Patty is an amazing option as a wedding coordinator, especially if you're a bride on a budget. She was so helpful and very cost-effective. My timeline and wedding planning was a bit crazy: We had five months to plan. I had a specific budget. My groom and I were in separate countries at the time of our engagement, and the time zone I was in required me to wedding plan in the middle of the night. I was in a massive job and life transition that required me to move back home and change jobs. I had never planned an event of this scale before. I hadn't spent much time dreaming of what our wedding could be like, so I really needed help. There were so many options out there.
I contacted Patty at the outset and she was more than ready to work with me. I waded around quite a bit through ideas on my own, changed my mind several times, and then finally caught a vision of what I was going for late in the process. She was very responsive and supported that vision once I had it. She suggested several options for direction/theme, sent me several bids, recommended a sound guy, venues, managed my floral arrangements and was on-site on the wedding day. She had no hidden fees and had no issues with me talking directly with vendors. She did her job with patience, thoroughness, and a lot of joy, taking extra trips to the store to find things to put in my bouquet beforehand, ran to the store on the day to pick up some extra supplies, and was a good contact person to have on the day for people with questions.
Ultimately, she handled: My venues, wedding decorations including flowers, chair covers and pillars, sound guy, and wedding coordination on the day. I brought my own wedding photographer and officiant, but she also had recommendations for those. She also suggested the cake person that I used for my reception.
The best way to work with her: Remember that you're the bride. She's a partner in the process. This will work best if you take the responsibility to do some questioning and digging (ask Patty, look for local brides (http://weddingmapper.com), look on pinterest for theme ideas, walk around the city on google), make up your mind, cast the vision for her, and then ask for her help in making that happen.
Dear brides on a budget: Target is now carrying a bridesmaid line called Tevolio. It's only available online, but bridesmaid dresses all come in the same color, multiple cuts for CHEAP. Warning: The sizes run pretty small - so you may want to order about two sizes larger than you normally wear. Don't stress the zippers too much - because from what I read of other reviews, the zippers do break. Save yourself some headache by purchasing two dresses in two sizes. Shipping is pretty quick. All of my maids wore a dress from the target Tevolio line. They all matched (the color was consistent), everybody got to choose their own style, many of my maids got their dress for $50 (we bought right as a season was ending) and they looked AWESOME.
Total glory came out of a crisis here. I'm a fuss-free bride, so I was happy to have cupcakes as dessert for my wedding. Two weeks before the big day, the father of the bride decided that he would like to have input on dessert and he wanted a wedding cake (no cupcakes). He was the one fronting my budget and had made no other requests, so I decided to honor him and let him have some input. I spent a little time surfing the web and pinterest, called two cake places (a little nervously since this was a destination wedding. Most brides seem to at least get to taste their cakes beforehand), and found Gloria's. I got a very simple roughly iced turqouise cake that faded into white. It was strawberry on the inside with buttercream icing. My groom got a carrot cake with buttercream icing and a very simple design. I am SO HAPPY with them! The cakes came out phenomenal - they were cost-effective, beautiful, tasty cakes. The staff was friendly, responsive, and followed every detail to a T. They also worked VERY quickly (who orders a wedding cake the WEEK before your wedding?) They delivered the cake and charged me no deposit, though I did have to fedex them a check over the weekend to get the process rolling. Going with Gloria's was one of the BEST wedding decisions that I made.
I searched on pinterest & google for what I wanted for my wedding, and shared photos with my wedding planner & Bridgeview. Patty Shelton (my wedding coordinator) and Bridgeview Floral worked together to make some stunning bouquets. I told that that feathers were a big deal at our wedding, showed them some picture of some arrangements that included feathers & succulents, shared my color palette and turned them loose - I had no idea what I was going to get on my wedding day, because there wasn't time to do trial runs. Patty went to get feathers and delivered them to the florist, and Bridgeview's creative talent was so appreciated on the day. I am in love with the maids bouquets & grooms boutonnieres.
I designed my own wedding invitations and uploaded the design to this website - we printed long invitations (a 4 x 8 postcard back and front to save on postage, printed two sets of return address labels, and got envelopes). I've used them often for projects that I've produced, so I knew that as long as I could make sure the jpegs/pdf's were high enough resolution, I could trust their color matching and prints. Managed to do it in a season of intense discounts, (look to see if there are any online promo codes) so we got them about half off. Shipping was quick, and we were pretty happy with the results. I ended up printing inserts with kinko's and was actually much happier with the results from vistaprint.
I got my hair and makeup done at Sapphire Spa for my wedding, and was delighted to find out that it was downstairs from The Pearl hotel. This made for a very hassle and stress free day. I did trial runs at Dillard's makeup counter & Visible changes in my local mall, so I went in with pictures of what I wanted. The atmosphere gets five out of five stars - the music was really relaxing on the day of and exactly what I needed. The staff was lovely - I had made an appointment for my sister but they didn't write it down. One of the girls, knowing it was my wedding day, dropped everything she was doing to accommodate her - and when my sister wasn't happy with her first look, completely took it down, washed her hair and started over without any issues. My makeup was airbrush - which did last all day long (I got my makeup done at noon and didn't have my wedding until 5). My hair was gorgeous - not exactly what I showed in the picture, but close. However, it wasn't secured as tightly as it should have been, so a few bits and pieces did fall down a bit throughout the night. Overall, my appointment was three hours long - I enjoyed all of it, found it to be very relaxing on the day. The price was about what I found in the mall - and the makeup was cheaper than it was in my hometown. Overall, I was very happy - the one thing I would have improved would have been that my hair would have stayed up a bit longer. (Could have been solved with a few bobby pins and a few extra moments on my behalf.)
