After looking for invitations Travis and I decided that they were all A)overpriced and B) Fugly. We wanted a very simple design that would incorporate nature and represent us. I decided to design the invitations myself. I uploaded the Aspen leaf picture to the make your own invitation design on 123print and then used their fonts. I was able to incorporate the Aspen leaf into every piece of our invitations. I got the invite, envelopes (with return address printed), RSVP cards with envelopes pre-addressed to us, and hotel enclosures all for less than $1 an invite. Even though you must approve your proof before ordering 123print called me to tell me that a black line was showing up on my invitations. They canceled my order without charging a fee and I fixed the problem and re-ordered. They went above and beyond. I loved how they turned out and would use them again in a heartbeat.
Matt was also so much fun to have around on our wedding day. He was right on time and ready to go. He flowed with the day and captured everything without being intrusive or in the way. He was very polite to everyone as well. I had asked him about setting about a camera behind the chuppah ahead of time and he did not disappoint. The camera was in the perfect spot and I have no doubt he captured every bit of our wedding day. We recently received a wedding clip preview and we were blown away! It is absolutely amazing. It is on the Capture Studios site if you would like to see it. After receiving our final product we are extremely happy with Capture Studios and would highly recommend them.
With so many out of towners we decided to have a bus from the hotel to the synagogue and then back to the hotel for the reception immediately after the ceremony. This worked out so well. I needed some people to be early for family pictures and others to come just for the ceremony. These guys were awesome. They made two trips from hotel to synagogue for the specified times I needed people there. Then they brought everyone back to the hotel after the ceremony and then the bridal party took a little ride before going to the hotel. The driver was super nice and made a few stops so that we could take pictures. He didn't even care when we got chased off of General Mills property by securtiy. He was a great sport. 2 days before the wedding they called me to confirm, gave me the drivers' cell phone # and got my important numbers to make sure everything went as planned. Would use them again in a heartbeat.
Cathi & Julie both showed up on time and ready to go. They moved through 4 bridesmaids, 2 moms and me very efficiently and everyone looked beautiful. They were very accommodating as well. Cathi had nearly finished my moms makeup when my mom said she wanted it airbrushed. This meant Cathi had to remove all of her makeup and start over and she was so sweet about it. My sister didn't love her first hairstyle so Julie happily fixed it until it was perfect for her. They were so fun and nice and made everyone feel very relaxed throughout the whole morning. We ended up finishing early. I loved my hair and it held up through all of my abuse throughout the day. I highly recommend them. Julie also did my hair and makeup for a budoir photo shoot and she did an amazing job!
I had my dress and 2 of the bridesmaids dresses altered by Louise after hearing such rave reviews on the knot. Honestly, I was disappointed. Since I was planning from out of town I dropped off my dress in August. She did some pinning on my dress and then we discussed the bridesmaids dresses. The girls wanted to shorten them and add straps so we discussed the length and strap size and she pinned theirs all up. The girls were also worried about bra straps showing so she said she would put a hook in the back to hold the bra straps down. We were pleased and excited. My next fitting was the Saturday a week before my wedding. She hadn't done anything to my dress, which was fine because it ended up needing to be taken in more. My sister came with me to pick up her dress and though it had been shortened, there were no straps. We asked Louise about it and she had apparently made the straps but had forgotten to put them on. She said no problem and that my sister should come back with me and we made a new appointment for Tuesday. Tuesday the hem and bustle were perfect I was a little surprised to see that the bra cups still had not been sewn in, and though she had taken my dress in, it still needed to be taken in a pinch more. My sisters dress had the straps, but not the bra strap holder that we had discussed in August. Next appointment Friday (do you see a trend?). Friday morning we went in and I couldn't get the dress zipped up. This is 3 days before my wedding. I almost lost it. She had taken it in way too much. She couldn't fix it immediately because her power was out for some unknown reason. She called me later that day and I again raced across town to try it on. Still too tight. She tried to approach the fit of the dress another way and when I came back on Saturday afternoon it fit. One day before my wedding. I was a nervous wreck. Not only did all this stress me out, but it severely cut into the time that I needed to get many other wedding preparations completed. In the end, the dress fit pretty well. I'd give the actual fit a B+, for how much work we put into it, it still didn't stay up properly. Also, though it wasn't noticeable to anyone but me, after the amount of sewing and seam ripping that went on, I could see that the side seams were pretty worn and beat up, which made me sad considering I hadn't worn the dress yet. A point on the bustle broke really early which meant a million people wanting to help by sticking pins in my dress and the overlay is now destroyed. All in all, Louise did a pretty good job. The dress looked great, the bridesmaids dresses looked great and the pocket squares that she made for the guys from the dress fabric looked great, but I think she is getting really scatter-brained and it made things more stressful than they needed to be. Put simply, as my sister said, she needs to start writing things down.
