Vendor Reviews

Ceremony Site: Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit = A+
First of all, this church is GORGEOUS!  I cannot tell you how many times a guest came up to me and told me how beautiful the church was.  We needed zero decor, it was perfect just the way it is!  We got married on a very hot and muggy day, and the temperature inside was perfect.  And I have to say, I loved the long aisle.  It's a very special moment to get to walk up to your husband-to-be, and watch the expression on his face as he is smiling back at you.  I love that we got to draw that out as long as possible. :)

Second, if you are wanting to get married in the Catholic church, but not at the parish where you are registered members, you will probably find, as we did, that your options are few and far between.  But that is not a problem here. :)  You will still have to go through standard Catholic marriage prep, meet all the rules, etc., but membership at the Cathedral isn't required.  The price is a little high I thought ($1250), but you do not have to find your own priest and amazingly talented musicians are included (our cantor was unbelievable!).   

But most importantly, the people here were so great to work with.  From day one, Keylee, the wedding coordinator, was polite, helpful, and quick to respond to all my questions (and I am a question-asker, lol!).  They do a LOT of weddings there, so they have a whole system in place that works very well.  We attended a group meeting with other engaged couples where we got to listen to the organist play our song selections.  There were various forms to fill out to select our readings, etc.  Keylee kept in regular contact to make sure I didn't forget any deadlines as far as when to turn stuff in, which disorganized me really appreciated.  And she ran our rehearsal like a pro!  

Fr. Michael LeFevre deserves his own review.  He is such a cool priest!  I mean really, you'll fall in love with him as soon as you meet him!  Just a very laid back funny guy.  We had a meeting with him to make sure we had everything in order.  He was super nice to my entire family at the rehearsal, taking time to explain to everyone involved in the Mass what their duties would be.  And day of, there were a few mistakes made by various people, and other than Mike and I, I don't think anyone even realized it!  He just rolled with it, didn't miss a beat and kept right on going.  I only later learned that he had to tie my dad's tie because he was too nervous to do it himself, lol! 

Reception Site: The Heather's Club, Bloomfield Hills = A++ 
We had a very long and frustrating search for a reception venue.  I wanted a room with a classic elegant feel, with lots of natural light and a pretty view, that was large enough to accommodate ~100 people but not so large that it would dwarf our mid-sized wedding.  I really wanted nice chairs because I hate chair covers.  And of course, had to fit our budget of $70/pp.  We must have looked at over 20 places and none fit the bill!  But when I walked into this place, I knew immediately that this was it.  They gave us a great deal too!  Total price, after tax and gratuity and everything, came to just $66/pp.  That included appetizers (unlimited fruit and cheese & crackers for one hour!), 5 hours of open bar (the works!), and a two entree buffet.  No cake cutting fee or any room fees and no minimum.  Boo-ya!

I cannot give enough praise to the event coordinator, Rachel.  The A++ is for her because I feel she just went above and beyond for us.  Like I said, I'm a question-asker.  I pestered this poor woman with emails about once a week, even more often in the weeks right before the wedding.  It would have been totally understandable if she was majorly annoyed with me, but if she was, she hid it well!  I got responses SO fast, always complete and detailed.  She kept track of everything we talked about too and didn't forget a thing day of!  Despite being 8 months pregnant with TWINS (that just looked uncomfortable...) she was there the day of our event from start to finish.  NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING went wrong!  The staff was great, everything was set up just as I asked, no day of coordinator necessary with this team.  Even threw in some things I forgot to ask for, like giving us a complimentary champagne toast even though we didn't pay for a champagne toast for everyone (ready and waiting at our table when we arrived!).  And they set aside some appetizers for us to eat since we missed cocktail hour.  That just made me smile as soon as I walked in.  And boy, did I get compliments from guests on the food!  Everyone thought it was amazing. :) 

The only thing I would say was a negative is that they don't give you a complimentary food tasting, which I don't understand.  We got half price off the menu price, but I mean, come on...we're paying you thousands of dollars, throw in a free meal for peats sake!  But it's a small thing, didn't effect their grade.   

