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Open Thread: Local Wedding Resources


Vendors you loved (hundreds of them).

Open Thread: Local Wedding Resources | A Practical Wedding

When we published a sponsored post for the Bay Area’s best wedding dress store last week, lots of you clamored for more local resources to help find sane, helpful, affordable wedding vendors in your own area. And we get it. The trouble with wedding planning is that it seems like there are only ever two options to finding good people to work with: scour the internet and hope that the sane, helpful, affordable wedding vendors are smart enough with SEO to put location identifiers in their website, blog posts, etc. Or use referrals, and hope that the florist that your second cousin recommended is going to understand your vision, because, well, your cousin has slightly different taste than you do. And while APW may house a fair amount of awesome sponsors and vendors, we also understand that for those of you living outside of major metropolitan areas, well, we can’t always help you there.

So, since this is the most supportive community on the internet, we thought we’d kick it to you guys. Did you have any vendors that you loved working with? People who went above and beyond the call of duty? Secretly awesome shops that don’t have websites? There are a lot of horror stories in the wedding world about terrible vendor experiences, and not enough stories about people who were great to work with. And frankly? The latter is always way more helpful to me when I’m shopping around. So tell us your best-kept secrets! (And don’t forget to tell us where you live, and an average price range of the products/services offered if possible.) If we get enough responses to today’s open thread, we’ll even do a few local roundups for the smaller metropolitan areas that don’t always get as much love from the wedding industry.

Photo of a cake made by APW sponsor Oakland Bakes

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  • Kathleen

    Does any APW gal have any recommendations for vendors in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area? We’re specifically looking for a caterer, photographer, and dress shop. Save me from the terrors of google searching!

    • Jessica B

      Onsite Photography! They are AMAZING! It’s a husband/wife team and they take some really great shots without getting in the way of guest views of the ceremony, and make sure to get photos of people just hanging out. http://www.onsitemn.com/

      Stay away from Dena Marie Bridal & Tux in Roseville, they are a nightmare.

      I’ve heard good things about Chowgirl’s catering, but have not actually experienced them. They do have coupons floating around for 15% off a catering gig over $750.

      • Jessica B

        I would also like to add for other ST/MPLS folks looking for a hotel, The Embassy Suites in St Paul was an absolute dream to work with. They handled everything with grace, efficiency, and humor. They have ducks in the lobby that entertained my niece for hours, and they just remodeled so the rooms are really nice!

      • Sarah

        We used Chowgirls (after French Meadow backed out on us at the eleventh hour!) and they did a wonderful job. Very professional service, very good food. Definitely recommend!

    • InTheBurbs

      Check out Acapulco Restaurant for catering. They can also provide bar service. The food was spectacular, the staff attentive throughout our reception and they are very reasonable. Margo is the catering manager and was a blast to work with.

      And for a dress shop – although I didn’t end up purchasing there – Andrea’s Vintage Bridal – on 26th and Lyndale in Minneapolis.

      • Sarah

        I loved Andrea’s Vintage Bridal–the post earlier this week about wonderful small bridal stores reminded me of my experience there.

    • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

      Kate Sommers Photography! http://www.kngsommers.com/

      We found her through APW. She is AMAZING. Not only our our pictures gorgeous, but Kate went above and beyond. Here’s the review I left for her:

      “Kate was a dream. Not only are the photographs from our wedding so stunning and raw and funny and intimate and beautiful that they take my breath away, but Kate herself is stellar to work with. She blended into the background seamlessly on our wedding day, capturing honest moments without being intrusive or making us feel self-conscious. She went above and beyond for us–bustling my dress when my bridesmaids ran into trouble, downloading an app onto her phone so that the wedding party could give toasts even though our microphone suddenly broke. She was everywhere, and captured everything! In the planning stages, she met with us in person to get to know us better and get a feel for the type of wedding we wanted to have. Kate is relaxed, professional, and truly talented. I cannot recommend her enough.”

      Really, really, really cannot say enough good things about her.

      • Sarah

        Yes, we had a similar experience with Kate! I loved that she took the time to sit down with us and get to know us before the wedding; I was so comfortable with her the day of.

    • http://www.evarosecohen.com Eva

      I got a fabulous ’50s-style strapless wedding dress at Andrea’s Vintage Bridal (http://www.vintagebridal.biz/) for my wedding two years ago. Andrea, the store owner, was really pleasant, the dress was in the $200-$300 dollar range, and I was able to get my alterations done by a woman connected to the shop for a super reasonable price. Highly recommended if you like vintage-style dresses! You can see my dress in the photos here; my friend made me the crinoline I wore under it–> http://www.sepetaweddings.com/jack-and-eva-married/ Happy shopping!

    • Diana

      I just got married on October 12th in northeast Minneapolis, and I worked with some wonderful vendors who I am very happy to recommend!

      Photographer: Lace/Hanky Photography
      Caterer: Maya Cuisine on Central Ave. NE, they were amazing and very affordable!
      Wedding Cake: Sarah Jane’s Bakery, affordable and delicious!
      Florist: Christine’s Floral Touch
      Linen rentals: Midway Party Rental
      Jewelry: Andrea’s Vintage Bridal
      Hair/makeup: Nikol Jorgensen at Salon Stella
      Alterations: Su’s Alterations, she did a beautiful job with my lace dress.
      Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse at Rosedale

      Dress Shop: Don’t go to the Bridal Store in Crystal! (used to be Wedding Chapel Brides and Mary Kay Bridal, and they merged). I ordered my dress from them and it was beautiful, but came in SUPER late and they were not easy to deal with.

      • Diana

        Oh and we booked a block of rooms at the Radisson Plaza hotel in downtown Minneapolis. It was a very nice hotel at a reasonable price, and they gave me and my husband a free upgrade to a suite! It was really nice to have the extra space for doing our hair and makeup the morning of the wedding.

    • Kathleen

      You all are amazing! I can’t tell you how much stress you’ve saved me! I couldn’t spend another second on Yelp or Google trying to decide who to even check out! Thank you!!! (apologize for the exclamation points but they feel so appropriate!!!)

      • Laura

        This is so timely! I’m looking for a videographer and seamstress in Minneapolis. Any recs?

        • InTheBurbs

          I highly recommend Louise Kegley as a seamstress. http://www.louisemarieweddings.com/ She works out of her home near 3M on the eastern edge of St. Paul. Her prices are reasonable and she’s a hoot!

          • Flan

            I’ll second this! Her prices are amazing, and she’s great to work with. She’s not the greatest at email, so just call her! She does a lot of prom dresses too, so watch your timelines, but she turned my stuff around in less than 10 days when I needed to compress my timeline in a pinch!

    • Seren

      Ellie Leonardsmith, is a good friend of mine, (Her wife is my cousin.) Her photographs are amazing! http://ellieleonardsmith.com/. She’s a recent transplant from the Boston area. She was our photographer and totally went above and beyond what we asked for.

    • Seshat

      Oh yay! Another Twin Cities-er right off the bat! I’m still looking for a florist and DJ so if anyone has recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

      I got my dress at The Wedding Shoppe on Grand Ave in St Paul–I heard good things about it from a bunch of people and I had a good experience there. They were also pretty cool with the fact that I wanted to look at BM dresses in white/ivory since I wanted something very simple. I’ll second the dislike of Dena Marie. It wasn’t a *nightmare* but the sales woman I worked with was not even remotely helpful.

      We’re using a good friend as our photographer. https://www.facebook.com/christinaswanphotography?fref=ts She’s not a full time photographer so I don’t know what her scheduling is like, but she’s super sweet and personally I really love her portfolio.

      I can’t really suggest a caterer–our venue has their own kitchen and catering. A good friend used Mintahoe, I believe, and the food was pretty good and I think her experience was fine. I know she’s not raving about them, but she did say she was happy with them when I first started looking around.

      • InTheBurbs

        Martha’s Garden on Snelling and Selby is amazing!

    • Brittany

      Geneoh Photography- pricey, but Gene is worth every penny and then some. Easy to work with, hardly noticed him there during the ceremony and reception. Great formal portraits that didn’t feel stuffy, and without fail, every one of my friends who sees our pictures gushes about how much they love them. Plus he’s like the nicest guy, and he shoots unlimited hours (in our case around 13 hours!), and because he felt our big wedding needed it, he brought a second shooter, no charge. Love him!
      Also, our venue was a Minneapolis Parks property (Columbia Manor) and they were surprisingly awesome. The manager had the cleaning crew come an hour early so we could get in early to set up for our morning wedding. He met with me and my mom and my dad like five different times. Everyone there was so very nice and very accommodating! Plus the property is lovely and well maintained.
      My caterer was Prom, and they’re basically just a standard wedding caterer, but I wanted someone full-service (linens, set-up, bar, wait staff, bartenders) and I was really pleased. Our coordinator did a great job. They were very upfront about pricing. They didn’t try to up sell us on anything. They were extremely concious of our budget, and they don’t charge you for any unopened booze, which I was really concerned about because I wasn’t sure how much my drink loving family would consume at 1 in the afternoon.

    • Brittany

      Oh, and Buttercream Bakery! I would eat only Buttercream Bailey’s chocolate cake always if it wouldn’t give me diabetes! Yum!

    • Nora

      Our Twin Cities area wedding hasn’t happened yet, but we’ve done several tastings with caterers and ended up going with Chowgirls for dinner catering and an assortment of oh-so-delicious cakes from Cafe Latte in St. Paul for dessert. So far Chowgirls has been wonderful to work with and super flexible in accommodating our abnormally small size (25-30 people). Cafe Latte’s cakes are obscenely good but the only downside with the not-wedding-cake wedding cake plan is that we can’t order the cakes until 2-3 weeks in advance, which is a tad difficult for me as I prefer to plan waaaaay ahead.

      Photographer, we’re flying in Jonas Seaman (SO EXCITED!) and dress, I’m making my own, so I don’t have any recommendations there.

    • Laura T

      Cannot recommend Laura Ivanova Photography highly enough – http://www.lauraivanova.com/

      Based out of Minneapolis, professional but comfortable to work with, lots of package options, really understood what we were looking for, listened and delivered.

      If you have an open catering option with your venue, Design Cuisine is the best – http://www.designcuisine.com/ – while their website is minimal, they customize menus within your budget and are capable of setting up a kitchen anywhere.

  • copper

    For LA area people, I loved Bride for dresses and a few accessories. I didn’t get my dress there as they opened after I had figured part of it out, but I did get my veil there AND the owner set me up with a dressmaker to do a custom corset for me because what I had wasn’t working. As far as I know she took no commission for the setup, and was just marvelously welcoming and perfect for the anti-WIC type bride.

    http://brideboutiquela.com

    • catherine

      Copper, are you in LA? Ah Cool me too!

      And that place is on my list!! I live in Echo Park and keep wanting to drive by it and haven’t seen it yet…but it looks adorable. Not sure I’m wanting vintage but I’m definitely having a look!!

      • Megan

        Another LA area recommendation: Jennie Cooks Catering Company!!! She is amazing, and were beyond thrilled with everything! In a nutshell: Delicious food, really reasonable prices, and GREAT PEOPLE. We can’t recommend her enough! Our guests raved about the food and also told us how kind and attentive all her servers and workers were. On the day of the wedding, the crew arrived early, the food displays looked absolutely stunning, and the food was yummy. Jennie is committed to using fresh, local, high-quality ingredients, which was important to us. We always felt that Jennie understood us and our desires, and was willing to do anything in her power to help make us happy. Definitely check them out!

    • Stephanie

      I loved Ferndales in Orange for wedding dresses. The owner is just the sweetest lady. They have plus size and straight size dresses in a LOT of styles.

  • Stacie

    I’m looking for a terrific, reasonable tailor in the NYC area to alter my off-the-rack wedding dress!

    I’ve got much bigger boobies than hips, which always requires me to buy one size larger than my bottom half needs in order to cover the top. I need to bring that sucker in! :)

    Thanks in advance!

    • Brigid

      I took my dress to La Robe by Leah in Yonkers. I actually haven’t gotten it back yet, but she did alter another dress for me. She’s a very no-nonsense, in and out type, but she really knows her stuff.

    • http://www.lvrevents.com LVR Meg

      Hey Stacie –
      I’m also in the big boobies, less big elsewhere club! I feel your pain!
      Nayantara Banerjee in Brooklyn is amazing! http://williamsburgseamster.com/

      One of my brides bought her dress off the rack & it was 4 sizes too big – but she loved it too much to pass it up. Nayantara took 25 yards of fabric off of it & it fit like a glove.

      Cheers!
      (other) Meg

      • Catelyn

        Second vote for the Williamsburg Seamster. Nayantara basically took my too-big (boobies high five) dress down a size and made it wonderful and perfect. She had great recommendations about how to accessorize, and even though I had one horror fitting where she took in too much she was able to fix it so you’d never know. She’s not cheap, but she was worth every penny!

  • http://readingandthensome.blogspot.com/read Martha

    York/Harrisburg, PA area florist: Marian at The Backwood’s Florist

    I loved my florist – she was, of course, recommended by a family friend when my sister got married four years ago and since then we’ve probably seen her do half the weddings we’ve attended just through a big grape vine. Marian has a very clean, classic look to her flowers. And she comes at a great value. I hesitate to use the word simple, because to some that would mean little or cheap, but not here at APW! Marian is dependable and flexible. For my sister’s wedding she did everything, including the centerpieces. For my wedding (this past May) we were working with a much different budget. She was able to sell us cut flowers at cost which we then used to do our own centerpieces the morning of.

    My sister’s wedding had an attendance of about 250 people. She had various centerpieces across probably 30 tables. Her bill was around $1400 and included: centerpieces, altar flowers for the church, 6 bridesmaids & 6 groomsmen, about ten boutonnieres and corsages across the parents & grandparents, and then the bride’s own bouquet. And a flower girl.

    My wedding was about 150 people with only 18 tables. We got cut hydrangea and daisies to do our own arrangements and Marian did our bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, and altar flowers. We had one less bridesmaid/groomsman combo than my sister. We spent just under $800

    • Sarah NCtoPA

      Another south central PA recommendation: Tara’s for a wedding dress in Camp Hill. All dresses are sold off the rack (they are new, not used) as she gets extras from retailers. She does have a good range of sizes as well. It is by appt only but great prices and sweet woman: http://www.tarasbridal.com/

  • Ash

    For any Charleston, SC brides (or grooms!) out there – we used Local Roots Wildflowers. They were amazing. You can see some photos of their work here: http://www.borrowedandblue.com/charleston/weddings/ashley-robert–2

    Not only did they do all the flowers, they also did all the decorating last minute on top of driving almost an hour out of their way to deliver the bouquets, etc. as fresh as possible. All for less than $1500.

    I’d also highly recommend the Island House (http://islandhouseevents.com/) and Duvall for catering (they were amazing). Both Local Roots & The Island House leave a lot to be desired on the webpage front, but they were fantastic.

    And for alterations – there’s one girl that does all the alterations for local stores. Even if they have a seamstress come in and measure you in the store, she’s actually doing the work. Her name is Evelyn and she’ll tailor anything you need – from a wedding dress to a tank top. PH: 703-615-6056

    • Ash

      Let me also say that our photographers were amazing. Hands down the best – and we looked at a lot. Their prices were about average, but their product was stellar. http://www.charlestonwedding.com

    • AG

      Thank you! I’ve been considering doing my own flowers for my Charleston wedding, but figured I’d look into some florists just in case. Everyone I’ve found is too expensive and refuses to listen to what I want.

      I’m really liking some of my other vendors so far, but I guess I won’t know for sure until the wedding this spring.

      • Ash

        If I can help in any way, please feel free to email me a.e.poulnot at gmail – I’d be happy to talk things through with you or point you to vendors we’ve used in the past. I can’t recommend Erin at Local Roots highly enough. Her website is here: http://localrootsflorist.com/

        • AG

          Thanks so much for the offer and suggestions. I just emailed Erin, excited to hear what she says. The florist was pretty much the last piece of the puzzle, I’d been putting it off because those traditional, stiff-looking wedding arrangements I always see really bum me out. I’ll be so thrilled if this works out!

  • Lauren

    Chicago!

    Dress shop and/or florist recommendations?

    • http://annicee.com Anni

      Forget Me Knodt for the floral rec! Janessa is seriously awesome.

      http://www.forgetmeknodt.com/

    • Jessica

      Adorable wedding boutique in Lincoln Park called Weddings 826. They have a website so check them out! http://weddings826.com/

      Weddings 826
      826 W. Armitage Avenue
      Chicago, Illinois, 60614
      United States
      T: (773)529-8871

      • emily

        Yes! 826 is great! I went there looking for my dress years ago (didn’t end up finding one there, but I visited them 3 times and they were SO helpful and nice and let me try on all sorts of great dresses and gave me good, honest advice, since I was shopping alone!

    • http://www.thankyouredball.com Alyssa

      Not a dress shop or florist, but other Chicago-area things I loved:

      The Wilder Mansion in Elmhurst. It’s the old library, and before that it was a fancy house. We didn’t have to decorate much because of all the gorgeous natural light. The staff was helpful, cheerful, and sane. http://www.wildermansion.org/

      La Cuisine catering in Wheaton. I have a food allergy, and they worked around it impressively. I tasted one of the stuffed mushrooms and told them I wanted my cake made out of them, they were so good. (Our cake ended up being made of cake.) http://lacuisinecatering.com/

      Maggie Fortson photography in Wheaton. Maggie is a dream. I’m camera-shy, and my husband is everything-shy, but she helped us feel relaxed and natural. I love her candid pictures from our reception. http://www.maggiefortson.com/?p=11579

    • Rachel

      Anna Held Floral Studio in Chicago! (http://www.yelp.com/biz/anna-held-floral-studio-chicago). Best customer service, selection, and prices I could find (summer 2012). They were patient with my desire to do all my bridesmaid bouquets DIY and agreed to order the blooms I wanted in bulk. Last minute I asked them to do my bouquet with similar flowers/colors and the result was smashing. Also, a unique treat is that they have a soda fountain shop at the same location. Only downside was parking.

    • R

      Julia Needlman did amazing work altering my dress. She made it fit, she changed the silhouette and neckline, she added pearls and lace, and made it truly mine. She also does custom work. Her prices are incredibly reasonable. http://www.julianeedlman.com

      Also, Indigo Digital Printing in the South Loop did my save the dates and invitations and they were wonderful: http://indigodigitalprinting.com/

    • Jessica

      I had really good luck at Doris Bridal in Highwood. The staff there is great.

    • Judith

      Sprout Home in Ukrainian Village for floral — so laidback and BEAUTIFUL. They do everything from air plant terrarium centerpieces to traditional wedding floral.

    • jsg

      Unsolicited photographer recommendation for I Luv Photo (found them through APW)! They are professional and yet easy-going, and take lovely photographs.

      If you have the budget for it, Vwidon for really simple, beautiful, custom wedding dresses (and they also have sample dresses on discount). Their vibe is calm and easy to work with — definitely a different experience than a lot of other dress shops I visited (where they tell you that you look good in any and everything just to get you to purchase). Carla at Vwidon listens to you, and my dress fit like a glove.

      • jsg

        Oh and check out Dallas Maynard for wedding bands. Her work looks unconventional but she also makes traditional pieces (like our fairly simple gold bands). Plus, she’s awesome.

