MY 2/20/05 Wedding Review & Proofs!!!! Warning my review is LONG!! Enjoy! ETA: More pics on Page 3 & 4!!!
Ok well it is FINALLY my time to write my review and share my wedding pictures with all of you!
I have been waiting for this day forever!! Literally!
First I have to thank one of the most sweet hearted, helpful, and honest chick on this website. Sandra a.k.a. Jimmysbride introduced me to LIW when we bonded over the knot. I got so many of my best ideas, vendor information, pictures, and most importantly a lot of great friendships with the wonderful people on this site.
If it were not for her introducing me to LIW I would have missed out on all these things and more.
I am going to rate all my vendors on a scale from 1 - 10. I am going to be TOTALLY honest. Some vendors might dislike me a little after they read this ( because we all know they read everything!) but I feel like it is only right to all the other bride 2 be's to hear the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Too many times I have read a review where everything is A++++++++++ and 100 on a scale of 1-10 when I know for a fact they are editing a few things out here or there that if I were a bride looking to book a vendor I would want to know about.
I spent 2 years of my life planning for this one day. In the last few Weeks before the wedding my Husband ( wow its been a month and it still gives me chills when I say it) kept trying to tell me that no matter how long or hard you plan or how much research you do, not everything goes according to plan. I told him he was crazy and pushed the idea of having something other then a PERFECT wedding out of my head. Well I hate to say it ladies but he was right. Luckily it was nothing major just little things here and there that as a control freak made me a little crazy but before I got upset I just had to remind myself to smile, have fun, and enjoy every minute b/c there is plenty of time to be mad, upset, cry, and vent later but this day comes only once and you really have to cherish every second b/c if you blink your going to miss it, and you can never get that back.
MyGatsby.com - RD Invitations - * 10 * I ordered my Rehearsal dinner invitations from this website. I was able to find a really cute invitation that you could order blank and print yourself to save money. I thought this was the perfect way to go although everyone else thought I was crazy for even bothering doing them. They came out GREAT and everyone thought they had been professionally done. This was kind of a last minute idea to even have invitations so they really earned their rating due to the fact that it only took 2 -3 business days for everything to arrive.Once I got the format down I had them all printed and assembled in about an hour. I got a tun of compliments and they only cost approx. $2.00 an Invitation set. I took two different invite poems I had found on the knot.com but I wasn't really crazy about either so I meshed them together and edited some things out, changed a few things around. I will try to scan a pic of the final product at the end of my review.
Nappa & Sonoma Steak House - Rehearsal Dinner location * 9 * ( Whitestone, Queens) My hubby and I love this place. It so warm and cozy and the food is great. Plus its right around the corner from the church so we thought it would be the perfect place for our rehearsal dinner. They don't have a private room but gave us our own section of the restaurant and luckily it wasn't that busy esp. For a Friday night. Nappa & Sonoma was a little pricey and I was a little upset when we ordered family style appetizers for the whole table ( we only had our parents and the bridal party so it was 20 people plus 2 kids) and for what we were paying I expected there to be a little more on the plates! So we wound up ordering almost double the appetizers we expected too. The main courses however were really large portions and everything looked and tasted really good. I think the best part of the whole night was that they had a live singer who walked around singing frank Sinatra songs and a lot of oldies but goodies that everyone could enjoy! He even sang personally to my son and my nephew ( both 2 years old) and they were in heaven dancing away like they were at their own private concert LOL. That really made my night it was such a nice touch.
BJ'S Bakery - RD Cake * 8 * Yes you read right BJ's bakery. Originally I was going to get my husband a really cute BMW or Yankee cake but the quotes I was getting were kind of crazy and in the last few Weeks before the wedding money was really tight and it just seemed like a waste of money for us. For our Son's birthday we have always gone to BJ's and gotten a sheet cake and my husband loves the way they taste so much he even wanted our wedding to be a BJ's sheet cake!! We gave the lady at the bakery section our favorite engagement picture and specific instructions on what to write on the cake. Well I went to pick it up the night before the rehearsal dinner and at first glance it looked awesome!! I was so happy with it and the picture across the front was just too cute. Well as I was on line waiting to pay I noticed that the wording was a little messed up. I guess they realized it after it was done and you could actually see where they smudged it a little trying to fix it. At that point it was too late to have it redone and I was pretty sure no one would even notice so I let it go, but it did annoy me. Well no one noticed it, it tasted amazing ( a million times better then my actual wedding cake! But more of that later) and everyone was running up to look at the cake. One of our groomsmen is actually getting married in a few months and said his fiance would love to do something like that. He asked me where I got it and I was a little embarrassed to tell him but hey It was huge, tasted great, and only cost me $20 bucks so how can I complain?
