Vendor Reviews


Venue and Food

Canyon Springs: A+
I have been very pleased with Canyon Springs from the very start. Brenda, the event coordinator, is super sweet and very easy to work with. She made me feel very comfortable with them and continued to be helpful and good with communication throughout my engagement. I should mention that my mom works there now so we were given and few perks, but she has told me how wonderful the service is at every wedding she works at, so I know ours was not just an exception.

They let us get into the Pavilion on Saturday, the day before the wedding, so we could start decorating. That was sooo nice and helped make the day of the wedding so much more relaxed.  There were workers in there setting up all of the linens and chair covers too, and those came out great.

The day of the wedding they let us into the building by 10:30am. We were allowed to use the room that is attached to the main room (where we later set up the buffet) as our changing room. They let us stay in there really late getting ready and had a fast turn around time during the ceremony.

The servers and bartender during the reception were excellent and very professional. They were very attentive and made sure everyone had what they needed. We had originally said to just have the cake cut and put out on a table for guests to serve themselves, but they ended up hand serving each one, and plated both cakes onto all plates, I think as a favor to my mom.

The food was delicious too. We had chicken marsala and ribeye seak with garlic whipped potatoes and green bean almondine. I thought it all tasted great and was warm and well presented.

The grounds are also very well kept, so our outdoor wedding by the waterfall was very pretty. I think the guests were all very impressed with the scenery there.

I would highly recommend them for a wedding.

Bridal Shops

David's Bridal on 410 and San Pedro: A-
Unlike many bride's experiences, I had a great time trying on dresses at David's Bridal. The lady who helped me was very attentive and friendly. She asked me what I was looking for and tried to find styles that matched that idea. She also brought out other dresses that she thought might look good on me, even if it wasn't exactly what I was looking for (I consider this a plus since it made me keep an open mind to other styles). The reason I gave them the minus was that even though there were at least 2 employees in the store that we could see just sitting there, they made us wait outside in the cold for like 15 min until "official" opening time. I don't think it would have hurt them to let us in a little early.

Debi's Bridal near San Pedro: A
I was helped by Rachel. I didn't have an actual appointment because when I called the day before they said to just come in. Rachel was very nice and really tried to learn what I looking for and find both similar and opposite styles (similar to the lady at David's Bridal). They had a lot of nice dresses there, and the prices seemed pretty reasonable.

The Bridal Connection in Rolling Oaks Mall: A

I didn't have an appointment with them (don't know if you need one for a store in a mall) but they were ready to help us as soon as we walked in. We had actually called them earlier to see if they had a particular dress, and they didn't, but they had told us to come in and they'd find as many similar ones as possible. They really did try to match the dress I was looking for. I never found one there that I wanted, so I tried on all of the dresses with features of the one I wanted and then ended up ordering the dress I wanted through them. Their prices were slightly higher than Debi's Bridal, but they offer a deal where if you order and dress and don't want it, you can get store credit. I thought this was a better option since I was ordering a dress I hadn't even seen in person before.

Alterations

Joan's Alteration's: A-
I ended up going with this shop on De Zavala after getting recommendations from fellow knotties. I dropped it off on 9/11 and was told to come back on 10/11.  I had to have about 1' hemmed from the front and I got a bustle done in the back. The total came to about $105, which I think is very reasonable compared to some other quotes I've heard, and especially considering my dress had like 3-4 layers that needed to be dealt with as well. The hemming turned out great. The only reason I gave the minus was because I wasn't as pleased with my bustle the day of the wedding as I should have been. I don't know if I just didn't realize it in the store or what, but the back part of it was way too long. I didn't have any problems with people stepping on it or anything, but I could have. The reason I'm still giving them an A is because I feel like this is my fault for not realizing it beforehand and having them fix it.

Shoes

Endless.com: A++
I'm so in love with this website now. They allow you to order shoes and it's free overnight shipping to you, and free return shipping if you don't want them. I've already ordered and sent back like 10 pairs of shoes (some for the honeymoon too) and have had no problem getting my refund. They have excellent prices on most of their shoes as well, so it's all around an amazing deal.

