September 30, 2008

Vendor Reviews

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 8:14 pm by Molly

Ceremony and Reception Venue – Wachusett Village Inn
Our venue for both the Ceremony and Reception.  The place had the quaint New England feel we were going for, was within our price range, and had lodging on site.  It went to the top of the list pretty much immediately.  I really like how customizable the packages are. We threw out what we didn’t want and replaced it with what we did want.  I don’t feel we paid for anything extraneous, which can be the case with other venues.

Our ceremony was supposed to be outside on the pool side lawn. Due to the rain it was moved inside to the cocktail area by the fireplace.  Though it was a little cramped with 85 people and not everyone had a seat, I wouldn’t say that this turned out badly.  In fact, it had a very romantic touch to it, and was more intimate than it would have been outside.  Granted, as a guest maybe it was difficult to see or uncomfortable, but so far no one has mentioned any problems with it.

Everything went off without a hitch and I’m almost 100% happy with everything they did.  Our Coordinator was pretty much useless the day before and day of.  I must say, had I not been so organized myself I think things really could have gone wrong.  She kind of ticked me off during the rehearsal because it was obvious that she didn’t want to be there, and we constantly had to tell her things over and over again. We barely ran through the ceremony once. Granted it ended up being inside anyway, so everything changed in the end.  The day of she all of a sudden became concerned as to where I was and where my centerpieces were.  We were told we had to assemble them ourselves, so we had just planned to do that. The day of she wanted them in her office until they could be set up. I said no, we (really my parents) would take care of them. Other than her giving us the cues on when to walk down the stairs at the ceremony I barely saw her. Granted things went smoothly, so perhaps she’s more of a behind the scenes person, but if you are looking for someone to really control everything on the day of, I would hire someone else to be there for you.

The food (what I actually ate of it) was really good. Who knew that New York Strip served buffet-style could be so succulent? In place of the wedding cake that comes in the package they accommodated our Ice Cream Sundae Bar (for a small additional fee) and it seemed to be a big hit. We had a champagne toast included in our package (in place of a chocolate fountain) and traded their Horse and Carriage Ride for a Couples Massage the day before the wedding.  (More on that under Hey Good Lookin’ Salon).  The package details were extremely flexible and we got exactly what we wanted.

The rooms were mostly okay.  Our Bridal suite was nice, typical hotel suite really, but no problems, clean and comfortable.  My parents also had a suite and it seemed clean and comfortable as well.  The suite I reserved for my bridesmaids had a leak in the ceiling of the bathroom.  They called maintenance and they removed the light fixture that had the leak surrounding it, however never fixed the leak.  They had to hold an umbrella above them while using the toilet. Someone from management was supposed to call me the week following the wedding.  I was on my honeymoon, but there was certainly no message from anyone when I returned.  I also heard some issues with rooms smelling bad – though they do have “smoking” rooms there, so I am wondering if they gave people smoking rooms toward the end of the bookings and didn’t tell them.  As of now, I am unaware of any other problems with the rooms.

The hotel bar was open until 1:00 a.m. after the wedding and we congregated there until they closed. This was really the only time I saw people from the other wedding on site.  Apparently our guests had encountered them earlier walking through, but that was only due to the rain and they would have had to walk outside otherwise – had it not rained I don’t think the two weddings would have mixed at all until the bar.  They close RIGHT AT 1am! So people went back to rooms to continue partying apparently.  We called it a night at that point.

We did not have a formal brunch the next day, but it was $9.95 per person for an all you can eat buffet, and it was pretty darn good.  I’m sure a private brunch would have been nicer, but with everyone coming and going this just seemed better for our group to not rush people checking out.  We tried to be there for a few hours so that we could talk to anyone that came down. We stayed until everyone else left.

For the most part we were extremely happy with the Wachusett Village Inn.  There were a few snags, but nothing that got in the way of our having a beautiful, fun wedding.  I would recommend them.

