Alex and Amy’s 7.4.09 Wedding!
Location: Grace Lutheran Church and Riverwalk Golf Course
Guest Count: 140
Budget: $21, 734 (including honeymoon)
Actual amount spent: $17,934
VR’s were extremely useful when I began my wedding planning process, so here are my thoughts! I included most prices, and lots of photos! [most photos by Sean Schofield Photography http://www.seanloringschofield.com
Grace Lutheran Church, B+http://www.gracesandiego.net
I found this church through a friend and fellow SD bride. It was her first choice, but her wedding ended up being too large for it. It’s an absolutely beautiful venue, though a bit pricey in my opinion. Some parts were great, and some left a lot to be desired.
Pre-marital counseling: Pastor John Bombarro is a great guy, and we learned a lot from our sessions with him. If you get married at Grace, you’re required to do three sessions with him. We had our own officiant, but we would have been happy to have Pastor John marry us. He gets an A+ on his own.
Administrative: Katie is the main contact, and she was helpful and responsive. She would also get an A+
Ceremony Coordinator: I did not like working with the ceremony coordinator. She was hard to get a hold of, wasn’t very flexible time-wise, and didn’t seem too friendly. She generally got the job done, and nothing in the ceremony went horribly. However, there was miscommunication over the marriage license, and now, a month later, my husband and I still don’t know where the license is because of a part of the license which wasn’t filled out correctly. She does many weddings, and took care of the license, but I wish she had been more careful and clear about the process. - C (so the overall grade is B+)
Riverwalk Golf Course- A-http://www.riverwalkgc.com
($30pp dinner+ alcohol+ dance floor + screen+ room rental fee+ 20% service charge)
Pros: I chose Riverwalk because it had a beautiful bridge, view of the river, and affordable meals for the reception. There were many additional, unnecessary fees however. I mainly worked with their catering manager, Cristin, who was always responsive, helpful, and never annoyed at my countless questions. The day of, I worked with Fred, who was also nice, but my day of coordinator mainly worked with him. They were flexible with the menu, bar, appetizers, entrees, did free cake cutting, included the silver cake cutting utensils. The food was delicious. “The best wedding chicken I’ve ever had” said one guest. Our menu included spinach salad, chicken romano (parmesan encrusted), and wedding cake (from an outside vendor). I rented a dance floor, and screen for the slideshow. There are floor to ceiling sliding glass windows/doors so that the clubhouse opened up to the patio. It was a beautiful summer evening, and all the guests loved it.
Cons: My only complaint is that the servers weren’t as unobtrusive as I would have liked; for example, they might cut in front of the dance floor during a toast. Other than that, everything went smoothly. Also, they had quite a few extra charges, and appetizers/alcohol was pricier.
Rehearsal Dinner- Karl Strauss Brewery Gardens- A+++http://www.karlstrauss.com/
Sorrento Valley Location
I love this place because it’s unexpectedly beautiful. They blocked off a room, including a patio overlooking the koi pond. On the menu, we chose: ribs, chicken jambalaya pasta, lemon Hef chicken, and mango chicken salad. It also included cheesecake for dessert. It was a casual atmosphere, there was good beer, we mingled, and everyone had a blast. Fantastic service, and I would recommend them for an event site.
Photography- Sean Loring Schofield- A+++++++http://www.seanloringschofield.com
price negotiated; contact him to arrange pricing
Sean was a BI find—I noticed another bride’s VR, loved her pictures, and found him! He was my FAVORITE vendor, and I loved all the photos. His prices are reasonable, and he was relaxing to have around all day. Our package included a second shooter, many hours of photography, engagement photos, and proofs. I haven’t gotten the album yet, but we looked through the proofs and there are so many shots we love. Here is a blog of our wedding day from his website: http://seanschofield.wordpress.com/2009 ... s-wedding/
Most wedding day shots on this page are from him too.
