It has come down to it, dear readers. We are nearing the end of my ramblings about the Library wedding! SAD! But don’t worry… this blog isn’t going anywhere. It will be alive and well as I continue to think about, dream about, and help plan weddings.
Speaking of helping to plan weddings, I would like to give my totally honest reviews of our vendors from our wedding. Sometimes I feel like the responses on websites like WeddingWire are a little suspicious because they contact the reviewed vendor to ask if it’s okay to post it. Who is going to say okay when the review isn’t flattering? That’s pretty much common sense, people! I, however, am not going to run this by them… just by you!
Wedding Dress: The Running of the Brides, Boston, Massachusetts
I cannot tell you how much fun I had getting my dress. I never planned on buying my dress that day, and while it did create a little drama within my family, I wouldn’t change the fact that I got it at such a cool event. Because of the conditions of the warehouse where the event was held, the bottom of my dress was dirty when I purchased it, but after sending it to a certified dry cleaner, it was better than new. I didn’t need any alterations besides some bead reinforcement and the addition of a bustle, so I scored on the price of this dress.
If you plan on attending, make sure to plan for the following:
- Bring lots of friends and wear coordinated outfits to help find each other.
- There is no such thing as organization, so know what shape of dress you would like and your approximate size going in.
- Be open to different options.
- Be open to stripping in front of other people… and some of them will be men!
- Bring water and snacks, and don’t be afraid to throw some elbows!
- Don’t forget the camera!
Wedding Dress Total (with alterations and dry cleaning): $254 + $8 + $85 = $347
Bridesmaids’ Dresses, Flower Girl’s Dress, Veil, and Bride’s Shoes: David’s Bridal, Portland, Maine
I loved my girls’ dresses and still do. I went into planning knowing that I wanted a tea length dress in a cobalt blue, and while I didn’t think this was it the first time around, it grew on me. The price was also far more reasonable than the Alfred Angelo counterparts I had my eyes on. The cotton was light enough for July and the cut was flattering on all of my girls’ body types. The addition of Sister Library’s dress created a wonderful way to set her apart without changing colors.
My veil was full price, and while the price still seems a bit high, I loved the piece itself. Mr. Library also loved it and remarked how much he liked the tiny pearls scattered throughout it (he noticed it!). My shoes, while lovely and on sale, were PAINFUL. I lasted through pre-ceremony pictures, the ceremony, and the receiving line, but after that, I was on the flip flip train. I can remember thinking during the ceremony that it felt like my toes were becoming painfully numb. Not good. I probably should have broken them in a lot more, but still. I shouldn’t be in searing pain.
Working with David’s Bridal was pretty easy. They were pleasant, while there was the problem with not being notified of the discontinuation of Sister Library’s dress, they remedied the situation quickly. The manager, Megan, is wonderful and extremely cooperative. The dresses came in early and were of pretty nice quality. I would definitely use them again.
Total for Bride’s veil and shoes: $79 + $30 = $109
Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Attire: Mens Wearhouse, South Portland, Maine
RECOMMENDWhile the suits were great and they looked nice, trying to figure out how to get each groomsman’s payment in was a little bit of a headache. You cannot pay over the phone if the amount is more than $20, and not all of their locations accept payments. The bride is also the only person (read: the ABSOLUTELY singular person) who can change anything on the order. Mr. Library couldn’t even have called in to ask about anything if he had wanted to!
No one had any problems with ill-fitting pants or jackets, and the prices were pretty reasonable, so in the end, it was a good decision to go with this company. But please be aware of what you are signing up for!
Total for Groom’s Tux: Free with 5 other rentals
Ties for the Guys: Cyberoptix.com
HIGHLY RECOMMENDThese ties were amazing! Not only were they hit with the guys, but people commented on how great they looked in the wedding as well. We got standard width, standard cloth ties for $30. While it was a bit of a splurge for all of the guys, we decided it was completely worth it and went for it. The service was accommodating, prompt, and informative. I would buy ties or scarves from this website any week.
Total cost of Groom’s tie and gifts: $150
Ceremony Site: The Artist’s Covered Bridge, Newry, Maine (run through town office)
CANNOT RECOMMEND HIGHLY ENOUGH!I love our ceremony site for so many reasons. It was gorgeous, it was unique, it was accessible, and it was free! This ceremony site made our wedding stand out among others, something that was important to me when planning my wedding. I wanted to be different from my cousins, and this helped us achieve that stance. While the slits in the floor caused issues with wearing high heels, we overcame that obstacle and had a lovely ceremony. The lighting was fantastic for photography. While this is a public site and there is no controlling those who wish to visit the bridge while you are there, many people who were swimming were more than willing to move their cars and stay off of the bridge while we celebrated.
The town also put us in touch with Olson’s Tent Rental, a local company who rented, set up, and took down the chairs. They were very much on top of their record keeping and called me in January to make sure their 2010 book was correct. They were pleasant and very reasonably priced.
