After a year and a half of planning, our wedding turned out to be more amazing than I ever could have imagined. Everyone we worked with was fantastic and our friends brought so much enthusiasm and creativity, that every detail had great meaning to us. We did everything the way that we wanted, rather than the standard (for instance, we decided to have Beard Papa cream puffs instead of cake or cupcakes) & that made all the difference. It was, in my humble opinion, the best wedding ever.
Kim Lange came in as our Day of Coordinator ONE month before the wedding. I really did not know what to expect from a DOC. I assumed that she would ask for our vendors names & numbers, a basic time line, and names of family & any issues they may have (in general or with each other). When she came to our place to meet us for the first time I was immediately put at ease. Kim inspires confidence right away. I knew right away that she would be perfect in terms of dealing with any of our family members or our friends. She was excited about the quirky details of our wedding and did not blink or show signs of alarm at any tasks left undone (like nailing down the menu or ordering linens or figuring out flowers or a million other things etc.). When she showed us an example of a time line and I saw not only how organized and detailed she was, but also how much attention was given to the visual design, I kind of fell in love with her!
From then on, Kim kept in constant touch with us over email, asking us questions that I had not even thought of--like where would I be before entering for the ceremony? When I joked that there was a bar up the street, she was like "That would be fabulous!"
Kim saved the day when we lost our photographer 8 days before the wedding. Within a day of hearing our news, she took it upon herself to call several photographers she knows and arranged for Kim & Niki Photography to take on our wedding. Not only did Kim save us hours and hours of work, but she found us photographers who took photos that are more amazing than I EVER could have imagined. (And the ones at the bar are awesome!)
On the day of, Kim was great, keeping everyone as close to schedule as we could be with the craziness of the day. When we called to say we were an hour late & stuck in bridge traffic & I had not even showered yet & my husband forgot his shirt & we forgot to pick up the bouquet, etc. she was consistently calming. She even showed up to the hotel where I was getting ready with a huge carrier of everything one might need but forgot, deodorant, chalk in case of stains, safety pins, etc. She made sure everything went as smoothly as possible and looked as beautiful as I had hoped. Kim was the reason I was able to relax & put all logistics out of my mind, which was something I never expected was possible (as I am just a bit of a control freak). If I had to do it all again, I would hire Kim to coordinate the entire wedding!
Kim and Niki completely saved my wedding! Our original photographer cut us loose 9 days before the day & our stellar coordinator, Kim Lange, gave this wondrous duo a call. Upon hearing our situation they agreed to shoot for us.
I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful they are and how amazingly they work together. I have ALWAYS felt uncomfortable in front of the camera, but Kim and Niki charmed me right away and somehow got me to let that go & just have fun. And the way they shoot together, it's seamless. It's like they're reading each others' minds.
And the photos? WOW! I never could have imagined my wedding photographs to be so breathtaking. They literally made our jaws drop with the style & quality of them. It was a little like opening an issue of W magazine & finding ourselves as the editorial spread. Gorgeous!
I have nothing but love for these women. You will not regret choosing them for your wedding or any other event.
I had done a lot of online research before going to the Wedding Party and I had a clear vision of the dress that I wanted. I knew I didn't want the typical big white heavy wedding dress and I was not interested in going to the kind of bridal salon where someone might say "You look like a princess!" My co-worker had recommended the Wedding Party & gushed about how wonderful Clara was when she bought her wedding dress. And she was right. Clara is fantastic in all ways. When I called to make an appointment, Clara answered and we were able to find a time that would work perfectly with my busy schedule. And when I showed up with a friend who was also interested in looking at dresses, Clara generously extended our time to let my friend try on a number of gowns as well. When my friend was considering a gorgeous dress that would need tricky alterations, Clara offered to let her take it to a tailor to see if the alterations could be done. If they couldn't, my friend would bring the dress back. Who does that? Amazing. For me, Clara understood immediately what I was looking for and picked out 4 or 5 dresses for me to try on, all in my price range. I had been kind of dreading the trying on process bec. I'm a size 16 (& a 38DD) and I know that most sample dresses are MUCH smaller than that. However, Clara had larger samples that I actually could fit into! It was not only painless, but actually fun! For a bit I considered a dress that, in a duchess satin (which was nearly the opposite of what I originally wanted), would have been a few hundred dollars out of my price range. Clara showed me less expensive fabric options to make that dress workable. I wound up going with another dress, which I absolutely love and wish I could wear everyday. Throughout the process, Clara was sweet, generous, honest, and down-to-earth. When I would call, she knew immediately who I was. After I had chosen the dress that day, she told me that since my wedding was about a year away, I could and should wait another 4 or 5 months to order it. I was astounded, since I was expecting her to "close the deal" right then. But I went on my way, and paid for the dress when I ordered it months later. When it came in, she explained the details of the alterations that should be done and gave me honest advice about places to take it. Those details helped me when I had to explain to the seamstress what needed to be fixed AFTER they had supposedly taken care of those issues. Basically it boils down to the fact that Clara is a gem and the Wedding Party is like a calm island in the crazy storm of wedding industry insanity!