Bell Formal - Tuxedos * 8 *
Someone from this website responded to my post about where to go for Tux's in Queens. Im sorry I cant think who right now but thank you so much for answering! Bell Formal was near by, had everything in stock to try on ( definitely a HUGE plus), had a lot of selection, and was very reasonably priced. I think for everything the guys came out to $125 including the shoes. The reason they only got an 8 was b/c the owners wife who is also the seamstress and does all the measuring had no patience for my 2 year old son who wasn't thrilled about being measured and stuffed into a tuxedo and shoes 2 sizes too small. She was always nice but that day she was very rude to us. Maybe it was b/c she was busy, or doesn't like the sound of a crying baby but I am sure no ring bearer is thrilled about the process and she could have handled it much better. Customer service is just as important as the product IMO
Commack Wedding Center -My wedding dress * 10 * Ok there are a lot of horrible things said about CWC but when it came to my wedding dress they get a 10 ( bridesmaids are another story listed below) I had already been to Macy's bridal that had hardly any plus sized samples to try on or at least none that I really liked. Same thing with bridal reflections plus most the dresses there were a little bit out of my budget. I went to a bridal expo. Where commack wedding center put on a "fashion show" I thought the owner was annoying and tacky but I was told they had a large selection of plus sized dresses and I was sick and tired of trying to squeeze into these little samples and being told to "imagine" how it would look if it actually fit.
I want on a Saturday morning with my mom and we got there when they first opened and it really wasn't busy at all. The saleslady I had was WONDERFUL. She was plus sized herself and had been in this business for more years then I have been alive. I straight out told her that I had no idea what would look good on me, told her that my only rule was nothing with sleeves, and asked her if she knew what would look the best on my body type. We picked out about 4 or 5 dresses together and it seemed like the more I loved it on the hanger the more I hated it on myself. I was getting really depressed and felt like I would never find a dress that just fit me. I was happy however that ALL of the dresses she showed me actually fit me, most were even big on me which was a first. And they were all different styles of dresses not the typical "plus size line" some of the other stores carried. I also have to say that the saleswoman was SO honest with me and I really really appreciated that. I mean if I walked out in a dress that didn't look right on me and my mom was just looking at me not knowing what to say she would just say Hun that's not the dress for you lets keep looking. I told her my budget and the dresses she brought me were all well UNDER what I had told her ( as opposed to bridal reflections who brought me dresses THOUSANDS of dollars over what I told them I was willing to spend) Well when she finally brought me my dress and took it out of the bag to show me my jaw dropped - - But not in a good way!! The first thing I noticed was long sleeves and it just did not look like something I would ever wear. Since it was a Saturday and you only have a certain number of dresses you are allowed to try on before you go back to the bottom of the list ( and by this time it was getting busy) I told her I didn't want to "Waste" my last dress on this one. She kept insisting and I kept telling her no. Well I gave in and tried it on just so she would leave me alone. I came out looked in the mirror and I knew right away no doubt in my mind this was it. I probably would have NEVER considered my dress in a million years if it weren't for that saleswoman at commack wedding center and she saved me a bundle since it was a lot less then I was willing to pay.
Barron's Tri County - My veil * 9.5 * I found a veil I loved at Macy's bridal. Simple, plain, 2 layer fingertip, poofy with a thing edge. It was perfect.... And then I saw the price tag! $350 for that?!?!? I was like you gotta be kidding me. Just b/c Im a bride to be does not mean it says sucker across my forehead. I got the EXACT same veil at barrons and it cost me $80 it looked great and the price was right. The only reason they got a 9 instead of a 10 was b/c they told me it would be ready on a certain date. I went that day to pick it up and it wasn't ready. Tri county isn't exactly 5 min. From my house so I was a little annoyed that I had to make a total of 3 trips to get my veil but it was also a little my fault b/c I should have called ahead to make sure it was ready before I drove out there.
Commack Wedding Center - Briedsmaid's dresses * 5 * Ok well here comes my not so nice review of commack wedding center. As most of you know I had the most difficult time of all deciding on a bridesmaid dress. All my 6 bridesmaids are all so different and all wanted different things. Me trying my hardest not to be a bridezilla and make everyone happy turned into a nightmare. We literally waited till the last second to order the bm dresses. Commack wedding center is little bit of a drive for myself and all my bms who live in queens but I had a very good experience with my dress and they quoted me $133 for my bm dress when other places were quoting me $215 and up.
Well the ladies in the bridesmaid dept. Are pretty rude and weren't always that nice to all of my girls. There was also a problem with one of my bridesmaids. She was in another wedding party and that bride was originally going to get her bm dresses from commack wedding center. Well the bride changed her mind and called to cancel the order. Well by accident they canceled that bridesmaids dress for MY WEDDING instead of the other brides!!!!! As it was we were cutting it close and I don't understand why they waited over a week to call and tell me this!!! I was literally freaking out about to drive to commack wedding center and cause a huge scene when I called my bm and told her everything. She said she would call them and handle it. Well the next think I knew one of the ladies at commack wedding center was calling me to apologize and saying they would order the dresses that day and we would have them 3-4 Weeks before the wedding.
Well 3 Weeks before the wedding and still no dresses!!! I called commack wedding center every single day and all they would tell me was it will be in tomorrow. I was freaking out, my bridesmaids were in a panic. It wasn't pretty. Finally with only 2 Weeks to go my dresses came in and we all took the day off of work to get the dresses, and bring them somewhere else to get them altered. The dresses themselves were beautiful and my girls looked great in them - but that's thanks to bill levkoff not commack wedding center!
Macy's Bridal of Manhasset - Mother of the Bride & Mother of the Groom * 6.5 *
My Mil was having a hard time finding a dress, we had been to about 6 different stores with no luck. On a whim one day I asked her if she wanted to try Macy's ( I mean she goes there for everything else why not this? :) ) For some reason she was really against it and swore she wouldn't like anything and it was a waste of time. My DH finally talked her into it and what would you know? She found her dress! It wasn't the style she was originally looking for but it looked great on her and is so different from anything she would normally wear. The next weekend I went looking with my mom and she found her dress as well!! My mom was also having a hard time since she is a "young mom" and thought all the mob dresses were old farty and not her. We tried a few bm dresses which she liked b/c they were younger and more her but most were either too plain or too bridesmaid dress looking for a MOB. She tried on like 30 dresses and we had given up and about to go home when one of the ladies at Macy's brought out a manican with this gorgeous dress on it! It was so perfect it wasn't funny. My mom practically ripped it off the manican and ran into the dressing room. It fit perfect, the style was perfect, even the color was perfect. The saleslady then told us it was really a Wedding dress!!! For " informal or second weddings" and came in white,ivory, and the soft pink the sample was in. My mom didnt care and since it wasn't white or ivory and my mom looked fantastic in it neither did I. But when she went for the alterations she had the train cut a little shorter into more of a little tail so it wouldn't look too much like a wedding dress. Both of our moms looked fantastic. We have never seen them look more beautiful.
The reason I gave Macy's a 6.5 is for 2 reasons. One my moms dress since it was technically a wedding dress they charged her wedding dress alteration prices instead of MOB alteration prices which I thought was absurd. Second my MIL's dress was supposed to take approx. 12 Weeks to come in. She ordered it July 8th and it didn't come in until the week after Thanksgiving! My poor MIL was having a nervous break down and even went out and bought a gown at another store b/c she was so nervous she would be stuck without a dress. Then when it finally did come in it was the wrong shawl! The color matched but it didn't have any of the beading like the sample had. They gave my MIL 5% off the cost of her dress and apologized. At that point there was nothing more we could do.
Neesiepie - Menus, table names, and signature drink cards and wine labels * 10 * Ok now I said I was going to be honest and I didnt give Denise aka Neesiepie a 10 just b/c she is a fellow bride to be on LIW and will be reading this. She did the most amazing job. She designed my monogram, menus from scratch, my table name cards, and my signature drink cards all for me and had them professionally printed. Denise worked with me for hours upon hours making my monogram just right and making sure the menu was perfect and changing things around and experimenting with all different kinds of looks for me. I know I probably drove her crazy with all of this but she was so great about everything. She didnt give up until everything was exactly perfect and I was 100% happy and satisfied. Everything she did came out gorgeous and professional. The personalized wine labels she made for us really *made* our favor IMO. I was thrilled with the way they came out! She also very reasonable priced esp. for the amount of personal service I recieved.
Audrey's Bakery - Chocolate Fountain * 10 * Tom from Audrey's Bakery is such a nice guy! We booked the chocolate fountain over the summer and Tom was able to give us a great price of $1.50 per person. ( Not including the stuff for dipping since we already had the vienesse hour) Everyone loved the fountain it was a really big hit! I think there was a line to use it for almost the whole hour it was out!
Whiteaisle.com - Invitations * 9 * I have to thank Jimmysbride yet again for helping me find these invitations!!! I had looked at every invitation ever made ( or at least it felt like it) and the only one I *sort of* loved was going to set me back a little over $1,000 plus cost a pretty penny to mail. When Jimmysbride posted her invitations I loved how different they were. I ordered a sample from Whiteaisle.com and my husband LOVED it ( and this is a guy who isnt really that enthusiastic about anything wedding related) I had mixed emotions on it so I showed it to a few of my friends and family and after seeing everyones reaction knew that this was the right choice for us. Rebecca was wonderful to deal with and patient while I played around with the wording and had her adjust the sample at least 10 times before I was satisfied. She always replied back to my email quickly. She credited me the amount I spend on the sample twords my order and they arrived to my house earlier then I expected them to. I got a million compliments on them, even from a few of DH's relatives who never have a nice thing to say about anything. They were beautiful, elegant, and different exactly what we wanted. The reason they got a 9 instead of a 10 is b/c I really didnt like the rsvp cards and envelopes I had recieved with my sample so I would up making my own. It saved me a lot of money but it would have saved me a lot of time and energy if the rsvp cards were nicer.
