Monday, November 29, 2010

Vendor Review - Linda's Cakery

Our cake was not something we'd planned on.  During our first meeting with David (coordinator extraordinaire from JDK), he asked us about the cake.  We weren't sold on having a cake-cake.  I always thought the tradition of cutting the cake was so weird - nobody really wants to stand around and watch people cut cake.  We considered cupcakes, but I felt like cupcakes were so trendy (not just in wedding world, but in the real world, in general).  So David suggested doing a display of petits-fours on sticks.  Like Cake Pops (which I've totally made and are absolutely freaking awesome)!  We loved the idea.  So began our search for a bakery who would be willing/able to do this.  I must have contacted about 10 bakeries, and each time I was told they couldn't do it, or it was out of our budget.  Finally, I got in touch with Linda at Linda's Cakery.  She said she could do it for about $1.50 per petit-four.  Banking on about 150 people, 2 pops each, we were looking at $450.  Well within our budget!  We made an appointment to meet with her to see what she could do. 

When we got to her bakery (the basement of her home), we were less-than-pleased with what we saw.  The petits-fours were enormous (about 3x3x3", not 1x1x1" like we'd been picturing, and they were covered in a messy chocolate ganache rather than a nice smooth fondant.  They looked majorly W.T. and we were hugely disappointed.  Luckily, Linda herself admitted they looked terrible and said that she realized she couldn't do what we asked.  Again, hugely disappointed, but really glad for her honesty.  She asked if wanted to look through samples of her previous work.  At this point, I was just anxious to make a decision about the cake, so we said sure.  We ended up really liking with this one design, and after discussing our colors and such with her, we came up with a good plan for a cake. 

Based on our estimated guest list, we ordered a 3-tier cake plus a 1/2 sheet cake.  We tasted several different flavors, and ultimately ended up choosing 3: chocolate with peanut butter filling, french vanilla with raspberry ganache, and pink champagne with strawberry whip filling.  Each would be covered in white chocolate buttercream.  After telling Linda our colors (navy blue, peacock teal, apple green, and brown), she suggested marbling the colors together in order to make it more interesting.  OK, so if you remember, this was our inspiration picture:


Here is what we ended up with:

(photo from my mom)
LOVE!  Not only did Linda make a beautiful cake, but it tasted amazing, as well.  And JDK did a great job with adding the flowers/feathers.  We ended up with just the 3 tiers - 2 pink champagne and 1 french vanilla.  We cancelled the 1/2 sheet cake because our guest list ended up being smaller than we'd anticipated.  Initially Linda gave us a hard time about cancelling it - she thought that we would run out of cake.  I spoke to David, though, and he assured me that it would be enough.  

Looking back, I wish I would've taken Linda's advice so that we could have saved the top tier.  We really didn't want to save the top tier, because it sounds just gross, but my sister and her husband also had JDK and she said they wrapped it so well that it still tasted fresh on their year anniversary.  Oh well.  We still plan to go out and have a wonderful dinner with a beautiful dessert.  And I'm actually considering ordering a tiny cake from Linda to surprise Matt for our one-year anniversary.  

In the end, I would definitely recommend Linda's Cakery.  She wasn't overtly friendly; in fact, I found her a bit brash.  But she made a beautiful, delicious cake, and we were really happy with the final product.  And the cost was perfect - well within our budget!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vendor Review - MixedUp Productions

Book them.  Book them right now.

Ok, seriously.  Initially we booked with Top Hat DJs.  They were the Bride's Choice winner on Wedding Wire for 2009.  They're prices were pretty in line with what we planned to spend.  And the communication I had with the DJ was pleasant.  Unfortunately, a few weeks after booking with them, I got an email stating that they had accidentally double-booked for our date, and wouldn't be able to DJ our wedding.  D'oh!

