Vendor Reviews, Part III

When we initially contacted lighting & draping vendors, we said that we wanted three things: pin spotting, gobo, and a wall of fabric to separate the cocktail hour space. After speaking with a few vendors, we opted to work with Deborah. She met with us twice during the planning process. After the initial consultation, she convinced me to pin spot only half my centerpieces and to spend money on uplighting for the band.

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.

Finally, we were disappointed with our gobo. Since our design was intricate, we paid for a steel cut design that cost double the normal price. I was ok with it because I wanted the design to appear very crisp. Instead, the gobo was extremely large and some of the letters were blocked by the chandeliers. After two visits to the space, I would have hoped that this problem would not have happened.

Lingerie – Trousseau

Trousseau offers a service for you to try on various bustiers with your dress. Lovely. We hauled my 20lb dress to their cute boutique on Southport and they found me the perfect bustier for my wedding day. The service was outstanding. The price was reasonable. I would highly recommend.
Mani & Pedis – Spa Emilia
After calling around a few spas, I booked here based on availability as well as a recommendation. On our rehearsal day, one bridesmaid arrived there ahead of all of us. She was told that I booked the spa on the wrong date. I called to find out the problem. The woman was not very nice. She claimed that I booked the spa for May 15th. I don’t see how I could have made a mistake with the math as it is one day before my wedding — a date that has been ingrained in my head for over a year. Boo. I was then charged a $300 missed service charge. I am disputing with my credit card company. I would not recommend.
Menus- Knottie KatVon & My Dedicated Niece
Kate saw my online breakdown after my disastrous attempt at my DIY projects on top of traveling to NYC for three weeks in a row, six weeks before my wedding. Since she wants to get into design, she offered to help design our menus. We met and talked over our design ideas. She came up with a fantastic design that included blank space at the top of the menu for the calligrapher to write guests names, thus serving as a menu/ place card. My DIY guru husband had the menus printed and cut at Office Max. We dropped them off at the calligrapher, and there wasn’t enough space for her to write the name.
There really wasn’t enough time to have Kate go back and create new menus for us so I was going to suck it up and use them. However, my body wouldn’t let me. Specifically, I was up until 3:30AM, saying to myself, “I cannot use these menus”.
Instead, my niece, Ashlynn, bastardized her design and re-printed at Office Max, the day before our wedding. Ashlynn also heat embossed our monogram on the bottom of the new menu. The design is solely Kate’s. I would highly recommend Kate’s work. She did a fabulous job. I am really to blame for waiting to the last moment.

Photobooth – Photobooth Express

I really wanted to have a photobooth at our wedding. I have always loved photobooths while I was growing up. We had taken some photos using Photobooth Express at a Yelp! Elite event. I was impressed with the service so I contacted Mike about our wedding. The price was extremely competitive. On the night of the wedding, the photobooth attendant was outstanding. She offered to help out my DOC a few different times. I would highly recommend!
This is probably the hardest review for me to write. I love Sally. She is so cool yet very personable. I love the spontaneous wedding photos. She did a great job at capturing candid moments. Her skills are in photojournalism. However, I was not completely satisfied with our photos. We had listed a number of categories that were not covered (example: photos of the guys getting ready, photos of the ceremony space without guests, groom watching the bride walk down the aisle, etc.). Perhaps our requests were too much. If so, I would have appreciated that she recommended a second photographer.

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.

Pianist – Sana Ma
The pianist was wonderful. She was arranged via Accolade Musicians. She played Fur Elise as the last song, per my request for the cocktail hour. I would recommend.
Pre-Marital Counseling – Urban Balance
They were wonderful. I would highly recommend. For a more detailed review, please click my here to read my blog.

Rehearsal Dinner – Giordano’s
Giordano’s did a great job. The food was good, the service was great. If you are from Chicago, you know what you are going to get at Giordano’s. Here are the three things that frustrated me:
1. I received a call on Friday saying to confirm my party. Since my Mother-in-law (MIL) was dropping off items for the party, I told her to take care of the confirmation. I received a second phone call at 3PM saying that I needed to confirm my party for tonight or it would be cancelled. WTF? I call back, and they said that they needed confirmation from me even though my MIL had already been there to drop off a load of junk for the party. Odd.
2. The bathroom needed to be serviced midway through our event. I found someone to take care of it immediately.
3. We put a credit card down on file. As the party started to end, there was about 15 of us lingering around. Exhausted, I left with my Maid of Honor about a half hour later. Then, the head waitress comes up to my husband and says that they need the final payment. They offer to “chase that lady [me] down the street” much to the amusement of the remaining guests. My husband offers up his card without any further problem.
Rentals – Covered Affairs
Covered Affairs is not into email. That is frustrating for a girl like me, who has her Treo attached on her at all times. However, I wanted to pay as little as possible for linens and chairs and they are the absolute cheapest.
The week of the wedding, when I confirmed my final numbers, Magda told me that they are fine. The chivari chairs were beautiful. The linens were perfect…except for the linen for the candy buffet. It had lines in it as though it has been folded in squares. I can’t begrudge them for one mix-up but I can’t give them an A either. I would still recommend.
Rentals – Flatware – Hall’s
Since I loathe the flatware at the Allegro, I opted to rent some from Hall’s. They were easy to work with via email. I did get a random computer generated email saying from them saying to call immediately. I called and they didn’t need to talk to me. Regardless, I would recommend.
I found the shoes months ago in a magazine and cut them out. A few months later, I found myself at Saks trying them on. Unfortunately, no location had my size in stock. I went straight to the Oscar boutique and ordered them over the phone. This is my only disappointment– why isn’t there an Oscar boutique in Chicago? I would have loved a chance to go shopping in the store. They came in the mail the following week. Two weeks later, I received a sweet thank you letter. Outstanding customer service.

Transportation – La Salle Limo

I really didn’t want to rent limos. I wanted the bridal party to travel via cabs especially since we had a complicated travel system and cabs can take much longer. However, I was concerned that I might get into a cab that was dirty and it would stain my dress. (Bloody wedding nightmares!) Anyhoo, as a long standing customer of La Salle, they upgraded my town car to a limo. It was very nice of them. It wasn’t anything fancy but I did NOT WANT a bridal limo. I was very pleased. I would highly recommend.

There were no problems with the tuxedos for the group. I do wish that my father-in-law had received a slightly smaller shirt. I think that he lost weight and doesn’t realize that he needs to go down a size! Regardless, it was quick and easy. Our party included individuals in many other states (IN, TX, MO, FL) and we didn’t have a problem.

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.

Veil – Weddings 826

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.

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