    • Sarah

      Dame Couture in Evanston will work with you to make a custom dress or has her own great designs — she’s making mine from scratch, including family lace and three fittings, and the whole thing is just around $2,000

  • Melanie

    For those in the NYC area looking for a down to earth wedding dress boutique, I highly recommend Lovely Bridal. They also have an LA and DC location, though I have not been to either of them. http://lovelybride.com/

    What makes Lovely so great? Making an appointment is super easy with their online system. At least in my personal experience, the salesperson I worked with was super friendly and helpful, without being pushy. She showed me a wide range of dresses, but never went outside my limited budget. And my winning dress ended up coming in under $1,000 just like I’d been hoping.

    I also have to give a shout out to our amazing photographer, http://limegreenphotography.com/. She’s based in North Carolina, but her prices are reasonable enough that even with her travel fees, she will still come in under $5,000 for 12 hours of shooting at our southern California wedding, far below what many people charge in the area. She’s a trained photojournalist so she will never pose you, and her photos are some of the most beautiful I’ve seen. She’s shot a few friend’s weddings and I can tell you she really captures people’s personalities in her shots!

    • Steph

      Seconding Lovely!

      • http://www.lvrevents.com LVR Meg

        Third-ing Lovely! :)

    • Miriam

      Fourthing Lovely, and the Los Angeles location is wonderful!

    • kippster9

      I liked Lovely but was a little frustrated with their stock. My budget was $2k (not unreasonable!), and I said really clearly that I wanted a dress with straps. I was frustrated that more than half the gowns they brought out for me were strapless. I know that you can add a cap sleeve to any dress, and that was the point they made, but I felt like for over a thousand dollars it wasn’t unreasonable to ask for straps!

      Another place that I’d strongly recommend for dresses in NYC is Saja. Their dresses are gorgeous and are on the more affordable end of the wedding gown spectrum (depending on what your budget looks like… I came in waaaaay below the $2k that I was considering spending). They’re a very particular style, so you should check out the website before visiting. But I had a wonderful experience there and am head over heels in love with the dress I bought from them. Also, psst, make sure to let them know if you’re a teacher!

      For rings, I visited Catbird in Brooklyn and there were about 5 rings that I could imagine wearing as my wedding band. I didn’t do the engagement ring thing, so I want a band that’s a little pretty and special. The selection was great for such a tiny store and the pieces were so pretty.

  • TeaforTwo

    We bought my fiance’s wedding ring from Fair Trade Jewellery Company. They sell only conflict-free diamonds, and either fair trade certified or recycled gold, so we were able to feel better about the environmental and social impact of our purchase. (Gold mining is baaaad news for the earth and for a lot of workers.) Wedding bands start at CDN $500 and go up from there. They’re real people, they were great to work with, and you can order online if you’re not in Toronto. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

    http://www.ftjco.com/

    Toronto Brides!

    Catherine Langlois, my custom dressmaker, has been the best part of making my wedding dress so far. I think her prices start around $1200 for a short dress and then go up from there. But the dress doesn’t need any alterations, because it’s completely custom, so that can be a significant savings. My dress is all silk and lace, and domestically produced so I know that she sets her own rate and her own working conditions. And she is LOVELY.

    • http://twitter.com/fergus30 fergus

      Thanks so much for the Toronto recs!!!

  • Kats

    In DC, we had the most amazing experience with Bright Horse Weddings for our video and photography: Josh and Emily are energetic, fun, and do amazing work. They turned around a ceremony video in about three days so that a sick relative could see it; they stood out in the rain with no complaint and got beautiful shots, plus they are sweet and kind and exactly the kind of people you want to have around you – there’s just nothing not to like about them.

  • catherine

    Boulder/Denver area?? We’re in LA but are getting married in Boulder. Anyone know of a planner or day-of coordinator? Or anything else for that matter? We’ve got food and location covered.

    • MC

      My fiance’s sister got married last fall in Denver and used Mark from http://www.markchristopherweddings.com as their day-of coordinator and LOVED him. My future mother-in-law still raves about how amazing he is and what a tragedy it is that we’re not getting married in Colorado because we can’t use him, etc. Not sure what his price range is but I would say he’s definitely worth a call – my FMIL used to help her mom, who was a wedding planner, so her recommendation is gold.

      • MC

        Oh, and Brooke Trexler is a great photographer in Colorado! She’s worked with two brides I’ve known and is super friendly and great at capturing candids. Packages start at $2200 for Colorado weddings. http://brooketrexler.com/

    • AmyElizabeth

      Check out Kristy Rowe of Moodeous Photography, shes and APW sponsor and can be found in the directory, or just google her company name. She is SO awesome. And even if you don’t go with her for photography, she is really connected to wedding vendors in the Denver/Boulder area and would happily hook you up with the best ones!

    • EAL

      I got married outside Denver 3 weeks ago and think the world of our planner. (I live in Cincinnati so was having to plan from afar with limited help from family.) She’s just getting started but was awesome to work with and made the whole weekend come together. Greta at woodlarkevents. com It’s her business. Her husband is her assistant.

      Also we are very happy with our photos from Kelli Nixon. Another business in which the husband (Bill) is the assistant!

    • Amber P

      A friend of mine started a business with other wedding industry folks in the Denver Metro area. She’s a great photographer, Sarah Roshan, and is super down to earth. Here’s the site for more info: http://www.trulifestudios.com. And here’s Sarah’s site: http://www.sarahroshanphoto.com. She was instrumental in helping couples after the floods in CO and started Save My Colorado Wedding. I hope this helps! Good luck!!

    • ruth

      We live in LA and got married in Estes Park!

      Highly, highly recommend Kristy of Moodeous Photography, and, bonus, she helped us find other vendors as we trusted her a lot. Other Denver vendors we used were: Bill Kopper, guitarist for ceremony and cocktail hour (really talented and professional) and Paula at Center Stage Entertainment as a DJ (SO AWESOME and recommended by Kristy).

  • Hannah

    I’ve got a few recommendations of vendors that were just outstanding in the Portland, Oregon area. (Although, I actually got married in Hood River, so most of these vendors will travel).

    My photographer, Stephanie of Crimson and Clover Photography was amazing and very affordable. And I’m not just saying that because we became friends. Check out my Yelp review for more details: http://www.yelp.com/biz/crimson-and-clover-photography-portland

    My hair and makeup stylist Jasmine of Blossom and Beauty was incredible as well as super affordable. She also travels to you, which is so convenient. Check out my Yelp review for more details and pictures: http://www.yelp.com/biz/blossom-and-beauty-portland-3

    I also had a fabulous experience buying my dress at Xtabay vintage. It was the fancy dress buying experience without the price. Seriously, my dress was $500, and most of their dresses range from $200-$700: http://xtabayvintage.blogspot.com/p/bridal-salon.html

    • Hannah

      Oh, I should mention that Crimson and Clover’s local packages start at $1600 and Blossom and Beauty was $150 for hair and makeup, including a trial and her traveling for 2 hours. I also gave my bridesmaids the option to have their hair and makeup done if they wanted, and they each paid $65 for both.

      • N

        Thanks Hannah!
        I am currently trying to find a photographer for my Cannon Beach wedding so this is very timely.

        • Hannah

          Definitely contact Stephanie. She was so great to work with, and I know she has done weddings on the coast before. If you do contact her, let her know I sent you her way. I always love to help her find more business because she is such a wonderful person who really loves what she does.

  • Elizabeth

    Oh man, if are there are any other readers from the Kansas City area around, I would LOVE to hear from them. Finding vendors for my wedding has been a major struggle. We have a venue and a photographer, but we need everything else!

    • Laura

      I’m in Topeka and I’d love to know which photographer you have hired! As far as others, Mad Eliza’s in Topeka is incredible for desserts. He is likely willing to cater to KC. Have you checked out the flower shop in City Market? I can’t remember the name except that it starts with a D, and they have customeralways had incredible customer service. I’ll look it up if you’re interested. I’ve been struggling with finding vendors too! Anyone else on APW out here in Kansas land?

      • Elizabeth

        I haven’t checked out City Market yet, but that’s a great idea!

        Our photographer is Lindsay J.C.Lack. We didn’t do an engagement shoot, so I don’t have any pictures from her yet, but she’s been a delight to work with.

        http://lindsayjphoto.com/blog/

    • Oakland Sarah

      My cousin’s sister-in-law has a vintage rental business in Kansas City: Brossiebelle vintage rentals. They rent out vases, trunks, props, tables–all the fun decor stuff. Check it out: http://www.brossiebelle.com/public_html/Home/Pages/Rental_Inventory.html

    • ruth

      I’m from Kansas City, and though I don’t live there and didn’t get married there, I did go dress shopping there and love love loved Altar Bridal (though I didn’t end up buying a dress there). I know you have a photographer already, but for those who might not, my best friend is a photographer there, has her BFA in photography, is super talented, etc.: http://www.youngimagesphotography.com

  • Sheila

    I doubt there are many other central Indiana people on here, but just in case, I live in West Lafayette, IN (about an hour north of Indy) and I’d love to recommend two vendors.

    First, Rubia Flower Market (http://www.rubiaflowermarket.com/) – they were so friendly and helpful, and didn’t bat an eye when I said my “vision” was the bright, multi-color flower bouquets frequently seen at grocery stores. I know they’re not high end, but that was the happy look I wanted. They came up with great ideas at a reasonable price. I can’t remember exactly since it was 2007, but I know it was under $1000 for six bouquets, MANY boutonnieres/corsages, about 20 centerpieces, and a few large vases for the ceremony. Their original proposal for centerpieces would have been simple and beautiful- it was actually my mom (who paid for it all) who decided she wanted to spend more on the flowers!

    I also really liked our photographer – Dave Mason of http://isphotographic.com/daveblog/. Loved the pictures as well as his friendliness and balance between unobtrusiveness and stepping in as needed to coral relatives.

  • http://www.cupcakesbyamelie.com Amelie

    NYC area:

    I LOVE my dress designer. Custom-made, reasonable, and lovely, unique dresses… Angelo himself is a doll and is fabulous at dealing with brides (and mothers of the bride, attendants, etc.) in whatever state they may be in during a fitting!

    Angelo Lambrou
    96 East 7th Street (appt only)
    http://www.angelolambrou.com

    • Shiri

      Oh my god, I tried on his stuff at Gabrielle’s (I think) and it is SOOOOOO pretty.

    • VIOLET

      I worked with Angelo too! Cannot recommend highly enough, my goodness. The value is amazing. I couldn’t believe I could get a custom-made dress for such a price anywhere, let alone NYC! And he is so sweet, unbelievable.

  • Don’t Hassle the Haf

    In Houston I found the most amazing inexpensive alterations lady – Bridals by Nancy in Rice Village. I will warn you the place is pretty disorganized and just a hair sketchy but Nancy is the sweetest lady I’ve ever met. I had a very intricate and very big tulle dress that I ordered online and the first place I went to to get a quote was 800! Nancy did it for 250 including the bustle and the cups and it fit like a comfortable glove

    I also used Netbride.com for my wedding dress. I had tried it on in NYC and the lady told me it was 2000. The only thing I knew was the designer (Marisa) and after scouring google images for forever I was able to locate the dress number. I decided to just get a quote, in case it was a little cheaper and it was! They quoted me 1264 and I measured myself and ordered it the next day. It also came in like 3 months so I had plenty of time for alterations

  • Tina

    Portland, OR. Photographer and Dressmaker. Also Venue

    I’m still in the planning phase of my wedding (it will be Aug 29 2014) but I’ve already loved working with my photographer, Alyson Levy. Alysonlevy.com. She is so fun-loving, incredibly talented, and really professional without being stuffy. She has a few packages ranging from $2000 to $3600. I went with a package somewhere in the middle that includes 8 hours of wedding day photography and an engagement session. She also does pin-up photo parties — with as much or as little airbrushing as you’d like! — which I’ll definitely be doing for my bachelorette party.

    As for dresses, people have had great success with Cocoon Silk up on NW 23rd, where they’ll make you a custom French lace gown for about $1000, give or take depending on what you choose. They choose fabrics based on your budget so it doesn’t even have to be that spendy. Also, doesn’t have to be French lace… that’s just what I like. :) I ended up not going with them — please see the thread called “In defense of David’s Bridal.”

    As for the venue, I’m having the reception at Andina, the restaurant on NW 13th and Glisan. Because they don’t nickle and dime you on the little things, it ends up being way more affordable than other options. Their biggest private room has a capacity of 65, which is right where I wanted to be with my guest list. They’ve recently purchased their building so now they’re renovating another room. In time, they’ll have space to have a ceremony and a reception -the same party- across the hall from one another to minimize room transformation effort.

    • K.

      Andina! I looooove Andina. Gorgeous restaurant and great food. That will be an awesome party!

    • Hannah

      Reception at Andina! That sounds so fabulous. Also, I can’t help putting in a little plug that you should join our Portland APW group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/179626212196077/

    • Alissa

      I bought a dress online from Cocoon Silk (through Etsy-though I don’t think the shop ended up deciding to use that platform very much) and LOVED it. It was so unique and well-made. I was sad that I didn’t live locally, because I’ve read amazing reviews about how good they are to work with and how they can design custom-made dresses that turn out beautifully. They sometimes missed their deadlines, but I started working with them 9 months before my wedding, so there was no problem with that for me. I’m glad other APW readers have found them, too!

    • Julia

      Also in Portland: we had our catering done by the Tamale Boy food truck and it was INCREDIBLE!!! We had so many funky little requests and they got it all perfect. They even made us stuff that wasn’t on their menu. Super professional, didn’t charge us for tastings, GREAT communication… and the tamales were delicious! This is a great option if, like us, your wedding is outdoors at a public park with no access to a kitchen. The truck is their kitchen, and they bring it with them! Also, the prices were SO reasonable. If anything, they under-charged us.

      I also recommend Kayla and Chelsea of CK Events as day-of planners. These two girls are just starting out, so the prices are crazy low, and they are on. top. of. everything.

    • Kerstin

      For anyone south of Portland, OR (or in PDX willing to travel/having a wedding at a winery in the Willamette Valley/etc.) I highly recommend the following vendors we used:

      Bridal Gallery (Salem, OR) – best bridal shop ever: they actually stuck to my low budget and didn’t laugh me out of the store. My consultant, Hannah, was amazing – and just finished her degree in gender studies writing on the social pressures of being a bridal consultant. How cool is that?!

      Julie Randall Photography – she’s an APW vendor and super fabulous, she made our courthouse ceremony feel like the momentous, fun, and amazing day it was

      Lovin Oven (Stayton, OR but does limited deliveries to Salem weekdays) – best cakes ever, super nice family (if you are familiar with Gerry Frank’s Konditorei in Salem, OR, this is the baker who makes most of their cakes)

      A to Z Party (Salem, OR) – they were up to a dollar or two cheaper for items than the Portland companies, were super flexible, and deliver all over the mid-valley

    • Ingrid

      I’ve had several friends purchase their dress from Cocoon, and all of them said that their experiences were great and the prices can’t be beat, but that you MUST give them a fake date a few weeks to a month before your actual wedding date so your dress is done in time and you’re not stressing about alterations.

  • Crystal

    Anyone know of photographers and great veneers they would recommend. CANCUN, MEXICO

    • Hannah

      I know a lot of photographers will travel. I would find someone you like and ask them if they’re interested. I had a friend who used to be a wedding photographer who went all the way to India.

      My wedding photographer travels all the time. Here is her website: http://crimsonandcloverphotos.com/

  • K.

    North Florida/Jacksonville/especially St. Augustine? We’re getting hitched in The Oldest City! Especially need recs on photogs, planners and florists.

    Oh, and live bands. Having a heck of a time finding info on non-cheesy, fun live bands. We’re especially in the market for a salsa band, but beggars cannot be choosers, I know.

    Gracias in advance!

    • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

      I got married in Pensacola and we really liked our band, the Cool Rayz though they were not salsa. More beachy. I assume they’d travel to St. Augustine. http://www.coolrayz.com/ It was really cold for our semi-outdoor reception and they were really good sports about it, as well as letting some of our friends jump in and sing with them.

    • Marcela

      I LOVED our photographers Bill and Rachel of Thirteenth Moon Photography.Our wedding was in Orlando but I know they do travel. They are the sweetest husband and wife team who will make you smile the whole time your taking photos with them. We met them during the planning process and now we are super close friends. They are very cool people with no nonsense pricing and they work hard with you to make things work. http://thirteenthmoonphotography.com/ Tell them Marcela sent you!

    • Sarah

      I just attended a Colombian/Venezuelan wedding in Gainesville, FL (about an hour and a half from St. Aug. they hired a man by the name of Gilberto de Paz and his band Tropix to play the whole night. They were awesome, reasonably priced (via the groom), and seemed open to playing what you wanted and having people on stage to cameo sing along. Gilberto hosts a show every Friday night on our local NPR station (WUFT) called Viernes Social. Also, as a side note and welcome surprise, his daughter/co-host/lead singer in Tropix went to high school with me. They might be willing to make that drive. I highly recommend them!

      I could only find a Facebook link to them: https://m.facebook.com/page/about.php?id=286561901363373&refid=17

  • Jessica

    St. Louisans! We had excellent experiences at our Oct. 5th wedding.
    Venue: The Thaxton
    The whole staff of the Thaxton did an excellent job executing our vision for the ceremony and reception, and couldn’t have been more understanding when guests got a bit *cough* rowdy. I know they raised their prices for 2013, but if they’re in your budget I highly recommend them!

    Florist: Flowers to the People
    We had a comparatively small order with Flowers to the People, but Bridget (the owner and florist) still did a great job putting together some of the most unique, yet traditional looking, flowers that I’ve ever seen. She gave us her full attention even though we weren’t dropping thousands of dollars with her business, which is a huge deal, in my opinion. It wasn’t cheap to do fresh flowers, but I loved including them in our day (and spending our money with a small business).

    Photographer: Elisa Petersen
    Elisa is exactly the kind of photographer that I wanted to work with- quiet and serious at times, but absolutely able to get a group of people to take fun shots when needed. She was with us for 8 hours on our wedding day and was never stressed or frazzled, she just went about taking her beautiful photos. Hire this lady!

  • Christina

    Our wedding venue had a list of recommended vendors and it was my first stop for everything; I ended up searching farther for things I really cared about, like photography and music, but I got our cake and flowers off that list. Because the florist had staged our venue before she had lots of great ideas for the space. We had a destination wedding in the finger lakes in Western NY, any finger lakes brides on here feel free to get in touch!

    • Carolyn

      Hi Christina – I’m looking for a photographer in Western New York (a bit farther west than the finger lakes.) Any recs??

  • Brigid

    The proof will be in the photographic pudding, but so far I’ve had nothing but great experiences with my Connecticut-based photographer, On Point Images. Jesse shot my fiance’s best friend’s wedding, and their pictures are awesome (I was also happy to give my money to someone that I know from experience is gay friendly.). Our engagement shoot went really well, Jesse was great to work with and we have beautiful pictures. His pricing runs in the $2K-$4Kish range. We picked a package that is running us in the low 3s.

  • K

    I’m based in the Fraser Valley/Lower Mainland of British Columbia and searching for a photographer who has professional studio and lighting skills for our wedding this coming February. We don’t need or want 6 hours of coverage; we want a handful of beautiful family and couple portraits and maybe a few shots of the ceremony – the types of shots found in our parents’ wedding albums. The difficulty seems to be that every photographer is “natural light only” and “photojournalism style”, which just isn’t really what we’re going for. Any suggestions?