I grew up at Beth-El and went through all of my life-cycle events there. My parents were also married there so it only felt right that we are married there as well. We wanted to make sure that though we are having a religious ceremony that we, as a couple, and our personalities, did not get lost in the ceremony. Rabbi Olitzky did an incredible job. We incorporated all of the religious aspects while still feeling like the ceremony was very personal and relevant to our relationship. As usual, Audrey's voice was amazing and got me teary more than once throughout the ceremony. Immediately after the ceremony Travis remarked that ours was the best wedding he had ever been too. Many of our non-Jewish friends were so touched that they made mention of incorporating Jewish traditions into their own weddings.
Our wedding bands had to be plain with no precious gems because we had a Jewish wedding. Who knew it would be so hard to find plain wedding bands! Everywhere we went we were told that if I wanted a plain wedding band that it would be flimsy and cheap looking (they kept trying to sell me something that came out of a gumball machine). We went to Jared on a whim and bingo! I got exactly what I wanted. Their customer service is outstanding and we are so happy we purchased our rings there.
Spencer was so much fun to have around on our wedding day. He took so many creative pictures and we cannot wait to see how they turn out. Our friends and family commented on how much they liked him too. We both really liked our engagement pictures, but we were a little disappointed with the lack of editing out some zits and we didn't love the huge amount of kissy pictures. BUT, knowing that, we went into our wedding day with more realistic expectations for editing as well as a better idea of what we do and do not like. (this is why I recommend engagement pictures with your wedding photographer). The only reason he gets 4 starts instead of 5 is for a few minor reasons. Sometimes he was very slow to respond to e-mails (which can make a bride crazy), and I was a little bummed that he left the reception before the end. We booked him for all day and though he asked Travis if he was OK to go I feel like he may have missed some really great shots of dancing and the tosses (if he had asked me I would have had him stay a little longer). He also got engaged after we hired him and got married a few weeks after us. Of course I don't expect every vendor's life to stand still for our wedding, but I would have appreciated knowing that our pictures would be delayed due to his wedding and honeymoon. When I asked him about pictures after the wedding he did offer a free print to make up for the time delay (and that's when I was informed of it). I just would have appreciated a little more of a heads up about it, I feel it would have been more professional. Other than that, we loved him and would highly recommend him...can't WAIT to see images. Something tells me after I see pictures he'll be moved up to 5 stars.
UPDATE: Unfortunately after seeing the pictures I have revised the rating to 3 stars. Overall we have some very nice photos from our wedding, but I am very disappointed. Many many many pictures are not as sharp as they should be. In the formal family photos we are in focus and as you move further from teh center of the photos the faces become more blurry. It is kind of upsetting that we don't have a single formal shot of just the 2 of us and the formal family pictures are not great. Overall we have wonderful pictures and since nothing can be done about it now I am trying not to care. I wouldn't use him again.
