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St. John, USVI vendors

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#1 slimmershadier

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    Posted 17 July 2007 - 12:24 PM

    Thanks for all the positive feedback in the n00b forum. Here are the details on my experience with vendors in St. John, USVI. My wedding was July 2, 2007.

    I planned through Katie-Shea at Katilady, 90% by email. I started planning 14 months ahead of the wedding date and often felt: "Oh, her wedding isn't for a long time, there's no hurry to take care of the things she's concerned about." I worried a lot. I almost fired her, a lot. I ragged on her to my friends, a lot. I had to really insist on details because she frequently misheard (hard to accept via email) my requests. I reiterated some points countless times, and on the day-of, I did see details I'd asked for, and others that I'd asked NOT for but got anyway. But, when we had to change plans suddenly, she really shone, and totally overhauled things in about two days. So, generally speaking, things went the way I wanted, and the screw-ups were minimal and definitely not enough for me to give her a totally negative review. My advice? Plan through her, but when she sends you her .pdf invoice, EDIT IT, don't write her an email and ask her to. I got a little program called PDFPen for free and it was good enough to get my message across. On her next revision after my first foray into PDF editing, she'd caught 95% of my changes, as opposed to less than half, which had been the previous average. Two days before the wedding, she and I met in person for the first time and she had everything in order and had a very positive attitude about the wedding day--it put me more at ease. Katie-Shea did 80% of the decorating (I brought tulle/lanterns/candles/vases/etc and she put stuff up) and it was overall satisfactory. I didn't have time to do it, and while there were some things I wouldn't have done, it was a relief for someone else to take care of it at all, and the overall effect was quite good. So, a positive recommend for Katie-Shea.

    I also used Katilady for my catering (lunch) and cake. The lunch was TERRIFIC. The food was just excellent. We had mushroom-phyllo appetizers, strawberry spinach salad with a great berry vinaigrette; veggie tray with tasty dip; some kind of chicken salad sandwich--very flavorful--, Mahi, and rice with all kinds of exciting stuff in it (mandarins, almonds). It was above my expectations and was a reasonable price.

    The cake is a point of issue. I had sent a photo of exactly what I wanted: two round tiers, white buttercream, dark chocolate with orange filling, with randomly spaced vertical stripes and dots in citrus (theme!!) colors, and with lovely colorful flowers as the top, served with (but not adorned with) candied oranges. What did I get? Super-thick off-white super-super-sweet icing with too-thick, too-messy, too-large stripes and dots in citrus colors, adorned with candied oranges and no flowers to be seen. I didn't complain then, but for how specific I was, I think I have a right to complain now. People reported that it tasted good, but it was way too sweet for my liking, and fully half of the cake, I kid not, was icing. The dark chocolate cake was not so dark. I had just a small piece, and didn't even finish it. Bummer. Sol still managed to take pretty pics of it.

    Speaking of reception--let me talk about flowers. Susan was going to charge me $60 per centerpiece--literally just a handful of flowers in a 4.5" low squarish vase. Instead, I let her order me $250 in flowers and I put the centerpieces together myself (savings of about $110, control over centerpieces priceless) with a little wet foam. It took me an hour on the morning of the wedding. They were perfect. The flowers were a little beat-up (not OK) but I mended as best I could and they looked just great. However. I had a MAJOR issue with the flowers at the ceremony, which I mostly left to her. I stipulated: "No greenery, no trailing stuff like ivy, and ONLY citrus colors: light orange, green, pink, and yellow. Required flowers include lilies, gerbers, and green roses, but are not limited to those." Think that's pretty clear? No way. My bouquet had red flowers, white-and-pink flowers, purple flowers, etc, in addition to the stuff I liked. If I hadn't been handed the bouquet literally 45 seconds before walking down the aisle, I would have thrown it back at her. The flowers at the site--six small arrangements on aisle chairs and two large-ish "floral torches" had the same not-quite-what-I-wanted color scheme. Granted: they looked nice then and in the photos. But: she totally went against my wishes, which I had covered NUMEROUS times. Heck, she even made 4 groomsmen boutonnieres--when we had changed the order to remove the groomsmen more than a month ahead. So, if you can get around using her for flowers, do it, but Katie-Shea insisted she was the only capable florist on the island and having flowers shipped there is not an option.

    Our officiant was Emmanuel Jaggernauth. He is a Baptist minister, but when we met him, the first thing he told us was that he would do the ceremony however we wanted. He was a terrific speaker and a very kind man. He did our ceremony to the letter.

    We had actually originally hired Captain Phil Chalker. He was unavailable when we switched our ceremony time from evening to morning. He thought we did not have a very good reason for changing the time (we sure did). That was the end of our contact with him.

    Since Sol got her own review already--I think that's everyone! I hope this is helpful for future USVI brides.

    Let me know if anyone wants to know more about the VI: cars/taxis, where to stay, etc.

    p.s. we went to Peter Island for our honeymoon and it was also excellent.

    #2 LCBride2007


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      Posted 17 July 2007 - 01:30 PM

      this is a great vendor review and i am sure future St Johns brides will find this so helpful - thanks!

      #3 starfish kate

      starfish kate
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        Posted 07 August 2007 - 02:14 PM

        I am planning my St. John wedding for November 2008 and I have been searching for vendor reviews. Thank you!!!


        #4 slimmershadier

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          Posted 01 September 2007 - 04:59 PM

          Hey Kate, you're from Worcester? My husband's fam is all from there!

          Have a blast in St. John. It's beautiful.

          #5 starfish kate

          starfish kate
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            Posted 02 September 2007 - 11:25 AM

            It really is a small world.... We love St. John too- can't wait to go back!!

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