FloristThe Parsonage in Clarkston = A++
I simply cannot say enough great things about Liz.  Every bride has a different set of priorities, but for me, flowers were VERY high on that list!  Our "theme" was basically flowers (I decorated everything with flower stamps), so I felt that the real flowers themselves needed to be something really special.  On top of that, I apparently have expensive taste in flowers and a small budget.  I talked to and met with other florists before my meeting with Liz, and these other basically politely laughed at my.  Liz didn't.  Our first meeting was over an hour long as I showed her my inspiration pics, described what I wanted, and she enthusiastically jumped right in!  I LOVED that she gave me no less than 5-6 different quotes, showing options ranging from my dream flowers to flowers well within my budget.  I also think it's awesome that she does a free centerpiece mock-up, which is great for people like me who have a hard time visualizing things.

As if that wasn't enough, when I wasn't crazy about how the centerpiece mock up turned out, she ordered even more sample flowers for me to look at - no additional charge!  I bugged this poor woman with many emails and phone calls trying to tweek our design so that it was just right.

And to take the cake, when one of the flowers she had never used before came in smaller than we had expected, she put in another order for some addition flower - NO EXTRA CHARGE!  Who does that?  I think she really understood how important these flower were to me and really went above and beyond to make sure I got my dream flowers.  And did I ever!  My photographer said they were the prettiest bouquets she had ever seen.  I have to agree. :)  

Photographer: A Girl in Love Photography = A+
Melissa was easily my favorite vendor to work with.  She is just so FUN!  From our first meeting in a coffee shop in Ann Arbor to our engagement shoot to the wedding day, she was just a blast to work with.  She responded to my emails, phone call, and text messages IMMEDIATELY, which is a huge thing in my eyes.  She got my engagement pics back to me in just 2 weeks, and they turned out beautifully!  Still waiting to see the wedding photos, but I'm pretty confident they will be beautiful too.

On wedding day, she brought her husband to be a second shooter.  He was such a nice guy, and they work so well together, we had a great time!  My mom was even giving her hugs at the end of the night, and said she felt like a part of the family.  They even set up a screen in the reception room to be like a photo booth.  I wasn't sure if my family would use it or not, but they really got into it!  Someone even told me it was the best idea they'd seen at a wedding!  I cannot wait to see how those pictures turned out.  

Band: U of M school of music student jazz quartet (PM me for contact info) = A+++
These guys get three pluses because they BLEW ME AWAY!!!  This is the only vendor I was a little nervous about - simply because they're students, not professionals, and they had never actually played a wedding together (the members had all done weddings with other groups, and they had played as a group at other events, just no weddings).  We heard a couple demos that sounded great, but sometimes bands can record well in the studio but not live.  We really wanted a band, but couldn't afford a professional one, so students were our only option.  Without a doubt, the single best decision we made was hiring them!  

Basically, they're a jazz quartet consisting of a female vocalist, piano, drums and bass guitar.  We told them the basic sound we were looking for (jazz standards, classic dance tunes like Sinatra, etc.), gave them a list of requests, and they did the rest!  Everyone loved them.  The music was so good, people were on the dance floor all night!  The sound really set the whole mood for the night, and I could not have been happier.  They handled everything so well - from announcing our special events, keeping the music low during cake cutting, putting on the ipod when they took a break so there was no awkward pauses in the music.  I mean - it was PERFECT!  My only regret is that we didn't have someone videotape the evening so we could listen to them again. :(  

Bakery:  The Jefferson Market Cakery, Ann Arbor = B
i am really sad about giving these guys a B, but I'm afraid I have to.  I heard great things about this place, and it was right in Ann Arbor where DH lives, so we decided to check it out.  The staff was super nice and our tasting was GREAT!  At our tasting, the cake was AMAZING!  Like seriously the best cake we've ever had!  Their delivery charge was a little high, we probably could have saved money going somewhere else, but we loved the cake so much we decided to go with them.

