oh_cake (oh_cake) wrote in weddingplans,

Epic Post-Wedding Pro Pics and Vendor Reviews

I loved our wedding. Loved, loved, loved it. There were glitches, of course, but nothing insurmountable. And the good definitely outweighed the bad by a long shot. My 9 day progress post with all the little details is here and the non-pro pics post is here.  If anyone wants pricing info on any of the vendors we used, I'm happy to share.

The few downsides:
1) A GM's wife left me a facebook wall post the morning of the wedding to say she wasn't coming. I was annoyed she told me that morning since of course we had paid for her meal and everything but since it was last minute, just have your husband tell us since he still came! Did you really have to make it public? (We cut about 100 people from our guest list because it was out of control and had made a point to let people know we didn't want anything on FB).
2. The men were late so I have no fun shots of them. We got them all personality focused cufflinks (golf clubs for the golfer, etc) and linen hats and were planning on taking some fun shots and that just didn't happen at all.
3. I forgot to get a pic of my friends from undergrad (me and my family are very connected to the Uni I attended). The pictures from friends have become super important to me because I'm getting to see the day through their eyes and also getting pics of THEM.
4. Our photobooth and wish box were set-up so out of the way that hardly anyone used it. I noticed this before the ceremony and should have said something, but I didn't want to be "that girl." 
5. People left earlier than we wanted, but the people who stayed to the bitter end were our "core" friends anyway, so it was all good.

But really - are these catastrophic? Hell no! The day was amazing. :) 

Here's an overview of the day, interspersed with vendor reviews: 

(All photos by Mike Lovett (A+). He works out of his home, so PM me for more info).

My two bridesmaids and I spent the night before at the Salem Waterfront Hotel (A). I had gotten a sweet deal on the King Suite - which was a bedroom, living room with pullout couch and a monster bathroom. Everything was beautiful and I was really happy we used this for our room block, even though only a handful of guests stayed overnight. Even though we had guests from 4 countries and 9 states most were local and several people stayed with my Mom or other friends locally. We had a great breakfast in the restaurant downstairs and then walked around the corner to get our nails done at Orchid Nail Salon (B+). I was forced to put on my serious hat when we got here because even though I had booked appointments 3 months in advance and confirmed them 2 days prior, the salon had given away our appointments (!!!) and asked if we could go on their waiting list. As I wrote our names I said, tersely, that I had booked appointments and pointed to my name which was glaring up from the open appointment book and said, "I really can't come back later - I'm getting married today." So as we went to pick out nail colors two manicurists who had heard this exchange decided to take us next and fortunately we all got beautiful nails and stayed on schedule. (If anyone is interested, I went with OPI "Bubble Bath" for my hands and "Italian Love Affair" for my toes. My girls both got french manicures). The next stop on our tour de beauty was Aveda Radiance Salon (A++). Trish, the owner, and her girls worked some serious magic on us. My SIL & her daughter, BIL's GF (GFIL??), MIL and my Mom were all there when we arrived. There is weirdness between my in-laws and well, basically every one else I know. It's too long to get into, but suffice to say things could have been terrible, but everyone more or less kept their shit together. The two downsides were my SIL was in a control-freak tizzy and made the salon re-do her hair twice. Also, my MIL and SIL kept going on and on about how beautiful GFIL is to the point that my BMs started loudly talking about how gorgeous the BRIDE was. (I love them). But really, all I cared about was getting my hair done. Trish did an amazing job and made me look elegant but still me. I loved it. Plus - they all handled my challenging SIL *very* gracefully.

From there we headed up to the Crane Estate (A for venue B for coordinator).

The Estate is gorgeous. It is truly stunning. It has rolling green lawns, statuary and stunning ocean views. The main reason we chose it (besides the beauty) is that they only do one wedding a day. So if it's rainy, we could move inside no problem. No gawkers or passersby to intrude. It's very private. There is more than ample parking, there is a gorgeous bridal suite that was plenty big enough for me, my two friends and my Mom to get ready. There is another room for the guys. They provide tables and chairs (although we ended up renting chiavari chairs because we got such a great deal from the caterer) and a coordinator. The estate itself is definitely not cheap, but overall it was money incredibly well spent. Our coordinator was proficient, but slow to respond to emails and not terribly pleasant. I really was worried in the weeks leading up to it. But, the day of she was professional and made everything work. I certainly didn't expect her to be my new best friend, but some of our exchanges made me feel like our wedding was a huge hairy burden on her. I work in hospitality myself so really, I hardly contacted her at all so I was pretty WTH about it.

