What can we say? It was a magnificent day! We did a lot of it ourselves (Save the Dates, attire, favors), pulled off several surprises (Teatro ZinZanni for our rehearsal dinner, breakaway bouquet to toss), spoiled our friends and family (with a special BBQ, trip to Ummelina Spa, beautiful accommodations, and wonderful food at the wedding), and enjoyed every single second of our special day.
The invitations were gorgeous - we got lots of compliments. But, working with the artist was more than a challenge. I think if we didn't have a specific look in mind, she would have felt less pressure. But, we may not have gotten what we wanted. We saw the artist and her work at a Wedding Show in Seattle in January 2007 and were immediately impressed with her fun and formal style and ability to do letter press - something we didn't think we could afford. We had an in-person meeting to discuss the look and feel of our invitations, to pick out the papers and ribbons to be used, etc., in her design studio north of Seattle. Everything seemed pretty clear. The problem is she missed two deadlines - she was delayed by over a week in getting our invitations finished, thereby pushing out when we could send the invitations. Then, she missed her second deadline, and forced me to drive to other parts of town doing other errands while she still didn't quite finish putting together the invitations - we had to stuff the RSVP, envelope, OOT BBQ invite, and map cards into the invitation ourselves. While doing this, we noticed many of the OOT BBQ invites were either not centered on the page, or cut too close to the edge of the letter-pressed graphic. We asked that she do them again, and make sure that the OOT BBQ invites were 1/4 page - the same size of the RSVP card and maps. I drove to Seattle the next day (we live an hour south of Seattle) to pick up the new cards and they *still* weren't the right size, although they were at least now centered. So, I had to go to Paper Source and buy 1/4 sheet black card stock and we had to glue all the OOT BBQ invites together before sending the OOT invites. Also, somewhere along the line a pink matting disappeared from the invitation proofs - therefore, part of our invitation was never realized. English is a second language for the artist; getting the wording just right on the invitations - with appropriate spelling and grammar - was the biggest headache, as she only seemed able to make one correction at a time.
So, yes the invitations were gorgeous. But, we worked really, really hard to get them that way and probably made the artist never want to work with us again.
I cannot say enough good things about Janet and her ensemble - they are consummate professionals who make beautiful music together. Rouge is a French Cabaret ensemble, lead by Janet - the vocalist; she is accompanied by a guitarist, fiddler, pianist/accordionist, and bass player. For our wedding they played many old jazz standards as well as a wonderful mix of French Cabaret. Near the end of the evening they even played, by request, a tarantella for my Greek in-laws to dance. It was a smashing good time. Rouge's pianist also played our processional and recessional and during the cocktail hour. Plus, the cost was extremely reasonable. We booked more than a year in advance, due to getting married near to the July 4th weekend and because the vocalist is also a stilt walker and often has festivals to attend around holiday weekends. Janet gets only an "A" for responsiveness due to the artistic way in which she lives... she prefers to use the telephone, over email... but doesn't always return calls right away. Nevertheless, Rouge was worth every penny and I'm glad they were the first vendor we booked.
Libby is a fantastic photographer. We enjoyed our time for the engagement photos immensely - despite being a little wary of public displays of affection in the middle of public places. Her artistic eye is wonderful and her pictures are amazing. If anyone tells you digital doesn't have as rich or depth of color as film, go to Libby's website and prove them wrong! Libby brings an assistant on the day of the wedding and her work is just as good as Libby's - I can't tell the difference between the two photographers' work.
Libby also does a lot of cool extras for weddings - including mounting the engagement photos in a lovely spiral bound book, printing "You can view our photos on-line in about two weeks" card in the style of our wedding theme for our guest son the day of, creating a slide show, set to music, of the cream of the crop photos for guests to view on-line, hosting all the wedding photos on-line for 3 months after the wedding, sending us a hardbound proof book of all the photos, etc.