Jewelry


Bridal Jewelry
Etsy Seller: Handwired: A+
I really like the etsy.com website too. I was recommended this seller by another knottie, and was very pleased with the quality of the jewelry and her customer service. She always responded quickly to my questions and she customized my necklace and earring set too. I received the jewelry pretty quickly. I also thought the price was excellent considering the quality, definitely a lot cheaper than you would find in a store.

Rings
Zales: B+

The end result was great, but the getting there was a little rough. Tyler found my ring on the Zales website and loved the design, but unfortunately didn't know much about diamonds. I'm not trying to sound snobby here, but the quality of the diamonds at Zales is not very good based on how much they charge you. The ring he originally bought had a huge carbon spot in the middle, which was very unsightly. Since he was leaving a few days later he didn't have time to go to the other Zales shops to see the other versions of my ring. After he left my sister and I went to the other locations and did end up finding the same ring with a stone that had a huge feather instead of the carbon spot. You could still see it, but it wasn't quite as obvious, so I traded rings. Well, as hard of a time as I had doing it, Tyler and I ended up deciding to kind of "re-do" the ring. We spoke with a lady at the Northstar Zales and after much explaining finally got it across that we wanted to just order the semi-mount to the ring. Fortunately that price wasn't so outrageous (although the higher quality diamonds we had them look for to have set in the mount were wayyyyyy overpriced). What we ended up doing was ordering a loose diamond from Blue Nile (see below) and having it mounted in the setting. The end result was a gorgeous center stone in the setting that I wanted for at least half the price than it would have been had the entire ring been bought from Zales. So, even though the end result was great, I'm giving them a B+ because of the hassle of getting there. We also bought our wedding bands at Zales (we had a coupon that saved about $75), and that purchase was fine.

Blue Nile: A+
Excellent, excellent, excellent. For anyone nervous about ordering a diamond online, definitely don't be nervous with this company. I realize the entire diamond market is way inflated, but compared to any diamond you would buy at a retail shop, Blue Nile offers amazing deals. You can get double the grade of diamond for half the price. It's amazing. Their customer service is excellent too. Unlike some companies that you email a question to and you can obviously tell some computer picked out keywords and sent an automated response, a real person read and responded to every one of my questions about how to choose the right diamond. They even went a step further and picked out certain diamonds that they felt best met my criteria, and still did it within my specified price range (so they weren't just trying to make a sale and push me toward something more expensive). When I had finally narrowed it down to two diamonds, someone even went and personally looked at the diamond to verify that it was "eye-clean." They have free overnight shipping too, so not long waiting until you get your precious little rock. I would HIGHLY recommend Blue Nile to anyone I know looking to buy a diamond, or any jewelry that they sell.

Tux

Men's Wearhouse/Tux Rental: A
We rented a tux for Tyler and bought the groomsmen's ties from here. The tux seemed expensive, but I suppose that's just how they are. The employees were nice and helpful. Tyler picked up his tux without problem. So good service, no problem

Hair and make-up

Mary E Coop: A+
I found Mary on craigslist. She is a Mary Kay consultant and obviously has experience doing hair, as all of my hairstyles come out great. She did a hair trial with me first and I did my hair half-up/half-down. It ended up driving me crazy by the end of the day, so I decided to change it to all up. I sent her a picture of what I wanted and she said she could definitely do that. So I had her do it for my bridals pictures and she did an excellent job at re-creating it. We also changed my make-up a little bit, and that came out really great too.

The day of the wedding she brought a friend to help her out and make everything go more quickly. All 4 of BMs had their done, as did my mom and Aunt. My grandma also had her make-up done. Everyone looked awesome when they were done with our hair and make-up, and I think my hair came out even better the second time. My only complaint is that we ran behind schedule and missed our pictures that we were supposed to do before the ceremony, but I think it was partly my fault too for not keeping track of the time. Regardless of this though, I still thought she and her friend did an excellent job, and for VERY reasonable prices ($25-35). Oh yea, and she comes to your location for no extra charge.