DJ- DJ Kray Z K (Kris Mullins)- A-http://www.ilikethatdj.com
price negotiated; contact him for more info
FI did a LOT of research on DJs before choosing DJ Kray Z K. We met with him 2-3 times in person. Email exchanges were slow, and it was hard to get in touch with him sometime. DOC said he arrived a little late, but still set everything up in time. But most importantly, he did an excellent job keeping people on the dance floor—people were dancing for a good two hours until the fun had to end. He would immediately change the song if it seemed as if people weren’t interested in it, listened to most of our requests, honored our “do not play list”. As an MC, he pronounced some names wrong, there was some awkward transitions between garter/bouquet toss. So, I would recommend him as a DJ, but not as an MC.
Hair: Freddie- A
$35 + tip
Freddie is a BI find. I was getting nervous with all the recent talk about Freddie and military weddings. I called him about once a week during the few weeks leading up to the wedding because I was nervous. We got ready in his salon, and since it was July 4, we had the entire place to ourselves. We brought in food, and just relaxed on comfy couches in several sitting areas. Freddie showed up early, did 8 girls hair with no complaints or problems. He was fun to talk to, and was nice when someone spilled Jamba Juice all over. Also he allowed my makeup person to work in his salon, too. We had a great time, and we were all happy with our hair.
Makeup: Teresa Piazza A-http://www.sdbridalhair.com/
$50 trial +$65 bride’s makeup, $55 BM makeup
Teresa does charge for travel, but did not charge me because she traveled less than a mile from her salon. She was very nice, and listened to what I wanted. I didn’t want to wear a lot of makeup, and she made changes to fit that. We all went for a more natural look. She also does hair, so I felt more at ease booking Freddie, who I thought might not come through. Six BM+ me got makeup done (including fake lashes), and we were all happy, except for one picky BM. My only complaint is that my false lashes separated after she had already left. My lashes have a lot of trouble curling, but I wish she had done a better job. You couldn’t tell, and my BM fixed it up for me. She’s easy to work with, and I’d still recommend her.
Cake: Edelweiss Bakery- A++http://www.edelweissbakerysandiego.com/
$250 for thee-tier 100 person cake+
$43 sheet cake + $40 delivery
(note: I’ve noticed the price has gone up to $275 on the website already)
This was the only place we went cake tasting, and I chose them mainly because of the price. The cake tasted good too, though I’ve heard other bakeries taste better. I like light cakes, so the white sponge and Bavarian cream with raspberry filling was perfect. We chose buttercream frosting, gave them a picture and a swatch of the BM dress color, and we were set! The cake turned out even more beautiful than I expected, and I was completely satisfied with this cake. We already ate our anniversary cake.
Flowers: San Diego Flowers and Supplies- B+http://www.flowersandsupplies.com
~$400 for flowers + a lot of DIY help
Included enough flowers for 15+ bouts, bridal bouquet, 6 BM bouquets, 1 toss bouquet, 3 large floral arrangements, 14 pew decorations, head table decorations, 17 centerpieces
My mom and friend did the flowers, with helpers, and it was a lot of effort, but everyone had a great time doing it, and they turned out beautifully. My mom has many years of flower arranging experience, and wanted to do the flowers, and since we were on a budget, I chose this route. We mainly used gerbers, roses, and filler. We also used some bells of Ireland and green spider mums. San Diego Flowers and Supplies were helpful when I was choosing flowers, and pickup was no problem. They let me switch out some flowers I thought looked as if they were wilting the day I picked them up, so I’d suggest going in person. Not ALL the flowers in the batch were fresh, so I’d get more than enough flowers. I had gone to San Diego Wholesale Flowers earlier, but they were extremely rude and offensive, so I switched to this place, which ended up being cheaper.
Favors- Photo Coasters, Beau Coup Favors- Ahttp://www.beau-coup.com/
$45 (+ $100 gift certificate I won from Bridal Inquirer)
Coasters are one of the few wedding favors I have kept and used in the past, so I decided to buy glass photo coasters and use them as placecard holders/favors. To make things even better, I won a $100 gift certificate to Beau Coup favors at Bridal Inquirer, another website. I bought many extra in case some were scratched/broke during shipping. A couple coasters had chipped paint, but generally, they were super easy to put together, looked good, and were affordable. As coasters, they do the job, but if the cup gets wet, the coaster sticks to the cup, which is annoying. We kept 8 for our home, and I gave the box of leftover coasters to a wedding helper who wanted them.