ScentUSA.com Heart shaped personalized Air Fresheners * 9.5 * Internet company based in NJ. Replied very quickly to my emails and answered my many many questions about their product. Once I approved my proof online they were made and shipped very quickly and we were very very pleased with the end product.
Long Island Marriott Hotel Night before wedding * 8.5 * After realizing a few months before the wedding that there was no way me in a wedding dress, 6 bridesmaids, a photographer, videographer, Hair person, and Makeup person was going to fit in my apt. or my moms house I started looking for a hotel. One of the BEST decisions I made! We visited Wingate inn but it was already booked up for our date and I felt like Garden City hotel was a little out of the way and with a winter wedding you never know what to expect and I wanted to be as close to the church or at least the highway as possible.
The manager at the Marriott was really great. They have 11 different suites... all laid out completly differently from one another and since space was a big issue for us he took the time out to give us a tour of all 11 suites. I fell in love with the Presidential suite. It was the largist one they had and exactly what I needed. It had a kitchen area, a dinning room, a huge living room, 3 entrances, a seperate bedroom with a balcony, and 1 1/2 baths. Everything was great except that when we ordered room service we had forgotten to ask for extra pillows. when the guy brought us up our salads and we asked if he would mind also sending up a few extra pillows and he said to one of my bms " sure as long as you take care of me" and winked at her. I dont know if he was asking for a tip or something else but it made us feel VERY uncomfortable. He also just stood in the room staring at us until we all just ignored him and he finally left. I called the manager and she came right up to take a report of what happened. She seemed really upset and said it would be taken care of. Thats really not the hotels fault but the manager did tell us this isnt the first time something like this has happened and I dont understand how they would let someone like that still work there so they lost a point for that.
THE NIGHT BEFORE THE BIG DAY!
Myself and 4 of my bridesmaids checked in to the hotel the night before the wedding - it really made the wedding finally seem real. We hung out ordered room service, gave each other facials, steamed my veil and our dresses for the next day. I was so calm and relaxed I couldnt understand why. It felt surreal but all too real at the same time. We finally rolled into bed around 2:30 am and set the alarm for 6.
Well one of my bms who was sleeping closest to the alarm reached over at 6 am and hit the off button. We were all exhausted and in a deep sleep and none of us even noticed it go off. Well someone shot up at 7 am on the dot. The first words I heard the morning of my wedding were " Holy $h!t its 7 am! MAXINE WAKE UP YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!" It was such a nice feeling!! But IM not much of a morning person so I stuck my head under a pillow and tried to go back to sleep. I was sleeping on the side of the bed that had the huge balcony next to it and the sun was shining really bright through the curtains. I could feel the warmth and when I finally opened my eyes and saw how sunny it was I jumped out of bed yelling " Its sunny out Its sunny out!!" and opening all the curtains in the suite!
My bms and I were smart enough the day before to think to order some breakfast so 5 min. After we all got out of bed we had a knock on the door and a huge cart of bagels, fruit, orange juice, cereal, toast, etc. Came rolling in the room. Everyone says how important it is to eat the morning of the wedding so I really tried my hardest to pick at as much as possible. Im not a breakfast person as it is plus I was so nervous and excited that I could hardly swallow my food.
I was lucky ( or so I thought) in the fact that I have not 1 but 2 bridesmaids who are hairdressers. Both offered to do my hair that day but obviously only 1 could. I let the one who had more updo experience do a few trials on me and we came up with 2 hairdos we loved. The first was the down hairstyle I would wear for the ceremony and the other was the updo I would do for the reception. Well that morning my bm ( who was going to do one of my bm's hair, my hair and her own hair) started doing my nieces updo they had decided on. It came out perfect and she was done pretty quickly. Next was my turn. What a disaster!!!! I don't know if she was really nervous or what her problem was that day but my hair was so blah and dull. The curls at the bottom were nice but I could already see they were NOT going to last at all and she couldn't get my tiara to sit straight on my head. I was trying to be patient and hope for the best b/c I didn't want to start getting upset and make her even more nervous but after 15 min of not being able to get my tiara on she put it down on the countertop looked at me and said " Im sorry I cant do this! See if you can get Jessica ( the other bm hairdresser) to get it in! I was in SHOCK. I was really upset but I wasn't going to start flipping out this early in the day. Thank GOODNESS I was smart enough to Hire Jenn aka Hair genie to do my moms hair and my other bm's hair that day.
JENN AKA Hair Genie My hair, Moms hair, and 2 bms hair
* 9 * Even though we had never done a trial I tried to explain sort of what I wanted she sat me down and went to work. She had seen first hand what happened with my bm and was also in shock. The look she came up with wasn't *exactly* what I had pictured but I LOVED the way it looked and she assured me my curls would last all night ( I definitely was not letting that bm touch my hair again so this hair do had to last me all night!) She was so friendly and sweet and kept the conversation going the whole time she worked on me which really helped me to stay calm.
She also did 2 of my bms that day and my mom. One of my bms really didn't like the way her hair came out but was nervous to say something to Jenn. I told Jenn how the bm felt and as soon as she finished who she was working on she took her hair down and started over. She was so nice and understanding about it, a real professional. and my bm was much happier with the second hairdo!