After we put down our deposit, I actually came in again to change the design, and she was very nice and accommodating about it.  I followed up with several email asking about various things and they were always very responsive via email.

On wedding day, the cake was delivered on time, no problems.  It was exactly what I ordered, designed as I asked and everything.  But, it was not nearly as good as the cake we had at our tasting. :(  The frosting was too sweet, and the cake itself was HARD!  I loved the soft, moist cake we had our tasting, but this simply wasn't it.  I never would have agreed to pay $300 for that cake.  By no means did it ruin the evening or anything, but we were both pretty disappointed with it.  

Hair & Make-Up: Deux Adore = A-
Deux Adore is a sister team of hair & make-up artists who will travel to you to do on-location hair and make-up for you and your wedding party on wedding day.  

Let me start by saying that these girls are awesome. :)  I really loved working with them!  They are really sweet and very flexible, and their prices are competitive with what similar services are charging in the area.  I certainly don't regret hiring them!

But I had to take some points off for two reasons.  First was the pre-wedding communication.  I had a really hard time getting a hold of them via email, and I've heard that other brides had the same problem.  To be fair, they both have other full time jobs, so I know it's not like they can sit and check their Deux Adore email all the time.  But I think as far as trying to grow their business, this is something they have to address.  I also have a full time job in an office setting where I can't be making personal phone calls (especially wedding related!) from work, so I have to rely on email.  I would say it was an average of 1 week between when I sent and email and when I got a response.  And often times, my question wasn't even answered in the response!  This was super frustrating to me, and I almost didn't hire them because of it.  That being said, once I got their phone numbers, I had no problem getting in touch with them quickly if I had to.  So it wasn't a deal breaker for me.

I also wasn't 100% happy with the quality of their service.  To be fair, I have never had my make up professionally done before, so I have nothing to compare it to.  But I thought I had described pretty clearly to Jen what I wanted, and I didn't feel like the finished look was quite what I was going for.  I probably should have just said I was unhappy with it and she would have fixed it, but at that point I was already a little behind schedule so I just decided to roll with it.  But all day long, I felt like my make-up was too heavy and I just didn't love what I saw when I looked in the mirror.  Same thing with the hair - I had pictures of what I wanted, we did a trial and everything, and I still didn't feel like it turned out as I'd hoped it would.  It wasn't bad, I just wasn't 100% happy with it. 

All in all, the girls fulfilled their contract, charged fair prices, showed up on time on wedding day, and did good work.  So I would definitely recommend them to others.  Just be clear on what you want and speak up if you're unhappy with the finished look!   

Videographer: Forever Cherished Productions (Simply Ceremony) = so far, A+
As of the writing of this review, I haven't seen my final video, but so far this vendor has been great to work with! They take first prize for being the most responsive vendor. As a bride working full time in an office setting where I can't be making personal calls from work, being able to communicate with my vendors via email - and get a quick response! - was really important to me. Aaron got back to me within about 10 minutes every time I emailed him. How awesome is that? 

I hired them for their Simply Ceremony package, because I couldn't afford a full day videographer. I thought I wouldn't be able to afford a videographer at all, but then I watched another knottie's wedding video that they did, and it was so amazing, I just had to look into their prices! I was so happy to see that their price for the ceremony-only package was very reasonable, I went ahead and hired them right away. 

I was a little nervous that having a videographer would be intrusive to the ceremony, but I hardly noticed they were there! In fact, I completely forgot that I'd hired a videographer until I was walking out of the church, and I happened to look over and see I guy I didn't recognize holding a video camera, lol.