If you are interested, her email is maryecoop@gmail.com

Officiant

Micah Coop - A
Micah is actually Mary's husband. While Mary was over at my parent's house doing my hair and make-up trial we got to sharing our life stories and she talked about how her and her husband are involved in their church, and at one point she mentioned that both of them are ordained ministers. Of course that made me squeal since we had just realized we needed a new officiant. Tyler liked the idea of having a male officiant, so we talked to Mary to see if Micah would be willing to perform our ceremony. It was definitely a busy day as they need to be at their church around 5:30/6 to get ready for the Christmas service that night, but he pulled it off. Tyler and I met with the two of them (and their adorable little baby Judah) at Panera Bread while Tyler was back for fall break. We spent the next hour just getting to know each other and making sure our personalities were compatible. We loved how laid back and fun Micah is, so we decided to go with him.

He got super lost for the rehearsal and was pretty late, but that was not his fault. The rehearsal was laid back and simple.  The day of the wedding, I thought he did a great job.  He's a good speaker, didn't mess up Tyler's difficult last name, and gave a good talk about marriage. He was also fine with using the parts of the ceremony that I wrote myself.  He did want to give us some pre-marital counseling, but ended up being really busy and couldn't do it. That was ok with us. I don't know if he is really available or wants to do weddings, but if you happen to use him he will do a good job.

Photography

Josh Fowler Photography: A++
We booked Josh Fowler and his wife Emily on Feb 18.  It was very important to us to have 2 photographers, and to also get a CD of pictures. They are a super fun young couple who do excellent work. They are not the cheapest out there, but they are not the most expensive either. You can visit their website at http://www.joshfowlerphotography.com/#

We took our engagement photos with them on March 8, and were absolutely thrilled with our decision to go with them. They were soo much fun to work with during the engagement session, and their pictures turned out splendidly. They had a really nice mix of traditional poses and some more artistic ones, and they were all pretty well shot  They also got the pictures back to us online in 3 days, which was awesome, and gave us the CD  the next day so we could use them for STDs and newspaper announcements.

I took my bridal portraits with them on Nov 1, and got those back that same week. I was thrilled with how those came out too. Even my dad, who is very critical, was very happy with them. You can check out my planning bio for some of the engagement and bridal pics.
http://lindsayandtyler.weebly.com/index.html

We haven't gotten our wedding photos back yet, but I'm super excited and sure they will turn out great. Can't wait!


Flowers

Eden's Echo Floral Design: A+
I was very very pleased with Erin's work.  All of the bouquets were gorgeous and my BMs seemed to love theirs. The corsages and bouts were well done as well.  She did make the corsages as pin on's, which I was expecting, but it wasn't a bad thing. Maybe even a good thing as then the ladie's didn't have to worry about it on their wrists. Her prices are very good and she will try to work with your budget. Her communication is excellent; she responded to most of my emails the same day.  I would highly recommend Erin.

Paper

VistaPrint: A+
I ordered my STD's using one of their 100 Free Postcard deals. I uploaded my own images for both the front and back. They get you on the upload fee and shipping, but it still came out to only $14. I can deal with that. :o)  I got the postcards in about 5 days, and I'm very pleased with the quality of printing and service.

I also ordered my photo sharing cards using one of their free 250 business card deals. Only ended up costing the $6 for shipping (got a free upload) and I had them within about 5 days again. So awesome!


Envelopemall.com: A+
I ordered a pack of 100 Stardream Lapis Lazuli 6x9" booklets. I ordered them on Monday night and had them by Friday afternoon. The prices were by far the best I could find ($40 with shipping for the big size we needed). I know it's not their product, but Stardream paper is amazing as well.

Photobook

MyPublisher: A-
I ordered a 20-page basic photobook from them to use as our guestbook. Overall, I was very happy with this purchase. Their software was very easy to use, and I was able to easily upload my photoshop pages into the book. The printing is pretty good, the pages are a nice weight, and they add in two pages of vellum in the front and back, which I think is a very nice touch. Their processing and printing time was also very fast (like a week). The only reason I gave them a minus was because I know they are not top quality and I felt like the front viewing window in the cover could be a little nicer. For the price though ($32 including shipping), I'm very pleased with my purchase.