    I would recommend Ivory Bridal in Fort Langley, BC (http://www.ivorybridal.ca/) – awesome customer service and so helpful and accomodating. I didn’t find my dress here but would definitely return to shop for other formal events.

    Also helpful was Victoria of French Bustle, a couture alterations and design small business based in Langley, BC. She had great suggestions and was very encouraging. Custom designs range from $3000-4000.

    • http://www.marbleryephotography.com Melissa

      Keely Yount. http://keely-yount.com/ This young, stunning, amazingly talented girl worked as a studio photographer before going full-freelance last year. She’s keen to travel, and is super super nice.

    • Aubry

      http://www.pinkpetalphotography.com/ has so far treated me so well! As Brigid said above, the proof will be in the photographic pudding, but she is an up front and wonderful person. Specializes in family portraiture and child photography (and also teaches preschool dance) and is branching into weddings as well. Will do any amount of hours and doesn’t pressure you into any kind of “wedding package.”

      • Aubry

        Also, just to keep everything on the same bit of thread for Vancouver – Isabelle’s bridal in North Van is amazing! I think I will end up with custome made (still deciding!) but the shopping experience was awesome! The sisters that own it are so lovely and open to what you want to wear! no body shaming here!

        Kristin Leahy at Lonsdale events makes my rentals so happy, plus she does event planning and DOC for a reasonable amout (still might find room in my tiny budget, hopefully)

        • Lee

          In Vancouver and Sea-to-Sky area:

          DRESS – For custom/affordable/unique/eco-conscious/small business – Patty’s PureMagnolia.ca is so very special. Definitely worth checking out especially if you don’t want all the froufrou and the fuss! $200-2200

          CATERING – John Ferris and the http://collectivekitchenbc.com/ out of Pemberton . Seriously “best wedding food ever” award from all of our guests. Leave your menu in his hands and you will not be disappointed. That’s what happens when a 5-star chef decides to enter the catering realm. Very reasonable prices considering the quality and the geography.

          PHOTOG – http://www.darbymagill.com/ in Whistler $200-250/hour. Laid back but makes every couple feel special with the extra thought she puts into preparing for each shoot.

          FLOWERS – Senka in Whistler – their website is garbage, but the lovely Japanese team who own and run the shop will do lovely things!

  • C

    Any recommendations for DC florists who aren’t insanely expensive? I’m having a small wedding; I just want a bridal bouquet and a few corsages for the moms/grandmas, but everyone’s prices are either way too expensive or the people I contact don’t even email me back.

    • Alissa

      I share your frustrations–I couldn’t find any good florists who were reasonably priced and easy to work with. I ended up buying flowers from Trader Joe’s and from FiftyFlowers.com and putting them together with the help of friends. There must be someone out there–hopefully other APW readers have more suggestions!

    • rys

      If you’re open to putting bouquets/centerpieces/whatnot together, the wholesale flower market in Silver Spring is open to the public.

    • Janet

      We used Rick’s Flowers (ricksflowers.com) out in Herndon, VA (they deliver all over the greater DMV area) and his prices were AMAZING! We spent $1600 for 8 center pieces, 10 aisle arrangements, 6 cocktail hour centerpieces, over 20 corsages/boutonnieres between the wedding party and our huge families, 2 mother’s nose-gays, 3 bridesmaids bouquets, and my gorgeous bridal bouquet that literally lasted 2+ weeks after the wedding. He also decorated our wedding cake with fresh flowers that matched my bouquet. Rick is great to work with, very knowledgeable about what flowers are in season and what will look the best in your arrangements. He works with a wide range of price points and he is well known within the WIC and lots of venues like working with him and his staffl

      • C

        Wow, this sounds great. I’m going to check him out – thanks!

      • http://suedesoles.wordpress.com/ Kate

        Thank you! I’m having the same trouble as C, and I’ve been exploring the DIY options even though I really don’t want to deal with set up and tear down. I’ll definitely include Rick’s in my florist search.

    • C in DC

      I am using Violet’s Florist by Connie Clark. She works out of her house in Pasadena, MD (it’s actually a florist building next to her house, she’s not just like sitting in her basement doing it as a hobby) and I swear to you her quote was half the price of everywhere else I looked. She was very very nice and full of ideas. She is creating the Massive Floral Explosion my mom wanted within my “maybe I’ll just make oragami flowers” budget.

  • Amy Elizabeth

    Who’s got good San Diego recommendations?! We are planning for it to be in Ocean Beach and want to have a zero waste wedding with ethically raised real food… Its a tall order so we need some awesome elves! I can’t wait to hear your suggestions!

    • Rachel

      Amy,

      are you just looking for a caterer? I am in OC and know a lot of good vendors for everything but catering

      • Amy Elizabeth

        Awesome! We are just getting started, so we are looking for everything! Can you email them to me at Amy at happy owl studio dot com? Thanks!

    • Nikki

      I’m planning my wedding in San Diego, and I’ve been looking into using food trucks as the caterers. I have a couple that may fit your criteria, if you’re interested in the food-truck route.

      • Amy Elizabeth

        Yes! I am open to food trucks for sure and have actually looked into a few… MiHo I think? And I just learned about the slow food truck which sounds pretty awesome. But I would love to hear of any great ones you know about! My email is above.

  • Amy

    We loved all of our vendors! I’m not going to put down what we paid because they were all willing to take into consideration our budget to develop something that worked for us and was in our price range:

    Photography: Christine McAvoy – http://blog.cmcavoyweddings.com/ (if you visit this site close to when this article was published, you’ll see my wedding up there first!)

    DJ: Tall Music – http://tallmusic.ca/

    Venue: Vancouver Rowing Club (seriously though, beautiful venue and you get more for the $ than you do anywhere else in the city) – https://vancouverrowingclub.ca/

    Flowers: Celsia Flowers (this was on our thing that I felt like was going to be throwing money away, and I was blown away with the work she did to fit in our budget and still get us amazing flowers) http://www.celsiaflorist.com/

    Hair & Make Up: Gunstreet Girl Makeup (actually does more special effects make up but is friends with my bridesmaid) http://gunstreetgirlmakeup.com/

    All in Vancouver, BC, Canada

  • MC

    Vendor recommendations in New Mexico / Colorado would be GREAT. Specifically dress shops, wedding planners, and photographers – we’ve got venue and food basically figured out.

    • Amber P

      I posted about this above, but just in case, will post again here. My friend, Sarah Roshan, is a Denver based photographer. Here’s her site: http://www.sarahroshanphoto.com. She also started an event planning business with a bunch of other wedding vendors. Here’s the site for that: http://www.trulifestudios.com. Sarah is fabulous! Really down to earth and super friendly. If I had gotten married in CO, I probably would have hired her! I hope this helps!!

  • mimi

    Michigan! We live in Detroit, but got married in northern Michigan in family property with some family and friends helping out with various things. Here are some recommended vendors:

    My dress – A wonderful seamstress named Rita Watters transformed my grandma’s 55 year old dress for me. It turned out beautifully. She also makes veils. She works out of her home in Rochester Hills and doesn’t have a website as far as I know (she is listed at Haberman Fabrics, though).

    My fiance’s suit – We got his suit at Manno Clothing in Dearborn. They are great for off-the-rack or custom suits, with alterations.

    Band – We hired Motor City Soul. They’re based in the Detroit area but traveled up north (3.5 hours) for a very reasonable rate. They were great! We’ve gone to see them a couple times since and they are so much fun.

    Food – We hired a great food truck that served amazing bbq. They are Pigs Eatin Ribs, located in Charlevoix.

    Engagement ring – Purchased online from Turtle Love Co. They were great.

    Wedding rings – Purchased at Abracadabra in Ann Arbor. They were helpful and easy to work with.

    • Lauren

      For anyone planning a wedding for Metro Detroit: Parsonage Events in Clarkston (disclaimer: the ladies who run the place are relatives of mine) does gorgeous, gorgeous flowers, as well as linens and invitations! Check ‘em out. http://www.parsonageflowers.com/#

  • Steph

    Longtime lurker here! I’m in Berks County, PA (between Pottstown and Reading–so just a little too far from Philly for Philly wedding guides to be useful), and I would have LOVED an APW-approved vendor directory for this area when we were planning our wedding two years ago! So for any current and future Berks / Montgomery / Chester Co couples, here are a few of our best decisions:

    Coordinator: Natalie Diener. We didn’t have a planner, and we hadn’t been planning to have an official DOC, either–I thought, foolishly, that I could manage everything on my own. Literally three weeks before the wedding I had a huge panic attack and called a bunch of coordinators begging them to take over the logistics for me, completely last minute, because I just COULD NOT DO IT. Natalie swept in, took over, and somehow made all our scattered details come together into a beautiful wedding. She was calm and professional and fun and we absolutely could not have done it without her. She even gave us a discount because we didn’t need her to come to our rehearsal the night before (and because we were already way over our anticipated budget by that point). But she was such a lifesaver that we ended up tipping her the difference. Best $1500 we spent. http://nataliediener.com

    Flowers: Cottage Flowers, in Malvern. Frankly, they were not cheap (I can’t remember how much it was exactly). But Heather completely got our vision and was so flexible and helpful and made such gorgeous arrangements for us that in the end the price was totally worth it. http://www.cottageflowersfloraldesign.com/contact.html

    Cakes: Sweet Jazmines, in Berwyn. We absolutely did not want a “wedding” cake–we just wanted a couple of different cakes that tasted amazing and looked elegant but simple. We went to a few bakeries where they really could not wrap their heads around the idea of NOT having an elaborate multiple-tiered construction, and their cakes were dense and dry and tasteless to boot. Sweet Jazmines got it, and our cakes were delicious. Now we order a tiny cake in our wedding flavors from them on our anniversaries–so much better than freezing the top layer, plus we get to do it every year! We worked with Devon, who was great. http://www.sweetjazmines.com

    Photographer: OK, so this wasn’t OUR photographer, and I’m obviously a little biased…but my husband, Jake Engel, has recently started shooting weddings, and he’s fantastic. He’s done a handful of weddings on his own so far, but he’s been a professional photographer for a decade, so he totally knows what he’s doing. And because he doesn’t have a huge portfolio yet, he’s really cheap right now! Only $1150! Check him out. :) http://engelphotographic.com, https://www.facebook.com/EngelPhoto

    • R

      I got married in Reading! The GoggleWorks (a former factory that is now a multi-use arts center) was the perfect venue and the staff was wonderful. http://www.goggleworks.org/

    • Erica

      Thank you so much! I expect to plan a family farm Chester County wedding from across the country and love these recommendations, especially because long-distance planning makes it really hard to trust just searching the internet.

  • Melissa

    In the Philadelphia/Southeastern PA area, look at AGPCollective for a photographer. Sarah Alderman, the owner and chief photographer, is an anthropologist and writer. She has a photojournalistic style and really loves capturing the human experience. Not only is her work absolutely stunning, but she is a dream to work with. She also loves to travel and has July 2014 reserved for weddings in the Pacific Northwest. Check her out at agpcollective.com (one of our photos is on the home page!!!).

  • Kathryn

    We loved On the Rise Bakery in Worcester, MA for our cakes – Betsy was amazing, super helpful, super nice, and willing to work with us on whatever we asked!
    http://ontherisebaking.com/

    • Alison O

      I Ctrl-F’ed “worcester” for this thread thinking it was a pipe dream. So I’m a little tickled.

  • Phoebe

    SF Bay Area (specifically Santa Cruz, South Bay and Peninsula) caterer: Feel Good Foods (http://feelgoodfoodscatering.com/FeelGoodFoods.html). They did a fantastic job catering our June wedding two years ago. The food was just what they promised: locally sourced, fresh and delicious. To this day, whenever people talk about our wedding they always bring up the food and how great it was. Amy and Heidi were great to work with and I would say they definitely would be a great match for an APW couple. The price was very reasonable and they were willing to work within our budget.

    • Irene

      Another tip for the south Bay Area / Central Coast… for flowers we bought a ton of protea from http://www.fynbosfarmpoultry.com/thefarm.html. They’re in Watsonville or Moss Landing or some such, and primarily do wholesale but Wina was lovely and so helpful. All of the flowers came from there, then we arranged them. My mother paid so I don’t know the exact amount, but I think it was somewhere around $300ish for a everything. And, bonus, protea last FOREVER and dry really nicely — both my mom and my in-laws have now-dried flowers from the wedding in their houses still, and that was 3+ years ago.

  • Ruth

    I had an amazing seamstress in Savannah that was able to remake the top half of my vintage wedding dress into my dream dress. She has recently moved to Tennessee, but she is amazing to work with, was able to work on a short deadline and explained how much each part cost so I could make informed decisions on what I wanted. She only has a facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Angelas-AtticAlterations-and-Artful-Creations/108863609145200, and it may not look like much but she took my $38 vintage dress and made it a dream dress that my little cousins now want to get married in!

    Also in the Savannah area, we loved using the Tybee Island Lighthouse, http://www.tybeelighthouse.org/tybee-lighthouse-wedding.php, as our venue, Vikki is the contact there for weddings and she knows her weddings, she was so helpful on finding vendors and helping us figure out what we wanted out of our day. The whole staff there is amazing!

  • SamanthaNichole

    We had some fantastic vendors: Brooklyn & Upstate NY

    Slidin’ Dirty [http://slidindirty.com/] was our caterer, yes it’s a food truck, and Delicious! Run by a married couple in their 30s, totally accommodating, let us tweak the menu, add vegetarian options, etc. Did I mention So Delicious!

    A River Garden [WKowa92411@aol.com] – I purchased my flowers from this farm, GORGEOUS! It was a bit hard to stay in contact with them and they misunderstood how many flowers I wanted so they weren’t all ready when I picked them up, but they really do know their stuff. They can make arrangements/bouquets/etc for you or you can just grab bunches and make your own. We did a combo of both. When we needed more at pick up they just let me into their cooler and pick whatever I wanted. Definitely good for the laid back bride (laid back as it didn’t order flowers until the week before my wedding), but so worth it for their fresh off the farm gorgeousness.

    Five Ocean’s Photography [http://fiveoceansphotography.showitsite.com/] – Truly lovely photos, sweet and smart photographer. One caveat is that she is a bit of a gypsy . . .I think she is in New Mexico now, but contact her because she LOVES traveling and is always moving around

    Clay Pot [https://www.clay-pot.com/] has a stock of artist made jewelry. They have samples at the store, which you can buy, or your ring is made to order and customized by the artist. Love my wedding ring from here! This one is in Brooklyn.

    • Shiri

      I also had a fantastic experience with Clay Pot, just the best. I adore them – so helpful and easy to work with. I do recommend going for the first time on a weekday, though, to skip the crowds.

    • Lauren

      We used Slidin’ Dirty too! They were wonderful to work with, very down to earth, and the food was SO GOOD. We did a full buffet and the food truck after party and it was super reasonably priced (about $9,000 for 150 people). They included the plates, silverware & napkins too (saving on rentals!). They let us choose from items that weren’t on the menu and accommodated all of the requests we had for vegan/gluten free/ etc options without any problem. We still get compliments about the food (so many people told us that they remember being super full but still going back for more because it was that good). I can’t recommend them enough.

      OH! I forgot – Slidin Dirty is based in the Capital District of NYS but they traveled to Lake George for our wedding without a problem.

  • Hannah

    Any Louisville, KY-area people have vendor recommendations? Florist/tailor/limo/anything? Thanks in advance!

  • http://www.hungrybruno.com Adrienne

    Boston area: we actually live in Somerville and got married on the Boston/Cambridge line (at the Museum of Science, it’s literally on a bridge over the river). I’d heartily recommend Nellie’s Wildflowers in Somerville and Lyndell’s bakery in Somerville and Cambridge.

    Our flowers were exactly what I wanted – Joyce McKenzie at Nellie’s did a fabulous job. For Boston, the prices were reasonable. It’s a small shop and she was really attentive, made a special trip to the floral supply place to find a few options for vases/containers for me. I loved working with Joyce.

    Lyndell’s is just up the street from our house and we had a brown wedding cake because their chocolate frosting is so damn good. Also when we went in to taste some options they sent us home with a giant box of samples so we could think about it for a few days. They were happy to do a tiered cake plus a sheet cake to make up the numbers so we didn’t have to break the bank on the cake. Also, did I mention how good the chocolate frosting is? We go back on our anniversary and buy tiny cakes so we can eat more chocolate frosting.

    • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

      I love the Museum of Science.

    • Laura C

      Hey, that’s where I’m getting married next summer!

      Any recommendations for Boston-area makeup (and possibly hair)? Or DJs? I *think* we’re en route to having everything else covered. I think.

      • Jessie

        Jocelyn Wood from G20 salon in Boston did my hair and was fab.

      • APracticalLaura

        Check out Crystal Vazquez-www.crystalvazquezmakeupartist.com
        413-454-4723

        She’s based out of Western Mass but travels all over the state. Since this is her full-time business, she doesn’t charge a premium for “lost time” + hairdo, as many local businesses do. She does charge a travel fee (to Foxborough it was $40 – but it’s based on mileage). She came to our hotel and was fabulous – everyone looked stunning without looking completely unnatural. She only uses airbrush makeup, but is such a pro that it looks great. (I was worried about looking “overdone” since I wear makeup approximately once a month – but she did a GREAT job).

        Even WITH the travel fee, her prices were so much better than the local salons – $120 for hair and makeup; $65 for just hair. (This was back in April and was for 7 of us – her website indicates prices may have gone up).

        We also had two of her stylists come do our hair – and everyone was happy with how it came out. They somehow gave us up-dos that suited our personalities. Really professional, really great work.

        Even my Grandmas were happy with their looks ;)

        Send her an e-mail, she’s super responsive and can quote you a price really quickly. cvandcomp@gmail.com

    • Marina

      Boston or NH area folks – any recommendations for bakeries that make great pies? We’ve contacted Petsi’s in Somerville but they have been difficult to get a hold of. Adrienne – do you have any idea if Lyndell’s makes pies (and if they stack up to their cakes)?

      • casey

        where in NH? I love the beach pea just over the bridge in Kittery, ME. I don’t know how wedding-y they get but my sister is getting a bunch of round cakes from Rosie’s — a family favorite.

    • CoastalCreature

      Oh my goodness I love Lyndell’s! We’re going to go with lots of different desserts from Flour but if we weren’t I would totally do cakes from Lyndell’s!

      Boston area folks – any recommendations on bands? It’s a crazy world out there with about a million options.

      • http://www.hungrybruno.com Adrienne

        In case you missed my comment below this – East Coast Soul! They’re Boston based and they are the BEST WEDDING BAND EVER. If your friends/family are into dancing, this is the band for you. http://www.eastcoastsoul.net/

    • kippster9

      I’m curious if anyone has any dress store recommendations in Boston. I struggled mightily to find stores that sold modern, unique, affordable wedding dresses in the area. The two places where I actually had the most luck are both bridesmaid dress shops on Newbury St that also sell more-affordable wedding dresses:

      Bella Bridesmaid carries a selection of Saja dresses. The owner, Brit, is really lovely and helpful. I ultimately ended up buying my Saja dress from the New York flagship store because I fell in love with a dress that Bella wasn’t yet carrying — but I think they’re supposed to expand their stock around the New Year, and I really wished I could buy from Brit.

      Flair Bridesmaid was another store where I had pretty good luck. They carry gowns from around $700 to I think $3000 by Nicole Miller, Jenny Yoo, Theia and a few other designers. They were also very accommodating and helpful, and the dresses felt fresh and modern.