After dealing with musicianzilla and having to fire him 3 weeks before our wedding I got ahold of Nanette with the LSQ. I signed a contract and selected music 1 week before the wedding. She was so patient in my music selection process and they even learned a special song that we requested and did a pretty great job with it. There was a little miscommunication about the music changing when I entered the sanctuary during the ceremony, but it was no biggie. The music was beautiful (though lets be honest, I didn't hear a majority of it...)
Love these guys! Mike was so easy to work with. They sent us a list of their songs and we crossed out ones we hated and made some requests. Travis and I had a medley of songs for our surprise first dance and I e-mailed it to Mike about 2 days before the wedding. He leveled out a few sound problems I had and then played it for us, it was perfect. They also learned a special request song and they were super energetic and even had some of the horns bring their instruments on to the dance floor to get the crowd going. Overall I really really loved them and the variety of great tunes they played. We got a lot of compliments on them. The only complaint and the reason for the A- is that we wanted to do the bouqet/garter tosses a little earlier in the night so that there were still plenty of people there. They emceed it perfectly, but then they immediately took a break. They did announce that is was just a break and that they would be back but people don't really listen. I was worried that people would think the night was over and start clearing out (which some did). Overall, not that big of a deal and it ended up being fine, but that is my one complaint.
Travis and I wanted something very "us" for our ketubah and couldn't find something that really jumped out at us. Then we had the idea to ask Amy, who is an amazing artist, to make ours. We ordered the text from MP artworks and had it shipped to her. We sent her a few ideas of what we liked on different ketubahs and she went to work. We wanted it to be a surprise so we had no idea what she would be putting on it and didn't see it until the day of the wedding when we went to sign the ketubah. I cried when I saw it and I smile when I think about it. It was not only an incredible piece of art, but it incorporated so many important things in our lives. She did such an amazing job that I immediately knew the name of the mountains she put on it and she drew them from a picture. She is now meeting with more brides that have seen our ketubah and love it, and is a ketubah artist for hire. She is also doing the text as well. This picture doesn't do it justice, this is right when it was finished before she had it matted and framed.
Travis' mom wanted to take on the Groom's dinner, which was fine with me. She decided to invite all the out of towners and bridal party to the dinner. She visited Buca's and really liked what they had to offer. They told her that she could fit a maximum of 100 people in the section of the restaurant that they would designate for us. We ended up with about 70 people at the Groom's dinner and I thank the lord that there weren't 100. The room was packed. I can't even describe how packed it was. When we arrived we couldn't even get into the room. It was a freaking mad house. The invite (and the Buca time) was 6:30, but people were standing around talking for at least an hour, which appeared to have been planned because the poor servers were trying to pass wine to people but there was no room to move. You literally could not move. When people finally sat down there were barely enough seats for every butt. Once we were sitting appetizers came out but then things slowed to almost a halt. It took over an hour for the family style dinner to be served. I was looking forward to a dinner and then getting back to the hotel and finishing up some last minute things and getting a good night sleep. We were at Buca's until 11. The servers did a great job though. They didn't let the madness get to them and they were very very sweet to everyone. They boxed up left overs, which fed the in-town family for weeks. The reason that I am giving Buca a C is because they were completely off in telling my MIL that she could have 100 people there. There was barely sitting room for 70 and I can't imagine what would have happened if there were 100! They oversold themselves and it was ridiculous.
Chair Covers/sashes, tablecloths, table runners, & Ceiling Drape: Deckci Decor www.deckci.com - A+
The room turned out nothing short of amazing. Angie was so great in the weeks leading up to the wedding. Even when I totally goofed and had ordered ivory chair covers but had white table linens from the hotel, Angie helped me come up with a solution and was so flexible. The ceiling drape absolutely made the reception everything that we had imagined. It set the tone of the evening and I 100% believe decor is worth every penny. We got so many compliments about the room. It was incredible. They made our vision of a blue and orange AND elegant wedding come to life and it was everything we hoped for.