Here we are arriving at the venue. You can see my Mom walking in the background - she's a double amputee which is why she needed a pants suit (if anyone remembers my crazy hunt for one in the spring - we finally had good luck at Lord & Taylors) - but I'd just like to give props to my amazing Mom who was a total trooper with all the walking she did that day - and even danced! It was so, so special that my Mom danced at my wedding. A couple of the groomsmen were so adamant that my Mom be ok that they wanted to *carry* her to the place we took formal pictures and she actually had to tell them to (nicely) back off, she could walk! They were so awesome to try, though!

My Dad arriving - he's wearing the hat we got the groomsmen. Theirs was more linen to match their suit and my Dad's was darker to match his mushroom colored suit. I told him to wear what he wanted and encouraged him to wear a suit he already owns (he wears them to work anyway so he has several), but in hindsight I perhaps should have offered some direction on the tie - the red was a little out of place. It just make me kind of laugh/sigh and think "oh, Dad!"

Tying the rings onto the pillow. The post from i_go_by_max , so terrified me that I didn't let them out of my sight until I passed the pillow off to my Dad to give to the groomsmen!

Arty shot of the women and the rings.

Some of my favorite pictures from the wedding are the getting ready shots. I am so very grateful to my Mom and these two friends for being so amazing to me throughout the entire process. These incredible women went above and beyond in ways I can't even begin to enumerate.

I was supposed to do everyone's make-up, but we ran out of time so I did my own and gave the girls tips for theirs with a little help along the way. Everyone looked so beautiful and natural. If anyone is interested in details of what I used for my make-up just let me know!

The bridal suite was directly over the front door so I was watching guests arrive and the photographer decided to take some bridal shots.

I love how this shot came out.

With my amazing Super-Mom. :)  I also think my Mom looks fantastic here - especially considering she turned 70 this year!

With my MOH. This woman is amazing. We've been friends since high school and have maintained our friendship between her moving to NYC, then me moving to Italy. Me moving back to the States and her moving to Europe! She was 6 months pregnant and flew in from France (where she and her husband live) for the wedding. Her hair pin was one of my DIY projects. I think it looked so good against her dark hair. After the photographer left, and my Mom left, she helped me put my veil on. I was sitting and she was standing behind me and as we looked in the mirror she held out the veil and I put my hands on hers and we held hands for a second. It was the closest I came to tears all day. I swear, the only thing keeping us from actually being sisters is biology. She's an only child and I have a brother so I always tell her, "that's why we also have the sisters we choose."

And while we were busy at the salons, the men had gone to Salem Beer Works for lunch and then got hopelessly involved in family drama at the hotel, so they were very late. Here is my handsome groom, carrying everyone's suits! We found the suits online at jimsformalwear.com and then ordered through a local retailer - Jason Anthony (A-). Jason is great to work with. I got my dress (Paloma Blanca) at Alexandra's Bridal (A) in Fall River. The girls ordered theirs through David's Bridal (B-) one arrived 2 sizes two big and even after alterations we had to pin the bust and both girls were given hassles for needing to order delivery to a different shop than we tried them on at.

They assembled the photobooth DH made.

And fortunately one of the GM is actually a carpenter, because some of the trim didn't survive the trip in one piece!

Somehow, we still managed to start on time.

The wedding party walked to Canon in D; my Dad and I walked to Trumpet Voluntary. My brother read from Corinthians - he started to get teary so I stuck my tongue out at him and then he was trying to keep from laughing. It was really sweet. SIL read "The Road Less Traveled." It was nice, because she said she felt that of the three of them, DH was the only kid that really did his own thing in life and she felt like he was really brave and she wanted to honor that. We also listened to "You'll Never Walk Alone" by Elvis Presley as part of the ceremony and my friend Jeff read the Prayers of the Faithful we had prepared. I was raised "culturally Christian" by non-believing parents who had been raised Episcopalian and Methodist. (We celebrate Christmas and Easter, but weren't baptized and don't attend church). My husband's family is Catholic. We ended up with a modified Catholic wedding officiated by a very liberal priest. It was enough that his family was happy and not so much that my family was also happy. If anyone is in the Boston area seeking a Catholic priest, PM me for Fr. Paul's info.

Blessing the rings

Thanks to a great suggestion by ipsafictura  we recessed to The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, which was so happy and lively that it completely set the tone for our formal photo session.

I was trying to corral everyone into a couple of cars to head down to the garden area for some pictures while our guests had cocktail hour, but my brother stopped me, teary eyed again, to congratulate "his baby sister, who is now a married lady." I tear up just thinking about it. Who knew that after all those years trying to kill each other as children we would like each other so much as adults?