Oksana - Makeup * 10 * I have to start off saying I am biased. I LOVE oksana. When I first met her for my trial over the summer as soon as we started talking I knew that I wanted someone so positive and upbeat around me the day of my wedding. I even told Oksana that day that even if my makeup hadn't been as amazing as it was I still would have hired her that day b/c she gives off good energy ( Im not usually someone who is like that but in this case that's just how I felt) I have to say she did a great job during my trial but the wedding day result was even better! She had so many nice things to say and great advice. She was there on time and finished myself, 5 bridesmaids, and my mom all on time. EVERYONE was thrilled with how they looked and when you look good you feel like a million bucks and we all did.
When I went for my trial I had slept with my makeup on, on my stomach, on a white pillow sheet just to see what would happen. I woke up the next morning and not a drop of it was anywhere on my bedding!! The makeup still looked fresh while I was scrubbing it off and my fake lashes lasted for 3 days!
The day of the wedding my makeup stayed exactly the same all night. The only thing I needed to retouch was my lipstick the makeup was so light I didn't even feel like I had anything on my face. Oksana is amazing and I will be using her in the future without a doubt.
Duet arrived while all the girls were finishing up with hair and makeup and we all made a mad dash to get ready. When my mom had arrived and saw me with my hair and makeup all done she was a mini Niagara falls. I couldn't even look her in the eyes or the tears would start streaming and I had to bat my eyelashes a hundred times just to hold back my tears. It was such a special moment and a huge bonding experience for my mother and I that we will never forget.
My sister kept telling me to get dressed but I kept making excuses " right after I do this" " Ok 1 more minute" I don't know why I was doing this. I think that I knew once I got in the dress that it would be REAL ( like it wasn't already?!) and that there was definitely no turning back. My sister helped me get in my dress and Jenn helped me fix my veil. I walked over to the full legnth mirror and all the air got sucked out of me. I was a bride!!! After my much too long two year engagement It was finally my big day. I had never seen myself all " put together" before. At my fittings I refused to put on my veil with my dress and since I had a different hairstlye then originally planned that looked new as well. It was finally time for me to sit back and enjoy all my hardwork and planning. I was off to get married!!!
I walked out of the bedroom and I was overwhelmed. I had a camera snapping pictures, I had the light from the video camera, I turn my head and my mom looked and me and the waterworks started again even harder then before. I dont know how I held back the tears but I did it. Its a good thing too b/c I think if I had let them out then I wouldn't have stopped all night.
We walked outside to the gazebo the Marriott has on the property and I found out that while it was clear and sunny it was also a little windy and chilly! We got in a few outdoor pics and ran for the limo!
Royalty Limousines - Limos * 9 *
We had booked the 14 passenger lincoln and the BMW 745 for our wedding day limos. Royalty at the time we booked was the only one that had the BMW745 (besides one other company who I did not want to go with) the prices were cheaper then the other places we had looked, the cars were very clean and in very good condition, and after doing a search on LIW I felt pretty confident in booking with them.
Mike was my driver and he was amazing. I mean he really went above and beyond I feel that day. The only reason they got a 9 instead of a 10 was b/c the guys were supposed to go to the church in one limo and the other limo was supposed to take us. Well when we were all ready to leave Mike was there with the BMW limo. He told us we would be leaving shortly he was just waiting for the other limo driver. I was like what other limo??? He said he was told that it was in our contract that I wanted both limos for the girls ( one for my bms and one just for me and my mom and my moh) I told him that this wasnt the case and that we would all fit just fine in the one limo. He said the other driver was already on his was so we may as well just wait. Well we waited and waited and waited. I guess there was alot of traffic that day and it just seemed crazy to be standing there waiting when there is a perfectly good limo already ready to go. Mike was on his two -way radio with the other driver every 30 seconds - No exaggeration at all.
When the second limo finally arrived Mike loaded all my bms into one limo, and me my mom, my moh, and my niece into the other. My mom was shaking from the nerves, my sister looked pale as a ghost and I was....... so calm it was scarey!!! My mom was actually yelling at me " Why are you so calm" I think I was more calm on the outside then on the inside and Mike our limo driver was FLYING to get me to the church on time. Before I knew it we were pulling off the highway at the exit for the church and he had the horn tooting " here comes the bride" I was like wow thats me!! So this is what it feels like?!
We pulled up in front of the church and I did NOT want to get out of the limo!! I rolled down the window to take a few pictures and then shut it to have a moment alone with my sister. She helped fix me and get me ready to exit the car. Mike was right there to help my sister fix my dress and to cover me at all times.
I entered the church and stood at the bottom of the stairs I think that was my really only nervous moment. Not so much about the wedding but everyones eyes all on me at once. I could feel my face burning up and my hands starting to shake I think people could hear my heart pounding on the other side of the church. But my sister stayed by my side the whole time talking to me telling me to relax, trying to make me smile b/c I probably looked like I was about to pass out.
