Vendor Reviews
 

Ceremony Venue: Holy Name of Jesus Church
This church is absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking!!!  Liz Broekman was the wedding coordinator I dealt with primarily and she was wonderful, however, she had to work at the church fair the weekend of our wedding.  Bummer!  So for our rehearsal, we had Lisette, and she was great!  A lot of people talk about how "church ladies" can be mean and impersonal, but Liz and Lisette are not.  They allowed us to take some formal pictures on the altar as well, which I was thrilled with!  In exchange, the groomsmen were asked to help pick up the chairs on the altar.  

Officiant:  Father Michael Alello
AMAZING!  We feel so blessed to have had Fr. Michael as our priest.  He's a friend of the family and was just ordained a priest in May of 2007.  We were his second wedding!  He's very laid back and fun to be around.  John's family is Methodist and they are not that familiar with Catholicism, and they raved about our ceremony and about Fr. Michael.  He personalized our ceremony by mixing funny stories into his homily as well as a really touching message.  So many people came up to us at the reception and said that this was the most beautiful and touching ceremony they've ever been to.  

Ceremony Music:  Music by Lauren and Greg Miller
DH did all the communicating with Greg regarding the music.  We had a string quartet and trumpet player.  Greg arranges all the musicians (from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra) and was very professional and helpful.  He's worked with many of the churches in the area, so that was nice.  The music was beautiful!

Vocalist/Cantor:  Meagan Dearie
Wonderful.  She's so sweet and has an incredible voice!  She sang "The Prayer" before the processional and it was beautiful.  She also sang "Jesu' Joy of Man's Desiring" and "Ave Maria," in addition to the Responsorial Psalm and other Mass parts.  I highly recommend her!

Organist:  Gloria Cuadrado
She did a great job!!  Very nice and professional when I spoke with her on the phone.

Reception Venue:  The Audubon Tea Room
What a gorgeous place to have a reception!  Although I only ate one crab cake, everyone RAVED about the food... especially the corn and crab bisque!  I worked mainly with Vivian Eppling while planning.  For the most part, she was great.  I got a little frustrated with her while trying to plan the menu because I felt like she wasn't giving me much guidance.  I wanted more help with figuring out just how much food I needed to feed 175-200 people, and she just kept saying, don't worry about that, just pick what you want.  No, I need help!!!  I really felt like the menu planning was one of the hardest parts of wedding planning.  We also wanted a martini luge ice sculpture and was quoted a price of $500, then when it came time to order, we were quoted $625 plus and extra $150 for a bartender.  That aggravated me.  Needless to say, we nixed that idea!  So we had a separate martini bar that served chocolate martinis, cosmopolitans, appletinis, and regular martinis.  It was a big hit!  Of course, the chairs are hidious at the Tea Room, therefore we rented mahogany chivaris, which was an extra expense, but looked absolutely beautiful.  Vivian took care of ordering the chairs, so that was nice.  We also rented ivory organza overlays for the tables to go over the Tea Room's ivory linens and we were very happy with the result.  They are super accomodating if you want to do something special or different.  The reception coordinator, Amanda, was super sweet, always right there with a fresh drink and guiding us through all the events of the evening.  

Photography:  Meg Baisden Photography
THE single best decision we made regarding the wedding HANDS DOWN!  Not only are Meg and Charles wonderful photographers with an amazing talent for capturing emotion, but they are also wonderful people too!  Meg even got teary-eyed when I put my dress on!  We feel incredibly blessed to have found them and they were almost booked for our date already!  But luckily it worked out and we got them!  I first met them in person at their Bridal Retreat in May 2007 (you have to be great people to pay for your clients to come spend the weekend at a beachhouse!).  I knew that we would get along famously from the moment we met!  Meg is so bubbly and Charles is a sweetheart.  Our engagement pictures were way beyond our expectations!  They had them ready for us the DAY AFTER our shoot!  Edited and all!  Both of our entire families were in awe of how they came out!  As far as our wedding pictures go... Words can't express how incredible I think they came out!  You can see our slideshow at http://www.megphoto.com/slideshows/sheri_john/
If you hire them, you won't be disappointed!  

Flowers:  Perfect Presentations
WOW!  That's all I can say about our flowers!  I was very laid back about what I wanted.  I basically said to Glenn, these are the colors I want and the look I want, you can pick the actual flowers.  And he did exactly that.  The only thing that I knew I wanted was the curly willow.  :)  He was a little more expensive than other florists we looked at, which we were a little concerned about, but he was a good friend of one of my best friends, and came highly recommended.  Plus, the first question he asked upon meeting us was, "How do you want your reception to feel?"  I liked that.  When we walked into the Tea Room, I was totally in awe of the entire room!!  It was breathtaking!  One thing about Glenn: He's very opinionated and can sometimes come across harsh, but I liked his honesty.  He knows what he's doing and it was nice, b/c I trusted him.  He also helped me with the layout of the room, the number of tables we needed, the number of chairs, helped me with picking our linens, he even helped with our menu.