Invitations- DIY Michael’s Invites- A
$60 for 200 invites
I used Gartner DIY invites from Michael’s which I bought on sale. I printed them at Kinko’s to make it easier on myself, but you can easily print them with your printer, which I did for extras. Then, I added a satin ribbon bellyband and monogram, made a DIY map from weddingmapper.com, and my invites were done. Very easy and affordable. More info on my journal.
Bride’s- Blue Nilehttp://www.bluenile.com
FI got the engagement ring from an independent jeweler in AZ.. It’s a Precision Set ring, and we didn’t want to spend that much for the band. We found one on blue nile that matched well, used a coupon code, and got the ring under budget.
Groom’s- E wedding bandhttp://www.eweddingbands.com
FI wanted a palladium ring so it would never discolor. I’ve had friends use e-wedding bands before, so I gave it a shot. The ring looks beautiful, it’s engraved on the inside, and we’re very happy with it.
Dress: Alfred Angelo A-http://www.alfredangelo.com
$500 + alterations extra
I had a $500 budget for a dress, so my options were limited. I went to the store in Clairemont Mesa, and the girl helping me chose this dress that isn’t available in the catalog. They have some dresses they’re “trying out” only available in the stores. I LOVED it, plus they knocked off $100 to fit my budget. I was looking for a slim A-line, modified sweetheart, and beading. It fit well, but one thing to be careful about is the panel in the back—it was too small for me. I didn’t want a backless dress, so my mom made me a panel. They tried to charge me more than they quoted for pressing the dress, but I fought it and paid the original quoted price. I also shopped at David’s Bridal, and several places in Norcal (Kay’s, Trudy’s, Bay Area Bridal).
Bridesmaids Dresses and Wedding Dress Alterations: Eileen Silvia- F
$75 for wedding dress alterations (hem+ bustle)+ Chinese dress alterations
$95 for each custom made bridesmaid dress, including alterations
She is based in NorCal and works out of her home. I used her as a BM for alterations before, and have had several friends use her for wedding gown alterations with no problems. I think the issue this time was that she bit off more than she could chew with the BM dresses, and the quality went way down. We had her either alter/make 8 dresses, and all eight had problems, causing a LOT of pre-wedding stress, even on the day of the wedding.
1. The panel on my dress didn’t reach all the way, but even though I was uncomfortable having the back open, she didn’t have time to fix it, so she made it backless. I was very upset, and had my mom make a panel for me.
2. Bustle: the day of the wedding, when it came time to bustle the dress- there was no bustle. Perhaps the button had fallen off. We resorted to safety pins, did not have enough at the time, and the bustle fell off during the first dance. I had to stop the first dance early because there was a sea of train at my feet. At least I didn’t end up falling. Also, the original bustle was not complete, and instead of fixing it, she gave us safety pins to fix it. Absolutely awful job.
Chinese Traditional Dress:
1. The night before the wedding, my mom noticed some of the appliqués on the dress were not completely sewn on. She had to fix it. Also, a long thread vertically on the dress had come off, and this problem was not there before. Granted, it was an inexpensive dress, which could have been the problem.
2. The bigger problem was that the snaps holding the dress closed were not strong enough. To my dismay, a groomsman points at my dress after I had toasted tables—it was unsnapped at the bust, and there was a hole. I don’t think it was too noticeable. I hope. L
1. She barely finished them in time—may have been the problem.
2. Some dresses were so big, my BM could wear it, and it would turn circles on her. Some BMs ended up switching dresses with each other to get a better fit.
3. The zippers on each dress were inconsistent lengths, and so were the bodices and busts.
4. Hems were uneven.
5. The busts were so puffy and uneven, my BMs looked quite ridiculous. We ended up sewing them down, and re-ironing them the night before.
In the end..I think everyone looked fantastic, due to my BMs and a couple nice friends who worked their butts off the night before, and during the wedding. But NOT worth it, and I have warned some fellow NorCal brides to stay away from her.
Okay, that was a marathon! Thanks for reading