We live in California but were married in Rockford because I am from Illinois. To be honest, I don't care for Rockford at all, but given the price (vs. Chicago) and location for most of our guests we decided to chance it. All of the important vendors (reception, food, DJ, florist) were SO AMAZING and did such an AWESOME job that I completely forgot I was even in Rockford! The vast majority of our planning was done from California, which is a true testament to our coordinator, Jaymie N. at Giovanni's. If you have to have your wedding in Rockford, I could not recommend Jaymie and the other vendors enough.
Anna is the bomb. We almost did not get linens because we wanted to save money. I am SO GLAD we did!!! It was absolutely worth the extra money. Anna made the reception look amazing, and she is one of the nicest people I have ever met. After we first met her, she went to our florist, bought an arrangement and decorated a table to show us what ours would look like. This was after we had already hired her, so she was not just doing it to get our business. If anyone else does linens in the area, they should just close up shop. Anna is THE person to have. She is hands-down the best in the business. If you are looking to save money, I would recommend doing it somewhere other than linens. It's hard to imagine what a giant difference they make until you see them. Anna is the absolute best!
We had to get a "limo bus" because we had a total of 12 people and an actual limo would have been too tight. It looked like a big truck, which didn't matter that much, but it didn't make for very nice photos. This company seemed over-priced - I think it was around $700 for just under 2 hours, with 2 complimentary bottles of (really cheap/gross) champagne. The driver left us alone, which was nice, and they were on time. However, overall, $700 was too much to pay for just getting a ride to the park for photos and then the reception.
I would HIGHLY recommend Ryan Nelson and Sound Productions. Ryan was extremely fun to work with, and he made our reception a blast! Sound Productions has a vast library of songs, and they played a variety of genres, which appealed to all our guests. We received loads of compliments on how fun the reception was. Ryan & his staff are true professionals. Sound Productions may be a bit more expensive than some other companies, but you really do get what you pay for. They were worth every penny and are clearly the best in the business!
Best cake I have ever eaten!! We tasted several cakes throughout the Rockford area, and Marcia's were far and away the BEST! We had a family friend make cupcakes, but once we sampled Marcia's cakes, we knew we had to have one. We ended up ordering a small one (because of all the cupcakes), and it was gone in minutes!
Bella Rose was amazing! I know very, very little about flowers, but I cut a few photos I liked out of magazines and brought them with me. Roy, the florist, helped me select something that was both affordable, seasonal and absolutely gorgeous. The bridal bouquets look stunning in our photos. I gave Roy very little direction, other than telling him the colors I liked, and what he came up with was beautiful. Price-wise, Bella Rose was very reasonable, especially for the extremely high quality of their products.
MW gets one star only because the first time we went in, the initial gentleman we met with was very knowledgeable and helpful. If it weren't for him, they would get ZERO stars.
All of our groomsmen were from out of town. When we ordered the tuxes, we told MW we would pick them up in the Rockford store. "Ok, no problem," they said. Three nights before the wedding, we get a call that one of the tuxes is in the New Jersey store - except none of the groomsmen live in NJ. It had to be overnighted and barely made it. When we went to pick up the tuxes (which took several trips, by various family members, because they weren't ready when promised), the staff was incredibly RUDE. They were AWFUL to everyone. I do not think Jos.A.Banks is much better, but I would go anywhere, ANYWHERE else besides MW. Horrible attitudes, horrible customer service, horrible experience.
Giovanni's was absolutely perfect. Jaymie Nelson, our coordinator, was awesome! She worked with us every step of the way and recommended some amazing vendors. Almost all of our vendors (except the photographer) were recommended by Jaymie, and each and every one of them was wonderful. Jaymie was incredibly nice, easy to work with, prompt in responding to all inquiries and very, VERY knowledgeable.
The food, service, waitstaff and bartenders were equally awesome. Everyone was extremely professional. The food was served while it was still hot/fresh. Numerous guests commented on the fast service and high quality of the meal.
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