My first bridesmaid started down the aisle and all of a sudden the front door to the church swung open. I looked to my right and there was my really good friend since Jr. High school running late! She saw me and her jaw almost hit the floor she was so shocked to see me standing there and she stumbled backwards into the thing of holy water knocking it down and make a huge BOOM. The whole bridal party stopped to turn around and laugh. It actually felt good to laugh and let a little emotion come out. Thank goodness its a large church and all the guests were seated in the front so no one but the bridal party saw or heard what happened. But its something I will get to tease my friend about everytime I see her :)
Well it was finally my turn. The knots I felt in my stomach were one of a kind bridal knots lol
Mike the limo driver turned to me and asked me if I was ready. I squeeked out a meek yes and he wished me luck
I grabbed my brothers arm and said " Thank g-d you didnt forget me" (b/c at the reahersal after he walked one of the bridesmaids down the aisle he forgot to come back around to get me!)
He laughed and I was happy that he didnt look as nervous as I felt. Even though I was the bride I was still his big sister, and I was more worried how he felt at that moment then I did. I knew it was just as hard on me as it was on him. I was getting a husband but he was giving away a sister. It was a big day for both of us.
The organist started the first keys of " Here comes the bride" and my stomach did a summersalt and at least one backflip as I walked up the church stairs. Once we got to the top of the stairs and I got my first look at the crowd I went numb. All these people were here. To see us get married and to celebrate with us. There were so many eyes on me it was almost too much to bare. I talked to my brother through grinning teeth trying to calm the both of us at the same time. People were smiling, people were crying, I couldnt stop staring into the pews looking back while they looked at me. I tried to walk as slowly ...slowly...slowly as possible all the while telling myself this is it enjoy it and try to soak up every minute of it. Im not sure if it was slow or fast but it felt like an eternity before I got to the end of the aisle. I was so busy being mesmerized by all the people and the flashing lights that all of a sudden it popped in my head... Where is my groom?!?!? I looked to the front of the church and all I see are 2 photograpghers snapping away and the light from the video camera. all of a sudden they dissapear and all that is left standing there is my groom. For that quick moment it felt like we were the only two in the room. And the biggist ear to ear smile spread across my face. The only real smile I smiled all morning and I couldnt have wiped it off my face if I had wanted to.
Our Ceremony flew by SO fast. Before I knew it I was somehow getting through my vows without choking up too much and we were putting rings on eachothers fingers. Starring into my husbands eyes as he said his vows really was a once in a lifetime amazing moment. That happy/serious look in his eyes and the tone of his voice... knowing all of our family and friends were there to witness firsthand the love and compassion you share and the vows you take to one another. It was over in the blink of an eye but we like to keep things short and sweet and thats just what it was. My smile was still there. Ear to Ear as he pronounced us husband and wife and we turned to face the crowd together. It was such a different feeling this time walking down the aisle with my new husband. A huge weight had come off of my shoulders, I was married, People were still crying, and smiling, and taking pictures but this time around I didnt notice as much. All I saw was my husbands smiling face looking back at me, just as excited as I was, and the happiest he had ever been in all the years I have known him.
St. Luke's R.C. Church - Ceremony Location * 6 * I gave them an 6 b/c it is a beautiful church and they really didnt give us a hard time about the fact that we had a child together and they were willing to let me throw my rosepetals after the ceremony.Deacon Harry was sooo nice to us everytime we met with him. BUT he is a little old and very forgetful. My DH and I talked about that fact a few times after we would meet with him and he would be asking us all the same questions over and over. Well during the ceremony he called my DH " John" at least 2 or 3 times.. His name is JOE!!!!!! If that wasn't bad enough I also found out after the wedding that when he saw our BM tipping the alter boys he asked where HIS tip was!!!!! And he wasnt Joking!!!
DUET - Photography & Video * 10 * They were on time, sweet, always smiling but always working and so easy to get along with. Since I booked Duet over a year ago I have seen nothing but beautiful pictures after beautiful pictures by them posted. Eric was my videographer and our photographers were Alberto, and Woo. They were there with us every moment of the day. Often times I didnt even know they were in the room with us... until I got my proofs back last week and saw many shots that were captured by them at times I didnt notice them at all. They were able to capture our day beautifully and with a great balance of "traditional" and " candid" photos which is exactly what we wanted. I visited MANY MANY photographers before I finally gave in and had to see what all the fuss was about with this Duet company. Well they impressed many people and I was definitly one of them. I am sooo happy with my proofs and Duets service. I cant wait to see my video but I am sure that is going to be amazing as well. They are definitly my favorite vendor and one of the best decisions we made in the whole wedding planning process was booking with them.