A
www.wachusettvillageinn.com

Photographer – Pamela Jean Photography
Pending the photos, I have to say that Pam and her assistant Kim did an amazing job.  They were there on time and ready to go.  They were professional and as far as I could tell unobtrusive to our guests.  I mean, there were definitely times that I noticed them during the reception, but they were taking a lot of pictures of me, so it was bound to happen.  I didn’t notice them at ALL during the ceremony (though I’ve seen them in our guests photos so I know they were there).  For student photographers, I must say they acted better then some professionals.  They seemed to really fit right in and I think the fact that they seemed to be having a good time doing their job, that the pictures will turn out amazing.  I can’t wait to see them!!

I would HIGHLY recommend Pamela Jean Photography if you are getting married in the Massachusetts area.  She worked with our budget and I felt very comfortable with her from start to finish. She was available to answer all of my questions and easy to get a hold of.

A+
http://pamelajeanphotography.com/

Florist – The Bloomin’ Place – Sandy MacDonald
What can I say, great vendors made the day that much better.  Sandy was no exception.  She does floral arrangements out of her home because she loves what she does.  IT SHOWS!  When she arrived with the bouquets I gasped.  They were stunning! Exactly what I had envisioned and I’m glad I trusted her to do her thing and make it work.  Upon our meeting with her she was the ONLY florist to ask our budget up front.  I knew nothing about flowers and instead of letting me babble on about ones I couldn’t afford, she steered me in the right directions.  She worked within our budget and gave us amazing flowers.  She made the bouquets for my bridal party and my bridal bouquet, bouts for all the guys including Dads, Grandfathers and the Officiant, a nosegay for the MOG and corsages for the Grandmothers.  We also tacked on some potted Mums for the ceremony and those were also gorgeous and added the perfect touch.

I would highly recommend Sandy for floral arrangements.  She was one of my favorite vendors.  Very easy to work with, friendly, honest and so very talented.

A+
Contact me for her phone number.

DJ – Al Beuscher
If the rumors are true, this was the last wedding Al DJed before moving on to his new job for a local radio station.  So, though I can not recommend him for your wedding, I must say he did an amazing job. He played all (I think) of our important “Must Play” songs.  Didn’t miss a cue for our entrance music, or the change in the father daughter dance music. He was accommodating to our requests throughout the night and played a good mix that did not include the Electric Slide or Macarana.  We were very happy with his work and luckily Mitch can still see him at his Monday Night Team Trivia.

Mitch really handled this vendor, but I can say that he did not have any problems.

A+

Beauty Services/Massage – Hey Good Lookin’ Salon – Vicki Manchester
Vicki and Hey Good Lookin’ Salon are the preferred salon vendor for the Wachusett Village Inn. Any massage or salon appointment you have at the Inn’s Spa is actually by this Salon. They are based out of Lunenburg, MA.

In our wedding package we got a Couples Massage.  We scheduled it for the day before the wedding right before the rehearsal.  This was probably one of the best decisions we made.  We got to really relax for a whole hour before all the craziness started.  Our massage therapists (whose names escape me now) were wonderful.  They  did a great job working on my severely knotted back and shoulders and it was so relaxing.  The heated massage beds were awesome and it was in a room just downstairs from my parents suite so very convenient for getting ready after.

We had three technicians come to my parents’ suite on the day of the wedding.  Everyone (Bridesmaids, Mom and me) got manicures, my Mother and I got pedicures and our hair done and I also got my makeup done. For all six girls for all of those services it only took about 3 hours. They arrived at the room around 10 or 10:30am and left by 1:30pm.  These girls were a lot of fun to get ready with.  They were keeping us laughing and watching movies with us the whole time.  They did a GREAT job on everything.  My hair and makeup lasted the whole night and looked terrific.  My manicure lasted a few days into our honeymoon before chipping and my toes still look pretty damn good over two weeks later.

Vicki even gave the bridesmaids some hair tips even though they hadn’t scheduled her to do their hair and were doing it on their own.

They had to mix two lip glosses in order to get a good color for me and they even gave me a little “touch up kit” to use through the night.  I lost it of course and had to use my own lip gloss later on, but the intentions were good.

All of these services were very fairly priced.  I paid just over $300 for everything (all nails, hair for two people and makeup for me) and that’s including 20% tip and $30 travel fee for the three technicians!

I would highly recommend this salon.

A+
http://heygdlooknsalon.com/index.html

Rehearsal Dinner Venue – Gardner Ale House
I did not have any direct contact with anyone at the restaurant for the planning of this, as Mitch’s Parents hosted this dinner.  However as a guest it was fantastic.  We had their function room all to ourselves and the food was great.  The waitress was a sweetheart and even when trouble arose with one of the steaks, she handled it quickly and well in my opinion.  With a lack of good local places, this really was a great place to have it.  I don’t believe there was any trouble booking the dinner and to my knowledge everything went as planned.

I would recommend it for your function.

A+
www.gardnerale.com

Ceremony Musicians – Richard and Jameson Twomey
Mitch’s friend Jamo and his father really saved the day on this one.  Our ceremony musican had to back out about a month before the wedding and on short notice we were at a loss as to what we would do.  They stepped up, they did an amazing job and they did it for free!  We were thrilled with their music and it made the ceremony that much more beautiful.  I can’t imagine it without them.  I feel we can’t thank them enough.  Granted these are family friends, but if they wanted to make a business out of playing weddings I would HIGHLY recommend them! Fantastic job!

A++

Officiant – Patrick Duggan
Patrick went above and beyond and was given a one day dispensation in order to perform our ceremony legally in MA. Again, a friend so not sure we can really “recommend” him. However, without Patrick our ceremony would not have been what we wanted.  We wanted someone who knew us and could really make this ceremony personal.  Pat, being the person who introduced us in the first place, really made this possible.  He is an amazing poet, and I think he did an great job with this.  We gave him a rough outline of how we wanted the whole thing to flow and he took it from there.  It was wonderful, and I’ve heard nothing but good things from people about how sweet the ceremony was.  We could not have done this without him. Truly.

A++

Tuxes – Men’s Warehouse – Boylston Street, Boston Location
No problems (minus Mitch’s pants being too short when he picked them up, but quickly fixed).  This was really the most convenient place for everyone to go for tuxes.  They looked great and from what I know there were no issues what so ever.  Perfectly happy with their service and product.  A rented tux is a rented tux.  The guys looked great!

When we initially went in to pick out the tux we were surprised to learn that they do not have them in stock to look at. Not even swatches of the colors of vests.  So we blindly picked from a book and hoped it looked good all put together (it did, cause we’re good).  It also took them a LONG time to get our information into the computer because the one guy who could do it was also the only manager in the store and was constantly being called away.  Honestly, had he just let me type it in we would have been out of there in 5 minutes tops.  He was really nice though and other than the speed of service, the service there was good.
A
www.mwtux.com

Seamstress/Bridal Alterations – Carol (I don’t even know her last name)
My mom set this all up for me.  I don’t even know Carol’s last name. All I know is Carol did a great job.  I needed the straps shortened, a bustle put in, and a few minor tacks and such.  She did exactly what I asked, it fit perfect the first time through and she charged me next to nothing for it.  Couldn’t be happier.  She does this out of her home and I’m not sure she even advertises it, but she would come highly recommended from me.

The only issue I had was my dress shifted through the night and my bra was peeking out of one side.  (it is unfortunately showing in some of the pictures too, ugh) Kind of annoying and I wore a bra that wasn’t probably the best choice, but I’m wondering if something could have been done about that had I realized beforehand. Not Carol’s fault of course.

A+

Travel Agent – Ellen Kettle – Kettle Travel
By far the winner of the most attentive vendor award.  Ellen was terrific from our first meeting, to the emails back and forth (even when her husband was in the hospital!), to the call at 5:30 a.m. the day of our trip to make sure we got checked in to our flight okay.   Ellen was always available for any questions we had, was willing to put in any requests we had and always went through all the details with us to make sure we understood the details.  Whether that be for our travel insurance or the tourist fee in the Dominican, etc.  I would recommend her in an instant! She has been amazing and very helpful. We had never used a travel agent before and we are so glad we did this time around.

A+
www.kettletravel.com

September 26, 2008

How to make your wedding the party of the century

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 11:47 am by Mitch

As Molly says, the wedding went off pretty well. I’m sure people would say they had a good time regardless of whether that was true or not, but I don’t think they’d be so enthusiastic about saying so. Over the course of planning this wedding, I learned a few things that I think might be useful for other people to know. Here are some of the most important tips I learned for making a wedding fun and economical.