We had the Brazilian Room in Tilden Park booked for 6 months or more when I started feeling like our venue wasn't very "us." I started feeling like the decor needed to be pristine--like something out of Martha Stewart or something. And though it is very beautiful, once we saw the Verdi Club we knew that was it. Denny, the manager, is a very friendly, easy-going, down to earth guy. He is very flexible and generous about time and pricing etc., which was the exact opposite of the Brazilian Room. However, since we were organizing our wedding ourselves I did feel like we were asking him 5 billion questions every day. He answered them kindly over email and never seemed annoyed, which was very nice. I did wish that they had something to give us that would answer a lot of these questions right away. On the other hand, that's part of it's charm, rather than being a big wedding factory. The Verdi Club is an active, private Italian-American Social Club, though I think their membership is small. The hall was built in the 30s and still holds that historic sensation from the minute you walk in. There's a great full bar and lounge area with a couch & cocktail tables, etc. And the FABULOUS ladies lounge upstairs. The ballroom is gorgeous with wonderfully high ceilings, art deco sconces & hardwood floors. And a disco ball. There's a high stage for a band as well. The Verdi Club is not for everyone. It meant a lot to me for many reasons: I'd lived in the Mission for many, many years, and it seemed like a place my grandparents would have gotten married in (my grandmother was from Italy), and a lot of the halls that my grandfather played in during his big band days (they have a lot of swing dance parties here). As Denny said on our first walk-through, "It's not pristine like some other places, but it has an ambiance and everyone who comes here has a good time." That was exactly what I wanted and exactly what I got. We had a blast. The only problems I had, were on the day of, and actually didn't have anything to do with Denny since he was out of town that weekend. His replacement didn't seem to know exactly what was going on. The wrong tables were out and the linens that we got specifically for the wedding were not on the tables (I had wanted black tablecloths that hit the floor). Instead they had put the club's on, which did not fit. Also, we had planned on using an upstairs room for the wedding party to get ready in, relax beforehand, and so on. Unfortunately, it had not been cleaned from the night before and the floor was incredibly sticky, making it unusable. At one point, it got really hot in the hall & my husband had to go ask some people to open doors & turn on fans, which seems like the manager's job. Lastly, the stand-in manager, disappeared from 3:30-5:30, when doors were to open at 6pm & many of the set up people were showing up at 3:30pm. They had to fend for themselves, which I think is really crazy. Who does that? I know that if Denny were there NONE of that would have happened. In the bigger picture all of that stuff is small and didn't spoil the night whatsoever. All in all, we had an amazing time and we were very happy with everything! Oh! I didn't get a chance to eat much of the food, but EVERYONE said it was great and there was tons of it. Especially the mac 'n cheese. My mother-in-law mentions it constantly. We had been worried about the amount since we were doing all appetizers, but it was totally great.
We stayed here during our wedding weekend since we didn't want to trek back & forth from Oakland. The rate was great , the Bay view (from a high floor) was wonderful through the floor to ceiling windows, bathroom was spacious & they actually had really good soaps, shampoos, etc. I like the decor, but I saw a few rooms & they literally were all alike. Very gray. We actually were offered a suite, but it seemed to be the same size as the executive king room, which made the suite seem small & grayer. Kind of depressing, actually. So, we went for the more spacious single room. Their restaurant is ridiculously over-priced, as is their bar. But they have these great drinks--a cucumber gin smash (or something) that is just heavenly. Ordered room service very late, but the food was not great. And maybe this was just me being whatever, but I was also a little disappointed that they didn't do anything special for us--all of the staff knew we had just gotten married (I had gotten ready at the hotel), so a bottle of wine in our room would have been nice, right? Or even a free drink at the bar when we came in to have martinis at 1am after the wedding? Nope. Bottom line: it's a great place for business travelers & tourists, but a romantic weekend--not so much. And no pool! However, if I could I'd give it 3.5 stars.
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