Blessing in disguise.  I swear.  I mean, I'm sure Top Hat would've done a great job, but we're so glad we found MixedUp Productions.  I don't even remember how I found them; probably Martha Stewart Weddings.  My first communication with Mike Miller was great, and I felt really good about booking them.  When we finally got the chance to meet Mike, it felt like we'd been friends for years.  We bantered back and forth, and he totally got what we wanted.  We met him at the radio station where he's a DJ, and so when we mentioned that we wanted to have him edit down our song ("Chasing Cars," by Snow Patrol), he took us right into the studio and remixed it, right in front of us. 

He was totally on board with us not wanting to do any of the traditions - the bouquet/garter toss, dollar dance, etc.  And he suggested the Kissing Game for during dinner.  We gave him a list of couples that he could call one whenever people clinked glasses, and the couple he called on had to get up and kiss (creatively) and then Matt and I had to copy it.  It was SO much fun and I'm really glad he suggested it.

The day of the wedding, he came out to say hi when we got the reception and make sure things were moving smoothly.  He went over everyone's name again.  During dinner, he came over to me and Matt to make sure we were happy and see if we needed anything; he did that throughout the night, as well.  He played what we asked him to play, avoided what we asked him to not play, and checked with us before playing something that he considered "questionable."  The next day, as I perused facebook, I found that Mike had already put up a slideshow of pictures he'd taken throughout the night set to our song. 

Really, we could not be more impressed with Mike and MixedUp Productions.  We had so much fun at the wedding, and our dance floor was absolutely packed all night long.  Definitely look into them if you're looking for a DJ in the Harrisburg area.  You will not be disappointed!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ooh la la!

Remember when I told you I did some boudoir pictures for Matt?  I wanted to wait until after Matt saw them before they were released to the general internet-viewing public.  But now that Matt has the book, I'm gonna put up some photos!  Eeek! 

I won this guitar for Matt at the Bloomsburg Fair one year.

A few of them are pictures of the pictures in the book, but a few are directly from Megan's blog.  I am so totally thrilled with the way the book turned out.  

I gave it to Matt the morning after the wedding.  I was not about to give it to him the morning of, in front of all his groomsmen - awkward!!  Especially when 2 of them were his brothers - creepy!!  Anyway, I gave them to him the morning after the wedding, when we were alone in our hotel room.  He. loved. them.  He told me I look like a model.  Then he told me I should be a model.  Silly boy.  

Anyway, I know I said it before, but I cannot say it enough - if you are thinking at all about doing boudoirs, DO IT!!!!  I felt so confident and sexy during the shoot, and even more so watching Matt look at the photos.  His face was absolutely priceless, and I'd do it a hundred times over just for that.  

If you're in the Central PA area, Megan is offering a special on boudoirs right now.  And she's considering doing bachelorette parties, so if you've got a group of girlfriends who might be interested, it would make for a really fun afternoon!  Give Megan a call if you're interested - you won't regret it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Vendor Review - Weddings by JDK

Since it looks like it'll be a while until we have full rights to all of our professional photos, I thought I'd take some time to review our vendors.  I have no idea how many (if any) Central PA brides are reading this, but in case you are, hopefully this will help you.  So, to kick things off, I'm starting with our biggest vendor - Weddings by JDK.

JDK was our caterer, our florist, our event designer, and our equipment rental company.  Our day-of coordinator, David, is one of their lead designers.  This was the easiest decision we made, and hands-down the best decision we made (after, you know, agreeing to get married and stuff).  To be honest, we didn't even consider another company.  My sister had hired JDK for her wedding 2 years ago, and I was really impressed with everything they did for her.  Even then, I knew there was no question that we would use JDK when our day arrived.

We called and booked our first appointment with David just a week or so after we got engaged.  When we met with him, it instantly confirmed what we already knew - that this was going to be the day of our dreams.  We told David our vision - using peacock feathers, casual yet elegant, fun, reflective of who we are - David took it and ran with it.  He told us he was going to have fun with our wedding, and boy did he! 