Alterations: Quality Alterations in Frankenmuth = A
I worked with Marcia, and did a fantastic job!  I got my dress on ebay, and while I loved it, it was cut for someone with boobs twice the size of mine!  When it first came in, I was worried I'd have to return it because I thought it couldn't be altered that much and still look good (it had a lot of intricate lace and bead work on it).  So I immediately took it to this shop, and she reassured me it could be done.  I brought it back a couple months before my wedding to begin the alterations.  I had only 2 appointments with her, and the dress turned out perfect!  She basically nailed it after just one appointment (did everything at once - bust, sides and bustle).  There was only one very small thing that needed to be corrected after the second fitting, and I was so confident in her work, I just picked the dress up without a third fitting.  It turned out so beautifully!  The fit was perfect, the bustle was outstanding, and I think she even made the dress better than the designer did (we raised the neckline quite a bit, which really changed the look of the dress as it became more of an A-line and less of a mermaid, but I LOVED it!).  

Chair Covers/Linens: The Parsonage = A
Nothing too exciting to report here - I made a last-minute decision to order colored napkins just 2 weeks before the wedding.  When I came in to drop off my final payment for the flowers, I took a look at their swatch book, picked one out, and placed my order on the spot.  I thought her prices were good ($0.50/napkin) and a pop of color was just what I felt my tables needed.  They came in on time and looked great so I'm totally happy with my decision to rent napkins! 

Bridesmaid Dresses: David's Bridal = A
I know a lot of brides have issues with David's, but I had a great experience!  We had a long and arduous search for bridesmaids dresses, and ended up finding some we liked online at David's just 3 months before the wedding.  My mom and one of my sisters/bridesmaids and I went to the David's store in Saginaw, MI to try on some of the dresses.  My other sister/bridesmaid simultaneously went to the David's store in Bloomington, Indiana, to try on dresses and we talked via cell phone and came to a decision.  After determining their size in store, the girls all ordered their dresses online, and they arrived without any problems!  I think they looked super cute too!

Tuxedos: President's Tuxedo = A-
My only beef with these guys is (1) why are tuxes so bloody expensive?, and (2) they charged us a bizarre registration fee, which I thought was refundable, but turns out it wasn't, which kind of pissed me off.  They advertised, and told us in person and over the phone!, that the grooms tux was free, we just had to put down $25 to register our wedding there during the special 3-day sale they were having.  I swear they said it was refundable, but I guess not!  
Everything else turned out fine though.  

Rings: = A+
I would never have guessed we would have ordered our wedding rings from, but we did and they turned out to be a great vendor!  DH and I both knew exactly what we wanted, and we found it on this site at an excellent price.  When the first ring I ordered wasn't exactly what I wanted, we sent it back.  For reasons we still can't figure out, they told us the ring wasn't in the box when it arrived back to them!  All the other packaging was, just the ring was missing.  We told them we were pretty darn sure we put the ring in the box, so they gave us the benefit of the doubt and refunded our money anyway.  We were SO relieved!  It's a rare company that gives the customer the benefit of the doubt anymore, hence the A+ for over and above customer service.  

B-pics: Lovella Photography = A+
I really wanted to give DH b-pics as his wedding present, but I was shocked to see what most area photographers charge for them!  There's no way I could afford to pay $250 - $400 for his wedding present, however awesome it may be!  So I had made my peace with waiting to do this for an anniversary present somewhere down the road, when along comes Lindsey Price to save the day!  She's just getting into doing b-pics, so she did mine for the amazing price of just $150 (included professional hair styling, champagne, 2 hours of shooting in a nice hotel room, unlimited outfit changes, and 25 high res images of my choice on a really cool looking DVD!).  

