Florida Reviews from a Mrs!
Posted 03 April 2010 - 07:27 PM
I might make separate posts because of how much I have to say!
Maitland Art Center (Maitland, FL)
First, let me say I was planning my wedding in a very short time period, and we had a few mishaps in billing and communication along the way. I received a call from MAC's event coordinator two days before my wedding saying that we had not settled the remaning half of payment for the venue. However, I had called two weeks prior to have the amount charged to a different credit card than the one I had put the first half of the balance on (the charges had not been posted at that time as they should have been). I was in absolute hysterics, "two days before my wedding and I don't have a venue!" It was taken care of quickly, but still very upsetting.
The event coordinator is very difficult to get in contact with. It seemed like every time I tried to call her, she was "on break" or "at lunch" or "away from her desk", and no matter how many times I told the person on the phone to have her call me (especially when we had the billing emergency), I was never called back.
I was also told we could use the venue for a rehearsal the night before, but when we arrived, it was locked... and there was no one to let us in. We finally found someone (a janitor? I'm not sure) who gave us a key to get in.
However, when the big day came, the billing was taken care of, we got our rehearsal, and our venue was absolutely beautiful. People who see our wedding photos are still in awe, and most of them can hardly believe any such place exists here in Florida! It was the perfect size for our intimate wedding, and I recommend it to any bride who wants something a little different, but still with an elegant, old-world appeal. Also, you absolutely cannot beat their pricing! Value was WAY more than what we paid for!
Another perk I find it important to mention: if flexibility is important to you, this is definitely your venue. I was looking specifically for a venue that allowed me to have my own caterer. The Art Center does not have any vendor restrictions or "selected vendors" for you to make choices from. You can have anyone and everyone you want so long as they respect the property and don't break anything. There are very few rules and they are very hands-off; the only real rules are they request no birdseed, rice or fireworks (there are a lot of native birds) and they request that music does not go on past 10:00pm (the venue is set close to a lovely residential area, so be respectful!) Also, make sure to plan for lighting if your event goes on past dark, as there is not adequate lighting in the Courtyard or Chapel area beyond sunset.
Puff N' Stuff Catering (Orlando, FL)
I worked with Sandy at Puff n' Stuff, and she was FANTASTIC. I loved everything about her and the company!
Our wedding was planned in a short time... but Sandy took it on with ease and complete professionalism. She was very flexible and was willing to meet with me at almost any time. She changed my setup and menu about fifteen times during the short time I worked with her (about two weeks!), and the week before the wedding we met up to decide the rentals... and changed everything all over again! She also gave wonderful input - it's clear she knows exactly what she's doing!
They have a great cloth rental catalog, and she worked with everyone in my family seamlessly (even when one of my older sisters became overbearing and pushy - she handled it so gracefully.) She helped us cut costs by reusing the chairs (which saved us almost $100 in chair rentals by just moving the chairs from the ceremony to the reception.)
She also researched anything special I requested. In place of a liquor bar, I asked if a smoothie bar was possible - she researched it and two days later had a price quote for me. Months later, our guests were STILL raving about the smoothie bar!
The day of, Sandy was right there to set up and meet with everyone, and her staff was great. When I didn't like the table set up, she had them change it right then. I felt completely confident in her ability to run my event, and she was there from start to finish.
And now, for the important part - FOOD! The food was beautiful AND it was delicious. I highly recommend the mint-rosemary rubbed baby lambchops, if I may say so! They were the favorite of the night! But you will love whatever you pick - it is all fabulous!
Finally, price. This was so important, as we were on a TIGHT, TIGHT budget. Puff n' Stuff is high quality, fine catering for a super-reasonable cost. You will NOT be disappointed if you choose them. Their professionalism, flexibility, price and quality are all worth way more than you will pay! Plus, they make it all easier because they cater and arrange event rentals, leaving you with one less vendor to stress over.
Posted 03 April 2010 - 07:42 PM
Jessica Leigh (Orlando, FL)
Jessica is very unique and personable. She has a great style - she understands you need to posed pictures for more traditional family members, but that you want artistic shots for yourselves.
