vendor reviews

joe + anita


'official' married bio coming soon...

vendor reviews 

Day of Coordinator - 
Kirsten Hegarty with Events - A+

Kirsten was one of my favorite vendors! She has gone above and beyond, and was so instrumental in orchestrating the flow of our day. From periodic help in finding items or making design decisions, to calling all our vendors the week before the wedding to firm up details, to setting up the ceremony and reception, and even decorating our hotel room for our wedding night, Kirsten really helped make our day. She took my vision for our day and made it happen, and carefully orchestrated the timing of our outdoor wedding (in the rain) perfectly.  Joe was so thankful for her last minute advice ("Look at Anita - and take it all in!" - which Joe still talks about!) She really helped make our day what it was. I planned nearly our entire wedding, so for me to be able to sit back and relax on the day of was perfect and priceless. I coudn't have done that without her! Her contact info is

Tent Rental - Apres Party and Tent Rental
Product: A-
Service/Communication: B-

We worked with Katiee at Apres. Katiee is so nice, and the product is fabulous. The crew that set up our tent was efficient, really nice and did a fantastic job. My only real complaint was communication. When I was told that they'd have new info to me in 1 week, It was always at least 2. However, during the week of our wedding communication was fantastic, we had everything we needed and the few things we needed changed were completed quickly.

Ceremony - Arneson Acres Park - A
It's a city park, what can I say? No staff on site, but none were needed. It's not a very traditional ceremony location, but it's beautiful and worked perfectly for us. Vera with the City of Edina was very picky about the style of chairs we used in the park, but no one was there to regulate it. It is a park, so you may have to deal with the public and stragglers watching your event, but that didn't bother us. It's inexpensive.

Catering - Bruschetta: Catering by Design - A+
Bruschetta: CbD is my uncle Lee's company. He was overly accomodating to our wants and price range, and gave us a family discount. The food was amazing - we had so many compliments!

Cake - Queen of Cakes - B+
We LOVE Queen of Cake's cake! The taste of the cake, their customer service, and their prices all get an A! They are getting a B+ for 2 things - the surprise grooms cake I had made for Joe - a replica of his vintage Porsche - they misspelled PORSCHE on the back. I gave them pictures, and it's Porsche! Who doesn't know how to spell it? It was just a little annoying, and embarassing to see it spelled incorrectly. The other thing is minor - but I was very specific about wanting buttercream dots, not dots with swoops, above and below the ribbon. I gave them pictures of what I wanted, explained what I didn't want with a photo, and they did the wrong thing on our cake. It's NOT a big deal at all, and in the end, it didn't really matter, but it wasn't what we talked about in the design consult, so that is why it is reflected in my grade. Everyone loved the cake - and we didn't have ANY leftovers, so it really speaks to the quality! Most people had more than 1 piece...  Follow up 10.28.08 - I called Queen of Cakes last week to let them know about the misspelling of Porsche on the grooms cake.  They apologized profusely on the phone - which was nice.  I emphasized that we were very happy with our cakes, but that I just wanted them to know what happened for future reference.  We received a letter of apology from Terry and her team at QoC with a gift certificate for a free cake - So nice!  We didn't ask for that, but we appreciate their quick rescue on the mess up!

Shuttle - Laidlaw Transit - A
Laidlaw Transit was great. It was inexpensive, the bus was clean, but slightly outdated in the decor (purple 'heartbeat' line down the side of the bus!). Our driver was SO nice (and I wish I could remember her name!), so polite, and gracious. She made a point of wishing us congratulations and saying goodnight before she left after the reception.

Ceremony Musician - Joel Shapira - A
Joe has been one of my favorite vendors to work with! He's extremely prompt with emails - I usually had a reply within an hour or two. His music speaks for itself - he's a gifted musician! I gave him a list of a few songs we liked, and basically told him that we wanted non-traditional music, and he ran with it. It was perfect! He did learn 1 song for us free of charge - Love's Divine by Seal. I had to purchase the sheet music for him, which was not a problem.

Photographer - Erin and I Photography - A
Erin and Andi are childhood friends of mine, reconnected thru Myspace. They were so fun to work with, a great price, and they were very accomodating with requests I had. Our pictures were available online within 4 weeks of the wedding, and we should have our album and CD with rights to photos in the next week or two (about 6 weeks out from the wedding, total). They were organized and kept us on time for our family photos, and rolled with the punches in the rain on our wedding day. We LOVE our pictures! We also really love the Thank You card they designed for us.

