Enjoy a personal meeting and consultation with founder of Two Birds Ariane Goldman, featuring ten color shades of her signature wrap-style dress PLUS a wrapping technique tutorial.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Enjoy a personal meeting and consultation with founder of Two Birds Ariane Goldman, featuring ten color shades of her signature wrap-style dress PLUS a wrapping technique tutorial.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The day of the wedding, the draping behind the band and the wall in the cocktail hour space were beautiful. It was absolutely stunning! Additionally, she included additional lighting to wash the walls at no additional cost. It was gorgeous!!
Instead of pinspotting the centerpieces, Deborah opted to pin spot the head table. She said that she made the decision based on her work as an artist. I wish she would have followed up with me after the wedding. When I saw my photos and realized that the centerpieces were not pinspotted, I assumed that I had paid for serviced not rendered. After an email and a phone call, Deborah explained that she made the decision to change the lighting design slightly. I feel that a change like this warrants a conversation with the customers.
Finally, we were disappointed with our gobo. Since our design was intricate, we paid for a steel cut design that cost double the normal price. I was ok with it because I wanted the design to appear very crisp. Instead, the gobo was extremely large and some of the letters were blocked by the chandeliers. After two visits to the space, I would have hoped that this problem would not have happened.
Lingerie - Trousseau
Trousseau offers a service for you to try on various bustiers with your dress. Lovely. We hauled my 20lb dress to their cute boutique on Southport and they found me the perfect bustier for my wedding day. The service was outstanding. The price was reasonable. I would highly recommend.
Mani & Pedis - Spa Emilia
After calling around a few spas, I booked here based on availability as well as a recommendation. On our rehearsal day, one bridesmaid arrived there ahead of all of us. She was told that I booked the spa on the wrong date. I called to find out the problem. The woman was not very nice. She claimed that I booked the spa for May 15th. I don't see how I could have made a mistake with the math as it is one day before my wedding -- a date that has been ingrained in my head for over a year. Boo. I was then charged a $300 missed service charge. I am disputing with my credit card company. I would not recommend.
Menus- Knottie KatVon & My Dedicated Niece
Kate saw my online breakdown after my disastrous attempt at my DIY projects on top of traveling to NYC for three weeks in a row, six weeks before my wedding. Since she wants to get into design, she offered to help design our menus. We met and talked over our design ideas. She came up with a fantastic design that included blank space at the top of the menu for the calligrapher to write guests names, thus serving as a menu/ place card. My DIY guru husband had the menus printed and cut at Office Max. We dropped them off at the calligrapher, and there wasn't enough space for her to write the name.
There really wasn't enough time to have Kate go back and create new menus for us so I was going to suck it up and use them. However, my body wouldn't let me. Specifically, I was up until 3:30AM, saying to myself, "I cannot use these menus".
Photobooth - Photobooth Express
I really wanted to have a photobooth at our wedding. I have always loved photobooths while I was growing up. We had taken some photos using Photobooth Express at a Yelp! Elite event. I was impressed with the service so I contacted Mike about our wedding. The price was extremely competitive. On the night of the wedding, the photobooth attendant was outstanding. She offered to help out my DOC a few different times. I would highly recommend!
Photographer - Sally Ryan of Kevin Weinstein
This is probably the hardest review for me to write. I love Sally. She is so cool yet very personable. I love the spontaneous wedding photos. She did a great job at capturing candid moments. Her skills are in photojournalism. However, I was not completely satisfied with our photos. We had listed a number of categories that were not covered (example: photos of the guys getting ready, photos of the ceremony space without guests, groom watching the bride walk down the aisle, etc.). Perhaps our requests were too much. If so, I would have appreciated that she recommended a second photographer.
Additionally, we're only mildly pleased with our formal shots. We agreed to a 15-20 minute shoot with families. The photos are decent but the angle is not perfect. The location was a last minute change. If the photos weren't coming out, I wish that she would have moved us to a new location. I love Sally. I love the engagement photos that she took. I love the photos that she did take... I just wish that the other photos were taken, per our request.
Pianist - Sana Ma
Pre-Marital Counseling - Urban Balance
They were wonderful. I would highly recommend. For a more detailed review, please click my here to read my blog.
Giordano's did a great job. The food was good, the service was great. If you are from Chicago, you know what you are going to get at Giordano's. Here are the three things that frustrated me:
2. The bathroom needed to be serviced midway through our event. I found someone to take care of it immediately.
3. We put a credit card down on file. As the party started to end, there was about 15 of us lingering around. Exhausted, I left with my Maid of Honor about a half hour later. Then, the head waitress comes up to my husband and says that they need the final payment. They offer to "chase that lady [me] down the street" much to the amusement of the remaining guests. My husband offers up his card without any further problem.