She is right there to catch every amazing moment! But most importantly, you don't even notice her. She captured some amazing shots during our ceremony, but not a single guest complained of her getting in the way or interfering. She also showed up nicely dressed and fit in perfectly with our guests - nothing bothers me more than vendors being over- or underdressed! You don't need to worry about this one bit with Jessica.
She's also very flexible, and she has great pricing. She may have changed her policies now, but when we got married she provided discs of all the images and complete copyright. You are free to print your own pictures as many times as you want (and your family, too!) She has the ability to printpictures and create albums if you so choose, though.
Dream Designs (Orlando, FL)
I was honestly rather disappointed with Dream Designs.
They were responsive enough, and assured me they could easily fill my flower order with only about a week out from the wedding.
However, when I arrived to pick my flowers up, I was horrified. The black magic roses in the bouquets were dying around their edges, and the cake flowers weren't even the same species of rose. The owner was not in that day, so I had to deal with some random stranger I had not even seen before and that had no idea what she was talking about. She tried to give me some nonsense about how they had put the cake flowers in the centerpieces to fill them in, but the centerpieces contained exactly two dozen roses like they were ordered to have. So this was a blatant lie she was making up to try and cover for the rose mistake.
She contacted the owner, and we got even more ridiculous stories. She insisted that because the previous weekend was a holiday weekend (July 4th) that she had ordered them a day earlier and the flowers had sat around all weekend and wilted. This was absurd to me - any professional would know if this would be a problem and they would have found another way to handle it, even if that meant waiting until Monday to place the order. Instead, they turned up wilting roses for my wedding.
It kills me to give Dream Designs such a poor review, because they did what I requested: the arrangements and bouquets were, design-wise, exactly what I wanted. The quality of the flowers, however, was poor, and the only thing that salvaged them was the fact that the roses were already dark and hid the blackening edges. A number of our wedding photos had to be retouched to hide the dying, wrinkled spots.
All I can say is, I guess if your wedding is no where near a holiday, you'll probably be fine. I personally was very disappointed with the quality.
I also want to note that when I posted my review of them on Wedding Wire, they waited two years after my wedding(!) to "dispute" my review and have it yanked down because they didn't like it - very unprofessional in my opinion!
Posted 03 April 2010 - 09:36 PM
Posted 06 April 2010 - 10:15 AM
A few more reviews today... I'll eventually get to them all!
Abracadabra Cake Shop (Cocoa, FL)
So you might have noticed the location of the cake shop is about 50 miles from the wedding venue... would you believe the delivery and setup charge for this was only $30 more than the charge from companies that were only 5 miles from the venue?!
ACS is a small company in Historic Cocoa Village. All of the cakes are made by ONE person. While he has an assistant that takes orders and helps clean instruments, he makes the cakes entirely on his own. It's a personal touch that makes a very big difference - you know without a doubt that the cake you try at your tasting is what you'll get on your wedding day!
I was hesitant at first, but I have to say - Terry's efforts really impressed me. When informed that I couldn't attend his formal cake tasting, he made sure that I would get to try his work... by baking a small tier and sending it home with my husband! This had already persuaded me, and then when I tried it... wow! That's about all I can say about it. It was moist, the ingredients were fresh, and the flavor he had recommended (which I wasn't sure about at first) turned out to be the best of the bunch! He really knows his cake.
I should also note that I had a change of heart the day before the wedding and called him to change the icing color (it was originally going to be dark chocolate brown, but I changed it to white). He had no problem making this change on such short notice.
Our cake was very simple, but he executed it perfectly. I mentioned before how the cake flowers provided by the florist were wrong - he brought his own as a back-up! I don't even remember mentioning to him what the flowers were, but he apparently did! And of course, the cake was just as delicious as the tier he' sent home as a sample.
A bonus: we didn't have to worry about saving the top tier; they gave us a complimentary anniversary cake the next year.
Long's Bridal (Orlando, FL)
Long's gets a yay and a nay from me, so just be sure to read all of it.
I walked into Long's with ten or eleven dresses I had seen online... and ended up hating every single one of them. I ended up on this adventure alone, and was very quickly discouraged by the failed hunt. The associate working was very quick to jump to my assistance, and I admitted that I had no idea what I wanted. She asked me for a few details about the wedding, and hunted all over the store - then suddenly plucked a dress I would have NEVER picked out on my own. When I put it on, I couldn't believe it - it was, beyond a doubt, "the" dress. (Even more amazing, I looked it up when I got home - it turned out to be a dress I had seen online and hated! But for some reason, on me it was simply beautiful!) For the curious, the dress was Cherelle by Maggie Sottero (the gown is now retired and no longer on her official website).