Total cost of ceremony: $150 for 115 chairs with set up and take down
Reception: Sunday River Grand Summit Resort, Newry, Maine
CANNOT RECOMMEND HIGHLY ENOUGH!I cannot imagine working with better people. Mr. Library and I were sold on Sunday River because of their affordable prices, their flexibility, and their availability in the summer. Thanks to the fact that they are a ski resort, they had lower prices than a lot of other businesses who rely on weddings to bring in revenue during wedding season. All of the personnel we worked with were courteous, welcoming, and positive. Mr. Library and I loved Jessica, the long-term wedding coordinator at the resort, and had full faith in her abilities. She was organized and would respond to emails in a couple of hours. The same goes for Meredith, the day-of coordinator. We were sad to hear that they had moved to different states, but we fully enjoyed our time with them. The food was great, the staff knew who we were and kept asking what else they could get us, and everything was fixed immediately if need be.
Total cost of reception and catering: $4970
Photographer: G. L. Strom Photography, Portland, Maine
HIGHLY RECOMMENDGreg was a stroke of luck. When attending a bridal expo in January 2009, we bumped into him. It turned out that he and Mr. Library had been in a play together through community theatre and hit it off. We really liked his portfolio and booked him. During our wedding, he was great. He showed up when we asked and left at the end of the night. There were never any hour restrictions or more money to have him stay longer. He stayed through it all. While I do wish that certain photos had come out a little differently, I love the ones that he captured, and boy, did he capture a lot! Greg shot 1400 pictures at our wedding and gave them all to us on a CD with the rights to them. We did have some communication problems, but I am willing to overlook the couple of times I couldn’t get ahold of him for the times he really pulled through. We had our complete wedding photos a week after we returned from our honeymoon!
Total for photography for 12 hours: $1500
Videographer: Fat Sheamus Productions, Scarborough, Maine
Shea and his wife were fantastic. I found Shea after having our friend back out of being able to capture our wedding, and I had a very tight budget. I went onto Craigslist and found an ad. I contacted Shea, asked about availability and pricing, and away we went. We were supposed to meet in person, but due to a timing goof on my part, we never did. I ended up booking him from what I saw online and prayed for the best. That’s what we got. I love our video and will show it to anyone who will sit still. His prices have gone up since I booked him, but they are still very reasonable in the video production world.
Total for videography for the ceremony only: $265
DJ: Long Island Larry, Biddeford, Maine
HIGHLY RECOMMENDLarry kept people on the dance floor as long as there were warm bodies present. While some of our family members were older and weren’t as inclined to boogey, he made sure that the music was exactly what we wanted and generationally appealing. As you can tell from the photos, he did a wonderful job. He was organized, and though we had issues in the middle of planning with his email address working, he made up for it during the stressful stretch before the wedding. He had lists of songs ready for when we couldn’t think of any good ones and helped us create an organized timeline for the day. He was also ready to do music for our ceremony if need be.
Total for DJ: $615 (thanks to a discount for booking early!)
Baker: Nothing Bakes Like a Parrott, Portland, Maine
CANNOT RECOMMEND HIGHLY ENOUGH!
To say that Jessica’s cakes were delicious would be an understatement. They were amazing! I am counting down the months until we get to order our free one-year-anniversary cake! Working with Jessica was easy for the most part, though I had trouble getting in touch with her during the last week, which caused some stress. I wouldn’t have any qualms about wholeheartedly recommending her to anyone, though. She was creative, willing to be as flexible as we wanted, and funny. She even delivered! The portions were huge and her prices were very well priced. We were sold from bite number one.
Total for wedding cake, Groom’s cake, and birthday cupcakes: $328 + $65 + $14 = $407
Florist: Pooh Corner Farmhouse and Florist, West Bethel, Maine
SERIOUSLY CANNOT RECOMMEND HIGHLY ENOUGH!Carole is a miracle worker. I love our flowers, and Carole made it happen. When we began working with her, I had no idea what I wanted except that I had my heart set on peonies during a season when they just aren’t really available. Somehow Carole found enough just for our wedding and made me a bouquet with my favorite dark pink peonies. I cannot thank her enough for her patience and dedication when I kept changing my mind on what we needed. Carole is simply amazing!
Total cost for florals: FREE thanks to Mr. Library’s Aunt M (though I think it would have cost somewhere around $1100)
Accessories: Garter from The Green Hanger Shop.com, Laurens, SC
CANNOT RECOMMEND ENOUGH!Judy was fantastic to work with, and I honestly believe that it was a true blessing to have a chance meeting online. Thanks to my over-exuberance when it comes to weddings, she offered me a fantastic deal when I didn’t win her contest. I jumped at the chance and created my own garter set. It was simple, yet elegant, and Judy was a joy to work with. She worked very hard on it, and I could tell it was created by a woman who loves what she does.
Total for all of bride’s accessories (including jewelry but not rings): $80
TOTAL FOR ALL WEDDING (WITH MISCELLANEOUS ADDED IN): ~ $9500
ORIGINAL BUDGET: $11,000
So there you have it, our big vendors. We had such a great time with everyone we worked with, and there were very few hang-ups with the process. If you would like more information on any of them, please contact me through the comments. I would be happy to elaborate more!
With just one last Library wedding post to go, I leave you with our nearly completed list:
Walk me through this: