After a pretty memorable proposal in Italy, we were married in Seattle 10.5 months later at Blessed Sacrament Parish and followed that with a reception at Salty's on Alki Restaurant. We put lots of thought into having fun details, and creating items and activities that helped our guests have a great time, and it worked! Our guests loved the cookie and candy buffet we had (most hadn't seen it before!), the multiple options we gave for responding to our invitation (email, phone, or mail) and Wedding Mapper. Our out of town guests loved being able to get the lay of the land before arriving in Seattle-- and I didn't have to spend any money on postage or paper for maps that most brides would have added to their invitation suite.
Mike can do--- as his business name implies-- amazing things with cake. You may have seen some of his work on The Food Network. Anything you can imagine, he can create. My one bridezilla aspect to wedding planning was that our cake look EXACTLY like the inspiration picture we found. (No point getting into it, but I did have my reasons, promise!) Anyway, Mike put my fears of having a "cake wreck" to rest-- he delivered exactly as we were promised. The cake was gorgeous and looked exactly like the inspiration cake. And while their cake isn't as tasty as Madison Park Bakery's, it was still incredible. We had chocolate cake with cookies and cream filling and lemon with marionberry filling. The lemon & marionberry was good, but the chocolate was great! One last thing-- we found that Mike's was willing to work with us to make our dream cake work within our budget, and that's more than I can say with many vendors. After their estimate came back as too high for us, they worked with us to adjust our order (less presentation cake, more sheet cake in the back) until it worked for us. If you're considering them, be sure to set aside a weekend morning to attend their cake buffets-- they've got some great cake and it's fun to stuff yourself silly with trying all the flavors (chocolate with bailey's filling anyone?).
Jaqui was great, and her husband Travis turned out to be an excellent second shooter. Our wedding was captured beautifully through their skill. The one drawback I would add is that some of our "formals" -- the posed family pictures in front of the altar-- were not that great. She seems inexperienced with staging 20-40 people in an altar area, and I would ask her to bring a ladder, and allot more than an hour for these photos if you are doing these pictures indoors so there is no rush to get everyone staged so that no heads are blocked, etc. In looking at other weddings she has shot since then, I'm still amazed by her talent. And she does not seem to have trouble staging large groups of people outside. While outdoor weddings are definitely her forte, our indoor wedding in a dark, old church still resulted in beautiful pictures through Jaqui's skill.
Not that I think this should play a role in your decision on where to get married, but this is a truly beautiful 100 year old brick Roman Catholic church. The parish is quite traditional-- if you attend on a Sunday, it's not unusual to hear Latin chants--- and it is a Dominican parish so there are several brothers that live there. So, don't expect this church to allow anything in your ceremony that is not "traditionally Catholic." That said, I found that the "traditional Catholic" allowed for a lot of personalization--for example, our processional was a type of processional that is very uncommon (in my experience) but that is totally "ok" by the Church and the liturgy. While the staff is very friendly, approachable, and fun, some of the office staff (not the liturgical staff) seemed disorganized. We also found it very difficult to coordinate between Blessed Sacrament (my church) and another church (my husband's... the priest from that church married us). We were only told about some requirements for marrying in the parish just 3 weeks before our wedding (a compatibility inventory and an introduction to natural family planning class). It was obvious that the mistake in telling us so close to the wedding was in disorganization and lack of coordination between the 2 parishes-- if you were only dealing with Blessed Sacrament this would not be an issue, I'm sure. We also thought the fee for the wedding coordinators made no sense when we dealt more other staff members then her, and yet we both felt that she did not do all that much compared to them. All in all, our experience with Blessed Sacrament was very positive.
We found Salty's to be very reasonably priced for brunch receptions, because the food was hard to beat and they include everything-- you won't find any fees for cake-cutting or the dance floor, room set-up, anything like that. The staff was easy to work with. Their iPod hook-up was great and we had no issues doing an iPod "dj." And, again, the food was GREAT! We had guests taking pictures of their plates and posting them on facebook with captions like "mmmmm!" and "Best wedding food ever." There is 1 drawback that I would add. While the view for the banquet rooms are gorgeous (overlooking the Seattle skyline) the downside is that the room was not pretty at all-- red carpet, drawings of fish on the walls, lobster mosaics behind the bar and the banquet chairs-- red leather with gold braiding with plastic around the braiding. (Ugh, 80s!) Ok, if you're having a nautical themed event it could work fine... but for me, it was hard to work with. That said-- our guests were well fed with great food, they had a great time, and we didn't have to go into debt to afford it-- and those are the things that mattered to us in choosing our reception venue.
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