When purchasing the dress, she talked me into ordering a 6. I was hesitant and told her several times that I was never a 6 in anything, ever. But she made me feel like I was a product of my vanity, and sold me on the size. When the dress arrived, I was horrified... it was HUGE. The alterations lady took one look at me and said I should have never had a 6 - or anything bigger than a 2. She confirmed this with my measurements. The dress ended up needing 3.5 inches taken out of EACH SIDE of the waist. While the alterations were flawless (and it amazes me that she was able to remove THAT MUCH fabric without destroying the dress), I was very upset that I ended up footing the bill for the alterations... when it seemed to me like the salon was responsible for talking me into the bigger size.
However, at the end of it all, my dress wound up beautiful. They showed my mom and sisters how to lace my corset, and really made me feel special (they gave me a veil and tiara to wear to my rehearsal dinner.) They recommended the perfect bustle, steamed not only my gown, but also my veil (not purchased from them) and were even able to perform same-day alterations on a bridesmaid's dress that hadn't even been purchased from them (literaly three hours before the wedding!) Despite the bumps along the way, I am very glad I picked Long's Bridal.
Veil Shop (veilshop.com)
I ordered my wedding veil four days before my wedding - yikes! - with no clue what it was going to look like or even if this was a reputable company.
I went with a very simple 72-inch drop veil, which I figured "no one could mess that up, it's a sheet of fabric cut in a circle!" I was wrong - it was so much more than that. The hem was flawless, and the fabric was so beautiful and soft! Absolutely worth it, and they shipped it the day I placed the order. (Bear in mind if you order something that has to be customized, it won't be shipped that fast! I bought a veil they had in stock for immediate shipping.)
I think it speaks volumes for Veil Shop that even their simplest design was such high quality, and if you choose them, I know you won't be disappointed.
Posted 06 April 2010 - 11:06 AM
Celebrations DJs (Brevard County, FL)
I used Celebrations because they were "in" with one of my managers. They gave me a great deal on the service for it, but above all else, they gave me a great DJ! (For the record, we got TJ.)
I booked Celebrations a week from the wedding (which garnered a few "WOW!" laughs), but they were very quick to help me get the major music planned (the special dances, tosses, cake cutting). I didn't get a chance to talk to TJ before the wedding, but I fille dout a paper survey that asked all of the important questions: who are we introducing, what songs are we using, what songs and music genres are completely off-limits.
The day of, TJ went above and beyond his call of duty when my groom and his men were utterly clueless about putting on their boutonnieres - I have pictures of him expertly pinning roses to each of our guys!
The music was fabulous. He knew how to plan it perfectly. I was so shocked, too, when the special request songs I was sure they wouldn't be able to find (we had three that are not mainstream, including an a capella song) were played without incident - they were able to find each one!
TJ also intervened with music crashers - when my mother-in-law requested a rap song, he politely denied the request and explained that we had insisted on no rap. (I was quite irritated when my husband went up and overrode this decision. TJ, however, handled it gracefully and did exactly what I would have expected him to - he accommodated the groom's request.)
Sara Kallioinen (Orlando, FL; sarapianist.com)
Sara was a pleasure to work with! She was another vendor who was booked on such short notice, and I didn't have a chance to talk to over the phone. I basically had to trust that she was going to be good - and she was.
I had a lot of ideas for the ceremony, but was at a loss for a few songs. She suggested our recessional song, "100 Years", which I really loved. It was so light-hearted and a great ending to our ceremony. She was able to find several of my off-the-wall requests and perform them flawlessly. Most importantly, she went with the flow: when my husband was an hour late, she rode along with it, helping to fill in the time gap with improvised selections so my guests were standing around in silence during an already-stressful situation.
Jean M (myjeanm.com)
While our wedding invitations were very simple - just black cardstock with silver engraving - they were beautiful and high quality. Most importantly, I loved how easy it was to design them right on the site, with a live preview and hundreds of choices. If you're looking for customized invitations with a lot of options, ease of customization and a low cost, Jean M is for you.
