Photography: Nathan & Jensey Root — A+++
OK, everyone knows by now how much I love the Roots, so I won’t belabor the point, but… fresh style, all digital-photo rights, great price, friendly and easy to work with, pictures finished in less than two weeks—fantastic!
Videography: Star Fruit Productions — B–
I chose them for their cinematic style—their videos look like mini movies or documentaries and they don’t have that harsh videotaped look. Originally I didn’t even want a video, but their work was so different from everything I’d seen that it convinced me. It took a bit of working on the final product to get it exactly how I envisioned it because I am picky and have a background in editing. The original camerawork and coverage were good, but a problem with one of the microphones meant that my vows are barely audible. Sometimes this stuff happens, and there’s not much anyone could have done about it. However, I was surprised that Star Fruit didn’t warn me about this when they delivered the “final” video—like maybe I wouldn’t notice…?
Floral: Disney Floral — B+
Although I had to cut a lot of my original floral proposal due to the high prices, what I did get was exactly what I asked for, even though technically my dahlias weren’t in season.
I was also happy that they worked with me to come up with super-cheap but great-looking altarpieces.
Tying in with the over-priced thing, I wasn’t crazy about how limited my chair alternatives were – the cheapest chair upgrade (wood, folding) actually turned out to be more expensive than putting covers on the ugly standard chairs because of a setup fee. Oh, and the constant warnings that my aisle petals would blow away (they didn’t)…
Hair & Makeup: Patricia LeJeune — A
I chose Patricia because I wanted natural-looking makeup, I liked the looks on her website, and her prices were good. I am extremely fair, which makes it hard to get a good foundation match, but the airbrush makeup she used on me blended really well and lasted all day (apparently real airbrush makeup is more durable than traditional foundation, but a lot of makeup artists don’t want to pay $40 a bottle for it, so they use regular foundation in an airbrush and it doesn’t last).
We actually used a lot of my own color makeup (at my request), so I’m going to give a shoutout to the products that lasted all day:
Lips: Vincent Longo Pearlessence Gel Stain + Paul & Joe Lip Gloss
Eyes: Laura Mercier Eye Color Quad; CoverGirl LashExact mascara
Model in a Bottle setting spray
This photo was taken 8 hours, 1 brunch, and many smooches after my makeup was applied:
I also liked what Patricia did with my hair, although it took me barking out orders at the last moment to get it to look exactly how I wanted; Patricia was totally cool about that. One thing—she may be hard to get ahold of at first because she does SO many weddings, but when she makes an appointment with you she keeps it. Also, she was about 20 minutes late that morning, partly because it was 4:30am and there was no valet on duty to take her car. I had asked her to come 30 minutes earlier than I thought I needed her to come, though, so it worked out OK.
Dress Steaming & Shipping: Carolyn Allen — A
Using Carolyn Allen to get my dress to and from Orlando, plus steaming, was one of the best things I did. I FedExed it to them in its original shipping box about 2 weeks beforehand and included my shrug. They brought both pieces to me the morning of my wedding already steamed, and then they touched them up while Patricia did my hair and makeup. After the wedding I left the dress & shrug with Patrick’s tux at my hotel’s bell services and CA picked everything up, stuffed it back in the box, and shipped it back to my house. The only thing that bugged was they charged me $35 for return shipping – it cost me $20 to ship it.
Tuxedos: Carolyn Allen — B-
Getting tuxedos through CA should have been a lot easier than it was – the idea of having tuxes delivered and picked up at the hotel was very appealing, and there aren’t too many vendors who do this. The snag was that CA’s new vendor, Jim’s Formalwear, closes its warehouse all weekend, which means that if any of the pieces needed for a Sunday or Monday-morning wedding are wrong, they can’t be exchanged for the right ones (unless you happen to have selected a style of tux that CA keeps on hand). As I’d feared, this happened to us. It was really the fault of whoever measured the Best Man, but it bothered me that CA couldn’t get us the correct size jacket. However, the fellow who brought the tuxes for the fitting was a really friendly, helpful guy who even gave us directions to Best Buy!
Manicure: Perriwigs at the Beach Club — A-
When I heard about Caryn’s Magical Disappearing Manicure from Perriwigs, I was worried. But the girl who did my manicure did a nice job (I think her name was Xiomara), and it lasted about a week.
Waxing: Mandara Spa at the Dolphin — D
I was really disappointed in the Mandara Spa. It has the attitude and prices of one of our swanky Beverly Hills spas but the atmosphere, amenities and services are mediocre at best. I knew I should have gone to Bliss before I left LA—it would have been cheaper, and they give you free brownies! When I first tried to book a full-leg and special bikini wax, they said the woman who does special bikini waxes doesn’t work Saturdays (?!?). I called back closer to the date to see if her schedule had changed and they booked me. But when I got there, they said she still didn’t work Saturdays and I would have to come back the next day. The day before my wedding… which I had scheduled up to my eyeballs. Grrrr.
The girl who did my leg wax was friendly but did a TERRIBLE job—she missed patches all over my legs and didn’t fully remove all the wax bits. I had stuff sticking to me for two days…
(This is what my legs looked like post-wax…)
When I came back for the special bikini wax I asked the woman to fix her colleague’s bad job, but she said she didn’t have time. At least I had the presence of mind to ask about a discount for Starwood Hotels Preferred Guest members when I paid at the end… I got 20% off (kinda like it was for the 20% of my legs she missed…)
Jewelry: Madame Fortuna — A
A fellow DIS bride hooked me up with jewelry maker Madame Fortuna. I’d bought the aqua chandelier crystals I wanted to use for a necklace but couldn’t figure out how to construct what I envisioned. I sent Madame Fortuna the crystals and my inspiration picture, and she made the necklace and a pair of earrings. What I really liked, though, was the personal touches she added—an antique watch chain and locket, which I used for pictures of my mom.
Fascinators: www.fascinators.net — A-
When I decided I wanted a fascinator instead of a veil, I had trouble finding one I liked and could afford. The US websites call them “headpieces” and sell them for upwards of $300. I discovered the Australian website Fascinators.net, which has the advantage of lower prices and an exchange rate that was in my favor at the time. The downside was that it took a month to get my two fascinators, and one of them had a broken feather when it arrived. The owner of the site was really helpful about it, though—she sent me extra feathers, and I made a few of my own to help fill it out a bit.