United Floral Co. - Flowers & Centerpieces * 7 * At the time I booked sandcastle they were a reccomended vendor but thats not why I went with him. Originally we were leaning twords another florist. I work in great neck and kept hearing all these wonderful things about the floral company down the block. I stopped in one afternoon and met with the owner Charles. He was very very nice and obviously LOVES what he does. He has soooo many original ideas and that was the main reason I booked him. Hes not your "typical" wedding florist. His books were full of fun, different, crazy centerpieces. Things even after being on LIW for a year I hadnt seen anywhere! ( Now thats impressive!) I loved the sample centerpiece he made for me and we booked him on the spot.
Well fast fwd. to a month and a half before the wedding. I have now decided I HATE my centerpiece with a passion and need to do something about it. I call charles for another meeting. He comes with a few ideas I love but that are way out of my budget. He makes me 2 sample centerpieces of two totally different arrangements. They are out of my price range, opposite style centerpieces and yet I love them both! I wind up alternating the two different centerpieces and almost doubling my floral budget!!! But my centerpieces were beautiful! Im not sure if they were worth what I spent but I loved walking into the ballroom and seeing my new centerpieces on the tables. There are a few reasons why they got such a low score. They were the vendor that dissapointed me the most. I spent more money with them then I did on my photo and video combined and I really expected alot from them. My bok for starters was breathtaking and I loved it but it was not as large as I had asked them to make it. The flower delivery person didnt even deliver my flowers to my hotel room they just left it at the front desk and in the middle of rushing around trying to get ready one of my bms had to go down to the lobby and get a bell hop to help her bring it up to the room. I have to say the girls bok's were the most amazing color and I loved the way they wrapped up all the boks. Really really beautiful. But they were also supposed to include a small table arrangement at no cost that never showed up ( not a huge deal but its the principal) Then I find out after the wedding that the alter arrangements were not even set up on the alter. they were put in a small back room where thank goodness one of the groomsmen happened to notice them and ask " Hey dude are those your alter pieces?" and he and my DH quickly picked them up and put them in place at the alter. ( The ONLY reason I had flowers at my alter were b/c the groomsment who noticed them did so b/c he works for a popular LI florist on the weekends... no other guy would have ever thought to mention that to DH and they would have stayed in the back room all through the ceremony!)
Also my MIL's corsage was black and dead before she even got to the reception. My moms boyfriend who also works in flowers said that when they were delivered you could tell they had been frozen for awhile...and for what I paid per rose head they should have at least been fresh!
Jazz Trio - Cocktail Hour Music * 9 * I found this Jazz Trio on craigslist.com if anyone would like their info please fm me. I had been emailing back and forth with a few different Jazz trio's who all sent me a demo cd or tape. I loved their music b/c it wasnt the elevator put you to sleep music. It was the upbeat, funky kind of Jazz music that gets you in the mood to party. They arrived a little later then they probably should have but got set up right away and were already playing by the time people started coming into the room. They were fairly inexpensive and I got quite a few compliments on how classy it was and what a nice touch it was to have them there. The only reason I gave them a 9 was b/c I had paid them from 6pm-7pm well my CH ended about 10 after 7 and I was told that at 7pm on the dot they stopped playing and started packing up. I know by that point the room was so loud and people were so busy talking and eating that they probably didnt notice but I would have gladly paid for an extra half hour for them not to have stopped playing while guests were still in the room.
Starlight Express DJ's - Reception Music * 10 * Where do I begin with these guys? I pretty much knew right after I got engaged that I would use Starlight Express DJ's I still checked out a few others to compare prices but even though Starlight was a bit more expensive then the other DJ's we saw we felt the most comfortable with them and booked them anyway. Paul is the one we met with and told him what we wanted. He really listened to everything and kept good notes about everything we discussed. I called them more then once during the planning days to ask questions or to make an appt. to come bring them a payment and for a large company I was very pleasently suprised to find that everytime I called and spoke with Paul he remembered who I was, where I was getting married, and all the important details without having to look me up. I think that really says alot about them. The week before the wedding I started to get nervous. My DH is Italian and we definitly wanted some Italian music played during the reception since that was half of our guests and and MC who could speak Italian and actually pronounce everyones names correctly, So that is what Paul gave us. An Italian MC and DJ. The more I had asked around the more people told me to request a certain other DJ it seemed he was the most popular one in this company b/c EVERYONE told me to request him. I dont know what made me wait till a week before the wedding... maybe it was just the fact that I wasnt really worried about it up until that point but I was in a PANIC and I just HAD to have this other DJ. I called Paul and he was really nice about it but said that the other DJ already had a previous engagement and there was nothing he could do. I was a little upset by the news but it was my fault for waiting until the week before to bring this up. The very next day Paul called me to tell me HE GOT ME THE DJ I WANTED!!!! Not only that but I STILL had my Italain DJ and he wasnt even charging me more money!! With less then a week till the wedding and starlight was still doing everything in their power to make me happy. The day of the wedding they were great! We didnt give them a do, and do not play list and we were happy with almost all the music they played that night. Our MC was so upbeat and fun, he even went over to DH's side of the family ( His parents table specifically) and yelled at them in Italian to get up and dance ( they are the types to just sit there and eat all night and only get up for slow songs) Our Percussion player was the biggist hit and worth every penny! It added so much to the beat of the music and during the reception he even brought the bongo things out into the middle of the dance floor and let me play, then my DH, and then even my MIL!!! ( She is the most serious never see her smile type of woman) and there she was playing the bongos like ricky riccardo!!! It was the funniest moment and I have it captured on film and video!