Cakes

Ultimate Cheesecake Bakery: A-
For our taste tesing, we met with the husband who owns the shop near the Quarry. He was very nice and seemed to know a lot about his cakes. He gave us a pretty good presentation of their services. The samples they offered were well displayed and tasted really good. He did admit that they were older samples (frozen for about a month) and that our cake would be only a few days old (he said they do freeze them to aid in the decorating process). The price was pretty good too. For a 3 tier main cake that serves 78, a satellite cake to match the main cake (or could be different, like how we would do it) that serves 50, and groom's cake that serves 50, the total would come out to  $550. This includes any flavor (and you can mix and match tiers), and most decorations.

We booked them to make the Groom's cake, which was be a half-sheet (about 48 servings) of carrot cake with the Duke University logo on top. We picked it up the day before (they were closed Sundays).  It turned out great, and tasted even better. The only reason I gave them a minus was because they were pretty unorganized when I went in to give them the design. They couldn't find my order, and then were too busy to help me with the design right then. I didn't make an appointment which I should have, but I still think they could've taken 2 min to help me. They gave me their email so I could send in the design. It didn't work, so I ended up calling and just describing it over the phone. The end result was still good though.

Cakes by Cathy Young:
We met with Cathy second. She obviously has tons of experience (displayed well by the many books we looked through) and her cakes are very well done. Cathy is a very fun, spunky, and friendly lady, and I think we would love working with her. We have heard amazing things about her cakes, although the tasting didn't really live up to it. They just brought out two cupcakes, one white and one chocolate, with some frosting on top. While it was good, it wasn't anything outrageous like we were expecting. I felt like the other place did a much better job with the actual tasting part. Her cakes also come out to be about $200 more than the other place. I also feel like her traditional style might not be as good for what Tyler is looking for for his groom's cake. While I would have loved to try it out and see how amazing it is the day of, we decided not to go with her because of the extra price.

Sweet Traditions: A++
After meeting Lynda and trying her cakes I knew I was in love! Her white and lemon cake are so delicious. She was super nice and fun, and obviously enjoys what she does. She was very professional and well organized as well, which is something that I definitely appreciate. The cakes in her picture books were beautiful. Her prices were right in between the other two cake places, which means she's still really reasonable but not the cheapest. And she does throw in the cake stand for free. We felt like her carrot cake was designed to be more mainstream and not as "hearty" though, and Tyler wants the full out carrot cake flavor, so we have decided to get the main cake from her and the carrot cake from the first place.

The cake she made ended up being wonderful! It was soooo pretty. She decorated it with blue frosting, and then put edible glitter all over, and put snowflakes and branches around the layers. We got a lot of compliments on it. It tasted really good too. We went with a white cake with raspberry filling.  I had made the snowmen cake topper myself but didn't know how to attach them to the cake, so she had me bring them by her place and she figured it out for me.  It was a pretty good price too. It served 120 people and was $509 with delivery included. We just ate our top when we got back from the HM, and it was still delicious about 11 days later!

DJ

Music Connection: A
We used them based on recommendations from other knotties. Jesse, the owner, was very nice and easy to work with. We ended up getting Brian as our DJ for the wedding. I thought he did a really great job at keeping people on the dance floor and recognizing what songs we wanted to hear. He also did our ceremony at the waterfall, and everything went smoothly there. He did butcher our last name at our entrance to the reception, but it wasn't a big deal.  We had also originally agreed with Jesse about a higher price to have them bring their equipment to the waterfall, but we didn't end up needing it. Jesse was great about refunding us that money even though it was in a signed contract. I would definitely recommend them.

Rehearsal Dinner

Carino's on Blanco and 1604: A+
I was very very happy with our dinner here. They were very nice and organized from the very start. They called to confirm and get details about 2 weeks before the wedding. The night of the dinner they had everything ready when we got there. We were assigned one server for our room, and he did a great job all evening. We actually brought in our own cakes from Walmart and he cut and served them for us, which I thought was really nice of him. The food was delicious too, very important. :o) I would highly recommend them.