Debbie Pierog was the absolute reason our wedding went without a hitch. She catered both our rehearsal dinner and reception dinner. At the rehearsal we did a tapas style dinner with cocktail servers walking around with trays(Her staff was superfriendly and went out of their way to make sure my guests were happy and full). The food was delicious. We actually ran out of some of the appetizers so she added them to the cocktail hour after the wedding since they were such a hit! ( for free I might add) Everyone loved the food and kept asking for more! On the wedding day, her bartender came up with a signature drink and passed it at the cocktail hour without me even asking. They were delicious and I had two! We did a buffet for the reception and the food was again wonderful. There was something for everyone.
For the wedding day, she acts as a DOC as part of her catering services. Debbie made sure that we started on time for the ceremony and made sure that everything flowed according to the timeline we had discussed. She made sure Matt and I remembered to eat and that we always had a drink in our hand. I truthfully feel blessed because we were actually able to enjoy our own wedding and never worried about a thing! Debbie went above and beyond what we hired her to do! We got nothing but compliments about everything she did.
Reverend Eddie Rodriguez ~ A++++++++
Eddie is a true professional. He travelled from Miami to perform our ceremony in Islamorada and we couldn't be happier. He completely understood us and our ceremony reflected that. He put us both and ease and laughed along side of us when the small plane decided to circle overhead during one of our readings! He even made sure to match his tie to our wedding colors! Our only regret is that he had to head back right after the ceremony and we didn't get a picture with him.
Effects Entertainment, Inc. 786.229.8737 ~A++++++++++++++++
Jorge Navarro was fantastic and kept our party going! He followed our playlist perfectly and mixed the music so well that my 78 yr old grandma was the hit of the dance floor! He was priced well and gave way more than he charged. There was a wedding next door and Jorge was so good that they were requesting music from him!
Hair and makeup
Shannon Biondoletti A++++++++++++++++++++++++
Shannon came to my wedding site and did makeup for myself and my bridesmaids. I had a trial with her in February where she wowed me with the updo she came up with. Her vision the day of the wedding was AWESOME and I got tons of compliments on it. I was worried that with the heat and humidity that appeared for my wedding that my hair was going to be a mess. However, Shannon did such a fanstastic job that it stayed put until the very end of the reception when the humidity and my curly hair overtook the updo. I had done makeup trials with her as well and my only comment after the trial was that my makeup was too heavy. On the morning of my wedding, I had a fellow knottie's photo in hand and told Shannon that I wanted to switch gears and look just like the picture! She took it in full swing and created exactly the look I wanted. Shannon is easygoing and listens to exactly what her client wants. I loved her!
Belinda Serata ~ A+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Belinda and her husband Bob were all that Matt and I could have asked for in a photographer. Not only did she capture every detail of our wedding day but she managed to make my camera shy husband actually enjoy having his picture taken. That to me is a miracle in its self. Belinda's goal was to chronicle our wedding day while actually letting us enjoy our day. She took all the "must have" photos I requested so quickly I don't think our families realized she had taken so many great photos! She also made sure to take tons of pictures of our wedding guests as well. It was great to see everyone enjoying themselves! She set up a last minute shot that I thought I had discussed with her but had actually just talked about with the caterer without missing a beat. We had fireworks before the dancing began and she took AWESOME photos of those too. She had our wedding website up within two days of the wedding and when we returned from our honeymoon we had a box with all of photos on cd waiting for our review!
I was a little hesitant to order dresses online without a store for my girls to try the dress on and see a sample of the work. However, my experience was fantastic. My bridesmaids used their online sizing chart to determine which size to order and then we called customer service to confirm. I was a little worried because the turn around time was 4 months and it was January with my wedding in May, so when the dresses showed up in March, I was ecstatic. The color and quality of the dresses was great and the sizes were perfect. Only one of the girls needed a small alteration in the top. Aria Dress will send you fabric swatches so that you can view them prior to ordering and for a small fee they will mail you a sample dress in the size of your choice ( I believe that you have to ship it back at your cost but we didn't do that so I am not sure). All in all, both my of bridesmaids were happy with the dresses and so was I.