      • Erin

        Boston / Massachusetts / New England Dress Shopping

        This was the question I wanted to ask on this thread, as I went dress shopping the weekend it opened. Instead, I went out with Yelp advice, a wing and a prayer and had a fantastic experience at Platinum Bridal Boutique in Southborough, MA. A bit of a drive but ended up being so worth it for me. It’s a traditional boutique (white, sparkly, I hear they have champagne if you ask) which I didn’t expect to care about but had fun with in the end! FYI, I was looking for something relatively traditional (white, long), definitely on budget, flexible about designer/independent label/etc.

        What I liked about Platinum Bridal:
        (1) Designers *and price ranges* of their dresses are advertised on their website, so I knew it would be worth the trip. (Originally I thought anything named “Platinum” would be too pricey for me, ha.)
        (2) They had *many* lovely dresses in different styles in my price range and respected my style preferences. Ladies-who-love-straps, they covered this too.
        (3) They *more* than respected my budget. I said I wanted to keep it under $1000 but absolutely under $1200. At many places this means that “coincidentally” all the pulls will be $1100-1300. At Platinum they showed me many things under $1000–the dresses they genuinely thought I’d like, not what would push me to spend the most.
        (3) A Practical Attitude! When I told them how helpful it was to have clear info and lots of dresses under $1000, they replied “Well, $1000 is a lot to spend on a dress!” My jaw pretty much hit the floor because, YES, YES IT IS but did I ever expect to hear that from a dress consultant?

        I would have checked out Clever Bride Consignments in Holliston if I hadn’t found my dress at Platinum.

        I also went to Vows in Watertown (the TJMaxx of dresses, essentially). This might be a good place to check if you have a designer of interest but are looking for a discount price, but it wasn’t for me. I am a sample size but there was not much selection in my budget and the dresses didn’t seem to have the quality structure that’s the main thing I’d want to get out of a fancy label.

  • Moe

    My personal style is blingy, glam and flashy. I could not find a statement necklace for my wedding until I discovered this retailer on Instagram: http://www.poshlittlek.com/

    Lots of jewelry appropiate for weddings and affordable enough to buy in quanities for bridesmaids if needed.

    Quick service, your items arrived giftwrapped! Oh, and it’s owned by a woman. Boom.

  • weddash

    St. Louis!
    Photography: Emily Sloan. She is an engineer by day (and a pretty b-a$$ one) but photographs for her creative outlet (which means her livelihood doesn’t depend on it). She has a few packages and does custom packages.

    Flowers: Walter Knoll – while they’re one of the area’s larger floral retailers, the woman we worked with was so high energy and excited about what she does it really shows. Furthermore, they didn’t scoff when they found out we weren’t doing floral centerpieces on all the tables and they stuck to our budget.

    Music: if you search “Charlie Barrale” you’ll find a YouTube vid and a website (I’m not sure how often he updates it but it’s got the contact info). Not only are he, and his partner Jud, super fun/hip DJs but they will play acoustic guitar and sing during your ceremony, dinner, and/or cocktail hour. I think we spent $800 on the whole she-bang there and got so many compliments on having live music. Laid back guys.

    Cake: Wedding Wonderland Cake Shop. Found the prices to be reasonable considering they allow a billion different flavor combos (cake/filling/icing), offer whipped frosting, and don’t use any nasty (imo) fondant while still pulling off all kinds of designs, from simple to flashy. HUGE BONUS: no appointment required for consultation – just drop in and taste it all. Have to say, the cake was super moist and even though we ordered more than necessary, it was ALL GONE (thank goodness).

  • http://www.lvrevents.com LVR Meg

    Bucks Co. PA & surrounding areas –
    Owowcow Creamery makes AMAZING ice cream cakes. Not your typical fudgie the whale (though, that would, in its own way, be awesome) – these are supremely fabulous flavor combos like Pumpkin spice and Indonesian vanilla ice cream with a Maple Walnut center. I mean, come on! Now I have to get in the car & drive for 2 hours for ice cream cake.
    http://owowcow.com/

    • YetAnotherMegan

      Screw the wedding, that sounds worth the 45 minute drive for any occasion.

  • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

    Madison, WI

    Still pre-wedding, but working with Maureen Cassidy for photography has been great so far. I hate seeing myself in photos, as does my fiance, and out engagement session was fun and the photos look great. (We each think the other person looks fabulous in them.) When we first looked at her site, the most recent post on her blog was engagement photos for a gay couple, which was also a good sign to our eyes.

    We have also had good dealings with our venue so far: the Madison Children’s Museum. Obviously, time will tell, but all of my emails have been answered promptly and with reasonable responses.

    • ASH

      We’re getting married at the Madison Children’s Museum too! We’ve also been happy with our interactions so far.

      • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

        Yay! Venue sisters, high five! What’s your date? (6/21/14)

        The weekend we first met with our photographer, she had just photographed a wedding there (which turned out awesome, and now we know she can do well in the venue). I’m advising our guests to wear clothes they can play in.

        • ASH

          4.26.14! Yes, there are definitely lots of fun things to do there!

          • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

            Like our own private Adult Swim.

    • Amy

      Other madison area vendor recommendations? Looking for florist or wholesale ideas? Any experience with event rental companies?

      • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

        I’m also looking for more rental company info for linens. All I know is Event Essentials, which seems ubiquitous.

        I don’t know much about florists, but I’m planning on getting flowers from the Farmers Market and also Fair Fields Flowers (if possible).

      • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

        Also, Ash and Amy (and any other Madison brides?) we should put together a Madison APW meet-up some time.

      • Kelly

        We’re getting married in Spring Green, so using a lot of Madison-area vendors. We haven’t finalized a caterer, but I’ve had great interactions with Upstairs Downstairs. Our florist is Lewiston Perennial Farm– they are near Starbucks during the Farmers Market and have beautiful flowers (and inexpensive!)

        Anyone have a great Madison or Southern Wisconsin DJ? I don’t know where to start on that one. Also, any suggestions for cakes? (besides Carl and Craig….)

        Happy weddings, Wisconsin brides! :)

        • Amy

          We hired jukebox bandstand. They were recommended by our photographer and had solid reviews. We did get a fair discount for booking early, so that’s something to note. They seem to have a more subtle style which was what we wanted.

          Cake – SweetSpot Bakery in Whitewater. Family owned business that has great desserts and lower prices

          For the flowers – are they making bouquets for you or are you just purchasing stems?

        • Kelly

          PS Let it be known that Hilltop, in Spring Green Wisconsin is the most beautiful outdoor wedding venue around. We heard about it through word-of-mouth (from friends who attended this wedding http://www.paperantler.com/blog/?p=6751). I was so frustrated trying to find exactly what we were looking for online. Hilltop is really hard to find on venue searches, so I would love to see it listed with APW!

    • Danielle

      I don’t live in Madison anymore, but a friend of mine got married at the Stoughton Opera House this past summer. The photos were gorgeous!

      • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

        Oh man, that place…It’s like walking into a giant jewelry box. It’s amazing.

  • Amber

    CHICAGO: We just had our wedding about a month ago and had the best vendors – everyone was so helpful, willing to talk frankly and fairly about rates and costs, and everything went just wonderfully!!!

    Venue: Revolution Brewery http://revbrew.com/home
    Meg and Steph were absolutely wonderful and the venue is really beautiful!!! The pricing is really fair and Meg is very upfront and honest about what the costs will be (no hidden fees – woohoo!!!), the food is fantastic (you must have a pretzel – trust me!) and the beer is amazing! It was exactly what we wanted. We splurged a bit on the beverage package & they made us a cake and served ice cream but it think it came out to about $85.00 per person.

    Florist: Larkspur http://www.larkspurchicago.com/
    Beth was so incredibly helpful and I loved that they use a lot of flowers from their farm in Michigan. I’m so glad we found them! We just did bridal party bouquets and boutonnieres for about $600.00. They were absolutely beautiful!

    Hair & Make-Up: Penny Lane Studios http://www.pennylanechicago.com/PennyLaneStudios/Home.html
    This may have been the best find – Coral, Alexa and Ari took such great care of me and my girls (including my nieces aged 10 & 14) and everyone looked just gorgeous! Again, their prices are incredibly fair – and I really appreciated that the trial was included in the cost for me (bridal up do w/ make up was $180.00, I think?) We opted for styling in the salon for which they have discounted pricing, but the salon is totally adorable, comfy and way fun! Really, they are fantastic!

  • http://www.lvrevents.com LVR Meg

    Everywhere:
    Something to keep in mind, a lot of vendors will travel. It’s hard for florists & caterers & bakers to go far from their suppliers, but generally speaking the following vendors will travel:
    Photograpers
    Videographers
    Bands/DJs (generally driving distance)
    Hair/Makeup
    Planners/Coordinators

    Everyone’s travel policy is different, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, particularly if you love someone’s style or if they’ve been recommended by someone you trust! I have one couple that I’m working with who is renting a house near their site for the vendors, and the photographers, videographers & I are all crashing together.

    • Emmy

      This is so true! We ended up hiring APW sponsor Kelly Prizel Photography. She lives in New Haven, CT, and our wedding was outside of Philadelphia, but the travel fee was really small. I couldn’t find a photographer in our area with the style I wanted, and it was so worth it to have Kelly travel to us.

  • http://www.hungrybruno.com Adrienne

    Also Boston, because I just remembered – we went to a wedding in Quechee, VT a couple of weeks ago and they had a band – East Coast Soul. I have no idea what the price was but they were the BEST wedding band I’ve ever seen, ever. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

  • Jessie

    New England people, I’m putting this in all caps because that is how serious I am:

    HIRE KAREN F. MURPHY AS YOUR DAY-OF COORDINATOR.

    Seriously, she’s so affordable and sane and wonderful that I felt like I was getting away with a steal. Not only was her incredibly down-to-earth approach exactly what we wanted, she costs about 1/3 of everyone else we contacted in the Boston metro area and offers twice as many services. When a CRAZY storm flooded our ceremony space morning-of and the resulting highway closure made a couple vendors several hours late, I remained stress free because of this lady. Seriously, the best money we spent for the wedding.

    http://celebrationsbykfm.com/Welcome.html

  • http://www.laughterinthelou.com Emma

    St. Louis!

    Audio On Demand – full disclosure, this is a friend of mine. But also a great DJ, incredibly charismatic and competent, and I have now seen him at multiple weddings besides my own, rocking it out. They are way better than their website, trust me: http://www.audioondemand.us/home.html

    The Cakery Bakery – I used to work there and I have NEVER gotten tired of their products. DELICIOUS. Great people, definitely accommodating. So yummy. http://www.thecakerybakery.net (Also have cupcake locations in Knoxville, TN, Springfield, MO, Edwardsville, IL)

    Mankin Photography is actually in Southern Illinois. What a sweet man, we so enjoyed him, loved his work, and would highly recommend: http://www.mankinphotography.com/wedding/

    Whisk: Friend of mine started a mostly-local bakeshop with lots of gluten-free and vegan options. http://www.whiskstl.com

    Frostbite Ice Cream – Amazing and unique flavors, cute vintage setup with a tricyle, super nice guy doing his business in a great way. http://www.getfrostbite.com

    Ruth Ellen Hasser, officiant – She is delightful and I would totally trust her. http://ruthellenhasser.com/

    Whew that’s all for now, I’m sure I’ll think of more later!

    We are also lucky enough to have the Off White Indie Wedding Show! (http://offwhiteweddingshow.com/)

    • jsg

      Another shout out for The Cakery! Delish, reasonably priced, really nice people.

      Other St. Louis recs include:

      Patty Long Catering: they really work with you to customize your reception. Cannot say enough about how organized and accommodating they were. We got lots of compliments on the food! They made a last-minute transition and room flip (due to rain) go seamlessly. We spent a lot of time researching and worrying about finding a caterer up front, but do not fret and just use PLC.

      Roland Johnson and Soul Endeavor: this band has played lots of weddings but they are first and foremost a local soul band (so not your traditional wedding band). If you like soul and funk and Motown and do not mind it if there aren’t any Top 40 songs played at your wedding, then BOOK THEM. Everyone loved them.

  • Caroline

    Bay Area:
    We haven’t gotten married yet but are super excited about our officiant and our photographer. Also, I’m looking into a custom gown. Seamstress recs anyone?

    Our officiant: We are interfaith and having a Jewish wedding. Rabbi Mike Rothbaum is officiating. He charges the same as most of the other 10 rabbis we talked to who would marry non-congregants ($1000), although if it is out of your budget, I think it is still worth talking to him. He’s awesome. We’re aquantences from Shul, and we’ve had 3 meetings with him so far which have included some pre-marital counseling ( few of the other non-congregational rabbis we talked to did it). He is a little hard to schedule meetings with but totally worth it. He’s amazing. (Also, try to hear his partner Anthony Russell sing. He’s the most amazing Yiddish singer!)

    We also met with and loved Arik Labowitz as a Jewish officiant. He is not a rabbi, but his life’s work is helping people with Jewish life cycle events. We met him before R. Mike, and would have used him except he was going to be out of town when we wanted to get married. Same price range as Rabbi Mike.

    We also loved R. Dan Goldblatt, but he was too expensive for us, as he charged a good bit more than R. Mike and Arik. He said he puts in a lot more time than many of his collegues, and I beleive him, but it didn’t change out budget.

    Also, if you are interfaith and one of you is Jewish, talk to Dawn Kepler who runs the non-profit Building Jewish Bridges. She is awesome. She runs all sorts of programs for interfaith families, and can help with finding an officiant or talking about any other issues that come from being an interfaith family. She’s a great resource for planning a wedding, and for marriage after. She works with families of all genders.

    If you are both Jewish, I also recommend Rabbi Menachem Creditor and Rabbi Pamela Frydman. They are my teachers and absolutely awesome. They don’t do interfaith weddings though. (If you are interested in converting, Menachem is an especially good person to talk to.) I know for certain that R. Menachem and R. Mike and R. Pamela do same sex weddings and am fairly certain that Arik does too, although I did not actual ask, so I cannot 100% guarentee that he does.

    Photographer: Alison Yin shot three of our friend’s weddings. She takes beautiful photographs and she and her boyfriend and second shooter Adm are really nice, fun people. They are of the unobtrusive school of photography, and both worked as photojournalists. (In fact, I think they both still do wedding and journalistic photography). I seriously barely noticed them at my friend’s wedding, but the photos were so great! They shoot same-sex and opposite sex weddings.

  • moonlitfractal

    Greater Philadelphia:

    We had a great experience with Andrea Penko with AP designs for truly custom invitations. She worked with us to create the design, sent us many different custom-designed options, and worked with us to chose the paper, envelopes, and everything at a very reasonable rate considering. I’d love to send some business her way.

    We also had a great experience with APW sponsor Bario Neal for custom, non-conflict wedding rings. We even provided our own synthetic stone! And we got to meet a beautiful dog in their store. Bonus!

  • Emily

    The Brides Project for dresses in Ann Arbor! (They have a location in Toronto, too.) They’re all volunteer-run, and stock a huge range of donated dresses (either ones that never sold, or just used once), plus the proceeds go to the local Cancer Support Center.

    I was DREADING going dress shopping, but this was maybe one of the easiest parts I dealt with throughout wedding planning. Fiona, one of their volunteers, helped me out (plus I brought a friend), and we were done in 2 hours flat. I even had fun doing it! I ended up with a dress that was much more traditional than I thought I would, but I absolutely loved it, and I got a TON of compliments at our wedding. And, best part, it was a third of the original price.

    I ended up donating the dress right back after the wedding, which made me feel good about not adding to clutter, and supporting a good cause.

    I’d also recommend working with their seamstress, Jan, who gives a discounted rate to customers of The Brides Project. She charged me ~$100 for significant hemming and changing how the bustle worked.

    • goodheart

      yay, i donated my dress to the Bride’s Project too, and have several friends who purchased their dresses there! what a great idea!

  • Jessica

    We just got married in September in the Nashville area. We had several excellent vendors and I’d be happy to share more if anyone wants me to, but I have to mention Tallahassee May of Turnbull Creek Farm. It wasn’t easy to find her but I’m soooo glad we did. She and her husband have a small organic farm growing produce for local restaurants and flowers for her wedding business. She definitely understood my vision, was great to work with, and not ridiculously priced. http://www.turnbullcreekfarm.com/#!contact/c16fm

  • Emilia

    I’m guessing there aren’t many Eastern Canadians here, but if anyone’s getting married in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I’d highly recommend The Chronos Band. We found them randomly since they were playing at the local jazz festival, and I think ours was one of the first, if not the first, they’ve done.

    They have an amazingly solid sound (funk/jazz, with a cool assortment of percussion, brass, etc.; all original music), and they’re great for dancing. I’d also recommend hiring their suggested sound guy, so you don’t have to worry about schlepping stuff unless you have it already.

    • Miranda VanZ

      I might as well add on to your comment to make it easier to find.

      An awesome wedding dress store around Halifax, Nova Scotia is Alyssa’s Formal. They made me feel very comfortable, carried a large selection of sizes, asked me about my price range and stayed to it or found lower prices.

      When the person who was helping me out realized that my price range included alterations if needed she asked if anyone in my family sewed and then focused on finding me a gown that wouldn’t need very complex alterations (all my dress needs is a bustle.) When I went in there was an end of season sale so all the sample gowns were 50% off. I don’t know what the upper price range was but I was deciding between a dress that was $500 and a dress that was $700 originally $1,400. I may have tried on a couple that were around $300 but it was a year ago so I can’t remember for sure.

      When I went in I had no clue what I wanted and didn’t know anything about bridal gowns in general. The person who was helping me answered any questions I had and showed me lots of different styles at first to get a feel for what I wanted. She even showed me a dress that had “just a hint” of purple (turned out to be a straight up lilac dress, so they definitely carry colored wedding dresses if anyone is interested in that.)

    • Kess

      :O I came in here so sure there wouldn’t be any Halifax suggestions, so this is super exciting! I’m looking for a band too, so I’m totally going to look them up.

  • Arden

    Anyone know of any good vendors in the Nashville, TN area, especially cake bakers, caterers, or florists? We’re planning our wedding in TN from San Francisco, so getting recommendations for vendors so we only have a few to meet with over Christmas would be super helpful!

    For those in the Northwest Florida/Montgomery, AL area: my fiance and I just got our engagement pictures taken while we were at the beach visiting family, and we LOVE them. The photographer was Corie Arvanitakis and she was awesome. She charged $150 for the session, $80 for travel (she used to live in the Pensacola area [where we were] but recently relocated to Montgomery), and $275 for a disc of all the pictures. No website, but she does have a page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carvaniphotography

    • Jessica

      We just got married in Nashville and we had some great vendors. Our caterer was Phila Hach at our venue hachland hills, but they do off site catering. It was simple and honey food but prepared excellently. Phila is precious and has been catering practically forever.
      Our cakes were from Dulce desserts and they were amazingly delicious and very reasonable because we got several normal size cakes instead of one tall one. Our guests raved about how delicious they were and we got to have several unique flavors. I would highly recommend the chocolate chip cake with espresso filling and chocolate ganache.
      Our florist was excellent. Tallahassee May of Turnvull creek farm. She and her husband grow flowers and produce organically. She made beautiful and unique arrangements at an affordable price and was very accommodating.
      We also had an excellent videographer: John Hillin and an amazing photographer: Justin Wright.
      Here is a link to my Pinterest board with pictures of our cake and flowers: http://www.pinterest.com/jessalynnh/our-wedding-details/

      • Arden

        Thanks so much! Your wedding looks beautiful!