DH and I went ahead of the group with our photographer to get a few moments alone. I had trouble with my skirt, so I just pulled the whole thing up in the back and sat my tush in the car. I made the photographer turn around first and I said, "NO butt shots!" Thank god I listened to my mother and wore panties! Can you imagine? "Oh, who's that?" "Oh, that's just the bride, mooning everyone." Anyway...

This was my memorial to my grandmothers. The thin band on top is my maternal grandmother's engagement ring from the late 1920s - it was my "something borrowed" from my mother. The other ring, the center stone was one of the engagement stones from my paternal grandmother's ring, which I inherited when she passed away. It was my "something old." My father had it reset as a cocktail ring for me, "something new." I like the idea that their unions produced my parents, who got together and so on. The handkerchief in DH's pocket belonged to my maternal grandmother, with whom I was very close. I gave it to him as a wedding keepsake to welcome him to the family and to signify that I think Grammie would have approved. I wrote him a letter along with it, describing how I appreciate his support, how he is already family, and that there is no one else I want beside me, through tears or smiles. My MOH gave it to him literally minutes before the ceremony so I was so happy to see he tucked it in his pocket.

By this time everyone else arrived and we took the group shots.

We started getting silly. I don't have any of the popular "jump" or whatnot pictures, but I think these capture our friends' personalities well. :)

But we did take the "shoe" shot! I told the girls to wear whatever shoes they wanted and all we all ended up with sparkly sandals.

We sent a copy of this photo in all of our thank you cards.

We went back up and did introductions. The wedding party was announced to "You're the Top" by Cole Porter and we were announced to "Por una Cabeza" which was also our first dance.

So, a little romantic back story on why we uncoordinated people decided to do a tango as our first dance. So... we met on match and one of the things I had in my profile was that I wanted to learn to tango. We met and had about 3 or 4 phenomenal dates and then I went away for over two weeks to help move a friend cross-country. During that time we still talked and DH kept telling me he had a surprise for me. Well, when I got back he invited me over for dinner (he made an amazing risotto) and then took me out to a private tango lesson! I was absolutely floored and completely head over heels. We were terrible, of course, but when it came time for the wedding we knew it had to be a tango - it was our first dance as a couple, it was our first dance as a married couple. To get ready we took lessons with Hilary Ross (A++) who we met through the recreational program at BU. After the group lessons were over we continued taking some private lessons during the summer and managed to make it through without stepping on each other.

Our first dance went right into my father's welcome speech - which was wonderful. One of the things he said was, "the only thing better than having two wonderful children is having three - we are so happy to welcome {DH} into the family." It is so fabulous to know how loved he is by my parents.

After his speech everyone filed through the house to pass through the ballroom where the seating chart was to get to dinner. We didn't plan this, but DH and I went first and happened to stop in front of our cake which was in this gorgeous little rotunda that connected the hallway to the ballroom. And an impromptu receiving line formed! We only had 85 guests at our wedding, but even that was too many to see and speak to everyone personally so this was an amazing way to say hello and thank everyone and it showcased our awesome cake at the same time! The cake was by Konditor Meister (A+). They were amazing to work with - they worked with us on flavors and were totally receptive to our decoration ideas, which my mother drew. They even mailed me back my mother's original drawing of the design when I accidentally left it at the bakery.

And then it was time for dinner! Our place cards were also individual menus.

I loved the centerpieces. I sourced the vases online and gave them to our florist to use.

They were exactly like I envisioned. Our florist was Victoria LaCava and she not only created exactly the vision I had in my mind for an elegant, understated look, but she was almost a thousand dollars less than other florists! She works out of her home, so if you would like her info, message me. Here another detail shot of her work:

Our caterer was Vinwood Caterers (A++). They were fantastic. Not only were they warm and friendly and responsive and professional, they totally stepped up to the plate (so to speak) when it came to menu planning. Both DH and I have worked professionally as cooks and so the food was really important to us. I developed the vegan portions of the menu and they used my recipes for the starter course as well - guests had the choice of either sauteed zucchini and mushrooms over vegan polenta with micro greens or butter poached lobster with chive creme fraiche on polenta. The salad was a salade aux fleurs with edible flowers in a champagne vinaigrette and we had three entree choices - salmon with asparagus and lemon wild rice, roast lamb with fingerling potatoes and asparagus or vegan sauteed vegetables over lemon couscous with fried chickpeas and Kalamata olives. Considering the per person price included 5 passed apps, 3 course dinner, artisan rolls and butter, all glassware, flatware, china, linen, waitstaff and service fees, cake cutting, berries and cream, coffee service, etc - they were a bargain. I recommend them without any reservations whatsoever.