SandCastle, Franklin Square Reception Location * 9.9 * We booked Sandcastle 2 years ago right after getting engaged. It was the first hall we had officially looked at but we had been to many weddings on LI and called around to find out pricing info from various halls.
The second we walked into sandcastle and saw the ballroom we were hooked. I literally fell in love with that ballroom and didnt want to leave! EVER! :) We did the whole tour and then sat down to look at the menu. As I said we have been to many events at different catering halls all over LI but when we saw the menu.... It seemed never ending. The amount of food they were giving us was insane. We worked out a great price and booked on the spot. I couldnt believe we did that but we did. I had the wedding sites and servies magazine memorized with post it notes all over the place of other halls we were supposed to look at. My DH isnt usually so insistant about things and that fact that he loved the ballroom as much as I did and that he was so excited about it really made a huge impact on me. I made any and every possible excuse to go back and gawk at the ballroom as often as possible. I think I made every single payment in person just for that reason. And everytimeI visited Sandcastle I fell more in love with it. I honestly negotiated with them from the first time we met until 2 days before the wedding. They were able to throw in SO MANY extras. My DH and I were thrilled with how much we recieved for the price we paid.
We also requested a food tasting when we signed the contract. It was really important to my DH to have his overly picky parents try the food and get their 2 cents on everything. My MIL had been driving me crazy with the " what is this sandcastle place why couldnt you just get married at Russos like everyone else" and the " Who knows what the food will taste like it probably tastes like crap, you know how picky my family is" and so on. Well after the food tasting I didnt hear another peep from her about Sandcastle.... and if I did only good things.
I did not want to go to my CH instead I spent it in the bridal suite with my bridal party and we had all the food brought to us. I did hear though that the Caviar bar and Vodka sludge we added were a big hit for anyone who is considering having it! Both mine and my DH's uncles sat at that station all night!! My bridal attendant was like superwoman. This lady did EVERYTHING for me carried my bok everywhere I went stood out in the cold with us while we took pictures, brought me food I didnt even ask for and drink after drink before the glass was half empty. She even got down on her hands and knees when she heard me say my feet hurt to take off my shoes and put slippers on my feet!!!! Now thats service! lol
The little food that I got to eat during the CH seemed really good but I honestly didnt have much of an appetite. I was eating just to put something in my stomach b/c I knew it was a long day not b/c I was hungry and in mood to eat. It never bothered me that Sand Castle does two events at one time but the fact that I had the whole place to myself was really nice. We didnt have to worry about the guests sharing one bathroom and were even able to put our slipper baskets out on display in the womans bathroom instead of having it in the ballroom.
Once the reception began our Maitre ‘d got the bridal party ready for the grand entrance, showed us where to walk, where to stand, she was right next to us guiding the way answering any questions we might have.
They were by our sides all night getting everything we needed and wanted... and even things we didnt need or want. I really wish I had been able to sit down and enjoy my meal. I never realized what hard work it is being the bride and groom!! I can't wait to be a guest again! We had 7 different entrees and our guests really like that there was so much to choose from we had Rack of Lamb, Grilled Filet of Salmon, Filet Mignon, Stuffed Breast of Chicken, Jumbo Gulf Shrimp, Grilled Veggie platter, and Duck A'lorange. After dinner they walked around offering everyone seconds incase they wanted to try a different dish, and also came around with hot towels that I didnt even know about until someone came up and complimented me on them! ;)
My only complaint with sandcastle is the cake was horrible!!! Thank goodness it looked exactly like the picture I had given them and my florist did an amazing job decorating it the way we wanted, but it tasted NOTHING like the sample that I had gotten from the bakery SC uses and I was a little upset by that. I was originally going to order a cake with someone else but the quotes I recieved were outrageous and we were also having a vienesse hour and it seemed like such a waste to spend that much money on a cake most people wouldnt touch. I definitly reccomend for future SC brides to go elsewhere for your cake esp. if you are not having a vienesse hour!
Other then that sandcastle was amazing from begining to end and EVERYONE went crazy for the vienesse hour!! It was definitly worth the extra money!!! I wish I had gotten a chance to actually enjoy it!!! The presentation was great, and I couldnt believe how many different things there were... Pastries, Bananas Foster, Chocolate cake, cheese cake, Tiramisou, cookies, Zepoles, Hot pretzels, Roasted peanuts, cotten candy cart, Ice cream sundae stations, Jello, pudding, and of course Audrey's Chocolate fountian. I was in heaven just looking at it but I was too excited and overwhelmed to eat.
Message edited 9/17/2005 1:09:53 AM.