Rentals - Covered Affairs
Covered Affairs is not into email. That is frustrating for a girl like me, who has her Treo attached on her at all times. However, I wanted to pay as little as possible for linens and chairs and they are the absolute cheapest.
Rentals - Flatware - Hall's
Since I loathe the flatware at the Allegro, I opted to rent some from Hall's. They were easy to work with via email. I did get a random computer generated email saying from them saying to call immediately. I called and they didn't need to talk to me. Regardless, I would recommend.
Shoes - Oscar de la Renta
I found the shoes months ago in a magazine and cut them out. A few months later, I found myself at Saks trying them on. Unfortunately, no location had my size in stock. I went straight to the Oscar boutique and ordered them over the phone. This is my only disappointment-- why isn't there an Oscar boutique in Chicago? I would have loved a chance to go shopping in the store. They came in the mail the following week. Two weeks later, I received a sweet thank you letter. Outstanding customer service.
Transportation - La Salle Limo
I really didn't want to rent limos. I wanted the bridal party to travel via cabs especially since we had a complicated travel system and cabs can take much longer. However, I was concerned that I might get into a cab that was dirty and it would stain my dress. (Bloody wedding nightmares!) Anyhoo, as a long standing customer of La Salle, they upgraded my town car to a limo. It was very nice of them. It wasn't anything fancy but I did NOT WANT a bridal limo. I was very pleased. I would highly recommend.
Tuxedo Men's Warehouse
There were no problems with the tuxedos for the group. I do wish that my father-in-law had received a slightly smaller shirt. I think that he lost weight and doesn't realize that he needs to go down a size! Regardless, it was quick and easy. Our party included individuals in many other states (IN, TX, MO, FL) and we didn't have a problem.
My husband purchased his tuxedo from Jos A Bank during a Thanksgiving sale in Indy. He exchanged the pants for a flat panel cut up in Chicago without a problem. He did not use their tailoring services. He was very pleased.
My husband was adamant that he wanted a real bow tie for him and his groomsmen. Brooks Brothers was having a January sale so we bought 9. One small problem-- my husband forgot to practice on how to tie a bow tie. Instead of asking the DOC for help, the guys were googling about 10 minutes before they were supposed to be ready. This is after a day of sitting around watching the Cubs play and drinking beer. I've gone completely off topic here. I would recommend Brooks Brothers. I would not recommend getting real bow-ties unless your fiance is positive he knows what he is doing.
My high fashion husband loves Thomas Pink. He always looks so handsome in their shirts. For our dating anniversary gift, I bought him a tuxedo shirt. They are ridiculously expensive. If he didn't love them, I would have just gone to Brooks Brothers or Jos A Bank.
Weddings 826 will schedule an hour long appointment for you with your dress so that you can try on veils to match your dress. I found this to be very helpful because I didn't realize that I wanted a veil until I purchased my dress. While it is possible to get a veil slightly cheaper online, I feel that the customer service was well worth it. Besides, I was able to wear my dress again! I would highly recommend.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Calligraher - Marilyn aka knottie Marilena
Marilyn did a wonderful job on the calligrapher on my outer envelopes. She gets the + for putting up with our multiple trips to her home (last minute addition, change of last name, change of address, can you add my nephew's name to this inner envelope, etc.) I would higly recommend.
Ceremony & Reception Venue - Hotel Allegro
Since none of my guests saw the problems, I am inclined to give them a higher grade.
Wedding-- The night of the wedding, everything was perfect. More than that, the week of the wedding, we had absolutely no problems. Let's start with the good. The hotel was amazing when it came to food. For the entrée duet, we changed the salmon to a crab cake. We also added a pasta course and supplied our own recipes. We also came up with some more unique hors d’oeuvres and they were totally willing to do it. I really appreciated it. The service was outstanding.
Things that I didn't like-- I wish that Kerry could have gotten back to us more quickly during the planning process. I don't know if she is under-staffed/over-worked but 10 days for a reply is far too long. I loathe the draping in the Music Room and the Walnut Room. If I had the money, I would have brought new drapes in for my event. They are absolutely hideous. I would recommend the venue. Overall, we really enjoyed the Allegro.
Monica met us several times over the past three months to give us dance lessons. She was extremely profesional. I would highly recommend. For more information, read my blog entry.