M & Ms (mymms.com)
No raving review here, really.
They are M & Ms, with words. I missed out on the pictures and the new glittery candies. We had red and white candy, with our names on one and "tied the knot" on the other. They were very cute, although as I understand, my sister (who bought the favors for us as a wedding gift) did not like the quality of the gift bags tied with ribbons - according to her, they looked tacky. She ended up tearing them all open and putting the M & Ms in her own metal tins, then using the red ribbon bows to adorn our going-away bubbles.
Posted 06 April 2010 - 11:54 AM
Reverend Randall Miller, Uniquely United (Orlando, FL)
I don't think I could ever say enough about Reverend Miller! Where do I start?
With very little time to plan, I booked Reverend Millerabout four days out from the date. He handled this perfectly, and was quick to respond to my e-mails the entire way through. I had originally provided a ceremony I thought I wanted, and he explained he would perform it, but personally felt it was wordy. Trusting that he knew a LOT more about weddings than I did, I said "toss it out the window and do your thing".
And goodness, am I glad I did!
The Reverend sent me a skeleton outline of the ceremony and removed a few parts at my request, but the outline didn't really go into full detail about the beautiful ceremony that was about to come... He asked me the day before what he should wear, his traditional ceremonial robes or a suit. (I requested the robes because the wedding party would be in tuxedos.)
The day of, he was polite and shaking his hand made me feel at ease. There is a certain kind of love that just emanates from Reverend Miller that everyone around him can feel, too.
Our ceremony was light-hearted and spontaneous; he is certainly a master of his art! He had wonderful surprises in store that made our ceremony special, and his humor gave everyone a few laughs. After the ceremony, almost all of our guests wanted to know what church he was a reverend for!
I was so happy with Reverend Miller and I smile every time I think about our wedding and what a wonderful person he was to work with. I recommend him to everyone, and when we renew our vows, there is no question who we'll ask to guide us!
Elegant Transportation (Orlando, FL)
So I just did a search to see if I could find this company again... I can't. I'm guessing their bullcrap wasn't tolerated!
Prepare for a horror story. It started at 8:30am that morning, when I received a call from the driver. He was at our venue, utterly confused, and asked where we were. "You had a limo reserved for today, right?" I told him, "yes... but not until 9:00 tonight." The company had told him 9:00 in the morning, which he made clear to me he didn't appreciate (like it was my fault). Uh oh.
That night, the driver was UTTERLY rude to my mother, sisters, bridesmaid, and even my mother-in-law and father-in-law. When we left the venue, he was parked about a block from it. We had booked a wedding package that was supposed to include red carpet service and vinyl decals - neither of which were provided. We climbed in, and half the lights on the inside didn't work. There was a bar that was supposed to be stocked with soda and sparkling cider (part of the package)... instead, it was stocked with Sam's Club bottled water.
The best part of that night: when the driver took a turn, water (melted ice) from the bar spalshed out and poured ALL over us. We ended up having to move because we got soaked twice when he turned the corner! My train was drenched... and had to be dry-cleaned by our hotel at 5:00am the next morning because it had already developed a huge, ugly yellow water stain!
To add insult to injury, the charge showed up on my debit card a few days later... and was $150 more than what I was quoted. When I called, the clerk couldn't tell me why the charge was added, or what it was even for. (I think the driver cut himself a tip, personally!)
As I said, I tried to find the company again and can't seem to do so, so I would venture to say they finally got shut down or went out of business. If not, BEWARE, ladies! Stay far, far away from this vendor!
Toppers With Glitz (topperswithglitz.com)
You've probably seen the ads for TWG all over every wedding website you've been on.
Sari is an absolute delight to work with. She sent me several crystal samples to help me decide on my colors, and the topper was PERFECT. You would think a machine created it. There is not a single space in the crystals, not one flaw or bump in the curves of the letter.
Above all, I think one very simple gesture "topped" it for me: inside the box for my topper was a small, handwritten note from Sari, wishing me the best for my big day. I love when vendors take that little extra time to make you really feel like you're special.
Great work and a great person to work with, I highly recommend TWG!
Posted 12 April 2010 - 11:31 PM
For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.-Judy GarlandBride and...
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