Cakes:  Zoe's Bakery
Awesome.  Gorgeous.  Yummy!  They did exactly what we wanted and more.  I LOVED my cake and John LOVED his.  John was very picky about his cake.  (heehee)  It had to be exactly the right color and exactly the right shape and they got it exactly right.  We had Amaretto Almond and White Chocolate with Strawberries as our wedding cake flavors and John wanted White Chocolate Grand Marnier for his cake.  YUMMY!  We had fondant for both the wedding cake and Groom's cake and it was really good.  We did that to avoid the cracking that can happen with plain buttercream (since it had to travel from Covington).  A lot of people told me not to get fondant b/c of the taste, but Zoe's fondant tastes like cotton candy.  It's really really good!  Plus they drown everything in buttercream underneath it.  I worked with Celeste and she was great!  

Limo Services:  American Luxury Limousines
On time, nice drivers, clean limos.  Had champagne waiting for DH and I after the ceremony.

Day-of Coordinator:  Sharia Riley with Your Fantasy Affair
I have mixed reviews here.  I was somewhat torn about whether or not I needed a day-of coordinator.  What made me pull the trigger was that I didn't want to be stressed out worrying about the room set-up, etc, the day of the wedding.  I heard about Sharia through my photographers who had worked with her as a client (they photographed her wedding) and as fellow vendors.  All communication was through e-mail and phone conversations.  She's very nice and professional.  She set up our memorial candles in the church, set up our family picture table, and set up our CD favor table and it all looked amazing!  The day-of, we realized we had left our cocktail napkins, dessert napkins, and matches at the rehearsal dinner the night before.  She handled it with no problems.  I also left a few things in the room that I needed for the reception and she ran back to the hotel and retrieved them for me.  I think that she helped me have piece of mind the day-of, knowing that I could call her for help if I needed anything.  Still not sure if it was worth the money though b/c I ended up having to pay travel fees in addtion to coordination fees.  ???  


Cake Pulls:  Vintage Court in Covington, LA
A last minute purchase, since I forgot to order them!  So cute!!!  I got eight sterling silver charms for $80.  I probably could have found them cheaper, but for last minute, these were great!

My Dress:  Monique L'huillier Nadia from Saks Fifth Avenue in Atlanta, GA
LOVED my dress.  The ladies at Saks were awesome!  So nice and VERY helpful!  I ordered my dress in July of 2006.  It came in in Jan of 2007.  When I went to try it on, it was way too small!!!  They re-measured me to make sure we had the correct measurements, and they were the same, so it was essentially made wrong.  But, surprisingly  I didn't freak out!  Yolanda at Saks assured me that everything would be fine and it was!  They sent it back to L.A. to Monique L'huillier and had them re-make the bottom of the dress.  It was way too big the next time I tried it on, but better to be huge than small!  Their seamstress was great!  I made her earn her money working on my dress!  She did a wonderful job and I loved my bustle!

My Hair and Make-up:  Jonathon Baxter from Paris Parker
Fabulous!  Jonathon was great!  I bought some extra hair for fullness and it looked great!  He's so sweet and talented!  He started out as a make-up artist for Christian Dior.  He also did my sister's hair (MOH) and my mom's make-up.  The only downside to Jonathon is that he's kinda pricey.

Veil:  Occansey Designs
I ordered an ivory cathedral drop veil for the ceremony and also an ivory elbow length one-layer veil for the reception.  They came in quickly, in about two weeks, and were just as I ordered them.  My ceremony veil was ~$90 and the reception veil was ~$20.  You can't beat that...considering a bridal salon tried to charge me $250 for the drop veil!!

My shoes:  Kathryn by Anne Klein purchased at www.perfectdetails.com
I LOVED my shoes.  It took me a long time to find these shoes b/c I wanted some with a low heel that were actually stylish and comfortable.  These were perfect!  I wore them all night with NO problems at all!!!  But I wore pantyhose which helped protect my toes from blisters.  When I wore them the next day at our post-wedding shoot, I didn't wear hose and I got blisters.  :(

My Earrings: Adriana Orsini from saks.com
I loved my earrings.  Very beautiful and they make a statement without being too much.

My Bracelet:  Regina B
I ordered this about two and a half weeks before the wedding.  Time snuck up on me.  They were great to work with and I had my bracelet about five days before the wedding.  It's a gorgeous bracelet that I'll have as a keepsake.

Garter: Purchased from www.thegartermaker.net
Loved my garter.  It took about 4 weeks to come in and it was perfect!  I ordered the garter in ivory and the stitching in blue (for my something blue).  I had the wedding date "hiding out" in the inside.

Bridesmaids Dresses:  Bill Levkoff #966 ordered from Netbride.com
Wonderful.  Dresses were perfect, exactly as ordered, earlier than expected.  As far as the style goes: I know a lot of brides have used this dress.  It's just so simple yet elegant and looks great on everyone!  We had the small train and sash bustled and it worked out great!

Bridesmaids Hair and Make-up:  Jessica from Flawless-Bride
Jessica is a doll!  She brought another girl with her to help with the hair and she was great as well!  The girls looked beautiful and were all happy with the result.  I have to admit that I wasn't entirely happy with my hair and make-up at the trial with Flawless-Bride.  I wanted something with a little more "oomph" you know?  But admittedly, I'm picky with my hair and make-up.  