Brides Against Breast Cancer ~A+++++++
This organization gets an A ++++++ in my book mainly because they are a fantastic charity. My husband's mom passed away from breast cancer so it was a great way for me to include her in my day! They had a huge selection and lots of sizes for great prices. They even had designer gowns for low prices. They have a separate section for the designer/couture gowns which was nice because if you were looking for a specific designer, they would be easy to find. Unfortunately for me, they only had a much larger size than I needed in the dress I loved but I bought it and had it altered and was supremely happy! I went a year in advance and bought my dress that day. I never even looked in the bridal stores.
Belissima Bridal ~ B-/C+
The work that they did on my dress was very good, however I give them a lesser grade because of the experience I had. First of all, I did not buy my dress at the store so the alterations were super expensive ( almost as much as the dress, however my dress was lace and had a beautiful hem I wanted put back on) but I knew other people who had alterations done there and were happy so I bit the bullet. The first fitting went well but I had to sign a waiver because I wanted the dress to be above the recommended length. I got married outside and was worried about the bottom dragging in the grass/dirt if it rained. Also, they kept trying to insist that the top needed to be very tight as I wouldn't want the dress to fall down. Well, I have a fuller bust and the dress falling down was not going to be an issue. I just wanted to be comfortable and be able to breathe as I was going to wear the dress all night. When I went back for the 2nd fitting, I brought one of my bridesmaids to make sure that I was being clear on what I wanted. After the first fitting, they were only working on the length as I was still losing weight and I didn't want to pay for a 2nd alteration if I lost too much weight. There was a month in between fittings so I expected the length to be done when I went back for the 2nd fitting. It was but not to the length I signed the waiver for...they decided I might change my mind (????) and it would be better to leave it longer and do a second alteration. So again, I had to fight over the length and insist that I didn't want the top to be too tight. I left feeling a little uncertain and I shouldn't have so I take responsibility for that part. However, the day I was to pick up my dress was a nightmare. They had doublebooked the appointments and because the other bride was buying her dress through the store, I felt like I wasn't a top priority. They hustled me into the dressing room where the dress was shoved on my body as quickly as possible. Instantly I knew the top was too tight even though they had loosened it and taken measurements at the 2nd fitting. They took a few stitches out and assured me that I had just GAINED WEIGHT and had a week and a half to lose it...WHAT???? According to them, most brides lose weight before the wedding because of the stress...that may be true but what a inconsiderate thing to say to a bride a week before. I also indicated that the length seemed like it hadn't been shortened since the 2nd fitting. I was assured that it was but it definitely wasn't. The manager even looked at the receipt and said that it was exactly what I asked for. BUT IT WAS NOT. The seamstress then whipped the dress over my head, threw it in the dress bag and handed it to me and I was ushered out. At this point, I should have marched back in and demanded that they fix my dress but I was so overwhelmed and distraught about the experience that I didn't want them doing anything else to the dress. One of my bridesmaids was able to loosen the top and although the length was too long at the reception even with the bustle, the dress was beautiful and I loved it nonetheless. I just felt like the customer service experience could have been better especially during the most stressful last weeks of the wedding planning process!
Save the Dates
Weddingpaperdivas.com. A+++++++ The website was super easy to use and the order was processed very quickly. The STD's came out beautiful. The only catch was the extra postage but they do tell you that upfront...I just didn't realize it was going to cost $1.17 per STD to mail!
My aunt Denise flew down for the wedding and made our wedding cake as a gift to us. It WAS DELICIOUS! We told her that she should quit her job, move to Florida and make cakes full time. People had two pieces....Other than the piece that my dear husband smashed in my face....I don't think we even got cake!!! And there was tons of cake...it just was a huge hit!
In order to make room in our budget for other things that were important to us, we decided not to hire a florist. We made it a DIY project as the setting for our wedding didn't require much decoration. I went to the warehouse district near MIA and ordered flowers from Art Flowers Corp on NW 72 Ave They were fantastic. The woman there made great suggestions and I ended spending $80 on 125 gerbara daises that we used to make the bridal bouquet and bridesmaids bouquet. We then floated flowers in water on the tables. It was perfect for our wedding and I would recommend this company to anyone interested in ordering wholesale flowers.