I could not be happier with this whole experience!  She is SUPER responsive to emails.  She is such a sweet person and made me feel totally comfortable during the shoot.  I had my pictures to me in record time.  And WOW did they turn out great!!!!  DH loves them. :)  

Hotel: The Hilton Suites in Auburn Hills = B
And last but not least, our hotel.  I have mixed feelings about these guys.  On the one had, I LOVED this hotel!  It's in a convenient location, right off the expressway, but off the busy road enough that it feels totally comfortable (I had some older guests from small towns who aren't accustomed to Detroit traffic, so this was important to me).  The hotel itself has a gorgeous atrium with a glass elevator.  This is actually where we ended up doing our pre-ceremony pictures because it was raining that morning, so I was really happy we picked a hotel that was so pretty inside!  The rooms are all suites, so they have a large bed and also a pull-out bed in the sofa, which is nice for people sharing rooms.  They also all have a little kitchenette with a fridge and a microwave, which is also nice a really nice feature.  Other than that, they're just so-so - nothing super fancy like a jacuzzi or anything.  

When we toured the hotel, the staff was super nice.  And the hotel managers were very professional, accommodating and responsive to our inquiries via phone and email.  They gave our guests a discounted room rate, threw in a free shuttle to and from the reception, and gave us a discounted rate for breakfast on Sunday (we wanted to host a farewell brunch).  Our room was complimentary if we got enough rooms booked (we didn't, but we talked them into comping our room anyway).  And they did a mostly good job passing out welcome bags to the guests as they checked in (they forgot with at least one person, but most guests appeared to get one).

BUT getting guests' rooms booked was a NIGHTMARE!  Just about every person who called the hotel and said they were with the "so-and-so's" wedding party was told our room block was full, sorry there's nothing I can do.  But when we called and talked to the hotel manager, we found that there were still PLENTY of rooms still available in our block!  So basically, we had to take care of booking the rooms for all of our guests.  Which was super annoying since we had lots of other things to do in the month before our wedding!  Not only that, but then I got all stressed out because I worried that some guests could be calling the hotel, getting turned away, and not calling us for help just booking somewhere else instead.  So I then felt the need to call all of our OOT guests to let them know to contact me if they had any issues with the hotel so I could help them - also a major pain in the butt!  

That being said, I've heard this is a common problem with hotels.  Not sure why, but I don't think this problem is unique to our hotel.  And in my eyes, the good things with the hotel outweighed the bad, so I would recommend them to other brides.

Rock the Dress photo shoot: Lovella Photography - A++
After the wedding, I really struggled with what to do with my dress.  I loved it so much and was feeling very sentimental about it, but at the same time, I knew that probably in 5 years, it would just be another thing I had to find room for in storage.  I felt like the best thing to do was to sell the dress so that another bride could enjoy a beautiful dress, but I couldn't seem to let go...

So this was my solution!  One last chance to put on my dress, get all dolled up, and take some pictures to forever remember my dress by.  Plus, without all the excitement, stress and time-crunch of wedding day, we were able to just relax, have fun, and really take our time.  Best of all, I decided to just look like "me" this time - no fancy hair and make up, I just did my own hair and make-up the way I would any other day.  I even talked DH into coming along.  He wore just some nice black pants and a dress shirt, top button open, no tie.    

I knew immediately I wanted Lindsey Price to do my pictures.  Even though she's never done one of these shoots before, she did a fantastic job with my b-pics so I was really confident in hiring her.  Plus I have to admit, I stalk her blog and I LOVE looking at her pictures!  She is so talented, but still fairly new to the industry, so her prices are very affordable (although I'm sure this won't be the case for long so hire her while you still can!  this girl is going to be big someday).  

I am so happy with my decision!  We had so much fun doing the shoot.  And of course, Lindsey did an amazing job.  She knew the perfect place for the shoot - Parker Mill in Ann Arbor.  She had lots of creative poses in mind and was very careful to get the lighting and the angles just right.  We had agreed to (and I paid her for) a 2 hour shoot, but we were there for a good 2.5+ hours because she was so dedicated to getting all the shots we wanted!  

Best of all, she had some teaser pics up on her blog within a couple days, and all the pictures were on her proofing site for me to look at in less than a week!  I really appreciated that - I'm kind of impatient, lol!  

And WOW do they look amazing!  You can see for yourself here:
I now have the perfect way to forever remember my beautiful dress, and I'm finally ready to let go. :)