After trying on close to 200 dresses, I can safely say that I absolutely love my dress. I wouldn't change a thing.
Dress #2 - Dame Couture
After months of looking for the perfect dress, I came to Dame Couture. While I didn't find a wedding gown, I found the perfect dress for the after party. The dress was designed for a runway show and was one of a kind. I purchased it without a problem. I did post a review on Yelp! about their dressing rooms needing to be freshened up. Apparently, the owner wasn't too pleased and asked me to remove my review. Since Yelp! let's you post your uncensored opinion, I left the review as is.
Favors - Girl Scouts of America
My favors are the perfect compromise. My Mother in law really wanted to have us make a donation to a charity. I wanted to give our guests something. We are doing both with Girl Scout cookies. I was a Girl Scout as well as a leader for my niece, Sarah. To save a little dough, we bought them in Indy where they are $3.50/ box VS $4 in Chicago. We will be wrapping them in different color wrapping paper to designate the types of boxes that we have. As far as the Knot Rule that guests don't really care for favors, well then, you should hand out girl scout cookies. We had 5 boxes left over. Yup, 5 boxes. I'm actually a little bummed out about that.
Hotel Block - Hotel Allegro
Through out the entire block process, Sarah was quick to respond and wonderful. I was very happy with the entire process. Then, there was the day before the wedding.
My in-law's were the first to check in on Thursday night. When I went to visit them on Friday, I realized that their room was on a floor with construction. I was livid. I specifically had a line added to my contract stating that I did not want any rooms to be booked on floors with construction. To top it off, my mother-in-law said that it was loud. Sarah was on vacation. Kerry was away that day in training. After speaking with the front desk, my in-laws were finally moved.
When my Maid of Honor and I went to check into our room at noon, I was unable even though Sarah had assured me that I would be able to check in early. We tried to check in again around 5PM. The room was still not ready. Luckily, I had rented out the Stardust Suite so we were able to get ready in that room while guests were drinking and socializing. Not ideal, but it worked. When we did go to check into the room at 10:30PM, the front desk associate told us that he had bad news for us. The only room that was available was the room that my in-laws had vacated. Great. I am having my wedding at the hotel and I get the crappy suite. I even asked if we could get a regular room but there was none available.
I was even unhappier when I found that there was a second hotel block under the name of Jacobs that had received our suites. While the chances of two hotel blocks with the same name are slim, I was still very frustrated with the entire situation. We were having our wedding there. Therefore, we deserved first priority.
Additionally, I was frustrated that my husband and I were unable to check into our bridal suite until 5PM because the room was not ready. Surely, one would assume that the bride and groom would prefer to check in to the bridal suite long before the reception commences. It is extremely disappointing customer service. The silver lining of the situation is that my guests did not have to experience any of these problems.
Invitations - White Aisle
Our invitations arrived about 5.5 weeks after ordering. A few days later-- as I was assembling them to mail out-- I noticed that some of the response cards had a printing flaw. It wasn't very noticeable but it was nonetheless a flaw. After emailing Rebecca, she responded within minutes. She asked that we send her some pictures of the problem. My camera is crap so the flaw wasn't clear. Since she was using mine invitations as samples, she already had plenty of extra to mail to me. The next day I sent her my flawed response cards and she mailed me the new ones. I received mine in the mail.
A few days later, I emailed her to see if she saw the problem. Apparently, the cards were destroyed in the mail. Maybe I am overly sensitive, but she never accepted the blame or apologized. While I see her point of view (she didn't get proof of the mistake), I wish that she would have been a little more regretful about the entire situation.
Late Night Snacks - Minnie's
We had a late night snack of Minnie's for our after party. It was a huge hit! The food was delicious. I ate three mini-burgers at the after party. I loved everything. My only suggestion was that I wish that they would have packed up little mini containers for the french fries. To keep the frittes crisp and hot, they came in a huge tin serving container. We had little plates to put them on but I wish that we could have had the little french fry containers. I would highly recommend. EVERYONE raved about these suckers at midnight.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
For my wedding, I was torn by having something visually stunning (but utterly worthless) or something practical (and a little boring). I think my Welcome Bags (aka OOT gift bags) are somewhere in the middle.
Although gable boxes are all the rage, I opted for something reusable. I ordered reusable scarlet totes from Cheap Totes. They were fairly inexpensive and are great for the environment. I thought about doing an iron-on for our wedding but I figured that most guests would be less inclined to re-use a bag branded with my wedding logo. Instead, I attached these cute vintage postcards to the bag with a piece of satin ribbon.
