Everything turned out beautifully. I can't believe we pulled it off with getting engaged 3/17 and married on 5/23! It was really wonderful. We had my husband's sister do the pictures since she's really into photography, so we paid for her plane ticket and she stayed with us as "compensation". This was very economical compared to regular photographers, and, we have all the photos on disk and can make our own prints instead of paying a fortune to the photograher to do them! So if you have a friend that's really good at photography I would recommend this route!
We rented their ballroom - beautiful with chandeliers and VERY inexpensive compared to hotels, etc. The Sonoran Plaza, is gorgeous outside with the fountains and foliage. They had a special for the summer - you could set up the chairs outside by the fountain for the ceremony for free if you rented the ballroom for the reception. (I happened to get the resident rate because my mom lives in the community so it was even cheaper for me!)
Russ was very accomodating to some special requests (he didn't charge a fee to set up outside for the wedding music and then re-set up inside for the reception). He truly did circulate during dinner to ask for requests, etc. Everyone seemed to have a good time! His price was also a little less than other DJs we looked into.
We love Dillon's BBQ but weren't sure about them as a caterer for a wedding (even though the catering menu is very different/formal from their regular menu). Because we had the reception at Sun City Grand we only had a choice between Dillon's and Classic Catering (I liked Classic a lot but my fiancee preferred Dillon's). Laurie was fantastic and so helpful that night, really coordinated a lot of little things for us. The food was wonderful - the prime rib everyone raved about!
A little pricey but after trying a few bakeries, this was the only one where we could actually taste the "infusion" of flavor i.e. we tried an almond infused filling and couldn't taste the almond at other places. I decided to pick up the cake ourselves the day before the wedding instead of paying $120-180 for delivery. It was a 3 tiered cake (no columns holding up each tier) and it was totally transportable so I'd recommend picking it up yourself if you can. Most caterers will store it in their refrigerators for you.
Jay was very easy to work with. Absolutely delicious and very reasonably priced! I had chocolate covered strawberries (one white and one dark) that looked like a bridal gown and tuxedo (here's a link to another company that has a picture on their website but they cost about double!) http://www.berries.com/jump.jsp?itemID=303&itemType=PRODUCT&path=1%2C2%2C5%2C37&iProductID=303
I tried 1 or 2 salons first and didn't like their product, plus they were VERY pricey. So a friend told me to ask for Alma at the Chanel counter, who she normally works with for every day makeup. There is NO COST for the "trial run" for your makeup and all that Macy's asks for the day of the wedding is that you purchase at least 2 products. Big deal. Buy the lipstick (their stay on lip color really stayed all night!) and the pressed powder or something. Most places were charging $150. This was very except for the product I purchased that I still use each day.
I decided to do them myself. I bought one of the kits you can find at Michael's or Joanne Fabrics. The instructions were easy. It took me about 5 hours to print everything but I saved tons of money! When you buy invitations from a regular vendor normally YOU still have to put them all together. That is what really takes all the time. I probably saved $300 or more by printing them myself and they were beautiful! Everyone complimented me on them even before they knew I had printed them myself.
Click on each tool to see a sample.