Monday, September 27, 2010

Wedding Vendor Reviews

Heritage Hunt, Venue, Catering/Food and Beverage: A-
Leah Stewart was a hoot and a joy to work with! When I met with her for a tasting, she did a great job assuring me that her and her staff would take care of set up and decorations. For a bride who doesn’t have a planner, that meant a lot to me! The food was good, and the place is lovely! Brandon and Susan were great at running the rehearsal, and Susan had some great tips on calming yourself before the wedding that I took to heart.
There were some small things they missed: They forgot to serve the very sauces I requested for one of my dishes, and my ceremony flowers ended up on the stage of my reception rather than the ceremony itself. These two things are such small issues within the big picture, and didn’t overshadow the overall satisfaction I have with them. Aside from that, they did awesome!

Diana Marie Gibbs, Harpist: A+++
No words can express how much I love this woman and her harp. She was able to accommodate all of my music requests, whether it was me and my husband’s two songs, or the score music from the Twilight Saga that I wanted playing during the prelude. It was because of her music that I kept tearing up during our ceremony, and I think it added a special touch. She is also quite responsive to emails. I regret not being able to greet her because I in confinement before the ceremony, and busy taking pictures after. Diana, if you’re reading this, I hope you know I loved your music. Thanks so for making our big day even more special!

Fluffy Thoughts Cakes, Wedding Cake: A+
I’ve been stalking Fluffy Thought’s website for close to 2 years before getting engaged. I was intrigued by her artistic background in sculpture as well as her abundant amount of flavors! Within a week of being proposed to, I had already booked a tasting with Lara Stuckey, which she was still holding out of her condo in Mclean at the time. The tasting was amazing with 5 different cake flavors, an array of fillings, and spreads for you to try diverse combinations of. Um… YUM! My sister, who doesn’t normally like “busy” desserts, couldn’t get enough and wanted to try more combinations! Not only did I love Lara’s personality, but I loved the design and taste of work as well! Lara and her team did a phenomenal job on my cake! She did a 9 inch cake for my private church wedding in August that tasted phenomenal (white choc cake, raspberry butter cream, cream cheese frosting, and passion fruit curd). For my larger reception, she helped me keep costs low by suggesting a decorated 5-tier-stacked cake, with where 4 tiers where foam. I ordered two more sheet cakes and served the slices buffet style. I had 3 different flavors: My Passion, Red Velvet, and White Chocolate/Hazelnut. The cake was GORGEOUS and I still dream about the passion fruit curd, and the hazelnut butter cream three weeks later! I also ordered two grooms cakes, a mustang cake and cupcakes for the rehearsal, and a 9 inch round with superman emblem for my wedding (we had slight smallville theme). Guests raved about the cakes from all of my events! I still get requests for leftovers! I look forward to my anniversary cake in a year. Please don’t delay, and hire Lara and Fluffy Thoughts for your next (wedding) event!

Hino Banzon, Photographer: A
Having studied Hino’s portfolio against others, I’d always had full confidence that I won’t be disappointed in his photos. Hino is the sweetest person ever, and working with him was a joy. When I first met him in the winter, he was so quiet and nice that it seemed timid. I only had a small concern that he might not be as assertive enough to battle my large family and long list of formals. However, on the day itself, he totally proved me wrong and rocked it! And because he was so sweet and non-abrasive in personality, my family and friends really took to him, which was just SO great. I really, sincerely enjoyed working with him. He even called me the morning of the wedding just to congratulate me, and I appreciate his professionalism and not losing sight of the fact that it was a very big day for me as the bride, as some vendors in the wedding industry have sadly begun to do. Brian, his second shooter, was also really sweet and easy to work with! The photos were gorgeous, and very quick in delivery of the high definition images, as well as my awesome three 8x12 prints. I am totally happy with Hino and Bryan’s work, and would definitely recommend going with Hino B Photography.
Dolce Studios, Videographer: A
I’ll update this when I get the video back, but knowing their portfolio, I know that I won’t be disappointed. Natasha was my shooter, and she was great. She had an easy going personality and was just as sweet as my photographers. In fact, they worked together only a couple weeks before my wedding, so they knew each other. That helped out a lot because they were able to assist each other in getting the shots they wanted. Hanyall was also a joy to speak with over the phone, and she was helpful in giving me tips, not only about video, but about wedding vendors in general.

Special Occasions, Chairs and Napkins: A
Lovely gold chaivari chairs and chocolate napkins. Thanks for a classy looking reception!

Ace Party Rental, Ceremony Staging : A
Staging was great and set the way we wanted. Thanks!