The Goods: I love swag but I also wanted to make the bag practical. In the bags, we gave guests items all made from the City of Chicago:
- 2 bottles of water - a luxury in Chicago as we have a plastic bottle tax
- Jay's Potato Chips
- Melissa & Denton Word Puzzle
- Welcome Materials from the City of Chicago
- Quaker Oats Snack
- Tootsie Roll's
- Fischer Peanuts
- Wrigley Gum
- Jelly Belly's
- Our Awesome Welcome Letter
Since I wanted to add a cohesive look to the bag, the DIY Champion of our Household - my husband, Denton - made labels to package up the Jelly Belly's and the Fischer Peanuts.
He also made the labels for the Water Bottles. Adding a label to a water bottle is the easiest DIY ever. Simply buy some bottles from CostCo, rip off the old labels, and then attach the new ones. Denton bought the labels from Labels by the Sheet.
The best part of the bag was our Welcome Letter. Much more than a letter, we had 8 pages that included information on our favorite sites, a timeline for the weekend, a map, and a short note from us.
My husband had this printed on a heavy resume paper and cut at Office Max. He whole punched the paper and assembled with braids from Paper Source. They are simply gorgeous. We received many compliments on our bags.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
The four of us started the night out at the James Hotel. We hung out and then got ready for the big night out. What better way to start out the night than to drink some champagne? (This will be a reoccuring theme for the night!)
Around 6ish, my friends arrived for a personal shower. My bridesmaids had the most fun goodie bags! They included all sort of fun things including nail art. I put on some stickers that spelled "M + J". Since my husband's name ends with J, this is a sign of the state I was in my 7pm!
Since I was really adament about not wanting to wear anything "bachelorette party-esque", I was told to wear something in a really bright color. It turns out that everyone else wore black. It was much more chic than the group of girls we saw that evening in matching fuschia T-Shirts with boas, in my opinion.
After the shower, we headed to Quartino's for dinner. Quartino's is a great place for a family style dinner. I would highly recommend this venue for group dining.
Once dinner was finished, we headed to Pops For Champagne, a great lounge for champagne, of course! We had a toast at the beginning of the night- which was probably one of the highlights of the evening for me.
Just as more things are being accepted across the board for weddings, the same is true for bachelorette parties. I am so glad that we did something that was very "me" than a more "traditional" bachelorette party.
Friday, June 20, 2008
When I contacted Accolade for a string quartet, they gave me pricing for a trio or a quartet. I didn't realize that my contract was for a trio until the week of the wedding. My bad. Luckily, they were able to find a fourth performer. They went above and beyond because they took the time to learn some songs for us. I wanted to enter to Coldplay's Clocks and we wanted to exit to Enya. They learned the songs and they sounded PERFECT. I would highly recommend.
Ring - Fredrick M. Gottlieb & Co.
67 E. Madison St. Suite 1921
I absolutely love my ring. I opted to get one "marriage" ring-- in lieu of a engagement ring and wedding ring-- as I don't like the stacked look. For ages, we couldn't find anything out there. We looked at some estate jewelry but nothing caught our eye. Finally, we decided to design a ring together. Jeff brought out some diamonds for us to consider. Once we picked the perfect stone, we worked together to design the perfect ring. He created a computer drawing and then a wax molding. It was an amazing experience. I would highly recommend if you can't find the perfect ring.
After the work involved in creating our OOT welcome packet, both my husband and I agreed that we needed help with the rest of our paper suite. We met with Elise and we loved her. Then she uttered these words, "thermography printed programs" and I melted. She came up with a beautiful design that complimented my original invitations and our cake. Elise not only had them ready a day early, she had her assistant assemble them for us. I would highly recommend.
What can I say that hasn't been said before? Sonia is a rock star when she beats your face. Between the two trials I had with her, we came up with the perfect look for me. She is fabulous. I love her. I am anxiously awaiting the opening of her new store. I would highly recommend.
Hair Stylist - Livia
DOC - Marilyn at Honey Bee Weddings
Cake- Amy Beck Cake Design
Six weeks before the wedding, we had our terrible tasting at Rolf's. Denton and I decided to suck it up and pay for a cake even though a cake was complimentary with Rolf's. We tasted at Alliance Bakery, Cake Girls, and Amy Beck. Amy blew us away. Cake Girls was just as tasty as Amy's, but Amy was willing to really work with us on a totally unique design. She took our two ideas and ran with them. Even Denton was super impressed when we received back the drawings. She came in at the last moment and saved the day. The only minor item is that she was going to thrown in a cake stand for us but forgot it. However, I didn't even notice until the following week when I got the pictures back and realized that there wasn't a cake stand. I would highly recommend.