  • Natalie

    Any recommendations for Santa Barbara / Central California Coast wedding?

    • http://newcomfortfood.wordpress.com Jen

      Yes! My husband and I got married in Santa Barbara in May.

      We saw a lot of venues we loved that ended up being too expensive for our budget, but what we went with was perfect for us. We got married at the Santa Barbara Courthouse in the gardens and had our reception 5 blocks away at El Paseo Restaurant. http://www.elpaseosb.com/

      The courthouse is gorgeous and can accommodate a pretty large number (although if you do it outside, like we did, watch for the expense of chair rentals). And El Paseo is so wonderful. Paul, the owner, was super nice and helpful, and the space is gorgeous. Plus, it meant not having to worry about catering or rentals.

      If you have a little more to spend on location, we also liked these places a lot:
      Santa Barbara Historical Museum: http://www.santabarbaramuseum.com/
      Santa Barbara Woman’s Club: http://sbwomansclub.com/
      Elings Park, particularly Godric Grove: http://www.elingspark.org/site-rentals/weddings-special-events/
      And two spots north of Santa Barbara that we loved so much:
      Tres Hermanas Winery in Santa Ynez: http://treshermanaswinery.com/
      Flying Caballos in SLO: http://flyingcaballos.com/

      We loved, loved our DJ: Music by Bonnie http://www.musicbybonnie.com/
      She was so kind and helpful and was pretty much a perfect DJ. She was particularly helpful with mic-ing the Courthouse, which had regulations about sound, for our ceremony.

      Our baker was amazing and charged us HALF what we were quoted elsewhere: Montecito Confections Bakery http://www.montecitoconfections.com/about.htm
      And the cake was beautiful and delicious.

      We decided to hire someone to do flowers at the last minute (when I got too overwhelmed to handle it myself), and Tracey at Ella & Louie did an amazing job, was lovely to work with, and charged us a really reasonable rate. http://ellaandlouie.com/

      Our photographer came from LA (like us), and she not only shot amazing pictures but also was the most helpful, professional person to work with. Even guests commented on how much they liked her: Jennifer Emerling http://www.jenniferemerling.com/weddings/about.html

      Hope that helps!

    • Megan

      We got married close to Santa Barbara at a private residence. I wanted to HIGHLY recommend By Cherry Photography (APW sponsor, which is how I found her). http://bycherryphotography.com/ She is fabulous and just made us feel so comfortable on our day. She edited our photos and gave us all the digital negatives REALLY quickly. Love love love her! We also did rentals through Amigo Party Rentals and found their prices to be lower than any of the other companies we researched. Family owned and very friendly. We would recommend them.

    • Amber P

      Yes! We got married at the end of August in Cambria at Robin’s Restaurant. They accommodate a 90 person max. It’s a beautiful garden setting that feels very intimate, but not too crowded. They take care of all the tables, chairs, linens, set up, food, etc. and, the food is delicious! All local, farm to table, organic. We had the taco bar, and our guests loved it. There are also a couple of bakeries nearby, but we preferred Linn’s Fruit Bin. AMAZING desserts!! Robin’s also has an on site coordinator that is present during the wedding. She and our MC tag teamed and made sure that everything was running smoothly and on time. She’s been working at the restaurant for about 10 years and is an absolute joy to work with! We got flowers from Cambria Nursery and Florist, and they did a fabulous job. I highly, highly recommend checking out the venue. Its gorgeous, and Cambria is awesome! We got a lot of compliments from our guests about the whole weekend. Heres the link for Robin’s: http://www.robinsrestaurant.com. Best of luck to you!!

      • Amber P

        P.S. Depending on your budget, Cambria Pines Lodge is also beautiful! It was a little out our price range for the wedding, but we ended up doing our rehearsal dinner there, and it was great. Really yummy food, nice room, good service, beautiful gardens. Can’t go wrong!

    • Casey

      Hope I’m not too late on the response here! I got married at Flying Caballos in SLO a few months ago. The venue is not cheap but it was the perfect spot for us and so special to have a lot of our family and friends stay on site with us. Our caterer was Pacific Harvest Catering and they did a fantastic job for both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. They were so helpful and friendly and very willing to work with our budget, which some other caterers kind of ignored when giving us quotes.

  • Jessica

    Chicago:

    If you’re looking for a full-sized wedding band, the Becca Kaufman Orchestra is fantastic! Becca was such a beacon of sanity for us in the craziness of wedding planning, and our guests are still talking about what a good band we had more than a year after our wedding. http://beccakaufmanorchestra.com/

    • ASH

      I was just at a wedding where they were the band! The dance floor was definitely full the whole night!

  • http://kara-tanoue.blogspot.com Kara T.

    We got married in Honolulu in a super-DIT family affair (all the family and friends pitched in and helped us do almost everything ourselves). However, Tucson is our home city where we live now, so we threw a festive and fun reception back home to celebrate with everyone who couldn’t make the wedding.

    From this experience, I have some great recommendations for TUCSON, AZ:

    Venue: Tucson Art Museum. It’s affordable ($2K for a full evening in the lobby plus equipment, tables, and linens), it’s a beautiful space (got so many compliments, plus you barely have to decorate!), it has plenty of parking, and the staff is awesome to work with.

    Catering: Carte Blanche Catering (they also run Cafe a la C’art at the museum). We had an awesome, vegetarian-friendly dinner of heavy hors d’oeuvres. Mark (the owner) was super willing to work with our budget and our ideas. And their staff was KICK-ASS. They were so helpful with set-up and clean-up. It only took 20 minutes to be entirely packed up and ready to go after the reception due to their amazing work. They were more than willing to let us bring in our own desserts (made by my wonderful mom) and our own alcohol (and Mark even found us a great bartender). Plus, since their kitchen is on-site at the art museum, it was super easy. And we got all of this for 100 people for $3K.

    Dresses: I found my dress at Brilliant Bridal in Mesa, AZ. It’s a bridal outlet boutique, which means the prices are great and you can take the dress home that day. They have a nice selection of all sorts of styles and sizes. And the staff is awesome and incredibly helpful. They are really good at sticking to your budget.

    Photography: Laura K. Moore is a personal friend, and she take incredible pictures. She is worth every penny. http://laurakmoore.com/
    Hannah Haley Morris (my maid of honor) did our beautiful engagement photos. She is a ton of fun to work with. http://hhmart.blogspot.com/

    Invitations: Hannah Haley Morris is also a graphic designer, and she designed some fantastic custom invitations for us. http://hhmart.blogspot.com/

  • KH_Tas

    Anything in Melbourne, VIC? I don’t know where to start. Good thing we’ve got 2 years to plan this thing

  • C

    Any Toronto-area recommendations?

    Specifically looking for an affordable Toronto area photographer. I tend to be drawn to the documentary/photojournalism style but I don’t think I can afford the photographers I like. Not sure yet if I’ll be wearing something resembling a traditional wedding dress, but also looking for dress shopping recommendations.

    • Alia

      I can’t help you with photographers, but I’d definitely recommend The Brides Project (http://thebridesproject.com/) for dress shopping. There’s another comment earlier in this thread that explains what they’re about, but the short version is that they take donated dresses, sell them for way cheaper than retail and donate all the proceeds to cancer research. You can make an appointment and go in and try on dresses, and the woman who runs it is very helpful.

    • A

      My husband and I just got married in Toronto in September and used Andrew Joanisse ( http://www.andrewjoanisse.com/). He was amazing to work with and really affordable.

      Also, I would highly recommend Sash and Bustle to any Toronto brides looking for a low-key, respectful, and fun dress-shopping experience. I bought my dress there and everyone I worked with was lovely.

      For flowers, Coriander Girl was amazing. Not the least expensive, but they use all local fresh flowers and really made our low-key vision a reality.

      • http://twitter.com/fergus30 fergus

        I love Coriander Girl! I have an appointment with them in a couple of weeks and I’m so excited

    • http://twitter.com/fergus30 fergus

      A friend of ours used Edward Yu for their wedding and their pics turned out amazing. He’s in the Waterloo region though so I’m not sure if he’ll charge a premium for Toronto area (I’m guessing he doesn’t though)

      http://www.ericyu.ca/blog/tag/kateandrew/

  • marie

    iowa!

    i can’t say enough wonderful things about the wedding magic in des moines. (APW crew, if you do a mini-roundup, don’t forget dsm- i’ll write the post!) my husband and i grew up there but live in denver– our wedding was a big reunion of our family of friends.

    here are a few of the people & places who made our long-distance planning truly fun:

    * mark kegans photography. i was seriously photo-phobic before meeting mark but he made us feel like he was an old friend. he sent us the josh ritter song about a girl named marie. his photo blog is called a phlog. he’s hilarious and brilliant and made what i thought would be a hard decision the easiest. done.
    * jasper winery & katie the amazing event coordinator. there are not enough ways to say how wonderful they were, and katie did so much to help us that we decided not to hire a planner. also, in addition to house-made wine, they have a microbrewery so you’re all set for drinks.
    * fred gazzo & the metropolitans for a band. gazzo’s an old family friend, and man he brought it with this band. plus they did gorgeous ceremony music, including an improvised “all you need is love” with my friend as the vocalist. he will also wear sparkly suitcoats.
    * taste to go catering. want bison? want vegetarian? want fried pickles? they’re on it and it will all be delicious. also, if you happen to have your only breakdown (as i did after filling out paperwork to change my name, which led to going back to the courthouse to re-apply to not change it) during your planning meeting, they will bring you a glass of wine and a box of tissues. even if it’s 9am. true heartland comfort.
    * alterations by tran on 42nd st. i bought a $200 wedding dress from jcrew and it needed minimal tailoring, but it was silk and i was nervous to have it altered. i was in love with it before, but tran made it look like it had been made for me.
    * joseph’s jewelry is a des moines institution. for good reason. go downtown.
    * west end architectural salvage shop let us play around on 3 floors of merchandise during our rehearsal dinner there. it was like a giant retro photo booth.
    * finally, and i’m sure this is true everywhere, but des moines’s craigslist was an unexpected goldmine. we got most of our decor from couples who were delighted to be passing theirs on, and we’ve been able to re-sell it, so the wedding magic continues.

    • Gabe

      Iowa! My husband and I were living in Iowa City when we got engaged, and we can’t say enough good things about Hands jewelry. Although we ended up ordering our rings from another jeweler, I realized they wouldn’t arrive in time for the proposal and got some “placeholders” from Hands, which they were very happy to help us with.

      The women who work there treated us like we were family. They showed us some of their more beautiful articles from the safe, even knowing that we were too poor to afford them, just because they discovered my husband had an eye for beauty. They helped me plan the proposal, and insisted that we stop back in afterwards to tell them how it went. They even resized one of our “placeholder” bands for free when it didn’t fit quite right.

      Whenever I’m back in Iowa, I still stop in — I need to show them our wedding pictures soon.

  • The Family Jules

    Any recommendations for Pittsburgh?

    My partner is from there and he is not very helpful. :-P

    • Sarah

      I’m having my wedding in Pittsburgh too, and I’m also looking for any and all recommendations, but I can at least recommend a baker. Look into Jean Marc Chatellier. He is a French baker located in Millvale. He makes AMAZING and beautiful cakes and pastries (including to die for macarons). I plan on getting my cake from him, and though I can’t speak to my cake specifically yet, he’s been a family friend for 20 years and I’ve been eating his cakes my whole life (birthdays, mostly).

    • Hannah B

      I’m getting married in Pittsburgh,well, south of Pittsburgh, and I have looked at tons of places and things…it depends on what you’re looking for and what you want to spend. Most of the country clubs and golf courses will run about 80/person. I worked all summer at the 20th century club in oakland, and it is a beautiful place. http://thetwentiethcenturyclub.com/weddings1.html

      I’m personally having my reception at St Thomas More Family Life Center in the south hills, which cost 2000 total for the space, plus probably about 300 bucks in fees like insurance and bartender hiring (the venue fee included cocktail space and dance floor) and the food packages vary from 20-40 a person, AND you can supply your own booze. Upgrades are available for chair covers and different plates etc. Couldn’t do a ceremony there I wouldn’t think unless you got married in the adjacent Catholic Church.

      We booked DJ Nameless on the recommendation of a friend and great reviews on wedding wire (wedding wire has a lot of things in Pittsburgh).

      I am still undecided about flowers so if anyone has any recs for that, that would be great.

      Photography: I wanted Libby Hilf http://www.libbyhilfphotography.com/ but she was booked on my date. Friends of mine loved her, though.

      Good luck!

  • amelie

    DC brides!
    I used marcella treybig as our photographer–she was incredibly laid back and someone i would want to be friends with in real life. i still cannot believe how one person took so many amazing shots in just five hours. she was literally EVERYWHERE–in the aisle, on the second floor looking down at us, getting shots from every angle…but what i loved most is that i never saw her there. the service was kept sacred! it was incredible. we had her by the hour, instead of a full day service…i think it was about $1300 including rights to all images.
    our DJ was Marc Sense, and he KILLED IT…we wanted a nonstop dance party (mostly soul, r+b, some 90’s and 00’s hip hop)and he delivered. all of our guests loved him and he did an outrageous job keeping everyone on the dance floor (all generations!). plus a very affordable rate ($1200). best money we ever spent.
    our venue was Hearst Hall at NCS….a jaw-dropping view of the cathedral, but a simple reception hall. i hated the ornate ballroom-vibe, so this was more quaker meeting-house—wood floors bathed in glorious light. i think the rate was around $2300 for four hours in hearst hall (including a cocktail reception in the outdoor oak court)
    happy wedding planning!

  • Lily B.

    For the Tulsa, Oklahoma area, all our vendors turned out splendidly (married since 12 Oct 2013!!)
    -Route 66 Photobooth (http://route66photobooth.com/), they make a custom layout for your pics for no extra charge! Since I DIY-ed my invites and had all the font/color info ready, it was super easy. Also since the first photobooth company fell through, this place really made us feel at-ease with our second choice.
    -Burnett Mansion in Sapulpa (http://burnettmansion.info/) for venue. Um, $2000 for a WHOLE WEEKEND (i.e. rehearsal dinner, 8 hours for wedding, and time for Sunday brunch/tear down)? We snapped up that package almost as soon as we could put pen to paper.
    -food wasn’t local, but Ruby Tuesday is surprisingly delicious and has a ton of options from salad and baked potato bars to fish, sliced sirloin, and more…
    -for suit tailoring, Snow White’s Tailor Shop (http://www.yelp.com/biz/snow-whites-tailor-shop-broken-arrow) was a great deal and had about a week turnaround.
    -if you’re local to San Diego (or unafraid like us), we ended up ordering all the suits from a place out there called Men’s Fashion Depot (http://mensfashiondepot.com/). I thought it would be risky, but they were a GREAT deal, even including shipping. I have a friend who used to live in the area that HIGHLY recommended them and that friend did not steer me wrong.
    most everything else was online or DIY/DIT with friends. I had a heckuva time finding good stuff here in Oklahoma, so maybe I can help someone else…

  • MM

    I live in Portland, but my wedding was in the Phoenix area. My photographer, makeup artisit, and desserts vendor were amazng. Photographer was Aaron & Marisa Hoskins (www.aaronhoskins.com). Their standard package price is on their site, and I think it was very reasonable, especially considering the amazing quality of their work. They were also wonderful to have around all day. Makeup artist was Stephanie Nault (www.stephanienault.com). I was very concerned with looking natural and like myself, and she did a fantastic job…got tons of compliments for me and bridesmaids. She was also fun to have around. For my cakes and desserts I used Tracy Dempsey Originals (www.tracydempseyoriginals.com). She does desserts for several restaurants in town and had also done the desserts for my sister’s wedding last year. We got two 10-inch, 3 layer, crazy delicious cakes for $42 each. We also had 5 other kinds of dessert goodies, also at very reasonable prices.

    • MM

      In case it wasn’t clear… All of these vendors are in the Phoenix metro area.

  • Bridget

    Central NY/capital region (an hour from Albany) – anyone know a good hairdresser? Planning from across the country so could really use a non-Google suggestion!

    • http://www.kellybenvenuto.com/ Kelly

      There’s a lot of ground to cover an hour from Albany, but I used Janelle Tavormina at The Epiphany of Hair Design in Ballston Spa (I got married in Saratoga Springs), and she was lovely and talented (and will travel).

    • Robin

      I used Lynsey Ciraulo from Indigo Hair in Troy, NY. She was my hair stylist before I moved to Indiana in 2012. We got married in Saratoga Springs at Longfellows a few months ago. She is awesome! And she will travel if you need it.

  • Chris

    First time commenter, long time reader.

    I’m in the Triangle area (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina).

    I’m looking for a solid day-of coordinator, primarily. Any tips on a secular/Unitarian Universalist officiant?

    Though I’ve not gotten married yet, I’ve had a great experience with Hannah Woodard Photography (engagement photos came out awesome! And her prices are very reasonable for the great quality), and the Durham Arts Council Building as far as venues go.

    I’m very excited to see more comments on this post — fantastic idea, APW editors!

    • Danielle

      I’m getting married in January and a lot of my friends have been married recently by Barbara Lodge. She is very sweet, easy to talk to, builds a ceremony from scratch with you. She’ll do religious or secular ceremonies.

      I haven’t gotten to the major detail portion of the wedding yet, but so far I’m very happy with Caffe Luna for reasonable prices and good food. On their busy business nights you only have a buffet option for food, but they do plated dinners as well.

      I’d like ideas for pretty, inexpensive flowers. Currently talking to Southern Season but not committed yet. Oh, and if possible, a vegetarian-friendly downtown Raleigh rehearsal dinner location.

    • Catelyn

      For a coordinator, hire Sara Fields of Wedding Connections. She’s based in Asheville, but lived in Carrboro for a long time and knows the Triangle really well. She managed our wedding a couple months ago and is 100% amazing. http://www.southeastweddingplanner.com/

  • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

    In case there are any Northwest Florida couples looking for vendors, I thought I’d share our favorites. While I found our photographer (Amanda Summerlin – highly recommend!) here, there wasn’t much else for our area here or on other big websites. Fortunately, the beach house we rented is often used for weddings, so the owner was able to recommend some vendors who often work there.

    Venue: The Dolphin House – http://apracticalwedding.com/venues/the-dolphin-house/

    Catering: Adonna’s Bakery and Cafe – http://www.adonnasbakery.com – family owned and run, very sweet people to deal with. We had low country boil and they sourced the seafood from a local market. Everything was delicious and very reasonably priced.

    Rehearsal Dinner: Taste of India – http://www.newtasteofindia.com – We had the dinner in the beach house with food delivered from Taste of India. Again, delicious and inexpensive. (My husband, his dad, and brother were the only Indian people in attendance. The owner advised Raj to put the tikka masala at the end of the buffet because otherwise we’d run out right away. Because white people LOVE tikka masala. It was indeed the first thing gone.)

    Band: The Cool Rayz – http://www.coolrayz.com – It was freezing cold and we only had about 50 people, so I was afraid it wouldn’t be much of a party, but the band really did get everybody on the floor and made it a great time.

    Bridal Henna: Paul Hernandez – http://www.hennawihouse.com – On the off chance any Pensacola-area folks are looking for henna, I highly recommend contacting Paul. I did mine as a surprise for my husband and only had a short window of time between our wedding morning 5k and my salon appointment. Paul came to my friend’s hotel room at 8am on a Saturday for me.

  • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

    For people everywhere, I had a good experience with http://www.candles4less.com. I ordered glass cylinders, pillar candles, votives, and glass votive holders. One of the cylinders arrived broken. I emailed them and they sent me a replacement right away, no questions asked.

  • Gina

    I have to put a plug in for Affordable Flowers in Los Angeles (they service the entire SoCal area). They are incredibly professional, helpful, creative, intuitive, and were able to take my idea (rustic, maybe sunflowers, wild) and turn it into something unreal. I’m not a creative person, so I didn’t have a good way of explaining my vision, but somehow they got it right anyway. Besides which, as their name indicates, they’re incredible affordable and let me know the whole time what things cost, what substitutions we could make for less $$, what flowers were in season, etc. They’re small (just two sisters) but I enjoyed supporting a local business with impeccable quality work. Here’s a couple pics from my wedding of their bouquets/centerpieces:

    http://www5.snapfish.com/snapfish/thumbnailshare/AlbumID=9891158025/a=14631254025_14631254025/otsc=SHR/otsi=SALBlink/COBRAND_NAME=snapfish/

    Their website is not good, but don’t let that fool you. http://www.affordableflowersla.com/

  • AliCon

    I loved all of my vendors so if anyone needs recommendations near Seattle I’d love to give them! Had to pipe up for our planner Erin Stroup of It’s All in the Details. Really competitive prices, completely on top of things (did way way more than we were expecting), and just an awesome lady. http://itsallinthedetailsseattle.com/

    • Michelle

      Ha! You basically posted what I was going to ask while I was asking it!

  • Michelle

    Alright folks, Seattle!

    Mostly DIY-ing things but the only thing I’m going to really REALLY need (read: keep my mother from driving me up a complete wall) is a day-of coordinator. Any ideas for down to earth ladies (or fellas!) that will provide their awesomeness on the cheap?

    Also, I understand that I’m basically asking for a unicorn.

    • http://alacartealbums.com Jane

      Bec at Blush Celebrations is awesome and down to earth; I haven’t priced day-of-coordination recently enough to know if she’s cheap, but I know she isn’t super high end, for sure.

      (Sorry if this double posts, my computer is being weird)

    • Kate B

      I second Bec at Blush Celebrations! We did the monthly consulting and she kept us on track with what needed to get done. But the best part was the day-of coordination – she handled every detail and we didn’t have to worry about a thing. Pretty sure she has magic powers.

      Looks like her price has gone up a little since we worked with her last year, but I would still happily pay it.

    • Jennifer

      This is late, but I really like Emily at Mannette Gracie. She’s also more expensive than she was last winter (we found her on Craigslist, and now she has a flashier website), but she & her sister made everything happen on the day, kept my mom sane, and thought of a few things that made the day go smoothly that we probably wouldn’t have thought of. http://www.manettegracie.com/

  • Ariel

    NJ – I’m not married yet, but these people have been great so far:

    – Photographer – Jerrit Pruyn (APW sponsor)
    – Venue – The Women’s Club of Englewood (Maria has been awesome, and the venue is cheap for NNJ!)
    – Food – Culinary Creations – they were very willing to work with us on price and told us right off the bat (without us asking) what we could change to lower our per person price
    – Dress – i do… i do in Morristown. I loved them. Mary was awesome.

  • Emmy

    Greater Philadelphia area!

    We had a fabulous experience with Laurie Sasko Designs as our florist. I sent her my Pinterest board before our consult and she totally got my idea for inexpensive, colorful centerpieces. She didn’t try to upsell me on ceremony decorations or whatever. And the flowers were beyond belief gorgeous.

    We used Blooming Glen Catering in Bucks County to do our pig roast. The food was delicious, they were a joy to work with, and the whole thing was just $20/head. Seriously, their food is so, so good.

    And finally, my hairdresser ended up quitting two weeks before my wedding, but I got a trial and the perfect updo at the last minute at Balance Hair Spa in Pottstown. They were so friendly and really helped me stay calm on the day of my wedding!

    • scw

      pig roast! $20/head! I’ll be checking them out.

      two other recommendations for philadelphia, while I’m commenting-
      for hair, I’d check out mockingbird salon on passyunk. the owner, heidi, is friendly, wonderful, and talented (and like bario neal, which I also really recommend, there’s often a dog there!). I’ve only had ‘regular’ hair experiences with them – not bridal yet – but I know they do bridal and believe they will travel to you in the area. I think prices are listed on their website.

      if anyone happens to be looking for a great spa bachelorette (or bachelor party, for the right guys!) or a place for a facial or massage pre- or post- wedding, check out eviama life spa. full disclosure: I worked there before I quit for the glamorous life of the phd student – but now I just think they’re a great (woman-run) business. maybe not for super budget conscious brides, though.

      • http://www.thatbridesgotmoxie.com Renee

        PHILLY!

        I can recommend my florist, Falls Flowers, without hesitation. Peicha took my half baked ideas (red, peach, ivory, lush, glamorous-ish) and made them gorgeous, and never blinked at my meager floral budget. She is so talented and kind and I was over the moon happy with my florals.

        We used Redfield Photography, and LOVED them. Marisa & John were wonderful to have with us on our day, and their photos are gorgeous! They also did our photo booth which was a huge hit and made for some hilarious photos.

        Almost all of our other vendors are widely known (and lauded), but if you want a first-hand account, contact me for info about: Cescaphe Events, Proud to Plan DOC, Face The Occassion makeup, MackStylists for hair, Synergetic Sounds DJ.

  • summers

    Any recommendations on Virginia vendors, outside of Northern VA?

    • Megan

      Ribbons & Bluebirds designs and prints beautiful, individualized, and reasonably-priced stationary. http://ribbonsandbluebirds.com/gallery/weddings/

      We actually worked with Jenn exclusively online (we are in California), but we SOOOO pleased with her work and enjoyed the project a lot. I believe she is based in Fairfax, VA but will work with people all over the place!

      • GCDC

        I enthusiastically second Ribbons & Bluebirds. Jenn is amazing!

        • Summers

          Awesome, thanks!

    • Kristin

      Yes! I just got married in June in Richmond, VA and worked with some AMAZING folks.

      Photographer: Tracy Timmester (timmesterphoto.com) is actually from the DC area, but travels for completely reasonable rates. She was FABULOUS to work with. Our photos are amazing, she creates amazing shots, and she caught everything from our day without me noticing her. Love love love love.

      Coordinator: LK Events (http://www.lkeventsanddesign.com/) Lindsay was amazing – we were planning from California to get married in Virginia and Lindsay was able to answer questions, recommend folks, double check, acquire items, and on and on. Call her! She was excited to work with us on creating a non-traditional day, and I never felt pressure from her to do anything any way but how I wanted it.

      Anything else you’re looking for?

      • Summers

        Nice, thank you! Also looking for DJ or band, if you have any advice, and also probably some event rentals (ie tent).

        • Summers

          Ha! Forgot– also flowers, and hair, possibly makeup. And catering (though we’re leaning towards doing a bbq, which narrows it). So basically everything :)

    • MEMERY

      yes yes! Non-DC VA! I’m getting married in Williamsburg. Looking for officiant (non-religious), florist, photog, hair/makeup (understated!), and music ideas. Any recommendations welcome!

    • Kayakgirl73

      Where in Virginia? I could recommend some for the Winchester area if that’s what you need?

      • Summers

        We don’t have a venue yet, but it will probably be somewhere in the Williamsburg/Richmond area, probably in the country. Yay all of these VA recommendations!

        • http://suedesoles.wordpress.com/ Kate

          Chelsea from Bit of Ivory Photography (http://www.bitofivoryphotography.com/) has done a lot of Williamsburg area weddings (she actually got married in Colonial Williamsburg). We went with another photographer for our wedding, but Chelsea does boudoir photography as well, and I had a session with her as an engagement gift for my groom. The photos turned out beautifully, and she’s wonderful to work with.

  • april

    A little late to this party, but here are my recommendations for the Baltimore area (because we can’t all live in DC. Or afford DC prices …) :

    Photographer: Stacy Bauer Photography (http://www.stacybauerphotography.com/ ) She’s an art student at a local college, but she’s fantastic. We found her on Craigslist of all places, and took a chance on her because we loved her portfolio and got a good feeling from our meeting with her. She adjusted her (already ridiculously low) rates to fit our weird schedule (we had a 4 hour gap between our ceremony and reception, and she didn’t charge us for it). She’s the sweetest person and our photos turned out beautifully. Packages range from about $600 to $1000. Seriously, hire her now because you won’t be able to afford her in a few years.

    Rehearsal dinner or intimate reception (I wouldn’t go much over 35 people here): Donna’s Cafe Cross Keys (http://donnas.com/crosskeys/ ). This is one of my family’s favorite restaurants to begin with, so it was the first place we thought of when we were looking for a rehearsal dinner space. Fresh, delicious 3-course meal with wine and beer and the most amazing chocolate mousse cake you could imagine for $60 per person; outdoor patio when the weather is nice; and just the sweetest, warmest people.

    Hair: Tenpachi Salon (http://www.tenpachisalons.com/) Ask for Candace. She’ll do amazing things, and won’t charge you an arm and a leg. I think my hair (loose, romantic side bun) was around $70, and the bridesmaids (wash, blow dry, and style) were each $30.

    • april

      Oh! and for venue, we loved Cylburn Arboretum (http://www.cylburnassociation.org/ ) Their new visitor center is perfect if you love the idea of being outside, but don’t want to worry about things like tent rentals and weather. You get an upstairs space with a patio (which we used for cocktail hour) and the downstairs “auditorium” – a giant room with floor to ceiling windows looking out onto the woods. The $3000 rental includes tables and chairs.

    • Ali S

      If you can recommend an affordable Baltimore area DJ, you will save my life.

      • april

        We had a really good experience with a guy named Adam Christopher (“exceptional occasions”). He’s pretty low key – so if you’re looking for someone who’s going to be making lots of announcements, working the crowd, etc., he may not be your guy. But he got a great sense of our musical taste after one meeting and put together really great playlists for us. He’s affordable too- we paid $375 for 3 hours (dinner and dancing). http://www.thumbtack.com/md/gwynn-oak/djs/dj-services

    • Ashlee

      Oh, goodness, thanks for the hair recommendation! Those prices are fantastic. I have been totally appalled at how expensive the salons in this area charge for bridal hair.

      • april

        Glad to help! I’m happy to share pictures if you’d like to see how it turned out.

    • Kayakgirl73

      I really liked TLC Bridal in Frederick. They have lots of sizes and prices points. About an hour from Baltimore and DC.

    • http://suedesoles.wordpress.com/ Kate

      I highly recommend Devon (http://devonrowlandphotography.com/), who works in the DC/Baltimore/Annapolis area. Her prices are fantastic, and she’s done a lot of non-traditional weddings. Our engagement photo session was a wonderful experience, and we’ve hired her for our wedding (we’re getting married in February).

    • Improvised Bride

      Here’s a big shout out for Piper Watson Photography (http://www.piperwatson.com). She is based in Baltimore and her rates were very reasonable, plus she worked to help us put together a package that stayed in our budget. I found her on APW (her photos appear in the Joanna & Sarah Wedding Graduate post, and I had tears in my eyes the first time I looked at them). We had a great engagement session with her: she’s incredibly nice and chill and made us both look incredibly good but also like ourselves, despite the fact that neither of us is very comfortable in front of a camera. Really excited for our wedding.

      We also talked to Debi Parker (http:/www.debiparker.com), whom we found via her ad here. She is also based in Baltimore. She was super nice and we liked her photos a lot. We almost went with her. Her website has some really lovely photos.

      And, closer to DC and a little more expensive, if you like a photojournalist style, check out Michelle Frankfurter (http://www.michellefrankfurter.com). Her website is a bit out of date but the photos are really stunning. She is also very friendly and laid-back and not at all into the WIC scene.

  • Laura

    How about a band or DJ in Topeka/Kansas City area?

  • K

    For those who are dress-shopping in the NYC area, I’d recommend The Bridal Garden (http://bridalgarden.org/).

    They are a non-profit that sell samples/once-worn/etc., for a significantly discounted price, and then the proceeds go to benefit education for disadvantaged children (the Brooklyn Charter School). The dresses show some wear and tear, but nothing that can’t be fixed with dry cleaning and alterations. And I loved the idea that I’m both saving money (comparatively) and that the funds are going to a good cause (education being particularly near to my heart).

  • Kristin

    I’m sure there aren’t a ton of couples getting married in Northeast Wisconsin, but if you are in the Green Bay Area I can highly recommend Renards Catering. They were laid back, friendly, resourceful, and most importantly the food was delicious. (Back story – we had a chili bar for our wedding, and had a heck of a time finding a caterer who didn’t turn up their nose, or make terrible chili. Renards was super excited about the idea, and did a fabulous job with everything.) For a venue, I can also recommend the Shawano County Park Pavilion (indoor, wood and stone, complete with a bar and fireplace). And finally, Willow Street Bakery for the cake , which one of our guests described as tasting like “angel food with donut glaze frosting” – seriously delicious.

    • Jess

      I’m in the Valley! I love the chili idea, that’s awesome.

  • JA

    Any suggestions for the western Illinois/eastern Iowa area–specifically, the Quad Cities and Iowa City? Thanks!

  • Tara

    I’ve got some for Marylanders! I know there’s probably a lot out there for the DC area, but this is more for Southern Maryland.

    **Venue** Greenwell State Park, Hollywood, MD: I LOVED working with Greenwell. Everything is expensive in pretty much the whole state of Maryland, so we really thought we’d break our budget looking for a place that was beautiful and also helpful/easy to plan a wedding at. Then we found Greenwell and it was wonderful. For $3200 (our wedding was booked last year and it was a little cheaper then), you get the site for the whole weekend so you have plenty of time to set up and take things down. You also get two nights booked at the lodge, which is in great shape and sleeps plenty of people. They’re pretty easy going, so if someone can’t drive home or to their far away hotel, you can stow some air mattresses and stick that person in the huge living room. Also, it’s SO beautiful and you get the best photos and your guests will love being outside on the water! We had our rehearsal dinner as a cookout at the lodge the night before and then my friends and family helped us set up and we played board games late into the night. Crazy fun!

    http://greenwellfoundation.org/site-rentals/

    **Catering** Smokey Joe’s BBQ is what we used. You’d think a little barbecue place would be low class or have few options, but the people at Smokey Joe’s were professional, courteous, and the owner called me multiple times to discuss set-up plans and offered tons of tips. They also had a really extensive event menu and the food was awesome for our wedding (which was admittedly casual, but I think they could go a little bit more formal, too.) They even set aside special vegetarian AND vegan meals when asked. They were also one of the most economical catering places we could find.

    http://smokeyjoesrestaurant.com/catering.htm

    **Photos** I ADORE our photographer. I almost skipped a photographer altogether, but then caved and decided it was worth the money. We went with Drew of His and Hers photography. We met him from out of town and he’s just so eager to please and awesome. We asked for lots of pictures of friends and family having fun, and we got just that. He got some of the most gorgeous shots I’ve seen and was very reasonably priced, though I can’t exactly remember what we paid for his services. He was excellent to work with and even called us and did some phone consults just to touch base and make sure we were all on the same page. Wonderful! We did cover his hotel room from the night, since he comes from DC, but even including that the prices were great (especially for Maryland!)

    http://www.hisandherphotography.com/blog/

  • Kate-ish

    My fiance and I are getting married in Austin, TX, but planning the wedding from St. Louis, MO. Any suggestions for Invitations and Dresses in or near St. Louis? DJs in the Austin area? Inexpensive transportation to and from the wedding site? Any other recommendations are welcome as well. Thanks in advance!

    • Lacey

      Austin DJ: We are not using a DJ, but my friend did, and she highly recommends Greenbelt DJ: http://greenbeltdj.com/ I was at her wedding, and the DJ was really good. Not at all sure on cost.

      The AUSTIN area vendors we are using:

      Florist: Central Market (http://www.centralmarket.com/in-store.aspx?store=austin_lamar) Just over $1,000 for bridal bouquet, 4 bridesmaids bouquets, 15 centerpieces, boutonnieres for all the men, and mother’s flowers. Donna is also really easy to work with.

      Cake: Upper Crust Bakery (http://uppercrustbakery.com/) They don’t do “wedding” cakes, but we have brunch there almost weekly, so we are just doing an assortment of their small, round cakes and not worrying about the fact that they aren’t wedding-y.

      If a more traditional wedding cake is important to you, Central Market (again) will do a great job. Another popular option is Sugar Mama’s Bake Shop (http://www.sugarmamasbakeshop.com/Default.aspx)

      Food: We are having a local Mexican restaurant cater, and we’ve been really happy with them so far. Maudie’s (http://www.maudies.com/) The price is really reasonable, they aren’t charging more for a vegetarian option, and what’s more Austin than Tex-Mex?

      Photographer: We are going with Prima Luce Studio (http://primalucestudio.virb.com/) They were willing to work with our budget, and we love their work.

      • Ashley

        We just got married in Austin on October 19th.

        DJ – Greenbelt DJ had also been recommended to us but was already booked so we used Mike Marischen with Live Oak DJ (http://www.liveoakdj.com/) and he was phenomenal. He did sound both for our ceremony and reception. We interviewed 4 DJ’s and he was the most down-to-earth, easy to talk to, and one of the lower prices for what we needed. We used the online system (super easy) to tell him what we definitely wanted played, what we liked but didn’t require to be played, and what we absolutely did not want played. He only made the announcements we requested and was very professional. Per our request, when more than one person requested a song from our do-not-play list, he checked with us before playing it. And we had multiple people request a list of the songs that were played and comment how fantastic the music was all night!

        Transportation – R&R Limo was the best-priced transportation we found (just to get a town car for ourselves to get away from the reception), but we did get a discount with them through our wedding coordinator, Christina Lewis of Wedding Warriors who did all of the booking for us so we didn’t interact with them except to pay and get picked up.

        Flowers – HIGHLY recommend Verbena Floral http://www.verbenafloral.com/. Initially, we decided to only have personal flowers done by a florist and emailed a couple since we were planning from Houston. Neither responded so Christina (coordinator) set up a meeting with someone else one weekend when we were in town, but she couldn’t come in within our budget. We found LuAnn at Verbena because when we stopped by Austin Flower Co. that same weekend to look into DIY’ing flowers, we wanted one more florist to talk to before deciding. Verbena was recommended by AFC and was around the corner so we walked over to say hello and pick up some info, but that was our only in-person meeting. LuAnn was happy to do just the small amount we wanted (bridal bouquet, 3 small bridesmaids bouquets, 2 mom’s corsages, and 7 boutonnieres). She came in under our $500 budget for personal flowers and after just two phone calls and some email exchanges in which she very patiently answered all of my questions, the flowers were exactly what I had envisioned.