To make life easier on our guests we had the best man and MOH speeches as well as the parent dances in between courses so guests could sit, eat and drink and not have to stand around while we did these rites of passage.

DH's 4 year old nephew totally stole the show. During the best man speech BIL flubbed a part and said, "ugh, that was stupid." To which our nephew loudly proclaimed, "that's a bad word!" Everyone laughed and BIL was able to relax and get back on track.

On our way inside to cut the cake, DH was feeling no pain and decided to "get it right" since we had totally goofed on our ending to the first dance. So on the way inside he high-fived his 6 year old niece, spun me and then dipped me - knowing the photographer was watching the whole thing.

My friend ran up to get in on the action. Love her! I was told later she kept her entire table entertained all evening. Our mutual friends kept calling her the "wanna be bridesmaid" because her dress matched the BMs. She had been in another wedding at the Crane Estate a month prior so she knew the dress would work at the venue - she didn't realize her other friend and I chose the same colors! Oh well, I thought it was hysterical and much better than the wedding I went to 3 months earlier where I accidentally showed up in the same style & color dress as the mother of the groom!

We cut the cake to the "I wanna grow old with you" song from The Wedding Singer. While we cut the cake the staff lit the candles outside which created a gorgeous glow. Guests who wanted to, sat outside and ate cake, had coffee or drank, and everyone else was inside dancing.

The guys were all a little shy at first so I took each wallflower guy out on the floor for a brief moment and then passed him off to a wallflower girl. Soon enough, everyone was on the floor.

On a recommendation from a friend we hired C-Zone Music to DJ the wedding. Our DJ was Ron Hernandez. He was awesome. Not cheesy at all, and was a terrific emcee. We was truly a pleasure to work with.

DH desperately wanted a conga line, so two of my friends obliged him. :) (Seriously, how much do you love her red petticoat? Hottie!)

We stole some moments with friends as people were leaving (sad! don't leave!) but it gave us an opportunity to talk to some people we hadn't seen in a long time - like this couple who we hadn't seen since their wedding in 2007!

Too soon though, it was time for the last dance. We danced to "In the Still of the Night." And then we thanked everyone for coming and headed back to the hotel.

The next day we headed down to Cape Cod for our two day honeymoon. We stayed at the Captain Farris House (A) which was exactly what we needed in terms of quiet, romantic and restful. The breakfast was amazing! We're hoping to save up enough to go to Hawaii as a first anniversary trip next year, but it's looking doubtful. I'm glad we had the couple of days to unwind quietly before heading back to reality.

Here's the advice I think worked best for us:

1. Delegate as much as possible. DH is a busy man, and not much inclined to wedding planning, but I gave him specific tasks which he handled beautifully. Same with other friends who offered to help.
2. If you can't delegate, plan to have everything finished 36 hours before the wedding (if at all possible). This post by jaxrax  taught me that. Everything was boxed, labeled and at the estate on Friday (wedding was Sunday) despite the fact that the GM who was supposed to take it there bailed on me. I had Saturday to spend just relaxing and catching up with my MOH before going to the rehearsal dinner. Such precious time together since we only see each other one a year or so.
3. Appoint someone responsible, who doesn't have other duties, to be your emergency contact and then refer everyone else to that person. My brother was ours. The day of when my MOH lost her wallet I told the other BM, "call my brother." (It was quickly found, thank goodness!). When the venue wanted to put us inside because "it might be chilly" he handled it because I had given the coordinator his number that Friday.
4. Let it go. If the GM bails on you Thursday night or your BIL's GF wears a short, tight, low-cut bright red dress (ahem) don't worry about it. Life's not perfect. You're not perfect. Your spouse is not perfect. But you two *are* perfect for each other, and that's why you're getting married.

And last but not least...
5. Post to and read weddingplans (especially the memories!). I know it saved my butt!

Happy weddings!

Tags: massachusetts, post-wedding post, vendors


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    The dear hubby & I got married on a very rainy, chilly March 16 in Fort Mill, SC. Though rain was the last thing I wanted to happen on my wedding…

  • WAY Belated Post-Wedding Post! (With lots and lots of pics)

    So I completely fell off on doing progress posts for the last several months of my engagement, and then completely failed to do a post-wedding post…

  • I'm Married! June 22, 2013

    I'm very very excited to announce that I am officially Mrs. Hernandez! Our wedding day was AMAZING! A few things went wrong, many things went…