- Finally, remember that the vendor could be having an off day. No one wants a vendor to have an off day on their wedding day. However, it happens. I would still write an honest view of the vendor.
For the most part, I was pleased with my vendors. I am happy to publish their names and information on my blog so that they could get repeat business. I am also going to post the reviews on Yelp!