Bridesmaids Jewelry:  Macy's
I got the girls strands of pearls and pearl earrings.  Very reasonably priced.  ~$15 for the necklaces and ~$8 for the earrings.

Bridesmaids Gifts:  Tote bags from Ballard Designs
SUPER cute and $25.50 each.  The girls LOVED them!  They were a huge hit!  I also got them chocolate hoodies from Target to wear while getting ready along with some cute bubble bath.

Tuxedos:  John's Tuxedos
Perfect.  Very professional.  We had two guys that were a little hard to fit, but John's Tuxedos had no problems.  We chose a classic style, bowtie and cumberbund, with an ivory shirt.  They'll even pick-up the tuxes at whatever hotel you're staying for an extra charge (we didn't use that service, but it's there).  On the day of pick-up, adjustments needed to be made to some out-of-town groomsmen's tuxes (changing jacket sizes and hemming sleeve lengths), and they handled that with no problems.

Paper Goods:  Rock, Paper, Scissors in Franklin, TN
Lauren helped us with our Save-the-Dates, Invitations, and programs.  She was so nice and worked hard on our layouts all by herself.  She was the one that recommended we put the little fleur de lis on our invite between the church name and reception venue.  So cute!  Everything came in very quickly with no problems!  Both STDs and invites were from Crane & Co.  The programs were DH and Lauren's doing.  They were so cute and different!

Calligraphy:  Valorie Cole in Nashville, TN
Amazing work!  We had 200 chocolate envelopes and she had them done in 7 days!  You can't ask for much more!  She mixed her own ink since we needed ecru and it came out beautifully!  We had several people compliment us on them and how they thought they were the most beautiful invitations they've ever seen!  She's super sweet and very talented!  She even did the placecards for our memorial candles we displayed in the church... for free!  She charged $1.75 per envelope which was the best price out of all the calligraphers we inquired about.

Stamps:  www.stamps.com
DH designed our stamps.  They came in quickly and just as DH designed.  We didn't plan on having to order our stamps, but when we went to the post office, all they had were these pink "LOVE" stamps in $0.58 and they would've clashed with our chocolate envelopes.  DH was more adamant about ordering than I was.  :)  

Bridal Luncheon:  Cafe' Adelaide in the Loews Hotel
We reserved The Turtle Room.  The service was great and food was delicious!   They gave us $0.25 martinis too!  It was convenient b/c we were all staying at the Loews.  :) 

Bridal Party Accomodations:  Loews Hotel
Beautiful rooms and wonderful service.  The only problem we had was on the Sunday after the wedding, before our post-wedding shoot, John had to go back there to get my veil that was in my mom's car.  Well the valet people misplaced my mom's car keys and we couldn't get the veil!  So my mom called OnStar to unlock the car and it worked!  John got the veil and OnStar saved the day!  Maybe they'll be in a commercial in the future!  Haha!  They ended up finding her keys a little bit later and all was well.

Rehearsal Dinner:  Broussard's Restaurant
Beautiful venue.  We started off with drinks in the courtyard and then moved to the Magnolia Room for dinner.  The food was to die for!  I had the redfish and it was amazing!  They kept the wine flowing...almost too aggressively!  The negatives: Initially, we had ~60 attending the dinner, but at final count we had 50, therefore they were trying to make us change rooms from the Magnolia Room to a smaller room.  John was not happy about that, since we booked based on having the Magnolia Room and that was already agreed upon.  Secondly, our photographer was trying to take photos and the manager kept turning the lights down too low after we'd asked him to leave them up a little.  He got a little snippy with Charles, which we didn't appreciate.  Oh and we weren't supposed to have a full open bar while in the courtyard, only beer and wine, but they did it anyway.  Not sure if that was an oversight or done intentionally.  Other than that, everything was wonderful.  I'd just make sure everything's in writing.

Wedding Night Accomodations:  Omni Royal Orleans
The rooms were very nice.  The overall staff was very good and helpful, except for the management (mainly at the front desk).  DH had a problem getting his room when he was told it would be ready shortly after noon.  He didn't end up getting in until around 3pm.  And when he tried to talk to the manager, he was rude, inconsiderate, and non-empathetic to the fact that he was a GROOM and needed to get ready!!  Parking availability and location are two strong pluses.  But management needs improvement.  

CD Favors:  We Make Tapes and Discs (www.wemaketapes.com)
DH found this company and they were great!  We had two different CDs that we made, one was songs from our favorite artists and the other was songs from Louisiana.  DH designed the cover art and they came out so good!!!  I couldn't believe it!  This company duplicated the CDs, printed the track titles and artists on the front of the CDs, printed all the cover art and shrink wrapped each one.  They looked so professional!

Honeymoon:  The One and Only Palmilla, Los Cabos, Mexico
A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!  I'd be here forever talking about our honeymoon!  Five-star accomodations, beautiful scenery, fabulous food, personal attention, unforgettable memories!  Recommend it to anyone!