The cake flavors Mike and his crew offer are delicious, for sure. But, the design process and their office staff seriously lacked creativity and professionalism. Our paperwork was lost twice and the staff was slow to respond to questions. Regarding the design, as everyone knows, Mike and his assistants make fantastic show pieces for TV and he has quite an extensive portfolio. We knew the feeling we wanted to evoke for our cake and the style that we loved - we just needed a more budget friendly version. The office staff was helpful during our office visit to make design choices that would help us save money - for instance, the gold details we wanted on the cake was chosen to be on the pearls covering the seams between layers, since they are a "free" detail anyway. But, there was never any help in realizing our elegant look. We ended up with a nice, FLAT looking cake... with no drama or refinement. In comparison to the rest of the wedding, it was a huge disappointment.
Also, when the cake was delivered it had sunk about 1/4 inch and the support dowel in the center of the cake was popping out the top - which destroyed our initial on the top of the cake. So, the drivers had to take the cake back to the studio for it to be repaired. When it returned - thankfully before dinner - the initial on the top was sloppy looking.
All this was further compared to a brilliant cake Mike's Amazing Cakes made for my father's 80th birthday party that we picked up the day after the wedding. His cake was a stack of books, complete with gold leafed "pages" and a figurine of my father, in his shorts and Hawaiian shirt, perched on the edge of the cake, playing the oboe.
Working with both Kristen and Alex was amazing. We had a delightful time planning our event with Kristen's support. Alex took care of our every need throughout the day - attending to everything from calling back the florist to fix mistakes, to supplying my father with ibuprofen and helping my closest friends and I attend to an accidental spill on my gown. Our only regret was the abrupt end to the evening; packing up could have flowed much better, but all in all, we wouldn't have had such a relaxed evening without Jubilee.
I had really high hopes for working with Aria and their main designer, John Gardner, because I attended floral design school with John in 2001 and had seen his business flourish over the years. He has a great designer eye and style and I really respected his work in school. Unfortunately, he didn't deliver what we expected nor what our contract detailed. He made questionable decisions regarding flower replacements which seriously affected the style and look of the arrangements.
Further, we were charged for arrangements which were not executed properly; for one of the instances he had to be called back to our venue to fix the problem (hair flowers that were supposed to be individually wired were put on a comb and the flowers that were supposed to be on a comb were individually wired - in the end, neither of us were able to wear our hair flowers). We were charged $40 for a small arrangement to be wired to the flower girl's basket, but, instead we got several short and broken stems of leftover flowers stuck in a water tube resting inside the basket.
All of the boutonnières were tiny - only the 11 year old ring bearer looked in proper proportion to the boutonnière. We provided John with a story board of inspiration for our floral arrangements, including fabric swatches of the bridal dresses and bridesmaids' attire. We even gave him a picture of a bouquet and asked him to copy it; what we got was a bouquet of the right shape with all the wrong colors. His color palette was completely wrong; we asked for a French garden look in pale pinks to crimson, with touches of cream. My bouquet was supposed to have just a hint of blue. Instead, there was blue throughout the arrangements, along with a garish pink lisianthus (one of my favorite flowers, but not in this color) and hydrangea, blue hydrangea, yellow roses, etc.
The flowers themselves looked pretty - not a single guest knew that we were unhappy with the flowers - but they weren't what we asked for. Plus, we asked to stay within a 3K budget, that was already 1K more than we wanted to spend; but the total came in closer to 4K and no adjustments were suggested to accommodate us.
The saving grace in this whole experience was John's officer manager, Crystal. She is a delight to work with and extremely responsive to questions via the telephone and email. Still, the experience was bad enough that I simply cannot recommend John's services.
Update: Upon notifying the Office Manager of our feedback, we were offered what amounted to a 15% refund on their services.
Five stars for the Stimson-Green Mansion and their staff! Finding the right venue for our small, vintage wedding was critical and the Stimson-Green fit the bill perfectly. Not only is the historical home beautiful, but the catering was exceptional - many of our other vendors told us the Stimson-Green had the best wedding food available in the city and we can safely agree with them. The only hiccup we had with our experience at the mansion was the pricing for beverages wasn't clearly stated as a charge separate from the food pricing; therefore, we were surprised by a 2K invoice - which also included the servers' gratuity - after the wedding.