Videographer - Battle Creek Films - F
Plain and Simple - They did not SHOW UP on our wedding day. James, owner of Battle Creek Films left me 2 voice mails - 10 and 4 minutes before the start of my ceremony, saying that he was lost, that I gave him the wrong address (but has not sent me proof of this - despite my requests - and I KNOW I didn't give him the wrong address! It was my own wedding, I know the address!), that his GPS took him to the wrong place... and that he'll be giving us a full refund. We returned from our honeymoon with no communication from him. I emailed, requesting that he send our full refund, which he offered in his voicemail. He said he's be sending it as soon as possible, but that he'd be out of town a lot and only in town to shoot some weddings... We were married nearly a month ago. He is no longer replying to my emails. Joe attempted to call him with no luck. We have not received our full refund, and we are currently working with a lawyer in hopes of getting a full refund. The communication has been EXTREMELY poor, in our email conversations after the wedding his story changed quite a few times, first he was at xx address - our reception location. Claims no one there knew anything about our wedding, despite the 'small' fact that our reception was at my husband's parents house... Then the story changed - they actually went to a large church at xx address - that large church is across the street from our ceremony site. He claims that no one there knew where it was (it was across the street) and he had NO one else to call. My day-of-coordinator called him repeatedly, from her phone and several other phones, with no answer from him and no returned call. I do not feel that he did everything in his power to come to our ceremony,and the way his story continues to change, it makes me wonder if he ever came at all. I would not recommend his services to ANYONE. We will continue to work with our lawyer to get our money back. Current status - about 5 weeks out from the wedding with no refund and no contact from James.  Edit:  We received a full refund from James in mid-February 2009 - nearly 5 months to the day after our wedding.  Despite receiving a full refund - which I believe is because the Star Tribune was going to run a story in their Whistleblower column about our situation - I would never recommend James Sobanski's services to anyone.  Our whole experience was tainted with lies, denials and empty promises. Weddings are stressful enough as it is - there is no need to add a stressful situation with a vendor into the mix.  I have seen that James Sobanski has started/partnered with a few other companies, so at this point he may not be advertising with Battlecreek Films, but no matter what company name he is currently using, I would suggest avoiding them based off of my review.

Wedding Dress - The Wedding Shoppe - A
I had a great experience here! Cathy was so helpful, everyone made us feel welcome and we had a ton of fun looking at dresses! They were willing to negotiate on the price, bringing it down by almost $200. My dress came in quickly - 2 months - and everything looked great. The girls in the fitting/alterations department were a bit confused - I didn't do alterations there, but when I came to pick up my dress to take it elsewhere, they were insistant that I had an alterations appointment, not a pickup scheduled. That was my only issue. My advice: Dont be a psycho bride. Enjoy dress shopping! There was another bride there trying on dresses when I was, and she was a pisser to be around, and she got *** service because every time they told her she looked beautiful, she frowned and said she looked ugly. NO fun. No one wants to help you when you complain that your size 0 butt is too fat to make any dresses look good.

Day of Lingerie - Nordstroms - B
Busy store, fabulous product, but hard to get a whole lot of attention. Go during the week when there are less shoppers for the best service.

Bridesmaid Dresses - David's Bridal - B
David's Bridal is what it is. My sister Tana, Junior Bridesmaid, found her dress here. It was of decent quality, although a few minor fixes needed to be done on the straps. Service wasn't great, but we were only looking for a Jr. BM dress, so we weren't a high spending priority for them.
My MOH Sarah designed and sewed her own dress. Sister Kaia, BM, bought her dress at DEB in St. Cloud.
I wasn't picky about what they wore - just wanted them to wear brown dresses and be comfortable. They looked great, and no one cared about subtle differences in the colors of the dresses.

Clutch Handbag - - A
Easy to work with, a cheap looking website, but item shipped quickly and was exactly as described. $36 including shipping - so it was a cheap price!

Brides hair - Juut Salon Southdale - B+
My regular stylist left the salon about 2 months before the wedding, so I had to find a new person for my updo pretty quickly. I used to be a hairstylist, so I was pretty particular about what I wanted. Kari did my hair, and did a great job! She sewed it into place, rather than using bobby pins, which held my fine hair really well, except was a pain to get out. My reason for the B+ rating is that when I went to pay after my trial, I was shocked by the price - $200. Never once when booking, getting my hair done, or checking out after did they tell me that at your trial you pay for both your trial and your day-of updo. I just thought it would have been courteous of them to let me know that I would be paying it all up front, because I typically pay cash for my salon services (well, because then Joe never knows exactly what I pay...) and I didn't have enough cash on me. When paying at my trial, I did ask about the price, and that is when they explained it all, but even then, the receptionist was very wishy-washy about the whole thing.