Steve Hessing, DJ : B+
Overall a great DJ with a low price tag (bonus!). He kept the crowd dancing, and I enjoyed much of his music. He played most of my requests, but because I had a list that was 70 songs long, I understand that there just weren’t enough hours in the night to play them all! However, he didn’t have our song for the first dance, and kept asking me about the program, even though I had provided him with the timeline prior to the wedding. He seemed to feel out the crowd when he played the music, and I appreciate that very much. Would’ve loved to have him be more organized and prepared, but all in all guest still tons of fun on the dance floor and so did we!

Lance Orndorff, Officiant: D
Mr. Lance was a joy to meet on a snowy day at Starbucks. My fiancé and I thought he seemed great and we really like him. We had high hopes and zero worries when we hired him. However, things changed as we got closer to the wedding date.
Mr. Lance needs to consider the tone he takes with his clients. He seems more preoccupied by the number of weddings he performs than the fact that it’s someone’s special day. Any questions I had for him prior to the wedding and rehearsal was met with attitude, justified by the vast number of weddings he has performed and a condescending tone which he justified by his "experience".
When my father ran late for the wedding itself, Lance was more concerned about his schedule than helping make an already stressful situation less stressful. He was the major cause of any stress rather than a source of relief. He burst into the bridal waiting room literally yelling at me, my mother, and my bridal party about my father. This is not a professional or kind way to treat a client at such a special moment in her life. He seems to book weddings much too close together, not allowing for the wiggle room that other officiant would know you need to have. We were met with a lot of un-needed stress, negativity, and unprofessional behavior on his part, that my wedding party tried to locate another officiant mere minutes before the ceremony.
I will give him one big thing: The ceremony went better than expected. Though it was cut short due to my father’s late arrival, Lance actually did a good job condensing the ceremony. He entertained the crowd, keeping it light and funny. The ceremony was a success, regardless of his irritated manner behind the scenes. If you weren’t aware of his negative attitude or stress-inducing outburst towards me and my bridal party regarding my father’s tardiness (mere moments before the ceremony), you would probably think he was awesome.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rehearsal Dessert: A mustang Roush?

There aren't many things in this life that Mr Smallville loves more than me.

His parents are a given.

But there is one other love of his that he can never deny.

Mr Smallville loves his car.

It's a 429 Roush 2009 Mustang.

Special Edition. He even got Jack Roush to sign it.

Here's my SURPRISE GROOM'S GIFT idea for Mr. S (I trust if you know him, that you'd keep this to yourself)...

So I got a quote from Fluffy thoughts on doing a Roush Cake for the rehearsal dinner... just 40 servings (to cut down on cost) and then maybe order 3 dozen cupcakes (they're priced much mor reasonably.

The quote... well it was $500... for 40 servings. While i do understand design charge, as well as all the work put into it, I dont think i could justify $500 for 40 servings of cake.

So i came up with an alternative:

Yes, that's my own design. It has the roushe logo on top, with the mustang in the front, and the two trademark stripes across the cake to sort of drive it all home. Its basically his car translated into one cake. I quoted for 70 servings... 30 yellow cake/vanilla butter cream/fresh strawberries, and 40 marble cake/milk chocoloate ganache/vanilla buttecream/valrhona choc crunchies.

Quote price? $375.

More then the 30 servings of the original $500 car cake!

Yes its still a bit steep but at least it serves 70 this time... about $5/serving.

Hmm.. i wasnt too impressed with the price so i talked it down YET AGAIN. The rehearsal dinenr guest list is growing since out of town guests are invited as well as those involved with the wedding. So we're looking at 80-90 servings now.

What i ended up with is a 1 layer 6 inch cake with the roush logo on top, and mustang logo on the side (on top of the double stripe). I'll post a pic of it later. And then, i'll serve cupcakes with the matching grey colored icing as the cake.

It's now at $375 for teh 6 inch wich serves 12, and another 72 cupcakes with filling.
Flavor of the 6 inch cake for the fruity lovers: Yellow Cake, Vanilla Buttercream, Fresh Strawberries

Cupcake Flavor for the chocolate lover: Milk Chocolate Ganache filled Marble cupcakes, Vanilla buttercream w/ chocolate crunchies.

I think the guests will enjoy the dessert, and i hope that he will appreciate the gesture.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Programs: Another Labor of Love

Long ago, I saw a post by fellow bee, Miss Plumeria, on her great wedding programs. This is totally inspired by her work!

They're the size of a letter size piece of paper folded in half... twice. Remember my invitation's sash and envelope liner? well i also got a spread printed of two of our engagement photos.
They make for great surprises for the guests, dont you think?
It was several pages long, with a few dedications, 2 pages for the bridal party, 4 for the ceremony, an acknowlegements page, a thank you, and a quick list of the reception's program as well.
Bound with gold thread, just like Miss Plumeria's was!