Bridesmaid Luncheon - Four Seasons
We had afternoon tea in the conservatory. After dessert, three staff members came over, each carrying a little blue box, and handed one to each of my maids. My bridesmaids were utterly surprised and really really excited. The girls were completely shocked when they realized that each gift was personalized. How did the staff know which gift to give to each girl? I came in earlier in the day and described each girl. The Four Seasons went above and beyond in their service for us.
Band - High Society Orchestra
The band did an outstanding job. Since we decided to have our wedding New York Style (AKA dancing in between each course), the band had to be ready to get the crowd moving. They did and then some! If you look in my pictures, almost everyone was dancing. If I could have them do one thing over, I would have them call the Anniversary Dance by the name rather than "The Elimination Dance". Regardless, they were outstanding. I had several wedding guests tell me that this is the best band that they have ever seen play at a wedding. I would highly recommend.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
- It is really important to give reviews as well as vendor feedback. As a vendor, I love hearing from Brides.
- That said, if you read a review, keep in mind that you are not that Bride and you may not have the same opinions as her. I have seen some brides rave about things that I thought were hideous. I have also seen some Brides complain about things where I could find nothing wrong.
- Finally, remember that the vendor could be having an off day. No one wants a vendor to have an off day on their wedding day. However, it happens. I would still write an honest view of the vendor.
For the most part, I was pleased with my vendors. I am happy to publish their names and information on my blog so that they could get repeat business. I am also going to post the reviews on Yelp!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
A Place Setting
Denton's Groom's Cake
The Room set up for the Ceremony
Great Detail Shot of my Hair
Care for a Misselini? It was our Signature Drink
The Cake and part of our Head Table
A Room Shot
Our Menus & Programs
Now that I have shared some photos, I am going to move on to vendor reviews!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Exiting the ceremony, great veil shot
Enjoying some drinks at the cocktail hour
Being Introduced at the Reception
As we are about to take our seats
Tomorrow, I will post some pictures of the detail shots.
Monday, June 16, 2008
If you have any problems, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, June 15, 2008
The country has been in the press lately, mostly all good news. Shortly before leaving for our trip, we received a note from a friend to read this article on Istanbul. We both really enjoyed our trip. We traveled to Selcuk, Ephesus, Fethiye, Goreme, Urfa, and Antep.
We loved every minute of it...well, until the last 36 hours. It's a long story but it ended with us being stranded in Antep for 12 hours and then getting a nasty stomach bug. Alas, we're home. As soon as I start to feel better, regular posting will resume.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Let me preface this post by saying that I am super picky when it comes to alterations. At 4’11”, almost every item of clothing is altered to that it will fit me properly. I never really understood the importance of alterations until I moved to Italy. It is common in Italy for pants to come unfinished so that everyone can have them fitted. I truly believe this is why Italians look so good.
Since coming back to the States, I have been a regular at Tailor’s Touch on Oak St. I had planned on using them for my wedding gown. However, their hours are really limited. I have heard amazing things about The Dress Doctor in Water Tower Place so I decided to give them a shot.
Once I walked in, I realized that I was in great hands with Soheila. For the initial appointment, we went over what would need to be done to the dress. The spaghetti straps needed to be shortened, the dress needed to be taken in at my waist, the dress needed to be hemmed, and bustled. In short, I needed a lot of work done. Soheila took the dress in at my waist.
For my second appointment, I knew that my dress would be in a bad state. It was. There was one strap. The beading had been removed. There was a big hole on the side of the dress. I knew that to take it in, it had to get worse before it would get better.
Soheila again took it in the waist. She also measured to have it hemmed and bustled. I was told to walk around for 15 minutes to make sure that the dress felt comfortable and did not drag.
For the third appointment, it was close to perfection. The dress had to have a few beads sown on as well as the inside corset hook restitched. I noticed a spot on the dress. They agreed to have it removed.
When I went to pick up my dress, it looked beautiful! I didn't try it on since they had sent it to Davis Imperial to get cleaned! Davis did a wonderful job and made the dress look as though it had never been worn. I was very impressed with their outstanding service and quite pleased. I would highly recommend The Dress Doctor.
The Dress Doctor
Water Tower Professional Offices
845 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
Friday, June 13, 2008
Above is my absolute favorite cake. We used this cake as the inspiration for our wedding cake...but we took it in a much bolder, less bridal direction.