Throughout the planning process, David listened to us and reflected our ideas back to us.  I showed him inspiration pictures and he pushed the creative envelope on them.  We told him ideas and he took them one step further.  He made suggestions and offered advice.  He created our entire menu based on our likes, dislikes, and things we're "known" for serving at our own parties.  Every single time we walked out of his office, we could not stop talking abou thow excited we were to see the whole picture come together.  David was so excited about the design he was creating, it made us even more excited. 

The days leading up to the wedding were, of course, stressful.  But knowing that David would be there, handling any crises that came up, made me feel loads better.  David came to our rehearsal and went over the timeline with the entire wedding party.  He handed out itineraries to everyone, and provided a timeline and important phone numbers.  He stressed to everyone: "If there is a problem, call me.  Don't call Erin or Matt.  Call me.  I will handle it."

The day of the wedding, he was right there.  He held my hand and helped me breathe.  He made an extra trip to the museum and back to get some arrangements for the church because he didn't like the way the bouquets on the altar looked.  He helped to organize the family for family photos.  He made sure everyone kept moving and did their job.  He kept me and Matt fed, hydrated, and happy.  He assigned a waitress just for me and Matt.  He corraled the wedding party when we needed them, and sent people on their way when they were crowding us. 

The bouquets that JDK created were absolutely breathtaking.  They were everything I'd wanted and more.  They wired my grandmother's ring right into the flowers, and it looked awesome.

The centerpieces at the reception were just incredible.  The tall ones completely blew my expectations out of the water, and the shorter ones were just as elegant.

And the bars.  Oh, my God, the bars.  I know what you're thinking.  "What could possibly be so great about a bar?"  Um, this.

JDK also did the flowers for our cake.  Hello, lover.

The table layouts looked fantastic.  With the navy pintucks and the white dishes and the wine bottles and...and everything.  They set up everything.  All we had to do was deliver boxes to the museum and they took care of everything - the gift table, the escort card table, the guest book, the group photo sign. 

I seriously cannot sing the praises for JDK enough.  If any bride is planning a wedding in Central PA, call them.  I promise you, you won't regret it.  Oh, and look for my sister's picture in the office.  And on their website.  I'm determined to bump her out, but for now, it's still pretty awesome that she and her husband are featured.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Photo Teaser

So, our wedding day?  Best. Day. Ever. We had so much fun.  It was absolutely perfect.  It's true, you know.  What they say.  That it goes by so fast.  It really does.  In the moment, that day, it didn't seem like it was.  But the next morning, when I woke up, I was like..."Wait.  No.  That can't be it!"  I just wanted to do it all over again.

We literally had the perfect day.  The weather was gorgeous.  There were no major issues (at least none that we knew of).  Our coordinator, David, from Weddings by JDK, handled everything.  Our bridal party stepped in when we needed them.  Our friends and family laughed and smiled and cried with us.  Best of all?  We glowed.  We both just glowed.  All day long.  I've never felt so happy, and Matt's never looked so happy.  I plan to hold onto that forever.

The day after the wedding, we went over to my parents' house.  My stepdad had recorded several things throughout the day, and we watched the videos.  We got to watch our ceremony.  And it was perfect, just as we remembered it.  Jeff (my stepdad) ran out to pick up a flash drive so he could copy them for us to take along.  I'll admit, I've already watched it a few times.  Friends were posting pictures to facebook (everyone waited, just as we'd asked).  On Tuesday, we left for our honeymoon.  Just a few days after we arrived in St. Lucia for our honeymoon, we checked our emails and facebook.  Everlasting Images had put some pictures up on facebook... 

Aren't they gorgeous?!  We also got an email the day before we got home that all of our pictures were up on their website.  I don't have full access to them, yet, so I can't post them.  But as soon as we pick the photos for our album, we'll get a disc with all of the images.  And I'll start some recaps.  But it'll be a while.  There are a lot of pictures, and I have no idea how we'll choose among all of them!

*all photos courtesy of the fab-tastic Everlasting Images