Answering a Bridesmaid's 911!

My cousin did emergency kits for her BM's for her wedding in 2006. I thought i could do it with my own flare. Above was my unique packaging idea. Tissue paper and gift bag from

Here are the items each of my BM's got:

Old Navy Gold Flipfolps, Hair spray, Facial Cleansing wipes, nail polish removing wipes, cotton swabs, cotton pads, tampons, toothbrush, toothpaste floss things, magic tape, crazy glue, static guard, lint roller, tide pen/stick, first aid kit, comb, antibacterial hand wipes, lotion, tissues, razor, safety pins, bobby pins, hair ties, tweezers, granola bar battled water, lip balm, lip gloss, COACH pocket mirror, and much much more!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Groom's Cake Idea

The password to our wedding web site is Smallville.

It was the first subject we ever discussed while on Instant Messenger, before we met, of course. We debated on whether or not Lana Lang was good enough for Clarke. I was adamant to say no. He's meant not for silly little her, but for sophisticated, spicy Lois Lane.

For those of you who don't know, Lois calls Clarke Smallville. Why? Because he's kinda dorky, small-town, and the town he's from is called Smallville.

Being from the big city, I'd always assumed I'd meet city guy. Little did I know where I'd find love... and it was the absolute unexpected place ever! But, he's GREAT! With my humble, kind, small town boyfriend of southern VA, I also call him Smallville... sometimes.

So what I am planning to do is have just a few TASTEFUL things give a nod to our very first bonding experience with Smallville.
  1. The website password, again, is smallville.
  2. The table numbers, will also have names that have to do with Smallville, Superman, and all the DC Comics places/locations/cities.
  3. The Groom's Cake

Well the above is an idea, anyway.

I have concerns that my original wedding cake will turn his father off, who likes very simple and straight to the point vanilla cake with vanilla frosting: No chocolote, no fruit, no nuts. Too bad that qualifies in all 3 of my wedding cake flavors!

So, here's a way to provide "simple" to his father, and to other guests who like vanilla. Though i couldn't resist putting one of Lara's irresistible fruit curds in there, so i went with a lemon curd, since i know he and his dad like eating cake with a bit of lemon in it (as long as its not too strong).

I have put in an order with Fluffy Thoughts for a 9-inch blue cake with the superman emblem on it! It will be yellow cake with vanilla cream cheese frosting and the lemon curd. It should serve something like 25-30 people. Yum!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Menus, and Placecards, and Thank you's OH MY!

Here is the outcome for all of my prints:

Menus, Place Cards, Table Numbers, and Thank You Cards! Yep, you know I designed them!!

Name tents that double as escort cards and place cards, complete w/ table number and meal choice.
7x7 inch table numbers, to be held by stanchions!
Menus! They're half a letter size page cut the long way:

and to show my gratitude to countless guests and vendors:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Last Minute Idea: Late Night Bites

Today I met up with my event coordinator at Heritage Hunt to finalize numbers and give my final payment. We were down to 141 paid guest meals, 14 of which were kid's meals. Not bad considering i was expecting more like 160-170 to make it. It was a real budget saver!

However, I couldn't help but wonder where all this extra money would go? Do I save it for a new dining set? A rainy day? Or do I treat my guests with more food?

My mom has attended 2 weddings in toronto that had this great late night snack portion of the evening, much like italians do at their weddings. I was at one wedding with her. I thought that was great, and we thought well... wouldnt it be nice to do that for our guests as well?

Well, I had previously posted about cookie favors as Late Night snacks, since HH won't let us "bring food," yet we're allowed to bring favors. Would've been clever, but my mom urged me not to, in an effort to save money (and time spent packaging). However, during my 1.5 hour meeting with the catering manager/coordinator at HH, I decided I should at least check into getting something like mini pizzas served later in the evening, during the dance portion of the night.

The price wasnt too bad, so i went with 120 Mini Cheeseburgers and Mini Cheese Pizzas to be served at 9:30pm! They'll be served in chaffing dishes by the door, in case people dip out early and want to grab a snack to go, and then others that are dancing the night away can grab a snack as well!

Late night bites, CHECK!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sand, Glorious Sand!

So i blogged about unity sand ceremony in lieu of a candle since wind is an issue during outdoor ceremonies. Here is how I did it!

A curvy vase

plus 2 identical fat bottles w/ small necks

plus 2 corks (that have to be shaved down to fit in the small bottles)

Plus Sand From Michaels equals:

A unity sand set for hardly any money!