        Caterer – We used and cannot recommend enough Pink Avocado Catering (http://www.pinkavocadocatering.com/). Food was a significant part of our budget so they might not be within everyone’s budget. However, out of the 4 caterers that gave us proposals for anything close to what we wanted (part of which was sustainable, local food), they had the best pricing, were the easiest to work with and work with local farms and producers. We got married on a farm that had not worked with previously and they were also willing to work with our farm to use their produce. Also, the food was *phenomenal*. People raved about it all night saying that they came expecting rubber chicken and had one of the best meals they had had in a long time in general – not just for a wedding. Besides the ceremony, it was the most talked about thing afterwards. My husband’s uncle raided the fridge before we got our leftovers and ate ALL 6 servings of the leftover mac ‘n cheese at 3am on our wedding night. (That may take awhile to forgive.) ;)

        Rehearsal Dinner – Torchy’s Tacos on S. 1st. We were able to feed 21 people for ~$650 after tax and tip (including our BYOB alcohol and hiring the bartender) which is far less than the minimum for private room rental anywhere else we called. The “Garage” provides a private space that easily holds more people, people get to build their own tacos and loved the food, and the service was excellent. Very laid back. And though they don’t advertise it, they let us choose our favorite tacos off of their regular menu instead of the more limited selection offered on the Garage party list at no extra charge. Only downside is the limited parking, but the price more than made up for that for our size group.

        Hotels – 100% of our guests and we were traveling for the wedding. We were able to book blocks of rooms at the Residence Inn Austin South and Fairfield Inn Austin South through just one contact person at the Marriott. They would only hold 10 rooms for us at a time and only until 3 weeks before the wedding – but we were under no financial obligation whatsoever and by a month before the wedding, our group rate was half of the going rate for the rooms at that point. And even though they would only hold 10 rooms at a time and at one point told us they were oversold when we asked for a status, all of our guests who wanted to book a room got one and had no problem on the weekend of the wedding. Really convenient location for getting around Austin, free parking, free breakfasts, pools, etc. Beds and rooms are a little better and more recently updated at the Fairfield, but all of the rooms at Residence Inn have a kitchen with a full-size fridge… for all of your leftovers. ;)

        Dessert – We had Amy’s Ice Cream (http://www.amysicecreams.com/) out for some local flavor. Very easy to work with and the ice cream is always fantastic plus for $10 per flavor, we got to replace some of the standard ones with the ones we wanted. (We also got cheesecakes from the Cheesecake Factory and brought in some of our own baked goods.)

        Invitations – online, not in St. Louis, but we ordered the minibooks from Minted.com and modified them to use the back cover as well for a map at no extra charge. (We designed the map ourselves and provided it as an image.) Given that we had a destination wedding and so many people were traveling, it allowed us to provide more information on Austin, hotels, our website, etc. and include photos which people loved for the same cost as doing a single card invitation with one envelope (for the ones we were looking at). The minibooks got a lot of positive reactions and we loved how they turned out.

        Photographer: Tara Welch Photography (http://tarawelchphotography.com/). We LOVED how our engagement photos turned out. Can’t speak to the wedding since I haven’t seen those yet, but Tara was a joy to work with on our wedding day and got along fabulously as far as I could tell with the videographer who she had never met before. She wasn’t the least expensive, but certainly wasn’t the most and we loved her work and sense of humor while shooting.

        Videographer: Spinning Leaf Films – best pricing for what you get. LeVan is providing us not only with an edited film, but also with the raw footage of our entire ceremony and all of the toasts and special dances at our reception for less than anyone else was charging just for an edited film. (Though I think he has raised prices since.) He doesn’t set a time limit, but shoots according to the amount of footage he needs for the length film you order so he was there longer than any of our other vendors even though we just ordered a short film. Also very easy to work with and totally unobtrusive.

        Dress – I got my dress out of town at a Brides Against Breast Cancer show (http://www.bridesagainstbreastcancer.org/). They’re coming to St. Louis in December if your timeframe allows you to wait or you’re still looking by then. Though the dresses are in mixed condition, I had a wonderful experience with them. I found two that I loved and ended up getting an Amsale gown that was a dirty-around-the-hem, donated sample gown for less than 1/3rd of the original price. I loved that it supports a wonderful cause and loved the dress, but it is a limited selection with some dresses that are previously worn (which I know some are uncomfortable with) and what you see is what you get. It’s not the bridal salon experience, but you’re generally in a large hotel ballroom where you come out of the makeshift dressing area to see yourself in the mirror and it is *so much fun* seeing all of the other brides and getting their feedback and support as you try on dresses. :) (Very positive environment.)

        Officiant – you probably have one by now, but for anyone else reading this later, Steven Ross was fantastic. (http://www.eastsideyoga-austin.com/steven-ross-austin-wedding-officiant.htm) He’s a yoga studio owner/teacher who also does wedding ceremonies so very relaxed and calm. We wrote our ceremony with some assistance from him. His guidance in the preparation was helpful and any ad-libbing that was required to respond to unexpected moments in the ceremony was just right for the mood and the humor we were looking for. Plus, he’s Scottish – and who doesn’t love a great accent? ;)

        **Edit – Gah! Sorry, Lacey – I meant for this to be a reply to Kate-ish, but don’t know how to change it now that I’ve submitted!

  • Megan

    SF Bay Area!!

    We got married a week and a half ago at Fortino Winery in Gilroy and I absolutely loved all our vendors!

    The winery was budget-friendly, they provided most of the services we needed and was absolutely beautiful.

    I HIGHLY recommend Mohammed Kheirkhah of Bay Area Picture Production for photography! He is absolutely amazing. We got pictures that people raved about for $1500 total. Definitely within budget. He is a true artist.

    http://www.bayareapicture.com/

    An awesome DJ is Norman Anub of Ultimate Sounds in San Jose.

    I used A List Makeup (LilyAnn ) for my makeup which turned out incredible.

    I got my dress at Bridal Image in SF as a discontinued dress for $800 (originally 2k) that I was able to take home that day.

    An amazing tailor is Eldo Tailoring in San Jose. She has awesome prices and completely tailored my dress for less than $170. She used to be head of a David’s Bridal alterations before she opened her own shop. Amazing prices and beautiful work.

    Seriously though, Mohammed is the best kept secret in the Bay Area. Dooo itttt!!

    • (Another) Megan

      I didn’t get married in the Bay Area, but had my alterations done up here because it’s where I live. After getting my dress at the amazing The Wedding Party in Berkeley/Oakland (woo woo), I took it to Cathy Marie at Alameda Sewing Cottage. She was so great!!! She’s familiar with all the dresses from The Wedding Party and just really knows what she’s doing overall. Made me feel so comfortable. I would trust her to alter anything after the fabulous experience I had with her!

      http://www.alamedasewingcottage.com/

  • AVA

    Any Sydney, Australia APW readers out there? We’re getting hitched in August next year in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, and are looking for vendors in the Sydney or Southern Highlands areas (esp. photographer, florist, cake).

    Thank you!!

  • 39bride

    In the Northern San Diego area, you cannot do better than Sumi’s Oven for wedding-related sweets. The cake is to die for, and Sumi is patient beyond words (all six flavors were so delicious we took forever to narrow it down to three). She also didn’t bat an eyelash at my somewhat unconventional request for wedding cake design and followed my request to a T.

    She’s in a business complex where you’d never expect to see a bakery and last year when I used her she didn’t even have a storefront (just a small room off the bakery floor with no decorations and small book of samples. You’d never believe that the most delicious cake you’ll ever eat comes out of there. Guests still talk our amazing wedding cake and their eyes roll back in their heads at the memory.

    http://sumisoven.com/

  • L

    I need this for Auckland, New Zealand. *crickets* *tumbleweed*

  • Mary Yamasato

    I’m in Phoenix, Arizona, and I have to recommend with my whole heart, our wedding photographer Gabriela Lim of http://www.gabrielalim.com.
    Gabriela offers amazing packages for affordable prices. Also, her work is fantastic! I actually have a friend who got married a few months after I did, who said that she wished she hadn’t booked her photographer already so she could scoop up Gabriela! She was an absolute pleasure to work with, and honestly, I felt like she was a part of the family. I had so many guests come up and make comments about how sweet she is. I would love for more Phoenix brides to know about her!

    • Reesa

      Hi! It’s great to hear from another AZ bride. I’m getting married in Tucson, but would love any other recommendations you have!!

  • Grace

    Cincinnati area! I have a couple of recommendations.

    Venue: Arnold’s Bar and Grill. It’s the oldest bar in the city, and one of the coolest bars in the world accoridng to Buzzfeed (they’re the authority on these things, right?). They have a STUNNING courtyard that can seat up to 90 people (it can also be covered and heated and has a seperate entrance), and the whole place has so much character. The food is DELICIOUS (eat the blueberry chicken, thank me later) as well. And they’re super flexible and down for whatever you want to do. Getting the courtyard for a weekend evening will run you $10,000, as it’s their main seating area, but a weeknight or afternoon is super affordable. We are getting the courtyard space and staff on a Saturday afternoon for $1600, and an appetizer buffet for $11/person. They’re letting us use their speakers for free, there’s public parking directly across the street, and the manager has also been ordained online if you need an officiant :). This place is seriously great. And you won’t have to deal with also finding a caterer, bartender, rentals, or even decorations if you’re lazy like I am. arnoldsbarandgrill.com

    Photographer: Innovatory Photography. I found searching for a photographer in Cincinnati particularly frustrating, with so many weddings taking place in the city’s grand, old, ornate churches, there are a lot of photographer’s galleries featuring elaborately posed bridal portraits (in HDR, no less). This is pretty much the exact opposite of what I wanted, and I’m pretty sure a lot of APW feels the similarly. I saw Innovatory’s photos when I girl I went to high school with posted her wedding pictures on Facebook – they are super great at capturing those candid moments, and aren’t afraid to try silly or weird and atrsy things. And their editing style is mostly simple and colorful, which I love (a lot of galliers I looked at seemed either over saturdated, over exposed, or overly filled with HDR, none of which are my style). Innovatory is made up of two husband and wife teams – we are having the founding couple Joe and Amanda shoot our wedding. Our package with them includes 8 hours of coverage, both of them shooting the whole day, and all the digital files with a release for personal use for $2100. innovatoryphotography.com

    Dress Shop: Something New, Borrowed & Blue. This is the store in the Reading bridal district that sells off the rack dresses. Think TJ Maxx, but for weddings (or if you watch TLC, think I Found the Gown). I went in on a Sunday withour an appointment, and the sales girls were nice and helpful, and with a set up like this, they know brides come in looking for a deal, so they’re very respectful of your budget. Most of the dresses are $600 and under, which was my main reason for going there in the first place, and they have a wide variety of sizes, too. Being an off the rack shop, they get new stock in all the time, so it’s worth multiple visits if you don’t find something your first time (and they post when they get new stuff in on Facebook).

    I’m still looking for hair/makeup, if anyone else here is in the area and has any recommendations!

    • Hannah B

      I’m simply replying because when I lived in Cincinnati, Arnolds was my absolute favorite place on earth and I hung out there basically every day. Pam is my favorite bartender in the history of all time. If I were getting married in Cinci, I have zero doubt that is where we’d be. Meanwhile, my search for a bar that holds a candle to Arnold’s continues….

  • Anna

    Total long-shot here, but… any recommendations for Malta? (Especially photographers, caterers, venues…) We’re getting married there next summer!

  • kyley

    Portland, ME

    We had pie instead of cake, and Katie, of http://katiemadebakery.com/ was beyond delightful to work with and also made the best pies I’ve ever had in my life. And my family already makes damn good pies.

    Craig Dilger, http://www.craigdilger.com/weddings, was so so fun and down-to-earth and all you could ask for in a photographer. And the photos were stunning and really captured how everything felt that day.

  • Sara

    Maine! Especially the greater Portland, Maine area and Cumberland County. Help help help!

    A note: as a Maine local, I’m not particularly interested in the whole lobster-bake, lighthouse, schooner wedding thing that so many places are advertising. Just because I live in a tourist destination doesn’t mean that I want a tourist wedding. (This is not to knock the destination wedding, it would just feel odd for me because my whole family lives here. The novelty of fresh Maine lobster is nil for us.)

    • Beth Again

      Maine wedding photographers: Emilie, Inc: http://www.emilieinc.com/#p=-1&a=-1&at=0&mi=11&pt=0&pi=2

      Sweetest people, amazing work. Not cheap, but worth every penny.

    • Leslie

      Maine! Not sure in what part of Maine you are getting married, but I have found myself dipping into my local scene in Portsmouth, NH when planning my wedding north of Portland. I am not exaggerating when I say that it took me SEVEN MONTHS to find a caterer that had good food at a price I could afford and that would actually call me back. I ended up hiring The Kitchen (also called Portsmouth Catering Company http://www.thekitchennh.com/) out of Portsmouth. I eat at their restaurant so I know their food is good, and the service so far has been AMAZING. We are doing food stations, so the nonlocals can enjoy lobster roll sliders and clam chowder, but we also have an array of other different food that we love, like chicken and waffles, paella, and korean bbq tacos. I cannot recommend them enough so far. They are charging a travel fee, but it is still cheaper than most other caterers I talked to. Just don’t steal my date (6/21/14) because we have a verbal agreement but I need to drop off the check this weekend.

      For photography, I hired Deep Sun Photography out of Saco (http://deepsunphotography.com/). Haven’t had the wedding yet, so I can only speak to the service so far, which has been good. The prices are also incredibly reasonable ($1,000 for four hours).

      Anyone have advice for ceremony musicians, specifically a string quartet or something similar?

      • Jenna

        Leslie, how many people will you be feeding? We’re looking to do stations, too, also north of Portland (in the fall–don’t worry!), and I’m doing some fact-finding. :)

        • Leslie

          We are planning for 65-70, but they have done a wide range of weddings so it wouldn’t hurt to at least call and talk to them if your numbers are way different. The chef actually started as a caterer before opening the restaurant. Just to get down and dirty with the details, they quoted us $4,900 total, which includes food, the staff charge, and a travel fee. They are also providing a bartender, but letting us buy and bring in the alcohol, which is something we didn’t think we were going to be able to get. While it’s not the $20 per head I saw earlier in this post (awesome!), it was by far the best quote I got during my search, which included a — no joke — quote for $18,000 at one point, at which point I lost all faith in humanity.

    • Jenna

      Brendan Bullock Photography!!! He will be shooting our wedding next fall and came down to Portland to meet with us this spring. Love his photos, his personality, and the fact that he will start the day when you do and end when the last guest leaves (or later!)–even if that happens at 4am.

      Caswell Farm is a really cool outdoorsy, rustic, beautiful, and affordable wedding venue, and Catherine is AWESOME. Were it not for my parents’ demand for “a rain plan that doesn’t involve a tent”, we’d probably be getting married there.

      Thanks, Kylie, for the Katie Made suggestion for pies!!! I’d considered having our moms make them, but that might end up being too stressful for everyone. It’s good to know there’s a delicious back-up.

      Any suggestions for dress makers (especially this!), DJs who aren’t d-bags, and ceremony musicians in our area would be much appreciated!

  • GCDC

    We got married in the Syracuse area last year and had wonderful experiences with all of our vendors. I’ve listed some below in case anyone is looking for upstate/western New York area recommendations.

    Venue: Sherwood Inn. They were wonderful to work with and made everyone incredibly easy. I found the prices to be really reasonable for the quality and quantity of food and beverages served.

    Florist: Folls Flower Farm. Cannot recommend Folls enough. They grow all their own flowers so you are limited with what they can grow in season but they do wonderful work, are very laid back, have great ideas or can accommodate your own, and delivery pretty much anywhere in the area.

    DJ: J. Hatch. He was great. He is very professional, and was able to get a sense of what we liked and didn’t like well before the wedding. He played the perfect selection of music, and acted as emcee for the evening. He was able to read our guests and how the night was going and made some last minute suggestions the evening of (cut the cake before opening the dancing, for example) that made the whole night flow really well.

    Cake: The Patisserie. Very reasonable, and very tasty.

    Makeup: A-List Artistry. I had a great experience with Jessica. She was a lot of fun to be around, and was very accommodating. She even let me come over to her house early on the morning before the wedding to do a trial run, since I don’t live in Syracuse and early morning was the only free time I had. The makeup looked exactly as I wanted – like me but enhanced, and it looks great in the pictures. Plus she was awesome at explaining what she was doing and why and getting my feedback.

  • Beth Again

    PRINCETON, NJ / Central Jersey area:

    The “hidden gem” of our vendors was absolutely our baker: Let Them Eat Cake (http://www.eatcakebakeshop.com/). As you can see from the website, they are in transition trying to find a new brick and mortar location, but you can contact them and they will do a custom cake for you. We had a cutting cake (seen here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=688926371123689&set=pb.315207581828905.-2207520000.1383230116.&type=3&theater) and then a variety of sheet cakes to feed everyone. We got compliments from tons of our guests, and even our caterer on how beautiful and delicious the cakes were.

    Also loved these other vendors:

    Emily’s Catering, Pennington, NJ. Samantha especially was amazing to work with and really made the meal exactly what we wanted. She went above and beyond, really working with all of our quirky suggestions.

    No Macarena DJ, Philadelphia, PA. Dave Beck was our DJ and holy cow did we have a dance party! He took our suggestions and ran with them and we ended up with quite a dance party throughout the whole evening. He even did the music for our ceremony and cocktail hour. Amazing, amazing, can’t say enough good things about him or the whole organization.

  • Esther

    Portland, ME
    Had some awesome vendors!

    Andrea’s Bridal in Portland-Great selection of plus size sample dresses. Options in lots of price ranges, and the staff is awesome. They made me feel so good, and were totally into my offbeat style. The helped me find my amazing seamstress!

    Sarah Micheniewicz- Transformed my lace dress from a strapless generic gown to a fluttery sleeve, plunging neckline masterpiece. She is so fun to work with , and seriously I can not believe the work she did. Mad props to Jill at Andreas for helping me find a great lace dress that fit me well, and was a perfect base for alterations without breaking the bank.

    Justine Johnson Photography- I found her through APW and she is so great! Fun, friendly and her work is beautiful and she will work with you on a package that fits your budget.

    Lastly Cafe Miranda- This tiny restaurant in Rockland ME has a huge menu. The head chef and owner Kerry is into making all kinds of cuisine, and the food was crazy delicious, not your typical Maine fare. Hello, bacon cupcakes! He also took care of all my rentals for me, and in general just made my life easy. His staff dressed up like Pirates for our wedding, that’s some solid commitment to your customer!

  • Sarah McD

    All Locations:
    – Engagement ring: Brilliant Earth (this is the setting: http://www.brilliantearth.com/Delicate-Antique-Scroll-Ring-White-Gold-BE141-468/?show_setting_tab=true), which I loved because it was all conflict-free diamonds and recycled gold. My setting was $950 and then however much you want to spend on a center stone, and I’ve gotten SO many compliments on it because there’s so much scrollwork on the sides (which is the ring I’ve been dreaming of since high school before I even knew if I could realistically get one like it.)

    Houston, TX:
    – Ceremony: We’re getting married at the University of Houston chapel by a friend, which seats 300 and only cost us $775 as non-students. We love this option because neither of us are religious or affiliated with a church. You get the traditional chapel setting, but complete freedom to do your own thing (in our case, a 100% secular wedding)
    – Reception: The Majestic Metro in Downtown Houston is a vintage movie theater remade into an event location and will only set us back ~$4000. It was the cheapest reception venue we found that will hold over 200 guests and includes tables+ chairs+ DJ in the price. We liked it because my fiancé has a lot of friends who work in catering and bar industry, so bringing in outside food and liquor was important to us. Louis is also so easy to work with!
    – Wedding Dress: I paid a lot for my dress ($2000 for dress and veil) but I had SUCH a great experience at Brickhouse Bridal in the Woodlands. The dresses range from $1400 – 4000. The woman who helped me was Yvette Trevino and I’d definitely recommend asking to work with her if you make an appointment. Between her and a few of my people I brought along, I was in and out of Brickhouse with a dress I LOVE in less than 90 minutes. She was amazing!