Your friends and family want to help. I felt a little weird soliciting a friend to act as our officiant, but he was honored beyond measure to play such an important role in our marriage. We got him some nice gifts for his efforts and he truly seemed to feel like we didn’t owe him anything. Same thing happened with our musicians — they were just psyched to set up somewhere and play for someone they cared about. You wouldn’t get that with professionals. Don’t be afraid to reach out and see what people might want to do for you! You may be surprised.

Get creative when hiring vendors. We couldn’t have been happier with the services all of our vendors provided (Molly will go into detail about this in a later post). And all of them charged much less than the going rate. Why? Our photographer was superb, and has plenty of experience shooting weddings, but since she’s still a college student she charged us a low rate (we asked for less postproduction work than usual). The DJ was the host at a pub trivia host I attend each week. He’s a professional with plenty of experience, but since I went to him directly and not through a company, he gave me a good deal. And despite what the terrifying, monolithic floral industry would have you believe, you really can get great flowers from an independent florist working out of her home. With minimal effort, and some networking, you can save thousands of dollars on your vendors.

Take pictures before the ceremony. This was the smartest thing we did. I know some people have a superstition about the bride and groom seeing one another before the ceremony, but that’s nonsense. By getting the pictures out of the way early, we worked out most of our nerves. More important, we had much more time to spend with our guests. We even dropped in on the cocktail hour. I’d hate to have missed all that time to be taking pictures.

Put your own stamp on it. Every wedding does most of the same things, but that doesn’t mean you have to do those things the same way you’ve seen them done before. Plan your wedding in a way that reflects your personality! We had a few surprises throughout the evening: Molly’s dad handed me a fake dowry when he was giving her away. When we were introduced at the reception, Molly and I ran around the room high-fiving people. And we had an ice cream sundae bar in place of cake. I’m not saying you should do these things specifically. But look at what opportunities you have to put your own stamp on the event. That’ll make it memorable for you and your guests.

Pay as much up front as possible. I can’t overstate how good it feels not to have any debt hanging over us as we begin our marriage. We cut costs in every way we could, and we also made sure to pay however much we could at every step of the way. We didn’t have to, in most cases, but you don’t want all those bills coming due at the same time. Nor do you want to put stuff on the credit card and have it building up interest while you’re trying to enjoy your honeymoon. This is true not just for weddings, but for every major purchase in your life. (Here I should mention that we were fortunate to have some significant financial assistance from our families, which I know isn’t always the case for people.)

Have awesome friends and family. I guess this is luck of the draw more than anything. But it sure helps!

September 24, 2008

Wedding Review

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 7:44 pm by Molly

We are back! The wedding has come and gone. Pictures from our guests are starting to pop up on our Flickr account (link to the right in the blogroll as well).

The Wedding was fantastic! Even though it rained and pictures and the ceremony had to be moved inside, it didn’t matter.  In fact, the ceremony may have even turned out better because of it.

I woke up at 6am with a knot in my stomach.  I was nervous and terrified.  I couldn’t eat.  I woke the Bridesmaids up around 8:15 a.m. by playing “Somebody’s Getting Married” from the Muppets Take Manhattan on my laptop.  Half of them were NOT pleased. We headed to the Inn around 9am.

The Ladies from Hey Good Lookin’ Salon arrived at 10am and the beautification was underway.  Manicures, Pedicures, Hair and Makeup took until 1:30pm to complete.  We kept me busy with a plain un-toasted bagel and some snapple, and the Wedding Crashers on DVD.

The flowers and the photographers arrived around 3pm and we got ready to take pictures.

They set Mitch up at the end of a hallway and I walked up behind him photographers in tow.  The moment he turned around that knot in my stomach went away and I had a great time from there out.  It started raining so pictures were kept inside.  At 4pm I made the call to just move the ceremony inside.

I honestly thought I would be more upset about having to move the ceremony inside, but I wasn’t.  It barely even phased me. I was in the dress. This thing was happening indoors or out. I really think it turned out beautifully.  There we stood in front of a fireplace filled with candles, with pictures of our parents and grandparents set up on the mantel and all our family and friends squished in around us.  I’m not sure that outdoors would have been “better”.