The staff was super patient and helped me figure out and find what I was looking for. They didn't pressure me too much, but because I live out of town I felt a little pressure to just find something and buy it. Eric helped me find a beautiful gown and veil and stay within a reasonable price range. And to top it all off, the entire store was 20% off! They also let me take pictures of every dress, which I really liked. My dress ended up being a Mestads exclusive and though they told me it would take 6-8 months, my dress arrived in store in ONE month. They kept it safe for me for 5 months until I returned to MN
The same day we also decided on Bridesmaids dresses. I wanted to get Travis' input on the color and we were missing one bridesmaid. The girls that were with us got their measurements put in the computer and paid for their dresses. I called the store a month later with the last maid's measurements and the color selection and they placed the order for me. Easy as pie.
We had a Kosher wedding so we had no choice but to get our cake from Byerlys. We had a horrendous first experience with them, but after some phone calls and e-mails were sent things got better. Sharon was really sweet and really excited about my ideas. She also gave me some fantastic ideas for the cake that I wouldn't have thought of. The cake itself was amazing looking. People were super impressed and Travis was blown away when he saw it. I was so happy that he liked it. The taste of the cake was pretty good, but not the best I'd ever eaten. We also had chocolate chip and sugar cookies put out and they were AWESOME. I loved those little things and I kept going back for more.
We got tux's for Travis, groomsmen, ushers and dads. It was easy to order the tux's, easy to manage the group online and everyone looked great and Travis' tux was free. They were helpful and nice to me on the phone. The reason they get 4 stars is because my dad said a woman was very rude to him at the Ridgedale location everytime he went in. My dad is the sweetest man on Earth, so I know he did not do anything to deserve someone being rude to him. The fact that it happened more than once tells me someone there is not doing their job well.
My mom ordered these things without me knowing. Overall they were cute. The cake server was cheap and engraved with our names and date and was cute. The heart shaped boxes we used in the out of town bags, cute. The water bottle labels were total junk. Make your own if you want these. The ink was so crappy that as I was putting the labels on the bottles the ink was rubbing off on my hands so most of them were smudged or blank. They also didn't stay on and I had to tape some. Make your own.
We met twice before the wedding. The first time we talked basics (i.e- what kind of bouquets I like, what feel I was going for, etc) and then we went to the flower warehouse to get ideas about types of flowers. We met again about a week before the wedding and we went to the warehouse again. I picked the specific flowers I really liked and told him how much I wanted to spend. I also mentioned having a few small roses to put in my hair. The day of the wedding he came up to my bridal suite with a bunch of roses and created a variety of little bunches for us to pick and choose from for my hair. When I arrived at the synagogue I saw the bouquets and I couldn't help but get teary. I didn't even care about flowers when I started this process but they were so incredibly beautiful. They were better than anything I could have ever imagined. The sanctuary was gorgeous as well. Immediately after the ceremony he rushed the synagogue flowers over to the reception so that none went to waste. He stayed in my budget and made our vision of a fall wedding a reality. Truly amazing.
Throughout our planning Leah was so great to work with. She responded to all of my e-mails within a few hours (this was important to me since I was planning from out of town). She always answered my questions clearly and quickly. When my guests were late on booking rooms Lisa Widmark extended the block deadline. She e-mailed me rooming list updates when requested as well. My only complaint would be that there were a few things (i.e: fridge in the room) that were not there when we checked in. I called the front desk and they immediately brought it up, not problem. On the morning of the wedding the girls and I got ready in one suite and the guys in another. I had quite a few requests that morning and the front desk was always polite and my requests were immediately met. Only other complaint room-wise was that our wedding night suite had very little water pressure and the housekeeping staff had left our alarm clock set for 6 AM. Leah made the planning process very easy and carefree.
It was a perfect place to have a family dinner on Friday night. The staff was friendly and easy to work with. They don't allow alcohol, but that was fine, there was enough alcohol the rest of the weekend.
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