Brides Makeup, Bridesmaid hair and makeup - Julie with Smart & Chic Bride - A+
Julie with Smart & Chic is SO fabulous at what she does! She's a fantastic hair and makeup artist, and she truly loves what she does. She made us feel and look like a million bucks! I had airbrush foundation which covered great all night, despite the rain, and she sent me with touchup samples that I completely neglected to use, so it's my own fault that my lipstick wore off! Her prices are great, and they are easy to work with! Her scheduler, Anita, was prompt and easy to work with.

DJ - Nightlife Entertainment DJs - A+
Nightlife has been awesome to work with! Joe, the owner of the company, is prompt with emails, and I thought it so nice of him to call us to follow up the week before the wedding. Our DJ was Jason - and he did a fantastic job! He called me a few days before the wedding to make sure he had our special dances, names, and directions. He arrived early and helped get other vendors set up. He checked in on us periodically over the evening, and when I asked if he had a certain song, he didn't, but found it, downloaded it, and had it playing within 5 minutes! We had some minor power-outage issues - completely our fault for not getting him on his own circuit, and he was more worried about it than I was! He did a great job with our guests, and wasn't too "DJ" on the mic, which we appreciated! He did his homework - called the City of Edina Police to make sure that he had noise ordinances down and informed them of the party. Despite his efforts, the Police shut our reception down 1 hour before the noise ordinance rules, and he politely wrapped it up!

Florist - My cousin Colleen (NOT Colleen's Flower Cellar) - A+
We paid wholesale prices, she put them together as a gift to us. They were perfect, exactly what I wanted!

Invitations and STDs - DIY
Design Help: Paper Depot - B+
Supplies: Anchor Paper - B+
Printing - Post Net Printing in Richfield - A/C

My advice: Go to Paper Depot, browse the buckets of examples, and have someone help you put together a template for your design. Purchase your paper at Anchor Paper Express. Anchor Paper has a bigger supply of 'parent' size sheets - large sheets that they will cut down to your size, for less cost and paper waste. Anchor Paper lets you take home free samples, Paper Depot charges for all paper you take out of the store.
Post Net printing was fabulous with our STDs. Prompt, it was exactly what we wanted. Easy to work with. Invites were another story! They upgraded their printer, and in doing so, our beautiful plum and mauve colored ink was printing out nasty green and brown. They blamed it on the humidity, charged us a ton of 'design' time to correct the mistake that was not our fault, but their printers fault. In the end, we got what we wanted, but we paid about an extra $150 in design that I didn't want to pay, but Joe picked them up and didn't argue as he paid. We took our Programs to FedEx/Kinkos in Eden Prairie after Post Net could not get them right, despite taking time to format the colors for our invites, they couldn't get the color codes to print out correctly.

Invitation Maps - Graceface Designs - A
Quick, extremely low priced, fashionable looking maps! Loved it!

Jeweler - Shane Co - A+
Wonderful! Little did i know that Chad (former store manager) and Lois (sales) worked with Joe and their diamond buyers for 7 months to find and put together my engagement ring! They had to find a diamond that fit Joe's criteria, import it, and then had the setting made by a.jaffe, based off of a vintage Cartier ring Joe liked. We feel like mini-celebrities when we go in there - Joe and I are known as the couple who has the asscher, and everyone likes to oooh and ahhh over my ring! They now stock a limited number of loose asscher diamonds,which was largely influenced by Joe's quest for my diamond. Their policies are great, and we were super happy with the purchase of our wedding bands!

Alterations - Louise Kegley - A+
Louise makes you feel like the most beautiful person in the world. We had some minor problems with my dress (weight gain + poorly constructed Watters dress = headache) and Louise worked tirelessly to make sure it fit beautifully. We had a few late night alterations appointments because of my crazy 2 job work schedule, and Louise was friendly and quick every time. She is inexpensive (and worth WAY more than what she charges, IMO) and beyond good at what she does.

Menswear - Savvi in the Southdale Mall - A
Savvi has been great! It's tux rental - so you can't ever expect too much, but everything was as we ordered it, everything fit, looked fantastic, and we even got a Thank You card in the mail, hand written (spelling errors and all!) from the gentleman who helped get Joe fitted the first time. Their warehouse is local, so if we had an issue, we know they would have been able to fix it promptly.

Assorted Supplies - Litin Party and Paper - A
Litin is a warehouse party supply in Minneapolis, had everything we needed from napkins to drinkware, and was cheap. Can't ask for much more than that.