Everything else was superb. We worked with Gillian and she was the most delightful person. We host several events in our home throughout the year and, thus, are well versed in how many and which types of hors d
The staff was wonderful and was able to keep track of all our guests, staying throughout the facility. Breakfast was a feast every morning, and provided us with extra time to spend with our friends and family. The rooms were beautiful and the bathrooms luxurious. Parking was a bit precarious, and cost extra, but, in downtown Seattle it was to be expected.
Steeped in Seattle history (the market turned 100 in 2007), Pike Place Market is a bustling gem overlooking the Seattle waterfront. You will find everything in the market from antiques to fresh fruit and seafood, flowers, local artisans and their wares, restaurants, bakeries, gift stores, specialty shops, and more. Plan to spend most of a day wandering through the alleys, "malls" and streets of the Market.
Our favorite places (visit the Pike Place link for more information on these shops):
DeLaurenti Italian Market
Daily Dozen Donuts (get a whole bag of small, hot, cake donuts for yourself)
Pike Place Market Cremery
Sur La Table
Beecher's Handmade Cheese
The Pink Door
Antiques at Pike Place
Isadora's Antique Clothing
Perennial Tea Room
Rose's Chocolate Treasures
The Tasting Room/Wines of Washington
One of our favorite downtown restaurants. Mac & Cheese, Fish Tacos, and Ice Cream Sundae are out of this world delicious! Quirky interiors, very popular place. It is worth making a reservation, or stopping by for an early lunch.
Hours of Operation:
Lunch everyday: 11:30am - 2pm
Dinner, Sun - Thurs: 5pm -10pm
Dinner, Fri & Sat: 5pm - 11pm
Lounge, M-F: 2pm - 5pm
Lounge, Sat: 11pm - 12am
Lounge, Sun: 10pm - 11pm
Great pizza and salads; sold by the slice or the whole pie. Inexpensive and quick. This location is in the heart of the Gay/Lesbian neighboorhood.
Our favorite local Indian restaurant. Worth the drive to the University District (about 10 minutes north of downtown). Outdoor seating. Excellent service. Inexpensive meals.
Great vegetarian Chinese restaurant. Sweet & Sour "Chicken" and corn chowder are our favorite dishes. Very popular restaurant - be prepared for a wait. Well worth it!
Holly's favorite Thai restaurant in the Seattle area. Great vegetarian options on the menu. Phadthai is wonderful - ask for extra peanut sauce!
Location on International Blvd near the SeaTac airport appears to have closed. Location in Tukwila is near Toys R Us.
Call for more info: (206) 575-3366
Hours of previous location:
Monday - Friday 11:00 am - 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Saturday - Sunday 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Upscale dining above the Seattle waterfront. Wonderful Northwest Cuisine with sweeping views of the Puget Sound and Pike Place Market.
Saturday and Sunday
Monday - Saturday 4pm-10pm
Daily 3:30pm-6:30pm and 9pm-close
Bar serves the full dining room menu during lunch and dinner hours
Kids menu, booster seats and high chairs available.
Private dining room available for large parties; call manager in advance.
Late night menu available
Complimentary downtown shuttle from 5pm-10pm daily
Great place for a simple, hearty & inexpensive breakfast (Denise loves their Oat Groats). And, of course, their Crumpets are yummy! Conveniently located on 1st Ave in Pike Place Market.
Monday - Friday: 7am-5pm (stop serving at 4pm)
Saturday-Sunday: 7:30am - 5pm (stop serving at 4pm)
Great Irish Pub near Pioneer Square. Atmosphere is spot on and food is upscale, classic pub fare. When we saw "Black 47" perform there, Denise enjoyed her brownie w/ Guinness ice cream; unfortunately, Holly didn't much care for the Brown Bread Ice Cream - they were out of bread pudding!
Food Network star, Mario Batali, grew up in the Seattle area. When his father retired from Boeing, he opted to learn the fine craft of sausage making and open up a cured meats shop in Seattle. Salumi is the result of that passion.
The hours are limited, but if you have the chance to stop by for lunch, it is well worth the effort - especially if you're a fan of cured meats. Do not blink when looking for this shop - it is on the corner of 3rd Ave S & 2nd Ave E between S Main & S Jackson - a block north of the train station; the simple, pig sign hangs out front above the door. Street parking.
Click on each tool to see a sample.