  • Katherine

    DC-Maryland Area – Curvaceous Couture for plus-size bridal in Columbia MD. They have soooo many dresses to try on and are great with suggestions, staying within budget, service etc.

  • Heather

    I’ve seen one rec for Houston so far, but hopefully there’s more good people here, since it is a major metropolitan area (but doesn’t have a ton of apw vendors). We’re not getting married until next year, so I don’t have the full experience, but I’m cautiously optimistic about our venue (the Grove) and photographer (Nate Messarra). We’d really love to have cupcakes and cup pies (mini pies), but I’m not sure if there’s any one in the area that does mini pies. Nothing else is settled, so suggestions are welcome (dress, hair, make up, DJ/band-I’ve no clue where to start looking-actually if someone can recommend a good inexpensive band that would be awesome.)

    • Sarah McD

      Hi fellow Houstonian!

      Flying Saucer is amazing for full-sized pies, but I don’t know if they do mini pies (they also don’t have a website, so you’d have to call them.) I recall seeing mini pies at House of Pies on Kirby but don’t see prices for them online. However, House of Pies also has delicious full-sized pies. On taste alone, I’d recommend checking out those two places.

      Also, searching for mini pies, I came across this: http://mightysweetminipies.com/

      Good luck with your search for baby wedding pies!

      • Heather

        Thanks! I had no idea Flying Saucer had pies! I’m a bit of a home baker and baked good snob, so I generally make stuff myself instead of buying it, so I appreciate the recommendations!

        • Sarah McD

          Quick clarification – I have no idea if Flying Saucer the pub has pies. But Flying Saucer Pie Company is fantastic (I always forget that the pub and pie company have the same name!) I got my “birthday cakes” from Flying Saucer Pies all through out high school.

          And I’m with you on the baking thing. I’m half tempted to bake my own dessert bar for my wedding rather than have a big cake from a bakery, but am worried about the time and stress aspect of it.

  • YOQ

    Vancouver, WA? I’m getting married to my (same-sex) sweetheart next year. Our big ceremony will be in a church in Portland, OR, but we’ll have to take care of the legalities in Washington. So I’m looking for one of two things:

    a) a bed and breakfast where we could spend the night, borrow their living room for the ceremony in the morning, and then have everyone (all 12 of us–basically just immediate family, officiant, BFF, and photographer) eat breakfast before heading across the river to PDX for the rest of the day’s events. Totally happy to pay extra for this. (I should say that I talked to the owner of what appears to be the only bed and breakfast in Vancouver, and although she was willing to do this, she insisted that we had to rent all of the rooms — so that we would not disturb other guests. And she said several times that she didn’t like doing weddings because there was so much drama. But she was willing to say yes to us “so that [we] wouldn’t feel like she was discriminating against [us].” Umm, thank you?) OR

    b) a good breakfast place where we could get a private room for our party of twelve–we could do the ceremony in between ordering breakfast and eating it.

    OR, really, another idea about how to do this. For such a small group, I don’t want to rent a venue. (We’re already renting a church and a reception venue. That really feels like enough.) But I also don’t want to make people get up and drive across the river for an 8:30 am event without then giving them food. I realize this might be a request for vendors, or it might be a hijacking of this post for a more general request for advice (if the latter, my apologies). I was getting my courage up to post in the Friday Open Thread, though, so I just figured I’d jump on this chance. Any suggestions would be welcome!

  • V

    Yes! Austin folks, I’ve got your hook up. I used to do event logistics for work. I didn’t want my wedding to become just another event that I had to stress out about organizing, so I was adament about finding vendors who were 1.) awesome people, 2.) super fucking organized, and 3.) laid back in their dealings with me. Sadly, one of my amazing vendors is no longer doing weddings, but here are two others who I heartily recommend:

    1. Royal Fig Catering – The food is delicious, they source from amazing local farms, they’re upfront about their prices, they’re lgbtq friendly, and they will do whatever you want (7 course family style wedding meal? No problem. Your venue won’t let us cook inside so we have to set up a mobile kitchen in the parking lot in July? No problem. ). Even better, there is no need to hire a wedding coordinator if you’ve got these guys. Kristen is the clip board queen. She kept track of the timeline, fed all my vendors no questions asked, and did everything else I didn’t want to deal with from hunt sales for chair rentals to help fix my train before I walked down the aisle. I didn’t pay extra for those services. AMAZING!

    2. The Lost Pine – Awesome local bluegrass band. Their song “Our Love is Made of Work” should be APW’s anthem. I loved working with them, they were super cheap, and they were crowd pleasers.

  • Laurie

    Outerboroughs/New York City

    Looking for an eclectic wedding band that knows bluesgrass/folksy stuff, but can also play more pop/dancy music during the reception. Any suggestions that aren’t ridiculous??

  • Amelia

    Don’t think any Iowans have posted yet, and we are still in the planning stages, but it’s sometimes been hard to find reliable information about quality wedding resources in rural Iowa so I thought I would share a few we are really excited about! So many people in this area do the standard church wedding/banquet hall reception, but because we will have many guests from out-of-state, we wanted to do something a little more unique and, while remaining within a pretty limited budget, a little more upscale. Still figuring out lots of our vendors, but a few I would recommend whole-heartedly for anyone in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids or Southeast Iowa area:

    – The Celebration Farm, Iowa City: Our venue for both the ceremony and the reception– they have a beautiful outdoor amphitheater with 3 stone arches that can seat up to 300 guests and 2 different barns for reception options (or inclement weather ceremony backup plans!) Getting there is super easy and so far the staff have been incredible to work with! They even honored the prices from the time we originally looked at the site even though rates had gone up by the time we actually booked! It’s just beautiful– the Double Round Barn that we’ll be using is air-conditioned, has a bridal room, restrooms, and a natural-looking, wonderful-smelling cedar shaved ceiling with windows in the cupolas for natural lighting and beautiful wooden chandeliers. Seriously, this place is the decision I am the most happy with– it’s going to make everything else so much easier as it doesn’t require much decoration. They also have rental options for everything from place settings to an extra bar to shepherd’s hooks to birdcage card holders! They also have a really great website (and a recommended vendor list on the site): http://thecelebrationfarm.com/ They book up FAST btw. Weekends in June get pricey, but we opted for a Sunday wedding which cut the cost dramatically!

    – Ruby’s Cake Co., Mt. Pleasant, IA: Chari Ruby makes beautiful cakes, but the best thing about them is that the taste is to die for! In my experience, wedding cakes are usually pretty but don’t often taste the best–not Ruby’s. Many friends & relatives have used her, so it was an easy choice for us to book her (her prices are also the lowest I’ve found in the area– we’re paying ~$300 for cake for 200 people and you can actually get cheaper based on your selections). My personal favorite: white chocolate with raspberry cream & buttercream frosting– I could eat myself sick. My fiance loved the almond white, so we’ll have both as options. She is super sweet and had us over to her house for a cake testing where she baked us cupcake versions of all the flavors we were interested in and sent the leftovers home with us for our families to sample! Her website: rubyscakeco.com

    – Sheila McAlister, The Catering Company, Mt. Pleasant, IA: Disclaimer: I haven’t actually eaten her food yet. However, I have heard nothing but positive reviews, and she has been super easy to work with. She doesn’t even require a deposit! She brought lots of great ideas to our meeting and was super flexible with my suggestions. I’m most excited about: cold strawberry soup for our fruit option! She also provides non-alcoholic drinks (lemonade & tea) and beverage dispensers free of charge & is providing our cheese, crackers, grapes for cocktail hour at whatever price she gets them for at Costco. 319-385-1274

    – Finally, we are SO thrilled with our photographer, Valerie Duvick of Expressions Photography. She is very reasonably priced (we’re paying $2800 for 6 hours of coverage, 8×8 album, 2 photographers, engagement session, rights to all images, and a 16×20 canvas) and captures the natural, not-super-editted/not-super-posed, more photojournalistic style I love. I am beyond thrilled with our engagement pictures! Her website is: http://www.expressionsphotog.net/ and her blog is: http://bespokephotographers.wordpress.com/ She is based in Ames, but is willing to travel and even met up with us for the first time in Iowa City. We also strongly considered Brian Hall Photography and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him– he was just a little more expensive and Valerie could do engagement photos in Ames where my fiance goes to school. His website: http://www.brianhallphotographers.com

  • Hazel

    Any recommendations for Rochester, NY? I’m still in really early planning stages and I’m living in a different state right now so it is a challenge to look locally. I’m considering about Dinosaur BBQ for catering but so far nothing is officially decided.

    • Jackie

      Hey Hazel! I’m not even sure you’ll get this because it’s a few months later, but I thought I’d help just in case. We used Texas Barbeque on 259 in Spencerport for food and they were so good to work with. We did it at Black Creek Park down in Churchville/Chili, just renting the Sunnyside Lodge and then getting a tent/tables/chairs from Hank Parker’s. Feel free to e-mail me at quigley.jaclyn (at) gmail.com if you have more questions!

  • Lily

    I can’t recommend Enchanted Bridal Shoppe in Sacramento, CA enough. I was a little concerned when I first got to the store and noticed the slightly over-the-top pink, princess-themed décor. BUT! What counts is that the experience was tons of fun, VERY low pressure, and body-positive, and I found a dress I LOVE for a very reasonable price.

    I’m very short (5’0″) and I knew I was going to have trouble finding dresses to work with my height, so I called ahead to discuss this issue. Whether or not the shop did this on purpose, the consultant who handled my appointment was my exact height, and she just GOT what would be flattering on me. I ended up buying a dress very different from the image I had in my head and I am SO glad Emily suggested it even though it was way outside what I had described.

    Emily and owner Jennifer were super respectful of my budget and very very patient with my decision-making. Bonus: supporting a local, woman-owned business :D

  • KLSB

    Any fellow Colorado Springs people out there? Tons of resources I have found online have been Denver- and Boulder-centric, which is fine since they’re not that far away, but it’d be nice to work with local people.

    Anyway, I’m deeply in the trenches of planning right now, but I love our reception venue, the newly renovated Ivywild School: http://ivywildschool.com/ It’s a school that was closed in 2009 and fully redone inside by an architect, restaurateur, and brewmaster, preserving a lot of the beauty of the old brick, wood, glass, etc. It’s the home of Bristol Brewing Co., a coffee shop, a cocktail bar, charcuterie, art school, bakery. It will eventually have community and rooftop gardens. You have to order your catering and alcohol through them, BUT if you order at least $1,200 worth of food, there is NO VENUE RENTAL FEE. And it includes tables, chairs, and linens. Serving ware comes with the food. It’s incredible, and very nice inside. You can only fit a little over 100 people in at once, which we’re struggling with a little, but it’s helping keep our spending down. We’re having a taco bar, brownies, lemon bars, local beer, and local whiskey. Should be top-notch.

    We’re interviewing a few photographers based both in the Springs and in Denver/Boulder this weekend, so I don’t have much to share on that front yet, but there are a couple in the APW vendor directory that look promising (Marj Merges and Susanna Storch).

    ** I’m looking for a kick-ass (and also cheap) field or trailhead or other outdoor ceremony venue in the greater Springs area, and also a great secular officiant. Anybody? :)

    Hats off to APW for another fantastic idea.

  • Kate

    Just going to chime in late with some recs for the Atlanta area. I loved all of my vendors, but I really have to plug my photographer.

    Erin at Tin Can Photography (http://tincanphotography.net/) was an absolute dream to work with. She and her husband (who was her assistant/second photographer on the day of the wedding) are so professional and so fun — our wedding party thought they were awesome. I obviously love her style (or I wouldn’t have hired her) but seriously, she’s great at everything. She had all of the equipment you could possibly need. And turn around was quick, a little over a month. When we first met I asked if she read APW and she said yes, so y’all, she’s one of us. And she’s amazing. Hire her. Do it now! :) (They have a ton of different packages, so make sure to contact them for rates.)

    I also want to say that my reception venue — The Brickyard at Marietta Station — was fantastic. It’s a little more do-it-yourself — you basically get the venue and you have to bring in people to set up, tear down, etc. But it’s gorgeous, right downtown in Marietta, and Tammy (the owner) is great to work with. The weekend of our wedding there was a big event on the square and she worked with us to figure out how to get our stuff in and our vendors in while avoiding road blocks. Highly recommended!

  • Reesa

    I think it’s a long shot, but anyone out there from Tucson, Arizona? Would love any recommendations or advice!

  • Wendy G

    Any Denver area peeps have a good lingerie shop they like for stuff to go UNDER the dress? I have a dress with an illusion neckline, a D cup size and a touch of scoliosis. I got one rec for a place in Parker but they seem pricey, and I’m a severe budget (and no car. Denver is tough without a car.)

    Also, does anyone have recommendations for makeup artists and hair peeps that are inexpensive, and willing to travel to the ‘burbs? It’s just me and one attendant (and maybe my mother), but again, budget!

  • Katie

    Anybody have any recommendations for the Austin area? I just know there have to be some APW worthy folks out here! I’m coming down to the last two and a half months and we haven’t settled on a caterer yet- eek!! Recommendations for photographers, planners, caterers, and florists would be greatly appreciated! I was going to do all the flowers and decorations myself, but then I broke my wrist last month and that pretty much eliminated most of my DIY projects…
    Thanks!

    • Sarah McD

      I keep hearing recommendations for Central Market / Sam’s Club / Costco for flowers, so I’d check those out! Maybe even Whole Foods? For a photographer, try checking out Amanda Summerlin (an APW vendor!) who travels the continental US for free, so no travel fees. It’s a gamble so close to the wedding, but you never know if she’s free! Elissa R. is another APW photographer who is in Austin, so she might be free that weekend. (I’m pretty sure I’ve memorized the APW vendor options for Texas – I’m getting married in Houston)

  • Kater

    This one’s for all you Vermonters out there! (oh, is it just me?? ah well…)

    Flowers: New Leaf Organics in Bristol (http://www.newleaforganics.org/) – local, organic flowers, the farm owner is a lovely woman who is super easy to communicate with via email. And when I told her that I didn’t have a color scheme or particular vision for flowers, that she could just pick whatever would look nice with navy dresses & grey vests she didn’t bat an eye – and put together THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS I’D EVER SEEN. So much so that I *almost* dried my bouquet (but then watching the colors fade made me kind of sad – so I scattered it around our house)

    Photographer: Alex Cohn (based in NH; http://alexandercohn.photoshelter.com/). Full disclosure, Alex is a friend of ours. He is also a very talented photographer who really captured the essence of our casual, fall, outdoorsy keg party.

    Cake: Sweet Simone’s in Waitsfield (http://www.sweetsimones.com/). I didn’t know I liked coconut until I tried their coconut cake with cream cheese frosting. We also got a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting w/a raspberry jam layer, a carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting, and a couple of pies. Delicious, great quality, super easy to work with.

    Day-of coordinator: Meg Schultz, based in Moretown (http://meganschultz.com/). Easily the best planning decision we made. If we had rented a more traditional venue that came with staff we maybe wouldn’t have needed her as much (though she would have made it more awesome). Our venue was basically DIY with no staff and we had approx 160 guests. Having Meg & her staff to help us run the rehearsal, set up the ceremony space, decorate the hall, coordinate the ceremony music, etc etc etc was priceless. It would have been a clusterf*ck without her.

    Venue: Common Ground Center in Starksboro (http://www.cgcvt.org/). We got super lucky here – got engaged in December 2012 and snagged the last available 2013 date. I believe they are already booked up for 2014! It is a very special place, a 700 acre family camp that they rent out for weddings/events. It was absolutely perfect for our outdoorsy party, we had about 50 people who stayed in the unheated cabins, and it was just awesome for so many people to be able to stay on site, go hiking, check out the foliage, etc. Level 10 awesome.

    Caterer: Spice of Life, based in Moretown (http://www.vtspiceoflife.com/) Amazing food. We had them cater our Saturday night reception dinner & Sunday brunch. They did a phenomenal vegetarian buffet for us including a MASHED POTATO BAR. Mouthwatering. Incredible.

  • megep

    Milwaukee, WI

    Photographer: Kat Schleicher/Ellagraph Studios. I cannot say this enough: this lady made our wedding happen. I asked her for so much advice, and she was very helpful–as she said, she’s been involved in hundreds of weddings, while this is pretty much my first time. Her photos are so beautiful, she’s great at keeping things moving the day of, and she really connects with people. Plus her husband Dylan (who also photographs weddings with her and takes beautiful shots) is super sweet and carried my sweater around all day during our unseasonably cold wedding day.

    Catering: Ball n Biscuit. The food was delicious and the people who work for them are so amazing. When we were looking for a caterer, we knew we would need our room switched over between ceremony and reception. Some places were going to charge us $400. Maria from Ball n Biscuit? She charged us $25 because the dishwasher got a little behind and so he had to stay late. She helped me find a place to buy cheap chair covers instead of renting them through her, because she admits it’s cheaper to buy ourselves. We needed two vegan meals, one of which was also gluten-free. Guess what? NO extra charges, no big deal, didn’t even bat an eye. If/when we move back to the Milwaukee area, I plan to use her for all my catering needs.

    Venue: South Shore Pavilion. It’s part of the Milwaukee County Parks system, so you have to do everything yourself, but the location and building are gorgeous. (and it is cheap!) Fair warning: it is a super popular location for weddings, so you need to plan pretty far out (We booked 14 months in advance.)

  • Stephanie

    For the Los Angeles area, I loved:

    Smetona Photography – a husband/wife duo. Their pics are amazing.

    Ferndales Bridal in Orange – they have an amazing variety of dresses, and the owner is the sweetest lady ever. She gave my best friend a free veil (the dress, with alterations, was a good $1600).

  • MadameOvary

    Any love for the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area? We’re doing a Pop Up Wedding thanks to APW featuring Emily Alt Photography and saving us so we’re pretty much covered there but I’m desperately looking for a good hair and make-up person. Google is a wee bit scary and I’m hoping someone has personal recommendations with someone in the area. Thanks!

  • M.

    New York City / Brooklyn friends: just got my dress back from Sandra Usherov (she hemmed a J. Crew dress for me) and it’s perfect. Fair price, worked with my timeline, and most of all she’s a rad lady who supports marriage equality and also (mainly) MAKES RIDICULOUSLY BEAUTIFUL DRESSES. I wish I had found her earlier to make a custom gown. http://www.sandrausherov.com/ I was so scared to have someone hem my dress — prices were insane, reviews were variable everywhere I looked, and I didn’t trust anyone. But I trusted Sandra, and she was so fun, accommodating, and knowledgeable. Sooo recommended.

  • Shannon

    I know I’m late, but I figure threads like this are always useful! In the San Francisco Bay Area I have a caterer to recommend – James Standfield Catering. They are based out of South SF and serve the whole Bay Area. We had worked with them on nonprofit events in the past and after getting three separate quotes from downtown SF catering companies that were astronomically far out of our budget ($30K for heavy appetizers for 150), we remembered James Standfield and were so happy we did. I can’t say enough great things about them! Their catering manager Alicia is super helpful, their prices are great for the Bay Area (less than 1/3 of the other places), the food is yummy and they have a lot of variety, they will customize the menus and work with you on details, no hidden fees buried in the contract, etc, etc, etc.
    There are many other great vendors we found via APW that we are working with for the rest of the wedding, but catering companies with an APW philosophy seem hard to come by around here, so I have to give a shoutout to James Standfield!