The night continued with a lot of dancing, dinner and make your own ice cream sundaes! Mitch and I made sure we took the time to get a sundae.  That was the big thing we wanted to have at the wedding and I think it was a hit.

It was hard to spend as much time with everyone there as we had wanted, and I feel like Mitch and I were off on our own for most of the night trying to divide and conquer.  It was great to have everyone we cared about in the same room. Our family and friends made that day awesome!

The reception ended at 11pm and the party continued at the Inn’s bar until 1am.  I’m pretty sure some people partied even longer, but we decided to head to our room at that point.  The morning came pretty quickly and we headed down for breakfast.  Mitch and I stayed until everyone had checked out and headed home.

I have to admit I was sad to see it end.  Everything went as great as we could have hoped it would and to see all this planning play out in front of us was amazing.  It truly was a fantastic day.  I wish we could do that every year, but as Mitch says, It wouldn’t be as special if people did this all the time.

So, to those of you reading who attended our wedding, we thank you.  Our family kept saying how great our friends are and our friends kept saying how great our families are.   All of you are correct.

We couldn’t be happier.

…well maybe if we didn’t get some terrible bacteria in the Dominican, but that’s another post for another time.

Also coming up – Vendor Reviews.

-Molly

September 3, 2008

Bachelor party whoooooo!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 8:06 am by Mitch

Two bad dudes and a BMW

Two bad dudes and a BMW

Big excitement last weekend. The Best Man — that’s him on the right up there — put together a slammin’ bachelor party. We took a BMW down to Foxwoods, a trip that was almost entirely free of idiotic driving maneuvers on my part. (Look, a 325 has a big blind spot, okay? Sorry for cutting you off like that, guy.) You haven’t lived until you’ve accelerated away from a tollboth in a BMW. It’s like blasting off in the Space Shuttle.

At Foxwoods, we met up with the other 14 attendees for an intense dining experience at Craftsteak. There were steaks, many bottles of wine, endless platters of appetizers and side dishes, and even bone marrow, which I can say in all candor was truly disgusting. The whole affair took over three hours. It was more like a Roman festival than any dinner I’ve ever had. Let me just say this: If you’re going to have a three-hour meal at a fancy-pants steak place, the best way to do it is as the guest of honor. (Postprandial cigars are a plus, too.)

After that it was all about the gambling. My understanding is that most of our party got killed, but I ended up with a tidy profit for the evening. That’s thanks to some initial luck at the blackjack tables, followed by a 2/4 limit hold ’em game against the most overconfident and underskilled players you could imagine. I’ve never even played a live poker game before, but I took these fools to the cleaners. It was as easy as waiting until I got a good hand and then betting to the river. Truly some Advanced Poker Theory.

Overall, a fantastic evening, made all the more so by the company of some awesome friends. Hard to believe I’ve known some of these guys more than 20 years. Everyone should have such a band of solid bros backing him up — and such a Best Man, in particular. The night couldn’t have been any better.

Oh yeah, and we think a bunch of us got propositioned by hookers around 5:30 AM, but we’re not sure. I want to believe.

September 1, 2008

DIY Part III

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 5:39 pm by Molly

Well I think this is the final DIY post. Unless I realize I forgot something.

(Click any picture to enlarge)

Programs: Printed to Soft White Cover stock paper. I used the monogram from the favors again here on the front of the programs.

Front Cover

Inside

Information on the Wedding Party

Ceremony

Back Cover

Card Box: We were not initially going to make one of these. In fact until our venue asked if we were bringing one in, we hadn’t even thought about it.  So instead of spending 30-50 bucks on some satin covered box that I would never even look at again, I used an old gift box and covered it with chocolate brown paper.  I then added some flocked gold paper and gold ribbon to “dress it up”. The sign on colored card stock just added a Pop of color. 🙂

Place Cards: I attempted to learn calligraphy just for the place cards.  I think it came out alright, but I certainly need more practice.

I think that’s it. I hope you enjoyed yourselves.

– Molly

11 Days to go.