We loved that you can register for ANYTHING on this website. My husband and I are musicians - so some of the stuff we need you can't register for at Bed, Bath & Beyond. The registry even includes a little space where you can note what you'll use it for/how much you need each item and provides you a "thank you" list with who ordered what for you and their address. This site was perfect for us!
Geoff did sound for our wedding (we needed it as we were on the coast, it was windy, and without it, no one would have been able to hear our wedding). We found the amplification very helpful - and he was easy to work with. He's also in connection with my wedding planner (Patty Shelton), so it was easy to get in touch with him and contract him for the job.
Maury Collections worked directly with my wedding coordinator to do the decorations for our wedding. I had little contact with them, but was happy with the pillars, chair covers and table they provided. At the end of the day we ended up paying for more than enough (we contracted for 200 chair covers, but only used 120, so we overpaid in advance for 80 chair covers, but part of that was due to the timeline we were working on.)
I'm a designer, so I'm a bit of a sticker when it comes to invitations & websites matching, but I didn't have the budget to front for some of our other options. Wix.com is a free site that allows you to alter your own web templates. Our wedding website and our invitations coordinated really well with the effort that I put into it, but if you're not up for the effort, it might be smarter to find a matching set (site + invites) that's pre-made.
This facility was beautiful. We wanted to get married on the beach but didn't want our guests to have to wade into the sand, so we chose the oceanfront patio and they arranged for a backup room for us in the event of inclement weather at no extra cost. The staff was usually very friendly and easy to work with in planning. (I called other hotels early in the process and was shocked to find out that some of them were not really interested in my business, so I was attracted to the Pearl because they treated me well as a customer.) They provided the chairs for our wedding, which saved us a bit of money as well.
We did have a hiccup in coordinating the rooms: I couldn't be financially responsible for 10 rooms, so I was advised to make reservations first - and then come back and create a contract to get a discount for our people. Within that time frame, a group came and booked out almost all the rooms. So we'd printed on our invitations that we'd arranged for a special rate - only to find that the hotel was booked and it was possible that our guests wouldn't receive a discount. It was a major headache a few weeks before our wedding...We actually had to print out separate inserts to go in our invitations which cost us extra time and money. This could be avoided by making up your mind early and committing to a block of rooms via contract or not. If you decide against it, travelocity negotiates good prices, and you may find that your guests would get similar rates that way. Some of mine took this route.
In the end, they did make arrangements for us and past that point, I had no problems. Note: If you arrange for a suite (a king bedroom with an additional living room attached - there are 2 TVs, 2 bathrooms, 2 balconies and MORE than enough room for this to be your bridal suite and for your wedding party to get ready. I was very happy with this arrangement.) They sent us champagne and strawberries once we arrived and had even heard through the grapevine that I'd wanted to arrange a breakfast for my family there. They gave my groom and me free breakfast a few mornings of our stay.
One thing I would say about photography: The patio has a black metal fence that separates the beach from the hotel, and it shows up in our pictures. It's a small sacrifice that we paid so that some of our guests wouldn't have to sit in the sand. The Hilton is right on the water at the north end & has a deck without a fence. And I looked into their pricing, but I still found that the Pearl was a better choice overal, service and price consideringl. A small sacrifice, but worth noting for a detail-oriented bride.
It was expensive, but we found the environment worth it. We had an overall very positive experience. We were sad to leave at the end of our stay.
This was the only venue that was large enough to accommodate our group outside of the convention center, and the only one that could fit our budget (For most reception venues, you have to rent table cloths, plates, settings, glasses. We solved this problem by having our reception at a restaurant and restricting our dancing portion of the reception). I was a little hesitant, but without other options, wanted to simply make the best of it - am glad we did! The private room is something of a bar environment, but my family made it much more personable with the decorations that we brought in. The room included a lovely view of the bay. The food was PHENOMENAL. Everyone raved about it. You get incredible value from their event buffet. $30/head (includes tax) for a buffet that includes crab, roast beef, seafood, 3 different kinds of salad, potato, bread, and all sorts of other goodies. For the same price at some of the local hotels, you can only get a salad and a piece of chicken for everyone. We had a private room which seated us all more than comfortably. Our room included a small dance floor that was perfect for our first dance. We had our own sound system (hooked up an iPod playlist as our music), bartender for cash bar, and servers. Moe, our bartender, even made space in the freezer to hold our cake at the last minute. The only thing I would change is to have moved our cake table - there's a sign in the background of some of our photos that bugs me. But overall, we had a great experience, loved the food, found the space suitable for us, and found the staff very friendly and helpful.
We had our rehearsal dinner here in a private room and found ourselves very happy with the location and the experience. The atmosphere was charming and the food was good. They let us bring in our own dessert (homemade banana pudding). Views were great as well! It was so good that we came back the night after the wedding - and found that another bride was having her reception upstairs. We stayed in Padre for a week, and of all our dining experiences on the island, this was the best.
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