Our wedding day was a dream come true! It sounds cliche, but much to my surprise it was just PERFECT. Like actually, really perfect!! Throwing a reception in downtown Philly is very pricey, but we booked everything only 6 months out and got discounts. We were able to throw a reception at a 5-star hotel for the price of a 3-star venue. Booking less than a year in advance really pays off!! I highly recommend it!
Our guests can not stop raving about how fun our reception was!! They said it was the best wedding they've ever been to. Our MC was amazing, energetic, but still very professional for our black-tie setting. The dance floor was jammed packed the entire night and some of our guests said they even forgot to finish their dinners! Our package was a DJ, MC, and drummer, and the drummer added rocket fuel to the music. It was definitely worth the extra $$ to hire the drummer! The perfect mix of modern hits and classic songs were played to keep our guests from 5 years old to 78 out of their seats. I also knew that with our MC I didn't have to worry about any of the scheduling or logistics of the evening. Everything went perfectly.
Carl is the Willy Wonka of flowers... magical, amazing, beautiful, awe-inspiring designs! I honestly can say I loved my flowers even more than my dress! Even before I booked Carl, he brought me in and actually MADE all my flowers for me right before my eyes... for FREE. I sent him pictures of what I wanted a week before our appointment and his staff made everything for me in real time. I was able to tweak everything and tell them to change things. At the end of the appointment I was staring at the bouquet and centerpeices of my dreams. I had to have Carl at that point!! So we booked him and he took photos of the arrangements so they would be duplicated on our wedding day. On the actual day the flowers arrived fresh and PERFECT. You cannot put a price on the relief of knowing exactly how your flowers will turn out once your wedding day arrives. Check out my profile for pictures of my dream flowers!! Thank you, Carl! PS- he works within your budget, so all budgets are possible with him!
Tony and Sal Baiada... I don't even know how to express how amazing they were. It's quite clear that they feel weddings are a sacred, once-in-a-lifetime event where some of the most precious moments can be captured... or lost forever if you don't have the right photographer! Tony, the owner, is one of the best, if not the best, in the tri-state area. His demeanor is calm and professional, and I felt he was as happy for us on our wedding day as our actual family members! His creative eye for detail captured amazing cadids and beautiful posed photos. I felt like he was our 'coach' for the day... telling us what to do next and calming us with his attitude. Your photos will show the attitude of your photographer, so choose wisely! And that's why we chose Baiada!
Okay, so if you've been lurking anywhere on major wedding websites you've probably heard some iffy things about The Pros. I can honestly say their videographer was phenomenal at our reception. What happened was we hired an expensive, high-end videographer for our ceremony only (since that is the most important part of the day to us). So in the end, we didn't have anything left in our budget for video beyond the ceremony. A week before our wedding my fiance's father said he wanted to get us video for the reception as a gift. We were so excited! So I contacted The Pros because I figured they would have someone available on short notice. If the videographer was sub-par, it wouldn't really matter for the reception, we figured. Well, he was excellent!!! I barely knew he was there, and he captured everything perfectly! The speeches were captured clearly, and the video is interesting even when it's just people dancing. He captured awesome moments of my crazy, fun friend showing my little cousins how to dance like Michael Jackson. It was so cute and now we have that forever. I was pleasantly surprised by The Pros. They were true professionals and for a great price!
Apogee was just excellent for our ceremony! We only hired them for the ceremony since we were on a budget, and Matt and his team were just so great... and I totally forgot they were there! They navigated respectfully and quietly during our long, Catholic ceremony but still got all the shots. I can't say enough great things about Apogee. I knew I didn't have to worry with them, and I was right!
A completely 5-star, magical reception, except for a few things. First, the staff of the Ritz are completely out of this world! Our guests were treated like celebrities and they were swept off their feet. Our wedding cake was jaw-dropping! But we did hit a few bumps along the way that we weren't happy about.
First, they suggested we do a 'show cake', which is a fake, foam cake that you cut the bottom of, then they serve the guests sheet cake from the back. That is so NOT my speed. This is the only day of my life I could ever have a large, elaborate cake, and it would not, I repeat, WOULD NOT be FAKE. They said they do fake cakes because the sheet cake in the back "plates better to the Ritz-Carlton standard". Translation: it's easier on the staff. After the price tag of holding an event at their location I was not concerned with allowing the staff to cut corners. Anyway, they made us a real cake but then did not know how to handle it. My cake topper was not secured properly by the baker and it fell off and shattered on the dance floor in front of all my guests (and us) when they attempted to move the cake. They were very apologetic and professional, however, and bought us a new topper that arrived when we returned from our honeymoon. They claimed the accident happened because they are not used to handling real wedding cakes. Um, really?
Also, during the planning phase, any questions we had about diverting from their 'Ritz-Carlton norm' was met with much resistance. I was also made aware of how many other weddings the event coordinator had besides my own... and this was only after contacting her a few times for questions. I finally gave up and had my Mom contact her with questions since I didn't want to experience the coordinator's bad attitude the weeks leading up to my wedding day. She was a little nicer to my parents, who were paying the bill. Funny how that works.
In conclusion, on the actual day everything went smoothly except for the cake topper accident, and our guests were very, very impressed with the service and their experience at a Ritz event. My husband and I were also happy about the reception otherwise! That's why it was strange for me to write this review and be honest. It was a dream come true at the Ritz, but with a few kinks. The most frustrating part was dealing with them during the planning process... and we were no where near demanding or difficult. This is just a warning to anyone wanting to book them. I truly think you should have your wedding here because it will be a dream come true... but it might be harder than usual to plan.
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